Something of the Week: Dialecticism
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)
- The problems in our current society can be traced to a root problem
- That root problem is dialecticism
- Dialecticism asks us to define things by opposition: good vs bad, light vs dark, you vs me
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- No matter which group you're in, you still lose because you're still operating under a dialectical split when you choose either / or.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.