Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Downfall of our World

Since a young age I've loved learning and based my life on the principle that curiosity and independent thought are the salvation of our species.  There are professors I've had who understood the value of what they taught and clearly were yearning and capable to instill curiosity and morality in their students.  Most of the professors I've seen where I am however are hacks and seem almost directed towards making their classes as boring and tedious as possible, picking some of the most uninspired and dry texts, and seem almost eager to reinforce the apathy many have towards intellectual topics and philosophy.  This is something Noam Chomsky has mentioned, and I feel compelled to agree with him.  The professors I had in my two-year school were far-more personable on average and more inclined to inspire I find than these charlatans of knowledge and wisdom I now see in my school with honors and high academic standing.

These people don't seem to comprehend the value of art and philosophy to enrichen the soul and have us experience the heights of being a human.  They don't understand that wisdom is a state of being, and compassion is the highest form of wisdom someone can ever hope to achieve.

I know its not their fault.  I feel sorry for them, but I feel even more sorry for their students who are ignorant but of good heart, and want to learn about useful and literary things to ennoble them and make them better people - this is what the Liberal Arts are meant for.  Any other purpose is simply flattery and window dressing for a bleak life of the "practical arts" and scrounging for bourgeois comfort and bourgeois status in this wretched society.

We need a political revolution.  But even more than this a revolution of the self, of the spirit, of the will is required.  And this is one that cannot be anything but grass roots and democratic; there is no and can be no Representative Democracy of the soul - of the legislation of our state of being.  And just, as a Social Anarchist, I believe human beings must communally govern the affairs of their society, so I believe that every human being loses something when they are told that their existence is not an ethical one - that their choices are not first and foremost ethical choices of how they relate to their fellow Man.  We are told we exist for our own comfort and to flatter others so they might be swayed to stroke our own egos in turn.  We are told we exist to continue this nonsensical cycle of existence and senseless struggle for forms of happiness and contentment that by their very nature will never bring solace to our souls.  We are told that to live well is to own a car and a house, to have a career in high-standing - but we are never once told that to be well is to be happy simply to be one's self and to do well is to dedicate one's life to the benefit of others, particularly the worst off in this awful world.

Contemporary Man is cut-off from his ethical-self in today's contemporary society; and society suffers from this not only socially, or materially, but psychologically or "spiritually."  He can never know himself, because his relations with others have nothing to do with himself.  With his inner being as a thinking, feeling creature.  Instead education is about professionalization; a routine, rigorous process where through the blandness of factoids one is instructed implicitly to lower one's mental and emotional functioning and have just enough mental work going on to diagnose a illness for the nth time but not enough to see the problems of this world and this life.

We must not allow the cruelty, apathy and vanity of the various systems of this world or the general chaos of this world to be internalized in us; to make us cruel or apathetic or vane.  Everything a human being is to learn in life is not what they are teaching by-enlarge in modern universities.  There are exceptions of course, and I've witnessed a host of exceptions in my own academic courses, but it seems that in general the system does not want to exercise the most human aspects of our being; it seems, again, almost at times that what they are doing is trying to remove them.  This, more-so than any poverty created by Capitalism, this poverty of the self, is the downfall of our world.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Just so you know...

Whatever this day may bring I just want the world to know that I DROVE THE FUCKING TANK IN GTA III!  Mother fuckers. 

Life now complete.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Distinguishing Schopenhauer’s and Kierkegaard’s Pessimism



This is a task that deserves far greater time than what I currently give it.  I am very poorly read in Kierkegaard, and perhaps should read Sickness Unto Death if I choose to explore this further.  Though in personal experience reading any philosophical text in full is seldom worth it.  I have interests and curiosities that flee from one thing to the next, so I intensely pour my soul into Epicurus just to write a paper just short of two thousand words only to be intensely interested in Sextus Empiricus the next day.  So please excuse my rather short exploration of a topic that, as I’ve said, deserves further thought and citation.
The Pessimism of Schopenhauer is for lack of a better word “pragmatic.”  It is rational, sober, clear-headed and reflecting on our unhappiness and the wretched state of our condition.  The Pessimism of Kierkegaard is largely about things that Schopenhauer is unconcerned with – at-least not in the same way.  Kierkegaard laments that people live in bourgeois comfort and have embraced what he calls the “nonsensical Christianly Optimism.”  That is the promise of eternal life through Christ, but have failed to reflect on the more troubling aspects of life or to truly realize themselves as separate beings to others in a deep sense.  The radical difference then, to put it simply, is that Schopenhauer laments the world and the deep miseries in it in a rather Utilitarian sense, while Kierkegaard laments the fact that we don’t lament more.  He says in his Sickness Unto Death: 
Is despair a merit or a defect? Purely dialectically it is both. If one were to think of despair only in the abstract, without reference to some particular despairer, one would have to say it is an enormous merit. The possibility of this sickness is man’s advantage over the beast, and it is an advantage which characterizes him quite otherwise than the upright posture, for it bespeaks the infinite erectness or loftiness of his being spirit. The possibility of this sickness is man’s advantage over the beast; to be aware of this sickness is the Christian’s advantage over natural man; to be cured of this sickness is the Christian’s blessedness.
— Anti-Climacus, The Sickness Unto Death p. 45
It is here clear that he feels that despair has a deep personal or existential purpose, and is necessary for us to live above the realm of animals.  Schopenhauer would say that we despair in a way the brutes cannot, which is why the brutes’ lot in life is far-more enviable than our own – we feel forms of pain in a way they could never even conceive.
For Schopenhauer despair only has a purpose, that is to say, can be called loosely speaking a “good” thing only if it has us recognize the cruel nature of the world and has us reach out to other’s to help them in their misery in this apathetic and chaotic world.  Like the Buddha who I’m sure felt some despair after realizing that other’s suffer greatly when he left his palace, we should only despair when it provides some reinforcement to the moral sentiments of our being – and thereby be a pain that in consequence alleviates the pain of others.  But Kierkegaard does not see it this way.  He is a silly man, who says we must feel despair to be human, to be Christian and in no way to have any moral approach or effect on anyone through this personal agony. 
Though this should not be a surprise that this ludicrousness would appear in the mind of he who said that the religious transcends the ethical and that we should choose the religious over the ethical.  Such a statement is clearly made by a mind so wrapped up in pain and confusion that he will sacrifice not only his own common sense but the well-being of others to achieve the solace he believes only surrender to Christ can give him.  Much like Tolstoy and Augustine, he seems unable to accept the finite and unpredictable nature of life, so leaps into the arms of an unethical (as a whole, Christianity does have various ethical sentiments however) system as to not deal with the facts of our reality that have been made uncomfortable (that is, has been made a problem) by their sickness.  Once one realizes that mortality and death are not a problem – only suffering is – then one feels no need to surrender to God if only he’ll let him live forever; for life itself has no intrinsic value.
The Pessimism of Schopenhauer is despair over the fate of the world and the people in it.  The Pessimism of Kierkegaard is the despair over God and that people aren’t loving him enough (or the right way) and not doing as He has told them.  While the pain felt by Schopenhauer is noble and makes him commendable in our eyes the pain of Kierkegaard is silly and makes him look like a Woody Allen neurotic who worries about the details of life incessantly.  Schopenhauer wishes to liberate us from our pain by adopting the surrender of the will-to-live; while Kierkegaard could only claim to wish to liberate us from what he would call ignorance through despair.  It’s so comical I’m not sure a satirist could come up with it as a mockery of philosophy.  How awful is the world!  Not everyone sees what I do.  People aren’t miserable enough!  I need to educate them of their subjective state of affairs so they’ll be properly in despair!
Though Kierkegaard deserves respect for some of his ideas I don’t think he deserves much respect as a thinker on the whole.  Schopenhauer gives a description of life that is both intuitive, sensible and understandable – Kierkegaard’s philosophy can claim none of the three as a merit for itself.  The fact that Schopenhauer isn’t celebrated and loved the world over as an idol and guide of what human beings can achieve with their minds shows the stupidity and baseness of men’s souls.  The fact that Kierkegaard isn’t given accolades shows that in some basic sense the world is still sane.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The True Meaning of Pessimism


 
Those who do not recognize the subjective and fluid nature of human existence are doomed to be under the false-assumption that there is a “solution” to the ills of mankind that correcting the poor conditions of Man will correct his miserable state – seen principally in the writings of Marx.  What Marx, and others who believe in a political solution to mankind fail to see is the wretchedness of Man is not only in his material state (though this contributes greatly to his plight) but in his very being and nature.  To be born, to be alive, to be human, is simply an ugly and undesired state of affairs – something to be wished on no one yet is the fate of everyone who is unlucky enough to say they exist or once existed.  There is no material solution to Mankind because the misery of life is largely innate in the human condition; being wrapped in physical and psychological desires attached to the attainment of basic needs (e.g. food, shelter, sex) as well as the attainment of psychological “needs” that is essentially the component of vanity in the human condition.  Though the needs and wants of human beings in their physical “essence” can be met by raw material and therefore can be achieved through political reform or revolution, the vane and desperate ego of Man, the need to be needed and have a deeper satisfaction of his “soul” is something that no revolution or political reform will ever attain. 
Everyday every human being feels some mild form of psychological pain, whether it is through remembering some past event (either some evil they inflicted on someone or an evil that was inflicted upon them which still torments them), thoughts of his future and the potential (in the cases of many what is likely) unhappiness to come or through lack of satisfaction of his ego through the mildest forms of rejection or merely lack of nourishment to his vanity.  Human beings are born in some sense with a chip on their shoulders, and every single one of us takes a part in digging in the wounds of all others as well as ourselves by acting on desires that will lead ultimately to more suffering over the long-run.  For human beings naturally remember the bad traits and deeds of a person, but seldom remember the noteworthy unless it is so bold that one is looking at a virtuoso or one is ignorant of the flaws and faults of the person – that is to say they don’t really know them.
It could be said then that Political Optimists are nearly as naïve and stupid as Augustine and the rest of the Christians who believe in an otherworldly paradise.  I say nearly as stupid because it seems slightly more likely that universal justice, peace, freedom and equality will be achieved on Earth rather than a place that does not exist – but only as more likely as I am to win the lottery as opposed to Frodo Baggins.  This is why this life is something not above all to improve, but to be overcome through the salvation of death.
If we were all to commit suicide collectively, and end this vane and stupid project called human existence, would we not all be better off?  No one would mourn our deaths because thankfully there would be no one to mourn.  Asides from the potential defenseless (e.g. children, mentally and physical disabled etc.) that are under one’s care that one is leaving behind, the only unethical aspect in suicide is that one is leaving behind those who will grieve his or her death.  This despair is both irrational and rational.  It is irrational because the person is dead and can no longer be plagued by what ailed them so – so much they would take violent ends against themselves.  It is rational because we loved them, and didn’t want them to suffer, even though they clearly did greatly; it is also rational because in suicide we realize the awful nature of not just the particular sufferer (who no longer suffers) but of ourselves and the whole world.  We realize that we are all damned beings.  And because we are also “fallen” beings, because we lack the psychological and ethical reserves necessary to cure the world materially or psychologically, we will remain damned and fallen until we are finally forgiven for the sin of existence and reprieved of our wretched lives.
The world is so awful and evil, that one feels lost in it.  So much so that despite its futility one wishes to cry out to the Lord for mercy – but this is senseless, not only because there is no God, but also because if there was a God He clearly must love watching our torment.  Our agony must be a sweet delicacy to any Creator who can witness it.  Like a clever child who breeds rats only to torture them, the Christian God seemingly put this pointless billion year project of seemingly endless cycles of biological reproduction to watch us and other creatures be in great pain.  We are truly God’s most loved ones – not for our virtue, for Man has little, but because we can suffer and in ways and to degrees no other creature could even imagine.  Not only is what the Lord made evil, any salvation from it save the loving embrace of death is an immorality itself.  For if Heaven exists, the only people who enjoy it are either too stupid or too evil to care for the plight of those in Hell or those on Earth.  Their bliss does not rectify the sufferings of those who are forever damned, or even damned to a wretched state of affairs for a short period of time (their entire lives, which is a blip in cosmological time).
There is no solution to our lives – save to end them.  But since we cannot do this and not have others suffer in our demise we must instead, and because we are of more service to others living than dead, we must choose to live and live in service to those who are the most wretched and most in pain.  This involves some action which is political in the broad sense, but this will not put any effective ointment on the wounds of the mind.  Instead philosophy and art is the closest thing to a “solution” to the ailments of the human condition in its “spiritual” or psychological essence – and great improvement and comfort can be brought through these mediums.  This provides a richness and clarity to life that no appreciation of the mundane externalities of this existence (which is defined by vanity and material need) ever could.
Man’s mind, despite the great pains that are brought to it, is the most beautiful of all Creation, not only because it is that which creates the phenomenological state of finding the world beautiful, but despite its evil it is also capable above all other species to conceive of the ethical.  It can love and wish pure goodness for other beings with no thought of selfish reward.  It is one of the central aspects of Buddhism to wish infinite kindness and love to all sentient beings; to wish they not be in pain and that they find some solace from the horrors of this existence.  This is what I wish for you dear reader, though I cannot be the primary source of contentment, because the nature of the ‘self’ is that serenity and solace, joy and wisdom all must come from within.
It is this lack of appreciation of the subjective and internal depth and richness of mankind that Marx and others who focus on the strictly political and material sorely lack.  Despite their claims of the nature of the world, which seem correct over Schopenhauer’s, and even their reasonableness in politics as compared to the Conservative politics of Schopenhauer, they fail utterly in acknowledging the beauty and tragedy in existing as a human being; fail to give proper credit and attention to all the dimensions of being which are only properly expressed in art and life.

Mad I have to do something I don't want to

Hopefully more substantive stuff on the way.  Right now I just wanted to quickly bitch that its mandatory that students where I attend take several quizzes about alcohol and consent.  Because I didn't know alcohol kills brain cells and rape is bad.  How about telling me that cigarettes make you smell like shit and give you lung cancer and to look both ways 'fore I walk across the street, while you're at it?  I'm uber Progressive, but I think even Progressive people are getting sick of the "guilty until proven innocent" condescending and collectivist tendencies of "liberal" SJW types. 

I was charged over one hundred dollars as a "room fee" because someone else did some dumb shit, and instead of getting off their asses and seeing who did it and, I don't know, prosecuting him they just decide to penalize everyone through guilt via proximity.  Same thing here.  I'm a college student and Feminists spread a lot of dis-information about rape on campus, so obviously I need to be educated that sticking my dick in someone when they're passed out is morally not kosher.  Fuck me.

I was actually thinking about being a social works major as well as being one of philosophy, but if I have to deal with a lot of white knight SJW types that have become the cliche' of Sociology departments then just forget it.  I'll do Philosophy and anything else as long as I don't have to deal with a lot of pseudo-intellectual hipster wannabes.

It's Not Worth It

If people weren't sad at my leaving I maybe would commit suicide.  I don't see any reason for me to stay here except ethical ones.  And I don't think I'll make a dent in the suffering of this world.  There are some things I want but even if I got them it would've been better if I never existed.  Better that this world and this entire existence never was.

I'm young.  I have decades more of this life and it'll likely only get worse through loss of health and potential loss of even more.  Christ.  This is my life.  If I thought there were any being to take mercy on me I would ask it to end my life if no others suffered through my loss, or at-least not greatly.

This is my life in its prime.  It will only get worse.  At least committing suicide in old age seems to be open ethically.  The only major problem will be if my sister will be a part of my life to hear about it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Critique of the Tetrapharmakos



For those of you who are unaware, Epicurus’ Tetrapharmakos (which to my knowledge was actually written by an Epicurean poet, not the man himself, but reflects the humanist aspects of his philosophy quite well) is listed below:
Don't fear god,
Don't worry about death;
What is good is easy to get, and
What is terrible is easy to endure.
Epicureanism has been a great source of inspiration and solace for me over the years.  I like to think that Epicurus helped me graduate high school even, considering I was in an apathetic stupor and researching his ideas gave me the motivation to finish the crap I had to to get my diploma.  And although I loosely consider myself “Epicurean” I do find several faults with his otherwise very practical and sensible philosophy of how to live.  This will not be an examination of every fault I see in it, but rather an examination of the Tetrapharmakos and whether or not the “optimism” let’s call it of Epicurus is advisable and sound.
Quickly I’d like to say that the first three seem reasonable to me.  We shouldn’t fear punishment from supernatural beings, this gives us unnecessary pain and fear.  We shouldn’t worry about death, only pain is bad, and when we’re dead we won’t exist so we won’t be in pain.  Once again, very rational.  What is good is easy to get is slightly more conditional and open to critique but in my view still true overall.  Yes, there are millions of people who are starving and live in squalor, and they don’t have what’s good and necessary for a good life.  But with the correct political and social change this can be alleviated.  This is a problem that will likely exist as long as human beings are condemned to existence, but for most of the first world the main message of the third stanza rings true.  The bare necessities of life are easy to attain and much unhappiness is created by wanting what we shouldn’t have or don’t need – a point that Epicurus, the Cynics, the Stoics and many other ancient philosophers would see clearly. 
The problem with the fourth stanza however is not political or social, that is to say, it is not a circumstantial problem that could be easily solved with the correct factors.  It is a statement about human existence that is simply untrue and shows an area where Schopenhauer seems more knowledgeable than our friend Epicurus.  To clarify, what Epicurus is saying is that the most intense agonies don’t last long, persisting pain is mild, and if life does become unbearable we can choose to commit suicide to end our pain.  If memory serves Epicurus also says that pain is a rare occurrence in life, though I currently lack the citation for this.  These claims are truly wrong.  Not based on social happenstance, but based on the very functioning of the human body.  Intense physical pain can and does occur throughout the world; and psychological pain in mild forms occurs daily in almost everyone on this planet.  People are often unhappy.  And though this in-part can be remedied through proper state of mind, lowering expectations and not wanting what isn’t of intrinsic value anyway, ultimately to be human will always be to suffer needlessly and at some point in time greatly. 
Epicurus’ thought seems, though not explicitly Anti-Natal, to be very open to Anti-Natalist thinking.  The best thing in life for Epicurus is to not be in pain (he claims that pleasure is the highest or only intrinsic good, but his understanding of the highest pleasure is that it is merely the complete absence of pain); if we were never born, we never could have been in pain.  Therefore, it is better never to have been, to have been spared the great pains of biological and human existence.  Epicurus himself was celibate and did not wish to marry though he did not enforce this way of living on his followers.
I already wrote some notes I had when I read some fragments of Epicurus.  But I’m driven back to this man and his philosophy, in-part because in my departure from Virtue Ethics I’ve come to appreciate him all the more.  Asides from perhaps the Ancient Skeptics (who deal with claims of metaphysics and epistemology, which are of lesser importance than ethics) I consider him to be the wisest of all the Ancient Greek philosophers; perhaps of all the Ancient philosophers period.
I’m constantly bogged down reading things I don’t want to now.  But hopefully I will be able to explore the philosophers who I have come to find the greatest kinship with which is Epicurus, the Cynics, the Skeptics, Buddhists, Hume, Schopenhauer, Mill, and Bakunin.