Something of the Week

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modernphilosophy.org

Something of the Week: Dialecticism

Hi there,

Goal: Explain how society functions ideologically

Today I met up with a girl who's really into astrology. She describes herself as spiritual, and she's fully committed to the whole "energy healing" and asking the Universe to "manifest" certain realities. If it wasn't apparent already, just replace "energy healing" with Sunday mass and the "manifestations" as prayer. Nietzsche, who proclaimed "God is dead," may have put a knife into Christianity, but not to spirituality, and we have a second season of a generation of people coping against a purely objective reality.

So what's the problem? Why do people go to varied forms of delusional thinking? Why do people think God exists when clearly God doesn't and why do people believe in horoscopes when clearly they are just a glorified form of false fortune-telling? But actually, this is the completely wrong frame to approach the problem from. A problem implies that how things are functioning are not intended to be as they are functioning. What if this is how society is supposed to function? Well, then, you don't have a problem anymore, you have philosophy.

As I was walking around with my friend, I asked her if she knew when astrology started, to which she said, "it doesn't matter to me, it exists," so when I got home and looked up when astrology began, I began laughing in hysteria when I found out that it actually started with the Greeks. That is, my favorite trio, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Astrology, the whole 12 houses, and all the signs: they were inventions of the Greeks, and all of a sudden, everything made sense to me. I'll explain.

What's important is that Western philosophy began with the Greeks, and therefore our written history begins with the trio, their invisible hand still playing a role in our technologically savvy world today. The trio, in pursuing dialecticism began to question life and in doing so, really began the first pursuit of "scientific" thinking. If things were straightforward before the trio, then after them, everything was to be questioned because that's what dialectic does: it questions (with a heap of irony) the nature and existence of what is. You'll have to read some of Plato's works to get a feel, but a lot of our behaviors today fall in line with how Plato portrays Socrates and how he communicates with other people.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are known for their fight against sophistry for dialecticism which is primarily a form of seeking truth by splitting things into categories or making boxes around certain phenomena. When I categorize different foods into groups, that's dialecticism at work. In fact, when I consider some things to be foods and other things not to be foods, that's also dialecticism. When we think in terms of "mind" and "matter", that's dialecticism. There used to exist a time when we didn't have all these discrete categories, these containers, or words for everything. The world used to just be the world, and that was about it.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle won the war against sophistry, so we live in a technological world that is built off dialecticism; off "reason", but metaconceptually "reason" is a part of that dialecticism: meaning, for someone or something to be reasonable, it requires something else to be unreasonable, we have to split something into a reasonable versus an unresonable category: hence, the dialecticism. But what happens when I try to define "reason", by itself without using an antithesis, the best I can arrive at is a seemingly innocuous phrase that actually explains everything: "reason is common sense," or how I interpret it, "status quo." In other words... reason = status quo, which, if we're to look at the state of the status quo, is not reasonable at all.

If we understand that inherent contradiction, then we actually already understand what dialecticism is. It's a methodology of irony and contradiction, but it also happens to be what schools teach kids. It's no wonder nothing is straightforward in our world and everything and everyone is sarcastic or ironic or backwards: this also explains why most of our thoughts are cyclical —our thoughts are primarily trained through education, and education indoctrinates with dialecticism, so the hardware of our brain (consciousness) is running a software called "dialecticism" that's good at some things and bad at other things, and that's where faith comes in.

Some people have realized the problems with dialecticism without knowing its roots, but as a human, not wanting to deal with cyclical and painful thoughts that always contradict, they end up embracing some form of "non-thinking" practice. This can take the form of religion or spirituality essentially; which is akin to shutting down the software while trying to keep the hardware online. Faith-based practices are ways of coping with dialecticism, while remaining dialectic on the whole of society, so we arrive at our original question again: why do people turn to things like horoscopes and astrology? What is their role in society?

When I was thinking about it, it became evident that this concept I'd learned a while back was relevant: prostitutes are an important role in a society, they act as a sort of sewer system for sexual immorality, keeping the town or city or whatever clean by taking in the filth of sexual urges. In other words, prostitutes, even though they are shamed by society, fulfill a very important function in society. They help sexually frustrated men subliminate their urges into something that isn't destructive, which, is good for society, since all destruction in a society is bad.

TANGENT: So when people repeat the idea that all creativity is also "destructive", and you ask, why is that? You'll generally get confused looks. Creativity is not destructive; it's creative, but "society" wants you to think its destructive because then it becomes a good way to subliminate your bad impulses into something good. Good in terms of society just means peaceful, which, creating art, is about as peaceful as it gets. The artist is a highly respected role in society because they do nothing abrasive, and the model citizen in society's eyes is someone who does nothing because that's what makes for the most harmonious society.

Back to the prostitutes —another relevant idea I learned a while back is that young kids divided into two camps at some camping retreat will tend to begin "wars" and "fights" against each other. The only way to stop the aggression between the two camps is to introduce a third camp that the two other camps can band together and fight against. If we're thinking in terms of society, what we get is the idea that prostitutes form an "out-group" that makes the "in-group" closer and less likely to fight because there is an outside group that is more worthwhile to fight. Hitler understood this idea well: to unite Germany he set the nation against the Jews, and it worked.

So how is this relevant to astrology?

TANGENT: Prostitution is no longer a huge issue because we have porn, so sexual urges have been subliminated relatively well by society: recent studies show we're having less sex than ever, which probably means people are seeking it less, which probably means that desire has lessened, i.e. subliminated. So society has coddled one of our animal instincts, but we have more: like the desire for competition.

As I was walking with astrology girl, she mentioned how she wasn't really a competitive person; the only person she likes to compete with is herself, and this is very good for society since less competitive people are more harmonious, which is, if you were society, you would want. However, our urge for competition is pretty mainstream: getting into a good college, getting a job, watching sports, these are subliminated methods of competition; indirect competition essentially —they kind of fulfill our desire for competition, but not always, not for everyone, and society has to attempt to fulfill and subliminate desires and urges for as many people as possible as much as possible.

As sexual urges decrease, we compete less in the tangible realm of sexuality, but we have new urges that come to the forefront, recently: to be successful (a king, famous) or intelligent (a prodigy, genius). So if sexual urges are subliminated into the prostitute, then competition urges can be subliminated into the astrology group: that is, people outside the astrology can feel they are more successful and more intelligent than the people in that group, and if you go online and read articles about "millenials turning to astrology", what you'll get is the sentiment of an adult talking to a child. The person writing the article generally points out two "facts": 1. astrology is not scientific, 2. millenials go to astrology because the future is uncertain and they want to be comforted. Well: number one maps to intelligence because "science" is our society's definition of the pinnacle of intelligence, and the capacity to face an unknown future and to "impact the world" to "save these scared children" maps to the second one which defines "being successful" for most people, helping others. The articles point out that the astrology group of millenials are not scientific and not capable of impacting the future, therefore, by comparison, "they", whomever reads the article, are better than them. Having declared a winner, competition urges are subliminated at the societal machine continues to churn.

Now, this reality doesn't run through most of our heads, just like how most of us do not go to prostitutes, but this dialectical split of an in-group and out-group is essential to society because provides the in-group cohesion as well as providing an example of what not to be, which, is easier to point to than to what to be. Previously, we walked in the opposite direction of prostitution and developed chaste girls, which is what took 18 centuries to overthrow. Girls have been ashamed of having sex for forever, and it's only in recent times that that shame has started to alleviate and girls are allowed to explore polygamous and open relationship arrangements with less stigma. Well, what's the opposite direction of astrology or learning your signs or reading horoscopes? What are we developing? Well, a hardcore rationality and "sound-logic" right? If astrology is not scientific, then we're pushing people towards scientific pursuits, technology, dialecticism.

In metaphysical terms, dialecticism splits the people in a society into the in-group and out-group, and then, after this split, declares the in-group as "good" and the out-group as "bad". Society takes advantage of the fact that most prostitutes are prostitutes simply because they don't have the capacity to work a normal job; it's out of desperation and wanting to live that brings them to prostitution. Similarly, society takes advantage of the fact that most girls into astrology just want to exist peacefully and not be told that they shouldn't be who they are. The concern is no longer material (lack of money), it's existential —a sensitive girl growing up in society learns that pretty much everything they do or say will offend or insult or hurt someone, which they can't stand because they want to be good, so they'll end up doing less and being careful about what they say, but then they'll be criticized for being introverted and awkward, which will hurt them more and eventually push them to a point of protest where they are "done with the world" and content to "just be myself", at which point they will escape into spirituality, which is the equivalent of a living death or finding peace within one's own isolated world away from humans. A girl trying to assimilate society's rules, but finding she can't "do it right" ends up looking at astrology and spirituality out of an emotional and mental necessity for belonging and companionship. Society benefits from this arrangement at the expense of the girl, similarly at the expense of the prostitute; society continues functioning appropriately because its sewer systems are working. The dialecticism that created our current society lives for another generation.

So, how to fix the ostracization of an out-group and make everyone happy? Philosophically, the current trend has been in finding "unification" in all things: Yin and Yang —not too hot, not too cold, but just right, Aristotle's golden mean: not deficient nor excess: we're trying to make the world feel more connected by thinking in these terms, eternal optimism is shining, acceptance of all things, love and peace. If we think a little harder though, we'll realize that we're trying to solve the problem with the methodlogy of the problem. That is, unification is still a dialectic theme, and dialecticism is the problem. You can't fix the ostracization of an out-group within society, society depends on that out-group. You can't make everyone happy, society depends on some people being unhappy to keep the peace between everyone else. A society built on language can't unify because language itself is dialectical, it always cuts, hence the root of dialecticism is dialect; which is a language specific to a specific social group: i.e. society. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle laugh from their graves and their eternal life in history (which is, an invention via language).

"History repeats itself." —No, dialecticism is a living contradiction. History connotates progression. A repeating history is a misnomer. Screw dialectic.

That Big List of Misnomers I promised you:

  • The "pursuit" of happiness (explained last week)
  • Existential "crisis" ("")
  • "Internal" value system ("")
  • "Platonic" love: tends to be behaviorially more romantic than "romantic" love. Platonic love is more romantic than romantic love since "romantic" love is primarily sexual ("love at first sight", "getting swept off your feet", etc.). Meaning, "romance", which is meant to connotate a form of idealism, happens in "platonic" love more than "romantic" love —since sexuality is more practical than ideal.
  • "in"trospection: an ant doesn't know what it means to be an ant; a human doesn't understand what it means to be a human. We think we can know ourselves, but fundamentally an object cannot perceive itself; our consciousness is a part of ourselves, so we can't logically perceive ourselves with our consciousness. Therefore, the ends of introspection which are meant to develop a better understanding of oneself is flawed; the only way to understand oneself is to "outro"spect; that is, get a mirror. Therefore the idea of "in"trospection is false.
  • Girls are "emotional", guys are "logical": outwardly its more acceptable for girls to express their emotions, so they do, but inwardly they have their thoughts, but tend not to share them. Outwardly it is more acceptable for a guy to talk about ideas and say whatever is on their mind, but inwardly they have their emotions, but tend not to share them. Girls are emotional and logical, guys are emotional and logical —only the surface expression is given weight and underlying it is a repression that makes it seem like girls are more emotional and guys are more logical.
  • Guys are attracted to "physical appearances", girls are attracted to "behavior": biologically speaking, since a guy can impregnate many girls, it makes less sense to be attracted to physical appearances and more sense to be attracted to behavior since that defines accessibility. Since girls can only be impregnated by a single male at a time, it makes sense that physical attractiveness (gene quality) matters more. Guys tend to be satisfied with a girlfriend that hits their threshold of attractiveness then call it a day, while girls generally vie for more and more attractive males until they feel they have hit the highest rung they can possibly perform at. This is hugely generalized, but look around at the serial monogamy of some girls, and this is the exact behavior you'll find, which can only constitute that a girl is more attracted to appearances than behavior.
  • Love is when you "challenge another person to grow".
  • Capitalism, supply and demand equates to "value": the most valuable resources: air, food, and water are consequently the cheapest; capitalism tends to invert value by proposing that "want" is more important than "need". Needs are cheap, therefore according to capitalism, unvaluable, whereas wants tend to be where most expenditure goes towards, making it seem that "want" is more valuable than need, which, is an obvious mistake.
  • "Think" outside the box: preferable to doing anything outside the box or unconventional. By "thinking" outside the box, a person becomes average since they do nothing different from the average person and only actions can define a hierarchy within society.
  • "No" offense, but... :a person trying to dodge responsibility for saying something that will be offensive.
  • Law of averages "fallacy" :learned in high school statistics, if I flip a coin 49 times and get heads everytime, then I'm bound to get tails the next time —this is correct, unfortunately, you'll likely forget the exact law and only remember the phrase "law of averages fallacy", which interpreted, sounds like the averaging out of things is a myth. One false step leads to the next which propels a person to consider themselves outside the average, destined for greatness, outside the norm: this is the fallacy, but is compelled by the belief in the law of averages "fallacy". We are within the norm, as a populace of people, the law of averages is not a fallacy, but truth.
  • Music "heals" you: music prevents you from having your own thoughts, that it can make a person feel more connected to the Universe is erroneous if everyone that is listening to music in public can't talk to anyone in their immediate vicinity. Music pulls us away from people into our own Universe while maintaining that the Universe is shared because its been copied across all the different people. The illusion of connection isn't the same as connection.
  • "Education": a system of indoctrination meant to make a person coexistable within that very system. The ideals of education are learning, but instead we're being indoctrinated: education is blind; the antithesis of learning. Learning happens through experience and education curtails all potential for experience in favor of rote memorization.
  • Shakespeare's "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players": if we're supposed to realize that we're all actors, then "Imposter" syndrome isn't a problem: we're all frauds because we're all actors. Either we're not actors or imposter syndrome is actually progressive: it's the first step to realizing that the acts we put on are fake and always contrived. Society teaches both as lessons, so it's likely that we're not actors and acknowledging imposter syndrome as a good thing is progressive. In other words, the best actor doesn't believe they are acting: that's why imposter syndrome is a bad thing. A real person will be conflicted internally from their external appearance because they cannot perceive themselves as others perceive them: "imposter" syndrome here is really being a real person.
  • Follow your "passion": belief that attitude trumps the system is what society wants: to those who follow their passions are supposedly more satisified and also more ineffectual since the operations of the world happen at a systematic level. Following your passion is the best way to not accomplish anything, though society says this is the best way.
  • You choose your "purpose" and "meaning": purpose and meaning are antipodes. If you choose a purpose (goal), then things become meaningless. If you choose meaning (directionlessness), then things become purposeless. If you choose both, you get neither. A purpose, creates a destiny, which means that all meanings have already been assigned: there can be no interpretation, thus, no meaning, all acts move in a singular direction. Conversely if things have meaning, then it is through unexpected events and happenings that things can derive meaning; there has to be differences, which means there can be no singular endpoint that a person is heading towards: its a world of detours, the antithesis of a singular path to destiny and purpose.
  • "See you around": totally unrelated, I notice that when a person says this to me, I usually never see them again. Whereas if I hear, "goodbye" I'll tend to see them again. I wonder if the person themselves perceive this auditory tick.
  • Better to be "self-made" than to "inherit" money: inheriting money makes it easier to make money, why wouldn't a person leverage what they already have in favor of scourging for what they don't have? Society compels this myth so we waste more time. We derive pride from being "self-made", but no one cares except us. Better to use what you have than try to make what you don't have.
  • "If Hitler had gone to art school, maybe WWII wouldn't have happened" : why does society derive this lesson from WWII out of all the things that could have been derived? As mentioned above, artists are harmonious and therefore good for a society, society tries to shame parents into letting their kids go to art school and pursue their passion or otherwise fear the consequences that their kid is going to be the next Hitler... the game of telephone is powerful.
  • "It all starts with an idea": all startups can only move ideologically ahead very slightly because they have to appeal to a large enough in-group to sustain itself, anything vastly different won't appeal to enough people. Unique start-up ideas are generally falsifications: the set of ideas that a person can work on are already pre-selected, and its about the details and methodology that separates startups; if people believe that it's about the idea however, they'll spend more time doing nothing and being harmonious: good for society.
  • "It's all in your head, mindset, think positively": If things are going bad, just pretend they are good, kthxbye society out.
  • Compromise makes a good "relationship": good for society, not necessarily the two people in that relationship. i.e. good for everyone surrounding the relationship except for the people in it.
  • Love is the solution: ignore the practical realities of the world in favor of idealism that won't accomplish anything. Love, peace, and harmony: preach.
  • "You'll understand when you're older": live in ignorance for as long as possible.
  • "Life is not easy": get used to how things are; accept.

So, Just to Review (Big Picture)

  1. The problems in our current society can be traced to a root problem
  2. That root problem is dialecticism
  3. Dialecticism asks us to define things by opposition: good vs bad, light vs dark, you vs me
  4. At first, these juxtapositions appear to help with understanding, but digging a bit deeper, it leads us to contradictions because nothing can stand alone, so nothing has real substance —there are no static definitions anymore.
  5. The education system we have today is still teaching a form of dialecticism, actually, all education will continue teaching dialectic because language is essentially dialecticism itself.
  6. Therefore kids are indoctrinated into thinking in terms of contradictions without knowing it until they get older, but by that time they've already been thinking in contradictions for so long, it seems like a lost cause
  7. Either the kid finds work that follows contradictory thought patterns (males usually) or else finds solace in a faith-based or "non-thinking" based system (females usually).
  8. Ironically, on a large scale, society, which is concerned with keeping harmony and peace between people so it can continue to exist, benefits from this arrangement.
  9. It creates an in-group and an out-group, which makes the in-group more cohesive and gives the values to not follow for that in-group.
  10. No matter which group you're in, you still lose because you're still operating under a dialectical split when you choose either / or.
  11. So long as the two groups are at war with each other within society, society is safe from any truly destructive forces while having tangible ways to subliminate biological / destructive urges.
  12. Attempts to unify the in-group and out-group is also flawed since dialecticism has a concept of unification too. Looking at it another way: combining two concepts that have no substance creates no substance.
  13. Full circle: it would be accurate to say that the problem with society is society itself or at least the basis of how we've formed our current society.
  14. Society itself is the greatest myth —you can't actually unify people, it requires delusion, and we're delusional. But you also can't consider yourself alone; otherwise you've just made another dialectical split —the inherent confusingness of this piece is a profound dialecticism at play.
  15. If you look closely, you'll find all the "empty" phrases and contradictions I've noted in my big list; that's the problem with dialectic.

P.S.

A lot of people have throughout my life pushed me to writing: the more I think about it, I wonder if I even liked writing in the first place or if I only came to write because other people pushed me to write.

When I analyze my past in depth, I actually find that I have a profound lack of words. If I take the philosophy I have above and apply it to myself, what I get is society trying to tell me to do nothing because I'm dangerous when I do things.

It's kind of true: when I do things, I tend to cause trouble; a lot of trouble, more than most people probably. Even in the relative isolation that I'm living in right now, I'm still causing society trouble: I upset people, I do things I'm not supposed to, in other words, I am completely counterproductive to a harmonious society. The best way for society to subliminate my urges would be to have me write, it's completely solitary, which is the best place for someone who continually provokes people, but isn't doing anything overtly wrong, so that they would end up in jail...

But when reading the works of Jeal-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Leo Tolstoy it seems like they bought into this bargain and later regretted it. Those that didn't regret it, like Fyodor Dostoevsky, Karl Marx, and Marquis de Sade seemed to like society for one reason or the other: (Dostoevsky was Christian, Marx political, Marquis antithetical to society, a libertine). Those three form a nice triad of "positive", "neutral", and "negative" in relation to society. In writing philosophy, Dostoevsky, Marx, and Sade thought of a different society while living in that present society —they are primarily delusional. Sartre, Camus, and Tolstoy seem to in their older age understand their writing as delusion and begin to take a more active role in speaking and leading, akin to Hitler or Socrates, i.e. politics, whether in formal politics or simply talking to people in group settings. Also, Camus never made it to old-age, so really only Sartre and Tolstoy, but I assume Camus would have arrived at the same conclusions if he made it to old age; it seemed like he was close to that breakdown point of throwing away writing after writing The Rebel which, puts a lot of faith into the rebellion of the writer and creator, the artist, which is, of course, himself, but a person only puts faith into something that they have doubts about.

If one thing is clear to me is this: writing doesn't change anything, it only pays observance to what already exists, the status quo. The belief that writers impact and change the world is just another delusion that is useful for society to propel so it remains harmonious. Artists get a prestigious spot in society's ladder, but I don't want to play in society: I want to play with society.

Now replace "I" with "I", as in "you" in the third paragraph of this P.S. —and there you have why there are so many damn writers and journalers nowadays.

Happy Holidays!

modernphilosophy.org

Something of the Week: Virtue

Hi there,

Goal: Describe the problem with virtue

So, understanding nihilism (absence of virtue) can only come in tandem with understanding virtue (absence of nihilism): what is nihilism, what is virtue?

Although I can't provide an exact definition, I can talk about the consequences of each: if I follow nihilism to its complete ends, what I have is a philosophy that says, "everything is permissible because nothing matters"; if I follow virtue to its ends, I find that, "nothing is permissible because every action is wrong." The contradiction, is, of course, that the nihilist, while internally feeling that everything is valueless, affirms through his behavior that everything has value, since everything is permissible, therefore anything is worth doing, even if it "doesn't matter". While declaring futility, the nihilism affirms that actions have a meaning, this while nothing matters to the nihilist, his actions can be assigned values by others, and he escapes being a nihilist. The saint then arrives at the exact opposite fate: since the goal of virtue is to ease the burden of others, the saint will attempt to do right by others, and in doing so, find that all actions in relation to another person can always be declared wrong. Faced with this dilemma, the saint's only choice is to do nothing in order to, at a minimum, avoid doing wrong. The ending point is nihilism since only actions can be assigned a definite virtue and doing nothing amounts to valuing nothing.

The reason why this contradiction exists is because of the way we use language in our society: we confuse behavior with sentiment.

The "pursuit" of happiness: linguistically, is a sentiment that is meant to evoke a feeling of wanderlust and self-sufficiency essentially, but behaviorally, the "pursuit" of happiness doesn't make sense: the first rule of happiness is that it cannot be pursued, it must result as a byproduct. In pursuing happiness, we fail to obtain happiness, yet language seems to prescribe that its worthwhile to pursue happiness.

Existential "crisis": linguistically, again, meant to evoke the idea of questioning one's existence, philosophy, and life pathing. The contradiction, however, is that existentialism, the branch of philosophy associated with names like Nietzsche, Søren Kierkegaard, Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jeal-Paul Sartre are examples of people whom have solved the meaning and / or purpose of their existence. The existentialist philosophers are certain of their existence and their reasons for living, thus, to conflate them with "crises" is a misnomer: existentialism helps you overcome the sentiment of an existential crisis.

And the same contradiction applies to virtue: namely, "internal" value systems: the sentiment is to evoke a person who has a defined a set of right and wrong, who follows some way of behaving that is harmonious with what they believe. Values, however, cannot exist internally: they can only exist externally in the world of people and things —value is assigned to actions or creations, hence, air is valuable as it provides us the means to live as is hospitality valuable as it provides another person comfort and peace, but these exist outside of oneself, values cannot be possessed, so there are no internal values.

The result of these contradictions are people pursuing impossibilities without knowing it: mistaking the means for the proper ends, in essence: believing that because they've followed the sentiment correctly, that they'll also obtain the proper ends. The problem is that the ends are generally ignored or else not made clear enough. What does happiness actually look like? What does a firm rooting in the meaning and purpose of life look like? What does virtue look like? Are there images and pictures that come to mind? How do you know those are the right visions to be pursuing? Pursuing happiness doesn't make you happy, existential crises are not crises, having an internal value system does not make you virtuous —the contradictions arise because we confuse language for behavior, we try to rationalize dynamic ends into static processes. The solution is to move past language and work behaviorally.

When we move past codified virtues like honesty, compassion, love, harmony, communion, humility, etc, etc, is when we'll find true virtue. Static words cannot describe the dynamic end that virtues are supposed to have: creating win-win realities for as many people as possible. How often has honesty shafted over another person? How often has love been stifling? How often does harmony create boredom and unrest? How often is humility unwarranted? Dynamic virtues are the only way to obtain the proper ends: in other words, "everything is permissible."

modernphilosophy.org

Something of the Week: Video Game Habits

Hi there,

Goal: explain what "Regressive Habits" are.

Lately I've been playing a video game called Artifact that was just released by Valve about a week ago: it's an online card game modeled after DoTA 2 if anyone is familiar with that.

There's no expressed purpose in playing video games again, but the last time I did this (I went to Canada to play Overwatch), I actually found a lot of my psyche unfolding while I was playing. Overwatch is a 6v6 team game, and while I was playing, other players noted two things about me: 1. when I was in a good mood, I motivated the whole team and could be a good carry as well as inspiring other people to communicate and play better, but when I was in a bad mood, I would tilt (lose focus and begin performing worse) as well as get upset at my teammates so that everyone else would begin to tilt as well, and I was also good at this.

When I was taking my 36 hour Amtrak ride from Vancouver back to the States I thought about this a lot. My attitude really sucked, and I basically found the exact same behavior while I was doing anything else, non-video game related for the clubs I ran at UCLA back when I was in school, the same motif played itself out, inspiring to others on a good day, an absolute pain to deal with otherwise: though it was harder to pick up on because the circumstances that brought those behaviors out were harder to detect since life is more fluid.

Regardless, the connection between video games and real life for me can't be understated: I must have began playing on the Sega Genesis when I was relatively young, and my whole elementary to middle school to high school essentially boiled down to school, soccer / running, and video games. Since school was easy and physical exercise only took a few hours, the rest of the time really did go to video games, and I suppose the way I look at the world is in part a result of all the video gaming.

So, playing Artifact has also been revealing because the game is 1v1, so there's no team drama, it's just myself and the opponent, and therefore a lot of the behaviors that come out are also relevent to my romantic relationships (1v1), since: while I wouldn't consider a girl my opponent persay, I also don't go into relationships believing it's going to be all teamwork and roses, I'm used to focusing on my side and what I can do and not really considering the other person because that's the nature of any multiplayer video game: you don't have a long-term relationship with your opponent, its for that match, so it doesn't make sense to try to understand your opponents psyche in depth, you just play your strategy and try to adapt to "tell signs" that are relatively universal between opponents, then when the match is over you reset your brain and focus on the new match (also what I seem to do quite often).

As the state of the game changes, you adapt your tactics, but you're already locked into a strategy, so regardless of how things are really going, you stick to your general strategy to the end: that's part of the fun of the game; you adjust your strategy after the match is over, but during the match you're trying to see if the strategy even works, so you stick to it so you can test its reliability.

In terms of girls; I generally get a lot of similar results across a lot of different girls, supposedly because 1. I'm different enough that girls will react in more predictable ways since maybe its their first time encountering someone like me, 2. I keep the same strategy across all girls for testing purposes, 3. Only after all the results are in do I modify my strategy, and the cycle repeats.

Anyways —there's different gameplay modes in Artifact, and one of them is like this: you open virtual booster packs, create a deck, then play against opponents: if you win 5 times, you get a gold star essentially (it's called a "perfect run"), but you have to do that before you lose twice. In Artifact there's different cards that do different things, but there's (in the community) usually generally accepted practices and people like to follow the crowd and try to do what the pros are doing, which I do as well, but also like to try out my own strategies to see if I can discover anything new. Anyways, I ended up creating a deck that was very outside the norm, and I was also doing well with it, I was 4-0, which, I'll admit, made me slightly nervous because there was only 1 game I needed to win for a 5-0 finish which would have been pretty incredible with the deck I ran...

In that last game, there was a moment where I had to choose what cards I wanted to play and where, and in my brain, I suppose I knew where I was supposed to play them, but all of a sudden, I got this really intense urge in my brain to not do the conventionally accepted thing, and simply do something different: in my mind it sounded like this: "Fuck it, let's see what happens," though I wasn't really conscious of that while the game was playing, and I was only trying to make a rushed decision since the timer was running out and I had around 10 seconds left to decide what I was going to do: i.e. I slightly panicked.

After I committed to that move, my opponent kind of hesitated as if I could see him on the other side of the screen saying, "What? Did he really just... okay," and on my side of the screen, I watched as he played a card that caused me to lose that game, which meant I was 4-1.

When I arrived back at the home screen after the "defeat screen", I was actually appalled with myself. I felt very agitated, and my brain was going, "OMG, OMG, OMG," like I couldn't believe that I had just done that, and I was so upset, I clicked the "abandon series" button because I didn't even want to play the next match and try to finish it 5-1 (which is still considered a "perfect run" because you reached 5), but in a fit of impulsivity I clicked abandon, and stared at the home screen some more.

It dawned upon me that that little sequence of events, which occurred entirely in a video game, was essentially the problem I ran into with all my romantic relationships. I'm winning by my standards, then I lose somewhere, and instead of confronting that loss and continuing the relationship (either win or lose); I just abandon ship and call it off and mope, leaving the result in my mind undecided. The important part is the trigger: it comes in the form of, "Let's see what happens," which is revealing because if this is a habit of mine, it means I already know what happens: I lose.

Of course, this is just bread and butter psychoanalysis —it's obvious enough that I should have finished out the series, that I should have not went with a hail mary, "yolo", fuck it, why not, move, and that I should have simply done the accepted choice for once in my life and probably won as a result, but I think the key here is that this isn't something that can be consciously fought against since it's a "Regressive Habit" —meaning its a subconscious habit: it doesn't matter what my consciousness thinks, my consciousness is a part of it, and in the moment, I'll deceive myself every time.

This is a pattern that's lodged in my brain probably from my earlier experiences playing video games: because the cost of restarting and trying to get things perfect is worth it in video games since you can load back to a previous state and always try again; I treat people similarly, but of course, there's no convenient load and restart button in real life, so I tend to cycle through people quickly. There's also some perfectionist tendencies that compelled my behaviors, whatever. Blah blah. The real lever is still elsewhere.

Here's the thing: I essentially deceive myself when there are small uncertainties, and I make those small uncertainties bigger than they actually are to justify "rolling the dice". It's a form of gambling, which, I didn't think I did because I don't tend to go to casinos and find slot machines boring, but alas; I'm gambling, and gambling is essentially defined by the gambler knowing he's likely going to lose, but it feels really good when he wins. That's the whole point of gambling; or just wasting time, but I digress...

If I were to peer even deeper into myself, what would I find? Isn't dropping out of school a form of gambling? Most people lose, but it didn't bother me. When that didn't work (or when it did work, idk, I was doing pretty well actually), I gambled again and went to Canada. When that failed (but actually, I was really close to being a pro... so once again, abandoned right before?), it was only natural that I start gambling on women, and if it looks like it's going to be too certain, too likely to be a success, then it's not gambling, and it gets abandoned. Then finally, of course, is the "homeless" gambit I'm playing now: it's a big gamble, perhaps my biggest one yet, and ironically, it really could very well pay off: when the odds are against you, the payoff is always higher, at least society says that, and the lottery reflects that.

So the only thing left to consider, if I've appropriately figured out "my problem" is that society tries to fulfill the gambler's urge by creating casinos, but I don't like casinos, so I'm gambling with my life (future) instead. Is this wrong? I'm not sure it's wrong, but it definitely doesn't fit into society well —when people think of Elon using the last of his money to send his last rocket to space, they think of it as a gamble, but it worked. That is; isn't all creation, all creativity, all things worthwhile a gamble?

I'm not saying my gambling addiction has given me great outcomes, but it's also not entirely bad. It's led me to where I am now, which I wouldn't give away for anything. So I consider "regressive habits" to actually be progressive habits. Psychoanalysis tries to get people to overcome their childhood habits —I'd like to strengthen them, that's what comes naturally to me; it's the closest summation of a "who you are" even though that doesn't really exist; it's what you're inclined to do —I'm inclined to gamble, so I ought to be okay with that and find better ways to do it.

modernphilosophy.org

Something of the Week: Nihilism

Hi there,

Goal: Explore nothingness (thus everythingness)

In math, the concepts infinity and zero are some of the hardest to grasp, especially because they create all sorts of conundrums and exceptions, like asking what happens if you had x / 0 (undefined) or wondering what ∞ / ∞ is (undefined) —it should come at no surprise that these things are undefined via mathematics because mathematics is perhaps one of the first core "hard" sciences that evolved way back when the abacus was first invented and is therefore symptomatic of how humans think (more on this later). Math is considered technology and indeed even our hardware and software are comprised at the root level by 1's and 0's, without math, we would not have the modern inventions that have been built on top of it.

The thing to understand about math is that it reflects a way of seeing the world, math is an invention, therefore a theory, that helps us perceive and filter the world. We can't physically see gravity, but we can point to -9.8ft/s^2 as a simplistic model of gravity. Currency, money, is of course, only possible with finite numbers. Even social relationships can be modeled by math (game theory) so that it's evident there some real roots in how our brains work through the ideas of 1 + 1 or 2 / 2 or 3 - 3 and of course, 4 * 4. We can say that math developed perhaps as the first technological abstraction that allowed us to begin to exercise some control over the world by making things more certain —after all, 1 + 1 always equals 2.

For most of our use cases, math works great, and if we continually move up the hierarchy of technological innovation, we still find that it's always a "numbers game". Businesses try to push levers on economics, maybe making upfront investments in belief of future returns, the proletariat try to move up the corporate ladder and obtain higher salaries, friends spend time with each other, etc. Numbers everywhere.

Then there are those other two numbers (or concepts, since all numbers are just concepts) that we carefully push to the sides and ignore, ∞ and 0. I emphazise that numbers are just concepts because they don't actually exist. This is evidenced by the fact that the average high schooler learns what polymaths and math geniuses of the past used spend a lifetime on (because at that time it was still new). This means that the field of mathematics is continually expanding, and if a field can continually expand it means there is theory, and theory, is obviously not rooted in reality, but only tries to model certain realities.

Okay, so what's the point? The thing is: I've been exploring the concepts infinity and zero, and I find that they are a much more accurate estimation of what life is. We live in a relatively math and technologically driven world: we're given certainities, and math is the first technological certainty we've invented: make the connection —mathematical thinking is how the world operates, and yet, life is much closer to the concepts ∞ and zero: undefined.

Take for example the infinite possibilities a child that is first born can become. How can anyone quantify in mathematical terms what it means to be that child and that Mother and Father, not knowing the infinity of possibilities that still await that child? It's futile to attempt to bring that child down to one specific path, and yet, this is exactly what society tries to do —one major (or two if you wanna work for it), one job (or more, but in a specific field), a tried and true path: school, college, job, do whatever, die. Why try to bring a child who is undefined (∞) into a finite digit so early as if their life depended on it? It's the opposite: even as a person ages and their potentiality decreases in favor of actuality, that does not preclude that there is still potentiality, so that the idea that a life can be "finished" before it is actually finished and dead is to me a failure to understand that life does not consist in existing, it requires a level of undefined and that is life staring back at you.

Then we have the nothingness of flow; that state that people reach when they are doing without any sort of consciousness (thought), like an athlete in the zone who can react and move to stimulus without reflection, as if, automatically. A person who is someone while playing sports, who is finite, is not playing correctly, they are too in their heads, and the first piece of advice to athletes is always the same: play the game, don't overthink it, trust your gut, intuition, whatever. That requires egolessness, again, essentially, "losing sense of time"; that is, losing the concept of time, which is, yes, grounded in math. In other words, feeling that time is for once, equivalent to zero. Make the connection: keeping track of time requires understanding what finite numbers are, losing our sense of time means making numbers undefined, which is equivalent to ∞ or 0, of which 0 is a closer estimation since we don't feel things stretching into eternity when we play sports, we feel that time doesn't exist, and there is only the moment: we call the present now which is equivalent to 0 minutes because it is not later (1 minute) or earlier (-1 minute).

Math is opposed to life (or at least tangental) as far as ∞ and 0 and the exceptions they raise are not taken into account, we already know this intuitively: 9-5 jobs are soul-crushing, over-certianties breed ennui and restlessness, boredom is a result of always knowing the right answer too quickly. Therefore, we turn our attention to art which we feels encapsulates ∞ and 0 better than math can; we call this creativity, or what is emotional and subjective. Creativity and the art that comes from it is meant to give our lives a spark of uniqueness and differentness, to remove us from the humdrum reality of numbers into the land of the infinite and varied. Creation is taking a zero (nonsubstance concept) into reality (finite number). Art is supposed to liberate us from an ordered society, does it succeed in doing this?

The problem here is that art is not highly integrated into our lives; it at best fills an ancillary role and at worst is even detrimental to the very cause it seeks to fulfill. Leo Tolstoy says art is supposed to help improve solidarity between humans, that is, art is supposed to connect us and make us feel closer, not alone, and at first, it may seem that art does fulfill this function, until you realize that it fulfills this function in the same way an overdependence on cocaine might fulfill it. A person who relies on "art" (hint: entertainment) generally becomes more isolated from their peers because it takes that very person away from the waking reality they exist in into a different land. Watching a movie may bring an emotional payoff in the form of a subjective experience, but at the same time it's isolated from our real lives —when we leave the theater we also leave that experience behind with us, it has not changed us at all, even if we believe it has, especially if we believe it has. Then much social talk consists of talking about the shows we've watched, and talking with peers doesn't even consist of talking of them, but about other (fake tv show) people's lives because there seems to be so little to talk about of that individual.

So what we have is a sort of existence without meaning or purpose while we attempt to seek these things within art or creativity or individualism or values or anything that is traditionally "subjective", and it doesn't work because it can't replace the real life experiences that would root these subjective realities in objectivity, therefore it's just a sham: the real reality of the world is still governed by the turning of levers, technology, mathematical operations, and we crunch along to it while wanting to believe we're not. Art is fundamentally modeled off the desires of a general society: so what you get is art that doesn't model reality at all, but is really just a refined wish of what we'd like reality to feel and seem like. Even classical literature doesn't escape this trap, and it seems like classical literature is even more deceptively unreal because it seems more real without being so. People progressively become more and more delusional as reality becomes more and more scientific, escaping into more and more art (entertainment) that is masked as being important, meaningful, purposeful, directed towards ends, while accomplishing none of those things, but precisely the opposite.

People often say I'm living, but I'm simply undefined (0 and ∞), and that is the precise definition of nihilism —living as everything being undefined, without a purpose, without a meaning, free to do anything or nothing, everything inbetween, hoping for nothing, wanting nothing, having nothing, only knowing that everything is permissible and that nothing matters or is worth anything.

The thing is, society wants you to believe that being nihilistic is a bad thing, but nihilism would say that it's not good or bad, it's nihilistic. If we were to think of why society (status quo culture) would want people to shy away from nihilism, it's quite simple: a nihilistic person finds everything to be permissible, and a peaceful society would not exist if everyone in that society found everything to be permissible: that's called anarchy, so society labels the person who is undefined (∞ and 0) as insane —the societal way of dealing with individuality is to consider that person crazy. Conclusion? Society will always try to shame you for who you are because if you're ashamed of yourself, you'll accomplish less in the world because you're too busy fighting yourself and your own inclinations, and that's good for society because a person who fights themself won't fight other people (obviously bad for society). Popular culture doesn't want anyone to believe that nihilism may actually be good or the proper way of seeing things, like suicide, nihilism is so terribly shamed that no one has really thought to try the philosophy for themselves or to think about it, in fact, the "existential" philosophers: Nietzsche, Simone de Beauvoir, Jeal-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Søren Kierkegaard are all more closely defined by nihilism than by existentialism —that is, their philosophies are all unique to their individuality and therefore undefined. In fact, the word existentialism was coined by Gabriel Marcel, a French Catholic philosopher supposedly, but no one references him for "existentialism".

... The existentialist philosophers ironically had no problems with their existence, they had no "existential crises", they were certain of their existence... but the English language has a bunch of these hidden misnomers and catch phrases ("pursuit of happiness, but you can't pursue happiness, it's a byproduct, internal values, but all values are external qualifiers of what we think of other people (you can't own an internal value, they come from without), and all the times in conversation when people say "Don't take this the wrong way, but..." or "Not to be mean, but..." when they might as well just say, "You'll take this the wrong way, but I'll say it anyways" and "This is gonna be mean, so..."): the "existentialists" were certain of their existence through nihilism because to continue living even when there is no purpose and no meaning either means you're afraid to kill yourself or else you find no reason to kill yourself, and if it's the latter one, then you're free to live, and to live is the greatest (and only necessary) certainty we all have, the rest is undefined, up to you.

If nothing matters (0), then you're free to do anything (∞) and everything you think is preventing you from doing something is just a lie (not that there aren't consequences, but you get to weigh those), so live on.

modernphilosophy.org

Something of the Week: Contradictions

Hi there,

Goal: Have no goal.

There's some great irony in any religion, moral system, or philosophy that teaches us to let go of our desires and accept things for what they are, for this goal itself is, conversely, a desire or want, and therefore, ironically, the desire to accept things is hypocritical, since acceptance of all things is to have no desires, not even the desire to accept all things.

Of course, this is why in Buddism the last step to enlightenment after casting away all worldly desires is to also cast away the last desire of wanting to gain enlightenment by essentially giving up on the quest for enlightenment to arrive at enlightenment.

In this motif, we find a sort of cyclical behavior or "logical contradiction" since if you were to explain this to someone, you'd tell them to stop desiring all things, but if they were to follow that, they would be desiring to stop desiring all things. We quickly run into territory that gets very confusing and if misinterpreted, may seem like we're asking someone to do something impossible —a la having your cake and eating it too. Why does language run us into this problem? What is the resolution?

The thing to understand here is that what is stated also implies its antithesis. When I say a person is quiet, it's almost always the case that I also imply that they are loud internally, and generally, you will find this to be case. A person who is externally quiet, is generally quite proliferate in their thoughts, and they keep these thoughts closely guarded. Conversely a person who is talkative (external) generally has no internal thoughts in the moment they are talking. A humble person exteriorly usually has an intensely domineering spirit internally; a domineering spirit externally often harbors a diminuitive interior. etc. etc. across all personality traits we find the opposite mirror internally —the externally emotional often being extremely rational internally, or the rationalist externally haboring emotional storms inside that aren't revealed.

Why does this happen? Well —I think it's because for a society to exist, the first thing that must happen is for people to put aside their individuality for the same of the "common good"; you have to be less of an individual. A good friend supposedly challenges you —but that seems a little backwards since a good friend should be accepting of who you are and enjoy your company; these two things are antithethical to each other, so what we tend to get is a mixture of both, in other words, neither —we get these kind of half-friendships that aren't great and aren't bad, just kind of neutral.

Neutral. That's what society wants because that is the most harmonious; neither too hot, neither too cold, but "just right". But as of late it's been hard for me to accept that the "golden mean" that Aristotle purports is really actually "the right thing". Doesn't hot and cold have its benefits too when used appropriately? Of course, just replace hot and cold with extremist personality types; there are functions for being different and unique, but society hides this secret because it doesn't want to rely on the judgment of those individuals —it would rather have everyone be neutral because hot and cold have more pointed cons that are harder to manage than neutral.

As technology increases, you begin to see more of a certain homogeny from people because we'll all subverting our range of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts to the subset that the app allows. Swift, the coding language, has built in a bunch of saftey measures that other coding languages don't have to make it easier for the coders, but the result is you have bad coders that simply don't know what they are doing because they are reliant on the "Swift system" of coding and good coders are often prevented from doing what they want to do because "the system" places safe-guards they don't need. Tinder codifies human interactions into a yes-no system which can hardly be quantified in real life meetups which often show a great range of uncertainty and tend to be a gray "let's see what happens" sort of interaction. Gmail is beginning to offer smart phrases and common replies which obviously decreases the range of responses an email can have if a person begins to rely on that system out of convenience... which is usually how neutrally starts because it's usually more convenient to do nothing than to do something. That's where society is heading towards: nothingness.

So, when I say that the goal is to not have a goal, I mean to say that that's society's larger goal. The jobs we have are generally purposeless, that is to say, don't accomplish anything in the long-run, but are done for the sake of satisfying what people want: that is, entertainment. Now, entertainment has its uses, but it is also meaningless, and therein lies the actual dissatifaction with people in our times: things being meaningless and there being no purpose —so it is any surprise that people are obssessive about meaning and purpose in this era? "What is stated implies its antithesis" —people look for meaning and purpose and try to deceive themselves into believing they have it precisely because they do not.

So, how to resolve this? Well —it requires a fundamental shift in perception that I find difficult to explain with words: you just have to be willing to see things for yourself and not through words, and when you attempt to do this, you'll begin to see that everything you believed to be true because someone said it was like this is generally the opposite. It's because society has set our consciousness against ourselves —for the sake of creating a harmonious society at our own expense, since if we are continually struggling against ourselves, we won't have time to direct our energies towards other people and actionable results; we won't end up doing anything.

modernphilosophy.org

Something of the Week: Morality and Amorality

Hi there,

Goal: Write an effortless piece

Well, it's impossible to really write this sort of piece without making flagrant errors, but it's something that will just have to happen.

How can anyone do anything without effort? Doesn't the human condition necessitate effort? but we have this contrary pull to try to make things effortless.

We know the illusion of effortlessness well —good art, works, are lauded when they "make it look easy", well... but what does true effortlessness look like, and why is it that we are pulled to this sort of idea of effortlessness?

Of course, it is a gauge on competency. A society that lauds effortlessness is a society that worships. Why? because the disparity in skill or effort is what allows a person to idolize the other.

Take a chess master who effortlessly beats a pro —well, it's the idea that they are a chess master that differentiates the master from the pro or hobbist or beginner. Our measures on difficulty or level are all relative; they depend on who is the best.

By this definition, it's obvious that there is no such thing as effortlessness in obtaining that rank, the effortlessness comes from submitting other people a loss without much effort. Effort is not internally directed in our society, it is externally directed.

This, of course, puts me in a precarious position since I essentially attempt to do everything effortlessly —by this I mean that I never strain on anything particularly. I don't think. or if I do think, I think with very minimal effort —but it's very likely that I think very little, and really I only perceive my thoughts, which, of course, requires no straining.

So what is this thought piece? It's a stream of consciousness, which, by all measure, should be the most effortless thing since it's allowing the brain to do what it normally does —just translated into words onto a computer; it is the brain thinking fluidly in motion, which is how it ought to operate, without a filter, this to me is the most effortless thing in the world, and I feel I could go on for years if needed in just this fashion...

Unfortunately, society takes the exact opposite approach and tries to repress the otherwise smooth functioning of our thoughts; we're asked to contrive manners and social norms that are essentially limits on our freedom of speech. There is the antithetical idea that our First amendment is freedom of speech... but that's why society is tricky; by law / theory you are always allowed to say what you like, but of course, we'd be foolish to think that society doesn't have other ways to coddle and force your hand: how free are we to actually say what we want if we feel that around every corner we'll be met with spite and hatred if we say the wrong thing?

The effect is the same —we are not free to say as we'd like to say, just like in times past a woman was allowed, if they really wanted, to have consensual sex with as many people as they wanted, and the result would be akin to The Scarlet Letter. Take your pick —sure there's freedom in adultery, but not really; since freedom would like to take a rather non-judgmental attitude to most things as long as it doesn't harm others.

Also unfortunately, is that harm, our concept of it, is woefully disappointing: we...

End of Effort.


As promised, internal moral precepts:

modernphilosophy.org

Something of the Week: Seriousness

Hi there,

Goal: Write a seriously unserious piece on seriousness.

I probably don't take myself seriously enough or else I don't take life seriously enough —one of the two, or both. In recent months I've found myself in laughter over events that should honestly not be grounds for laughter... I'm not sure if this is adaptive or a rather inhumane trivialization of my pain; in some ways, I feel that I am in so much pain that my only response can be laughter; my mind has past the point of mental suffering, has overloaded, so it laughs.

It's the same experience of dying from starvation. Starvation is very painful, except at the very end, when the body knows it's going to die, and at this point starvation is actually considered a highly euphoric experience.

Ironically what this means is that there is essentially two routes to happiness —true happiness through positive affect (which seems impossible in this world) and happiness through overwhelming negative affect. Of course emotionally, it makes no difference, the sensation of "happiness"; a sort of mix of pleasure, contentment, and peace of mind (especially this) is perceived the same by the brain regardless of how it actualizes, but of course the route is different... of course if possible by route one, go for it, but otherwise the other route does not preclude happiness.

Philosophically speaking, life is affirmed either way —whether through joy or suffering, and in our existential world isn't living, having either meaning or purpose our highest craving? We want to become someone (purpose) or feel that life is worthwhile (meaning). I believe the two are at odds in many locations, but it might be too difficult to explain that here —short explanation: a focus on the destination (purpose) makes it hard to enjoy the surroundings (meaning), you'd get lost. Perhaps we eternally cycle between destinations and meanderings, but this also seems like a good way to accomplish nothing and experience little.

Yet ironically, I feel that I have only described myself. I have accomplished nothing and also experienced little, yet I am content or am delusional enough (or clear-sighted enough) to believe myself so. Again, regardless, the experience is the same to me —whether it is delusional or not, I feel "happy" (content?).

This frees me enough to be able to allot more time into thinking of solutions to the problems of this era. Massive problems. Dragons. The world has become all play again to me; I've arrived at childhood —danger is no longer dangerous, it is excitement, problems are no longer problems, they are challenges, success and gratification of my wants are the last thing I want because it means the game is over and there won't be anything left to do. In other words, I want nothing and find joy everywhere. Even as I write this I smile because it is absurd to understand my absurdity.

I think we ought to take ourselves less seriously until we've figured out what's going on in our brains and hearts and souls. Then we'll be able to understand what to make of ourselves, without which we can never truly do anything with purpose (since we cannot properly conceive of our purpose without knowing ourselves first) nor can anything take a definite meaning (since meaning implies that we take things seriously and give substance to actions and events, but we should not take things seriously until we've first understood what to make of ourselves). I suppose the flaw in these arguments is that I am serious about what I'm saying.

Our society values seriousness —all artifices cease to be important when seriousness is taken away; the carrot-stick approach that society takes to coddle people into work (think: fear of being homeless, without the means for living, of a comfortable life) can only work if we take these threats seriously. Comfort is lauded as a supreme value —what if comfort is not as desirable as we make it out to be? What if physical, mental, and emotional agitation is preferable to comfort? The artifices drop; life reveals itself once more —we become humans again, free to do as we please, not restrained by the innumerable number of false barriers that society erects to trap us in an imaginary fence of anxiety.

Now, believe me —I get anxious, but not as a result of external precepts, but only because of my internal ones, and its by my internal precepts that I am capable and willing to be alone; as I add more external precepts, I will be less capable of being alone, but I will also be more integrated in society, most people start here and work towards creating internal precepts. I stand on the logical antithesis; with only internal precepts and no external precepts. We'll help each other —it's best if we meet in the middle.

Internal rules that govern my behavior:—For Will to fill out for next week

External rules that govern people's behavior: (social norms, manners, proper conduct, etc.)—For You (or me)

P. S.

This week has been so hectic, so I apologize that this is late! (also added an unsubscribe button below, let me know if it doesn't work)

modernphilosophy.org

Something of the Week: 3 Primary Fears

Hi there,

I couldn't narrow my thoughts into a theme (pretty typical of me), so I decided the best theme would be say that I'm sending "something" every week —whatever it is... expect the usual: life, philosophy, relationships, observations, theories, thoughts.


Goal: Explain what it means to be a human.

Philosophically, a human life is spent...

  1. Coping with the anxiety of death
  2. Coping with the anxiety of our place in the universe
  3. Coping with the anxiety of the relationships we have / don't have.

Each of these 3 are the essential unknowns, there is uncertainty, and it is because of this uncertainty that these remain the perpetual unmitigated human fears. Since we don't know for certain the answers to the dilemmas that arise in each of them, our brains attempt to either:

  1. Deal with the uncertainty better
  2. Create more certainty through thoughts

Option 1 is either through birth or repeated exposure to uncertainty that begins to mitigate the response in the amygdala, usually not pursued by the majority of people.

Therefore, we're left with Option 2, where the danger is of course creating false certainties to arrive at a mitigation of our fear rather than pursuing better certainties that don't fully mitigate our fears.

By understanding that these are our core fears, we can begin to analyze our decisions as a process of escapism from one of these core areas. What are we doing that is easier because it avoids the question of truly confronting these primary fears?

Coping with death is a process of dealing with solitude and whether we can come to an acceptance of ourselves while we are alone. The reason being that we all confront our deaths essentially alone —therefore it is our capacity for being alone that reflects our capacity for dealing with death.

Coping with our place in the universe is primarily an existential fear. What do we do? What is our function, purpose? It's a statement of how we ought to fill our time and where that will take us. What is our role to play in the world stage? This fear is the essential uncertainty of a how an individual copes with the specific era they are born into, whether it be a time of war, peace, or otherwise, we're not given a choice for an era we'd be better suited to: we are given the one we are given with its allotted roles and limited options for creating new ones based on the trends of the time period.

Coping with our relationships is simply a reflection of our sexual merit as animals. Are we attractive and lovable or not? Even non-sexual relationships seem to be an essential way of coping with the sexual ones. We're concerned about our worth as mates.

Takeaway: Life essentially boils down to our ability to confront these three fears repeatedly until we've "resolved them". They are never ultimately resolved, but to the degree that we continually work on them and find resolutions to the specific demands is the degree that we are living as humans. It's our mutual fears on these levels that connect us to each other —we are moved by stories of men and women confronting their deaths, existence, and relationships.

Ask yourself: how do you confront uncertainty? —some methods are better than others, a look into the methodology can inform you on whether you're participating in escapism or otherwise.

P.S.

Happy November! Working on refining my thoughts more...

modernphilosophy.org

Quote of the Weeks:

This newsletter was formerly called "Quote of the Week", but has since been renamed "Something of the Week" to allow for more creative freedom on my part. For previous qotws, click here.

DECEMBER 24TH, 2018: Dialecticism

DECEMBER 17TH, 2018: Virtue

DECEMBER 10TH, 2018: Video Game Habits

DECEMBER 3RD, 2018: Nihilism

NOVEMBER 27TH, 2018: Contradictions

NOVEMBER 20TH, 2018: Morality and Amorality

NOVEMBER 13TH, 2018: Seriousness

NOVEMBER 4TH, 2018: 3 Primary Fears

JULY 2ND - OCTOBER 29TH, 2018: Quotes of the Week