This blog grew out of a previous blog that existed on blogger.com. I found the software limiting after some time, and started to get frustrated with the backlog of posts that did not reflect my opinion at the time but in the past. So an update occurred, but the concept is the same:
The Unpopular Truth
The truth is unpleasant and therefore unpopular: humans have invented a social reality that denies physical reality.
What this blog is about, more than anything else, is how we use social factors to deny the reality that’s in front of our faces.
By social factors, I mean basing our opinions on those of others or of an ad hoc social consensus based on the avoidance of responsibility; paying attention to popularity of ideas as if that then defined reality; avoiding complicated truths that do not slavishly celebrate the individual and are therefore offensive.
When we talk about reality, we are talking about verifiable patterns from history, science and philosophy; the latter requires us to work in pure abstraction, but if arguments are both self-consistent and anchored to observable phenomena they are valid.
The great conflict of our time is this combat between physical reality and social reality. After the middle ages, Europe went through an “Enlightenment” that caused our thinking to shift toward the perspective of the individual, not a holistic order. With that, we began the path toward rationalism — or linear, single-perspective empirical observation — which in the view of this blog, is a type of science that both pays attention to reality and distorts our perception of reality by its linear/single-factor/linguistically literal focus.
It is my belief that our tendency toward this view originates in how we conceive of ourselves as individuals: we see ourselves having a body, but cannot orient our mind/personality/soul as being within that body. Thus we are born neurotic until we find a more holistic awareness to discipline our self-awareness to its correct position in reality “at large.”
It is my belief that our future lies in creating people who are not bothered by offensive truths or negation of the individual, yet preserve the Faustian spirit of ancient Europeans by acting outside groupthink. In order to do that, we must escape this notion that social reality defines or is superior to physical reality. This in turn disempowers the crowds of people who form in any society dedicated to nothing but protecting their own irresponsibility, and as time goes on, erode that society from within like a cancer.
Rationalism and individualism have us look at a single factor orienting in “How does this affect me?” Our desires for Me — and our fears of what might make Me less powerful, show how Me is not evolutionarily the end-all be-all of humanity, or point out that Me is not the genius artist or entertainer or undiscovered talent Me wants to think it is — obstruct our view of reality. This neurotic state is the underpinning of all our modern problems.
A list of modern problems:
This modern society is a race to the bottom. We excel in one area, namely technology, because we’re building on the work of the ancient Greeks and Romans that for centuries we considered witchcraft because religious devotion was a better way to succeed socially than experimenting with reality. In everything else, we are disorganized, dysfunctional, miserable, slaves of convenience, socially competitive through cruelty, and indifferent to our effect on the world.
The worst part about modern society is that it rejects any ability to self-regulate. If you speak up with an unpopular truth, someone will be offended. That’s bad for business and socialization, so hippies and business jackboots — anarchists and consumerists alike — will join together to crush you, to shout you down, to slander you so thoroughly that you will be socially ostracized. I call this “decentralized totalitarianism” because it does require a tyrant for us to have tyranny, and an invisible tyranny is the most effective.
We have been cruising on the glories of the past for too long, convinced that because no sign has popped up warning us off this course, we are doing just fine and should continue… which is most convenient for the individual, so we’re going to insist on it anyway. I was baffled by this seemingly inexorable entropy until I read Plato’s Republic and saw how others had noticed that every society starts healthy with a strong consensus, and over time as that consensus decays by individuals pursuing their own desires at the expense of that ideal, the society shifts itself downward toward third-world status. Then I noticed how almost all third-world nations have glorious but distant histories, and realized that this is how civilizations day.
My fellow citizens are still too busy considering themselves smart and clever for being able to invent and use technology, and con each other socially (isn’t socialization just a form of marketing?). They do not want to notice these inconvenient, unpopular truths. However, I love life and love being alive and love all the good things — great art, great people, great food, great architecture, nature — that life offers, so cannot act differently. I am motivated by my programming (!) to agitate for an end to the unpopularity of truth, and a renovation of society to a higher form than self-consciousness, so that the future is better than the present or the past.