Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wealth (Literature, Part 9; Eminem, If I Had): "But if I had a million dollars"

(1) We don the professor's hat and provide detailed exegesis on Eminem's (hereafter simply M's) little-appreciated but sublime tune IF I HAD. We encourage you to listen to this song at least 5-10 times. This majestic song is now securely in our top 5 tunes all time.

(2) If I Had is a very serious, very profound meditation on the nature of abject poverty, repeated disappointment, and the allusion that riches provide for persons in such a condition. While a humorous aside is thrown into the mix here and there (with M wishing he had an ass "big enough for the whole world to kiss") the song contains very little of the flippant funny, violent, and X-rated lyrics that dominate many of M's other tunes. Heroically embracing pessimism out of a respect for the utter and total miserableness of his personal reality, M refuses to "be positive" when he doesn't "see shit positive." This is a very rare quality then and- even more so- now.

(3) At least a third of IF I HAD is devoted to M repeatedly emphasizing how TIRED he is of being broke and poor. The poverty M is rapping about is serious almost dangerous abject poverty, not the bullshit upper-middle class "I'm poor because I can't afford to send my kid to Harvard" or-even pathetically worse- "I'm poor compared to my law school classmates." The abject poverty M identifies is a reality where (a) you can't afford a phone, (b) must collect bottles and return them to the store for the 10 or 15 cent "bounty," (c) violence appears an appealing alternative to jobs that pay "$5.50 an hour," (d) wearing the same ugly hat and shoes everywhere you go is what you do, and (e) borrowing a dollar or two for gas and eating with plastic silverware is how you get by.

(4) Although M provides numerous explicit details about the abject poverty he has endured for many years, he tellingly goes silent on why he wants a million dollars so badly. Dreams of riches he certainly has but why he has them, what he will do with his million dollars, and all the rest are matters left entirely to a very nebulous imagination. Importantly, M offers no concrete plans of what he will do with this money besides the obvious (escaping abject poverty); and M doesn't even begin to explain why he would need a million bucks to escape abject poverty. M raps that if he had a million bucks he would first buy a brewery and "turn the planet into alcoholics," next he would wave a magic wand and secure various sexual favors, and then concludes that even a million bucks wouldn't be enough for him to stop "robbing armored trucks."

(5) We are now ready to tackle the most interesting part of the song: the beginning. M begins IF I HAD with the truly remarkable, jaw-dropping, insanely philosophical insight about life:

What is Life?
Life is like a big obstacle put in front of your optical to slow you down
And every time you think you've gotten past it, it's gonna come back around 
And tackle you to the damn ground.

This is astonishing wisdom for the young M, only in his mid 20s or so at the time. M rightly describes life as a big OBSTACLE, an obstacle which we never fully escape but always (somehow or another) tackles us back to the "damn ground." Any and all beliefs, convictions, or even hunches that we've figured life out are pure allusion, which will be promptly corrected with a thud back "to the damn ground." M leaves these lyrics as they are; there is no suggestion anywhere that a "million bucks" would alter the setup of LIFE as an obstacle that is always about to tackle one to the "damn ground." 

(6) Throughout IF I HAD, M raps of being tired of life  ("tired of drowning in my sorrow"), being betrayed by friends ("backstabbing ass snakes with friendly grins"), committing "many sins" and letting the bottle of alcohol "win," friends hooked on crack, having to take Tylenol PM to go to bed, and receiving the same misguided criticism about his work (i.e., that it's all violent). But here, again, M doesn't explain- and neither can we- how a million bucks would alter most of these realities. Once the abject poverty ills are taken care of, the remaining things that make M tired of life are not things that are directly or even mainly addressed by $. Securing better friends, improving one's outlook on life (whatever that may mean), learning to practice moderation with drinking and other such things, and having one's work highly regarded are usually not things that one can easily buy or can buy in any way at all.

(7) IF I HAD thus becomes a fascinating locus-point for the function, allusions, and imaginings of wealth in nearly all contemporary human societies. People rightly fear and detest abject poverty and seek to acquire sufficient wealth to escape its many bads. In the process of doing so and benefiting from this escape, many then continue to fixate on wealth and believe in vague, nebulous, and ultimately false ways that wealth is somehow the "ticket" out of all their difficult problems, problems that literally have no connection with money. These imaginings are never rationalized, never shown to be worthy of the serious effort and pursuit that actually drives the pursuit of wealth. Still, the chase for wealth continues, fed every step of the way by foolish/silly allusions that are usually only a wee bit better than the ones M helps us laugh at in IF I HAD.

(8) These reflections must terminate somewhere. And so they will end here: "What is money? Money is what makes a man act funny." 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wisdom (Kamran K; Post 1 of 3): Nada mucho.

"I just want you all to see that somewhere deep down is a decent human being in me, it just can't be found so the reason you've been seeing this me is cuz this is me now, the recent dude is being this mean..." Eminem, Bitch Please II (Ultimate Self-knowledge & Truth muse 1)

"He tried imagining how it must be when one can endlessly enjoy the unbounded advantages of disgrace- and the young man was terrified by a sense of dissolute sweetness that set his heart pounding even faster for a while." Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain (Truth muse 2)

"I write so that neither the mob, nor the populi, nor the parties of all kinds can read me. So my opinions will never be 'public opinions.' How do you write, then? Neither usefully nor pleasantly..."
Nietzsche, HATH

(1) For more than a decade or so, we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry to determine under what standards- and using what information- we can regard the actions of most people most of the time as GOOD. We have wished- at all times- to make a positive determination “here” as such a determination makes it easier for one to enjoy LIFE. It is surely better to live in a world where one has legitimate confidence that most of the people around one most of the time are doing GOOD things. This is the world we should wish to live in; it appears more bright, secure, worth caring about, and so on. Yet- despite this intense desire/NEED to label human behavior as GOOD- our inquiry has been utterly barren and fruitless. We cannot make such a determination at this time and will not do so for the sake of popularity, social media or otherwise: "They stick to what reason shows them (or what they think it shows), no matter what." (John M. Cooper 2012)

(2) To any thinker wishing to engage in a similar inquiry, we share the following EARNED insights.

(3) What one CANNOT do is evaluate human behavior as GOOD as soon as one is satisfied it’s neither bad nor criminal nor illegal. This is an unjustified LEAP. The daily actions of several hundred million people on social media websites (posting random-ass dull pictures no one cares about like the blaise Chicago shot above) are neither criminal nor illegal nor immoral; but that does not come close to establishing such behavior as GOOD.  A mere 70 years ago, much racist conduct and behavior was neither criminal nor illegal; but surely this behavior was terribly bad, both then and now (women today- in their infinite "loveliness"- continue to exhibit strong same-race preferences in dating as confirmed by academic studies..."Stupid as a man' says the women'; 'Cowardly as a woman' says the man." Nietzsche, HATH). The very hasty jump from “not bad” or “not illegal” to “therefore GOOD” misses a huge point: human behavior can be neutral, neither terribly GOOD nor terribly bad.

(4) What one also CANNOT do is use the achievements and accomplishments of some real or purported elite to justify the behavior and conduct of the entire species. That there have been Platos and Aristotles or Nietzsches or Chekhovs or Jungs or Einsteins or Eminems (or even, for that matter, corporations that have built huge state-of-the art arenas, airplanes, and skyscrapers) does not make either me or you better because we share common DNA with these persons. What matters is what present-day general humanity is doing or thinking and- on the micro-level- what you and I are doing. We cannot- in any way- “piggy-back” on prior generations of men or some present-day “elite” to establish the GOODness of the current generation or any of its individual members.

(5) What one further CANNOT do is use certain polite learned habits and traits that facilitate normal social functioning (most of which are “down pat” by age 18 or perhaps even earlier) as evidence that humans are GOOD: "Morality is primarily a means of preserving the community and saving it from destruction. Next it is a means of maintaining the community on a certain plane and in a certain degree of benevolence." (Nietzsche, HATH) This is a trap for the unwary. We see people everywhere politely exchanging hellos, goodbyes, thank yous, I’m sorrys, nodding in conversation “you are right,” exclaiming “wow, that’s awesome,” offering helpful tips on good restaurants, vacations, and bars, and so on. We cannot be seduced into thinking that this politeness by itself makes human beings GOOD (although the total lack of these things would make our world very bad. That is true). A more important point: if the society’s final ends are trending away from the GOOD- say the goals of a money worshiping society- all of the learned habits and traits that keep this society robust and strong in its money worshiping direction cannot for this separate reason be considered GOOD: "the odour of sanctity has clung only to errors." (Nietzsche, HATH)

(6) What one furthermore CANNOT do is use the species’ genetic windfall in terms of brain processing power as evidence that humanity is GOOD. You and I did not earn this; it was freely given by Nature. Because of this relatively high brain processing power, many humans can learn- within about six months to two years- how to do ALMOST any job or task with little error (exception: brain surgery, airplane pilot, triathlon, philosophy). The human brain’s power to learn habitual behavior and then go on auto-pilot executing this behavior for decades is probably unsurpassed. But this cannot be considered GOOD for reasons Nietzsche nailed:

The machine...sets in motion hardly any but the lower, unthinking forces of the men who serve does not communicate the impulse to climb higher, to improve, to become artistic. It creates activity and monotony, but this in the long-run produces a counter-effect, a despairing ennui of the soul
(Human, All Too Human)

Thusly, what one also CANNOT do is use the species’ proficiency in careers and jobs of all sorts as evidence that humans are GOOD. Such proficiency is almost always merely the tireless repetitive execution of habits learned within a few months or (at most) years, which learning- in turn- was greatly facilitated by human DNA that one received for “free.” When one also considers that the DESIRE to continue the repetition of this habitual career proficiency is primarily driven by money worship (and greatly destroys human self-creation not to mention the environment in the process), then one becomes almost totally precluded from using career proficiency as evidence of human GOODness.

(7) What one finally CANNOT do is blindly consider most human behavior GOOD because this is the “popular” thing to believe: "for all parties are now compelled to flatter 'the masses' and grant them faculties and liberties of all kinds..." (Nietzsche, HATH) This point requires 0 elaboration. Unlike 99.9% of the arenas of civilized life, this blog represents a shining oasis arena where no one is forced to believe anything merely because it is popular OR disclaim a belief because it is unpopular: "there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and fetter the development and, if possible, prevent the formation of any individuality not in harmony with its ways." (Mill, On Liberty).

(8) Many have anchored modern man’s goodness in the misguided ways identified above (by far the MOST chose the option just identified- maintaining the GOODness of the species for the sake of popularity or- at least- to avoid unpopularity so that one can continue unimpeded in the gathering of $, success, and various sensual pleasures). Wishing to find most human beings and behavior GOOD, they have “found their way there” by pointing out that most of us are not criminals, are polite to one another, pay our taxes, raise children and take them to Little League, do an OK job working the 9-5, are helpful and cooperative when very minimal favors are requested, are college graduates, read the newspaper, and are “educated,” and so on. To all of this...BUT SO WHAT, SO WHAT INDEED: "It is but little; you are then still only a 'law abiding person' with just that degree of morality of which a 'society' a group of human beings is capable." (Nietzsche, HATH)

(9) Stripped of these specious moves to establish modern man’s GOODness, what non-trivial material (whether by way of arguments or information) do we have remaining? Nada mucho:

the drama is repeated, and the spectators become altogether weary of looking on, because the whole gamut seems to have been run through...

we might as well believe that the whole audience of the world-theatre had long since hanged themselves to every tree from sheer boredom at these performances.

(Nietzsche, HATH) 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Practical Wisdom (Philosophy, Part 10; Nietzsche, Various Writings): Not OUR Business.

Series Posts:

Work Cited: Nietzsche, Various Writings

"for the calming of the spirit the solution of the final and ultimate theoretical problems is by no means necessary...the solution of all riddles and the most refreshing draught of true water of life are close at hand...we have no need of these certainties about the farthermost horizons in order to live a full and efficient human life, any more than the ant needs them in order to be a good ant....Of all that you have enunciated, nothing please me more than one promise: 'Ye want again to be good neighbors to the most familiar things." Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

"they discover a triviality after taking all manner of circuitous routes and mountain paths, and, to the astonishment of the non-subtle, rejoice..." Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

"Everywhere that I look, I read words and hints of words, but I do not know where begins the sentence that solves the riddle of all these hints." Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

"Philosophy severed itself from science when it puts the question: what is that knowledge of the world and of life through which mankind may be made happiest?" Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

"[He is convinced] that 'Galileo was creating the notion of scientific values as he went along, that it was a splendid thing that he did so, and that the question whether he was rational in doing so is out of place.' Now it is not clear that the question whether we are rational in continuing to accept these values (which involve the notion of the scientist as sage and moral hero) is itself out of place. But even more pressing is the question why Galileo's creation of these values was such a splendid thing in any case. How do we know this? Because we are happy not to be living under Bellarmine's authority? But how can we know this without knowing that we are as a matter of fact happy with things as they are? And are we?" Alexander Nehamas 1982

(1) With our pessimism as to human realities SURGING out of control to all-time highs ("The pleasant thing about this wealth is that one must always bestow and communicate a portion of it" Nietzsche), we continue with our error-prone study of human GOOD: (a) "Supposing that the abused, the oppressed, the suffering, the unemancipated, the weary, and those uncertain of themselves should moralize, what will be the common element in their moral estimates? Probably a pessimistic suspicion with regard to the entire situation of man will find expression..." & (b) "The great epochs of our life are at the points when we gain courage to rebaptize our badness as the best in us." (both from Nietzsche, HATH) Readers wishing to find an endlessly litany of sugar-coated positive, optimistic statements should read ANOTHER of the millions of blogs available: "The best about German novels now in vogue was that one need not read them, for one knew already what they contained." (Nietzsche, HATH) On with our show...

The below reflections were "birthed" after we spent nearly an entire year studying the stars and planets, gravity and black holes, protons, electrons, and almost everything in between. At the end of these tedious studies, we came to the DEAD-END conclusion that the most INTRICATE knowledge of gravity, protons, electrons, and all the rest is of ZERO use in making even the simplest of decisions in a well-lived human life (for example, how often to visit one's sister that lives on the East Coast): "Such abstruse matters of high physical and cosmic theory do not and could not define for them, or any followers, any conception of how to live a full human life." (John M. Cooper 2012) This was a depressing conclusion but it absolutely resulted in EARNED wisdom which will provide material for exegesis below.

(2) It is by no means apparent that a world where humanity had achieved full, complete, and total "scientific" knowledge would be any better (i.e. more moral, more happy, more fun, more interesting, more just, more peaceful) than present day Earth: (a) "None leads into the open, into the fresh air of the free will." & (b) "for every one-sided predilection, whether in science...mankind as a whole has to pay a heavy price." (both from Nietzsche, HATH) Or that such an ALL SCIENCE world would be better than the world man inhabited thousands of years ago where science had barely been born. Science has made explosive growth in the past several hundred years: but where is the evidence that this growth has made man more joyous, more wise, more friendly, more eager for LIFE, more self-aware, less violent, better able to compromise, and so on? ("But you, if your faith makes you happy, show yourselves to be happy. Your faces have always done more harm to your faith than your reasons!" (Nietzsche) How, we ask, has the life of even one single human being been improved by the knowledge that light travels at 186,000 miles per second? How would our lives have been impoverished had we been under the "delusion" that light traveled at 8,000 miles per hour?

We believe these assertions to be true even if science makes remarkable progress in extending human life to 100, 200, 500, etc. years as the goodness, quality, and beauty of such extended lives would STILL need to be evaluated within our parameters of GOOD. Many "lost cause" human beings could live extended lives and never achieve anything GOOD whatsoever.

(3) Consider, for example, a hypothetical human citizen of Earth in the year 3,750,432 A.D. By then, it would be possible to download (within seconds) directly into one's MIND ALL scientific knowledge and truths (hereafter ALL SCIENCE). By this year, all of these ALL SCIENCE truths would be real truths and knowledge, and not the largely speculative wild theories and conjectures that pass for scientific truth today. (News flash: no one has ever seen an electron nor has anyone any bona-fide idea how gravity works. Almost all of science builds up from these still uncertain "realities." Despite this, all today bow before the "certainty" of "scientific" truths. Insane!) ("They are all advocates who do not wish to be regarded as such, generally astute defenders, also, of their prejudices which they dub 'truths'- and VERY far from having the conscience which bravely admits this to itself..." (Nietzsche, BGE)

(4) A remarkable citizen of this 3,750,432 A.D. world, Amsynem, woke up one day and evaluated whether he too should download ALL SCIENCE into his MIND. Amsynem noticed many of his friends had done this very thing but that their lives had not improved in the least after such procedure. The ALL SCIENCE knowledge did not help them find romantic love; nor genuine friends; nor avoid depression; nor resolve long-standing familial conflicts; nor inject a sense of beauty, enthusiasm, and tempo to LIFE. Instead of making plans with each other revolving around any of these things, Amsynem observed his ALL SCIENCE friends having strange elitist conversations about subjects that seemed to literally have nothing to do with nothing, with things that no human being had ever seen or ever would. These friends spoke about friction coefficients, particle velocity vectors, thermal diffusion factors, Debye temperatures, magnetic diffusivity, electron number density, Hall coefficients, Bloch wave functions, scattering angel, Larmor circular frequency, degeneracy of vibrational mode, Alfven speed, one-body rate coefficient, superconductor critical transition temperature, and...zzz....zzz...zzz (are you still reading this???!?): (a) "As the man of science proceeds on his modest and toilsome wanderings, which must often enough be journeys in the desert" & (b) "The difficulty of climbing mountains is no gauge of their height. Yet in the case of science it is different!- we are told  by certain persons that...the difficulty in finding truth is to determine the value of truth! This insane morality..." (both from Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human) Although he tried, Amsynem could not remain awake for any of these conversations. They all seemed, somehow or other, dry and inhuman and without ultimate meaning: (a) "he must not learn much, and especially not let himself be crammed with science." & (b) "He is not even a good student of himself, and so never himself becomes a good poem or a fine picture." (both a & b from Nietzsche, Human All Too Human

Perceptive as he was, Amsynem also noticed that many non-human animal creatures appeared to be enjoying LIFE tremendously with the benefit of absolutely ZERO SCIENCE. He saw birds flying over the ocean at swift speeds and seeming to enjoy every second of this FREE experience; he saw pug dogs being worshiped by their human owners, given endless food, treats, and play at all times of the day; and he saw lions and bears that ruled over all other animal creatures through sheer physical force. These creatures knew ZERO SCIENCE, and had zero desire to learn any. 

(5) From all of these observations, Amsynem began to question whether there was any point to humanity's incredibly earnest push and deification of science for many hundreds of thousands of years. He concluded there was some point, as medicine had improved and better, more safer human tools (cars, boats, and planes) of all sorts were continuously being produced. But these benefits had largely been gained after a few hundred years of science (by the year 2010) and the MARGINAL benefit from the next hundred thousand years of science were FAR less: "Of reason there is enough and to spare, but is it wrongly directed and artificially diverted." (Nietzsche, HATH

(6) Amsynem concluded that humanity would have been better served by regarding the pursuit of science and all related progress as a valid goal but by no means the only or even close to the MOST important one. Amsynem continued in his pursuit of his personal GOOD and yawned at and passed through news of proliferating scientific discoveries: (a) "Forgetting our purpose is the most frequent form of folly" & (b) "The Muse loved him with all her heart and gave him good and evil, for she took away his eyes and vouchsafed him sweet song." (a & b from Nietzsche, HATH) & (c) "The understanding being pursued in these studies, but not the others, is therefore an understanding of what is of value to a human being, as being of value to them." (John M. Cooper 2012) & (d) "They confirm and strengthen this commitment day by day by spending as much of the day as they can manage in discussing, debating, and examining themselves and others on the all-important Socratic questions about human good and human life." (same)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Experienced Beauty (Kamran K; Post 1 of 3): Nirvanas without ugliness.

"I only know what I know 
the passing years will show
you've kept my love so young, so new
and time after time you'll hear me say that I am so lucky to be loving you."
Chet Baker, Time after Time

"the greater, more manifold, more comprehensive life IS LIVED BEYOND the old morality; the 'individual' stands out, and is obliged to have recourse to his own law-giving, his own arts and artifices for self-preservation, self-elevation, and self-deliverance."
Nietzsche, BGE

(1) Many among us are rightly disgusted with life: "So the decree of the Gods willed it, and doomed man to perish, that it might be a matter for song even to distant generations." (Homer) We've endured- and endured deeply- (a) racial injustice, (b) one atrocious romantic disappointment after another ("We plan, God laughs" Yiddish proverb), (c) a horrendous childhood on account of neglectful, cruel, and absent-minded parenting, (d) a series of miserably boring and physically exhausting jobs, (e) hopes for riches that never materialized, (f) an uninterrupted series of conversations that never venture beyond the discussion of trivial banalities ("No new thought, nothing of the nature of a finer turning or better expression of an old thought" Nietzsche, BGE) and (g) many other disappointments: "deeply- it almost determines the order of rank HOW deeply man can suffer..." (Nietzsche, BGE) The only correct reaction to these realities is disgust with the life one is then leading to the extent that one's life is only or largely "filled" by these things. But- and a huge but here- one's life need not ONLY or mainly be filled with these things.

(2) Some minds prefer not to "sit still" when all of this UGLY reality is being experienced. Praise be, MIND often causes us to seek out and create some personal nirvana without ugliness to atone for/balance out all of the miserable ugly reality we have no choice but to endure: "we are prepared as no other age has ever been for a carnival in the grand style, for the most spiritual festival- laughter and arrogance, for the transcendental height of supreme folly and Aristophanic ridicule of the world." (Nietzsche, BGE). The fact that MIND can- in so many ways- create something that rises above the everyday reality of ugliness is worthy of our supreme gratitude. It is by no means clear that any other species can do this sort of thing. They must deal with reality RAW as it is.

(3) We all create these nirvanas without ugliness, these zones of LIFE where we see and experience only beauty, goodness, peace of mind, positive achievements, and joy. There are thousands of ways we do this. One man becomes fascinated with speculative theories regarding the origins of the universe some 14 billion years ago and its end some trillion years from now; another becomes engrossed with Hollywood movies from the 50s and 60s; another is delighted by philosophy; another finds nirvana in his two cute pugs; another finds it in either money worship or woman worship; another finds it in the music of Mozart and Chopin; another locates it in his bicycle; and so on and so on.

(4) As with everything in the world, there are some very good candidates for nirvanas without ugliness. And some very bad ones. The blog writer's personal experiences confirm this. He has pursued some things as nirvanas without ugliness that never should have been viewed in this way (various women, an Ivy League college, various law firms that employed him, New York City): "a grain of wrong pertains even to good taste" (Nietzsche, BGE); and he has pursued other things as nirvanas without ugliness that have indeed been only for the GOOD in his life (CALIFORNIA, philosophy, this blog, cycling, running, meditation, his sister's pug dogs, electronic dance music, travel, hiking, jazz music, appreciation of Nature at every turn): "all of them great discoverers in the realm of the sublime..." (Nietzsche, BGE) Some thinkers have labeled such nirvanas "illusions" or "flights from reality." This is preposterous. A pug or a bike or an ocean view is NOT an illusion; these are realities, preferred realities, sublime realities.

(5) In a world where all or nearly all were devoted to the pursuit of the GOOD, man would be literally surrounded on all sides by beauty and goodness and there would be little existential need for man to create any more nirvanas without ugliness. In such a world, the creation of nirvanas without ugliness would be strictly optional. In a world where many were devoted to the pursuit of the GOOD, there would still be much beauty and goodness everywhere and thusly a reduced existential need for man to create additional nirvanas without ugliness. In such a world, the creation of nirvanas without ugliness would still be optional but somewhat encouraged. In a world where only a few persons were devoted to the pursuit of the GOOD- and even these persons' pursuit was largely interrupted and blocked by other things- the existential need to create various nirvanas without ugliness is elevated to supreme importance. In such a world, the creation of nirvanas without ugliness is totally encouraged from the standpoint of human GOOD. Today's world falls in this last category.

(6)  Some caveats are in order regarding these nirvanas without ugliness. First, they only distract us from/turn our eyes away from the ugly realities that drove us to create the nirvana in the first place. They do nothing to cure that ugly reality. When we "exit" our nirvana without ugliness, those ugly realities remain fixed in place, as ugly as they ever were, and it would be absolutely INSANE for anyone to expect otherwise. YOU created, experienced, and enjoyed a nirvana without ugliness; no one else came with you and so they should not be expected to have become any "better" in the "meantime."

(7) Selecting either another person or a large organization as a nirvana without ugliness is a very bad idea. The odds of disappointment are extremely astronomically high. The simple reason is you can't control their thoughts, intentions, behaviors, statements, and levels of basic moral decency and honesty. Another person or another organization may serve a very important healthy function in your life; but they should never be expected to serve as a nirvana zone.

(8) The requirements of everyday living proceed without regard to one's being occupied with zones of nirvanas without ugliness. Therefore, it is preferred that one spend a measly hour or two every morning ensuring that these requirements are met before turning to the nirvana zone: "Every week we ought to have one hour for receiving letters, and then go and take a bath." (Nietzsche)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Humility (Kamran K; Part 1 of 3): Review and REPLAY of THE questions

"Life by Marshall Matthers
What is life?
What are friends?
What is money?"

Eminem, If I Had

(1) Within many of our professional sports leagues, instant replay is utilized to get close difficult calls correct. Have we ever stopped to think what is happening here? A "snap" judgment is placed under scrutiny (reviewed over and over) until confidence is reached that the correct judgment was either (a) originally made or (b) can now be made with the benefit of the replays.Instant replay is usually only employed on decisions that MATTER to the final outcome of a game.

(2) Within these same professional sports leagues, the overwhelming majority of decisions are not reviewed with instant replays. They were easy calls to begin with, they don't affect the ultimate outcome, and there's no need to waste everyone's time to review them.

(3) Each human life SIMILARLY presents many easy decisions that need not be reviewed nor analyzed whatsoever after they are made. When we pour a glass of water to drink, we can go right ahead and drink it; we need not slow things down to ensure that the liquid is actually water, investigate whether water is good for us, or determine what precise amount of water we need that day for optimal heath. When we drive a car over a bridge, we need not check the car brakes every time to ensure they are working, get out of the car and order a mechanical survey of the fitness of the bridge before crossing, or ensure that the maximal weight limit of the bridge is not being breached, etc.

(4) Just like the instant replay scenario, each human life SIMILARLY presents some very difficult meaningful questions and decisions that SHOULD be continually re-reviewed or re-analyzed to gain ever greater confidence that the correct decision was reached, is continuing to be made right now, and- if the decision is no longer correct- can be made correct with a different decision. Any reasonably available and material information- including one's feelings about the decision now- should be used as part of this analysis and review.

(5) The human questions and decisions subject to review are those difficult ones which have a REVERBERATING IMPACT all throughout one's life. The most obvious of these include: (1) one's chosen career or profession or work; (2) one's chosen romantic partner and how one is relating to them (if one has no chosen romantic partner, that decision should also be subject to review); (3) one's chosen friends and how one is relating to them; (4) where one lives; (5) one's favorite and most time-intensive pastimes, hobbies, or non-work activities; (6) one's familial relations and how one is relating to them; (7) one's musical/artistic interests and what that says about one; (8) one's prevailing emotional temperament (optimistic, pessimistic, exuberant, subdued, pragmatic, fearful, and so on); (9) one's "relationship" to money, reputation, other sources of "ego stroking and validation" to ensure these are kept reasonably in check; (10) one's relationship to one's past to ensure one is neither totally forgetting it (and thereby repeating the same mistake over and over) nor imprisoned by it (which crushes human freedom, one of the greatest of our human goods).

(6) Like instant replay, this review may culminate in the conclusion that one made the right decision to begin with and continues to be in the right up to this very day. In these cases, the added time spent reviewing the decision is for the GOOD as it furthers one's confidence (based upon legitimate information) that one is leading one's life well.

But the review could disclose a need for a different decision or course of behavior which must be then immediately self-executed but also subject to re-review at a later point (say six months). In these cases, the review prevented continued further error in how one lives, which we consider a very great GOOD. Two year or five year or even decade long ERRORs need not become lifelong ones. So the point is that either way this "instant replay" review serves the GOOD.

(7) Lacking humility, almost all of us- all of the time- believe there is NO NEED whatsoever for an "instant replay like" review of the most important decisions identified in #5 (and others of similar magnitude). Worse still, we spend the time that we could be devoting to this highly important review to endlessly dissecting and reviewing decisions and behaviors that make no difference one way or the other (whether we should stay at hotel chain A or hotel chain B during our upcoming vacation; whether we should wear shirt A or shirt B out tonight; whether we should buy bicycle tire brand A vs. bicycle tire brand B). We disapprove of this practice and tendency on the part of our species.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wealth (Literature, Part 8; Eminem, Various Tunes): In Praise.

Work cited: Eminem, Various Tunes

"Here's my ten cents, my two cents is free. A nuisance, who sent? You sent for me?" Eminem, Without Me

(1) Whether we call it capitalism or money worship or the new economy or the global industrial system, we have criticized- and criticized tenaciously- the planet's means of economic production and exchange: "This looks like a job for me so everybody just follow me cause we need a little controversy cuz it feels so empty without me." (Eminem, Without Me) Such critique has been exhausting: "How poisonous, how crafty, how bad, does every long war make one." (Nietzsche, BGE) Some praise is due its way.

(2) Even a strong 10-20 mph westerly wind somehow permits a few leaves here and there to drift westward, against the prevailing wind. In this same spirit, the planet's current dominant system of economic production (though overwhelmingly bad) has a saving virtue that we've so far ignored.

(3) The saving virtue is this: one can QUIT participating in capitalism/money worship/the new economy at any time and for any reason (absolutely all can QUIT although some face greater practical difficulties in doing so). The planet's current mode of economic production and exchange (capitalism) is NOT really a system in the sense that systems are typically understood to require mandatory participation on the part of all members. Systems are such that you are punished- and sometimes killed- for not doing what the system demands. Capitalism does not do this; there is no capitalism police hunting people down for not wanting to work anywhere. There is not even a civil penalty imposed for refusing to work anywhere nor even a civil penalty for publicly criticizing "capitalism" (as the blog author has done repeatedly).

The worst economic system imaginable would not be the current "system;" it would be the current "system" ("diligent economizers attached to a desk and cash-box, modest and citizen-like in their desires, modest also in their virtues" Nietzsche, BGE) but with the horrific modification that one was required to participate in it for 30-40 years.

(4) With the Internet and other employment related technologies, employers in nearly any line of work can replace you with a young, hungry, well-educated tool (ahem person) within days. Law, medical, and business schools are pumping out hundreds of thousands of graduates every year, and will continue to do so well into the distant future: "Individualism was romantically medieval in its belief in the infinite, cosmic importance of each single creature..." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain). With colleges, the number rises into the millions. Capitalism has been designed such that persons can readily come and go from it without the entire system collapsing. This means that most likely you are not at all a special needed member of whatever organization you are in right now.

(5) One can choose- rightly or wrongly- to exit the money worship/capitalism reality or one can choose to remain in it and try to "succeed." The blog author's choice in this regard has been totally clear and backed up by action: (a) "He could sense, in advance, quite clearly, quite definitely, that however such experiences might develop, they would never seem anything but preposterous, incomprehensible, and lacking in human value." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) (b) "What do I think of success? It sucks, too much stress, regress, too upset, its just too much mess..." (Eminem, I'm Back) & (c) "You are mistaken in the assumption that intellectual matters cannot become personal. You should not assume that." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) & (d) "it is of the first consequence to be wise in the rejection of trifles, and leave childish play to boys for whom it is in season." (Horace) & (e) "why should I set about a lofty edice with columns that excite envy?" (Horace)

Each man must make his own choice in this regard and it is one of the most important choices one will make. Most are miserably unhappy with their economic life ("Tears are not allowed in public here. The rules of the house forbid it. Why, everybody would be in tears if we let them." Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) but punt the decision down the road for decades and remain half-hearted/mediocre (e.g., taking lots of vacation time, leaving the office early, doing the minimum work required with lots of brain-less cut-and-pasting, goofing off all day on Facebook and the web) hypocritical (asserting that they don't value money but acting very much like they do) participants in the economic order: "And every single person is a slim shady lurking could be working at Burger King spitting on your onion rings..." (Eminem, The Real Slim Shady)

(6) By exiting the world of economic production, one irrefutably gains freedom and time. The freedom and time gained can be constantly valued as precious and actually used to achieve better things than one would've achieved by remaining in capitalism/money worship:

that's why we seize the moment try to freeze it and own it, squeeze it and hold it cause we consider these moments golden 
(Eminem, Sing for the Moment); 

Look...if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip? Yo!
(Eminem, Lose Yourself)

Or it can be squandered and one can achieve nothing and- in extreme cases- things far worse than the worst bads of capitalism/money worship: (a) "And watch mosh pits till motherfuckers knock each other unconscious..." (Dr. Dre, Bitch Please II) & (b) "Hope you ready for the next episode Hey Smoke weed everyday." (Dre, Next Episode) & (c) "I got about 50 guns and I love all of them the same." (Snoop Dog, Bitch Please II) & (d) "personal freedom degenerated into excess and violence, worthy to be regulated by law." (Horace) This can't be known in advance but will be fully revealed to all over time.

(7) One can repeat this activity of coming and going from capitalism all thru life. Of course this requires one to be nimble, open to different opportunities, accept jobs that pay $10-$20 an hour, and relinquish any hopes of a prosperous career, promotions, bonuses, and various material comforts: "I met a girl and said 'what's up, it's nice to meet you I'd like to treat ya to a bagel and a slice of pizza but I'm broke as fuck and I don't get paid till the first of the month But if you care to join me..." (Eminem, As The World Turns)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Passion (Philosophy, Part 8 ; Aristotle, Ethics): AGAINST Woman Worship

Work Cited: Aristotle, Ethics

"Give me the mike let me recite...what in the world gives me the right to say what I like?" Eminem, Bitch Please II (hereafter TRUTH MUSE #1)

"Not to cleave to any person, be it even the dearest- every person is a prison..." Nietzsche, BGE

"And I'm fed up with it. I'm not going to play along anymore- can you blame me?...You must simply grant me the license that results from my condition. It's much the same as in high school when you know you'll be held back- they don't bother to ask you questions, you don't bother to do any work. And now I've finally come to just such a pretty pass again. I don't need to do anything anymore, I'm no longer in the running- and I can laugh at the whole thing. Would you like some chocolate?'...He tried putting himself in Herr Albin's shoes and imagining how it must be when one is finally free of all the pressures honor brings and one can endlessly enjoy the unbounded advantages of disgrace- and the young man was terrified by a sense of dissolute sweetness that set his heart pounding even faster for a while." Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain (hereafter TRUTH MUSE #2)

(1) We continue in our remarkably wild bombastic verbose error-prone investigation of the GOOD: (a) "he listens to and utters a lot of philosophical gibberish..." (Nehamas, Art of Living) & (b) "They all assumed that he would immediately cease this pointless activity, to which they responded with disconcerted smiles..." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) & (c) "In the end, however, though silently and secretly, he laughed also at himself: with his finer conscience and introspection..." (Nietzsche, BGE) & (d) "The slow-witted thinker generally allies himself with loquacity and ceremoniousness." (Nietzsche, HATH) If you unthinkingly accept the statements in this blog as "truth" you should rethink such a tendency (careful readers of this blog will note the CLINGING TO/championing of the ideas of one Superman male figure after another, from Plato to Aristotle to Nietzsche to Zizek to Eminem to Jung to Iran's Supreme Leader to...). This blog is estimated to be completed sometime in late 2017/early 2018.

These reflections/truths were "born" upon realization that we were no "longer in the running" in a certain sort of game (as a foreign-born ("women of all races exhibit strong same-race preferences" Columbia University study), short, often pudgy, emotionally callous, stingy, hairy guy with extremely unusual interests for a 'dude'- Plato, trance, cycling, gardening, horse racing- it is doubtful we were ever in the running anyways but self-deception is a powerful thang.): "ha ha ha ha I told you I was Shady! ha ha Y'all didn't wanna believe me! I'm shady!" (Eminem, I'm ShadyWe can only submit that our youthful foolishness prevented our discovery of these truths- and our exit from this game- at an earlier point in spacetime:

a young man of practical wisdom cannot be found. The cause is that such wisdom is concerned with particulars, which become familiar from experience, but a young man has no experience, for it is length of time that gives experience

He saw nothing, or only general outlines, in the artificial twilight.
(Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain)

As I lie here now and look at it all from a distance, it does seem crude to me.
(Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain)

(2) This game is known as WOMAN WORSHIP and is not for the GOOD, neither for men nor for women: "I am very glad to have escaped from all that...when the appetites relax and cease to importune us...we escape from many mad masters." (Plato, Republic) We will not discuss MAN WORSHIP as women don't engage in it for a very simple reason: woman- as a direct result of WOMAN WORSHIP- almost always have a plethora of men pursuing them and need not worship any single man.

(3) Until man is fully enlightened, some object or another will be worshiped, with the current leading secular candidates being money, fame/celebrity, and women/sex. Worship is MIND's SUPER-rational belief in the GOODness or "need" of an external object in one's life if that life is to be livable or good. Regardless of how many women one "snags," woman worship is against the GOOD and is a form of very common addiction among single males (or cheating husbands): "he will reach...what he sets before himself, so that he will have deliberated correctly, but he will have got for himself a great evil." (Aristotle) The woman worshiper constantly needs his daily "fix" of female attention/flirtation. It is not terribly important what sort of female is providing the attention nor flirtation; a constant flowing supply is all that is required. Lack of such supply causes a man to feel that his world is "falling apart." The woman worshiper ultimately loses control to the object of worship and can no longer STOP from worshiping women in these ways: "One loves ultimately one's desires, not the thing desired." (Nietzsche, BGE)

(4) Why does the woman worshiper do this kind of thing? Simple. He both (a) overstates the benefits of the presence of women in his life and (b) dramatically overstates the fearful consequences of a reality in which women are totally absent from one's life (usually because his soul is EMPTY of beauty or GOOD or self-respect). He also totally discounts the non-trivial benefits of living alone, including the infinite freedom this state provides (a single man can- without any penalty or consequence- repetitively BLAST a particular Eminem song 50-100 times per day, pass gas in his bed in the middle of the night, leave one's underwear on the kitchen table, eat breakfast at McDonald's every day, ride his bike or run at any time of the day, read a book for hours without a single distraction, take spur-of-the moment vacations to Vegas or Palm Springs at any time, do the laundry approximately once every three months, leave the refrigerator empty of any food whatsoever except protein bars, cheese, and bread, get dressed and leave the house in about 5 minutes, leave the car in a total state of disarray, and so on). To the woman worshiper, the presence of women in one's life is nearly as important as water and shelter is to the rest of us. This is pure mind-made falsity: "For which reason injustice is excess and defect, because it is productive of excess and defect- in one's own case excess of what is in its own nature useful and defect of what is hurtful..." (Aristotle)

(5) To keep the supply of women amply flowing at all times, the woman worshiper must often ignore, repress, and sacrifice the truth, his authentic personality, and often his bank account. He will agree with nearly everything a woman says, any opinion she has no matter how false or banal it may be. He will compliment her for character traits she doesn't possess at all. He will show enthusiasm and attention for everything she says, even though third parties would be put to sleep upon hearing most of these banalities: "She's gruesomely ignorant, I must say, and sometimes one doesn't know where to look when she's babbling on like that." (Mann, Magic Mountain) He will hide important details of his private life and behavior for fear that such disclosures may "ruin his chances." He will do anything she asks, from loaning money to running favors around town to doing research on her behalf. He will agree to meeting her at any time and place, no matter how inconvenient these may be. Even when he has realized all of the many vices of a woman's character, he will still "stick with her" provided he has no one else "in the hopper."

(6) A woman treated in this way will come to see a particular man (and over time, men in general) as simply her servant and lackey, AND NOT HER EQUAL. The woman worshiper will not be truly respected, taken seriously. He will be used and then summarily disposed in favor of the "new" "fresher" woman worshiper: "for the most part a man without frame and content...Consequently, also nothing for women, IN PARENTHESI." (Nietzsche, BGE)

(7) It should be obvious that men need not "worship" women to be decent romantic partners (or vice versa): (a) "we credit men with practical wisdom in some particular respect when they have calculated well with a view to some good end." & (b) "good action and its opposite cannot exist without a combination of intellect and character." & (c) "for if good condition is known, bad condition also becomes known." & (d) "Just acts occur between people who participate in things good in themselves..." (all Aristotle) When warranted, interest in what a woman is saying can be shown ("Damn baby girl, what's your name? I forgot, what did you say it was?" Snoop Dog, Bitch Please II); when deserved, compliments can be given; where reasonable, favors may be done; discretion may warrant one being careful about one discloses in the early stages of a relationship; here and there, one may need to drive farther than the woman to meet her somewhere "inconvenient."

The lover of GOOD will pursue women without this sort of worshiping behavior. He will almost always be bested by male competitors that DO worship. And he will find that women who do not want (or have not been habituated) to be worshiped are very few and far between. All in all, the lover of GOOD will perhaps be presented with one genuine romantic opportunity every decade or so. So be it: "things of the highest value must have a different origin, an origin of THEIR own- in this transitory, seductive, illusory, paltry world, in this turmoil of delusion and cupidity, they cannot have their source." (Nietzsche, BGE)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Play & Amusement (Philosophy, Part 8; Reich, Greening of America): "Cultural life shall include anything produced and prescribed by the machine..."

Work cited: Charles A. Reich, Greening of America

"Cultural life shall include anything produced and prescribed by the machine..." Reich, Greening of America

"Many people in our society deplore its neon culture. But in truth the possibilities for a real culture are greater today than they have ever been before. There are so many materials to work with." Reich, Greening of America

"In a very real sense, it is misleading to give a name to the new consciousness, such as Consciousness III for almost by definition the new consciousness will always be growing and changing. If it is static, it will suffer the same obsolescence as Consciousness I and II, and even more speedily. So we must look forward to Consciousness IV, V, VI, and so forth..." Reich, Greening of America

"An individual need not accept the pattern that society has formed for him but may make his own choice." Reich, Greening of America

"Consciousness III feels a need for personal responsibility and involvement that is not satisfied by watching the accepted procedures grind their usual dead end." Reich, Greening of America

(1) To serve the GOOD, play must actually release us from the requirements and drudgeries of everyday living: "On the job, most of what happens is sterile, impersonal, empty of experience...his job is increasingly frustrating, artificial and purposeless." (Reich) When play activities become just another regular routine, mechanized, programmed, the activity no longer can be considered play.

(2) Every society and nation has 3-4 accepted default play options. These come and go over time (horse racing was one a generation ago but no longer) but- when dominant- they represent overwhelming tendencies governing human behavior becoming increasingly difficult to liberate oneself from. These default play options can be for the GOOD (if meditation ever becomes as popular as drinking then this would be an example), but tend not to be, representing a simple hodge-podge activity that has gained favor at some point for one reason or another unrelated to the requirements of GOOD.

If the nation or society lacks intelligent critical self-reflexivity (like 99.9% of human societies) it becomes like a farm or factory producing the same few default play options ad nauseam, well beyond their usefulness/GOODness. In short order, all or nearly all forget why they continue to engage in/prefer the default play option over something else (fishing) that may generate more meaning, beauty, release from drudgery and duty: "But perhaps a man is the kind of man not to take care. Still they are themselves by their slack lives responsible for becoming men of that kind..." (Aristotle, Ethics)

(3) Currently, the default play option overwhelmingly in favor is captured by the following formula:

play= neighborhood bar * standard appetizers/beer/alcohol * meaningless regular season professional sports games displayed on 4-5 HDTVs * cell phone distractions and picture taking * top 40 non-controversial music blasted at a volume making conversation difficult (or not worth the effort) * when top 40 music volume is low, playful discussion of non-controversial subjects and gossip * canned laughter and enthusiasm at all times

The habitual complaisance with respect to all objects and experiences, the radiant and impartial hospitality which he receives everything that comes his way, his habit of inconsiderate good-nature, of dangerous indifference as to Yea and Nay
(Nietzsche, BGE)

(3) Like any default play option, this is not a bad formula for a good time the first 10, 20, or 30 times one experiences this. But beyond that, it becomes experienced as another routine one must get through, one more piece of life's drudgery. By the time most adults have reached 50 or so they have endured this formula some several hundred times or more, thusly moving this activity out of play: "but though we control the beginning of our states of character, the gradual progress is not obvious, any more than it is in illnesses." (Aristotle, Ethics)

(4) Returning to our default formula presented in #3, each one of the variables can and should be exchanged to enhance the play experience or even to maintain the experience as play. Substitute ethnic cuisine for repetitive wine and cheese options; substitute a meritorious documentary or movie for the meaningless regular season baseball game; substitute people engaged in the moment and each other for the cell phone distractions and picture taking; substitute meritorious music no one has likely ever heard (there are many millions of such songs out there) for the same top 40 stuff we all endure (ahem..."Safe and sound, safe and sound, hold your ground, safe and sound"); substitute the local arboretum for the neighborhood bar; substitute a discussion of what each person in the group is currently excited or passionate about to the discussion of trivial banalities; substitute rare but explosive genuine laughter and enthusiasm for "all the time ON" appropriately tepid canned laughter or enthusiasm or interest; and so on.

(5) As an aside, the mixing of work and play is a pretty bad idea. Play activities sponsored through work are stifled by everyone being on guard not to say or do anything that would "embarrass" one in front of superiors or colleagues. One works with work peeps, with whom one better remain generally inauthentic and fake at all times (if one has the "goal" of remaining employed): "he must trim his sails, be prudent, please those in authority, avoid experimentation and trouble, and try to force his individuality into the rigid mold of 'good character.'" (Reich) One plays with real people, with whom one always remains authentic, natural, and real: "I have ever loved to repose myself, whether sitting or lying, with my heels as high or higher than my seat." (Montaigne, Essays)

(6) Any formula for play must be continually refined in one or more ways IF THE GOAL is to actually attain MORE GOOD from play. This results in an elementary law of GOOD (GOOD LAW #1). Constant activities or constant values or constant thoughts can only produce constant GOOD, whether that GOOD is at a zero, low, medium, or high level. For example, cycling is a fantastic play activity but if one cycles the same neighborhood route day after day it becomes just another tedious routine to be dutifully executed. Gardening is also grand but if one never plants a new plant or never attempts different gardening strategies, the activity also becomes rote.

(7) Play is often viewed as throw-away virtue, one anyone with a hobby can "do" if they have free time. This view is total error. Anyone can "do" play but not in a way that continually generates more GOOD: "It is not the case, then, with all the virtues that the excercise of them is pleasant, except in so far as it reaches its end." (Aristotle, Ethics

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Love (Kamran K; Part 1 of 3): An "Intelligent" Species???

"I'm like a head trip to listen to cuz I'm only giving you things you joke about with your friends inside your living room the only difference is I got the balls to say it in front of y'all and I don't gotta be false or sugar coat it at all...." Eminem, The Real Slim Shady

"Give me the mike, let me recite...what in the world gives me the right to say what I like? [Kamran K: The First Amendment.] and walk around flippin the bird...I just want you all to notice me and people to see that somewhere deep down is a decent human being in me it just can't be found so the reason you've been seeing this me is because this is me now the recent dude is being this mean...Want me to tone it down?..." Eminem, Bitch Please II

(1) Man's purported "intelligence" can be deeply questioned when one evaluates the species' behavioral patterns and attitudes in matters of love.

(2) A truly intelligent species would constantly evaluate and re-evaluate the best means to get the maximum number of species members from point A (single and alone- see "Pugsy" above) to point B (in love, happily, romantically flourishing). Means that were not working would be discarded, those serving zero purpose would be thrashed. Beliefs and practices that were stupid impediments to the process of two compatible persons getting together would also be gutted.

(3) From this perspective, man's behavioral system dealing with love is perhaps the stupidest possible system imaginable. Even if one tried, it is almost impossible to conceive a stupider system.

(4) Consider the following insanely stupid, depressing, but still comic dating realities:
  • At its best, love is the romantic pairing of two persons over decades of life. This OBVIOUSLY requires significant desire and "intent" for two persons to be around each other, delight in each other's company, and just simply explore things together. While only time will tell whether any two persons are capable of such an achievement, an initial strong interest of one person in the other is a great positive indication that such a thing may be possible. BUT YET- time after time- such a strong direct plainly stated initial interest is interpreted negatively, arouses fear and suspicion and thoughts that the person is somehow "desperate" "too easy" or whatever: "here again, fear is the mother of morals." (Nietzsche, BGE) What is preferred is someone that plays "hard to get," does not communicate directly, is mysterious as to his/her true intentions, seems to have many available options. This is stupid. These last are the very traits of character that doom most relationships.
  • Any sane adult recognizes how difficult it is to locate someone that will genuinely spark one's romantic enthusiasm for months or years. When we want to purchase a can of Red Bull we can go anywhere and get one immediately; this is not at all the case with romance in which compatible romantic partners are exceedingly rare hidden-gem treasures to be found one can't know (in advance) where. Given this pronounced difficulty, one would obviously not LIMIT the potential pool of romantic candidates through such devices as racism, classism, nationalism, religion, 'white-collar ism,' ("I don't date waitresses") or even things like someone's height, educational degrees earned, and so on. BUT YET we see everywhere communities of all sorts inbreeding and rigidly applying such romantic "screens," thusly reinforcing the sameness of the community over time, creating an ever greater detour from the organic natural development of our ONE species, and limiting everyone in the community's shot at finding supreme and grand LOVE. Each generation becomes just like the last, wanting the same things, looking the same, and viewing the world through the same trite values and attitudes.
         Information is now streaming in to support our last statement (in a recent study, Columbia University researchers found that women "of all races exhibit strong same-race preferences"("we may well have considerable doubt as to whether woman really DESIRES enlightenment about herself..." Nietzsche) while men exhibit no such preferences; the same study found that random matching of persons would produce 44% interracial marriages whereas- in actuality- only 4% of US marriages are interracial). This we will place in a new category, GARBAGE & PATHETIC realities.
  • We live in an age of purported gender equality. In romantic relations, this would mean that women and men should equally share the burden of making the initial romantic approach and dealing with the most likely outcome (a blow-off rejection, sometimes polite and sometimes not): "We try to do things in the world and just about every time we fail." (Alexander Nehamas November 2010). Women should approach men they are interested in half the time; and men should approach women they are interested in half the time. BUT YET-time after time- the man is expected to approach the women 100% of the time. In many communities, a woman approaching a man would be viewed as somehow doing something "improper" or worse. Women now spend upwards of 12 hours per week worrying about their appearance (skin, hair, weight, curves, clothes). It is a bipolar existence in which women literally look totally different Saturday night (decked out with several pounds of make-up) as compared to Sunday afternoon. Still, women will not spend one minute initiating a conversation with a man they are clearly interested in because somehow this is not "their job." They will go so far as to make eye-contact with this guy for an extended period but still will not take the simple step of initiating conversation: "And how did it end, this clash between the forces of chastity and love?...It ended to all appearances with the triumph of chastity." (Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain) This is insane and plainly INCONSISTENT with gender equality!
  • Women today prize men that are sexy, social, and sensitive (easy slogan: "IM A SEXY SOCIAL SENSITIVE MAN.") These are the things women really look for in men (intelligence is NOT valued unless it generates $. Even then the $ is valued and not the intelligence that produced it.). If one lacks these qualities, one is usually placed in the friend camp and will receive the "I think you are an amazing awesome guy BUT..." trite formula. Now...what do we mean by this strange three S formula? By sexy, what is meant is that one is trim, tall, toned, and wears tight $200+ dollar jeans and some bizarre designer hat projecting incoherent phrases onto the world. By social, what is meant is that one drinks regularly in large crowds of people and can interject largely inane jokes and comments at appropriate junctures to keep the group sufficiently jolly. By sensitive, what is meant is that one can fake listening with total attention to long-winded stories that would immediately put the average non-romantically involved third-party to sleep. It is imperative that one simply sit there and listen and perhaps here and there interject an "oh that sucks, that's terrible." Should one respond substantively with anything but these formulas, a single word improperly expressed could brand one as insensitive and ripe for immediate romantic disposal (or placement in the "friend" camp, same deal). 
  • Yet IN ADDITION to desiring a sexy, social, and sensitive man, women also want men that have "good careers" "high-paying jobs" that are "financially secure" and can "provide" for them: "It is the age of masses: they lie on their belly before everything that is massive." (Nietzsche, BGE) For men to get these things, they must usually work long and hard in an office somewhere, doing largely repetitive tasks. It should be obvious that this type of working activity tends to make one LESS sexy and  physically fit, LESS social, and LESS sensitive (particularly if the profession encourages money worship, a diligent "work ethic," and, let's be frank, which one today doesn't): "the modern, noisy, time-engrossing, conceited, foolishly proud laboriousness." (Nietzsche, BGE). This obvious point is lost on most women who then discover their husbands- night after night- sleeping on the couch, beer in hand, with the March Madness game on the Tube and punting important conversations to "the weekend."
  • Single women hardly ever go out alone. They prefer to go out in groups of three or four other women. They tend to gather around in a tight ring-like impenetrable circle and talk to each other incessantly. One subject that is being discussed in these groups is the difficulty of meeting "decent guys." It should again be obvious that a single man will not want to break into a group of 3-5 women and interrupt the conversation to speak to any single member of the group. This is insane.
  • Women increasingly complain of men that only seek casual physical encounters. (Women, of course, are only interested in men for their soul, mind, and personality! wtf!) This complaint is usually made to men that have no such intentions. In making this complaint so frequently, men are made to feel that there is something wrong with the physical aspects of love, that this activity is dirty and should not be discussed on a date: "I guess there is a slim shady in all of us, fuck it, let's all stand up." (Eminem, The Real Slim Shady) Men with no such intentions are emotionally cheapened by association with such men. What would a lady think if a man began a date by suddenly announcing that he had no interest in a women that was a "gold digger"?
  • Both genders increasingly seek out a partner that is perfect, the "total package." (men tend to do this less as they prize physical beauty well above other qualities) This is mainly because the Internet and other technologies have exploded the potential number of persons one can SUPERFICALLY evaluate as a romantic match (we both love horseback riding, thus we are compatible). Even as year after year goes by without "discovery" of that "special perfect person," many still have "faith" that if they simply go on one more date, look at one more dating profile, sign up for one more networking or meetup event, or visit one more hip club or bar the perfect person will magically fall into their lap. We should pardon only children for viewing the world in these simplistic ways.  
(5) Our reflections continue to drift toward the pessimistic zone. But this feels right, feels warranted, feels true to a sober-minded evaluation of present-day human reality. It is no critique of these ideas to deem them "pessimistic." Wisdom's role is to place us in a mental position such that we can accurately survey human reality and then act intelligently with it. At certain junctures of spacetime, this mental position will be positive; and, at others, it will be rather negative.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Passion (Philosophy, Part 7; Aristotle, Ethics): Rare but resplendent.

Work cited: Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics

"I got the love in the music I got soul in the music I got the love in the music I got soul in the music I got the love in the music I got soul in the music getting deep in the mix, all night, I got house music fever..." Deepswing, In the Music

"Those evening bells! those evening bells! How many a tale their music tells of youth and home, and that sweet time when I last heard their soothing chime. Those joyous hours are passed away; and many a heart that then was gay...." Mark Twain, a rare poem

(1) A strange brew of factors is causing humanity to engage in an endless trite "all the time ON" social parade of non-real non-genuine fake emotion, mainly of the enthusiastic "that's so cool/neat/awesome, you are so interesting, tell me more about X, Y, or Z variety": (a) "Now virtue is concerned with passions and actions, in which excess is a form of failure..." (Aristotle). The causes for this unfortunate reality are many and we have discussed some of them: capitalism's demand to "please the customer," modern disdain for pessimism and all forms of rudeness, the ever-increasing imperative that one continually grow one's social popularity and be viewed as a fun, funny, sexy, POSITIVE, cool man or women (even if there is nothing sexy, fun, funny, or cool about one!), the preposterously banal and useless liberal notion that one must be "open to" and "fascinated by" nearly all forms of human behavior and persons (and if one is not so disposed, then there is something wrong with one!), and so on. This "all the time ON" fake emotion is truly a strange reality once one steps back and surveys the situation for a brief moment:

A man may be ignorant, then, of who he is, what he is doing, what or whom he is acting on, and sometimes also what he is doing it with, and to what end, and how he is doing it....

As an aside, we note here that the prevailing cultural ideal of manliness could be summarized very briefly as "IM A SEXY SOCIAL SENSITIVE MAN." Incidentally, this could explain the blog writer's spectacular difficulty in the LA dating scene, given that he is neither sexy, social, nor sensitive and- to top it all off- is short!:) (should we also add here our foreign ethnicity and balding head? why not :)! Self-knowledge is brutally earned indeed. And now, back to our main show...

(2) The lover of GOOD will not engage in the behavior discussed above. He or she will not display fake emotion, enthusiasm or passion whatsoever, reserving his emotion, enthusiasm or passion for rare but resplendent moments:

For each state of character has its own ideas of the noble and the pleasant, and perhaps the good man differs from others most by seeing the truth in each class of things, being as it were the norm and measure of them. 

If he or she rightly finds some human behavior, event, or story unremarkable, uninteresting, dull, repetitive, or- even simpler- not worth admiring or gushing about, he or she will stand unmoved (silent and with totally neutral facial expression) and not display any passion for this reality. This will be the correct response in at least 95% of situations one faces in everyday life. This is a perfected habit to be cultivated: "Now not to know that it is from the exercise of activities on particular objects that states of character are produced is the mark of a thoroughly senseless person..." (Aristotle).

(3) The events of an average day don't tend to present very many opportunities worth getting overly passionate or excited about. Excluding the emotion of boredom and assuming we are dealing with a sane healthy person (not a bipolar one), what emotional material is involved in one's average commute, daily responsibilities at the office, the food one eats on the way to 2000 daily calories, the bills one receives and pays on time, the largely repetitive reports and photos friends and family present us of their drab uneventful lives, and so on. There is simply NOTHING here for one to get passionate about in a positive sense (boredom is usually the only correct emotional reaction to these things, with controlled indignation and pessimism at the state of total human reality also thrown into the mix).

(4) But the above does not mean NO opportunities present themselves for positive emotional displays. They are very rare but still exist, here and there: "for that which is the prize and end of virtue seems to be the best thing in the world, and something godlike and blessed." (Aristotle) If we live well and pursue the GOOD, most days do present perhaps 5-6 "things" that are truly beautiful, interesting, new in a GOOD sense, and worth being emotionally moved over in an affirmative sense. One hears 100 songs and three grip one, for whatever reason (examples: Eminem, If I Had; Deepswing In the Music); one meets 100 people and 2 or 3 are engaging, act in "non-programmed" natural ways; one visits 100 stores and 2 or 3 seem to actually care about providing you only with what you need (rather than what will make them a 'quick buck'); one visits 100 cities, and only 1 or 2 provide the perfected combination of year-round sunshine, social activity level, opportunities for repose, natural beauty, decent persons, modern comforts; one reads hundreds of passages of Plato and Aristotle and a minority of those passages represent LIFE TRUTHs; one plays10 to 15 different sports and only 2 or 3 really present a challenge such that one would want to endure years of training to master and perfect; and so on.

(5) This emotional movement need not be articulated to everyone in the world; it need not be articulated at all but simply experienced privately as emotions of delight, contentment, elation, wonder, and so on.