Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wisdom (Kamran K; Post 3 of 3): Concluding (for now) our critique of Science.

(1) All adults (25+) begin adult life within 1 or more caves. A cave is a mental condition whereby one can't identify, articulate, nor value through action the human GOOD and thereby chooses some non-GOOD thing as the guiding framework of one's life (either all of it or long stretches of it). Something is not a cave if one can easily discard the thought patterns and behaviors that flow from it.

(2) Someone entrapped within one or more caves is not a bad person; the cave condition is usually caused by the adoption of misguided "peer group" values, neglectful and otherwise poor parenting, and/or tragedies and other unfortunate events one was not fully responsible for. Although each person's caves are slightly different, there are some very common caves humanity has created for "shelter." (the cave provides shelter by GREATLY reducing- indeed eliminating- one's need to think and make choices among the infinite routes one could potentially take in LIFE). These include (a) money, woman, and sex worship, (b) belief in science as the pinnacle of human wisdom, and (c) any view of the world that places one at the center of it.

(3) Only the highest use of reason allows one to correctly identify all of one's caves and then realistically implement a path out of each cave: "And because you've seen the truth about fine, just, and good things, you'll know each image for what it is and also that of which it is the image." (Plato, Republic) Many things are not caves and- even though they represent behaviors that are less than perfect- still should not be problematized. The key inquiry remains one's ability to discard the behavior and thoughts driving it upon some demonstration that the activity or thought pattern is terribly bad. If such a demonstration has been made to one and one still can't discard the belief or behavior then one is within a cave.

(4) Excluding a few branches of psychology, science is absolutely NOT the highest use of reason such that knowledge of IT would be sufficient to engage in the activity described in the first sentence of #3. Adopting Plato's view of the cave, man escapes the cave condition by EARNING some form of wisdom that permits him to see the GOOD as an intellectual form which then permits him to "return to life" and-for the first time- correctly value and pursue the most valuable human things:

In the knowable realm, the form of the good is the last thing to be seen, and it is reached only with difficulty. Once one has seen it, however, one must conclude that it is the cause of all that is correct and beautiful in anything.
(Plato, Republic)

In the usual case, this knowledge of the GOOD results in a radical shift/change in one's priorities, goals, career, personality, ways of interacting with other people and Nature, preferred hobbies and cultural entertainments, and so on. This knowledge of the GOOD is NOT such that one would have it but leave one's life in the same condition as it was before.

(5) It is now becoming painfully and irrefutably obvious that science can't serve this function of leading us to the GOOD. Cramming one's head with an infinite amount of Science- even ALL SCIENCE- would lead one no closer to the GOOD. It would literally leave one not one millimeter closer to identifying and getting out of various caves.

And so indeed let us make the simplest of observations here: at a time when scientific knowledge is surging out of control to all time highs, we have seen no improvement in a whole host of metrics that are closely tied to the GOOD. Friendships and marriages are languishing, addictions of all sorts proliferating, racism still "alive" particularly in romantic mate selection, drug and alcohol abuse still a serious problem, violence- particularly non-lethal and emotional in nature- being inflicted everywhere, depression a serious epidemic, and money, woman, and sex worship all serious problems. If science could lead man reliably to the GOOD, all of these things would've been either eliminated or greatly reduced by now. This hasn't happened. Science's pretensions of leading humanity to the GOOD is just that, a pretension.

(6) To buttress this point even further, consider the following two categories, GOOD and SCIENCE. The GOOD category is a series of very common important human GOOD questions and challenges. The SCIENCE category is a collection of various equally important fundamental scientific truths.

whether and how often to visit family and friends living in distant locales? what to do when there?
whether to initiate a romantic relationship with person X or terminate one with person Y?
whether to pursue money beyond what is needed for basic needs and- if so- what harm to one's physical health, happiness, social life, etc. one is willing to endure in exchange for more $?
how to appreciate new music and make it part of your life?
how involved one should be in community service/outreach activities in one's hometown?
how to deal with someone that has lied or mislead you?
how to strike a mature balance between optimism and pessimism toward future realities?

the observable universe is 46 billion light years in radius
an adult human body has 37 trillion cells
measurements by Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe have confirmed the universe is flat
the universe contains 68.3% dark energy
the universe is home to some 300 sextillion stars
gravity has an infinite range and is always attractive, never repulsive
gravitational force is mediated by a massless spin-2 particle called a gravitron

(7) The above categories demonstrate that human GOOD and science are not even on the same wavelength. There is no bridge between them. The stuff deemed important scientific truths is utterly and totally worthless in providing guidance on any of the issues listed in the category of the GOOD. This is a huge defect of science as the issues listed in the GOOD category are the ones that actually influence how well or badly a person's day, week, month,  year, and or life goes. En summa, science is no tool to lift man out of one or more caves. In fact, its continued fetishization will produce only one more BIG cave.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Experienced Beauty (Kamran K; Post 2 of 3): Dig Deeper.

"Hated on by most these [dudes] with no cheese, no deals and no G's, 
No wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis
Mad at me cause I can finally afford to provide my family with groceries
Got a crib with a studio and it's all full of tracks
To add to the wall full of plaques
Hanging up in the office in back of my house like trophies...
You better bow down on both knees...
Who do you think brought you the oldies?
Eazy-E's, Ice Cubes, and D.O.C.'s
The Snoop D-O-double -G's...
Gave you a tape full of dope beats
To bomb when you stroll through in your hood...
So fuck y'all all of y'all
If y'all don't like me, blow me"
Dr. Dre, Forgot About Dre

"The real couch potatoes are the intellectuals who look at TV for a few hours once in their lifetime and think they know enough to criticize it, although in fact they don't know what to watch for and how to react to it." Alexander Nehamas, 1990

(1) The high/low (or similar elite/popular or refined/mass) culture distinction is worthless and should be quickly abandoned. The distinction usually hides various racist, social class, and educational degree prejudices that are GARBAGE. Many of us HUG dearly to the prejudice that ALL pop culture stars are stupid buffoons who just happened to get lucky and made millions. We usually think this because our own miserable lack of success ("no wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis" Dr. Dre) must not be interpreted as a real defect of character; so we then create a worldview in which those who achieve stratospheric success don't merit it and simply reflect the total absurdity of the world's ways.

(2) Most cultural products, whether categorized as elite/high or low/mass culture, are terribly bad. Why do we say this? What is typically categorized as low culture usually has the defect of simply pandering to lowest common denominators of culture (the desire for riches, sex, love, fame, competitive or violent conquest of others, common experiences of betrayal, grief, disappointment, and anger) in non-interesting repetitive ways that fail to ADVANCE our understanding of these desires and experiences. Popular action and adventure, horror, romantic, and even pornographic movies deliver the "goods" and the experiences sought; but they do so in a terribly formulaic way, almost every time. One leaves these experiences none the better in any sense.

(3) High or elite culture (e.g. philosophical journals, high-brow magazines and newspapers, operas, paintings in art galleries, symphonies, museums devoted to science) tends to be as bad because it misjudges reality, generates trivial truths (the half-life of a proton is...zzzz), considers problematic realities that are not in fact problematic, is concerned with questions it should not even be concerned about, reinforces elitist prejudices of all sorts, has become outdated and no longer speaks to contemporary realities, and simply says nothing in a direct useful manner: "Nowdays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say but nothing comes out when they move their lips just a bunch of gibberish." (Eminem, Forgot about Dre)
(4) It appears humanity must produce thousands perhaps millions of cultural products to generate a few shining redeeming products. But so what? Who cares if there are lots of crappy cultural products out there? One simply needs to ignore these pathetic creations and move on. The key point: these shining redeeming products MAY be found in what is now considered low or popular culture; or they may be found in high culture. There is no tendency favoring one or the other.

(5) What is needed is thus an individual assessment of each generated product of high and low culture to determine what merit, if any, it has. Merit in this sense is always fundamentally rooted in the POWER AND FORCE (however generated) with which the cultural product allows us to gain a materially-different, meaningful, AND plausibly correct perspective on an old issue (note Dre's DIRECT EARNEST celebration of self-reliance and self-confidence in the lightning span of 13 devastating words..."So fuck y'all all of y'all If y'all don't like me blow me") or raises an entirely new issue that had been totally off our radar but which deserved to have been "there." (note Dre's understanding of the function of the artist in contemporary society..."Gave you a tape full of dope beats To bomb when you stroll through your hood").  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wisdom (Kamran K; Post 2 of 3): Continuing our NADA MUCHO Critique of "Science"

"I should perhaps form my opinions more, and not take everything just as it comes- he's right about that." Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain

"seriousness wasted on tasks that are remote from the task....forgetting oneself, misunderstanding oneself, making oneself smaller, narrower, mediocre, become reason itself." Nietzsche, Ecce Homo

"Science was a faith like any other, only worse and more obtuse than all the rest...the most dismal and vapid dogma anyone ever foisted on humanity...And there you had the central dogma of atheistic freethinkers and their pseudo-religion, which presumed to abolish the Book of Genesis and replace it with a stultifying fable of enlightened knowledge...The ether of space, that was exact, was it? The atom, that nice little mathematical joke, 'the smallest indivisible particle'- proved, was it? The theory of infinite space and time- that was definitely based on experience, was it? Indeed, with just a modicum of logic, one could achieve very amusing results from the dogma of infinite space and time- to wit: nothing." Thomas Mann, Magic Mountain

(1) We continue our critique of modern science (human biology, psychology, and medicine being exceptions as these prolong LIFE and improve its GOODness), the "truths" it generates, the type of reasoning it champions, the deceptive units of measurement it employs, the ends it is pursuing, and-increasingly- the arrogance with which it dubs its trivial finds to be "momentous truths." Unlike many previous critiques, this is not one rotted in religious beliefs or motivations.

(2) Consider, for example, the often-used misleading scientific unit of measurement, the LIGHT-YEAR. What the light year does is hide how INSANELY IRRELEVANTLY distant most stars, galaxies, etc. are from Earth. Perhaps this was done early on by scientists to make their work more relevant to the public, relevant in university settings, and so on. Be that as it may, one measly lightyear (for reference, the nearest star is 4 light years away) is some 6 TRILLION miles (try running 12 miles tomorrow and then evaluate what a trillion miles means). Traveling in a spaceship at 25,000 miles per hour, it would take humanity 10,000 years to travel a single light year. Hence, humanity is precluded from traveling a light year because none of us would live that long. Yet many of the discoveries of modern science relate to objects (notice we do not say "worlds"...see below) many thousands, millions, and even billions of light years away.

(3) Consider, further, that humanity made a huge push to land a man on the moon. The moon is some 186,000 miles from earth, one measly light second. So it bears emphasis that our species was barely able to travel one light second, with great effort and fanfare.

(4) Scientists the world over pride themselves on generating truths that are based on impartial observation, not requiring any faith or beliefs to accept, and daily discovering more truths of the wonders of Nature, from the subatomic level to the level of the entire universe or even multiverse. While this may be true, the truths being generated are almost always very trivial, irrelevant to our species' welfare, and utterly lacking in the ability to improve MIND's ability to make choices relating to human realities here on good ole Earth. There is literally an infinity of truth "out there," an infinity of physical and chemical equations describing "reality." Most of these are none of our business and they do not become our business through simple-minded appeals to the value of "knowledge for its own sake." Anyone that seriously argues that we should pursue knowledge for its own sake has simply not thought enough of what this means, the resources it would require, and what the payoff would be. Knowledge for its own sake requires us to use the precious resources of humanity to investigate what is occurring around stars trillions of miles from us. This seems inappropriate given that humanity as a species has still not solved the problem of hunger, various diseases, adultery, alcoholism, and so on. A species that has only finite resources and finite time must continually ensure its priorities are in order.

What scientific truths often amount to is some attempt to dazzle everyone with large numbers that no one can comprehend or truths that do not engage anyone: (a) "By their very nature, the sum of these nothings was not all that serious." & (b) "Life is primarily the oxidation of cell protein..." (both from Mann, Magic Mountain) & (c) "The size of the Universe is unknown; it may be infinite" (Wikipedia) & (d) "The present overall density of the Universe is very low, roughly 9.9 × 10−30 grams per cubic centimetre." (Wikipedia) The scientist confidentially reports the finding containing the large numbers, shakes his head in wonderment as to the immensity of it, and waits for the audience to be impressed by the scale of what was just presented: "Hans Castrop would tilt his head and nod as he listened to the man propagate his earth-saving ideas in flights of fevered eloquence..." (Thomas Mann). The sun produces this many billion watts of power every second; there are this many billion stars in our galaxy; there are this many billion galaxies in the universe; there are this many billion molecules in a glass of water; there are this many cells in your body. And so on.

By now, any reasonably intelligent person gets it: there is just a crapload of Nature molecules, particles, and mass objects out there, both on the macro and on the micro-level. How interesting is it to be continually reminded that the universe is very big, the subatomic world that we have never seen immensely complex and intricate, and so on? Nada mucho: "None of that was really serious; it said very little to Hans Castrop's spiritual needs." (Thomas Mann) These things are doing their THANG (seemingly perfectly, horray for us): "And he set it to turn in a circle, a single solitary universe, whose very excellence enables it to keep its own company without requiring anything else" (Plato, Timaeus); and we should focus on doing our THANG.

Further, how GOOD is it for human behavior, human motivation, and human ideas of self-creation and development that we are continually reminded that our world is simply one of many many billions perhaps trillions out there. Science is telling us that our position within reality is a total speck of dust, a total nothing: "we've been cheated out of it, just as we're cheated out of everything else in life." (Mann) We live on a very small planet, orbiting a medium size star in a ho-hum galaxy, one of billions in this universe (and perhaps billions more in other universes). How could anyone presented with this information really take his life seriously, or even the plight of the entire species or even the entire planet? These truths merely strengthen our already strong animal tendencies to have fun and seek out immediate pleasure because "all in all" we are "nothing" in the "grand scheme of things." Even our most majestic skyscrapers are like little ant and mole hills, science tells us.

(5) Scientists daily report their truths (example: the recent discovery of a purported planet some 450 light years away with a size and star similar to Earth and Sun) as "momentous discoveries." Is this not preposterous? Should humanity not be permitted some time to evaluate the discovery and determine whether it is actually momentous, merely important, or just plain trivial? In what other field (other than modern commercial advertising) can one get away with announcing that one's truth is momentous before anyone has evaluated it? What would a judge do if a lawyer barreled into court with this kind of proclamation?

(6) Scientists increasingly are obsessed with finding "life" on another planet, even if it is some unicellular bacteria creature that does nothing whatsoever. Why the obsession? Who gives a damn about the millions of species of bacteria that live here on Earth? Why is finding the same bacteria on Mars such a big deal? Or on some planet no one has ever heard of called Kepler-8232ksdf80234n98798234234jkhkshdfkjhkjhsdfkjsdhsdkf??? Why should the non-scientific give a rats ass about this kind of find?

(7) Science should proceed in areas that are reasonably calculated to improve the GOODness of human life for as many people as possible. In the areas of human biology and medicine, the payoff is clear and immediate. In other areas (astrophysics) the relationship breaks down quickly.

In a world where humanity had solved the Form of the GOOD and was acting in total conformance to it, there would be time for speculations as wild and strange as those modern science is now immersed in. Perhaps that day will come some couple hundred years from now, or in a couple million. But that day is not the present day for reasons obvious to anyone that reads the newspaper or watches the news at all.

(8) Science increasingly relies on computer animation to present its findings. These either take a huge macro or huge micro level view of some reality (from a cell to a planet as large as Jupiter). But these are computer animations! They are not strictly speaking true. The actual reality of these objects may not be nearly as interesting as the computer-animated shots. Indeed, one could imagine humanity landing on a distant planet, looking around, and "discovering" there is literally NOTHING there.

Thusly, it is misleading to label planets others than ours "worlds." A world is a place where there is LIFE, and that LIFE is interacting in interesting ways with other LIFE and changing its environment in the process:

Now when the Father who had begotten the universe observed it set in motion and alive, a thing that had come to be as a shrine for the everlasting gods, he was well-pleased and in his delight he thought of making it more like its model still.
(Plato, Timaeus)

All signs point to these other planets being barren desolate wastelands of rock, water, methane gas, or ice. There is no evidence that there is any life there, or- if there is- that life is doing anything other than what the simplest bacteria do here on earth (namely, nada mucho).

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 misery ALONGSIDE foolish/silly allusions that are usually only a wee bit better than the ones M helps us laugh at in IF I HAD: (a) "If the cultivation of the understanding consists in anything more than in another, it is surely in learning the ground of one's opinions." (Mill, On Liberty) & (b) "Men are not more zealous for truth than they often are for error..." (same)

(8) These reflections must terminate somewhere. And so they will end here: (a)"What is money? Money is what makes a man act funny." To prevent this habitual acting funny, we continue to embrace moderate poverty as the best path to human GOOD: "no deals and no Gs, no wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles and no skis" (Dr. Dre, Forget about Dre)

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

"Morality is not attacked, it is merely no longer in the picture."
Nietzsche, Dawn

(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 endless 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 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

"And so he lives, always surrendering rule over himself to whichever desire comes along...And when that is satisfied, he surrenders rule to another...And so he lives on, yielding day by day to the desire at hand...sometimes he goes in for physical training; at other times, he's idle and neglects everything; and sometimes he even occupies himself with what he takes to be philosophy. There's neither order nor necessity in his life, but he calls it pleasant, free, and blessedly happy, and he follows it for as long as he lives." Plato, Republic

(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): "In this city, there is no requirement to rule, even if you're capable of it, or again to be ruled if you don't want to be, or to be at war when the others are..." (Plato, Republic)

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, remain miserable and find no meaning in life (In a recent Gallup poll, 70 percent of American workers said they were not engaged with their jobs, or were actively disengaged.), 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)