Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘structuralism’

Definitions

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

demure

Sometimes it helps to have a few basic terms spelled out in the simplest form possible. While this article does not attempt to dumb down any of these ideas, it does give you the elemental structure, although you – the reader – will probably have questions owing to the elusive nature of many of these concepts at initial contact.

Nihilism

Removal of value that is not directly relevant to reality. We exist in the same world, and interact in ways that can be predicted, given a study of repeatable actions and responses. Therefore, while we can noodle on about whether or not reality is “real,” it is for all intents and purposes as real as anything can be. Nihilism is a belief in nothing, which if you unpack it linguistically, means a positive belief in the value of nothing. Nothingness can be applied to all of our neuroses, fears, impressions, and the illusions produced by poor interpretation of our own senses. What is left is a clearer view of reality. We may never have 100% clarity in viewing our world, but the closer we get the more powerful we become. Thus nihilism strips aside anything that comes between us and a perception of structure and context in the world. Most of these “preprocessor directives” originate in our emotional and socialized responses to the world, which demands we categorize certain actions as “good” or “bad” for the sake of keeping all of us here in the crowd on the same page. Nihilism is not a belief system for followers, although many followers claim to believe in it. It is like Zen consciousness: a removal of illusion, a focus of the perception facilities, and a joining of the imaginative and analytical minds. In doing so, we transcend our position as individuals and mortal beings, and are able to see the world as it is, infinite and continuous and extending far beyond our own lives.

Structure

This term is almost indefinable, but it refers to the internal relationship of parts that forms a whole to any given thing, and the transfer of energy or support of form therein. When we speak of a chair, its structure can be summarized as a certain number of legs supporting a platform which in turn supports a chairback; no matter what the chair looks like, this physical relationship will be expressed. Structure does not exist; it is our perceptive mind finding common relationships between objects; however, structure also quasi-exists in that its functional relationship is essential to the existence of objects or events. Structure is what we see in abstraction when we look at things in our physical world. While anyone can call something a chair, it takes mental energy to understand what makes a chair a chair, and how to build one. Theory is the study of structure. Plato suggested in his famous metaphor of the cave that we see shadows cast by a fire as our metaphorical reality; outside the cave, there are objects, and in our minds these leave silhouettes which are structure.

Context

All things are relative, and all things are relative to the whole. The interaction of different relative parts produces context. Context is surroundings and natural forces.

Reality

That part of the world which is external to us, and consistent, and provides sustenance to us and takes our lives as it sees fit. Specifically, its description as physical objects or structural concepts with immediate correlation to physical objects. (Translation: the world outside you, minus your thoughts and emotions and blue book valuations, et cetera.)

Crowdism

When one looks at life analytically, it is clear that it has many different parts which operate best in certain contexts; to think non-linearly is to understand that each has its place contributing to the whole, operating in parallel. Crowdism is the desire expressed by the greatest number of us, who have no facility for leadership and no ability to think past the direct consequences of their actions, for linearity, so that none are above or below others. It is an emotional response to the inequality of nature, and is oblivious to the fact that in nature equality is achieved through the singular beauty of life which can be experienced by all. Crowdism is a revenge impulse which wishes to destroy those who have exceptional abilities or who have risen above the crowd; it is the ultimate in-group, out-group response. Crowdists by definition do not think of long term implications to their potential actions, and thus are terrible rulers, but as they think emotionally and their thinking is limited to their own desires, they wish not to have any above themselves as they find it insulting to their generally low-self-esteem personalities. While anyone who is incapable of seeing beyond the immediate consequences (linear thinking) of their actions is an Underman, Crowdists are those who take being an Underman and make it into a political statement: tear down the superior, exalt the inferior, and we’ll all be “equal.” Unfortunately, emotional reactions fare poorly in the real world, as it is much more carefully constructed than some out of control cognitive dissonance resopnse, and therefore, as history shows us, Crowdism destroys every civilization where it gains predominance. However, it seems Crowdism is a part of the life span of every civilization, usually immediately preceding its demise into third-world status, because as civilizations grow their citizens take them for granted, and seek to “improve” upon a model they do not understand as they have not known struggle. Crowdism, then, is like getting fat: a result of idleness and lack of clear view of reality. Crowdism can take on any host, whether Communism or National Socialism, Greenism or Christianity. The only response to Crowdism is an insistence upon meritocracy, including of bloodlines, so that one can create a leadership caste which sequesters the detailed knowledge necessary for rulership. However, the only kind of society that can maintain such a caste is one with a rigorous ascetic tradition, and a desire to remove the excessive mediocre people who will otherwise gain a numerical majority, demand “democratic” representation and thus overrule those better suited to lead. The previous sentence is a servicable description of what has happened to the West, and why it is now in crisis.

Materialism

This term is misunderstood: in the philosophical sense, it means a belief that the physical world is all that exists, and all that is valued. Interestingly, this precludes idealism, because in a materialism view, nothing can be higher than material good/bad, thus comfort is more important than some ideal or abstract goal. Materialism is the belief of cosmopolitan (no inherited culture) and Judaic societies worldwide. It has never been adopted by any group with a clear ethnic lineage and connection to land and a form of universal spiritual belief.

Idealism

The belief that life operates much as our thoughts do, and that it is likely they have a common ancestor; this opens the door to analysis of the mathematics behind existence, which at its most abstract level is the foundation of metaphysics. Idealism as a prescriptive belief places a higher value on correct thoughts than on material consequences; it is the opposite of materialism. As a descriptive belief, it affirms that evolution and our own scientific method of thought have similar origins and function. Idealism is the one truly masculine belief system, in that it operates as follows: 1. Analyze world. 2. Determine optimum structure. 3. Impose it upon physical reality. 4. Death is no defeat. It suggests the possibility of a higher plane of continuous structure to reality, whereby our thoughts join with the thoughts of the world, in a combination between analysis and imagination. Interestingly, European knights and Zen masters and quantum physicists all seem to stalk this same plateau of understanding.

Undermen

Undermen (if you’re an Underperson, you’ll demand we use that gender-neutral term) are those who resent others and believe we should all be equalized. They do not recognize that every state in life is holy, and that the collaboration of these states produce the whole. They have the idea that somehow rats are evil, the anus is evil, death is evil, etc. without realizing that these things are essential to the survival of something better than good, which we call “meta-good,” a state that requires both positive (good) and negative (bad) elements in order to keep going. Without death, life would be endless pointless time. Without defecation, more eating would not be so beautiful. Without rats, the forest would clutter with waste. To be beyond good and evil is to recognize this relationship, and to embrace your life whatever your stature – wealthy businessman, plumber, janitor, soldier, or homeless crack-addicted bum. Undermen come from every social class, every walk of life, and every persuasion. It is an attitude. Higher-bred Undermen are more capable, and thus more destructive; Undermen are produced through tribal mixing, as it shatters the contiguous evolution of a specialized value system in the individual, and leaves them to invent their own, which, unless they’re a philosophical genius with lots of free time, usually ends up being some form of Crowd revenge or another (Jesus Christ, V.I. Lenin, George Bush: high-bred, mixed-breed Undermen). Those who accept their stature in life without revenge and look upon life as holy are not Undermen, even if they’re impoverished crack-addicted homeless bums. Those who wish revenge and resent those who have better abilities or traits than themselves are secretely revengeful against nature and life’s order itself, as they distrust and fear evolutionary process, and they are Undermen, even if they’re fantastically wealthy, good-looking and surrounded by admirers. For the observant, this is nature’s justice: character and internal will are the only judgments of worth that matter, because all else is window dressing.

Exoteric

Any belief which externalizes its structure of advancement, which by the nature of external things as unpredictable, requires it have a single layer of approval. Any organization, church, or social club where if you walk in the door and sign on the dotted line and are considered a member, by its nature, is exoteric. It is a linear form of belief.

Esoteric

Any non-linear belief system, such as one that internalizes its structure of advancement. These systems tend to be open to all, and recognize that only inside of the individual – heart and mind – can advancement be made. They are direct opposites to exoteric systems.

Parallelism

The knowledge that there is no single linear “right way” of doing things, but any number of approaches to a problem, and that they can exist if segregated, as they do not mix. What may be right for one group is evil for another; what may work for one person is evil for another; what may be perfect at one moment is destructive in another. For some people, living like reckless hedonists and dying young is the perfect fulfilment of existence; for others, living conservatively and growing old surrounded by family is. In Israel, Judaism and the Jewish ethnicity are perfection; in Germany, they are destruction. It is for this reason that ethnic groups do not combine, social castes do not combine, and some individuals will never understand others. What is important is recognizing that working in parallel, we achieve the perpetuation of this amazing, beautiful world.

Experience

Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

experience

To live and think in this time is to see humanity as a vast screw-up; to think a little further is to realize that there is more than enough good to go around in the world, but that it is disorganized, based upon a few wrong turns not in history but in our collective beliefs as a modern, global society (by “good” it is meant all the good things in life, and not some absolute moral abstraction, a neat category into which we can divide things as having one source or another according to an ironclad, absolute law that applies equally to us all). In other words, while we can point to any number of symptoms and carriers of our bad ideas, which are essentially vectors for justifying erroneous thought, it is that erroneous thought itself that is the root of our problem.

(This essay is written for those developed enough in their thinking to realize that, no matter how much we might think we live in separate, absolute worlds, we live in the same world and the same laws of nature apply to us all, and there is no escaping them; in this realization we see two absolutes, the first being the mistake of thinking there is one categorical way of life that can apply equally to each of us, and the second being the mistake that we each exist in an untouchable category of our own, separated from reality. About the only equality in life is the status of these errors. For this reason, “erroneous thought” can be translated as “unrealistic thought,” “illusion,” “lies,” “delusion” or any synonym of your choice.)

At our first pass, it seems likely that our thought went wrong with some tangible entity; money, or the Church, or corporations, or “patriarchy,” or the gods of the sandal-wearers. This answer is unsatisfying in that first, the beginnings of the decline predate these things, and second, waging war against these things on a test basis – in smaller communities or ourselves – hasn’t stopped the pervasive nature of problems on that level. Thus we are left unfulfilled, and go on to our next level of thought, at which point our conclusions resemble the sappy lines from get well cards and bad short stories. If we only knew that love is all we need — if we only took time to care about the downtrodden, to realize their humanity is equal to ours and their suffering is real — if we only cared more, if we only took more walks on the beach at dawn, if everyone just got stoned and started thinking about how fascinating life is… the cynic in us asks, “So how did it work for you?” and the answer, universally, is that it worked for a few things, but the practical problems of how to conduct life remained, after all the new age-y, starry-eyed bullshit was over.

So: at this point, most give up and fall into what is called “nihilism” but makes more sense when referred to as “fatalism,” namely the belief that nothing means anything, that nothing can be done, that no value can be found, that nothing can reverse the decline. “Fatalism” is thus a fancy word for giving up on giving a damn, and settling down to a life of self-pity and what medical professionals call “symptomatic treatment,” or giving the patient care to release suffering from symptoms, having assumed that the cause of the disease cannot be stopped; the extreme of this is “palliative care,” in which scenario the disease is fatal and the only thing that can be done is to dope up the patient and wait for death’s swift kick to the rickety door of the soul. In our time, this is the most common philosophy, this palliative fatalism, and it explains in part why “conservatives” have fundamentalist, positivist religion and “liberals” have marijuana and wine – lots of wine – and everyone else has money, and/or cheap and effective street drugs.

Another aspect of it is pity, or the feeling that if you have the ability to give someone less fortunate something, it makes you feel good, in no small part for having the status of being higher than them and having the ability to give a gift. You’re not doing it for them; you’re doing it for yourself, and because of this, what you’re doing is rarely what they actually need, but some form of condescension. Hand the poor bibles and temporary food relief, but don’t cart them off to work or, if they’re mentally deranged, to a desolate and lonely patch of freezing ground for a quick and relatively painless death. To others who suffer, give little encouragements of the theme “you’re allright,” even though what they might need to hear is that they have to make changes or they’ll keep suffering. This feelgood condescension is the antithesis of “tough love,” which is a reality-embracing wake-up call to all who are suffering needlessly, and doesn’t gently suggest change but spells out clearly that they either change or die. Another aspect of “tough love” is taking lame horses, mutant livestock, and fatally diseased animals out behind the barn and applying a .30-06 to the skull. When you have no pity, you kill that which is having no hope, but unlike palliative medication, you actually end the pain and give space to new life by removing that which has failed.

And what exists beyond this fatalism? Surely the author of this piece believes that something might…? Otherwise, it would be pointless to even communicate, whether exhorting or preaching or cajoling, and it would be most sensible instead to find some way to swindle you into buying some product so the author could apply palliative medicine more effectively to himself. Does some aspect of that thought depress you – those who lead the blind, becoming blind, such that they might profit? Maybe you recognize it as a common occurrence and in fact, the motivation behind most advice you’ll get that isn’t outright pity, making the giver feel smarter for having a solution the pitied have not yet seen. You were warned this is a fatalistic time, but it was some paragraphs ago, so you’re forgiven for forgetting it – on a standardized test, your options would be clearer. But what everyone says about standardized tests is that they’re not close enough to reality, and test you more on your ability to fool a test than on knowledge of reality, or knowledge of how to summarize knowledge. Communication in this time makes even bridging this subject difficult, much less communicating how to surpass it.

We’ll start with the basics. There may not be an answer for you; you may literally be condemned, by character or ability, to live thrashing about in ignorance with no hope. Sorry – have some marijuana, or have you tasted the Mogen David? Well. However, if you’ve made it this far in reading this document, and still haven’t started skimming for swear words or sexual references, it’s likely you can process the information at hand (if this were a postmodern piece of writing, the author would try to communicate exclusively through sexual references and swear words but, alas, we’re not that clever, and far too pragmatic for it). Philosophers like to talk about sensitive but warlike souls (Mr. Nietzsche? your car is ready–) who by combining these attributes have a selective aspect to their aggression; indeed, such a description merits the Indo-European people in healthier days, in that unlike the more passive populations to the east, and the unrelentingly aggressive populations to the south, they became selective; contemplative; philosophical. In shorthand, this means that you must not declare the cause lost or won, but return with a critical eye to the task we explored in the past four paragraphs; however, you must also do it with a determination to not find a solution but make a solution, and do it with both warlike discipline and the playful joy that characterizes most healthy primate behaviors.

By way of backward analysis, if we debug our own thoughts to this stage, we have a powerful clue about where “we” as a species went wrong: we were not active enough, and were too passive, and therefore when selecting future roles as “active” and “passive,” we could not see a middle path between the two; we either opt to be 100% warlike (“conservative”) or 100% passive (“liberal”) and in both cases, fail to find working solutions because life does not operate in absolute categorical terms, but requires any ideal of an absolute categorical nature be applied in the language of life itself, which is far more flexible. As the English say in musky oyster bars and discoteqs, “Quite.” It’s important to take a brief detour here, which is represented by the appearance of a Buddhist monk in saffron robes – saffron cloth was originally used to bury the dead, and was selected for that reason as the icon of Buddhism, which like most modern religions is a death religion: it spends so much effort explaining away personal death that soon conversation on death dominates all discourse, and the result is that no matter how many delightful things Buddhism or Christianity have, in practice they remain obsessed with death, and thus stop short from making positive changes; theirs, too, is a palliative medicine.

If we had a Buddhist monk here, one of those tidy and dispassionately friendly little guys who seem to exist without unnecessary memory or inefficient action, he or she would probably politely point out that the West, like the East millennia before it, has become obsessed with the ego, or conception of self as individual. Good point; back to your rice and pickled vegetables, now, while those who think toward sculpting a future discuss the real issue. The ego is with us – or rather, the socialized self-image is with us, too much, in that what we have for our egos is displaced into the absolute and generic perception of other people: the assumption that there is some standard by which all people will view us, and that this represents more of “us” than our inner attributes, such as our character and our spirit and our preferences and values. What is important is not the person, but the person as demonstrated, or shown off in public. It is no longer an individual, but a series of boundaries, as agreed upon by every person in the observing audience, like a character in a movie. It doesn’t matter that she loves animals and will, if she gets out of this absurdly symbolic drama, run off gratefully to veterinary school and spend the rest of her life tending to them; what matters is that she has chosen the Dark Path, because her character is summed up in a certain way, say a preference for power over emotion, and thus she – like every good chesspice of symbolic intent in art – gets quickly shuffled offstage and goes to the fate that, as you saw earlier in the movie, she merits by her actions. This is not religious; it is not political; it is not social; — it is all three, unified by something more basic than a symbolic division of thought into discipline can symbolize.

Yet it seems that this self-image/ego problem is with us, in that the major cause of our world’s decline is people doing not what is right by all things, but what enriches them most in the short term, whether through money, or power, or social status. Is this directly a cause of self-image/ego, or is there something that underlies both errors? The lack of collective goals points toward a deficiency which existed before the egomania of the current era, so our philosophical inquiries should probably target whatever created the void into which me-first-ism fell. This task is complicated by the nature of selfishness, which although it works through the individual, produces a revengeful crowd; the individual dislikes anything that threatens its boundaries, and thus will work with others to tear down those who have higher goals that individual enrichment and comfort. Although this seems a paradoxical proposition, history bears witness to the downfall of the West as a form of mass revolt by the less distinguished against the part of their population that traditionally bore the responsibility of leadership. If this is not envy in action, it would be hard to place a finger on what it is. Those who could not be leaders, wanting what leaders had, destroyed the principle of leadership through crowd rebellion, and thus created a void in which their egomania was unopposed.

For this to happen, however, there has to be some failure in leadership that allows such an unbalance, where the majority of the population are so clueless that they are undisciplined and destructive. It may be this failure was as simple as the leadership minority becoming so small it was overwhelmed. Yet — using what we have observed from day to day life, balancing probability against probability, this seems unlikely. Experience dictates that such an overthrowing could not have happened without some fragmentation, or lack of consensus, among the leadership population first, followed by its increasing irrelevance and thus weakness. We could claim that what afflicted the leaders was what later deranged the bulk of the population, namely, a nutty desire for personal power and wealth. This, at least, is common when a society has no great task before it, such as growth, or warfare, or struggle with a natural threat. It makes sense to keep going, however, because our analysis has not found a common thread basic enough to reveal this widespread falling apart. We have found plenty of clues.

Such a common thread would have to be so universal it functioned as a bedrock not of government, or society, or culture, but of perception itself, which is influenced by the attitudes around it and can thus re-program humans to see the world in a different way; the smarter ones might find their way out of a logical trap, but the most subtle and prevailing logical traps are the ones that take lifetimes of experience to decode. These are the errors that cut to the core of our existential outlook, meaning how we value life itself, and what we find as meaningful goals within it to pursue. They shape what we expect out of life, and what for which we strive, and by those, what we’re willing to endure. This is a form of managing both joy and fear, and thus motivating the individual to work in concert with civilization and nature to live the best life possible. And, to cut to the chase, that leads us to the question of experience, through the question of what happens when fear eclipses joy, and out of fear we enshrine our doubts as holy, and deny our joy — remembering, of course, that great success in civilization is a form of joy, as is heroism. To give of oneself, and to make something better than what existed before — can there be a greater joy, a greater triumph?

Experience is what happens when we make contact with the world, gaining knowledge which shapes our internal “map” of the world, or the impression of it and its operations we store in our heads. When we think of an action, we plot it according to what we know will occur according to the world as we have observed it. A thrown ball will travel in a balance between its momentum and gravity, and at some point will fall to earth as gravity overwhelms what is left of its momentum. We understand our world by this mapping of it we have in our head: its geography, its natural laws, its cycles. While we have some knowledge of it via intuition, as our brains are shaped by years of genetic adaptation to the world and are as products of its mechanics prone to operate in a similar method to its laws, our basic method for adapting the world in our heads to the outside world is experience. Some refer to this process as part of the “inner war”: gaining awareness of the world, and the discipline to act on it as is right for what is healthy (the “outer war” is applying this discipline in physical reality). Experience can bring great joy, and also great doubt, and from doubt comes a kind of fear that is different from fear of physical pain or loss; from doubt comes the fear that our lives are not worth the price of death.

This doubt could be characterized as “existential” doubt, meaning that we no longer live secure lives in our inner world when we have it; we wonder if our lives are misspent, if we could be doing something better, if the self and the self-image are not rewarded enough. After all, no matter how much we spin the process of death as a transition to another world, we never know for sure if it will be the case, so we focus on how we live and what those lives mean. And there we enter a new dimension of questioning, because to have something that is self-evident, such as survival, “mean” something introduces another layer of assessment. Thus we question our own lives and choices, and think about making different ones for the sake of having more “meaning” in our lives, even if we don’t phrase the question that way. Existential doubt afflicts us more passionately when we are trying to overcome doubt, and make the most meaningful decisions. At this point, we hover in a grey area where much error or much greatness could be decided.

Doubt denies experience, as when one doubts, one would rather grasp something predetermined and uphold it as an absolute. Each time we venture out of our inner worlds and look to the larger world outside, we face possible rebuke, in the form of our preconceptions of what might happen not turning out how we’d expect. The most extreme case of this is death, where something fails so badly we are physically destroyed. Much as in religion, if one devotes all of one’s time to explaining death away, death becomes a god, when one devotes all of life to explaining reality away, anti-reality (our inner worlds, sealed off from any kind of feedback loop with reality which could point out where illusion exists) becomes our new god, and it insidiously does not have allegiance to any named philosophy or entity within society. Instead, it is pervasive, and no matter what ideal we take on, because we have this preconceived method of parsing the world around us into internal tokens, we literally have blinded ourselves to the significance of our world, and have relapsed into internal symbolism. We are prisoners in our own minds, and we cannot escape until we address the construction of our prison, which is under our control, unlike the larger social and political apparatus around us.

The walls that confine us are made of our own fear of experience. It is easier to trust in an absolute truth than to experience the world; indeed, most people need to, as their own facilities and time resources do not allow for a study of philosophy. However, our entire society has at this point been infected by such a delusion. We would like to believe in predetermined outcomes, such that if we simply follow a sign or a path, we can arrive at the successes we see others as having. We fear taking the risk ourselves, however, and when we see no one else undertaking that difficult passage, we assume it is unnecessary. In doing so, however, we cut ourselves out of the equation of life, and see only the starting point and the product. Witness the average equation:

x ( random mathematical stuff here ) = y

We look merely at Y, seeing X as our current circumstance (or, our selves and self-images), and seek to skip the middle part of the equation. We don’t want to take the risk, the chance, and the chance of failure, that comes with the unpredictable middle part. We’d like a nice clean path: press button A (not button B!) and you will be rewarded with success. There may be some ups and downs, but basically, you’ll be OK, and death will be something that comes in the way distant future – you will not risk death in combat, or in struggle, or even in play. Keep it safe. Don’t rock the boat. (This delusion can also occur in a spiritualist sense, where one finds oneself saying, “I didn’t win the game, or get the girl, and I’m still starving and miserable, but at least, I did what was right!” It is for this reason that some philosophers, namely Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, rail against the idea of absolute Christian morality, all while upholding the values of that morality as sacred. They’re saying that if the method of reaching a goal corrupts our minds, we will never have truly reached that goal; this is the “inner war” common to every Indo-European religion and personal mythology.)

From this fear of the middle comes passivity; from passivity comes absolutism, and from that baffling and unreal worlds patterned after our inner minds that cause us to relapse into our personal versions of reality, ignoring the obvious by ignoring the whole. When we look at reality, we see a single “thing” because all of its elements are connected; sky to earth, earth to water, water to fire – individual acting on world, and individual adapting to (being shaped by) world. Our fear of reality has made us prisoners in our own heads. This enables us to deny experience, and look only at a certain type of outcome, known as the final state – and to keep things safe, we measure this in material terms. We want our world to be exactly like our inner world, and we exclude everything else, as it is threatening. Whether we do this with money, with morality, or with politics is irrelevant, as the outcome (in the whole, not in the tangible part left over) is the same.

Experience also marks us. Like it or not, for every act we undergo, we strap wiring into our brain. Our minds are entirely physical, and the way we retain our programming is by building components of the brain, akin to those little squiggles on circuit boards, for each experience we undergo. This includes our decisions within it, which explains how learning occurs: based on past decisions, we have the ability to take on more refined tasks for present decisions, and thus all learning is cumulative. If you do not make the decisions required to get to a certain point, you cannot make decisions after that point. This is why traditional morality emphasizes selectivity in experience. If you have wiring in your brain for every sexual partner you’ve had, they are literally a part of you; if you screw around too much, you soon have only generic wiring, and don’t even notice with whom you’re sleeping. Focus on outcomes, not on experience, is revealed there. Similarly obsession with money and power denies the rite of passage one undergoes to get such things, a travail which in a healthy society would involve proving one’s character and inner strength as well as the mechanical ability needed to reach an outcome.

We fear the risk of that undertaking, so we focus on the mechanical ability, and since that is accessible to everyone, we cheer ourselves for upholding “equality.” This is philosophical error, and while it seems to function now, really we’re living off the fat of what our ancestors achieved, and the piper awaits payment in the distant but closer-now future. Uh oh. Does it mean that our inner worlds will someday be compromised? Wait and see – the answer is one you can create for yourself. Other aspects of experience that terrify us include natural selection, or the idea that we might be insufficient to a task and just like the slow mouse under wings of eagles, be slaughtered and thus end our lives. Death-fear comes to rule us, doesn’t it? Natural experience occurs both outside and inside our brains. If we opt for the easier, less obvious choice in all cases, when the time comes for us to face a significant choice, we are unfit for the task; we have selected ourselves out.

A potent metaphor for this realization comes from computer science. There are no random numbers in computers; how do you think up something without precedent? Instead, computers create “random” numbers by sampling random data, either atmospheric noise or user input or time data. Similarly, humans cannot think of a random number, as they are basing their choice on what they know, even if they decide to invert the choice – “I’d guess a seven, but I want something that is not obvious, so I’ll pick something crazy, like a 13.” An astute reader might note that novelty – that which is new and exciting in form, but perhaps of the same content as previous art – is created the same way. Pick what is rational, and then invert the idea, and thus come up with something “new” and “unique” and exciting. We are our experience. Make rotten decisions, and you program yourself to be rotten; make good decisions, and soon you will encounter new levels on which to prove yourself, and slowly better yourself.

When we speak of experience, most people confuse that term with sensuality, or the idea that the substance of life can provide a form of feedback that is interesting for its own sake. But really, how fascinating is it? Is that there much difference between orgasms, forms of intoxication, and sensation? Or do our senses point us toward something which is of much greater importance, namely the structure of life – that an orgasm is most significant when shared with someone truly adored, that intoxication is meaningful when it leads us to realizations or lubricates a social situation, and that sensations when assembled by the brain give us a picture of the external world? Experience ultimately teaches us how intangible the tangible is, in a form of paradox only something as brilliant as our universe (substitute “God” if you wish – it really makes no difference) could concoct. What matters is not the sensation, but what it signifies. This gets us closer to wishing for outcomes as seen as error above, but not on the same level. Where outcomes are absolutes without experience, ideals – “what it signifies” – are products of experience, and are re-calculated each time we undergo an experience. There are no absolutes, sensation included, only an ongoing process of evolution of idea.

You can hold onto nothing. Your body will decay, those you know will die, and eventually even your civilization’s romantic ruins will collapse into dust, and the planet Earth be swallowed by the sun. What might outlast it is a higher grade of human, one not as developed in external character as self-image or technology would afford, but fully developed in internal character, in values and heroic attitudes and greater subtlety of thought and self-discipline. This sort of creature would be organized enough to escape the pitfalls in which we now exist, and to use technology for something thoughtful, like establishing new worlds and continuing the evolution of the species. Is this Nietzsche’s superman? Is this the state of being a god and not a mortal? Is this Nirvana? Possibly, all three: it is a state toward which we evolve, where we are not distracted by substance or outcomes, but focus on experience as a way of programming ourselves to a higher state.

Nature operates via a simple principle: create a proliferation of designs, and select the best from among them by knocking out the least stable, and then build on that design base for the next generation. Even when starting with a simple design, this process rapidly creates a sturdy and enduring design in its place, and advances the state of knowledge radically. We as humans do not escape this process, physically or mentally. When we choose to degenerate out of fear, as in the current era, we devolve to the point of having no vision other than our own immediate gratification, and thus create doom for ourselves (such as childlishly fighting over resources by expanding our factions until we have consumed all resources, then becoming dependent on a machine-society, and thus fighting internally until we destroy that and, having nowhere to go, collapse with it). And what is the origin of this devolution? A fear of experience, and of experience shaping us, leading to us relying on absolutes – God told me to, The customers like it, We have orders from above – passively, instead of asserting what is right for the whole and acting on it, regardless of consequences. All of our downfall – mass revolt leading to dumbing down, industry that eats our planet, democracy and morality and bad breeding including racial mixture – comes from this core realization. This core realization comes from doubt as to the meaning of our existences.

The West – and now the world – has for too long been grasped by this existential doubt. Although we have done well so far, our success has been mixed, in that for all of our genius, and all of our inventions and successes, we are still plagued by this internal failure, and our illusions of reality have caused us to push ourselves onto a path to sure collapse. It would be nice, surely, to find something internal to this system of thought that we could eliminate, and thus move forward with only the good parts, but the plain truth of it seems to be that our basic philosophy restrains us. We could have all that we have, and more, if we were able to organize our energies toward positive ends, and not condemn ourselves with neurosis. Yet that neurosis comes with our basic worldview, and explains why for every good thing we’ve done, we’ve also brought doom upon ourselves in the subtlest of fashions, that of a long-term imminent collapse. With this slow death lurking in the wings, naturally neurosis worsens, and the hysterical paranoia that results divides us further and only hastens the collapse.

Since there are no obvious enemies, nor any allies without the enemy within, the only solution is to dissect the illusion and to begin cultivation of a healthy philosophy that can unite us in the future. Not everyone has to understand this; in any society, there is a small minority of leaders who understand things, and many others who form the support infrastructure for the ideas of those few. This minority needs to come together on a belief system, as currently it is so divided that its members no longer care about doing what is right, so long as the ideas and symbols that represent their faction achieve a relative victory (even if that means smoking marijuana and drinking wine in the ruins, having outsurvived the others by a small margin). When we look toward this future philosophy, it makes little sense to rearrange the tokens we now use, but good sense to attack its origins, in which is ensconced our attitude toward existence.

The symptoms of our error, at the lowest level, are an obsession with self-image, including a selfish self-interest which denies the obvious reality in favor of what benefits us immediately, and a passivity which has us herdlike following symbols and images while remaining blind to the truth. The most primitive diagnosis suggests that, simply, we are disconnected from reality, and that this passivity and self-image obsession is the result of us having no direct interaction with the world as whole, thus having no idea what are the consequences of our actions. Like most errors, this begins with a few, and then as the rest struggle to compete, spreads to the society as a whole; most people today do not act in pure blindness, but out of a need to keep earning a living and surviving in a world that has gone blind. If someone stood up and clearly pointed out the error, and enough leaders agreed that it was so, these people would be liberated from the system of competing against others for the privilege of error. For this reason, finding consensus in a diagnosis would liberate us from illusion and allow for a commonality of philosophy which would disintegrate the illusion from within as individuals no longer found themselves compelled to act on illusion in order to survive.

We can reverse this process. Passivity would have us looking for a single leader, a symbol, or other absolute truth riding out of the mist, to which we could cling and say, save us – save us from ourselves. But no one is coming to break down our prison, to shatter the demons that haunt our dreams, and to lift us up into a pure world where none of this potential for error exists; we have to do it for ourselves, and escape our prison by discovering what it is and then replacing it with something else. Don’t bother with deconstruction. It’s an excuse for wasting time. Once you have diagnosed the nature of the prison, simply replace it. This author suggests two things: (1) realism and (2) heroic idealism. The first is a recognition that our physical reality is all we need, and that mystical concerns come after here-and-now action. The second is an awareness that, much as in evolution, we are fighting for a better design, not greater comfort of substance or even individual survival. The survival of the whole, including our planet and its ecosystems, is the highest goal, and there is no sacrifice too great toward this end. Even if we die, even as we pass away into grey ash and dust, the process of experience is marching on, and if we believe in the good things in life we have had so far, we realize this process of experience is life – an intangible thing – and that to value life is to uphold it, and even die for it.

Dedicated to Antti Boman

Recommended Reading