Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Moderation (Kamran K): Lost in the Shuffle and Freneticness

(1) What above all has been lost in the shuffle of modernity? Moderation. Today moderation and its practice is so exceedingly rare that IT- rather than all forms of excess- has become difficult to find. Fueled by social media in which only greater and greater forms of excess captures attention, excess in both speech and behavior are on parade everywhere; one cant help but run into it wherever one goes. The difficult search- and the search the usually terminates in the GOOD- is for the rare islands of moderation that still remain.

(2) As but one example, consider the modern "diet and exercise wars" with the many "camps" all of which proclaim to know perfectly what constitutes the "perfect diet" and the perfect exercise regimen for one to achieve the "perfect body." There is the low or no sugar camp; the low or no fat camp; the extremely reduced calorie intake camp; the relentless cardio exercise camp; the weight training and resistance camp; the high fiber camp; the vegeterian camp; the no red meat camp; and on and on and on.

Each of these camps takes some absurd extreme position which is as nonsensical as it is long-term unsustainable. Good luck to you if you adopt a diet with little or no fat; or little o no sugar; or if you go insane with relentless cardio excercise for 3, sometimes 4, even 5 hours per day.

(3) Consider further the extreme excess choices available in diet and nutrition. In any grocery store in America, you will find hundreds of "diet" drinks that have little or zero calories but are LOADED with artificial sweeteners which may cause numerous health problems and (long term) induce weight gain. And then next to these "diet" drinks you will find hundreds of drinks that are absolutely LOADED with added sugar, basically carbonated water with a DUMPING of 10 or more tablespoons of  added sugar. What you will NOT find in any quantity are drinks that are lacking artificial sweeteners but have enough added sugar (8 to 12 grams) in them to make them both tasty while still nutritionally acceptable.

(4) The same goes for restaurants. You will find tons of restaurants that serve incredibly unhealthy food absolutely loaded with added sugar, sodium, fat, and lacking essential vitamins and minerals, fibers, and/or protein.You will find a few restaurants that serve "healthy" fare that is loaded with vitamins and minerals, fibers, and/or protein but are (more or less) unsavory to most person's tastes. What you will not find are many restaurants that serve nutritious food that has enough added sugar, sodium, and fat to give taste and flavor to otherwise unremarkable brocolli, green beans, chicken, etc.

(5) Examples outside of the food industry are also replete. Where are the moderate users of social media and/or smartphones, persons that use these devices sparingly but when required to further their basic informational and communication needs? Where are the moderate participators in the workforce and economy, persons that work to meet their basic needs without getting lost for decades in "work for the sake of work" and consumption for the sake of consumption and status display? Where are the moderate participators in occasional vice activities, including gambling and porn? Where are moderate politicians who sensibly evaluate the facts and reach political solutions that are fair to all?

(6) Facts and examples on display everywhere for all to see show that moderation has been lost in the shuffle of modernity. Should we care? Should anyone work to put themselves back into a position of moderation from which they have fallen? What would be the benefit of doing this? What exactly is gained from moderation and its practice?

(7) Moderation provides the BEST OF BOTH or ALL worlds to those that practice it. This is what makes the moderate life and its practice so delightful and fresh all the time. If we conceive of any activity as comparable to lemon squeezing- such that one starts out the activity with maximum potential benefit to extract but over time this amount continues to decrease with every iterative practice of the activity until the "lemon is dry"- one can see that moderation and its practice facilitates the maximum potential enjoyment of most activities because one is very gradually squeezing the lemon dry.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Wisdom (Kamran K): Get It. Then apply it.

(1) Wisdom- and particularly philosophic wisdom about the GOOD- ranks fairly low these days in the list of "things" people actually want and pursue. Whether this be a grave mistake (likely) or a correct abandonment that should be celebrated (unlikely) should be debated. But the reality of the rejection of wisdom is hard to deny. People everywhere want entertainment, not wisdom.

People are increasingly wanting and pursuing a very limited range of goods, almost all of which are very tightly correlated with the generation of non-rational physical pleasures, power and reputation, frivolity and other "fun" diversions, and acceptance in some social group or another. Wisdom- and particularly philosophic wisdom about the GOOD- does not directly and immediately generate physical pleasure, reputation or power, frivolity or fun, or social belonging. And so it is devalued and ignored. Which is sad and ultimately not in most people's best interests.

(2) Wisdom- and particularly philosophic wisdom about the GOOD (hereafter wisdom)- does generate something, even if what it generates is not immediately converted into physical pleasure or power or reputation or social belonging, Specifically, wisdom generates fairly abstract fairly non-specific non-physical "truths" that can then be applied in a wide variety of future life circumstances and situations. An example could be the wisdom generated in the truth that an achievement is an achievement whether or not anyone else sees it or recognizes it as such. Or that sacrifices to one's health or happiness or even mental tranquility are RARELY worth accepting in exchange for social popularity or mere feverish (though ultimately aimless) social activity.  IF this is true, it would have a massive massive ripple effect in the life of a person that held this to be wisdom.

(3) Even one truth of this sort- which is actually true, meaningful and deserving of the wisdom category- could be applied by a single person for decades of life, in thousands of disparate situations. Because the truth was true, the person "profited" tremendously from the time spent generating wisdom of this sort in his early 20s or early 30s etc. The phenomenon that life presents to a person is almost totally unpredictable; but the application of wisdom within the phenomenon of life can predictably or regularly deemed to be GOOD, to be profitable to that person.

Stated differently, every thing only happens once and every person is perpetually facing new situations, even if the situation is only new or different in a very small way. The "high level" wisdom that continually gets applied in ALL of these new situations can be continually the same and this would not be to the detriment of the person doing this so long as the wisdom was ACTUALLY TRUE.

(4) The often solitary time spent generating wisdom of this sort is perhaps the best thing one could ever do for oneself. It is this sort of wisdom that one should wish to have so that one can navigate the increasingly infinite choices one has to make every day more intelligently, coherently, consistently, and advantageously.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Passion (Kamran K): On the Beautification Drive

(1) Life as a physicality phenomenon needs no beautification whatsoever. All species- including man- simply need abide by various laws that permit the physical organism to continue surviving. Most of these laws SIMPLY require that the organism remain in balance with the environment and conduct a positive energy transfer. Nothing else. These are very basic rules that the organism's DNA hardwires into it such that its automatic instincts point always strongly in the direction of complying with these rules. Of course, SOME (though hardly all) members of the species must also reproduce if the species wishes to remain around for the next generation.

(2) Once a member of the species man has secured the ability to reliably provide for his basic survival needs (food, shelter, medical care), the project of beautification- the drive to BEAUTIFY that which is intimately connected with this man or woman- may arise as a potential opportunity. This opportunity may be accepted or it may be shunned. No one should be required to invest any energy whatsoever into beautification because it simply doesn't pay in the "survival" game. Terrorism, murder, and all sorts of other criminal laws are rightly enforced because they interfere illegitimately with human survival. Beautification is- from survival purposes- utterly worthless. There is no moral duty to beautify, let alone some civil or criminal obligation to do so.

(3) Beautification as a project consists of two parts. First one must select some aspects of or things in one's life to beautify. One can't simply select EVERYTHING as a project of beautification. Selecting everything would take forever and man's time on Earth is finite. And then one must engage in a trial and error (often lengthy trial and error involving various redos) of making something actually beautiful.

(4) The example of a bike is instructive. One purchases the bike from somewhere and it has quite obviously not been customzied to the tiniest detail to one's beautification purposes. How could it? How could the manufacturer know to the tiniest detail what one single individual's beautification preferences are, let alone the preferences of millions of potential customers?  Some bikes are nowhere near one's beautification purposes and these should models should be ignored immediately. Ultimately, some one or two bikes are purchased that are "fairly close" to one's INITIAL beautification purposes. The hard work of beautification consists of getting the details PRECISELY right. 

Over time, imperfections in the bike's aesthetic features gradually reveal themselves so long as the drive to beautify remains alive in one. One continues to gradually make microadjustments in the way of different colors, wheelsets, brakes, pedals, saddle seats, and even frame design. At some point, the project is over and one simply can't conceive of anything else that would make the bike more beautiful. Every tiny detail- every last one- has been evaluated, contemplated, modified, and perfected with forethought and deliberation.

At this point, one simply delights in the sight of the bike for what it is: a fully beautified object.

(5) Similarly, one could have the drive to beautify one's own body and appearance. For many, this drive is perhaps a multi-year process if their diet and lifestyle habits have caused DISbeautification. Many in civil society- particularly many women- DO have this drive to beautify but they pursue it through rather cheap means- expensive clothes, expensive surgery, and fad diets that crash and burn within months.

The drive to beautify one's body can take a much more sustainable, honorable route. Through a combination of intelligent diet, intelligent aerobic ex
ercise, intelligent weight training, intelligent clothes selection, and intelligent lifestyle management men and women well into their 60s and even 70s can become beautiful, or at least much more beautiful than they are now. None of the above requires the expenditure of much money whatsoever.

(6) Although some philosophers have thought to the contrary, there is absolutely nothing superficial or "cheap" with any of the above. Why surely the beauties generated by the mind- beautiful poems, beautiful philosophy, beautiful and elegant scientific theories- are also beautiful in their own right, impressive, etc. But why should THIS mean that all other categories of beauties are in some way inferior? Why should one limit oneself to the generation of beautiful poems, philosophies, music, and scientific theories?? Further, the appreciation and intelligent trial-and-error perfecting that is required in the beautification drive also draws on the mind and some of its most "higher" faculties.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Passion (Kamran K): This is FUN! I think?

"He must smile, he must view the future with confidence." Sartre. Age of Reason

"There had been a time in his life when he had strolled about the city and haunted bars in any sort of company, with anyone who cared to ask him. Now it was all over; that game never paid."
 Sartre, Age of Reason

(1) Perhaps the number one function or job of the human mind is this: to conduct a continuous real-time assessment of any activity or behavior one is engaged in at any point in time (hereafter, the PROFITABILITY ASSESSMENT). The need for such an assessment multiplies with respect to those activities and behaviors that one is absorbed in, habitually, everyday. This assessment is not done for idle purposes, to simply "pass some time"; rather it yields information and conclusions that need to be accepted which means that such acceptance would IN FACT cause fairly immediate changes in one's OWN behaviors and activities. A profitability assessment one conducts that generates the conclusion that smoking or drinking alcohol (which increases the risk of cancer) is bad for one's health would cause an immediate cessation in smoking or drinking in accordance with the profitability assessment.

(2) What can block the MIND from correctly and continuously engaging in this assessment? Above all, the MIND can fall into the trap of hoping/wanting an activity to be fun or profitable or worthwhile and then ignoring all signs to the contrary that the activity or behavior is a total "dud."

In general, passions of all sorts- whether fear, pride, hope, the "comfort" of "belonging" to some group or ideology which favors or sponsors the activity- continually get in the way of the MIND correctly and continuously engaging in the PROFITABILITY ASSESSMENT.

(3) The dominant cliche of modern times is perhaps that one "live in the present" or "live in the now" because YOLO (you only live once). Very true. But what does this actually mean? What should it mean if one takes this truth seriously at its very deepest level? Many embrace YOLO ideology as justification for doing whatever they want, whenever they want to do it. This is utterly foolish; if you only live once and time is finite it would be EVEN MORE IMPERATIVE that you make correct decisions as to what behaviors, activities, and persons to fill that time with. You don't get a redo so you have to get it right on this one chance. It is not at all clear how or why YOLO ideology would cause one to simply dabble and experiment and simply do whatever one feels like doing as a matter of routine custom and practice.

Living in the now means above all that one abandon and discard "old" activities and behaviors that are no longer worth pursuing and embrace new activities and behaviors that appear to stand a better chance of "delivering" being "profitable" for one. Profitability here does not necessarily or even usually mean money or financial reward; it simply refers to something that one can (on the basis of both objective and subjective metrics) identify as being in one's well-being and best interests across the five dimensions of human well-being- mental, emotional, physical, aesthetic, everyday living.

Wisdom (Kamran K): More on the REALM

(1) The REALM of infinite abstractions has been, is now, and will always be a "double-edged sword" for both humanity in its totality and individual human species members. Until humanity reaches the "state" of perfect and complete and errorless knowledge of EVERYTHING REALM, this will continue to be irrefutably true. Whether humanity will ever reach this state of total and errorless knowledge is HIGHLY uncertain and debatable but only when it reaches it can one say that humanity's access to the REALM will henceforth be strictly "good." (this further assumes there will be an agreement- and policing of the agreement- amidst humanity not to regress and resurrect falsehoods within the REALM. All falsehood and all truth are found within the REALM, without labels of what is true and what is false)

How much work remains within the REALM by humanity to reach this state of errorless knowledge is itself uncertain and could be many million even billion fold what we now imagine it to be. There likely exist entire fields of study within the REALM that no member of humanity has identified, let alone mastered. Each of these fields may contain abstract truths that collectively dwarf the sum total of all what is known in all human fields of study today. The universe may be infinite and that amount of space is incomprehensible; but the REALM- which is also infinite- may be even bigger than the infinity of the universe because its components can be assembled together in infinite combinations.

(2) If humanity never entered the REALM of infinite abstractions its fate would be fairly certain and predictable. Lacking access to the REALM of infinite abstractions humanity would live STRICTLY according to physicality and physical phenomenon AS EVERY OTHER CREATURE ON EARTH SEEMS TO DO. Any happiness or joy humanity achieved would be birthed by physicality and directly caused and traceable to it. The happiness of pug, cockroach, and snake is all tied to physicality, always. This is by no means by a "bad" or "depressing" existence all of the time. One could still thoroughly delight in the passage of the seasons, the warming rays of the sun on a cool but not frigid winter day, all manner of food and drinks, all types of sights and sounds, simple recreational activities of many sorts, physical pleasures of the body, and so on.

Many philosophers have concluded otherwise but it is by no means certain that a life strictly in accordance with physicality and physical phenomenon would be very bad or depressing. EVERYTHING depends on the types of physical phenomenon experienced, selected, pursued, risks to life and health involved, and with whom one does these activities with. It is the unexamined prejudice of modern city-dwelling persons- many of whom are themselves thoroughly miserable while trapped and enslaved in a world of infinite REALM abstractions rooted in modern capitalism, finance, and work- that judges a "simple" "native" "physical""tribal" "caveman" life amidst the open air and fields and caves of the Earth to be somehow lacking in some thing or another (what this life precisely lacks is never precisely identified by the modern city-goer who does not hesitate to deem it "primitive" and "boring"). It is bizzare indeed that so many would rush to judge an alternative existence so thoroughly bad when they have no experience of this alternative world and have themselves not yet found an existence that they delight in themselves!

One can imagine a person today who is barred any access to the REALM but who lives according to physicality and is completely content, happy, and progressing in this existence. He or she would be pursue a wide range of physical and sporting activities (running, cycling, hiking, walking, swimming, skiing to name just a few), eat and drink a wide range of foods, travel and experience a wide range of natural phenomenon (think safaris), spend the nights immersed in wonder at the night sky, pursue friendships premised primarily in face to face interaction, listen to the wide variety of sounds that LIFE presents, and so on.

(3) Having said this, had humanity never entered the REALM none of the fruits of modern civilization would ever have been birthed. No homes or cars or airplanes or cellphones or hospitals or bikes or microwaves or cancer-fighting drugs or radiation therapy or large supermarkets. The list is virtually endless and consists of anything humanity has engineered and created with the assistance of abstractions contained only within the REALM. One could perhaps make the argument that ALL of the fruits of modern civilization- every last fruit- is bad. It would be an exceedingly frivolous stupid naive argument which we should not hesitate to reject immediately.

(4) The REALM is by definition infinite and contains ALL POSSIBLE ABSTRACTIONS. The REALM therefore must necessarily contain falsehood, error, prejudices, and other stupidities that are not of virtue or value. Racism is an abstraction, finding no "home" within physicality. Within a world strictly tied to physicality and its phenomenon, racism would never appear. Only with access to the realm does racism make its first appearance on the scene, with the abstract contentions that certain "races" are "better" than others for some reason or other.

 (5) To be absolutely clear, had humanity never entered the REALM there would've never been a Holocaust, Civil War, slavery, 9/11, or any other atrocity committed in the course of human history. Tied to physicality, there would be no ranking of persons as better or worse or more "refined/sophisticated/cool" than any other, with the sole exception that certain persons would be judged faster or stronger or bigger or thinner according to OBSERVABLE evidence. A 5'10 man is really bigger than one 5'5. Duh.

Once humanity entered the realm, we QUICKLY used it to make judgments as to who was better or worse than others and, accordingly, who deserved a better or worse fate than others. To the extent that any of these determinations of who was better or worse was the result of an erroneous DABBLING within the REALM, to the extent the determination was based upon NOTHING (a null category which also exists within the REALM), to that very extent was a "bad," an injustice committed that would never occurred had access to the REALM been barred to humanity.

(6) The fate of individual human persons is similar. Tied to physicality a decent existence is available for persons choosing this route. Disinclined to do any realm wandering a person today can enjoy an incredibly wide variety of physicality phenomenon and never be bored or dissatisfied with what he or she was doing.

For those so inclined, one can enter the REALM and EITHER improve or diminish the existence one would have otherwise had if one had limited oneself to physicality. This is an optional choice that should only be made with the utmost seriousness caution and honesty.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Work (Kamran K): More on Habits.

(1) Having practiced the virtues of silence and stillness during this past month, we return to the blog with hopes of a productive 2016 and a potential crescendo close by December 2017. The basic elements of our core philosophy of life have largely been set forth in the published posts. From here out, there will be much refinement, elaboration, and extension of ideas previously grasped at in their embryonic state. Some ideas previously set forth will be revised and, in some cases, outright abandoned and refuted.

(2) Each adult person left "free" to do as they please will gradually behave in accordance with various habits acquired at one point or another for one reason or another. Left free, a person will gradually eat according to habit, exercise according to habit, speak with others in accordance with habit, date and enter into relationships in accordance with habits, take vacations according to habit, read according to habit, joke in accordance with habit, and, worst of all, THINK and VALUE/ESTEEM in accordance with habit.

The important point to stress about habits is that they are formed OUTSIDE the operation of the best use of human reason, creativity, freedom, introspection, and human perfectuation. They are not fully irrational nor self-destructive nor even fully bad; one can, after all, survive for years while haboring numerous suboptimal habits, some of which may even be briefly fun. For all this, MOST habits most of the time do hold us back from reaching our best selves and accomplishments in all facets of life where they appear. Most of us most of the time are faced with a choice: remain "where" we are by continuing in our various habits. convenient and easy and familiar as they are. Or attempt to rise above "where" we are by modifying our habits and replacing them with new ones that have a better chance of yielding better results.

(3) In a very serious sense, acting or thinking according to habit takes no real WORK.When you operate largely or exclusively from the paradigm of habit you are in a state of UNWORK. All of what you do is relatively easy to you now (although when the habit first started maybe the doing of the habit was THEN very challenging). Because the habit is so ingrained so little is left to choice or the imagination. So little of what happens under the rubric of habit is "new" or "fresh" in any way shape or form.

Physical and mental exertion of some sort is involved in the various habits. When one eats the same habitual meal every night one still has to prepare it and this does involve application of physical and mental capacities. Fingers are lifted, cans are opened, stuff is heated, dishes are washed. etc. But what is being done is so routine and so well-known that it is not "taxing enough" to be considered work in a serious sense. A good test to apply to determine whether you are acting in accordance with habit is to time how long it takes you to do a behavior from the moment you think about doing it to the moment you actually do it. The shorter the gap- and the fewer elements that are subject to any uncertainty or choice- the more likely you are dealing with a habit. So, thusly, the decision to learn how to play a new instrument and the actual playing of that instrument well is NOT a habit because the time between these two things is quite separated.

(4) So what can we consider work? And what type of work generates human good?

(5) Work is the critical honest assessment of various habits, the evaluation of whether the habit is generating anything of value, and the planning and execution of a new behavior or habit to take its place if the habit is a failure. As opposed to the behaviors described above, none of THIS is easy or routine or sterile. This does require one to actually deem one of own's habits of longstanding duration an outright "failure" and this is something most people in a relentlessly positive social environment are extremely loath to do. People today are more afraid and reluctant than ever of admitting they have made a mistake or practiced some behavior that was a failure. The environment of relentless positivity does not encourage this sort of negativity in the least.

(6) For this process to pay off, the habits at issue must be specifically identified. The more specific you can describe the habit the better chance you have of evaluating it and determining how to change it. It is, for example, not enough to say I have a habit of "not eating healthy." What does this really tell you? Nothing. How likely are you to do anything differently in the face of such a vaguely described habit? You may resolve to start a new habit of "eating healthy" but what will that mean to you? Nothing certain.

It is MUCH better to say I have a habit of "eating calorie and sugar-dense beverages and desserts with little or no nutritional value, processed restaurant and fast-foods absolutely loaded with sodium, carbs, and saturated fat, and alcoholic beverages that are not only sugar-dense and lacking nutritional value but also destructive of the body's ability to properly hydrate and complete the digestion of foods previously ingested." You could continue and identify another habit of AVOIDING foods that are loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and fiber (most fruits and veggies), and lean protein (chicken and fish).

These specific habits, specifically identified, can now be WORKED UPON, evaluated, modified, and so on to reach the GOOD.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Friendship (Kamran K): The no BS zone

(1) Humanity's increasing obsession/addiction with electronic forms of digital communication has very large implications for human friendship. As digital communication has skyrocketed, face-to-face time has plummeted. One can observe this in almost any modern city today, at any time. Persons everywhere are almost all the time staring into their stupid cell phones, totally oblivious of everything and everyone around them: "Does not almost every one of the more than seven billion humans hold a cell phone in his hand, clutching it as if his or her life depended on it?" (Ferryman)  

Man has deemed this new reality "progress" and has praised science and technology for bringing it to worldwide fruition. Like man's tendency to characterize things as profit where there is actually ZERO profit when all costs and benefits are calculated, so too the current reality of digital communication is NOT progress when all costs and benefits are calculated. Specifically, digital communication has made a mockery of friendship.

(2) So-called friendships are increasingly being "maintained" STRICTLY through digital communication. This is a farce and facade and a joke.

(3) It should be obvious to anyone that almost anyone- even someone with the most malevolent anti-social personality- can "fake" the motions necessary to sustain digital communication and digital "friendship." Almost anyone that is not an absolute idiot beyond the age of 12 knows how to type "haha" or "cool" or "that's awesome" into a cell phone machine and then hit the send button. Almost anyone knows how to take a picture of a mountain or sunset and then distribute it electronically to a bunch of people. Almost anyone can send a text message to someone else asking "how are things."
None of this means ANYTHING; all of it is CHATTER-CHATTER that should not be taken seriously by a sane person. The common almost robotic nature of this sort of dialogue simply should not be valued anywhere above the zero level. Period.

(4) Genuine human friendship is a no BS zone. It is a face to face zone where persons are able to genuinely enjoy and appreciate each other's company for extend periods of time (days, weeks, and perhaps even months). Digital friendship can be faked with scripted texts and frivolous "lols" or "hahas." Genuine friendship can't be faked whatsoever.

(5) In evaluating whatever social connections one has, one should carefully evaluate the proportion of time these connections spend in "digital" zone versus "face to face" zone. Those connections that exist mainly or exclusively in digital zone should be viewed with suspicion or at least caution. One should remain uncertain whether this connection can be moved out of the digital zone into the "face to face" zone without jeopardizing the connection. The question should be: can this be moved out of mainly digital and into "face to face" in a manner that the connection would improve, solidify, etc.? Or is very superficial digital (READ: "LOL" "haha" "that's awesome" "cool") the best that can be expected of this connection?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

LAKEside Speculations

(1) At birth, all human minds find themselves equidistantly positioned between the human GOOD and the human non-GOOD.

(2) The situation is analogous to a piece of wood placed at the exact center of a lake. On one side of the lake is one shore; and on the other is the opposite shore. When placed exactly in the center, the piece of wood is equally likely to float into one shore or the other. As time passes, this becomes less and less true because the piece of wood gathers momentum toward one or the other shore. At some point, the wood is so close to drifting onto the sand of the one shore that one can deem it literally impossible for it to ever make it to the other.

(3) At birth, the human mind finds itself equidistantly positioned between (a) human GOOD, truth, beauty,meaning, and all other things of value and (b) the human non-GOOD, falsity, ugliness, triviality, and all other things of human DIS or negative value. At birth, every human mind is just as likely to end up reaching the shore of human GOOD, beauty, and all other things of value (shore A) as it is to end up on the shore of human non-GOOD, falsity, ugliness, and all other things of human DIS or negative value (hereafter, shore B).

(4) As life progresses, human minds make decision after decision which produces habits, values, recurring thoughts, convictions, and behaviors that either tend toward shore A or shore B. As the years progress, these decisions multiply and preponderate toward one shore or another. The momentum generated over several decades becomes almost impossible to escape by the time one has reached the age of 40. By this age, one has probably made several MILLION decisions in favor of shore A or shore B.

(5) It is UNreasonable- and downright stupid- to expect someone that has reached a mature age comfortably settled on shore B to somehow escape that condition. They have reached shore B as a result of several million decisions over several decades of life; this can't simply be undone in the course of an hour, a weekend, or even a few years. There is still some theoretical route or chance they will be able to leave shore B, make it back to the middle, and then somehow reach and remain at shore A for the rest of their life. But the odds are stacked severely against this ever happening. There are headwinds, crosswinds, and momentum all pushing the person back to shore B at every possible moment of weakness or irresolve.

(6) Persons GENUINELY interested in reaching shore A- whose actions and decisions habitually point in the favor of shore A- have almost nothing in common with persons docked on shore B. They quite obviously can receive financial, sexual, and other favors from shore B persons; but that is the extent of the benefit they will ever receive from shore B. The distance separating these persons is so unbelievably vast that any non-superficial communication, empathy, understanding, "meeting of the minds" and even admiration is a hope rooted in chimera, not reality.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Humility (Kamran K): Wasting Away...in the REALM

(1) Through human consciousness, all humans have access to the REALM of infinite abstractions, symbols, words, and all of their interrelationships. Access to the REALM is "granted" through one door (of an infinity of possible unequal ones) and is motivated by some primary unequal motivation. (Ferryman)

The REALM is exactly the same in all corners of the universe, with differing creatures with consciousness able to make some use (or not) of its contents. On Earth, it seems only humanity has meaningful access to the REALM: "Language evolution is species evolution and one species, man, is written in a language which produces a form of consciousness capable of interfacing with the infinite realm of written symbols and abstractions.... At any given moment consciousness may spontaneously be aware of or see any symbol, character, word or combination.  All men can testify to this action." (Ferryman) 

(2) Once in the REALM, human consciousness has complete and total freedom to do what it wants in it. This is actually the lifelong activity of man; in almost all persons, REALM wandering is the most continuous activity they ever do. REALM wanderings terminate only with death or some serious mental disease.

Very importantly, the REALM only contains simple "building block" abstractions, symbols, words, and does not contain these things in "final," let alone complete, error-free, and true form. The REALM does not contain a pre-packaged definition of justice or love or beauty or happiness. The REALM contains the abstract notions of truth and falsity but these are also left in their elemental NO-CONTENT form. Any compound "thing" (a novel or political ideology) extracted from the realm was not compound when originally found there; a human consciousness was responsible for the combination which- for the first time- introduced the possibility of non-physical error into human life. Human access to the REALM is errorless only to the point where realm contents are seen in their building-block form.

(3) A supremely perfect consciousness would have ERRORLESS access to the entirety of the REALM which is infinite. The ERRORLESS access of such a consciousness would allow it to know EVERYTHING in the REALM at the same time, perfectly, and comprehensively. The perfect consciousness would then further make perfect COMBINATION use of this perfect access to the building-block components of the REALM. Any question found within the realm could be perfectly known and articulated without error; and, in turn, a perfect answer to that question could be perfectly known and articulated without error. No human has ever had such a consciousness, although some have approached it temporarily with respect to certain discrete elements of the realm (Einstein's discovery of E=MC2).

(4) Humanity is error-prone and MUST operate by cautious trial-and-error experiment within the REALM. There is no short-cut available to this very tedious very laborious very lengthy process. The process of realm experimentation has been going on for many thousands of years and will continue for an equally long time if humanity endures that long. Truth is an important product of human venturing within the REALM but is far from the only one of value. Humor and artistic beauty and even compassion are also the products of REALM wandering.

We are thankful to social media for confirming the following propositions irrefutably. As an empirical matter, most human wanderings into the REALM produce either falsity (racism) or trivial soporific banality (most contemporary positive-thinking/energy ideology). As an empirical matter, most human wanderings into the REALM are motivated by narcissistic self-promotion/self-boosting and (increasingly) profit-chasing. As an empirical matter, most wanderings into the REALM are not the product of tabula-rosa disinterested truth searching and curiosity. As an empirical matter, most human wanderings into the REALM are highly repetitive of past human wanderings into the REALM. As an empirical matter, most human wanderings into the REALM are just that, random wanderings which are not sustained with enough purpose to generate much of even fleeting value. As an empirical matter, most human wanderings into the REALM are not cooperative, building upon and in conjunction with other human wanderings into the same areas of the REALM at the same time.

(5) When in the REALM, there are right and wrong moves that one can make in it to produce things of human value. A scientist entering the realm has hundreds even thousands of decisions to make before generating some scientific truth. When Mozart entered the REALM he too had hundreds even thousands of decisions to make before generating artistic beauty. When Plato entered the REALM, he was also confronted with thousands of decisions before producing The Republic. A politician entering the realm has thousands of decisions to make before generating some political principles and initiatives of merit.

Persons making far more right moves within the REALM tend to produce things of human value. Persons prone to making many wrong moves within the REALM generally produce various nothings, things of zero or (sometimes) negative value. Predictably, such persons don't view their creations as either zero or of negative value and- in various ways- demand recognition that they actually don't deserve. When this recognition never arrives, they become misanthropic, bitter, and hateful of humanity and- finally- life itself. Their REALM wanderings were effectively futile, fruitless, costly from a TIME perspective, and one large farce.

(6) Because sustained human entry into the REALM is so riddled with error and so often beset by motivations that tend to guarantee error, most humans most of the time should regard their REALM wanderings as just that- WANDERINGS. They should not view the products of these wanderings with much esteem or respect or CERTAINTY. They certainly should not seek to impose the products of such error-filled wanderings on anyone else, let alone the entirety of humanity now and forevermore. They should NEVER demand or expect recognition from any REALM wandering.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Courage (Kamran K): CONFRONTING the Past, Present, and Future. Again and again and again...

"Hard reality is really hard, it is never soft, there are no time outs."

(1) Thousands of corporations worldwide operate under a system of quarterly and annual report and evaluation. To offer these reports to the public, the leaders of these corporations are required to CONFRONT the past, the present, and the future.

In analyzing the past, they are required to truthfully report what happened- OBJECTIVELY. Of course the leaders will provide verbal narrative attempting to spin the past in relentlessly positive ways favorable to their continued tenure. They will offer excuses for failed strategies, vague and evasive commentary to gloss over non-obvious errors and failures, and highly misleading statements as to how things turned out.

The market is (usually) not easily fooled by these tactics. The market prefers to look at the cold hard reality of facts and information- revenue, earnings, losses, costs, customer relationships- all of which can be quantified to the penny. If these indications are favorable the stock usually goes UP. If they are disappointing the stock goes down. Simple as that.

(2) In analyzing the present, corporate leaders offer commentary as to what they are seeing right now on a daily basis. Although less tied to numerical data, still the present commentary describes what is being seen and observed on a more or less ongoing basis in the NOW.

(3) Finally, corporate leaders offer projections and predictions on what they expect the future to bring to the company's financial profitability. Everyone knows that the future is uncertain and unpredictable (how trite) so no one expects the leaders to be errorless. Still, leaders are expected to make REASONABLE projections that are not "pie in the sky," that can be expected to be approximated if things unfold as one expects they would in the "ordinary" way.

(4) Arguably this system of corporate past, present, and future assessment, evaluation and projection is GOOD. Why? It forces corporations to directly confront hard reality and take stock of what hard reality is telling them. It forces corporations to evaluate what corporate behaviors and strategies are working and which are failing miserably. It forces corporations to implement concrete plans to reach articulated goals. It forces corporations to STOP and exit the comfortable routines they vaguely tell themselves are "getting the job done" to actually evaluate whether this is so. None of this is pleasant nor easy most of the time; all of it is essential to avoid stagnation and negative infinite loops.

(5) Men and women in their everyday lives can and should engage in a similar procedure on a quarterly and (minimally) annual basis. The triteness of the formulas "there are lessons to be learned from the past" or "those who don't know the past are condemned to repeat it" is obvious. But these formulas are communicating truths of value. If you can't or won't CONFRONT past behaviors and assess whether they were successful or failed you simply have no right to expect a future any better than the past you've already experienced. To engage in behaviors repetitively for many years without ever bothering to consider whether they are any good (or even if "not bad" whether they could be significantly improved) is idiocy of the highest order.

Of course, the project for individual persons engaging in this activity is simultaneously MUCH harder and much easier than for the corporate leaders. It is much easier because you should know everything you have done- or can determine it with ease. For a very large company, the corporate leaders may have no clue as to the day to day events "on the ground level." It is much HARDER because the evaluation of whether behaviors are working or not is not subject to a simple mathematical test of dollars and cents. One can't ask whether my friendships or relationship with family members are getting better or not and answer this with some simple number. One can't ask whether one's emotional health and well-being is progressing and answer this with some simple number either. Even as to one's physical health and well-being the number is usually not reducible to a simple set of data. One's overall happiness also can't be quantified.

(6) Although resistant to numerical precision, still one can GET INTO moments of direct and brutal honesty with the self and when there make various non-numeric assessments whether certain behaviors are working or are not or have become simply too damn repetitive to carry forward into the future. A gambler may look at his life and see that literally all aspects of it are stagnating because gambling is taking up the person's entire life. This is not a numerical assessment but it is no less real nor true simply because of this non-numericness. A person may similarly assess the quality of close friendships and relationships and determine whether behaviors employed in these areas are working or are not. A person may assess his career and determine whether the behaviors in that sphere are furthering or hindering the achievement of career goals.

(7) Once these evaluations are made, the behaviors that are working will be maintained and perhaps increased. And the behaviors that are not will be abandoned with due haste. The abandonment of the behaviors will be emotionally charged and driven by a much deeper emotional base of not wishing to repeat infinitely ad nauseam etc. failed behavioral strategies for the forseable future. One has to want- and want badly- a somewhat different future than what the past has served up so far. And one has to realize that getting this different future MUST go hand-in-hand with specific changes in behavior targeted to reach specifically different results.