God is dead. Or?

Hashing out thoughts…

It is a wonder…

Despite being armed with the deftest faculties of reason, we are wary to relinquish the comforting notions of a moral curator and universal architect and brave the cold indifference that existential freedom bestows upon meaning and truth. We hesitate to open unknown doors, seeking the shackles of delusion before the responsibility of liberty. We fear the unknown, not because it is unknown to us, but because we are unknown to ourselves. Liberty and freedom are only known to the will, the mechanism of choice. Freedom propagates only more of what we are, exposing our ability to be, which terrifies. To be known to ourselves requires the responsibility of choice, and acceptance of who we are. Contrary to our fears, we are infinite.

Inactive freedom casts an ominous shadow, a think blanket of darkness, on potential. It bleeds the rivers of change and chokes the ground of growth. Never mind the stark realities; we are coddled by these chains, pacified by our delusions. We offer our will, our most sacred possession, as a living sacrifice for comfort and security. This is in the name of God- of truth. The irony is searing.

Say we undertake the yoke of freedom. While freedoms brilliancy illuminates ignorance and unveils truth, we are left obligated, forced to exist and bear the responsibility for that existence. We are an end in ourselves. Existence and being is now our affair. We are the intercessors of fate, the arbiters of potential, the beginning of essence. And to whom are we accountable? I, the self, freedom incarnated. But we are unknown to ourselves, the freedom and I. For just as we wearily shirk from the unknown, we shirk from the abysmal darkness within us, unknown and unexplored. From whence did we come? From whence will we go? Must I choose?

So the huddled masses congregate, feverishly maintaining the conception of an invisible, powerless God.



What does that mean? Pious and impious use the word to describe a transcendental mental attitude or world view.

Because I was indoctrinated at home from an early age, I didn’t convert to Christianity on my own volition, per se. I do remember moments in my religious walk where I renewed commitments to God and reaffirmed my belief. This caused an awakening within me which renewed me efforts to bridge the gap between ‘God’ and myself.

The process of conversion requires the displacement of ego in exchange for ‘God’s Will’. The very idea of displacing the self is a powerful and transformative experience. In Christianity, you’ll often hear the ‘testimonies’ of people coming to Christ and refer to the exchange of self for ‘God’s will’. I remember growing up hearing that we need to ‘die to self’ in order to lead a ‘God centered’ life.

But what, or who, is God? There is a spectrum of conceptions that evolve as we accrete understanding of ourselves, our world, and what/who ‘God’ might be. Generally, this evolution of mind correlates with an increased openness towards the world and a transcendent mental attitude- or spirituality- that allows us to see the interrelation of all things.

The first conception, and most primitive, is the anthropomorphized patriarch with a long gray beard seated at his throne in heaven- presumably located somewhere between the sky and space.

As our holistic understanding increases, we accept the irrationality of God existing as a literal being. Instead we adopt a God that can, as far as our current understanding will allow, rationally exist within the confines of reality and constraints of nature. This God is an invisible power that maintains a sentient and forcible will. This God is actively involved with the affairs of men. Actively believing and adhering to religious dogma- prayer, doing good works, following commandments, tithing, attending religious services- are all attempts to gain ‘God’s’ favor and align with his will.

I’ll postpone the discussion of how and why religious adherence and beliefs foster self-fulfilling prophecies for God’s existence due to naturally fundamental and beneficial principles within the doctrine.*

The next conception of God revolves around the congruency of belief and outcome. If one hopes to lay claim to being, one must familiarize with reality and the laws of nature. This inevitably exercises the powers of reason, which forces the mind to reconcile the irrefutable nature of statistical probability. Outcomes are determined through circumstance that only the actions of individuals or the mechanics of nature can induce. As a result, one comes to grips with changing outcomes by influencing or predicting God’s will. No amount of prayer will suspend gravity, solve global warming, prevent wars, or achieve any desired outcome without intervention.

At this point, a believer could easily transition into a Deist by maintaining the existence of an impersonal, yet Supreme Being. I’ll skip this for now.

The final conception is that God is a disassociated projection of the internal man. As self knowledge is garnered and ideals coalesce, we are left with the formation of the conscience. The conscience functions as a subliminal consciousness that reconciles actions with desired outcomes and what should be. Perhaps this is the voice of God; the Holy Spirit’s whispering convictions. Because mans thoughts and imaginings are not limited by the laws of nature and confines of reality, they are infinite. When mans ideals about what should be are misconstrued with what is, internal dissonance occurs. As a result, we must disassociate ourselves by objectifying our ideals. By projecting these ideals onto something or a figure outside of us, their value can be realized and sought after, without being tainted by our current limits. This inversion allows for the manifestation of ‘God’ as the sum of all that should be, a mere projection of the best of our, albeit limited, understandings.
Here is a complementary quote:
“Consciousness of God is self-consciousness, knowledge of God is self-knowledge, by his God thou knowest the man, and by the man his God; the two are identical. Whatever is God to a man, that is his heart and soul; and conversely, God is the manifested inward nature, the expressed self of a man– religion the solemn unveiling of a man’s hidden treasures, the revelation of his intimate thoughts, and the open confession of his love-secrets.” [Feuerbach]

There are two conversions that occur relating to God. From an atheist to a believer, and a believer to an atheist. Both produce massive reversals of mind that overturn entire frameworks for world view. I mentioned that the conversion to God involves a displacement of self. This is incredibly invigorating and, seemingly, liberating.

(Brief tangent: From my experience, most people that convert to God, especially later in age, do so in hopes of achieving a salvation. This salvation is from their pain, their emotional baggage. This is objectified as sin. People who experience conversions to God do so in order to relieve their state. Their previous beliefs in themselves, in their past, about life caused dissatisfaction. The delusion of God, however seemingly justified, is a scape goat for their suffering. It would be all the more fitting to say a lamb. What these people fail to realize is that suffering is a result of misaligned expectations. These misaligned expectations are a result of a lack or avoidance of responsibility. Freedom is terrifying. They cannot conceive who they want to be, so they remain as they are, unknown to themselves. These are the people that subscribe so desperately to various doctrines and beliefs of mainstream culture, never ‘thinking’ or willfully contemplating who they ought to be. This weakness, this ignorance, allows the will to atrophy as habituation and conditioning fully inundate.)

Back to the conversion to God…
The experience of conversion to God is liberating because the displacement of self with God. As we place our faith in a something outside of us, we are not left with the responsibility of changing our circumstances. Changing our circumstances requires the acknowledgment of certain limitations due to circumstance- in knowledge, emotion, or physicality. Instead, the conversion suspends choice and freedom in exchange for the belief in God (be it the manifestation of God as a projection of self-knowledge, or the interpretation of religious texts, or in between). The benefit for the conversion to God and displacement of self is baited with reward and possibility. Rewards generally concern an ideal afterlife, not tainted with earthly inadequacies. Possibility and empowerment is achieved as we align ourselves to Gods will. Of course these benefits vary precisely from religion to religion.

Many religious assert warnings that ‘idolatry’ and idol worship is ‘evil’. Who would worship inanimate objects? Anyone who seeks to displace the self.


My conversion from a believer in God to a non-skeptical realist (essentially agnostic), was marked by a decision to seek understanding, dispel delusions, and eliminate self-deception. The process was slow and gradual, yet I retained a certain spirituality. I find that when many people are asked if religious, they reply that they are spiritual. I responded similarly.

As far as I was concerned, spirituality was the residue of my faith in God. God represented possibility. Recall: “In Christ all things are possible” etc. The conversion to God opens one up to possibility by suspending limited beliefs and opening the mind to possibility. Spirituality is faith in possibility. Conversion away from God can leave the faith in possibility intact.

Spirituality exists on a wide spectrum among religious and irreligious alike.

Some people join religions because they recognize the value in certain universal principles of good within the doctrine, while others seek the escape from responsibility of self that it brings.

Pretty burnt out from writing. Not sure this makes sense. We’ll see when I go back to reread it later. pzz.


*Religious beliefs cause a variety of psychological effects: Confirmation bias (Biases influence interpretation of Positive feedback to be used as evidence for maintaining and confirming biases and reinforcing pre-existing beliefs- aka, I prayed that it wouldn’t rain, and its sunny out, therefore God answered my prayer, or I prayed that God would cure my aunt of cancer and she survived, so God is real), Hawthorne effect (Awareness that you are being observed influences your behavior- aka, knowing people look at/treat you as a Christian example causes you to maintain Christian behaviors),Pygmalion effect (Aware of higher expectations lead to high performance- aka God is watching leads to more mindfulness, better behavior), Stereotype threat (when facing a disruptive concern, we evaluate based on negative stereotypes)- aka Anyone who is not a Christian is a sinner and evil, so when bad things happen its because of non-Christians), etc., etc.


It is much easier to keep the ball rolling than start the ball rolling.

Get into action… know who you are, and you will suddenly realize what you are to do.

…is but a…

Life is but a memory. A continuous stream of recollection. The present is a mere construct of the past, a simple illusion that grounds us. We are forever falling forward into the unknown. We claw about for fragmented reminders of this free fall, for past sensations that resonate with our privileged bag of anamnesis. We are the center of this universe. It is ours, and we alone are the keepers of its history. For man revolves around none but himself; no perspective but our own can be explored.

Unsure of my place. I want to produce. More thoughts, more convictions and passions. This restless struggle with idealism. The ideology that yearning for more, for productivity and creation, leads to reward, internal or external.

Sacrifice. I would like to cherish sacrifice. There is only so much time in a day. A finite amount of resources and energy to expend on any given thought or endeavor. Sacrifice. These are made when your roots of preoccupation have become entangled and risk strangling the breath of enterprise. Hack at the roots. Bisect yourself from the web of distraction. Sacrifice. An escape towards desire and its fulfillment, accompanied with disorienting estrangement, pain, and a lack of reassurance. No grounding to slow you down or hold you back. No more gripping assurance when the winds of doubt and currents of change buffet your course. Sacrifice was made and requires to be endured.



Where does it all go?

On and into the unknown it flows.

A drop in a river.

like moments in time.

We are forced into its glimmering pool,

watching the menageries of life,

unfurl and twirl,

and melt and mold,

into this plane

that we forever hold.

Now and then,

We find soon enough,

that this suspension kills,

and we ask to fall.

On and in,

however we go,

Off and out,

as long as its slow.

Look to catch,

and we’re caught.

Moment by moment,

Spewing out.

Our past is fleeing,

Our future stalled.

Stuck in the now.

Go on,

stop off.


A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves Truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself.
James Allen

Memoir & Devoir

I’m writing my book. Its got me excited. I get these little bursts of creative inspiration where my life seems to coalesce into a singular story. During these times I begin to see how my story can be told. The outline is expanding. I was always shocked how authors managed to write five hundred plus pages. It seems like such a daunting task. Now that I’ve been working on my outline I find that I have well over 200 points to talk about… and if each of those points was about 3-4 pages long, I have myself a really long book. My initial approach will be to organize all the events. From these I plan to detail the experiences associated with those events. This is where I will retrieve info from all my journal entries. These detailing will be more factual. When I have all these stories together, I will begin weaving them together into an idiosyncratic autobiographical account. From there I will cultivate the prose and rhetoric expected from quality writing.

‘Stories’ or the notion of ‘story’ has been a frequent theme thats been cropping up in my day to day life. From narrative fictions, to tradition and history, to meaning, to context, etc. Stories play a powerful role in explaining the world around us, our relation to it, the truths that reside within it, and our feelings about it. There is no better way to communicate than through a story. This is why I’m inspired to tell mine. Although, its greatly unfinished. The older I become, the more perspective I have to contextualize all these life events. I fear, however, that with this age and perspective will come the loss of rawness I seek to convey.

I have work. Will write later.

I can say that I am not living up to my fullest potential at the moment in my life. I find myself met with some mental barriers that have caused me to settle for less than what I know is truly my best. I’ve made a commitment to myself to overcome this mental and emotional stagnation. This is my proclamation. I commitment to myself, to my integrity, to improve my work ethic, hold steadfast to the continual cultivation of my life’s vision, and seek to lead through example, so that every person I encounter has a brush with my passion for harnessing the unbridled potential that constitutes life and its possibilities.



I need to update. I hate getting on here and watching myself type out those words. I would like to practice self awareness, mindfulness, more often. My mind is a vegetable. Will return tomorrow with more interesting things to say. Procrastination at an all time high.

Channel One, the Anti-Commercial Principle, and the Discontinuous Ethos

Review of Channel One, the Anti-Commercial Principle, and the Discontinuous Ethos By Harry Brighouse

            In his essay Channel One, the Anti-Commercial Principle, and the Discontinuous Ethos, Harry Brighouse addresses the issue of commercialization in schools. Contrary to popular discontent, Brighouse argues that it is not corporations, but school administrators that are doing something wrong when they allow commercialization into schools. From this premise he constructs supporting argumentation that calls the school ethos into question.

Brighouse explains that the Anti-Commercialization Principle is more deeply rooted in the principle that the ethos of the schools should be discontinuous from mainstream culture and home in order to promote the capacity for student autonomy. The Anti-Commercialization Principle resides in idea that students have a vested interest in becoming autonomous, self governing persons. Schools exist to foster students academic learning in a discontinuous environment, free from prevailing influences of mainstream culture and the home. Only under discontinuity can alternative ways of life be objectively examined and internally endorsed by students. This autonomy, necessary for identifying and practicing ways of life, is undermined by the commercialization of a school by invading the discontinuity offered by schools.

Brighouse repudiates the various arguments in favor of the bargain trade off by highlighting the politicization of funding that occurs when budget cut off advocates rely on corporations to fill certain resource needs, which leads to further promotion of commercialization. Brighouse also dismisses the notion that any cost-benefit analyses can be derived that would justify the commercial bargains due to the lack of the calculability of value factors like education forgone. Such factors cannot be feasible calculated since every moment in the classroom forgone is different than the next. In his last Analysis, Brighouse examines whether watching commercials contains a distinctive cost. He concludes that even the best most sound advertisements are inherently flawed and have no legitimate educational purpose. This is due to the very nature of advertisements that seeks to bypass rational thought in order to appeal to the desires and appetite.

Brighouse refrains from saying that commercial bargains can never be justified because such a prohibitive claims could never be legally framed. Additionally, this would cause us to overlook the general attitude of school administrations and the ethos of the school.  Lastly we says that while it is highly unlikely commercialization is ever permissible, there are extreme circumstances facing seriously underfunded schools that could possible benefit.

In order to understand the anti-commercialization principle, one needs to understand the purpose of education in the first place. According to Brighouse, school is a place where students seek refuge from prevailing influences in their lives in order to develop an autonomy that is required for raising a critical awareness. This critical awareness is essential for looking at influences objectively. Only when this happens are students able to make decisions as humans about their reality.

Generally speaking, social structures within a culture and society are concentrically reflected at all levels of relationships. The  values and beliefs within these structures are likewise reflected at each level, starting with the family and working its way up to the community, state, and federal level. InAmerica, patriarchal domination, consumerism, and notions of individualism are just some of the values that characterize these structures. While ideally school is a place to seek refuge from these structures, it is, dare say, impossible to separate school from its culture influences altogether. With this knowledge, then, administrators and citizens need to make decisions which influence and values it allows a school to share.

Since consumerism is a trademark of the American culture, and a reason for our burgeoning economic success, it is without wonder that the topic of commercialization is brought up. Commercialization is the out springing of this consumerism. However, it is in my opinion that consumerism is an ideal that is most damaging to our humanity. I posit that by allowing the commercialization into schools, we are essentially dehumanizing students by robbing them of the autonomous freedom necessary to raise a critical awareness.

The effect of losing this critical awareness is a student who passively accepts values and beliefs from trusted sources rather than objectively deriving them from their own experience. Of all the trusted sources of information—parents, media, news, teachers, government, and even peers—it is the teacher’s job to provide the student with the tools to seek beyond biases and objectively deduce their own values, and it is the classroom is where this happens. Despite any perceived benefits and tradeoffs, by allowing the commercialization of school, we are perpetuating the values and beliefs of our overall culture that consumerism and, most of all, the passive ingestion of pre-cognized information is healthy.

In addition to this violation to the process of raising a critical awareness, I argue that consumerism is not inherently healthy.  Materialism robs people of their autonomy and freedom by emphasizing the value of materialism and sends the message of the importance of ‘having’ which separates people as the ‘have’s’ and ‘have not’s’. This message devalues the unity of human relationships and casts a direct conflict to the autonomy and freedom of humanity.

As humans, we should see our fellow man not as what he has, but what he is. In this way we learn from each other and exercise our freedom to explore and transform dilemmas together. It is important for classrooms to be totally free of any prevailing cultural influence to the best of the school administrations ability. This means making sacrifices to technology and ‘tools’ that seemingly make life easier, but in reality sacrifice our humanity and critical awareness.

NOLA Spring Break 2010

Well, well, well.

Spring break was great. Probably the most enjoyable time I’ve had in a long while. I went on the Universities Alternative Spring Break program. Last fall I applied to do community service and/or research & learning at one of 36 locations around the world. I ended up in New Orleans (ironic), doing renovations on homes ravaged by hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The group I went with consisted of 12 students. No one knew anyone, but by the end of the week it was like I knew them for years. Every day from 9:00 to 300 we would do work on these homes by cleaning, scraping, sanding, painting, hanging drywall, etc. We did a lot of work. The organization we worked for was called OnSite. The trip took many interesting turns. Initially we were suppose to work with the St. Bernard Project in the ninth ward, but that fell through last minute due to a loss in our paperwork. The result was a scramble to find another site… and OnSite was the only place that was really a viable option.

Anyway… turned out they weren’t a legitimate non-profit… although they did do various sorts of community service throughout the area. The conditions were unsafe a good deal of the time, and there was a lack of overall professionalism. That is not to say, however, that the people running the program weren’t cool people. They had interesting stories and devoted their life (although its debatable whether it was by choice or not) to helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

For a community service trip we did a helluva lot as far as adventures go. We went to the aquarium with mentally handicap persons in conjunction with the best buddies program. We saw some traditional NOLA parades… beads and all. They actually were throwing vegetables during this parade… which was initially bizarre (in addition to the traditional beads, candy, cheap toys and…. ramen noodles?). I think we figured out that it was due to St. Patty’s day… and the vegetables were like for cheap soup and stuff… i dunno. (We ended up using the cabbage for wraps, potatoes for mashed potatoes, onions for tacos, and carrots for our salads). We visited downtown… went to the famed Cafe Du Monde, Bourbon street and Patty O’Brien’s for Dinner, visited a Bayou (although it was a little disappointing), went on a pic-nic, went to a famous New Orleans bar named Vaughn’s and listened to a renown jazz artist, and… did other things I’m sure. We ate great food, no doubt. Had all the traditional NOLA Cajun and French dishes.

The culture down in NOLA is incredible diverse… and I need to point out and stress how friendly and open everyone is. Its incredible. I’ve been to a lot of places but NOLA has a special vibe. Lots of different people from different walks of life converging in one small area. Its beautiful there too. The weather is like that of the Florida Gulf Coast… which is expected since its on the Gulf I suppose.

Every night that we didn’t go out for food we made home made dishes. It was a great experience. The Site Leaders lead a good deal of reflections.

At night two people would give their life map, which is essentially an oral autobiography. The life maps usually lasted 1-2 hours each. They really allowed us to open up to each other and learn things we never would have guessed.

I happened to give my story on the last day. My story straight up shocked people. They weren’t expecting someone who seemed so on top of it and ‘normal’. They said that it was surprising since I seemed just like one of them. Although I didn’t bear all, I came very close… and for times sake just included the important events. I wish I recored it so I could have transcribed it for my book. Oh well. The freshman girls in our group were spell bound with my story. They were all so innocent, coming from sheltered and privileged beginnings. They had never been exposed or even heard of some of my circumstances before. They were mostly shocked that I managed to overcome it all and end up at Vanderbilt, a rigorous top 20 school in the nation. They all were over achievers their whole lives.

Anyway… I think thats pretty much it. I’ll revise and update if I left anything out.

Language: The rise of thoughts.

Thoughts are the material in which we construct the working frameworks of the mind. It is through thoughts that we maintain a state of being. But what are thoughts? Philosophers since antiquity have attributed language, or the logos, as the material of thought. Heidegger said “Language is the house of Being. In its home man dwells. Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home.” Surely there is much more to thoughts that language.

Language is simply a vehicle for expression. While we think in thoughts, we have been habituated from birth to utilize language in order to express our thoughts containing needs and desires. As a child we had thoughts but could not communicate. Children must develop language in order to adapt socially for survival. If man were not social, what need would there be for language? Language would be a nonexistent concept since communication would be nonexistent. Would we be animals? The social component is what gave rise to language. From an evolutionary position, this capacity for language became a necessity for survival, thus gradually developing into the sophisticated language capacities we use today. Is there an a priori that guides language? It seems that this a priori is a formal relation in which thoughts exist. If we objectively look at words, we see that they offer no direction, no rhyme or reasonable order. These relations are cultural inheritances.

Are thoughts reducible? Even thoughts are reducible to sensations, drives and feelings. These sensations are purely subjective, and one in the same with the mind, fully constituting your state of being. It is only when these feelings can be objectified and stratified that we can functionally gain control of our internal world. The objectification of sensations is what leads to the rise of language. As we become conditioned to the various sensations from varying standpoints we form distinctions.

Thoughts are simply markers, or words, we use to distinguish sensations. The interrelation of these markers prompts the creation of new sensations and leads to the fabrication of new markers. This phenomenon is what Derrida wrote on in his essay On Positions.

An account of a ‘reversal experience’.

Experiencing the Death of the Other is an experience that causes a massive reversal. The mind is not accustomed to fathom the permanence of death and the absence it introduces. Life and death are opposites that parallel white and black, full and empty, positive and negative, on and off. While we can objectively observe each of these phenomena and develop a metaphor delineating the nature of death, we can never experience death. Death is the end of experience, whereas life is the subjection to inescapable experience. What is death? When contemplating this question, our mind immediately grows stiff and our reason begins to voluntarily suspend.

The first real experience with death is when we encounter the Other. The clash of the subject object relationship creates a just relationship. While we desire to overcome this objectification, we simultaneously maintain a respect for the humanity that is mutually shared. When the Other dies, a piece of our humanity that is seen in him dies. This causes a crisis to our justification for being. We are helpless to objectify the Other and almost wish to be the subject of the Other again.

My first experience with death was when I was thirteen years old and my best friend committed suicide. The notion of Death pierced through the rational consciousness, forcing my puerile mind into an original reaction formation as an attempt to defend life through disbelief. His death was a threat to my life. It forced my mind to reestablish itself as living by considering what it meant to die

If one never contemplates death, one never confronts the reality of void. To live is to grow, flourish, think, reflect, act, feel, etc. These roughly encapsulate the metaphysics that the mental life contains. In this context life has forward momentum which makes room for hope. Hope is where our imaginative fantasies spawn to fill in the cracks of desperation, apprehension and angst that form when death appears.

Contemplating the consequences of death is analogous to holding your breath. We can willfully hold our breath until our bodies natural need for oxygen causes us to slip into unconsciousness. It is then our bodies natural processes take over to restore our condition. In the same way, death can only be contemplated for so long until our reason is suspended and is overrun by the innate processes that keep us living. It runs so contrary to human thought that our mind eventually manufactures delusions of fantastical after-lives in order to resume the ‘life’ is was designed to survive. The question of death is never resolved, however, but perpetually postponed. Currently, death is not something we need to confront on a regular basis. As long as the bodies are out of sight, we will never be forced to consider this void. Space is not the final frontier. Death is.

Common Significance of Reversals and Deconstructionism.

Do reversals have a common significance?

At the moment, deconstructionism is the only method or paradigm that could even begin to grasp the illusive nature of these reversals. Derrida’s essay On Positions masterfully delineates the ‘general economy’ of deconstructionism.

These reversals present themselves as unique revelations. While the genres of each reversal are unique and wholly distinct from one another, there is a common thread that holds each of these experiences together. Whether our minds create the illusion of common significance through the innate classification of these experienced reversals, or if they really do contain a common significance that leave a potentiality for further exploration, I am not sure.

I do believe that there is legitimacy to these reversals. Deconstruction works to tease them out. As I have read over the readings I have developed a general idea of how these reversals behave. Derrida was right to say that when a reversal takes place, what is happening is a violent binary reaction between oppositions that overturn the signifier and the signified. What is created is a space within the system. Because this system is closed, this is the only option for creating new meaning, new space for exploration and new room for thought. It is when these oppositions meet that a momentary condensation expresses a coalescing visibility into the system, just before it clouds over again. This visibility, this seemingly new space that is created, allows for new shades of meaning to enter our periphery.

But what creates this binary reaction? What are the forces, or triggers, that power the overturning and create a reversal? What is the significance of this reversal after all? What it might go back to is the necessary conflict that occurs during the reversal. The temporary suspension of order involves a violent hierarchal exchange between the loci of power, representing a deeper expression of the non-intentionality detailed by Levinas in his Ethics as First Philosophy. This non-intentionality passively subsists beneath our cogito to supplement the intentional consciousness’ objectification of knowledge in the pre-reflective contemplative state. The-non-intentionality gives rise to the bad conscious as a means to assert itself through the expression of intentional thought. The resulting intentional thought posits itself through questions, which beg a response. Thus we are met with the responsibility of language.

Let us explore non-intentionality and the bad-conscious as it relates to reversal. The bad consciousness that arises from the aimlessness of the pre-reflective non-intentionality operates out of restlessness. It poses questions and demands a response. The intentionality is much less restless and much more controlled. The cogito directs this objectification of otherness to grasp for knowledge. But what happens when our conscious intentionality encounters the demands of the bad-conscious? Perhaps this is when a reversal is experienced. As we intentionally grasp about the otherness, we are preoccupied externally, leaving the non-reflective intentionality idle. While we willfully apply our intention to the objectification of things in an effort synthesize the alienating divide and construct our nests of knowledge, our bad-conscious simultaneously asserts itself in opposition. Our intention, turned outward, is surpassed from behind, so to speak, and momentarily overcome by the non-intentional bad-conscious so that we witness a sudden phenomenological change in scenery that disorients and delights, altering the landscape of the mind. The conflictual overturning lasts as long as the non-intentional is left demanding, and the intentionality is free to observe these demands objectively without weighing them reflectively. As soon as the experience is contemplated, the non-intentional pre-reflective withdrawals its assertions and demands and the reversal rights itself again.

It is in the opposing forces of intentionality and non-intentionality that we find a common significance of reversals. To examine the substance being reversed is to overlook the common significance of why the reversals occur across substances. All substances constitute otherness and are non-uniquely the same in that respect. They differ only in their present significance. As they drift to the peripheral margins of thought, the space they occupy in our mental landscape diminishes as our need to acquire knowledge of them through objectification wanes. It is only the intentional objectification of the other that the bad consciousness can assert itself through the expression of an intentional thought. It is this conflict that is presented as being commonly significant throughout the experienced reversals.

Naked Mid-terms

Before I start, I want to openly confess my love for the nude. Yes. Clothes are over rated. And, if it wasn’t such a social stigma riddled with culpable reservations, or in some cases just illegal, I would divest myself without scruple, or at least whenever the urge commenced to flower. My room temperature hangs perpetually in the 80’s so that when chance would have these urges overcome me, there is not a moments hesitation as to what to do. After showers I find myself too lazy to get dressed so I simply lounge about languidly in my towel. Nude is my preferred state of being. Its liberating and, as long as the conditions are opportune, very comfortable. I’m sensitive to the cold… which is why I think winters best bear earthly semblance to purgatory, in all its excruciatingly dull and pallid glory.

This brings me to another point. I’m reading an essay written by Derrida called “Animal Philosophy”. The essay begins by introducing an anecdote where Derrida encounters the gaze of his cat whilst in the nude. This invoked feelings of shame in Derrida. But why? Animals cannot be nude. Nude is a ‘technic’, a construction revolving around the feelings of shame. These feelings are due to our vulnerability to objectification by the alterity– or otherness. But where doest this shame originate? How is it justified? Certainly the cat feels no shame, for it is not in the nude. (cont later)

Regarding my continental philosophy essay exam: I’m nervous about delving into the questions head first because the subjects of deconstructionism and reversals and the phenomenological method are a bit dispiriting. I’m not sure why I’m experiencing this anxiety really. Perhaps its because I’m a little behind on the readings, and catching up is like taking trying to hew solid steal before its been heated for malleability. The understanding is resistant to the forces of change so quickly. Swift reading will simply not extrapolate the opaque strata of text. No. It must be experienced. Vicariously. It is the only way to form ideas about questions like: Can we speak of morality after the failure morality? Of course, the question that Levinass’ poses is in regards to the face of alterity. The face of the Others. The face, only encountered with humans, is authoritative and loving, and commands a political justification, separate from primary ethic. It is wholly distinct from knowledge, is fundamental.

And so the story goes… I will write more later.

Motivation by Ideal

Review of Motivation by Ideal By J. David Velleman

            J. David’s essay Motivation by Ideal seeks to present an account of how ideals motivate people into action. In addition, he discusses how emulating rational ideals can lead us to conflicts and irrational action.

In the opening paragraph, Vellerman expounds on the traditional conception of moral motives stemming from a collective unified stream. Philosophers argue that to act contrary to this unified morality would lead to insane manifestations. He argues the need to explain the impulse of moral motive in the face of our obvious inclinations towards immorality.

Velleman’s main argument is that moral motivation can be isolated from other human motives because it is reinforced by the strength of an ideal, which people pretend to identify with to give them strength. Maintaining multiple ideals gives rise to irrational behavior due to divisions in motivation derived from the degree in which one identifies with an ideal.

The base of this argument is derived from Freud’s notion of the libido, or drive. It is this inner drive, when leaning on some specific motive, which motivates a person to achieve an ideal. The ideal itself is simply chosen by a person as a desired state of being. Behind this drive resides make beliefs, or fictional narratives, that serve to rationalize an action or circumstances as they relate to achieving this ideal. Velleman posits that behavior is make-believe and that we choose make-believe stories, or fictitious narratives and imaginings, in order to intelligibly justify an action towards an outcome.

Make-believe stories fueled by a drive and an imagining.  These beliefs function as instrumental motives for directing actions that lead us to a desired state.  Persons act and interpret actions within the context of these make beliefs, thereby living into the idea. As acts and circumstances are interpreted through make-belief, they serve to reinforce the reality of this belief. Eventually, the idea or desired state becomes reality as they continually emulate the ideal and therefore, ultimately embody that ideal so that it is no longer ‘mock-belief’. Essentially, imaginings allow us to intelligibly and reasonably justify our actions toward desires. We create and live into them through the force of our libido.

A person may defend their actions by emulating ideals that motivate and explain their actions. The justification: I am doing ‘this action’ because I am ‘this action’ relies on the Freudian drive theory to explain the ‘real’ reason for one’s energy and ability to perform an action. Velleman insists that actions do not lead us to end-outcomes, rather, they lead us to what we want.

The idea of creating fictitious beliefs to facilitate desires can also be generated by idealizing other people. This allows one to model behavior as a way to gradually adopt an accurate understanding story of an ideal.

However, he proposes that while it is rational to emulate and mirror ideals, it can lead us astray by leaving us susceptible to do irrational things.  Conflict occurs when competing desires and interests lead to the production of two stories, causing irrational action to occur.

Velleman posits that multiple personalities may be a result of the lines of distinction between ‘make-believe’ stories fading and the self conceptions operate without constraint as full blown delusions. ‘Getting carried away’ refers to the committal to a single story, temporarily forgetting the other story by devoting the mind to that particular fiction.  However, the notion of fully ‘buying into’ the imaginative narrative is the key to actualizing yourself because the fictitious story always leads to a natural conclusion.

Velleman’s account of ideals as motivation is provoking. At the heart of his thesis is an important idea that each person manifests according to one an adopted psychology. While this seems intuitive, there is incredible power behind this. Narratives are packaged experiences that provide content with specific context.  With words they form a plot that shapes and hews a perspective. The words in every narrative are unique to that specific context. Each word is distinct in place and time and kind. By changing ones narrative, one changes his psychology and effectively changes himself.

The worldview we maintain as we approach reality is simply a tapestry of interwoven narratives gathered from our personal experiences, as well as those we’ve adopted in order to supplement our existing worldview. I agree with Velleman that conflicts in narratives can lead to irrational behaviors. However, I think that personal growth is achieved when a narrative is manufactured that combines conflicting narratives. In this way a singularity is achieved that provides a better understanding of the world.