Thursday, August 28, 2014

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

"they have succumbed to vices which they could have resisted successfully..." Berlin, Herder & the Enlightenment

"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: "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)

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 been with the blog author for several decades, is totally "natural," 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. The appreciation of this GREAT good as greatly good is grasped deeply 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: "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 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. 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 whole miserable ordeal was the blog author's absolute 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.  It never did and 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 FAR too much to expect in this most digitally connected of times when people are connected digitally to THOUSANDS but yet can't connect at anything beyond the level of banality face-to-face 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 much 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 that are 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. But the "rules" of the game interpret this as "desperation" and indications of a "low-value" "undesirable" partner. 

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 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") 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: "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. 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.

(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. 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 "check-list" of things that are desirable in a man, a 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). Women are, by and large, not making truly independent choices these days of who to love; they are letting the checklist make the choices and they have not stopped to evaluate whether those factors contribute at all to love, loyalty, or a couple's happiness. Women will forever deny that any of these superficial 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? Indeed, a recent study found that shorter men tend to be better partners. Such checklist choices on the part of women make clear that they are having great difficulty halting the unimpeded forces of unreason.

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). 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, 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, 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; but where is the justice in a zero-woman 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 $? 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.

Women can now eliminate men based on any of these and 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)

Very importantly, 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. 

(8) Both the SIAM and non-SIAM men get that women have been socially programmed this way. 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 rest. 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 various that's "cool" "neat" "amazing" and- most commonly- "awesome" in response to whatever random thing the other person just said; 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- obviously- left utterly alone. 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) And they 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 also 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.

(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.

(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!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Passion (Kamran K; Post 2 of 3): Sex-Obsessed. How the West Got Here, and Why its a problem.

"But it's precisely here that you should have started using your intelligence from the start, precisely here you should understand and- and act fairly and squarely with both sides..." Dostoevsky, The Idiot

"truly a case of a dog chasing his tail, a quintessential excercise in futility..." Jerome D. Levin 1991

"Success or failure in life does not depend on these, but human life, as we said, needs these as mere additions..." Aristotle, Ethics

(1) Totally blessed with copious time and freedom- mental freedom and the even better sort of freedom generated when one is "invisible" and has no followers nor audience- we now tackle and assume a definitive position on yet another hugely prevalent modern prejudice: "that humorous and pleasantly untidy state of affairs that he had enjoyed in the last quarter, once he had given up even trying and was able to laugh 'at the whole thing.'" (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) By prejudice we mean the belief in the goodness or (non-badness) of something without careful mental attention and bringing to bear information, facts, and persuasive reasoning to the matter.

(2) Our species is deeply and passionately divided as to the goodness of earnestly pursuing and satisfying biologically recurring hormonal impulses "demanding" sexual activity (no other species seems to share this preoccupation, preferring instead to simply act on sexual impulses as they arise). Religions and Eastern ideologies of all sorts have generally found these impulses to be bad and to be indulged in but rarely, within the context of marriage and family. These views were on the authority of divine revelation. Even the Western philosophic tradition- lead by Plato and Aristotle- largely accepted these views without question for several thousand years. Plato's Republic begins with the characterization of sexual impulses as "many mad masters" from which the only escape is old age and hormonal abatement. Plato and Aristotle's views were on the authority of human reason and its ability to determine human GOOD, however difficult, time-consuming, and tedious that process may be. For a very very long time, reason and divine revelation agreed on sexual matters that, essentially, they had a limited function and goodness.

(3) Recently, however, Western secular ideology (driven by capitalism) has embraced sex because it sells, is still somewhat "taboo," and has suggested that we should all have more of it, pursue it further almost without any limit, buy anything that will boost our "sexual image" and "sexual appeal," and abandon any and all shame and guilt associated with this "natural" activity. In this dominant Western secular ideology (there is obviously a small minority in opposition), the bare sexual act (even without love or commitment) is directly linked with happiness, a "vital and exciting" life, and self-fulfillment; lack of sex is directly linked with unhappiness and self-estrangement. Within this context, the real "loser" or "weirdo" today is not so much the liar or the thief or the idle good-for-nothing or the total idiot; the real "loser" is the sexless man or women. He or she is "that" guy or girl that no one really wants to be; we feel really "sorry" and "bad" for him or her. These beliefs are- of course- rarely expressed publicly for reasons of political correctness. But they are felt by everyone because they quite literally comprise the social environment.

(4) An entire generation of young adults (and children for that matter) now believes that sex- and lots of it (albeit not so much you develop a sex addiction)- can do almost everything. Read that sentence again and judge it against your experience of the world:

The lovers of sights and sounds like beautiful sounds, colors, shapes, and everything fashioned out of them, but their thought is unable to see and embrace the nature of the beautiful itself.  
(Plato, Republic)

Sex is becoming its own "religion," an ULTIMATE POWERFUL SMOTHER ERASER FORCE to "wipe out" all your problems. You may hate your career and co-workers, your family, your childhood, where you live, your social circle, your self, your financial condition, the weather outside, your old age and medical condition, and all the rest ("As usual, everyone was tired, everyone's eyes were heavy from a sleepless night, everyone was chilled to the bone, everyone's face shone with the yellow pallor of the fog" Dostoevsky, The Idiot); but if you have a great sex life somehow this will solve most if not all these problems (or at least make them much more tolerable). Sex is viewed as a "magic pill" of sorts; get lots of it and many to most of your problems won't seem that bad or will disappear altogether. Almost the only "fly in the ointment" in this viewpoint is the threat of STDs; but this too was quickly addressed through widespread access to condoms and the mind-blowing exponential proliferation of easy-to-access pornography of all sorts. Social judgments against premarital sex, mastrubation, strip clubs, and pornography also "flew out the window" with not much intelligent discussion or facts to support the change in viewpoint. Anyone that held onto the "old" judgments was viewed negatively, as a bigot, and so on. (Some such people were indeed bigots but not all)

(5) We must understand how this viewpoint developed. It was not a complicated path here. Western secular societies (and most societies outside the Middle East are trending Western secular) have effectively abandoned either moral virtue or intellectual wisdom as serious life-long pursuits. A few elite professors and a few amazing "humanitarians" can engage in these things and we salute them for it, give them Noble prizes, and listen to their TED talks for 8-10 minutes while doing 10 other things; but, for the rest of us, this mode of life can't work, seems somehow "lacking." Lacking in what? Excitement.

The "end result" or "payoff" of virtue or wisdom is deemed too speculative, too difficult and too long to obtain ("not worth the bother"), and with no "pleasurable" payoff in experience within reality. With both wisdom and virtue abandoned, immediately experienced INTENSE physical pleasures of all sorts become dominant pursuit points. These pleasures can be "felt" and "experienced" and are thus "real" even to the most skeptical materialist.

Although sex is not the only such pleasure coveted today, each of the other commonly coveted pleasures has some fairly direct relationship to sex for most people. Making lots of money, drinking and doing drugs, physical exercise, developing a great sense of humor, wearing expensive and fashionable clothes, career success, and even being popular and well-liked on social media all tend to increase sex appeal and many pursue these things (largely if not totally) for the expected sexual payoff or simply "sexual image" boosting. The example of clothes is illuminating. Increasingly women are displaying a race to the absolute bottom where they try to "outdo" each other, both online and in public, by purchasing ridiculously expensive clothes that show as much cleavage and butt as possible without violating public nudity laws. The thought seems to be: your self-worth = your sexual appeal: "living by passion they pursue their own pleasures and the means to them, and avoid the opposite pains, and have not even a conception of what is noble and truly pleasant..." (Aristotle, Ethics)

(6) One can hardly deny human DNA is configured so as to provide a healthy person with approximately 10-20 minutes of very intense pleasure from the sexual act. Unless we change our DNA or it mutates wildly, this is how our bodies will be for the next several million years. From a pure substance perspective, sex is merely the 10-20 minute interaction of human sexual organs in such a manner as to produce pleasurable brain activity that is somewhat more "intense" than most other activities: "for each activity there is a proper pleasure." (Aristotle, Ethics) The pleasurable brain activity tends to immediately terminate when the sex terminates. There is simply no reason to invest this activity with so much significance.

(7) The dimensions of the problem have now been revealed. A human generation is being raised today with FALSELY high expectations of what sex (&money&reputation) can "deliver." This generation (mainly males, at this point) wildly swings between highs and lows, depending upon how well one is doing on the "sexual activity" report card; there is an "oscillation between the 'Great I am and Poor Me' between reactive grandiosity and empty depression, both characteristics of pathological narcissism." (Jerome D. Levin 1991) The pleasure, fulfillment, and problems sex provides/solves is several orders of magnitude exaggerated from that which many take it to be today. The tremendous effort, expense, and resources devoted to sex today are similarly several orders of magnitude exaggerated, with great consequence to the environment in the process: "it would indeed be strange were to take trouble and suffer hardship all one's life in order to amuse oneself." (Aristotle, Ethics)

(8) Although it appears to be a powerful smother force that can blast out many of your problems, sex never does this, even temporarily, and particularly outside the context of love or a very committed relationship. Not a single character defect is solved by the bare sexual act. Not a single human relationship is repaired by the bare sexual act. Not a single false view of the world is corrected by the bare sexual act. Not a single human being is helped out of poverty or other misery through the bare sexual act. None of your financial problems, family conflicts, or deepest fears are solved by the bare sexual act. One literally enters and exists the bare sexual act without much enduring change whatsoever. All of this must be personally learned and experienced by the current generation (and perhaps succeeding ones). There is no quick mental shortcut to get "here" given the current social environment: "For he who lives as passion directs will not hear argument that dissuades him, nor understand it if he does..." (Aristotle, Ethics)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The GOOD (Kamran K; Post 3 of 13): Self-Esteem, self-worth, and the GOOD.

"Our choices are, in essence, definitions of ourselves. Consequently, one must have a self in order to chose. not have a firm sense of self..."Jerome D. Levin, 1991

"the self is seen as a complex achievement dependent on the successful transversing of a treacherous developmental course." Jerome D. Levin, 1991

"And that there may be among you a people who invite to the Good, and enjoin the Just, and forbid the Wrong. These are they with whom it shall be well." Holy Koran

(1) Self-esteem, self-worth, and the GOOD are all closely linked, very closely linked, much more closely linked than we often appreciate. Without appropriately high self-esteem and self-worth, one is inevitably sucked back (for one thoughtless reason or another) into the neutral or the bad. There is simply not enough strength of character (or fear of self-esteem mutilation) to resist the often overwhelming pull of the neutral and the bad, particularly where most everyone is "doing" the neutral and the bad all the time. One inevitably goes "along for the ride" doing the neutral and the bad; one's personal GOOD is ignored and, gradually, totally forgotten.

(2) Neither the past nor the future exist within reality. All we can ever experience is the present. Although the past and the future never exist within reality, they are almost always on the MIND (including the unconscious) and are vitally important to self-assessment.

(3) It is quite obviously true that MIND governs the evaluation of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect. And it does so by virtue of an examination of past deeds and, secondarily, future trending directions of the self. If MIND can look back on the overwhelming behavior/achievements of the self with pride, joy, and satisfaction then self-esteem will be very high and achievement of the GOOD should naturally follow. If MIND looks back on the overwhelming behavior of the self and only finds failures, errors, missteps every step along the way, then self-esteem must be very low (or literally, 0) and failure to reach the GOOD should naturally follow: "The self is experienced as unattractive, and contact with others is avoided to protect against their expected rejections." (Mardi Horowitz, 2001) If MIND looks back on the overwhelming behavior of the self and finds neither achievements nor failures, self-esteem will be in some low, though not 0, state: "the person feels like an automaton, carrying out habitual patterns in a devitalized and joyless manner." (Mardi Horowitz, 2001)

It bears emphasis: by virtue of self-deception and self-lies, MIND can engage in the entire process described above falsely and "short-cut" its way to very high self-esteem: "You understand that my personal advantage in this affair has long been guaranteed; one way or another I shall settle it in my favor." (Dostoevsky, The Idiot) This can only be accomplished through a denial of reality which- somehow or the other- is corrected UNLESS one resorts to extreme social isolation and fact-denial.

(4) It appears there is not one conception of self nor one sense of self-esteem: "An important aspect of person schemas is their multiplicity: each person has a repertoire of different possible selves..." (Mardi Horowitz, 2001) One can have a very high athletic self-esteem while having a very low intellectual self-esteem. And vice versa. One can have a very high career self-esteem while having a very low social self-esteem . And vice versa. There appear to be some 5-10 dominant areas of self-esteem that MIND "deals in," including physical fitness, beauty, intellectual ability, social dominance, ability to relate and bond with other persons, proficiency in various interests and hobbies outside of one's career, moral goodness, and so on. Each is important although some seem to contribute to OVERALL self-esteem more than others.

(5) Because of the dominant importance of self-esteem, it would be totally foolish for all of us not to factor it into most of our major life decisions (and even some not so major ones but not extending so far as to govern whether we will eat shrimp or crab cake tonight). Once the decision is made and the (bad or neutral) behavior- of whatever sort- follows, it is usually too late; the damage to self-esteem has already been done and can't be "erased" without a violation of self-honesty, a core duty to the self.

(6) The above discussion should cause all of us to view decisions that result in mere immediate pleasurable states of feeling (and importantly, nothing else) very differently than we frequently do. Yes, we will GET the pleasure NOW but we will suffer the self-esteem injury later and THAT injury may dwarf the fleeting pleasure we receive now. Similarly, a whole host of GOOD decisions causing GOOD behavior may require short-term painful emotional and other consequences, sacrifices, discomfort, uncertainty, doubt. In these cases, we TAKE some pain, discomfort now in order to experience higher self-esteem and self-worth later. We further know that elevated self-esteem and self-worth in the future will tend to cause us to value things differently, and, as a direct consequence, make better decisions. This should also be "factored in."

(7) Nations, societies, and communities everywhere are DESPERATELY in need of some motivational reward to get more persons to act for the GOOD of themselves, other persons, and the Earth as a whole. The problem today is that the dominant societal motivational rewards (largely money and fame which, in turn, produce access to various sorts of pleasures, comforts, and security) overwhelm nearly all other motivational rewards. Worse still, these motivational rewards are offered in exchange for behavior that is not at all tied to the GOOD.

This need NOT be the case. There is copious information now available highlighting the supreme significance and importance of human self-esteem, self-worth and self-regard. The "word" must be spread that elevating these things honestly, in a GOOD way, through objective achievements, and without injury to others is BAR NONE the best thing you can do for yourself and the loved ones that care about you: "Living up to one's ego-ideal increases self-esteem and that feels good; hence it is a behavior that one tries to maintain." (Jerome D. Levin)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Practical Wisdom (Kamran K; Post 2 of 3): On Literacy

"Knowledge we regard as a fine and worthwhile thing..." Aristotle, On the Soul 

"you will not follow the practice of most men, who drag words this way and that at their pleasure..."
Plato, Theaetetus

"if your words convinced everyone as they do me, there would be more peace and less evil on earth."
Plato, Theaetetus

"Will ye enjoin what is right upon others, and forget yourselves? Yet ye read the Book: will yet not understand?" Holy Koran

"So since there is true and false speech, and of the processes just mentioned, thinking appeared to be the soul's conversation with itself, belief the conclusion of thinking..." Plato, Sophist

(1) On a very rare doubleheader day- blessed as we increasingly are with boatloads of freedom and time on our hands- we present a radically new conception of literacy: "We have no jury and no audience." Plato, Theaetetus

(2) As a first cut, we can divide human beings into the FORMALLY LITERATE and the FORMALLY ILLITERATE. The formally literate person has learned a written alphabet and can read, write, speak it fluently, all the way to the level of individual words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, and entire books/treatises.  Even a high-school graduate is formally literate; a lawyer with a JD from Yale is yet more formally literate by virtue of being exposed to a greater variety of written instruction over decades. Most lower-middle class to above citizens of "developed world" countries have attained formal literacy.

(3) Formal illiteracy is largely confined to Third World and other money poor countries as well as the poorest areas of the "developed world" countries. Such persons can't understand any aspect of a written alphabet. They can neither read nor write it although sometimes they can speak a few words and "get by" in everyday life. As a general rule, the formally illiterate have developed a much stronger reliance on their senses, feelings, and intuition about things.

(4) Our species has a duty to ensure everyone has attained formal literacy in one dominantly used language. Through no fault of their own, persons lacking such formal literacy have too many avenues of mental and formal development totally closed shut to them given the present circumstances of modern life.

(5) The problem today in most developed countries is not formally illiteracy. Most citizens of such countries are, as we said, formally literate. The HUGE GORILLA-SIZE problem in these countries is EFFECTUAL ILLITERACY. Such a person is highly literate, eloquent, "educated," and even a somewhat voracious reader at times. YET nothing this person reads sticks, is comprehended/absorbed, changes persons behavior. Such a person is not using the words read for the GOOD of him/herself:

Socrates: And if a man fails to get at the truth of a thing, will he ever be a person who knows that thing?
Theaetetus: I don't see how, Socrates.

Plato, Theaetetus

The effectually illiterate person reads the words but its as if he didn't or couldn't read them. In practical reality, this makes such a person no different than the formally illiterate.

(6) The following example of effectual illiteracy should prove illuminating. Nearly all US women in their 20s-40s were (at some point) educated of the evils of segregation/racism which caused such atrocities in America as the KKK, the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, unequal education for blacks and other minorities for decades, and so on. These women read textbooks and other things that clearly described the evils of racism and its devastating consequences for the people that experienced it. They read that racism is immoral and wrong and that this country does not "stand" for it. They read- and perhaps briefly memorized- MLK's "I have a Dream" speech.

Yet the words read never really sunk in, never were absorbed, never were integrated into personality and behavior. Today, women in their 20s-40s make clear that their choice of romantic partners is often blatantly racist. They overwhelmingly continue to discriminate on the basis of race in their dating patterns despite reading so many things describing just how very bad of a thing racism is and how very good of a thing being race-blind is. You will see this at any bar or club or restaurant in America on a Saturday or Sunday night where you see few, if any, interracial couples. You will further see this if you look up statistics on the prevalence of interracial marriage and dating etc. Such women are effectually illiterate.

Lest one view this post or its author as indulging in a sexist attack on women we now offer a different example. Men constantly read articles describing the irrelevance of money to a happy well-lived life. They read constantly of celebrities with millions/billions that end up miserably depressed and unhappy, addicted to drugs, and even suicidal. They further read of persons living in very poor countries that are able to live wonderfully with very little money. Yet men act as if they never read these things, continuing to make money gathering the primary motivation of their lives...These men are also effectually illiterate.

(7) Why on Earth do the effectual illiterate continue to read if they won't allow what they read to change their behavior? Who knows and perhaps who cares? Perhaps they read out of boredom, out of habit, or simply out of the desire to appear "well-read." In any event, what results from such reading? NADA MUCHO ("nothing much"): "We can't call him wise, since we took him not to know anything." (Plato, Sophist)

(8) Persons pursuing the GOOD will be BOTH formally literate and effectually literate: "And he doesn't just name, but accomplishes something, by weaving verbs with names." (Plato, Sophist) It is the greatest of goods for a person to be both formally and effectually literate; such a person has the best chance of "getting it," of understanding and acting on the GOOD. In a secondary sense, persons that are formally illiterate can still reach the GOOD by understanding in some non-verbal way the concepts that comprise the GOOD. To understand the GOOD is not entirely dependent on formal literacy but formal literacy greatly accelerates the process in persons that are otherwise disposed toward the GOOD. 

Humility (Kamran K; Post 2 of 3): I AM Special because... ????

"In response to all such questions- assuming someone had posed them to him, which, however, no one did, not even he to himself, for he was probably afraid of posing them- Hans Castrop would have drummed his fingertips on his brow and most assuredly known no definite answer..." Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain

"What is it I protest against? That one should take this petty, peaceable mediocrity, this equilibrium of a soul that knows nothing of the mighty motivation of great accumulations of strength, for something exalted, possibly even for the measure of man." Nietzsche, Will to Power

"he can be compared, he has his equals" Nietzsche, Will to Power

"For he realized he had no right to grand words and gestures..." Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain

"I would describe myself as genuine, easy going, loyal, passionate, self-aware, sarcastic, silly at times....I like to stay active and strive for a balanced lifestyle. Enjoy the gym and outdoor activities....I genuinely like sporting events...I can be adventurous and open to new experiences...Also, love traveling and definitely want to do more of it."
Anonymous self-description of a 21st century human being

(1) Because we here on this blog "don't gotta be false or sugar coat it at all" (Eminem, The Real Slim Shady) we continue to tackle- one by one- some of the deepest most pernicious prejudices of modern man.

Man today goes wrong and makes errors everywhere, all the time. But a near universal error today is man imagining or flattering himself to be "special" when this is FLAT FALSE: "this is the most disgusting degeneration culture has yet exhibited." (Nietzsche, Will to Power) This universal prejudice that one is special is not an innocent error but a hugely costly one:

Socrates: Or are there always a number of failures?
Theodorus: It seems to me that there are failures.
(Plato, Theaetetus)

Is it not that they are themselves the authors of disorders? But they perceive it not!
(Holy Koran)

The too-early too-easy assumption that one is special prevents one from laboring LIKE A DOG to actually become special in some form or another. It also prevents one from befriending/loving others that are actually on "one's level" though one perpetually denies this solely because of the foolish prejudice of one's specialness. This "I'm special" is an overwhelmingly common prejudice today despite it never being expressed publicly for reasons of "political correctness" "decorum" and so on: "you will never get these men to give an account of themselves, willingly or unwillingly." (Plato, Theaetetus) You would have zero friends, zero job prospects, and zero reputation if you told people straight up that you believed you were a "genius" or "gifted and special."

(2) At minimum, for someone to be entitled to believe they were special they would have to complete the following test. They would have to answer the question "I am special because...?" in a coherent, articulate, convincing way in writing. This answer should then be presented to neutral third parties who could evaluate this statement honestly and disinterestedly: "We do not yet concede that every man is the measure of all things, if he be not a man of understanding." (Plato, Theaetetus) Einstein, Eminem, Sasha, Plato, Andy Potts, Nietzsche, and a few others could answer this question persuasively. Almost everyone else would fail by a country mile.

(3) Disconnected and discontented in the extreme with the knowledge that he/she is NOT "special" but rather completely "common" and "generic," man prefers NOT to pose this question directly to the self but instead prefers to cling to some unwritten "made in the mind" vague "sense" that he is special for some hodge-podge random reason or another. There are an infinity of ways men do this; but they are all wrong, however done.

(4) Let us clarify our ideas on this matter further:
  • NOT special by virtue of good looks. These are usually the product of a genetic windfall you blindly received and/or the application of pounds of make-up and/or some eating disorder and/or some random (often racist) societal beauty standard that you just happen to meet. In the case of women, you are NOT special because you have a large chest/ass or are willing to flaunt them in public or are tattooed all over or wear tight-fitting yoga pants and jeans.
  • NOT special by virtue of completing a few slightly out of the mainstream activities here and there in an average or below-average manner. As an example you aren't special if you ran a slow marathon in year 1, "tried" sky-diving in year two, and took a few painting classes in year 3.
  • NOT special by virtue of doing well in college and graduate schools. This usually just means you had no social life, studied 24-7, and then proceeded to spit out useless facts/stats on examinations.
  • NOT special by virtue of making lots of money, particularly if you inherited it. This usually just means you are money-hungry, have no social life, and view life as a "game" in which the winner is he or she who makes the most money. You aren't even a decent person for thinking this way, let alone "special." 
  • NOT special by virtue of anything you have purchased, despite all attempts of modern advertising to convince you otherwise: "and here one grasps that it is only coarse utility that has brought such an insufferable virtue into honor." (Nietzsche, Will to Power) By definition, all you did was give some money to someone in exchange for something THEY created/did. How could you possibly become special this way??? 
  • NOT special by virtue of some self-identity you've created for yourself that is- whether you know it or not- overwhelmingly common and generic. This means your being a fan of certain teams, liking to vacation in certain areas, liking certain types of foods or restaurants, or simply being a tolerant "open" "optimistic" "energetic" person does NOT make you special (but being a DEEP pessimist today may make you special because thoughtless optimism is all the rage). Neither does your being a competent doctor or lawyer make you special: "he is not a person but acquires his value by conforming to a pattern of man that is fixed once and for all. He does not possess his value apart: he can be compared, he has his equals..." (Nietzsche, Will to Power)
  • NOT special by virtue of where you live (unless you moved to somewhere totally remote (Antartica) to do something very special). Despite the virtues of your hometown, you individually contributed nothing to its uniqueness. It was all more or less there before you even got there. 
(5) A very useful exercise for all persons would be to try to answer- today with brutal honesty- the question of "I am special because..." This requires mental courage of an unusual sort:

when he is willing to stand his ground like a man for long enough, instead of running away like a coward, then, my friend, an odd thing happens. In the end the things he says do not satisfy even himself; that famous eloquence of his somehow dries up, and he is left looking nothing more than a child.
Plato, Theaetetus

If the answer is unconvincing (this should be presumed to be the result of such test), one should immediately desist from any further thought that one is special and accept one's generic commonness completely and totally. If one is so inclined, one should then put into place a PLAN TO BECOME special over the next several decades and stick to it with total dedication: (a) "Therefore an experimental morality: to give oneself a goal." & (b) "firmness of principle; the union of will and knowledge; respect for oneself." (Nietzsche, Will to Power)