Monday, September 22, 2014

The GOOD (Kamran K): On GOOD changes

(1) GOOD changes are rare but deeply significant in altering human behavior: "we need for a new goal also a new means- namely, a new health, stronger, more seasoned, tougher, more audacious, and gayer than any previous health." (Nietzsche, Ecce Homo) Two to three GOOD changes a year- truly learned and experienced- would be an impressive accomplishment. GOOD changes often "kill" 5-10 "birds with one stone." These are changes that affect behavior across many aspects of life, over many decades. These changes ripple outwards rather than being confined to their small area.

Most changes are not GOOD changes. Most changes are trivial changes that don't stably affect even one aspect of a single human life, let alone 5-10 aspects. They are adopted at random and then abandoned at random, with no discernible purpose or point: "without meaning, without substance, without aim." (Nietzsche, Untimely Ones)

(2) GOOD changes are driven by MIND and usually involve some alteration of an infantile belief to a mature one that has a chance of surviving the requirements of the GOOD. Examples of GOOD changes driven by MIND include:
  • "I am the center of the world and the world should serve my needs" TO "I AIN'T MUCH. I am a very small part of this world and can hope to contribute to it only through the cultivation of human excellence"
  • "If I am nice and kind to other people the world will reward me in the end, in some way or another" TO "THE ALWAYS NICE AND KIND ARE A NAUSEATINGLY BORING HUMAN TYPE WHO EXCEL IN PUTTING EVERYONE AROUND THEM TO SLEEP. If I cultivate human excellence I can hope- but am never guaranteed- to make some non-trivial contribution to the world. Whether this contribution also involves reward- financial or otherwise- is always uncertain."
  • "I will be happy if I make lots of money, own lots of expensive things, have many people look up to me, and maintain a vibrant sex life." TO "GETTING BLING IS DAMN HARD AND MAY NOT DO A DAMN THING FOR ME IN THE END. I will be happy if I maintain balance AND depth across all my human needs, from material to sexual to reputational to aesthetic to moral to social to athletic. None of these needs contributes more to human happiness than the others. They are each equally important to cultivate and maintain across decades of life. I will be unhappy if I neglect many of these needs for one or two of them."
  • "I should get married and have kids because it's expected of me and everyone else seems to be doing it" to "I CAN DO MISERABLY UNHAPPY ALONE. I will ONLY get married and have kids if I believe I can build and maintain a better life with a partner and kids than I could on my own." 
  • "I will maintain relentless optimism in the face of any challenge or reality I face." TO "OPTIMISM WORKS FOR ABOUT TWENTY MINUTES. I will maintain optimism ONLY when the facts and circumstances of the situation warrant it, which is MUCH less than all the time. I will maintain pessimism in the face of realities that have always been negative and have given no indication that they are intent on changing for the GOOD."
  • "It is important that I make ALL my views known in public and communicate everything on my mind to everyone at all times. All of my views and public statements are articulate, coherent, and worthy of everyone's attention." TO "Most of my views are TRIVIAL UNDT BANAL. Accordingly, it is important that I listen to the views of those around me that communicate coherently and seriously and with concern that the statements they make are true. Public expression is important and a value but usually only to express some viewpoint that is either totally new or expressed so differently that it casts the issue in a different light. If there are infinite truths out there for all to discover, humanity- either as a species or as individuals- should feel no compulsion to continually repeat the same ones over and over again. 
  • "I wish to gain power, reputation, money, and other competitively pursued social goods without stress, without anxiety, without exhausting often non-fun "boring" hard work, without sacrifices to my health and relationships, without HUGE sacrifices to personal freedom and core authentic identity" TO "WAKE UP TO REALITY, SON! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I must make a mature choice. Either I live a relatively obscure life lacking the competitively pursued social goods (above all, reputation and money) OR I pursue reputation and money knowing full well I will have to sacrifice many other equally good things merely in order to have a "shot" at getting money, reputation, and power."
While ALL of the above MIND-driven changes reflect important shifts in belief and are all serious and important in their own right, such MIND-driven changes can- and often should- be expressed in a tone and spirit of playful humor: "I do not know any other way of associating with great tasks than play: as a sign of greatness, this is an essential presupposition." (Nietzsche, Ecce Homo)

(3) All of the above changes in attitude do two independent things. First, they reduce human misery and aimless purposeless effort and toil by calibrating one's expectations with reality. Human expectations divorced from reality are one of the top reasons our nation and increasingly planet has become a "nook of disgruntled, arrogant, and offensive creatures filled with a profound disgust at themselves, at the earth, at all life, who inflict as much pain on themselves as they possibly can..." Second, these changes continue to orient one's focus toward the GOOD and subject nearly all decisions, choices, and values to its stringent requirements. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Experienced Beauty (Kamran K): On the Creation of INDESTRUCTIBLE Personal Fortresses of GOOD.

(1) Man, whether species or individual, lives for the briefest nano-second of eternity. A human life that reaches 80-90 years appears lengthy from our perspective but is just a terrifyingly brief instant within Time. All those experiences you have had and will ever have, from the most sublime to the most wretched, barely register on the scale known as eternity. It's as if you put everything that ever happened to you on a DVD and then played it back at 1 BILLION times fast forward. That is YOU vis a vis Time.

(2) So many of these few years, so much of this brief time is devoted to tedious effort that keeps the human body alive and in good health. Toils of all sorts are devoted to this very purpose of ensuring we live for the longest possible period we can, even if it be but a brief nanosecond of eternity. It is deemed by many persons of many different perspectives a great thing for each human being to extract as many healthy years as permitted by his or her human DNA. We agree this effort is within the GOOD regardless of the prior bad acts of the individual person.

On top of this, (largely) misguided effort, attention, and toil is devoted to various competitive pursuits- often fueled by jealousy- involving endless money worship and gathering, honor, and the competitive domination of other human beings or even nations. On top of even this, (largely) misguided effort, attention, and toil is devoted to securing various sexual and other bodily "recreational" pleasures that are almost always fleeting and involve pain, subservience to others, and addictions of all sorts. These efforts are not within the GOOD no matter how "hard" one works to reach "goals" within these spheres: "To become whatever you can do not shy from work and long hours, but protect your soul from simply getting ahead." (Thomas Mann)

(3) This is for many the ENTIRE human condition. A tremendous effort to keep an organism alive which ultimately makes a miserable mess of his/her life, sees his or her own life as a miserable procession through time, and ends up making the lives of others miserable too. This is an utterly depressing reality. It is one of the reasons we are pessimistic and realistic to the core. There is little to no experienced beauty in this condition.

If this were the ENTIRE human condition for everyone ALL the time, then we would be a complete pessimist as to human life and its possibilities. All this toil to keep a creature alive and healthy but only to perpetuate a whole host of behaviors, values, and social programming that is not ending in the GOOD. In this condition, one would exist merely out of inertia, not out of any sense of hope for the GOOD or any other great thing. What could there possibly be here to be optimistic or positive about?

(4) Thankfully, the above is not the ENTIRE human condition for everyone. Somewhere along the way, somehow or the other, each human has the opportunity to create indestructible personal fortresses of GOOD. The creation of these fortresses creates beauty almost every step of the way, but the ultimate moment of experienced beauty arrives upon the completion of the fortress in its entirety. The most important attribute of these fortresses is no one else can tamper, degrade, or destroy them.

(5) Let us repeat what we just stated for emphasis: The most important attribute of these fortresses is no one else can tamper, degrade, or destroy them. You built them; they are totally yours; end of story. 

In almost every area of life outside of these fortresses, we see that other persons can EASILY tamper, degrade, or destroy what we have worked very hard to build up. Years, even decades, of effort devoted to building something lasting outside of these fortresses can be "wiped out" in a few seconds through bad luck, natural disaster, the ill-will of other persons, political action, market forces beyond your control, or even changing social mores.

(6) Personal fortresses of GOOD are indestructible and immune to these forces. They reside- in some sense- beyond the level of criticism although that does not mean some aspect or another of it can't always be improved. If you create a song or a painting or a poem or an entire philosophy of life or even a life containing various experiences that are individually appreciated and cultivated to meet your needs then you are creating personal fortresses of GOOD at almost every turn. There is almost nothing anyone can do to rob you of these fortresses or destroy them.

Passion (Kamran K): On Animality Orbits

"Their dependence had reached a disgraceful level." Supreme Leader of the Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Ali Khamenei

"Enjoy yourselves then: but in the end ye shall know the truth." Holy Koran

(1) Human DNA creates a living organism capable of animality and its potential transcendence. Portions of human DNA allow us to "do" animality. But portions of DNA also create the human MIND which is capable of reprogramming the animality either entirely out of existence or reducing its effect dramatically (80-90% reduction). The human MIND can decide exactly how much animality it wants to "do."

All non-human creatures can only exist on the level of animality. There is no choice for them but animality, year after year, decade after decade, century after century. Humans can exit mere animality, in whole or in part, but rarely do so even in part: (a) "sunk in carelessness, they turn aside." & (b) "Let them feast and enjoy themselves, and let hope beguile them: but they shall know the truth at last." (Holy Koran) This exit choice was made possible to us only after billions of years of the evolutionary process generated the most powerful complex machine known anywhere, the human MIND.

(2) Human animality is primarily exhibited in 5-10 repetitive drives that one sees on "full display" everywhere today, in all societies and at all times. With but rare exception, it matters less and less where one lives because- wherever one goes- these animality drives are on full parade and display. What difference does it make at all whether you live in LA, DC, NYC, Miami, Paris, Shanghai, Tehran, or London if almost everyone around you is motivated by the same few animality drives? It makes very little difference whatsoever. What distinguishes these cities now dayz is not the "people there" because the "people there" are doing the same animality impulses that we see everywhere else, albeit in different specific forms to account for slightly different environments (DC's animality is captured in the quest for political power while LA's is more bound up in sensuality and money worship).

The most POWERFUL animality drives are the human drives to:
  • have sex unconnected to romantic love or even character adoration: "what thinkest thou? He who hath taken his passions as a god..." (Holy Koran).
  • gather and ultimately spend money unconnected to the requirements of human survival and psychological well-being.
  • competitively dominate other human beings to boost self-esteem and gather narcissistic supply
  • commit acts of violence to experience one's power and strength. 
  • gather necessary food, clothing, and shelter for survival purposes: "We gave them not bodies which could dispense with food: and they were not to live forever." (Holy Koran)
(3) All of the above animality impulses are either thoroughly neutral or very bad: "What! do ye then worship...that which doth not profit you at all, nor injure you?" (Holy Koran) They may have had an evolutionary "role" thousands of years ago but no longer serve this function today when human DNA is not at risk for extinction. Putting aside the exceedingly brief pleasurable "boosts" and narcissistic supply spikes they provide, each of the animality impulses has no lasting (i.e. non-transient) value and each creates no bridge to the GOOD. One is not changed for the better on account of them. The boosts and spikes provided by animality often last a few minutes, perhaps a few hours, and almost all vanish within a week or so. However done, these animality impulse driven behaviors would never result in the GOOD, even if one did them for many hundreds or thousands of years. A human being doing these behaviors eternally would never reach the GOOD, regardless of the specific behaviors he or she chose to satisfy the animality impulses. Animality leads only to more animality and more animality and yet more animality.

(4) The problem with the animality impulses is capable of direct statement: although essentially valueless, they motivate human behavior- and thereby consume our finite conscious existence- tremendously and in ways not immediately obvious to the self or third parties. We see a neighbor habitually engaging in home improvement projects but obviously don't see an "animality" label on this person. But when one evalutes the person's behavior honestly, one quickly sees this behavior is fully rooted in animality, regardless of how he or she wishes to "dress up" the behavior in other ways.

(5) Thusly, one must constantly evaluate one's behavior and those of others to identify the behavior that is driven by animality impulses. Once the behavior is identified, there needs to be a reasonably specific "concrete" plan to modify the behavior out of animality: "and I'm fed up with it. I'm not going to play along anymore." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) In some cases this may require outright abandonment of certain behaviors (e.g. violence); in others it may require a very large reduction in the frequency of the behavior (e.g. money gathering activities); and in others it may require a fairly large reorientation of the behavior (e.g. sexual desire unconnected to love or character adoration would need to be transformed into sexual desire connected to love or character adoration. This may not be possible for some men that can't seem to attract a women long enough for either of the two to fall in love.).

(6) The biggest challenge to doing this activity well is found in human DNA. The animality impulses are not just any "old" impulses and should not be taken lightly; they are extremely powerful, overwhelmingly powerful, impulses that often demand satisfaction at any cost to human health and psychological well-being. When almost everyone around you is gripped by animality, the impulses become even more powerful as they appear to be the only impulses worth taking seriously. For most people, the animality impulses are covered up with layer after layer of self-deception preventing one from seeing the animality impulse for what it is and "where" it is driving behavior.

The power and potency of the animality impulses are such that they can always send almost any person into ANIMALITY ORBIT. Once one is in animality orbit, one no longer has control of the animality impulses, and is not even fully aware of what one is doing, for how long, and why. When you see a very successful rich person STILL pursuing wealth into their 60s and 70s, you know the animality orbit is ON; when you see the fairly young (20-40) squandering the best years of their lives slaving away in small cubicles in hopes of highly uncertain promotions and bonuses, you know the animality orbit is ON;  when you see an athlete that abuses his body to the breaking point to "win," you know the animality orbit is ON; when you see persons committing senseless horrific acts of violence and enjoying these acts for their own sake, you again know the animality orbit is ON; when you see women selecting men on the basis of wealth or height or bicep size you know the animality orbit is ON.

(7) With the animality impulse to have sex unconnected to romantic love, one can describe this orbit as a HORMONAL ORBIT. One can- and many are- thrown into hormonal orbit at the first sight of another person: "I want your body till the very last drop, I want you to holler when you want me to stop." (Keith Sweat, Nobody) Just as the SUN fully controls the Earth's orbit through its gravitational attraction, hormones fully control the hormonally-orbited person. The person is just along for the ride and will do or say just about anything once in hormonal orbit. Listening to these conversations is an excercise in mind-numbing mundanity as one person is always eager to please the other at every turn. The person is powerless before the person that is placing them in hormonal orbit. They will devote money, time, and emotions to the person way beyond what is justified and well beyond what they receive in return: "Have they taken other gods beside HIM? Bring forth your proofs that they are gods." (Holy Koran)

(8) Because entire segments of human DNA are fully ON when one is placed in hormonal orbit, one should generally avoid being thrown into orbit in the first place. This does NOT mean one needs to avoid being attracted to members of the opposite sex; of course this can and should happen but it does not need to happen within the context of hormonal orbit. One can obviously experience romantic and physical interest in another person in a genuine way without being placed into orbit; this experience is one of physical attraction moderated by the virtue of self-control.

Exiting hormonal orbit is difficult. So you generally would want to avoid situations that repetitively cause animality orbits to trigger. In the case of hormonal orbit, the easiest way to do this is look back and see what types of persons caused you to experience hormonal orbit in the past. Evaluate how good it felt to be in orbit? What about the other person drove you into orbit? What value does that thing have outside the behavior of human sex? How likely are you to value sex this highly with this person for many months or years? What did you ultimately gain from the experience of hormonal orbit? How did being in orbit help or hinder your understanding of the other person's character or personality? How do you think the other person felt being the object of hormonal orbit? Would you welcome another person treating you in this relatively infantile way?

(9) On a yearly basis, one must evaluate ALL one's behavior and determine ALL animality orbits that still exist. Evaluated from the parameters of the GOOD, each such orbit should be viewed with deep suspicion and hostility: "we will hurl the truth at falsehood and it shall smite it, and lo! it shall vanish" (Holy Koran) Plans should be put into place to escape each such animality orbit: "For his own good only shall the guided yield to guidance, and to his own loss only shall the erring err." (Holy Koran) Any and all escapes actually and permanently achieved should be the cause of joyful celebration and festival!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Passion (Kamran K): "Something in the Way"

"What is chastity in a man? That his sexual taste has remained noble..." Nietzsche, Will to Power

"I will not play a game rigged against me." GCanuck, 2014 see also

"I know a guy who, as far as I can tell, is fairly average in terms of attractiveness, yet cannot find a woman to save his life. At one point he made a habit out of going for the least attractive 10% of women in a bar, and he still didn't get anywhere." Legolas the elf, 2014

"From weariness yawneth he at the path, at the earth, at the goal, and at himself: not a step further will he go,- this brave one!...I love the brave: but it is not enough to be a swordsman,- one must know WHEREON to use swordsmanship!" Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

"I did just give up. I don't know how good a relationship is and I no longer care. It isn't worth it to me anymore. You can only bash your head into the wall for so long." Lemonwizard, 2014

"I cannot imagine ever trying to pick up/meet women in random places. It sounds like a fucking nightmare." Vincent Grayson, 2014

"if women are going to pretty much shut down every avenue for approaching them (bars ["I just want to hang out with my friends"], clubs ["I just want to dance!"], bookstores ["Don't interrupt my reading!"], grocery stores ["I HAVE to go here, don't bother me."], classes/workshops ["I'm here to learn, only!"], etc), what avenues ARE available for meeting women organically (eg. not via dating website/match-makers)?...If faced with this kind of backlash, honestly, I'd probably just give up...So therein lies the question: How/Why do you not just give up on the whole dating scene? Why do you continue to try to date in the face of all these blocks?" 
Askmen user engraced, 2014

"To be quite honest with you, I did give up. I didn't think it was possible for women to find me desirable or attractive, and I was too shy to go out there and keep getting rejected."
A SIAM's response to engraced, 2014

"if the times themselves, despite all their hustle and bustle, provide him with neither hopes nor prospects, if they secretly supply him with evidence that things are in fact hopeless, without prospect or remedy, if the times respond with hollow silence [then]...the situation will have a crippling effect..." Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain

(1) The truths below were earned- as all primary GOOD truths must be- in an emotionally brutal manner: "The need to let suffering speak is the condition for all truth." (Theodore Adorno) These truths will also be expressed emotionally, thoroughly, and- above all- for the enjoyment of the blog author himself: (a) "And through it all, I stood and stumbled, waded through my thoughts and heart Yeah through it all, I fooled and fumbled." (Ben Howard, These Waters) & (b) "I must try not to leave out anything that can be said on this." (Plato, Symposium) & (c) "When he writes, it's likely he will sow gardens of letters for the sake of amusing himself..." (Plato, Phaedrus)

Attempting to move beyond random matings of lust as existentially futile as they are empty, the blog author devoted nearly THREE (3) years of his prime adult life "going out" hoping to meet a single lovely soul to eventually become his lifetime romantic partner for 50, 60, perhaps even 70 years of life. This "highest hope" has remained with the blog author- sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker, but always "there"- for several decades, but has never reached fruition, on the West Coast, the East Coast, or anywhere else: "Let your love to life be love to your highest hope; and let your highest hope be the highest thought of life!" (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) It is the greatest of goods to journey through life- with all of its blessings, stresses, and challenges- with a kindred spirit with you every step of the way:

Then the two of you would share one life, as long as you lived, because you would be one being, and by the same token, when you died, you would be one and not two in Hades, having died a single death. Look at your love, and see if this is what you desire: wouldn't this be all the good fortune you could want?
(Plato, Symposium)

The appreciation of this GREAT good as greatly good is grasped by those who recognize that "men are made miserable not only by poverty, disease, stupidity, or the effects of ignorance, but also because they are misfits or outsiders or not spoken to, that liberty and equality are nothing without fraternity..." (Berlin, Herder and the Enlightenment) The emotional nourishment that this coupling activity provides is second to none, and there are no "cheap" substitutes that technology or the market can provide now or ever will provide: "Light does not nourish men, order and affluence are not enough; still less technical accomplishment..." (same).

Fearing future regret of possibilities unpursued, the blog author didn't want these prime years of (relative) youth to pass without making an earnest ENDURING effort to meet that special person. Since 2011, he made it a very top priority to get out there and meet someone. The hope was that someone could be met quickly and time then devoted to the only romantic task that ever matters, strengthening and deepening the relationship.  This "going out" activity occurred primarily in LA, and in every part of this otherwise magnificent great city (Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica, Venice, Downtown, Pasadena, Glendale, Sunset, and Hollywood were the primary destination points). But nights "out on the town" were also had in Baltimore, Miami, New Haven, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Chicago, DC, Knoxville, and several other cities. In total, the blog author visited some 300+ bars/clubs in the past three years and went out some 3-5 nights per week!!! The blog author went out primarily by himself, and dressed as well as he could on each of these nights. And he politely attempted to strike up a conversation wherever and whenever with seemingly interested women (who were, to be clear, few and far between). Not one night did he get drunk nor lose control.

Still, for all that, the blog author met not one compatible romantic soul during all these nights out, anywhere at any time. Though interspersed with a few "happy moments" here and there, a few beautiful tunes that blared while a gorgeous sunset was appreciated,  this- and only this specific aspect of the blog author's life- was overall a dark aimless pathetic sad WANDERING: "because they ATE badly; from thence resulted their ruined stomach." (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) Regardless of where he was- from Manhattan Beach to Manhattan's financial district- not one halfway-decent intelligent conversation was maintained, even for five minutes. Not one conversation with any person, male or female, touched his heart or moved him emotionally in any which way. Not one conversation ventured beyond banalities such as where one grew up, what one does for a career, what part of town one lives, and what one's favorite hobbies are. Not one person asked him a question that made him STOP and evaluate the potential response. Excluding waitresses and bartenders programmed to be friendly and flirty to receive a tip, no more than five or so women approached him to initiate conversation (he was usually asked "why are you here alone?"). Truly a nightmare, for the blog author and (as the Reddit forum plainly reveals) many other SIAM members of his generation: "See just how it enticeth them to it...How it swalloweth and cheweth and recheweth them!" (Nietzsche, Zarathustra)

What, then, did these "going out" nights actually consist of? What actually occurred during all this time? Well, not much, not much at all. A big fat nothing: "And what was a week, when you stopped to consider? Just a little circuit from Monday to Sunday- and then it was Monday again." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain). The blog author blankly stared at (primarily) cheap LCD TV screens showing random sports games, listened to fairly bad top 40 "music," ate "happy hour" (the ultimate misnomer) food and drinks, and continuously acted (ahem faked) that he was "having a great time" amidst all this mundanity: "ye have learned- like the flamingo- to stand long hours in shallow pools." (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) As closing time approached, he then signed the bill (which, in total, amounted to $10k or so), profusely thanked everyone that served him, and left the premises feeling pretty dejected, rejected, and sad (with a 30+ minute drive home to reflect on the "experience" that just was. In retrospect, there was no "experience" but more of a drab routine.)

Because we here believe the "unexamined life is not worth living" (Plato, Apology) questions must be posed: How and why has this most simple of routines- the act of a single 30+ year-old man meeting a single women- become next to impossible in modern civil society? How and why was it possible for one to get nowhere romantically even when one places oneself "out there" time and time again? Why must the man always make the first move? Why must the man- usually- do nearly all the work to maintain a conversation or set up a first and second date? How and why is the "bridge" between the sexes becoming ever wider, so wide that willing men are "shut out" from even talking with willing women? ("Something in the way, mmmmm, something in the way, yeah, ummmm" Nirvana, Something in the Way) How can one maintain that a nation is "progressing" when this is how it handles this most vital of activities of matching persons romantically?

Wanting to remain optimistic and "hopeful" (this ordeal was the blog author's last flirtation with thoughtless optimism)- and hoping (wrongly) that his Middle-Eastern nationality and ethnicity was not being held against him- the blog author tried to stay "optimistic," thinking that a different night, in a different bar, in a different part of town, with a different crowd would magically make all the difference in meeting that one compatible soul: "You are, if I may put it that way, one of life's problem children, a fellow whom others must look after." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain)  It never did. By the last six months to a year "going out" became just another chore, another futile routine certain to end in dejected failure. Gradually, the fear of being rejected became the certainty that one would get rejected, every time, no matter the circumstances, no matter where one was; like a bad job, fear is replaced by resignation and you no longer care, you are totally "numb" to it: "they don't bother to ask you questions, you don't bother to do any work." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) To be disappointed with some result is to have expected something better to happen; when you expect nothing good to happen it's almost impossible to "land" in disappointment. The only alternatives are between bad, really bad, and awful. It all becomes one bad movie that you've seen many times before; you know every bad scene.

Talk about an infinite loop achieving NOTHING, all for the bad: "Shall he then who knoweth...act like him who is blind? Men of insight only will bear this in mind." (Holy Koran) The blog author began this journey in obedience to the "common sense" view that it's "good" to "get out there" and "meet some single ladies." ("And long didst thou belong to the herd, The voice of the herd will still echo in thee." (Nietzsche, Zarathustra)) A simple and innocent enough motive which never should have taken this complicated, this difficult, this excruciating, this nauseating, this tedious of a path. Really. Conversations should have quickly been initiated everywhere, at all times. These conversations should have been pursued with humor, with intelligence, with interest as to who the other person was right there (sitting inches away from you), with playfulness, with genuine curiosity, with openness to the possibilities for something great developing: (a) "In the true man there is a child hidden: it wanteth to play. Up then, ye women, and discover the child in man!" (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) & (b) "Who am I, darling to you? Who am I? Gonna tell you stories of mine, Who am I?" (Ben Howard, Promise)

Is this too much to expect nowadayz? Why? Apparently, it is in this most digitally connected of times when people are connected digitally to THOUSANDS but yet can't connect beyond the level of banality with people sitting inches away.

In any event, three years later- and faced with present dating realities and environments that are not improving- the blog author can no longer maintain the illusion that it is "good to get out there" to "meet some ladies" and will abandon this theory as a stupid pernicious illusion: (a) "Who would still HOLD ON to 'good' and 'evil'?" (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) & (b) "And when he had reached his age of strength we bestowed on him judgment and knowledge." (Holy Koran) & (c) "Can thou give unto thyself thy bad and thy good, and set up thy will as a law over thee? Can thou be judge for thyself and avenger of thy law?" (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) There may have been a time and a place when this theory held good, but now is no longer that time. Today's dating environment causes more human degeneration than it promotes human actualization. It should not be a game at all- but it is one- and a "game" with rules arcane, stupid, incoherent and senseless. The players in the game hardly understand the purpose of any of the conflicting rules but still try to abide by them for unknown reasons, all for the bad:

Once doctrines are accepted uncritically...they become dead formulae, or else their meaning is fearfully distorted. Such ossification and decay lead to nonsense in thought and monstrous behavior in practice.
(Berlin, Herder and the Enlightenment)

As but one example, if a man is truly interested in a woman and wants to get to know her, spend time with her in short order, etc. this should obviously be considered "good," an achievement for both the man and woman involved: "we consider it more honorable to declare your love rather than to keep it a secret." (Plato, Symposium) But the "rules" of the game interpret this as "desperation" and indications of a "low-value" "undesirable" partner. Women often react to this scenario with outright fear, programmed as they are to believe such males are essentially violent and aggressive. 

Hardly alone in doing this, today's dating environment consistently prevents single persons from living the best life possible, by repeatedly deceiving them about who they really are, what they really want from a partner, and how they should act and who they must be to earn the attention/love of another human person. The very notion that one should change significant aspects of one's character (which traits are not in the least "bad" and are even good) simply to attract members of the other sex is itself totally preposterous. Not one person is improved by this process, even if the relationship that ultimately develops from this process finally causes maturation, etc.

As a thinker who reflects, and reflects very deeply, on what it means to live the best possible human life, such a dating environment is simply incompatible with our core values. As between continuing to "do" this dating environment and maintaining our core values, we will choose our core values, every time. The best human life and the best human beings are, as Nietzsche rightly saw them, self-affirming in the sense that the most powerful forces within the self are naturally expressed in an environment "saturated with life and passion" and with human beings that are "bursting with strength and necessarily active." (Nietzsche, WP) Further, the best human lives and the best human beings are, as Plato and Aristotle rightly saw them, rationally justifiable or, at the very least, rationally coherent. When we understand today's dating environment for what it really is- with tons of men huddled in the corner of a bar/club hoping that some lady looks briefly in their direction so that they can "approach" with some witty one-liner pre-packaged to "impress" - we see that this environment makes a mockery of any notion of self-affirmation or rational coherence, a mockery indeed: "The worst sin is to mutilate the service of some false aesthetic...ideal." (Berlin, Herder and the Enlightenment) As explained in detail below, sticking just to the facts and realities- without any hyperbole or other ruse- one can plainly reject this environment and STOP "doing it" out of a love for the GOOD, basic human dignity and self-respect, and many other virtues we hold dear: (a) "Seems everything around here/Stays like stone/Seems it's about time darling/About time we let this all go." (Ben Howard, Everything).

(2) All human environments can be judged on a continuous scale from the very smartest to the very stupidest: (a) "and when the truth is gone, what remaineth but error?" & (b) "God hath not created all this but for the truth." & (c) "Seest thou not that in truth hath God created the Heavens and the Earth?" (all from Holy Koran) & (d) "Whatever can be, will be. All potentialities will be realised." (Berlin, Herder and the Enlightenment) Today's dating environment that the single (heterosexual) intelligent authentic male (the SIAM) faces is close to the very stupidest possible environment imaginable. 

Although this dating environment purportedly exists to bring together compatible partners so they can experience the highest human GOOD of LOVE, it makes an absolute mockery of love, itself, the respective sexes, heterosexual life, human communication, human dignity, and everything in between: "don't you think [he] would think we had been brought up among the most vulgar of sailors, totally ignorant of love among the freeborn?" (Plato, Phaedrus) What a travesty, what a mockery, what a ridiculous perposterosity for single persons of both sexes to exist so close to one another and simply be unable to communicate, mingle, enjoy each other's company face to face, and evaluate each other on the basis of things that mattered: "Something in the way, mmm, something in the way, yeah, ummm" (Nirvana, Something in the Way)

The only persons benefiting from this environment are the bar and club owners that charge $8-10 for a cheap bottle of beer and the women that have their egos constantly stroked from desperate men staring them up and down. If one was charged with the task of coming up with an even stupider dating environment than the one presently existing, then one would fail, every time. If intelligent life exists somewhere "out there" in the cosmos, it is almost certain they have a superior dating environment than the one we face here. We should not have to belabor the point that the lover of GOOD will stay very far away from the stupidest human environments: (a) "And so, my friend, I must purify myself." (Plato, Phaedrus) & (b) "there are men who aspire to purity, and God loveth the purified." (Holy Koran)

(3) The single (heterosexual) intelligent authentic male (the SIAM) studied and worked hard in his 20s and thusly could not sustain a relationship in those years.

(4) By the time he hit 30, he had more time but by then a large number of women in his peer group had already married or found themselves wrapped up in long-term relationships. These women are off the table.

(5) At this point, the SIAM must evaluate where he is reasonably likely to meet a reasonably attractive, intelligent, approachable, authentic non socially-programmed single woman. This is where the SIAM's situation becomes acutely problematic and depressing. The problem, simply stated: THERE ARE NO SUCH PLACES.

(6) Bars and clubs are one of the only places in any town where a SIAM can theoretically approach women for romantic purposes. If a SIAM approaches a woman anywhere else, he is immediately deemed a "creep" or even a potential criminal. Try flirting with a woman on the street and see how that goes. Try flirting at the beach with a woman that is reading a book, texting on her phone, and has earphones on. Go ahead. Try.

When the SIAM goes to bars and clubs, he quickly notices the overwhelming majority of persons there are single men hungry and desperate to meet an attractive woman: "Have thou no doubts therefore concerning that which they worship: they worship but what their fathers worshipped before them..." (Holy Koran) The next largest group of persons present are "off-limits" women with their husbands, boyfriends, or guy friends. What few single women are there are congregated in large groups, generally NOT wishing to be disturbed and not looking for a second in any male's direction. They are more interested in gossiping with each other as well as texting and staring at their smartphones than speaking with the SIAM: "But it was not us whom they injured but they injured their own selves." (Holy Koran) Ridiculously, one frequent topic of discussion in these groups is why it is so difficult to meet "good men!" (put down your friggin' phone, be more approachable, stop imposing onerous requirements on men, and you may meet someone? ) In any event, these women effectively are off the table for the SIAM. Really, could the set-up be any worse than this for the SIAM? Almost everyone that is at one of these places enters and leaves the establishment with the same persons; there is no true mingling or dispersion of persons with the SIAM or with anyone else.

(7) If, miraculously, the SIAM is able to break into one of these groups he will find it difficult to maintain an intelligent authentic conversation with the female individual flanked by her hypercritical friends. This is not because women are stupid or unintelligent. Rather, what has happened is women have been very effectively socially programmed to look for a CLOSED "check-list" of things that are desirable in a man, a CLOSED checklist that often has nothing to do with whether these men will be good long-term partners for such women (such checklists do in fact include one's race, nationality, height, hair and eye color, and bicep size). There is no evidence any of this makes one a better long-term romantic partner. In light of this, the decision to continually use such factors is itself ERROR. And although man can't reach total perfection in terms of avoiding all ERROR, there is no need to repeat the same errors over and over, generation after generation.

Women are, by and large, not making truly independent OPEN choices these days of who to love; they are letting the "borrowed" CLOSED checklist make the choices without stopping to evaluate whether the checklist factors contribute at all to love, loyalty, or a couple's happiness. Women are not exiting one relationship and then taking serious "time out" to reflect- and reflect very deeply- on the qualities they need in a man that will allow their next relationship to flourish. We have argued, and will argue here again, that all men and women begin life as a closed system and only through a metamorphosis do they become an open system. So this principle is not an abstraction; this is real life, this is really serious. Not every man nor women completes the metamorphosis from closed to open. We will repeat the claim: every man and woman starts closed and only through personal effort do they become open. Thus from a position of closed error man and women are able to exit error and enter a realm where they are continually perfectuating themselves, in their romantic lives, in their careers, in their physical fitness levels, and all the rest. Closed men and women can't do this kind of thing and they don't perfectuate. They are stagnant and often miserable because they are closed. When people are closed they are deceiving themselves because they 'live' inside the infinite loop and continually repeat the same behaviors, thoughts, and decisions over and over and over again. It doesn't even matter if they continually remain miserable in repeating the behaviors; they aren't conscious enough to realize their misery is being caused by their closedness.

Now, it is obvious that women will forever deny that any of these superficial CLOSED checklist factors motivate their romantic choices; but all you need to do is simply LOOK at their romantic choices and the truth is there in plain view. One thing you will notice, wherever you are, is tall, fit, relatively affluent, white men with brown or blonde hair doing fantastic! What a surprise! But where is the evidence that such men are better lovers, more honest, more loyal, and so on? Such checklist choices on the part of women make clear that they are having great difficulty halting the unimpeded forces of unreason. Further proof of this is found whenever one speaks to a woman in the midst of a romantic break-up; awash in a sea of emotions, one asks- and asks repeatedly- what is it about this man that is so special, that is so irreplaceable, that would cause one to get so upset at his potential loss, that is causing this woman to return to this man some 10+ times after a "final" breakup. The answers are-almost always- incoherent, incomprehensible, and/or infantile-trivial: "For to be unaware of the difference between a dream-image and the reality of what is just and unjust, good and bad, must truly be grounds for reproach..." (Plato, Symposium)

In any event, the female checklist includes a whole host of desired physical attributes in a man. Research confirms that women prefer a man that is eight inches (nearly a whole foot!) taller than them (the blog author is 5'5 and hence can only attract women that are 4'9. such women essentially don't exist. Oh well!). Research also confirms that women prefer men of their own race and men that make lots of $$$:

Our culture is based on capitalism, meaning conformity, getting the best job you can get, and buying material things. If you aren't like that [conformity+good job +buying], then you're a loser.
(anonymous Yahoo! answers user)

The checklist also mandates that the man be BOTH lean and slim and wear fashionable clothes. On top of all these attributes, women ALSO want a man that is intelligent, has a great sense of humor, and is compassionate, sensitive, positive, confident, tolerant, generous, masculine, attentive, humble, not "too cocky," not overly motivated by sexual motivations, adventurous, and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. The checklist is lengthy indeed, getting lengthier, and totally unrealistic on account of demanding traits of character within one person that are incompatible:

Actually, a lot of men are giving up...Why? Women have unrealistic standards. Not just unfair but standards that are completely absent of perspective. 
(dynamicperf, responder to Reddit forum cited above)

not merely difficult to formulate, or impossible to realize in practice, but incoherent and unintelligible.
(Berlin, Herder and the Enlightenment)

Ironically, this most demanding of checklists is often used by women that themselves have hardly any positive or redeeming virtues. It would perhaps be OK if some Superwoman out there demanded a Superman as her "worthy" partner; but where is the justice in a zero-woman, a woman with little or no achievements whatsoever to her name, demanding a Superman?

To "pass" the checklist, the SIAM must be extremely guarded, "crafty," and terse in his remarks around women. It is very easy to fail this most demanding of tests. A hint of negativity or pessimism in your remarks? You're done. Any suggestion that you aren't motivated to make tons of $, buy a large home, and several fancy cars? A "loser" and you're done. Any sustained interest in hobbies or other activities that are not mainstream? "Weirdo." Any interest in porn or other such things? "Pervert." Any hint of non-enthusiasm for the activities the women is engaged in? Finito. Any desire to avoid "four stars or more" restaurants and hotels in favor of more moderately priced hotels and restaurants that do the "job" just fine? Next!

Women can now eliminate men based on any of these and an INFINITY of other reasons because the available pool of men from which they can choose has exploded tremendously. With the internet and the smartphone, any single woman has immediate access to literally hundreds of thousands of single men at any time:

In the old days we had to compete with a few guys in town who were in the same age bracket. These days we compete with thousands of guys from near and far, online and in person.
(foreverrrr, responder to Reddit forum cited above)

The second you say something "boring" or she finds something "unattractive" in your personality immediate access is available to hundreds/thousands of men that can take your place. Still, at a time when the dating pool for women has exploded and their checklist has gotten longer and longer and longer, evidence is lacking that women are making better choices in terms of romantic partners, or that they are more successful in finding lifelong romantic partners whom one could objectively deem are worthy lovers, one to another: "Love is a god or something divine- which he is- he can't be bad in any way..." (Plato, Phaedrus) These checklists, the explosion of choices, and all the rest aren't leading to the GOOD. Where they are leading is clear: to the land of NOTHING. 

(8) Both the SIAM and non-SIAM men get that women have been socially programmed this way to look for a "fun" "cool" "positive" "hip" guy. Through trial and error, most men thusly become adept at "crafting" their message and remarks to avoid these negative consequences: "Hypocritical men and women imitate one another." (Holy Koran) Men typically don't tell women they watch a ton of porn although they in fact do this. Men typically don't tell women they hate every moment of their jobs although they do. Men typically don't tell women their last relationship went sour because they cheated on their girlfriend/wife. Many men DO read books and enroll in "boot camps" where they are instructed as to "code words" to use with women, how often to text them and what to say, and all the latest "strategies" to pick up women. Men trained in this fashion generally keep their remarks goofy and light, away from any sensitive areas that would activate the female socially programmed "undesirable male" checklist: "With their mouths they will content you, but their hearts will be averse." (Holy Koran) They hide- and hide deeply out of a sense of fear- who they are just to "have a shot" with these women. They act essentially like "buffoons" and speak endlessly of their favorite foods and drinks, vacation spots, the weather, TV shows, and places to grab cheap stuff. 

However, since the SIAM is "to the core" authentic ("To be true- that CAN few be!" Nietzsche, Zarathustra), he refuses to engage in this kind of infantile behavior: "under no conceivable circumstances would he have been willing to do that....he saw absolutely no reason why he should...that is why we do not call him mediocre." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) He finds such behavior deeply revolting to his sense of self, manhood, and human freedom which he prizes very highly. Refusing to be inauthentic he is quickly eliminated by almost all women for his "strange" characteristics. What very small number of women he momentarily "wins over" at the bar/club (this happens once or twice every six months) end up flaking on him more times than not, giving him the "I prefer to be friends" speech after one or two dates, or boring him to sleep with their inane comments, questions, and concerns ("What is your favorite restaurant here in town?"): "Preserve me from all small victories!" (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) First or second dates these days consist of both parties exchanging like rote ROBOTS various that's "cool" "neat" "amazing" and- most commonly- "awesome" in response to whatever random thing the other person just said:

And since the adjective 'stunning' had been used for 'splendid' or 'excellent' for some time now...she had of late seized upon the word 'devastating' and now found everything 'devastating,' whether in earnest or jest...
(Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain)  

When one reflects on it, hardly any of the things mentioned are actually amazing, awesome, or even "neat." But it's simply boring nauseatingly KIND autopilot, all the time, with no discernible purpose or deviation: (a) "they had long since learned how to ravage time without diverting or employing their minds, had become virtuosi at putting time behind them." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) & (b) "Oh that their best is so very small! Oh, that their worst is so very small! Thus did I laugh." (Nietzsche, Zarathustra)

This is sort of the BIG point, right here. The prize at the end of this rather dark tunnel is a date or two (every six months or so) with a lady one has somehow magically met at these bars/clubs. If they don't flake, the eventual outcome is usually a boring date where one doesn't connect and spends several hours discussing various mundane matters neither party really cares about. This experience resides squarely in our category of the NEUTRAL. There is really not much to condemn here, but there is also not much to get excited about, not much to admire nor respect, and not much to sacrifice time, money, and emotional attention in the hope of "getting." If you want to bore yourself for a couple of hours experiencing mundanity there are an infinity of ways you can do this outside of a date with a woman you met at a bar. Listen to political convention speeches, top 40 music, or watch college football games where one team is favored to beat the other by 50 points.

(9) Returning to our SIAM, he is left utterly alone despite continuous, earnest, and persistent efforts to avoid this very reality: "I tried so hard, can't seem to get away from misery, I tried so hard." (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, I Tried) He badly wanted to meet someone compatible but he simply can't. There is no easy solution here because this situation involves the behavior of persons the SIAM can't control. Unfortunately, the SIAM still does have his INVOLUNTARY biologically recurring sexual impulses toward women: "each of us is ruled by two principles which we follow wherever they lead: one is our inborn desire for pleasures, the other is our acquired judgment that pursues what is best." (Plato, Phaedrus) But these cannot be fulfilled in traditional ways. The choice remaining for the SIAM who wishes to remain authentic is a stark one: remain celibate and alone or turn to porn and other forms of sexual debauchery to somehow tame the sexual impulses. Sadly, many SIAMs are opting for the latter vices because they have literally nowhere else to turn to deal with the sexual impulses (to be clear, these things are vices and don't terminate in the GOOD). They go out, meet no one, and are left with these impulses raging stronger than ever. The problem is that such turning to sexual vices only increases and exacerbates the sexual impulses, placing the SIAM in a worse position than he was before. Desires continue to get strengthened with no way to satisfy them.

(10) In light of the above REALITIES, SIAMs devoted to human GOOD will remain deeply embedded within a pessimistic orientation as to the current dating environment realities: (a) "So leave we those who hope not to meet Us, bewildered in their error." (Holy Koran) & (b) "Therefore, o my brethen, a NEW NOBILITY is needed..." (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) They may still "go out" as complete & TOTAL social isolation is unhealthy but they will not go out to bars or clubs with the purpose of meeting women. They could, for example, still go to jazz/EDM or other clubs where music is performed for the experience of listening to music. When they do this, they will barely look in the direction of women because they know it is all a senseless "time-ravaging" activity. (Thomas Mann) What is the point of even looking at something that you can never attract? That you can never spend time with? And SIAMs will certainly NOT make selections of where to go out based on whether the selected place has many attractive women or not. Or they could go to a bar with a friend just to "get out of the house" for a while. But, again, the dominant purpose or intent is incredibly different.

Importantly, SIAMs will not believe that they are ACTUALLY undesirable, "weirdos," "uncool," unattractive, or unloveable. To the contrary, they will believe they are wonderful, authentic, energetic, loyal, kind, and emotional human beings:

And who can love you like me? Nobody...Who can treat you like me? Nobody, nobody baby. Who can do it like me? Nobody. Who can give you what you need? Nobody.
(Keith Sweat, Nobody)

Cause I, I adore you so
When it all comes clear, the wind is settled, I'll be here, you know.
(Ben Howard, Gracious)

But they will see that this is not how they are perceived by the current dating environment and that- within this environment- perception IS effectual reality.

The only hope for the SIAM is an organic relationship that develops- against all the odds- with a female that has no "checklist," that does not make this most important of decisions of a lifetime partner based on social programming. The chances of this "organically" happening are ridiculously low and so we continue to advocate a firm encampment within pessimism (at this point "realism" may be the better word) to avoid the unnecessary suffering that romantic hope and optimism inevitably inflicts.

In the meantime, perhaps men should develop a unique non-socially programmed checklist of their own for what they want in a woman. Things like will pay attention to me when I speak rather than checking her phone constantly. Things like does NOT value social media popularity. Things like will respond to all emails and texts I send her. Things like will initiate interesting conversational subjects with me regularly. Things like has sustained unique interests outside of the socially programmed approved female activities of shopping, cooking, home organization/cleaning, and (increasingly) pet ownership. Things like values athletic excellence (not just burning a few calories to stay "slim") and works hard to achieve it. Things like appears to be an independent self with opinions that are articulate, well-thought out, and uncommon. Things like has recently read a book of substance, meaning, and value. Things like makes clear by all her actions that she is a person of integrity and value: "because it is what is really beautiful and graceful that deserves to be loved, and this is perfect and highly blessed." (Plato, Symposium)

(11) We have "nailed" the above discussion and conclude thusly: (a) "He has omitted nothing worth mentioning about the subject, so that no one will ever be able to add anything of value to complete what he has already said himself." (Plato, Phaedrus) & & (b) "O my soul, I delivered thee from all byplaces, I brushed down from thee dust and spiders and twilight...O my soul, I gave thee the right to say Nay like the storm..." (Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra) & (c) "and what would be my love to the Superman, and to all that is to come, if I should counsel and speak otherwise! Not only to propagate yourselves onwards but UPWARDS" (Nietzsche, Zarathustra) (d) "he had a special term for this responsible preoccupation with his thoughts as he sat at his picturesque, secluded spot: he called it playing king'" (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Freedom (Kamran K): "Is there an Independent Self here?"

"neither follow the desires of those who have already gone astray, and who have caused many to go astray, and have themselves gone astray from the evenness of the way..." Holy Koran

(1) In examining man's freedom (or lack thereof), we immediately confront the question: "IS THERE AN INDEPENDENT SELF HERE? IS THIS WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH?" This question dominates our consciousness whenever we meet a new person or continue to evaluate someone we have known for some time. 

Are we interacting with a human self that is capable of valuing, feeling, and most importantly behaving independent of (a) social programming/behavior shaping through various methods, above all social-status based reward ($/power/pleasure) and punishment (shame, social isolation, unpopularity) and (b) the animality programmed into human DNA? Can most of this person's behavior be predicted through the various dominant social or programming/behavior shaping methods of the day? Can most of this person's behavior be predicted through the animality instincts for food/shelter/security, reproduction/sex, dominance over others, and other forms of pleasure ("And bear in mind the benefits of God, and lay not the earth waste with deeds of license" Holy Koran)? IS THIS ALL THERE IS TO THIS PERSON?

(2) Let us stress that the independent self is a very rare creature, in any society, anywhere. By their mid-30s, an overwhelming proportion of the US population consists of persons who have selected a career, romantic partner, social circle, place of residence, and recreational/hobby activities through the simple operation of social programming (driven by social-status reward and punishment) and the animality instincts of human DNA: "to every one of you we have given a rule and a beaten track." (Holy Koran) When you see a middle-aged couple of the same race and social class living in the suburbs, raising two children, working for a big company in a standard profession, vacationing for two weeks a year in Hawaii and Florida, working out at the gym for twenty minutes a day/three times a week, and actively updating their Facebook accounts to stress the positive aspects of their lives, you know you are not dealing with independent selves. These persons are NOT "bad," and they can be very "fun" to be around for short periods of time. But they are not independent selves.

Beginning with puberty, men, in particular, have their lives totally DOMINATED by the animality (AHHHNEEEMAALLLLL) instinct for sex: "They've been there since childhood, fixed in the same place..." (Plato, Republic) This instinct further activates the animality instinct to competitively dominate other human beings and make lots of $$$ as these things tend to result in (more or better) sex. There are men out there- many millions of them- that remain several decades in careers they detest just to "boost" their social dominance standing so they can satisfy the animality instinct for sexual activity. Unable to exert some control over the animality instinct they are helpless before it and helpless before the woman that facilitate the satisfaction of this instinct. There was probably a time, place, and period of their life where they could have confronted the animality instinct for sex head-on, examined it, and determined its GOODness. They could have evaluated what, if any, sacrifices to their freedom was warranted in the face of this instinct. They never did this and ultimately "lost" all control over the instinct and, ultimately, themselves: "Do you suppose, first of all, that these prisoners see anything of themselves and one another." (Plato, Republic)  It would make an absolute mockery of the term to designate such a man an independent self. He is not in control; the animality instinct is.

(3) Conversely, when we meet someone that is an independent self, we immediately see that their thoughts, behavior, and the sum of the two- PERSONALITY- are not dominantly captured by various forms of social programming. With a genuine independent self, this is evident across the five areas of well-being (having experienced the GOOD of forming an independent self in one area of human well-being such persons tend to do so across all the areas of well-being):
  • Intellectual. The independent self has developed unique primary GOOD truths based on his her unique experience of reality. These truths are not widely shared and would generally be rather "unpopular." The independent self has examined widely accepted social beliefs and found most of them false one way or the other: "And we will turn their hearts and their eyes away from the truth...and we will leave them in their transgressions, wandering in perplexity." (Holy Koran) The independent self shares his primary GOOD truths with others without fear of the social consequences such views may generate for his income potential, social standing, etc. 
  • Physical. The independent self has developed a unique manner of pushing his body "to the limit" so that he can reach ever higher levels of athletic excellence. In doing this, the independent self does not follow a "training plan" mandating that this many push-ups be done day 24 and this many miles ran day 35. Rather, the independent self wakes up each and every day and surveys what form of physical activity will most invigorate him that day. So long as he is pushing the physical limits, the independent self may not even be motivated to compete in races as he has "nothing" to prove to others and is not, as we said, motivated primarily by the animality instinct of dominating others.  
  • Emotional. The independent self values his emotional well-being highly. He is in "tune" with his emotions and accordingly does not compromise his emotional well-being for paltry trivial reasons. In the selection of a romantic partner and, secondarily, friends, the independent self seeks persons that will permit him to further his emotional development, and not stunt it. For this reason, the independent self would never select a romantic partner simply because he/she is in a certain desired race, social class, occupation, unusually physically attractive, or even has a certain preferred height/hair color, body shape, etc.
  • Aesthetic. The independent self sees these choices as important, as reflecting who he is to the world. His choice of music, dress, artistic likes and dislikes, place of residence, garden, and all the rest are neither haphazard nor common. 
  • Everyday living. The independent self tries various trial-and-error approaches to the common demands of everyday living. Food, drink, income generation and all the rest are handled uniquely by the independent self. The independent self may like a drink or two but ordinarily not one of the top two or three best-selling drinks found in any bar in America. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Practical Wisdom (Kamran K; Post 3 of 3): On Parenting.

The GOOD (Kamran K): On Micro/Macroscopic Progress unconnected/connected with the Good

"This instrument cannot be turned around from that which is coming into being without turning the whole soul until it is able to study that which is and the brightest thing that is, namely, the one we call the good...It is our task as founders, then, to compel the best natures to reach the study we said before is the most important, to make the ascent and see the good." 
Plato, Republic

"And I suppose that, as they work, they'd look often in each direction, towards the natures of justice, beauty, moderation, and the like, on the one hand, and towards those that they're trying to put into human beings on the other. And in this way they'd mix and blend the various ways of life in the city until they produced a human image based on what Homer too called the 'divine form and image' when it occurred among human beings." Plato, Republic

"But as for those who have believed, and done the things that are right, we will bring them into gardens 'neath which the rivers flow- therein to abide eternally; therein shall they have wives of stainless purity: and we will bring them into aye-shadowing shades." Holy Koran

Passion (Kamran K): Earned and Unearned Pleasures

Monday, August 18, 2014

Passion (Kamran K; Post 3 of 3): Ohh pessimism, my pessimism!

"whoever reflects on this becomes one of us, the free spirits" 
Nietzsche, Will to Power

"We must not simply grant that pessimism leads to a posture of resignation....In the right hands, pessimism can be- and has been- an energizing and even a liberating philosophy. It does indeed ask us to limit and eliminate some of our hopes and expectations, but it can also provide the means to navigate the bounded universe it describes."
Joshua Dienstag, Nietzsche's Dionysian Pessimism 

(1) We seemingly are free to become either optimists or pessimists. This choice is by no means insignificant and by no means a "slam-dunk" in favor of optimism regardless of optimism's present popularity: "we also desire precisely the opposite of an assimilation...we teach estrangement in every sense, we open up gulfs such as have never existed before." (Nietzsche, Will to Power) Naturally, we all have random good and bad days so the issue is much deeper and persistent than this. This adult, mature choice as to which orientation you will choose is one of the most important choices you will ever make as a mature (30+) adult. It is even more important than the spouse you choose because this orientation follows you everywhere, all the time. 

(2) Who are these strange creatures, the optimists and the pessimists?

(a) The optimist views the upcoming day positively, and believes something "good" will come of it "somehow or the other." The optimist also believes in some sort of relationship between individual effort, good will, rational prudence, and positive results. 

(b) The pessimist has no such positive expectation, denies any rational or just ordering of society or the events that transpire within it, and is fairly certain many bad accidents and other unfortunate developments will result every single day (despite our best efforts to avoid these things). Less dramatically, the pessimist may also simply "see" most days as presenting an endless procession of neutral events (e.g. chores like placing out the trash and buying groceries, small talk at work, paying bills). These "neutral" things aren't bad but they aren't good either; they simply don't have enough value in them to make a day meaningful, enjoyable, appreciable and for that reason can't be considered good. 

(3) Optimism appears to have the advantage of being socially popular (President Obama endlessly rode its waves to a HUGE victory in 2008), energizing bold action, and silencing the mental chatter of fear, anxiety, doom etc. that can be self-destructive. It presents someone seeking to status and social-popularity climb with an appealing "pre-packaged" personality to present to the world. We now live on a planet where millions perhaps soon billions of optimists will seek to take this "pre-packaged" personality of "hope" and "sunshine" as far as it will (monetarily) go: "not to tell ourselves the same old story, not to lie to ourselves." (Nietzsche)

(4) Optimism appears to have the disadvantage of often being "built" upon a foundation of deception, both self-deception and general deception or ignorance about reality. Optimism is often- though not always- an act of "active self-deception that makes life more tolerable but less genuine. It is a retreat from a real look at the abyss to a pleasing fantasy of progress and happiness." (Joshua Dienstag) As just one example, imagine a single 30s something male bachelor living in LA. For several years, he's had zero luck with the ladies; he can't seem to attract even a female mosquito: "you ought to learn to laugh, my young friends, if you are hell-bent on remaining pessimists." (Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy) Yet this same person remains optimistic about his hopes of doing well within the LA dating scene!?!? Returning from our digression...

Optimism often takes human beings and human nature to be "totally good" and denies the laziness, stupidity, animality, cruelty, out-of-this world selfishness, and outright savagery inherent in human nature (man has been preached at, instructed, commanded for several thousand years to rise above these instincts but not a single human generation has achieved such transcendence, even for a single day). The certain belief that something good will happen may cause you to misinterpret and mistake neutral or even bad events as being good. 

To be more precise, the specific deception that optimism frequently engenders is the view that humans, society, our nation, you yourself are "progressing" (or are easily capable of progressing if just a few things are done differently) when the facts and information invalidate this assessment. From the mental momentum generated by decades of being optimistic, the optimist can become absolutely convinced things (or the self) have improved tremendously when things may have stayed more or less the same or even deteriorated. 

As an example, the optimist of today will surely point to unprecedented technological innovation as proof of human progress. The optimist will "see" the explosion of cellphones, LCD TVs, and social media as signs of progress and, for that reason, will ignore all of the facts and information that cause us to question whether this is progress at all. It does not seem implausible to suggest that for every one or two undisputed positive benefits from modern smartphones and LCD TVs (a smartphone permits the potentially life-saving convenience of calling 911 from literally anywhere, anytime) there have been some 10 to 20 negative consequences. The escalation of identity theft, pornography consumption, reduced attention spans, living in a "bubble" mentality, and encouragement of narcissistic tendencies and behaviors are but a few examples. 

(5) Pessimism has the certain advantage of preventing you from getting involved in many things from the very outset; the pessimist will generally not be eager to "do much" because he lacks the "emotional fuel" to get up and do them. And to the extent that "many things" DO IN FACT result in bad or trivial outcomes, the "on the couch" or "on his/her Tempur-Pedic" pessimist has been spared of these things. He ended up doing much better than the optimist that got involved only to experience the neutral or bad outcome. Do most human strivings result in bad or trivial outcomes? Simply look at all of the things you attempted to accomplish in the past week, month, or year. How many of those were you actually able to accomplish? Even when accomplished, how many of them actually did you any damn good? Was it not true that even those things you accomplished did not produce nearly as many desirable benefits as you imagined they would? 

(6) Pessimism also tames your expectations of what you and others can sensibly achieve or will be willing to sacrifice and thereby allows you to live your life not so much "expecting the worst" but able to take seriously possibilities for how things will develop that are sub-optimal. Pessimism has the huge disadvantage of being extremely unpopular these days; to be branded a "pessimist" is to have one's thought, character, personality almost totally rejected and attacked in literally "one word." And pessimism can quickly devolve into depression and a whole host of other mental health issues which we should rightly seek to avoid.

(7) Our position on pessimism is becoming more articulate with the passage of time. We believe that life, reality, Nature, human society present (a) infinite good, (b) infinite neutral, and (c) infinite bad for man to experience. Most people get stuck in infinite neutral and infinite bad. This is the factual material for justified pessimism as to the human condition. While the human condition is not utterly depressing, man does enter the world helpless and departs helpless. In between, many spend their entire lives doing work they despise so they can either buy things to impress people they don't even like or gather fleeting pleasures of the most trivial value, trying to prove their self-worth through their careers, families, or hobbies, obsessing all along the way about what "other people" think of them when, in reality, these other people spend almost zero time thinking about you. Somehow, there is something "here" in this banality for us to be wildly optimistic about??!?

Human life is time finite (and, even worse, uncertain as to duration) and so one's choices should gravitate as soon as possible toward the good and away from the neutral and the bad. For these decisions to be abiding, there must be some emotional fuel continually reaffirming the decision of the good over the neutral and the bad. When one is presented with sufficient facts, information, and reasoning to justify some human reality as either neutral or bad, then the job of pessimism immediately begins. Pessimism now has its "marching orders." Pessimism no longer gives this reality "a shot," does not allow it to motivate behavior any longer, and essentially closes this box forever: "they have gained knowledge and nausea inhibits action...Knowledge kills action...true knowledge, an insight into the horrible truth, outweighs any motive for action..." (Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy)

The very thought or suggestion of this reality immediately triggers a pessimistic response to it in the same way that the introduction of a pathogen into the body triggers an immune response seeking to destroy the pathogen on the spot. Pessimism, likewise, destroys the viability of any reawakened desire to do the bad (or the neutral any more than one must to survive). It continues to create time and mental "space" for one's thoughts, actions, and behavior to continually orient toward the GOOD. Pessimism of this sort is indeed liberating and AWESOME INDEED!