Archive for February, 2013
Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Why is it we enjoy thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards so much? Even if they are disastrous, even if our day is ruined, even if people die, we secretly enjoy them. Why?
We enjoy them because we are reminded that we are not really in control. Secretly we don’t want to be in control. We love to not be responsible; we love to be at the mercy of fate.
So then what is responsible for the bad weather we might ask? The weather patterns of course. But what is responsible for the weather patterns? Why, the wind, of course. But what is responsible for the wind? Well that would obviously be Boreas, Eurus, Notus, and Zephyrus the Greek Gods of the Winds.
You laugh, but in all seriousness what exactly accounts for these infinite number of factors working together all at once down here in reality? And not just what accounts for the factors, themselves, but what accounts for the working-together, itself, and what accounts for the all-at-once, itself? You know it is in bad form to laugh at the question of a child.
The Greeks were really on to something. How sad it is to relegate The Iliad to mere artifact from the past, its only destiny to be “analyzed,” catalogued and put in a museum. We are so busy with meaningless time-wasters that we have no time to answer the questions of the child. Even Plato, the most rational of men, knew that there was more to reality than meets the eye. Intellectuals isolate parts of The Republic because they are “useful,” but do not forget that trippy ending in Book X. Even Socrates had to resort to narrative.
So perhaps even knowledge, logic, and our rational faculties have a limit. Perhaps this is why so many great men and so many great civilizations have posited and assumed there is a God.
With this in mind, we shall not get into specifics, nor shall we get into this religion’s conception of the Divine, or that religion’s conception of the Divine. We shall not talk about absolute knowledge or proof. We shall simply talk about the possibility of the Divine; the possibility of some entity that cannot, itself, be accounted for, cannot be explained and cannot be symbolized or represented.
First principles and beginning assumptions are incredibly important, even if impossible to answer, because everything descends from that. It is not surprising, then, that when it is assumed and posited that the universe created itself out of nothing, that the individual assumes they create themselves out of nothing. We are not talking about the material body. We are talking about essence: personality, talents, role in life, and duty.
Do you want to get to the root cause of things? Let us posit a Big Bang. But the Big Bang, or spontaneous manifestation, is the ultimate non-root cause, as it is not a cause whatsoever. Do you not see how this assumption parallels the supposed futility of life, existential angst, and general purposelessness?
This is not to say that the Big Bang did not happen, but the Big Bang begs the question: what caused the Big Bang? When the universe is all by itself, the individual is all by themselves. When the universe creates itself the individual assumes they create themselves. This all parallels the assumption that the individual comes before reality and has a privileged perspective as if outside of reality.
Furthermore, this notion of spontaneous manifestation is just as miraculous as a God creating the universe. All we are really doing here is substituting terms. I have long maintained that science is merely different vocabulary and brings us no closer to understanding.
The strength of a description of reality is not judged by “accuracy,” but by how well it accounts for overall structure and organization. If science calls the wind from the north the wind from the north, and Greek mythology calls it Boreas, and if science calls the wind from the west the wind from the west, and Greek mythology calls it Zephyrus, there is no difference as far as structure and organization is concerned.
If you want to get to root causes, then the Divine is the most supreme concept that accounts for this face-melting mystery of reality, the universe, and why there is something, not nothing. All other accounts of reality try to skip the mysterious questions as they are not useful in everyday life. Scientific accounts of reality are essentially tautological explanations, whereas religious and mythical accounts of reality are in narrative form.
When I was a child, I always asked my parents, “Why did God always talk to everyone back then in the days of the Bible? How come God doesn’t seem to talk to anyone anymore?” I never received an adequate answer to my impossible question! A cute story, but it’s more than that. As far as a general outlook on life goes, a childish curiosity slays all analysis, science, knowledge, proof, facts, data, and information. There are more questions than answers and the question is always much more powerful than the answer.
People say that the imagination is not real, that a story is not real, or that a film is not real. But that is not true at all. That is lazy language. All of these things are real. A story may be mythical, a film may be fictional, the imagination may be fantastical, but this is not the same as unreal.
What is supremely realistic must take into account myth, fantasy, and the unknown. A fictional film is real insofar as you are literally watching it, you are not dreaming, you are not in another world, the film was filmed on actual film, an actual person wrote an actual story, you are perceiving the story with your eyes, your mind and your mind’s eye. Even dreams, themselves, are real! Do not confuse this with the unreal.
The non-fictional account of reality and the creation of the universe are weak precisely because they imply these categories of existence and life are essentially a “mistake.” They deny imagination and phantasmagoria – yet these things are possible and experienced literally every day by human beings. The implication is that they are a bug, not a feature.
In my article Jury Duty I critique doubt. And now you may say, but if you are positing that the fictional is real and that the imagination is real aren’t you contradicting yourself? Doesn’t the imagination and possibility of supernatural account cast doubt on the reality of reality?
Not at all, it is precisely the opposite assumption that casts perpetual doubt. When it is assumed that all things are knowable and must be known, outside of the realm of imagination and filling in the blanks, then what happens is man waits and waits and waits for quintessential knowledge. He can keep imagining a possibility for doubt.
A man may commit a crime on camera, but the irrational insistence on quintessential knowledge forces him to ask: but is this video of the crime real? How do I know this isn’t edited? How do I know this isn’t all a set up? When one posits mystery and the unknown then one is not in doubt, because one knows that an element of doubt is already worked into the equation and that this is nothing to be frightened of. This is why I say doubt the doubters and be skeptical of skepticism. What is supremely realistic is to posit mystery and the unknown as the basis of reality.
My hypothesis is that when reality is assumed to be mysterious, man has no choice but to act rationally. When reality is not assumed to be mysterious, man acts irrationally. There is an inverse relationship between man and his assumptions of reality. One does not have to rationalize reality in order to act rationally, themselves.
In fact, rationalizing reality is not befitting of reality. This is not a matter of deluding oneself and there is really no paradox or contradiction. Man and his faculties are of reality, but they are not synonymous with reality. Reality is a miraculous mystery and only mystery captures the imagination.
As Amerika.org commentator crow has pointed out, a lie is not the same as a belief. A lie is when you assert something that you know is not true. A belief is when you assert something that is not known to be true or untrue. A story operates precisely on this level. A story fills in the blanks of the unknown. It is not a lie. A mythical account or narrative is not untrue. The imagination is not unreal as it operates within reality and we have access to it.
I thoroughly reject all explanations that the origin of religion stems from some need for authoritarian control on the one hand, or the need for some consolation for the wretched on the other. They may, at times, turn into that. But religion and the notion of the Divine stems from logic and it is neither irrational nor mystical. It is not a daydream. When logic hits its limit, you are still left with a question. The only worthy complement to logic is the Divine, anything less than the Divine is an injustice to logic.
Like thunderstorms and blizzards, Divinity reminds us that we are not in control and that we know very little. Thankfully, on the other hand, we are also absolved of total responsibility for the world and perfect explanations of every last thing.
Friday, February 22nd, 2013
If you were a real conniving manipulator, and you wanted job security, how would you go about it?
The long answer remains inscrutable, but the short answer is this: drape everything in a heavy layer of ambiguity, doubt, uncertainty, emptiness, depression, confusion, denial, despair and disorder.
With this technique, you can turn a simple job into a total odyssey. The most mundane of tasks becomes daunting and difficult. It used to require one person some of the time; now it may require a full-time army.
Once a society is established, this is how you “create” jobs. It is how you enforce economic “growth.” You keep mystifying common things and then turning them into work-welfare programs.
Even better, it’s how you control a population. Whenever an issue comes up on the radar, wave your hands and chant a little spell, fire off some smoke and pull a rabbit out of a hat. “It’s just too hard! It’s complicated!”
This will scare off everyone else, who’s afraid of looking like an idiot if they get caught holding the bag. You don’t care however because you know the secret: the solution is actually trivial. Any idiot can do it. You’re holding out because you want to get paid like never before.
Our society in the industrialized West is caught on snags of our own cogitation. We have rationalized ourselves into impossible positions, and refuse to do what is necessary. It doesn’t take much to fix our problems. We have to stop thinking in the exact same ruts we have been thinking in, however.
The solutions are in fact obvious. Especially if we read through history, and see what worked, and what didn’t. Our elites will pooh-pooh that because in school, they were taught that humans are different now. They forget that the same rules will apply to any group of intelligent creatures at any time in history. Like gravity, they don’t change.
This is because once they have completed their arc of ascent, societies turn into self-parasitizing agencies. Suddenly you have all of these people who are assumed to be part of the society. You can’t kick them out, they say. These people need to be employed, entertained, represented, etc.
But since there’s no longer a sense of membership as a privilege, these people abuse. You get lots of people who are good at mystifying everyday things, whether by incompetence or guile, such that they have “necessary” roles that are the exact opposite of necessary.
Under that weight, society snaps like a yearling branch covered in snow.
Their favorite trick is to make up false targets. For example, “maturity.” In their view, maturity means accepting that everything in life is a compromise, duty is all, and that solutions are if not impossible the next best thing to it.
By chattering away incessantly on every channel, they convince you. Yes, you think, this is adulthood. There is one way, no deviation, and no solutions to the thousands of problems I see every day, from bad street design to wobbly grocery carts to insane school policies and tolerance of the dysfunctional and violent. It’s all broken.
The dysfunction just feeds into the power of the do-nothing elites. To their ears, this is good news, since a dysfunctional society needs neurotic leaders and a constant stream of political drama to distract from its everyday tedium.
And yet fixing it all would be so easy; that’s the greatest secret. They don’t enslave you, you enslave yourselves, because you believed the convenient lie that it is just too difficult to change it all, so we might as well “mature” and rage full-speed-ahead into our doom.
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
In this picture by Hans Holbein the Younger entitled “The Ambassadors,” an odd shape floats at the bottom. It is a skull or “Memento Mori” (reminder of mortality) drawn in the style of anamorphosis.
Anamorphosis is an artistic technique that distorts an image unless one views it at the proper angle or perspective. If one were to see this picture in person, and look at it from the anamorphic angle, the skull would come in to focus and become undistorted, at which point, the rest of the picture would be hard to make out. An almost miraculous effect!
The skull, which represents death, is an unknown factor when looked at straight ahead. Death, too, is the ultimate unknown. Yet in our mania for knowledge and figuring things out, we demand to know what death is, we demand to know what the unknown is.
But do you see the paradox here? How can we know the unknown? Once something is known, it is no longer unknown. We can never catch up to this because as soon as we get there, it is not what we’re looking for. How absurd it is to demand to know the unknown! The known and the unknown are radically different categories, and you cannot understand the one from the perspective of the other.
Knowledge can be defined as true and justified belief. Let us filter death, the ultimate unknown, through this algorithm. We believe that death is material become unanimated. Ok, check. It may very well turn out to be true, that death is material become unanimated. Ok, check. But are we justified to say that death is material become unanimated? For that, we would have to actually die, see what it was like, and report back. You go first.
All knowledge was originally unknown because for something to be known, it first had to be unknown. This implies at least an equivalent relationship between the known and the unknown. Now imagine all the things that will one day be known, but are unknown today. This implies an endless supply of the unknown. Now factor in all the things that could potentially be known, but perpetually remain unknown. Logic implies that there is more that is unknown than is known.
So from where we sit, all that is known was once unknown and all that we will know is currently unknown. With this in mind, we can say that the natural, default state of the universe is the unknown. Similarly, from where we sit, the anamorphic skull is distorted. It merely requires the proper perspective to come into focus. The unknown, like death and like the anamorphic skull (metaphorically speaking) is the perspective of the universe, not the human.
At this point we must admit that our theory of death is merely a hypothesis. It seems to be justified but that is because we have already worked our conclusion into our definition. We say that death is material become unanimated, and it is true precisely because we have defined it ahead of time.
But what we are actually defining is not death. It would be more proper to say that we are merely assigning the word ‘death’ to the phenomenon of material becoming unanimated. We are still not saying what death actually is. Our conception of death is too straightforward and without perspective.
Our working definition of death is purely from the perspective of the living human. We need the perspective of the dead in all of this. Has anybody thought to ask the dead what it is actually like to be dead? Our scientific hypothesis is not complete until we have secured this very important data.
Death is not material become unanimated. This is too obvious and verging on tautology. Death is a loss of spirit, a loss of purpose, meaning, values, and mission. In a word, it is a loss of perspective. If death is merely and strictly defined as material become unanimated, then life becomes death, animated. We become the walking dead.
Much like the picture, death is a matter of perspective. The problem is, unlike the picture, we have no “death-perspective.” Who knows what death is actually like until you are dead? Dead people probably think life is quite an odd phenomenon. The dead are probably petrified by life.
With all of this in mind, we can say that material death is hardly the worst thing that can happen to a man and knowledge is hardly the worst thing to be lacking. To be alive, with no purpose, with no mission, and with no destiny is the worst fate of all. This is a much more fitting definition of death. This is true poverty.
Death and life have a symbolic dimension beyond the material. When death has no symbolic meaning, it becomes merely a word, when life has no symbolic meaning, it becomes merely a sentence. At this point we shall define life as: having a purpose and a quest. So how does one rise from the dead and live again?
The medieval technique of anamorphosis almost seems like a magical phenomenon, yet there it is for all to see. Although mathematically and rationally derived and explained, it creates an ultimate end effect of bewilderment. It is just like the stick in water. The stick appears bent, but it is not. It can be mathematically and rationally explained, but the end effect is still bewildering.
Obscurantism has received a bad rap in intellectual circles, but it is actually the opposite idea, what we might call “obvious-ism,” that could prove to be much more fatal. We can rationally and mathematically explain away everything by way of knowledge. Knowledge is a fine tool but it is not a purpose and all the knowledge in the world won’t necessarily give you a purpose.
You say you want meaning? You say you want a mission? You want a purpose beyond your human life? You say you’re dying to get in here and fight it out? Here is an opportunity: fight on behalf of the unknown, the universe, and the anamorphic skull. Do not rationalize. Make things enigmatic like the medieval technique of anamorphosis. We need no more knowledge. Let us work on behalf of our greatest ally and most abundant resource – the unknown!
This essay and hypothesis is an anamorphic message from the Land of the Dead. Our foe is the obvious. Let us relegate knowledge to its proper perspective. For every one thing that is known, there are ten things that are unknown. Let us admit and propose that the ultimate, end effect of reality is actually bewildering and mysterious.
Let us do away with rationalizing reality. When our theories of reality are made more mysterious and more bewildering than initially thought, man, himself, will have no choice but to act in a more mathematical and rational way.
What we don’t know could go on forever and ever, because how can we know something until we know it? The unknown is so vast that one cannot even conceive of what we don’t know. In fact, what we don’t know grows every day, probably at an even faster pace than what we do know.
Human life becomes distorted and anamorphic against a supposedly easily explainable universe. However, when the universe becomes mysterious, humans have no choice but to get their act together. Man is really not at his finest when he basks in knowledge. Man’s finest hour is when he confronts and challenges the unknown.
After all, the unknown is what brings out the best in man.
Monday, February 18th, 2013
Buzzwords let us speak without communicating. They refer indirectly to a presumed shared mission, and also reference what’s current, so they allow instant entry into the theater of relevance as seen by most of our fellow citizens. The buzzword “sustainable” has snowballed from a simple idea into a mental gridlock.
Originally used to describe self-renewing resource cultivation, “sustainable” came to mean — as do all things in a world gone mad for commerce and equality — a lifestyle. It began like many things before to reek of the type of existence that people wanted to see themselves as living, namely the opposite of what they do.
Sustainability conjured up images of the fiercely independent explorers living alone on the veldt, powered by solar panels and growing their own food. It also meant pleasant visions of ourselves as a society: noble, enlightened, having transcended all that dirty technology and primitive thinking, living in New Age harmony with nature and Utopia.
Buzzwords will make you cynical because they are not actual communication, but communication by reference. When we state our goals as a string of trendy adjectives, it becomes clear that there is no plan, and the buzzwords are serving to allow us to justify doing exactly what we were doing, with a few patches applied.
However, buzzwords conceal a hidden meaning. They are popular because people like the vision they conjure up, even if it is used to manipulate them later. People want something that can keep going without constantly consuming and destroying good things, as they intuitively perceive that our society does.
When we look at modern society historically however it becomes clear that it is not “sustainable” on any of a number of levels. The obvious ones are that it depends on constant growth, and thus constant population expansion and constant development of natural resources. It is a Tragedy of the Commons writ large, albeit a slow one.
Another level where it is unsustainable can be found in the architecture of the society itself.
It takes centuries to see the effects of any political change. We don’t have centuries since we are mortal. Even more, every generation wants to make a name for itself and to produce some kind of big change that has an emotional impact. We all want to slay the dragon and take home the princess.
The result is that we’ve been piling untested political ideas on top of each other for the last three centuries. We start with a supposition, come up with a political plan, and then after implementing it, wait about five years before assuming that it worked. Sometimes we might even wait twenty years, but that’s rare.
The result is like a rambling house. Started from a small design, it grows by additions. On a whim, people add on to what is there, without testing the underlying architecture. Soon more rooms are piled on top of the same supports. The wood groans. It awaits only a small disaster to fall.
In 1789 France, we started with the idea of political equality as a goal. The goal of society was to serve the citizens as individuals, not to govern itself as a whole, like an organic entity would. Despite numerous wars and social chaos, that didn’t kill us, we kept building onto that edifice.
Our notion is that this is like an arcology, or a city built in exclusively vertical ways so that it will use less land and be more efficient. In reality, it’s a teetering structure with no actual design, with people slapping on patches or additions where possible to “make a name for myself.”
By switching to rule by every individual, instead of letting exceptional individuals rule, we have made a Tragedy of the Commons out of our own society. People take prestige, and leave behind untested political plans piled on one another. It’s only now, centuries later, that we see the full effects.
Why does it take so long to see these effects? First, because people are slow to change. Second, because most of their effects are indirect through changes to how people live, reproduce, raise kids, have values and what they expect. Finally, because the psychological effects of government are bigger than we think.
Every act of a government is either an endorsement or a condemnation. When we make a law saying that anyone driving with a blood alcohol level of more than .10 is guilty of a crime, we have officially condoned driving around after two beers. In the same way, government legislation of sexual morality, civil rights, child care, etc. has consequences.
Our rambling house of political assumptions was never very stable, but it took centuries to see it. Now, after the carnage and disasters of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, people are ready to consider that we may have taken a wrong turn, and it’s time to rip this house back to the studs and build it from a blueprint, this time.
Sunday, February 10th, 2013
We post many analyses and solutions on this site. It’s time to tie it all together, since many people are still confused about what this blog stands for and why we keep harping on similar ideas.
The simplest it gets: there is something in humans that misleads us and propels us away from reality, which causes us to bunch together in groups to deny reality, which causes societies to become internally fractured and collapse. If you like civilization, you fight this force of reality-denial (Crowdism).
When people turn to the Crowdist way, they inevitably arrive at something like modern liberalism. The individual wants few constraints on itself, so it wants both an anarchic component, and a commercial component. Because these two create chaos, people then turn to an authoritarian component which holds society together.
The final stage of this process is globalism. Since the French Revolution, liberal groups have called for erasing all barriers to the individual’s total autonomy and total freedom of choice. Those include heritage, religion, culture, values and even sexual orientation. Nothing must come in the way of the whim of the individual.
I call this global process Amerika because it reflects what happens when a once-nice place falls under the control of liberals. First, they smash all of its decent traditions in the name of “freedom”, liberty and equality. Next they introduce crippling infrastructure failures. Finally, it turns into a totalitarian state.
That doesn’t last long. Totalitarian states decay because they rely on the power of one person. The result of totalitarianism is a slow collapse into third-world levels of low hygiene, corruption, warlordism, incompetence, laziness and social chaos.
Amerika combines the worst possible elements of humanity: the greed of consumerism, the apathy of socialism, the elective ignorance of democracy, and the binary approach to truth — our way or anything else — that marks totalitarian societies. It is a disease like cancer or paranoia. But it starts out sounding good.
This type of thinking first came about in the French Revolution in 1789, but had precursors in The Enlightenment some centuries before. Many people blame those roots on Christianity; I don’t think it’s that easy. The ancient Greeks described the same phenomenon happening to them, as did the ancient Indians. It is inherent to human existence.
We can call it narcissism or individualism, but it boils down to the same thing, which is a rejection of the possibilities of the world in favor of the judgments, desires, impulses and feelings of the individual. In other words, as if someone appointed us God, we put ourselves before everything else. Including reality itself.
Most human activities are designed to hide this simple truth. For example, in our popular culture, it is considered impolite to blame the individual for his or her own actions. It is better to find something big and impersonal to blame, like the Rich, racism, the government, the Kings, religion or even bad luck.
Most people when faced with this situation will go into denial. They write off society and start working for their own profit. The only problem is that when society goes downhill, it takes them with it. However, people cannot mentally process this because it shatters their sense of well-being. So like zombies they march in denial.
Amerika is the death of the West and the malaise that afflicts first-world nations. People are fundamentally miserable. They backbite and snipe, attack each other and sabotage each other, because they have found that living for the individual produces more ambiguity than actual solutions. They lie about this and claim to be “happy.”
This results in people who hate their own society and the people around them, and covertly but actively work to destroy it. The misery spreads from that. A quasi-sociopathic “me first” mentality replaces any sense of working with others, or even common sense and common decency. The death-spiral accelerates.
Much like the Soviet Union, Amerika is destined for failure. However, that will take time and during the intervening decades or centuries, it will destroy all that was once good and leave behind a cultureless grey population who have no ability to create civilization again.
Our solution here is simple: resist this decline by pointing out what it is, and by fighting back against liberalism. Get together the sane people, invade our political parties, demand change, and then throw out the parasites and their enablers. Put us back on track to a nicer and better way of life.
Right now, this seems like a dream. Modern society seems like it will never change. But as more and more of its vital systems fail, and the people who are replacing its creators seem unable to fix them, it becomes clearer that something must be done. You have a choice: stand for civilization, or stand for decay. Which side are you on?