Darkness and light

darkness_and_light

Philosophy consists more of vectors than arguments, sort of like the “angle” to a good human interest story: approaches, and framing of both goals and points at which arguments become incoherent, that in turn reshape the issue from what we might think to what we recognize as structurally sound and consistent with all else we know.

In my wanderings, I have borrowed basic analysis from Plato and Schopenhauer; political analysis from William S. Burroughs (“Control”); civilizational analysis from Nietzsche and Plato; and my most basic approach, from the Bhagavad-Gita, the Odyssey and the Bible, which see the root of human error as hubris or self-important solipsistic delusion. These pieces fit together better than one might expect.

In doing so, I have refuted some parts of the philosophies of all of my heroes except Plato. I disagree with Fred Nietzsche that the root of liberalism is Christianity, since the actual root is hubris brought on by overpopulation of our lower classes thanks to the successful social order of our aristocrats. I see Schopenhauer as missing the political and metaphysical implications of Germanic idealism, where Kant was closer to accurate on the latter. Burroughs is often caught in a victim narrative that externalizes evil. And so on.

But let us return to that study of evil, because in this distinction, I see the most basic approach to philosophy revealed: one either wishes to know the truth of reality and see the beauty in it, which corresponds to the realist and transcendentalist prongs of conservatism, or one wishes to deny reality in favor of human feelings, judgments and desires. Throughout all of human history, all human actions have fallen mostly on one side or the other of this divide, because it reflects whether we are able to perceive the world (good) or are dedicated only to ourselves and our illusory power (evil).

Another way to see this distinction is that good means acting within a whole order, or one that incorporates all parts of the world. Evil means acting for yourself alone, which usually requires looking at only some parts of natural order, or cherry-picking what reality you notice and then justifying/rationalizing from that point of view. We see people do this all the time when they see an action in one context, and repeat it in another as if it were some universal solution, when really its success depended on the action plus the context.

But what is most interesting about evil is its desire to conceal — including through use of distraction. The following two examples show how evil works by hiding its actual intentions and then distracting observers with fake symbols of good intentions that exist merely to deceive.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
The Bible, John 3:19-21 KJV

The evil hates the light, and so it hides its deeds; the good comes into the light, so its deeds may be seen, because the good does not fear judgment. This view sort of represents a “first take” on evil, because once the above has been said, evil — which is not stupid in the short term — will begin to disguise itself. This is why evil appears seductive, even beautiful, throughout the Bible and classical literature.

Plato expands on this concept:

Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other; no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at last to the same point.

And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another’s, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one another’s faces, and keep up appearances with one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice.
— Plato, The Republic, Chapter III

The good will hide his good deeds, and let his bad be seen; this is equivalent to the good coming into the light from the Biblical passage.

The bad will hide his bad deeds, and let his good be seen; this, if anything, is the crux of Plato and later Nietzsche, which is that we should be wary of human symbols, intentions and displays/signaling as they are always corrupt (and seem to work, year after year for eons, on the clueless herd).

The above are in parallel to Plato’s classic formulation of justice, which is “good to the good, and bad to the bad.” In other words, give to people what they are, so that you get more of the good and less of the bad. This also fits with a Darwinistic interpretation.

Old-school conservatives began their study of humanity with evil, and extended this into political philosophy, mainly because when you combine the Bible and Plato you realize that most people are both deceptive and bad, and that we either put the good ones in charge of the rest, or the rest will rule us and destroy us with their solipsistic evil.

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28 Responses to “Darkness and light”

  1. Balls McSuck says:

    This “post” was elucidating, insofar as it showcased explicitly all at once your influences. I’ve read your shit since the ANUS days and I’ve listened to all the KCUF stuff (though my reading and listening wasn’t necessarily contemporaneous with those postings), and I’ve found that more and more you are influenced by Christianity, whereas before you sort of viewed it as anathema, which disturbed me at first, but now I’m starting to see the appeal of this influence (Christianity)… just kind of though… I must confess, instinctively I am repelled by Christianity, seeing it as a complete Cuck-religion antithetical to all true nobility of spirit; however, while being “objective” to the extent I am able, I’m finding it to be more meaningful as a practical moral guide. My question at this junction:

    I have no idea how you reconcile in the macro the influence of Christianity with the awesomeness of “Onward to Golgotha” for instance: If “affirm reality” is your creed, and the latter work was wrought out of visceral hatred of Christianity, being itself a work completely antithetical to all Christianity stands for, how can you hold to the greatness of both? You might argue that this is like comparing apples to oranges: one is an artistic work, the other is a religion–the metaphysical/philosophical basis of a worldview or something– whatever, I think you can derive a worldview from the artistic work, Onward to Golgotha, and they are not compatible! (btw., I apologize if it makes you uncomfortable my combining these two aspects of your life/interest–metal with the philosophical mission; ignore this if you like. Additionally, I concede that you never said Christianity is great explicitly, but you confess it has influenced you in a positive way, and, agreed, there is so much you don’t say explicitly! You know this; we all know this.)

    New topic/question: Could you possibly expound on this statement:

    “I see Schopenhauer as missing the political and metaphysical implications of Germanic idealism, where Kant was closer to accurate on the latter.”

    Seriously, how can that be the case, assuming we are only giving a shit about the truth that exists therein, and not some Hegelian nonsense? Schopenhauer is the link between East and West: he is the bridge that connects the Bhagavad Gita to Plato to Kant: whereas Kant says we cannot know the thing-in-itself, Schopenhauer identifies it as Will, analogies of which can be seen in “Atman” and “Brahman” in the Bhagavad Gita. This is an affirmation of non-dualism–advaita, no? Additionally, Christianity, outside of the mystical tradition which seriously makes tenuous-at-best links to scripture, is dualistic! The very metaphysics of this shit is incompatible, isn’t it?

    That said… Great article… and Keep up the good work: your writing is refreshing on the days I’m sober enough to give it the amount of attention it deserves (gotta get through the day, yo).

    • Doug says:

      Okay, I’ll take a stab at it. I reckon that Onward (and others) was commissioned primarily to illuminate the fact that a perfectly good religion had been hijacked, and it didn’t skimp on the trancendent component of the top notch aural experience which demands alignment to a cosmic order affectionately referred to as “reality.” In fact, deciphering the lyrics is entirely optional since like all worthwhile music, the instruments do most of the talking.

      Almost entirely reduced to rubble by hurt feelings and unchecked libidos, metal and Christianity were both casualties of the 20th century. Dancing on the graves are seven billion mini-gods each with his own separate religion, a situation as unsustainable as our biology is limited in foresight. But we’ll get it right, one of these days.

    • moe connoisseur says:

      As I see it, Christianity isn’t a whole. The Bible isn’t a whole, and there are tons of interpretations of it. Whichever of the aspects of Christianity you think constitute the “bottom line”, and what you think of them decides how you view it.

      I think even Nietzsche’s radical rejection of Christianity can fit together with some aspects. The Old Testament makes for a great example of the tables the peoples of the world write for themselves, and as we can see, the Jews seem to be doing quite well. That isn’t anything to despise, even from a Nietzschean point of view.

      This may be because I don’t believe, but I don’t see Onward to Golgotha as really anti-Christian. Most of the lyrics deal with the uncertainty of faith, the possibility that the gods don’t love us, or, even worse, are incompetent as if made in our own image. Things like that are only relevant so much as gods and afterlife are. To me, Onward to Golgotha provides a metaphor for the uncaring and uncertain nature of reality, much like the Book of Job.

  2. Johann Theron says:

    There is a new dawn indeed.

  3. Eduardo the Magnificent says:

    The symbolism of TPTB worshiping Lucifer, occultism, darkness, etc. could be nothing more than them paying homage to the vehicle that enables their power: hiding their deeds from the public. After all, David Rockefeller famously thanked the various newspapers for concealing the truth in a speech he gave at a Bilderberg meeting in ’91
    https://canadanow.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/david-rockefeller-thanks-media-for-its-silence/

  4. crow says:

    Christianity – as conceived – is not at fault. What is, is people, and their seemingly inbuilt propensity to evil doings.
    Right up there at the top of the must-do list is the instruction against idol-worship.
    And what greater idol than ego?
    Man in the form of God.
    Self-worship.

    Spiritual enlightenment is both the simplest, and the most fiendishly difficult state, a man may achieve. Very few will ever reach it. Thus, man is doomed to always become as man is: fallen and insane.

    The only answer possible, is to take up the quest. The Holy Grail. Any individual may do this, at any time before his death. And even should the quest prove fruitless, it is the quest, itself, that matters.

    • Jpw says:

      You speak of the gnostic heresy. It sadly won’t go away any time soon. It’s tough to accept thst isn’t all about me.

  5. Noah says:

    The typical, well-meaning liberal approach to solving social tensions is to treat every value as equal, and then try to force a levelling or redistribution of resources (money, rights, goods, land) while leaving the values untouched. The typical conservative approach is take it’s particular values and try to foist them on everybody else. The developmental approach is to realize that there are many different values and worldviews; that some are more complex than others; that many of the problems at one stage of development can only be defused by evolving to a higher level; and that only by recognizing and facilitating this evolution can social justice be finally served. Moreover, by seeing that each and every individual has all of these memes potentially available to them , the lines of social tension are redrawn: not based on skin color, economic class, or political clout, but on the type of worldview from which a person, group of persons, clan, tribe, business, government, educational system, or nation is operating. As Beck puts it, “The focus is not on types of people, but types in people.” This removes skin color from the game and focuses on some of the truly underlying factors (developmental values and worldviews) that generate social tensions.
    http://www.fudomouth.net/thinktank/now_integralvision.htm

    • The typical conservative approach is take it’s particular values and try to foist them on everybody else.

      Or perhaps to stop making values arbitrary, and demand they be reality-based instead.

  6. Noah says:

    My previous post, sums up nicely the arguments I have against your world view. I think the liberal approach is superior to the conservative approach, although you do have legitimate criticisms of it. I think the developmental approach beats both.
    “Or perhaps to stop making values arbitrary, and demand they be reality-based instead.”
    Overly general, though I grasp the implications. You actually, by your own admission, hate the current reality, because you see yourself as living in a degenerate leftist society. So you don’t literally believe “Whatever is is what should be.” You’re actually saying that our current reality is a bad one which should be challenged. I agree, though very differently.
    You’re implying that there is a natural order, and that certain factors such as excess material wealth and liberalism have corrupted it.
    But even this is highly selective, with a strong element of personal preference. If you want to take natural order to it’s full extent, you want to do away with the agricultural revolution and go back to hunting and gathering.
    You actually want the social order to reflect your ideas about what superior and inferior, or highly developed versus lowly developed people are. Even if force is required to keep the lowly developed people in their place.
    Of course I am not convinced you are highly developed in certain aspects nor that you should be the ultimate arbiter of who is a superior sort of person.
    I also keep trying to say that I do think nurture and ethical concern have a place in a social order. And I think there are ways to incentivize mature stages of development without oppressing or abusing others.
    Stoicism and realism are admirable qualities, especially if they lead to getting meaningful things done. But the world also has a place for weakness and those who require care and protection. I don’t think you care much about either though; I think you care more for dominance by you and your sort of people.

    I’ve basically said all this before, but I really liked just how well the quote I put in the previous post did justice to my objections to your ideas.

    • I think the liberal approach is superior to the conservative approach, although you do have legitimate criticisms of it. I think the developmental approach beats both.

      The developmental approach could always be a variety of the liberal approach. That’s the usual. Some explain liberalism versus conservatism as liberalism being relativistic, and conservatism being based in unchanging fact. That also works. To a conservative, values must reflect logic and reality. To a liberal, they are preferences for what he wishes were true. To me, that is evil; it is using the world as your dollhouse based on unproven conjecture. Food for thought.

      You’re actually saying that our current reality is a bad one which should be challenged.

      Yes, and it’s bad because it is based in human wishful thinking and social impulse rather than reality.

      You’re implying that there is a natural order, and that certain factors such as excess material wealth and liberalism have corrupted it.

      Perhaps: there is a natural order, and only where we work within it, we thrive.

      If you want to take natural order to it’s full extent, you want to do away with the agricultural revolution and go back to hunting and gathering.

      This misunderstands natural order. Natural order is natural law, which does not limit us to any level of evolution, but governs cause->effect reasoning.

      But the world also has a place for weakness and those who require care and protection.

      That’s fine if the world provides for it, instead of requiring all of society to abandon the good in pursuit of the weak.

      • crow says:

        …”using the world as your dollhouse”…
        That, right there, is the clearest, most concise observation of leftism I’ve yet seen.
        It really says it all. Well done!

  7. John Hinds says:

    Christianity posits sensuousness as a force of nature by affirming that the Real can only be joined by getting to Heaven, a separate Reality from the world below where we have “fallen”. Actually, the transcendent is in “things-in-themselves”. You can see right trough factual reality to beauty itself, in other words. That is Kant and Plato, as I see it. The sensuous genius of Don Juanism would not have emerged in the world were it not for Christianity.

  8. Noah says:

    “This misunderstands natural order. Natural order is natural law, which does not limit us to any level of evolution, but governs cause->effect reasoning.”
    Clarify please. I think I get the implications, but not sure.
    I’m making the point that your definition of realism is also heavily colored by personal preference. Not even saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but it is overly simplistic to say that your group are the realistic ones and they want to make the world into a dollhouse.
    The ultimate in realism would be accepting whatever is, no matter how bad, without trying to change it. Do we want that? No, we both want development towards true value (whatever the hell that might be) above the current situation. Of course, in order to develop towards the good, the beautiful and the true, you have to not be in denial about the bad, the ugly, and the false. So in this context, the word realism is useful. But I am clarifying these basic concepts to point out that you often argue in tautologies.
    You’re implying that conservativism promotes development towards mature, strong and moral traits. While liberalism leads to the opposite. This part I don’t agree with. I think that the type of abuses perpetrated under the conservative presumptions of superiority have done a ton of damage. And the liberal concern for the nurture and empowerment of previously marginalized and abused groups of people is a healthy, natural reaction to that. It does have some shortfalls, which the developmental approach addresses, but it beats your emphasis on using force and oppression to subdue everyone different.
    “The developmental approach could always be a variety of the liberal approach. That’s the usual.”
    At this point the language just starts to get overly general. The article I linked to clarifies this distinction well. Unfortunately you won’t read it. Again.

    • crow says:

      Get used to it. The insane have nothing of relevance to report.

    • Clarify please.

      Natural order is not a tangible thing, but a method of understanding the mechanism of our world. It operates consistently, with the same causes producing the same effects. For that reason, we can look at past cause-effect pairs, and step backward from an effect we desire or wish to avoid to see its cause. We can then use that cause, or avoid that cause, depending on the results we achieve.

      I’m making the point that your definition of realism is also heavily colored by personal preference.

      Let us start with my more controversial point: nothing is subjective. People have different abilities and are capable of noticing and understanding different things in ascension from lower to higher degrees of complexity. For that reason, personal perspective becomes filtered by understanding.

      The ultimate in realism would be accepting whatever is, no matter how bad, without trying to change it.

      I disagree. The ultimate in realism is recognizing what is, including what can be.

      No, we both want development towards true value (whatever the hell that might be) above the current situation.

      How about just higher levels of complexity, using the mathematical definition, and thus better function? “Better,” period. Qualitative improvement.

      You’re implying that conservativism promotes development towards mature, strong and moral traits. While liberalism leads to the opposite.

      Well-stated.

      I think that the type of abuses perpetrated under the conservative presumptions of superiority have done a ton of damage.

      Destruction is part of life. Destroy the lower, and you rise. Destroy the higher, and you fall.

      it beats your emphasis on using force and oppression to subdue everyone different.

      Here I think your understanding falls off. Under my plan, “everyone different” would have a much better chance at actual life, namely control of their own destiny and ability to achieve qualitative improvement.

      • crow says:

        Noah makes the classic leftist error, over and over:
        He confuses who he is, with what goes on in his mind. He confuses who people are, with how his mind imagines they should be. He confuses the world, with the crazy world-of-humans. He confuses himself, with his mental idea of who he is.
        And then demands clarification from the very people he attacks.
        And why?
        To amass more ammunition for his mind to launch the next attack.

        People are not their minds. That they have forgotten this, is the reason for their condition.

        • He confuses the world, with the crazy world-of-humans.

          Another good synopsis of leftism. He does not seem however to have the fanatical hatred that many of this group (liberals) display. Perhaps there is a way out for people who are inclined toward being reasonable in such a manner.

          • crow says:

            The way out is the domain of a very few. We’ve seen one or two, here. But they are passing rare. And if they find it, they do so by themselves. No amount of truth or reason makes the slightest difference.
            My wife is a glorious example of what is possible. It was as if the sun came out, after an eclipse. That was a good day.

  9. Noah says:

    I’m smart enough to understand the gist of your arguments even while I strongly disagree. I’m smart enough to realize that lashing out makes you look silly, and no one can decisively “win” on an internet blog anyway. Please do not think that means I stand a chance of being converted.

    You still haven’t addressed the developmental paradigm I mentioned.
    Crow: You’re still stupid. It’s a site for political discussion. Political discussions often become arguments. And then state here and elsewhere that wanting to engage in political arguments shows my low character development. You declare yourself a reality centered person while deliberately cutting yourself off from having to deal with people with whom you disagree. That’s how cults start.
    Brett: “I disagree. The ultimate in realism is recognizing what is, including what can be.” Well put. I agree. And yet even in the realm of possibility, your take on realism is still as heavily colored by personal preference as anyone’s. Again not even saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but the language is certainly muddled in a way that leads to arguing in tautologies.
    I get the natural order thing, and have objected again and again as to how the principles of biological darwinism really can’t be extrapolated to social darwinism. Evolutionary biologists agree.
    “Destruction is part of life. Destroy the lower, and you rise. Destroy the higher, and you fall.” Another overly general extrapolation of natural processes onto social theory. Heavily colored by a deeply ingrained sense of personal superiority. Which, of course, shows the same projection of one’s personality onto the world that you point out in “liberals.” The developmental model I linked to talks at length about nudging/showing people the way to higher stages of development, rather than using force to subdue everyone different.
    “Here I think your understanding falls off. Under my plan, “everyone different” would have a much better chance at actual life, namely control of their own destiny and ability to achieve qualitative improvement.”
    Another article of yours seems to disagree:
    “If I could leave you with one image, it will be this: that boot smashing into the human face — since not all humans are equal, and most are unable to control themselves, most faces should be smashed by the boot so they do not do the same to the rest of us and doom all of society.”

    • crow says:

      Indeed. In the fantasy moonscape of your ego, I am stupid. Suits me. Engaging with the likes of you in any way other than declining to engage, is stupid. I decline to engage. But I will state the obvious as long as I feel moved to.
      Get lost, little fella. You’re more over-matched than you could possibly conceive of. Which is one reason you are a deluded leftist. Nobody here is remotely interested in what you have to say, which is why they’re here.
      One can only imagine what you’re doing here.
      Or how long it will take for the obvious to occur to you.

      • Nobody here is remotely interested in what you have to say, which is why they’re here.

        What crow is saying is perhaps — he’ll clarify if he wishes, most likely — that 99% of our world is leftist. Governments, corporations, people on the street, neighbors: they all agree. They know the right answer, they are certain. And so when you go looking for alternatives, all you find is denials. Then you go looking further, and you find camouflaged denials (egalitarianism hidden in crafty forms). Finally you find something you did not expect.

        • crow says:

          Quite so. Leftism is everywhere. Here we have a refuge, a place where leftism is not the lingua-franca. Thus it has great value to the sane.
          That being so, leftist missionaries are not welcome, other than as examples of what to avoid.

    • Crow: You’re still stupid.

      Please don’t take the conversation in that direction. It goes nowhere useful, or even interesting. I understand the frustration but that won’t help.

      • crow says:

        Well, he is – in fact – right. Crow is stupid. By his system of measuring such things, anyway. The leftist is always inclined to categorize anything that he, himself, does not understand, as ‘stupid’.

    • Please do not think that means I stand a chance of being converted.

      You misunderstand, probably through poor or ambiguous use of language on my part. No one is converted. This is esotericism, not politics!

      You declare yourself a reality centered person while deliberately cutting yourself off from having to deal with people with whom you disagree. That’s how cults start.

      That’s a critique of method not intent/result. Do you think he’s trying to form a cult? If so, why hasn’t he? And why isn’t it based around him?

      And yet even in the realm of possibility, your take on realism is still as heavily colored by personal preference as anyone’s.

      Did you ever read Hunter S. Thompson? Personal preference is often more objective than the false method of removing it which amounts to pretense and play-acting.

      I get the natural order thing, and have objected again and again as to how the principles of biological darwinism really can’t be extrapolated to social darwinism. Evolutionary biologists agree.

      If they want to save their careers, they have no choice but to agree, which makes me thoroughly discount their agreement. This is like saying that 100% of the victims shot at dawn in the courtyard of Lefortovo prison had confessed.

      Heavily colored by a deeply ingrained sense of personal superiority.

      You assume an ad hominem argument by me while committing one yourself. This is not about people, but ideas. Remember Schopenhauer’s triad:

      Again, it may be said that there are three kinds of authors. First come those who write without thinking. They write from a full memory, from reminiscences; it may be, even straight out of other people’s books. This class is the most numerous. Then come those who do their thinking whilst they are writing,—they think in order to write; and there is no lack of them. Last of all come those authors who think before they begin to write: they are rare.

      And one other note:

      The developmental model I linked to talks at length about nudging/showing people the way to higher stages of development, rather than using force to subdue everyone different.

      IN OTHER WORDS, IT’S LIBERALISM. Everyone is equal; they just need nudging.

      “If I could leave you with one image, it will be this: that boot smashing into the human face — since not all humans are equal, and most are unable to control themselves, most faces should be smashed by the boot so they do not do the same to the rest of us and doom all of society.”

      You have missed the point. Society can either be bottom-up or top-down; bottom-up results in doom, so the top must suppress the rest in order to save them from themselves (and coincidentally, save nature and future humanity from the crass, callow, selfish, delusional, narcissistic and self-important people of today).

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