Read more philosophy by Quine and Mill. Look into the legitimacy, tenants, pragmatics and virtue of semantic skepticism, belief mapping, and utilitarianism/ consequentialism.
Month: September 2010
I just worked legs. My legs are sore. They are twitching. Spazing. Gonna hurt so bad; gonna feel good. Love the endorphins.
Just do it. Just do. Don’t think. Just do. Thinking will come. Naturally. Effortlessly.
If you have to think, there is a gap between what you should do, and what you do. There is a lapse in the response. In you ability to respond. In your response ability. Just do. You have a goal? An aim? Take fire and aim. Over, and over, and over. Fire. Shoot. Act. Be.
Who will hit the mark sooner: the man who stares at the mark, never firing but forever cognizing about the various possibilities of execution that could exist? or the man who keeps his eye on the mark, and fires, over and over and over again, refining each execution as he goes? The latter.
Today was nice. I wanna think up an independent study project relating to economics and philosophy. Something that appeals to the ethics of education reforms, as well as the economic necessity. I’d like to talk to some professors in the philosophy and economics department about advising me on the research.
This weekend we’re having a build party. Thurs-Sat we have a variety of date and party functions scheduled. Just got a rando date from a girl I know. I’m helping the build. We’ll be constructing 8ft tiki men outta paper mache and plaster of paris. Gonna be dope.
Need to study more. Read more. Prepare more. Academic excellence should be my highest aim at the moment; more correctly, it should be my only aim.
Quotes of the Day: Mill
A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
John Stuart Mill
Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character had abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and courage which it contained.
John Stuart Mill
I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.
John Stuart Mill
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.
John Stuart Mill
What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs.
John Stuart Mill
The duty of man is the same in respect to his own nature as in respect to the nature of all other things, namely not to follow it but to amend it.
John Stuart Mill
Super tired. Gonna get this out while its on my mind. Revise later.
The past several days have been pretty exhausting. Thursday night was a shit show that left me feeling less than pleasant the following day. The night started off having dinner with a friend, followed by my first episode of its always sunny. Our dinner was scrambled eggs mixed with Tilapia, cold black beans, cold broccoli, and a slice of bread buttered with peanut spread. Shortly thereafter I went to the house and got incredibly intoxicated after several rounds of beer pong. I never remember conversations when I drink at the house. Memory seems to somehow stay there. Anyway. I went to Dan McGuinness for awhile before heading to Hollywood Disco. It was advertised as girls gone wild audition night, but not a soul was there. As a result, we got in free and a guy who turned out to be the manager bought us shots after learning we were from a fraternity. We swapped numbers in hopes of arranging a collaborative bar night. After disco we called a driver and headed to deja vu. Don’t ask. That was a brief trip. I don’t remember much else. Other than it was byob. Friday was hectic. I’m not sure how I woke up. Friday night, well, we had a party at the house. I met this girl who insisted we go back to my house at the end of the night. I didn’t object. I was pretty much blacked out. Despite that, I got an odd feeling from her, so I decided to just pass out. Maybe it was her attempts to lead me to accept Jesus in her drunken stupor. Not sure. Thank god nothing bawdy happened. The next morning I wake up and we introduce each other. Cordially. I take her home. I head to the house for, yet again, another party. This time, 12am. We have a case race composed of 6 teams of 4 people. We DQ after our teammate hurls. The band high tide blues plays on our patio. I was annihilated. It was a great time. My memory was hazy. At some point I wander upstairs and hang out in one of the bedrooms. I meet my friends friend from Texas State. She needs a companion to walk her to her hotel. I drunkenly volunteer. Somehow I end up in chipoltle. Then I somehow arrive home. Or sorta home. I walk into my sisters apartment and just hoot and hollar and crash on her couch for the rest of the night. This morning I woke to have breakfast with Matt, Conrad, Ravi and my sister at cafe coco. Afterwards i head to centennial park to read and journal and soak up nature and my surroundings. It was a vivacious day. Cool, sunny, breezy. Glorious. Four hours later I eat lunch at cafe coco with my bro Dan. He divulges his history the past two years away from college. I listen intently and empathize. I’m glad we talked. It was good. Not sure what else I did. Night.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”-Aristotle
I need more creativity in my life. More contra-positions. I love melding opposites together. Resistant forces that repel one another. Combining things in novel ways. Ways that make people smile, or catch their breath in ghastly renouncement.
Creativity is problem solving. It is creating a solution, a missing piece, that fills the world with more depth and complexity and vivacity. Creativity moves people. It adds life to the world, to the mind, to the environment.
Reflection is a creative act. It is taking two ideas, and comparing and contrasting them to find similarities or differences. This process allows for the combination of characteristics that yield an entirely new and sovereign idea. Creativity is synthesis. The whole is greater than the sum.
Creativity. Foster exposure to seemingly unrelated positions, perceptions, or what have you. Challenge from the other side of things. Get uncomfortable. Get lost in confusion. Allow it to blend, amalgamate, and coalesce into something new. Produce something fresh. Inspiring. Insightful. Not more of the same.
I believe in transparency; with yourself, with others. What have I to hide? Mistakes? An unworthy life? I am not ashamed of my past or present conclusions. Do I contradict myself? Then I contradict myself. I am am a creature in continual flux. I change and grow, like any life. My moments speak for themselves. However naive, my intention is pure. What matters the cares of the worlds? Can’t I maintain cares of mine own? Or the lack thereof?
Risk and reward are tantamount, otherwise everyone would get their fill of life. Living boldly means taking great risk. Be prepared to sacrifice your comforts and security. Pain will lurk close. Unknowns will abound. Adaptation means consistent action.
I will not apologize for my decision to live life boldly. The past is gone. It floats in a nonexistent oblivion. Memories prove too unreliable to cast just ratiocination on yourself or others. What matters but now? If you are there, who will attend to the here? What character will be under review? The character of him who is here, or the character of our memory?
Be open. If you hide yourself from the world, you are hiding yourself. We do not see things as they are; we see the world as we are. Only when we drag our full nature into the light of the world can we see the nature of its fullness.When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. This requires a confrontation with whatever issues or vices or insecurities that chronically shirk from exposure. Attack them head on. See yourself as whole, as flawed, as awesome, as existing here and now.
Slumbering sleep surmises stargazing semblances; slowing sauntering amidst sombre skies; starless shadows.
I was walking between classes this afternoon, and I realized a tingling in my chest. I concentrated my gaze, and the world suddenly popped out at me. Colors permeated my senses. The landscape began to glint and glisten. I was fighting off the angst. I was crawling to escape its rapacious depravity. I focused my intention on the now.
The brown conglomerate path continued appearing before me in reliable fashion. My steps were automated and involuntary. I stared at the small brown pebbles embedded in the concrete, smoothed from years of wear. An abraded cigarette butt passes in the corner of my eye. Dry crinkled leaves skip in the wind. I raise my head and take notice around me. Faces everywhere. Everyone lost in their world. Their narrow microcosm of existence. Such is me. The trees shine. Humidity mixes with the suns rays and sends a wave of heat that caresses my face. I hesitate before taking a moment to reflect. Gone. The angst has subsided. My thoughts return. Freedom clothes me. Social and political philosophy class.
I have a tendency to find myself coming back to the same maxims time and time again. Maybe not maxims in the principled sense, but general truths. Focus. Focus must be the greatest asset of mankind. The ability to concentrate the minds gaze with precision, so that no peripheral object enters into consideration. Perhaps focus is none other than the will? And those with a poor focus simply lack a strong will? Whatever the case, focus allows us to eliminate distraction by keeping the attention on the specific details at hand.
I hear the word discipline and a heavy yoke comes to mind. Those who exhibit discipline, do so unknowingly until we extol their virtue. For those with focus, with a definable aim in mind, discipline is no burden. To them, there is no burden. They simply exist moment to moment with the single function of being. Burdens are distractions. Where there is no distraction, no competing force vying for your attention, there is only living. Who you decide to be takes care of all you need to do. When you fail to decide to be, you are left managing the various demands telling you what to do.
If discipline was a burden to endure, few would bother taking it up till the end.
When you fix your sight on an object, the world at large melts away, and with it, all the clouded obstacles that haze ease and clarity. What becomes paramount is the figure of your intense transfixion. Nothing else matters but what perception beholds. Problems evaporate, dilemmas melt away, and difficulty yields the aggregate joys of life. No more do you shy from being. Being triumphantly trades the multifarious pains of life in exchange for the duty to a singular calling that gives clear purpose and direction. The reward is two fold as progress yields growth as well as fruit. Character as well as achievement. Doubt and hesitation cease to ebb and flow with the tides of change. Indecision and idleness choke and die. Action swells and escapes through every corpuscle in your body.
Anyway…I’m going to bed soon. It’s late. Big MacroTheory exam tomorrow. Work in the early morn. One more chapter to study before I’m confident I’ll ace it.
I went to bed late last night. I was up reading over old journals, assessing my progress. Morning found its way to me too soon this day. As did night.
Today was good.
I feel alive. It’s the first time in a long while. Usually I endure the suffocation. The demands. The routine pressures. As soon as I give a big fuck you to the world, to the expectations, to the voices; it suddenly melts away. It dissolves into clarity. I become light, my chest fills with substance and the aching void is replaced with pouring rhythm.
What it is to ‘be’. Its not doing. Its not pleasing people. Its not succumbing to everything out there. Its a defiant, oppositional rejection to it all. Perhaps its the fear that melts away? The fear of not sufficing, of not doing enough, maintaining enough. The fear of rejection. The fear of being no good. These forces worm their roots into my core and choke my sense of self. They fester and grow, feeding off my ability to be and act. It desiccates potential, leaving it shriveled and withered. I say no. I would rather die, rather blow off my head and choke my life of consciousness than live a mediocre life of struggle. I would do anything so long as my being could breath again. When the ultimatum hangs between ending your life, or ending the angst, the answers don’t seem so allusive. It becomes a simple decision of action. A courageous act of anger. Anger towards everything that’s been weighing you down.
No longer will my breath be bated with apprehension and insecurities. Death, or life. Chains, or freedom. So much of my life I prey on self-deception to rid it from its burrows; but its insidious contrivances slither beneath awareness and latch hold ever so gently. At times, it seems to be a comfort, this angst. It plants itself and soon becomes a deceptive constant. Over time it slowly coils and constricts the spirit until I awake disoriented and lost. The spirit and its zest for life, the simple pleasures of being, seem to have taken flight, and I am left deserted. A relativity takes hold and an indifference spreads over me. I become weightless, ungrounded.
Being real- whatever real is- seems to be the only salvation. It requires an intense gaze into these abysmally vacant depths. You must stare and search with a righteous anger and bitterness and resentment. You must find these gnarling roots, and hack deep. Confront the demons, the self-judgement, the doubt. Stare hard. Get angry and defiant. Defy anything that is keeping you from the now.
You can be no more than you are, and who you are is not who you will be. Decide to be. Whatever is holding you back must be uncovered and exposed. It has no power when you bring it to the surface. It loses its substance and dissolves into oblivion. The battle is daily. Either life is a burden, or it is no burden at all. Lose the burden.
Every once and awhile I find myself pouring over old journal entries. Juvenile musings. They actually inspire me. I was so… naive? Yet, genuine. I spoke with subtle vulnerability. I was open, the world was open. Earth and all its greenery wasn’t tainted by the shadows of worldly criticism. It thrived on pure joy. I can’t say whether these joys were derived from girls, friends, drugs, rebellion, music, adventure, or some other delusional teenage romance. What I can say is that I spoke with brutal honesty. I didn’t hide my devilish joy, or embarrassing hurt. I threw it out there.
Nashville is beautiful. Its slowly transitioning its way to fall. The night brings a cool chill with it. Pretty different from the summer sauna.
I always fantasize about freedom. Freedom is a state of mind. It is inside your being. I judge too much. My self; others. It’s in the name of reason, of truth and justice, but it erodes the value. It ruins the essence by peeling a wonderfully true experience into a fraying cognitive conundrum. It renders the experience useless. It wears it out. Its magic dissolves.
I don’t want to think anymore. I want to be. I want to exist moment by moment, feeling by feeling. I want to explode outward like a dazzling display of fireworks and illuminate the world with my sparkling embers.
I will hold no grudge with myself; nor will I hold a grudge with others. I must remember that when I judge, I am condemning myself. I am holding myself to one more impossible standard. My only standard should be to live loudly. Be boldly.
School’s going alright. I haven’t applied myself at all really. Not sure what the consequences of my lack of discipline will be, but I don’t seem to care too much. I’ve been doing my best to get real with myself, to shed the bullshit facades. Self deception, in all its vapid power, has an insidious nature. “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” (Nietzsche) It stole into my life and left me paralyzed; wholly entranced with its emptiness. Analysis paralysis. I don’t care anymore. I just don’t give a shit. It doesn’t mean that I won’t face my demands with a fierce resolution. It just means that I won’t reserve any energy for condemning myself or others. I refuse to hold myself to standards. Standards only stifle potential. They cap it. They put limits on something that operates in a world beyond definable limits.
I love my friends. One specifically comes to mind: Ravi. Half italian, half indian, he’s one of the most genuine people I’ve met. The real deal. There’s nothing opaque about his intentions. They are out there for general review, and he’s ok with that.
Lifes good. I am defiant at the moment, and I’ll continue being defiant. Either existence is a heavy burden, or it is no burden at all.
I am not running any longer. I am not fooling myself. The world looks on, the circus continues. I want real. I want a real me. Why must I be something greater than the clod of earth that I am? Somewhere I lost sense of the point. The higher calling that was my own soon became an lone empty echo. I am alone. My room seems to fall away from me. Everything is distant. I seize consciousness and my senses reach out. The floor vent releases a streaming chill that catches my pant leg; the skin tightens and my follicles erect. Air palpitates through my nostrils in soft attenuated breathes. I slouch. My eyes fixate ahead. A dyspeptic yellow emits from my lamp and sinks into the noxious green walls. I am lost in this yellow sea.
Fuck it all. I do not want to look inward any longer. Narcissism has left me nauseas.
There is no hope in ignorance. The deficiencies and flaws gather and glare with evil eyes. There is no escape from who and what I am.
I’m finding it difficult to read for class. I’ve spent far more time reading for leisure. It leaves me feeling open; accomplished. Confession number one: Class is a bore. School is boring. It is mind-numbing. Is it me? I fear it is. But I’m more than alright with that. My mind was not meant to be domesticated. It comes and goes and there is no wall or discipline that will harbor my curiosities. Such things are ineffable.
I cannot placate my anxieties with deception. My hate and ill intentions shape my nature. I am all too human. I need to embrace the quaking anger, speak my mind without remorse. Just as today will take care of itself, so will tomorrow. No need to disown whats mine. There is no illegitimate me.
Recently there hasn’t been day that goes by that I don’t think of killing myself. A malaise has set in and it found its way deep inside me. Everything has become questionable. My words are not my own. My intention has grown dull, my thoughts scattered. I am finding a knot of irritability writhing inside my chest. The world around me has grown insipid, darker, more neutral. My veneer is less genuine; less polished. I have trouble seeing over the next procession of thoughts. My convictions falter. I stumble over and over again, exasperated, wide eyed, gasping, outstretched for something to grab hold of. Everything has gained an ambient relativity. My yearn for success has slumped into an indifference toward even basic undertakings. What was organized has now decayed; dysphoria chokes the air. Bad air!
Everything that extends from me is strange. I have no desire to indulge in anything. Not even pleasure. Not success. Not failure. Not anything. I have conditioned myself to justify feelings that typically kept me enthralled with the world; kept my passion for life alive. These sentiments have subsided, slowly. The more I fight the disease, the stranger I become; the more alienated I feel. I begin judging myself more harshly, more critically. A slew of self deprecating insults poke and pry at my dormant motivations. The more I judge, the more I judge others. A realness has dissipated and a hollowness has carved its way inside me. Words are not my own; only a predilection of others.
I began to anger. My place in the world seemed to matter not. It matters not.
reasonable men adapt themselves to the world
unreasonable men adapt the world to themselves
thats why all progress depends on unreasonable men
-George Bernard Shaw
Thesis: What is spirituality?
The man who has no inner life is a slave to his surroundings. ~Henri Frédéric Amiel
*Spirituality as a manifestation within the psyche, the mental space. (Explain in depth)
Spirituality as meta-consciousness. (Explain why)
Define Consciousness/ Structures of consciousnessà knowledge of self and othernessà essence of objects
Outline a philosophy of mind- the rise of consciousness.
Describe the essence of objects as incorporations of selfà essence of objects as a subject’s response to its demand. Response is not
Essence of object does not exist outside subject, but within subject.
Explain what external demands constitute.
Explain: essence of object exists according to internal response and limitations of response
Describe: Consciousness, conscience, and freewill?
I like to think of philosophy as charged with the task of creating ideas that better serve man.
Define ‘Perceptual Framework’, and a representational theory.
What is this framework of perception?
How is reality represented?
How to the senses function to facilitate this perception? As well as an accurate representation of reality?
‘if we experience the world with a delay, then what we directly experience must be the world of the past, and yet the world of the past cannot exist in the present, although a representation of it can’.
Reflection as a starting point for analysis: Why does everything need to be reducible?
Importance of minimizing self deception & dispelling illusion
Present place is vital for future
People go about their life, never questioning, never reflecting on the source from whence they came. For many, the formulation of God as a super divinity overflowing with answers is enough to assuage the task of inquiry. However, these formulations, whether belief or superstition or paradigm, need to be traced. An origin must be uncovered. As something, we do not sprout from nothing. We should assume that thoughts, a product of natural processes, follow the same principled behavior as other matter. No matter is created or destroyed, but constantly transfers and transforms. Thoughts and beliefs have a source, and if one should ever wonder where they are going, they should ask from whence they came.
Perhaps we believe that history is irrelevant, that our creative intuitions are endowed with insightful possibility that supersede all the constraining forces of developmental and environmental influence. Presuming that the aim (Intention) of life is the reconciliation of truth and belief, we would never question whether our methods of investigation were faulty. If they were, they would continue leading us astray. We would continue carrying on, simply manifesting evidence from the justification of these beliefs. Of course, it is vitally important that the clarification of aims (intentions) is laid out before we question the utility of beliefs. No one would doubt that beliefs are justifications of desire (intention), and that if desire were grounded in rewards alone (pleasure), one would adopt terribly disjunctive beliefs with respect to truth and natural process.
It is then necessary that self deception and disillusionment be confronted and explored. If you find yourself resisting to the possibility of being wrong, you can be sure you are deceived. The terrible thing about self-deception, which keeps most everyone blindly steeped in their false knowledge, is that it is the only deception that covers up its tracks. This is why we must retrace the origins of belief, so as to prevent the weeds of corruption choke the breath of life.
The whole notion of retracing steps is metaphorical for serious general reflection. Reflection, in its self, is maintaining two separate concepts while simultaneously weighing their congruency to your understanding as they relate to your aim for truth. Truth must be naked, exposed, stripped from bias and faulty intention. Inquiry, precise questioning, facilitates this divestment by removing the inconsistencies.
The nature of reflection comes to life when we consider the word reflection. A reflection is a reproduction of something, a giving or turning or casting back. The most obvious example of reflection in action is that of mirror. The reflection that occurs as introspection functions similarly, but with thoughts.
Concepts used for reflection are recalled from memory. However, consciousness itself is a recall of memory, a post-processed recollection. There is a time-lag that occurs, however finite, as we perceive with our senses. Even the act of acknowledging the present removes one from the present. Being conscious of oneself in the present requires entering a state of direct recall where we access memories as fast as they occur.
If we were unconscious, there would be no memory. If there were no memory, there would be no reflection.
The idea of reflection as a mechanism for discovering truth lies in its ability to compare, contrast, and weigh the significance of various memories. However, these memories are biased in their very nature. They were experienced and stored under assumptions that the operating perceptual framework accurately processed demands and information that served the intention for truth. This overlooks natural and psychological concerns that serve to misconstrue the nature of events, your response to those events, and, as a result, your memory of those events.
Provided that a consistent perceptual framework is employed during the formation of memories, reflection offers to illuminate the result of causes by examining their effects. A past memory may yield evidence that an action or cause took place. Upon reflection with present circumstances, it is possible to arrive at knowledge of the consequences of that action and deduce certain effects.
Is it necessary to find a cause?
One may argue that using creativity to generate new possibilities is enough to aid in the development of knowledge. This implicitly infers truth as a relative fixture hinged on fabricated beliefs. If truth is to be conceived as inherently immutable, it would follow that the veracity of truth lies in its resiliency. It is not a normalized ideal sprung from an assorted synthesis of competing intentions. Such ideals are evidenced as cultural ethics, or agreements and compromises, which are constantly deluged with the tides of change. The enduring endorsement of the ideal resides in their ability to satisfy the appetites of the broadest spectrum of human demands. As a result, one cannot simply dismiss the past. Its exploration is vital for hewing the knowledge of truth.
How does this relate to reductionism?
Supposing reflection is the method for establishing true knowledge, we can derive a general principle that might be applied to the investigation of origins in general. The idea of reflecting, of recalling for observation, contains an inherent principle of ‘going back’, residing within the prefix re-.
This principle of going back as a way to investigate truth and belief can be applied to adjust intentionality and verify beliefs. (This allows for the correction of life’s course so to ensure that origins and future (present intention) can reconcile a coherent pursuit.
Assuming that investigations yield observance to cause and effect across every physical medium, can we not extend this notion of cause and effect to the rise of mind, or reflective consciousness itself? Would this task overlook the embodiment of reflection contained in its function?
What is happening when reflection takes place?
As reflection occurs, there is an invitation for expansion in the mind. As noted elsewhere, consciousness arises from the syntheses of our response to environmental demands. The better we become at responding, or satisfying, these environmental demands, the more ‘material’ or ‘programs’ are available to synthesize for the creation of new thought. In the sense that there is a conditioned path in which a demand was satisfied and remembered, these responses are simply programs. Concerning this synthesis of creating, the more programs, or responses, that occur, the more possibilities exist. Just as the more land there is, the more crops can be grown and the more goods can be cooked or baked, leading to endless combinations. It is simply a matter of what seed is planted, much in the way that demands plant responses. For now on, the word thought will be used to describe the conditioned response programs.
This is not to trivialize thoughts, of course. Thoughts are more than mere response programs. While one thought alone is not much value, many thoughts yield infinite possibility. It is in the combination of thoughts that open up a space in the mind for the creation of entirely new thought.
Before I continue with formulations of genius, I want to stress the importance of well worn thoughts. Repeated exposure to demands gives rise to easy assess, as well as familiarity, much like a frequently traveled well worn path. This repeated exposure is simply a conditioning to demands. While this allows for the atrophy of ones ability to synthesize thoughts for the creation of novel solutions, it is paramount for computing responses to demands with speed. While this may not serve well for adaptability, it serves for excelling in an environment with relatively static and predictable demands.
Creativity allows new thoughts to arise. The more abstract and foreign and unrelated the origin of these thoughts, the more potential exists for genius insight. As it relates to the phenomenon of reversals, this is their source. Only, reversals are a manifestation of the larger process of creation. It is creation that transforms preexisting thoughts into entirely new thoughts. However, one must keep in mind that first thought finds its origins at environmental demands.
Place a man in the most trying circumstances, so that his physical body is forced to endure unquenchable discomfort, he has two options according to his conditioned constitution. He can accept or create. Upon accepting, he bears the circumstances as they are, responding to environmental demands like a drone. The body will eventually wear and die. The other option, allows for the creation of entirely demand, one that is internal. It alters his frame of mind, the perceptual framework in which he processes environmental stimulus, and creates new feelings and inspirations. The creation of this new demand is not rooted in the ‘present’, nor is it a direct product of environmental demands. It is an entirely new space of consciousness—higher level of thinking, transcendent reflection, spirituality—that now exists ‘inside’ the man. This resonates with Nietzsche’s conception of the slave revolt. However, it is not a product of an insidious will to power. Rather, it is a naturalistic physical response to satisfy demands by the recombination and syntheses of existing thoughts (response programs) to create new demands that force a detachment from immediate environmental demands, or die.
The question Why? facilitates the creation of these new demands. It is only when a demand exist that a response can answer. If there is no demand, there is no answer. Likewise, if there is no problem, there is no solution. The question Why? creates within the mind a dilemma, a problematic demand. Depending on the nature of the demand, if there is an inherent incentive associated with its satisfaction, either the alleviation of discomfort or the pleasure of reward, there is an opportunity for the creation of an entirely new space within the mind. This space is occupied by explicit responses such as ‘knowledge’*, or implicit responses such as ‘feeling’.
Derrida’s notion of conflicting binary reactions that give rise to new meaning is in actuality simply the creation of space. I would like to describe the creation of this space in more detail. While Derrida is accurate in describing a violent conflict, almost binary reaction, that occurs during deconstructionism, its nature is not, as he posits, vertical or hierarchal in nature. If it is this way, it is only because it is a more favored interpretation. Rather, this conflict is a result of the creation of a new demand. As one seeks to reconcile this demand, seemingly contrary thoughts (conditioned responses) are being forced together. If the demand is strong enough, or if the thoughts are weak enough, or if chance would have these thoughts soften and coalesce momentarily, a solution is presents itself. This is actually the synthesis of conditioned responses (thoughts) to environmental, or fabricated reflective, demands. These demands create an entirely new response (thought) in the mind. If the demand is strong enough, the synthesis of these combined thoughts (responses) will continue to maintain their cohesion. If the demand is weak, the thoughts will fall apart, reverting back to their original inclination to satisfy a more engrained response.
For maintaining the creation of space, the creation of thoughts and knowledge, it is imperative to either pursue and grasp hold of the clearest notion of the thought as possible as it occurs, or continue going back to the demand. Proximity to this demand forces understanding of its constitution and parameters, much like the proximity of objects increases inter-gravitational pull. Proximity to demand triggers a response that directs our attention exactly where the demand occurs. As a result, the constitution of demand reveals itself, and we are capable of producing a response or solution.
As long as demand is static, and depending on the arsenal of past thoughts (experiences), there are, one could say, infinite ways of satisfying the demand. This translates to the value of using thought to create infinite possibility for your life.
What is Demand?
Define precisely. Illustrate very principle of demand on everything, physical and mental.
Demand is space. It is a vacuum of need. Physical demands manifest as a result of the equilibrium of energy and balance of chemicals.
Origin of demand?
External origin- Environmental
Internal Origin- Reflection/ Subconscious/ Creation in mind
Just as environmental demands create responses, so too do responses create demands. This is creation, and characterizes mans distinctive ability to alter his internal and external world.
Demands vital for ALL reaction
What causes demand?
What is refection?
How is it understood?
What is its value?
How is it developed?
What is good reflection?
Establish what faulty reflection is
Revert back to intention/ aim/ demands-> demands create intention, intention creates demands
Does time exist if there is no reflective consciousness?
Define time: the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.
Define reflective consciousness: ability to perceive (define perceive), maintain/ recall perceptions, and compare past and present perceptions
Confined by ability to sense and react/ produce sense.
Distance defines knowledge
If one sees a picture of earth, one’s understanding of its essence and properties is limited by proximity, or distance from it, due to an inability to recognize its constituting components. As one gets closer to the earth, parts become decipherable and knowledge can be gained about each part. As one continues traveling closer, more details give rise to a holistic understanding of the once perceived sphere suspended in space. Upon reaching a local level, one observes cities and then people. The closer you get to the parts, the easier they are to perceive, and the more familiar you become with their characteristics and components. This is where knowledge is derived. Intimate experience with parts is a fundamental rule for knowledge acquisition.
Give more examples- Illustrate
In order to acquire knowledge, you must close the distance between subject and object.
Describe life on earth demands
Is consciousness, or perceived intelligence, superior to that of the earth- as opposed to consciousness as processes, who can say what is greater?
Explain role of intersubjectivity in conversion and spirituality. Subject/ Objectà I/ Other = transference of phenomenon of mind
- BODY Part I
- Why we adopt God?
- Who is God?
- What are religious conversions?
- What is spirituality?
- How spirituality and the spiritual are created?
- How is spirituality generated through religious conversion?
- BODY Part I
- What is autonomy?
- BODY Part I
- Why we adopt God?
- BODY Part II
- What is autonomy?
- BODY Part III
- What is free will?
What is spirituality?
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 inspired my efforts to bridge the gap between ‘God’ and self.
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.
Why we adopt God:
Despite being armed with the deftest faculties of reason, we are wary of relinquishing the comforting notions of a moral curator and universal architect in fear of braving 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, and this 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. 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, 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 and psychological phenomenon.
The next conception of God revolves around the congruency of belief and outcome. If one hopes to lay claim to knowledge, 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]
What are religious conversions?
There are two conversions that occur relating to God: an atheist to a theist, and a theist 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.
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 religions assertive warn that ‘idolatry’ and idol worship is ‘evil’. Who would worship inanimate objects? Anyone who seeks to worship anything outside oneself; namely, those who wish to displace self.
What is Spirituality?
The word spiritual is loaded with historical, cultural and personal meanings. To treat this concept as an absolute or universally understood experience would destroy the intimate power it contains for each individual person. However, there is an essence that can be derived.
When people talk about spirituality, they often refer to another worldly existence, somehow separate from reality. Its essence is metaphysical. Spirituality is usually achieved by ridding oneself from material anchors in order to escape into this higher realm of thinking. How does this shedding of worldly preoccupation transcend one into spirituality?
The world is constantly commanding our attention as stimuli bombard our senses and beg for a response. This forces our consciousness to manage observable and readily apparent circumstances. This reality is far different from our mind because the dualistic nature that exists between reality and our mind.
The reality exists in the here and now. It is in flux only according to the very precise physical processes allowed by nature. It cannot be changed instantly without external influence. Our external world is bound by the laws of physics. No amount of manipulation and effort can alter these laws. It is only through the familiarizing ourselves and understanding these laws that we can manipulate reality and nature to conform to our mind.
In contrast, our mind is infinite. Our imagination has no bounds or constraining forces. It dreams, fantasizes, creates, and imagines. The external reality that is projected inwardly is manipulated by our reason and distorted by our passions and emotions. Our ability and decision to think has no limits.
So the reality of nature grounds reflection, the imagination, and reinforces itself in our mind, limiting imagination.
Spirituality is when the mind rises above reality, present demands of the here and now, and observes the sum of reality by recognizing the interrelation of all the individual parts. The mind softens its perception of what is, so to speak, so that new connections and relationships can be formed about what could be.
The creation of spirituality and the spiritual:
Conversion to God opens the mind up to this spiritual world by forcing it to be receptive to something outside reality. The idea of God requires a faith in something with no place in reality and nature. The mind, trying to reconcile the conception of God, escapes from reality. This forces the imagination to reconcile the possibility of God by creating justifications from the imagination. These imaginations are otherwise delusions fabricated to accept Gods existence.
This conversion to God transcends the mind into a world of possibility. This is KEY for understanding how and why god is the answer for those wrestling with a lack of responsibility for their existence, the overall stagnation of potential, and avoidance of freedom.
Generating spirituality through religious conversion:
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 certain spirituality. I find that when many people are asked if religious, they reply that they are spiritual. I responded similarly. But what does this mean?
As far as I was concerned, spirituality was the residue of my faith in God. God represented possibility. Recall the teachings: “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 among a wide spectrum of people, 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.
Why Spirituality is experienced by religious and non-religious:
Other remarks on spiritual matters:
Because spirituality depends on an openness of mind, beliefs are generated that are irrational and unclaimed. Many times spiritual people talk of encounters with angels, demons, ghosts, aliens, or other fictitious imaginings.
While spirituality can open one up to the rewards of creative thought and openness to possibility, it can easily be a detriment by causing delusional thinking.
Secular spirituality is much more grounded in eastern thought. They
Freedom as Intentionality:
Explore intention (attention?) frames the subject-object relation and therefore infuses, or becomes infused, with demands (or knowledge?)
Regarding the response to demands:
Explain the role of intention in constructing perceptual frameworks.
Intentions role in objectifying knowledge
Intentionality and response to environmental demands
See: Intentional phenomenology & bracketing?
What is Freedom?
The question of freedom poses itself when explaining why people convert to god. If a conversion towards god is a result of a lack of responsibility for accepting and exercising our freedom, we must define and determine the nature of freedom as it relates to sentient volition- or free will
The notion of free will supposes an inherent ability to choose. The choice lies in the decision to act or not to act, as well as to choose among alternative actions. Ideally, this choice is autonomously made. However, to what extent are we autonomous? Is there such a thing as freedom of choice? Or, are actions mere precipitations of mechanical chain reactions?
Answering these questions requires the exploration of the science or philosophy of the mind.
Genes as predictors of demand (For now, the concept of ‘Genes’ is used as a metaphor to describe the occurrence of natural (biological) reactions (responses) as they manifest mentally and influence the phenomenology of perception)
According to current scientific understanding, the mind is a product of the brain- not a soul divinely imbuing a body. Only if there is agreement on this point can we progress to the inquiry of real freedom. Our consciousness arises from complex cross-interactions among specific areas of the brain that are simultaneously performing various functions to justify external stimulus demands.
I liken our genetic code as programmed predictors of demand (*Define this demand system, e.g., demand as external stimulus). Random mutation allows for the retention of programs that best satisfy demands, and the loss of those that fail to adequately do so. The genetic code is a long list of programs (sequence of genes) that can be triggered by external demands. Referring to the beginning of an individual’s development, the first triggering of these programs occurs during the fertilization of an egg, or the fusion of the X and Y chromosome, which yield a complete program for life. This fusion causes a chain reaction of cascading genetic triggers. Each genetic program triggered orders the organization of matter to meet certain demands. This occurs by allocating resources (chemical building blocks, or nutrient resources) for organization, or by triggering more programs that work in simultaneous conjunction to organize more complex arrangements of matter.
These demands are hardwired into our genetic code so that a healthy person develops to predictably meet these demands, e.g., the human naturally develops in homeostatic equilibrium in order to cope with environmental demands.
The mind (consciousness) is unique because while our physical bodies are dependent on nutrient consumption for their development, our mind relies on the stimulation of our senses. If the mind is not stimulated, it will not develop the ability to sufficiently manage the environmental stimulus demands.
Development of the mind:
In order to develop the mind, the senses must be exposed to stimulus demands. Only in this way can a program be triggered to respond. As a person develops, the mind adjusts to the environment, and becomes conditioned to its demands. Over time, the mind loses the ease in which programs are triggered, i.e., learning becomes more difficult with age. Repeat exposure to stimulus causes the mind develop algorithmic systems of interpretation that stratify and categorize sensory demands.
Demands that began as sensory stimulus information eventually develop complexities that give rise to new demands. These demands are not literal environmental demands, but created demands due to conflicts that arise due to the inability of the developed algorithms to reconcile multiple demands. These created demands are simply problems that arise when a created demand cannot be satisfied. (This is where the notion of free will may come in: Do we choose what problems preoccupy the mind? What is the role of desire? Do we desire certain states, or choose certain demands?)
There is no problem or created demand where there is no desired outcome. A desired outcome exists where the attention of the senses and mind is directed and attuned and a demand is seeking to be satisfied. In order for a problem to occur, there must be a solution lacking. If current algorithmic systems of interpretation cannot adequately solve the problem or satisfy the demand, new algorithmic systems must be creative developed or employed. This is done when the mind begins looking for consistencies and similarities between the demands and the current algorithms. In this way an algorithm can be developed to solve the problem.
These environmental stimulus demands bombard the senses. Each exposure to the stimulus provides a consistency that can be isolated from other stimulus sensations. The consistent exposure to stimulus crystallizes the sensory response as distinguished and unique for other sensation. This allows for the stratification and categorization of sensations which allow us to navigate our environment.
Development of ideas:
These created demands or problems give rise to abstract concepts such as ethics (laws/principles/virtues), social relations, cultural meanings, physics, mathematics, etc. Each of the aforementioned has no literal place in the world, yet they exist as fundamentally real properties of life. These abstractions exist as fabricated algorithms that developed as we reconciled conflicting algorithms in our pursuit to satisfy demands. (Explain how the manipulation of matter gave rise to physics, how a consistent relationship among arbitrary variables gave rise to mathematics; how the predictability of responses between people allowed for communication, for the manipulation of those responses to aid in satisfying shared demands gave rise to social relations, etc.)
While some of the algorithms man develops relatively naturally, many of these algorithms are impressed upon the mind by parents, societal surrogate role models, and cultural inheritances of religion, education, politics, history, etc. As a result, these problems, or mankind’s broader dilemmas, are passed down generationally as each wave of newly developing persons gains access to solutions derived from the human genetic pool.
Nature endows the propagation of ‘life’ wherever its demands are best satisfied. Most life is solely concerned with managing the demands of the physical environment by registering stimulus and reacting according. Humans have developed a mind that has the ability to satisfy a wide variety of environmental demands, as well as abstractions generated to satisfy specific demands resulting from reconciling separate algorithms, i.e., understandings.
What is desire?
Define desire- the ability to choose a state or end?* Desire: an affinity for an end- or intention?
The contrived demands occur when we are concerned with reconciling conflicting algorithms, i.e., additional understanding provides solutions to problems, thus achieving a peace and tranquility in the mind. The mind becomes conditioned over time as the same algorithms are employed to satisfy the environmental demands. Without a continual change in demands—new experiences or exposure to novel stimulus or challenges that contain new demands—no new algorithms are developed and the mind remains unchanged.
So… What is free will?
The mind is simply an operating system that satisfies demands. Choice is a matter of the mind acting to satisfy given known demands. Given the parameters of a problem, the mind will come up with an answer or solution by retrieving past algorithms to employ, or by synthesizing existing algorithms to create a new algorithm– the creation of new possibilities through synthesizing existing understandings. The latter is the closest one can get to achieving free will.
As this relates to the conversion or adoption of God, people who fail to satisfy demands and problems are simply not imploring the powers of their mind. They fail to acknowledge that a solution exists and embrace the dissonance within themselves as an inherent human flow. This is the lack of responsibility I refer to that causes people to convert to God. They accept their currents limits of understanding and refuse to acknowledge the possibility and potential that resides within them and their world.
Free will and attention:
Accessing free will depends upon where the mind focuses its attention. Attention is what feeds the senses information needed for the mind to recognize what the stimulus is demanding. Where attention is being allocated and focused at the time will result in different interpretation of demands and therefore different responses. The resulting choice is dependent on the attention to feed register every environmental stimulus within the circumstance, as well as every available consideration stored in the memory that would aid in producing the best response or choice.
Certain cues can influence attention, thereby altering the perceived demands and resulting response.
Because words are fundamental building blocks for constructing mutual understandings among minds, semantics play a vital role for ensuring the integrity of those understandings.
Explain the various manifestations of God as cultural inheritances, projections of internal man,
Or does explaining why God manifests better explain the adoption of cultural traditions of understanding?
Or does explaining how God manifests better explain the cross-cultural similarities of Gods nature.
What is autonomy? (Auto-: Self; Nomos:-Law/Regulation/Custom)
Does free will exist, or are we governed by deterministic mechanical processes?
If free will exists, it must be reconciled with determinism. There is a need for the clarifying the limitations of autonomy.
Determinism would have us believe that choice is limited. I posit: choice is limited to combinations of environmental exposure and perceived experience, something that cannot be adequately described as limited. Determinism would blind us to our ability to recall and create.
*Refer to scientific study about arbitrary nature of free will and morality.
Two operating modes of free will:
- Choose from presented options. (Not goal oriented)
Most people do not exercise reflection, and therefore do not utilize choice (Excuse the generalization). (Explain if there is a difference between reflection and employing reason) The number of circumstances and options they are presented are limited and maintain face value. As a result, they remain bound to limited options within the world.
- Create alternative options. (Goal oriented) The creation of alternative options relies on the recollection of memories- past experiences that lend insight to present circumstance or choice. In addition, it is our ability to construct totally new perceptual framework about current circumstances. The framework allows for a different perception of stimuli that cause a different response from us.
Insight gained from past memories is limited to the perceptual framework that was employed during the memory. This framework acts as a filter that processes only relevant information at the time. Out ability to create relies on the quality and diversity of the past experiences we recall. Quality refers to the perceptual framework that can interpret and contextualize the relevancy of many details into memory. Diversity refers to the number of experiences your have in different circumstances, as well as variety of perceptual frameworks employed in each of those experiences. Experiences are great for giving you a holistic understanding of things, but true depth of understanding is achieved through repeated exposure to similar circumstances using different perceptual frameworks.
While very similar, perceptual frameworks are different than attitudes of mind. This is because perceptual frameworks are concerned with the attention according to perceived demands. An attitude of mind is concerned with positive or negative interpretations of these demands (Explain further). An attitude can alter the perceptual framework in which our attention registers information.
These perceptual frameworks are important because they record mental and emotional states of being into memory. These records can be recalled later to induce a state of being in the present. While a perceptual framework may have been recorded at an experience unrelated from the present, it can nonetheless be recalled, induced and applied.
In addition, various combinations of these perceptual combinations can be recalled and combined to create new perceptual frameworks.
Philosophy of Mind: (revise and refine)
The mind is a global environment containing microcosmic communities that contain ideas that contextualize an experience. Exposure to environmental stimulus and sustaining a focus of attention maintain these communities’ wellbeing and economy, contributing to the sustainment of other communities.
These communities are composed of ideas. These ideas contribute to a web of common understanding that is the community. These communities are tied together with other ideas that contain shared understandings. These ideas need maintenance in order to retain functional utility as an idea and with other ideas. Emotions charge ideas, making them healthy and capable. Ideas are developed from exposure to stimulus or they are created from other ideas (explain further). Ideas function according to individuals mind. Some ideas are more versatile and easier to exchange among individual’s minds than others. This depends on the foreign nature of the idea, or whether it has any weak ties to preexisting ideas. If it does not, exposure and associations with the idea and existing ideas needs to be formed.
The communities contain families of ideas. These families form coherent bonds and relationships between ideas that contribute to mutual wellbeing. Translated, these families of ideas are manifested as stories, beliefs, narratives, etc. Unless an idea was incredible resilient, it relies on its relationship with other ideas. It is likewise necessary for interrelationships between families for their health, wellbeing of the community.
Consider the metaphor (expand):
Ideas are people. People live in communities. Communities inherently contain commonalities- be it tradition, geography, economic concern, social status, ethnicity, race. Communities are tied together with weak ties. These weak ties are people that share commonalities with other communities, either because there is a stake in another community, or because the person itself is valuable and versatile. The well being of the community depends on the well being of its member’s health and motivation. People maintain health through sustenance (products of environmental conditions) and relationships, likened to emotions and family relationships, respectively. People are created through other people. They have evolved to fit their environment.
Groundwork of Economic Metaphysics
The aim of metaphysics is to understand the underlying structural nature of reality. Reality operates as an objective superstructure outside and independent of perception and observation. If one hopes to understand reality, one must consider the nature of every phenomenology.
At the moment, we will begin this investigation by accepting some principles of thought. Later we can explore the legitimacy of these principles and by exploring instances of exception. These principles are the laws of thought. To reiterate, they are the law of identity, the law of excluded middle, and the law of non-contradiction.
The law of identity states that an object is the same as itself, or A ≡ A. The law of excluded middle states that for any proposition, either that proposition is true or its negation is true, that is P v ~P. The law of excluded middle states that contradictory statements cannot at the same time be true, or ~(P v ~P).
We will also consider natural laws of cause and effect, and that nothing does not beget something.
** Equilibrium vs. non-equilibrium thermodynamics
Thoughts are feelings. They are stratified sensations that occur when activated. Relations and combinations of these sensations yield complex depth. Reason is simply the understanding of these relations. Can we know reality through reason? If reason is dependent upon sensations in which to gauge relational properties, our affect towards these sensations may change our reason. As stimulus renders sensation, so does reason render knowledge.
I am filthy. Disgusting. I am vile. All that I am is putrid, much like everyone I
Nothing. Pain. Suicide? Indifference? Judgement? Who to judge? Who to wrestle this pain with? Alone and empty. Freedom is repulsing. I’d much rather be a slave. To reason? To passion? To others? Nay. A slave to something beyond me. A godhead. Something with no rhyme, reason, or any other attributes to judge. Something incomprehensible.
 Conceptions are formalized thoughts, embodying specific understandings that constitute a certain knowledge
 Religious beliefs cause a variety of psychological effects: Confirmation bias creates biases that influence interpretation of positive feedback to be used as evidence for maintaining and confirming biases and reinforcing pre-existing beliefs, e.g., 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 is the awareness that you are being observed influences your behavior, e.g., knowing people look at/treat you as a Christian example causes you to maintain Christian behaviors; Pygmalion effect is the awareness of higher expectations that lead to increased performance, e.g., God is watching leads to more mindfulness, better behavior; Stereotype threat is our evaluation based on negative stereotypes when facing a disruptive concern, e.g., anyone who is not a Christian is a sinner and evil, so when bad things happen its because of non-Christians, etc.
 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 justified, is a scapegoat, or lamb, for their suffering. 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.
 It is of a particular meta-cognition.
 Science relies on the existence of an objective (onto-epistemological?) reality. Because the existence of such a reality cannot be proved, many persons of faith attempt to discredit science as a legitimate vehicle for arriving at absolute understandings.
 The five senses: Vision, audition, gustation, olfaction, tactition.
 Babies lacking touch, i.e. affection, develop mental disorders and in some cases die.
 At this point I am left curious if there is a genetic mechanism that causes a human to seek solutions for these demands (determination).
 A child’s mind contains the most potential because it has not been fully conditioned. It maintains access to the widest spectrum of programs, i.e., they learn with incredible ease.
 I use algorithms to refer to the way the mind systematically understands information, i.e., knowledge, or methods the mind uses for predicting and deducing information with given stimuli inputs.
 Particularly language: Conveying specific meaning through written words and their syntactical arrangement, both written and spoken—In contrast to interpreting arbitrary marks on paper or static noise.
 If we are told to count all the quarters in a coin jar, we may remember the number of quarters and a variety of other details, but we will not remember how many pennies there were, etc.
Let our actions echo in the ears of eternity.
Perception and reality.
When the man is right, his world will be right. We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are. When we change the way we think of things, the things we look at change.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” -Aristotle
I am making some commitments to myself. There is no use putting off for tomorrow what can be done today. Some changes need to occur in my life, in my actions. In no particular order, I’m going to expatiate on some things I’ve been meaning to do, and why I desire to do them. Then, I will prioritize and organize them for execution.
I need to write every day, be it philosophy, various events or happens, quandaries, inspiration, or whatever. For me, writing is life. It is an on going autobiographical account of the maturation of your thoughts and progress as a person. It helps contextualize and visualize the free floating immaterial swirling about in my head. My mind is like an atmosphere swirling with cool and warm currents of moisture. Ideas coalesce into clouds. When certain clouds gain enough mass, and churn and swirl and boil enough, lightning strikes as inspiration. I need to capture these clouds if I want to recreate that inspiration, in myself or others.
Additionally, writing is a skill. And like any other skill, it is refined through ongoing temperamental and deliberate practice. That means I need to attempt at writing my best, every day. Focus on the organization of thoughts, the poetics and prose of presentation, the clarity, the rococo, the rhetoric.
In my opinion, any life worth living is worth remembering. No thought is too trivial, or too important. They are all brush strokes that make up the larger canvas of your character. The fear of a single brush stroke defining your work, your character, will only prevent you from making more brush strokes.
I want to emphasize the importance of writing, and writing a lot. Any genius or man of great success in his field has had one defining characteristic: They produced, a lot. Even when no one was looking they were producing volumes of output in thought and action. Look at any great writer, any inventor, any businessman, any athlete, any scientist, any musician, any philosopher. Whether it was writing 2,500 words a day, coming up with five new inventions a day, examining markets every day or engaging in outstanding interpersonal skills with everyone they meet, practicing hours a day long after everyone left the field, conducting and publishing enormous amounts of research, playing for audiences and songwriting every available opportunity, or reading and contemplating the nature of truth and life every waking moment- they produced.
Not only have I been meaning to write down my goals, I have been meaning to create an environment that supports and forces me to think about my goals as often as possible. This means writing down my goals, posting them in locations where I will be forced to look and think about them, and telling people that will hold me accountable. I need to control my environment so that my thoughts are constantly oriented to their achievement.
Goals are cognizable desires. They are not simple emotions, but specific longings for specific destinations in character. No meaningful, worthwhile goal is achieved without a change is character, and its only when your character changes that other rewards and success fall to you, be it of material or immaterial value. Goals allow us to draw a map, construct a blueprint, compose a melody where there was none before. They transport us in ways that nothing else can. Only through goals can a person grow in character and consciousness with deliberation.
Having goals will only get someone so far. Visualizing goals is important. It is through visualization that we are able make them apart of our lives. It is through this visualization, this meditation, that we harness the power to control our lives by controlling our thoughts. This means taking time out of your day, every day, multiple times a day, and contemplating the nature of your goals, seeing them in your head, examining their idiosyncrasies, their personalities, their nature. If your goal is distinct and real, it will contain a multitude challenges before it is overcome and achieved. You must be familiar with these challenges so you can takes steps to prepare, be it psychologically or emotionally or physically.
Health and Physical Fitness
It is not enough to be healthy when its convenient. Health consciousness must be an ever present lifestyle. This means the elimination of vices such as food or chemical substances. Physical activity is necessary for a positive well being, not only in the now, but for the future which I am continually living into. There is no shortcut to living a well balanced life full of vitality.
If we really take time to appreciate all the environmental factors that influence us, we can leverage and utilize that knowledge for our benefit in two specific ways. We can maximize and stabilize our well being by ingesting only the most nutritious foods, and we can cleanse our body of toxins and negative hormones through rigorous physical activity. This will provide me with more energy and elevate my mood so that I give my best when conquering goals.
A person will never find more time in a day. They must make more time. But how does one ‘make’ more time? Proper time management. This involves taking time out of ones day, every day, and laying
out priorities for accomplishment. This means parsing out specific time for specific tasks. Schedule everything: sleep, reflection, working out, reading, socializing, studying, writing, napping, errands, free time. You name it. If its not on your schedule, do not do it. Put it on tomorrows schedule. Do not change your schedule until the next day.
Life is made of time. If it were to stop, life would cease. We are all products of time; merely the exposure to stimulus that occurs with time. When you control your time, you control your life. That is when you gain self-mastery. Being creatures of habit, we must learn to control our habits. This is done by controlling our time. Habits are repeated actions. The more a person performs a thought or action, the more he will continuing performing that thought or action. It is like a piece of paper creased and folded repeatedly. Over time the paper has a natural tendency to bend at that crease. Likewise it is with our malleable minds. “We are what we repeatedly do” says Aristotle, “Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
The first step to gaining self-knowledge is to accept oneself as flawed. Flawed in every way, let nothing escape. When one approaches a situation or circumstance or problem, one must be willing to accept that while they are able to come up with a solution or explanation, they are most likely wrong, however detailed or thought out they believe themselves to be. We are blinded by our ego. By our defense of self preservation rather than truth. If you have never consider yourself wrong, you will never give yourself the opportunity to correct your habituated flaws. At this point, there is no hope. Now, before one sees this step leading to complete skepticism, I need to mention step two: Accept oneself as a creature of infinite possibility. In this way, we allow ourselves the hope to correct flaws.
Accepting oneself as flawed allows one to stop forward motion in faulty assumptions and flawed thinking, and pause. In other words, it invites reflection. Once we can resist the tendency (or desire) to project our reality and ‘be right’, and embrace ourselves as being devoid of all the facts, we can turn to the tools of possibility. These tools are reason and creativity. Together they create meaning and utility, relevancy and function.
Additionally, just because we accept ourselves as flawed does not mean that we can never come up with viable solutions. Many times solutions are not ultimate truths, but simply pragmatic fixes that consider time and circumstance.
The bottom line is this, I am wrong, you are wrong, we’re all wrong. People need to engage any perceived problem with this knowledge. The problem is usually not external, but internal, relating to some flawed attitude or perception of mind.
When there are dilemmas facing two or more people, everyone needs to collaborate and acknowledge that they cannot provide a solution without considering if that solution is compatible for someone else. Dialog must ensue. Everyone must adopt an attitude that emphasizes fresh possibility, that existing paradigms may not be the answer.
I need feeling. I am listless. Aimless. Emotionally void of fiery passion at the moment. I haven’t been organizing my thoughts. Instead I’ve been putting them off, pretending that I’ve got it together, that my thoughts will take care of themselves without any upkeep. Thats as unrealistic as believing a garden could survive without regular natural or artificial irrigation. Nothing will grow, only stagnate and die.
Time. Time management. This ‘life’ we live in, this collection of vast experience that we poke around in, is nothing but a duration. A life is nothing tangible, your experiences and memories and relationships and achievements are all a product of time. Nothing happens without a measurable duration.
The more I value my time, the more I value my life. How I spend my time defines how I spend my life. It defines what I think about, my associates, strengths, weaknesses, loves, passions, skill, etc. Time dictates and develops what I am good at, and what I’m bad at. If I don’t spend any time studying, or learning, there is no way I will be a knowledgeable person. If I spend one hour, that will yield proportional results. If I spend 4 hours, my life will be that much more molded by that exposure.
That’s what its all about. Exposure. Impressions. Memories. Sensory stimulation. The longer I subject my senses, my thoughts, to an end or goal, the deeper rooted those impressions become. The stronger they become, the more unwavering they are. Equally, the more they gain priority in my thoughts. Even casual thoughts and dreams can pervade and alter your world view.
If one could program his life by allotting hours toward honing skills and/or knowledge based on 24 hours a day, whereas the collective hours-allotted result in exponential gains in that area, how or what would we really spend our life doing, or thinking? By spreading the hours too thin one wouldn’t gain any deep knowledge or refine skills that are better than anyone else’s. By spending too much time in a specific area of development, one would gain an exceptional, almost genius, level of insight. On the other hand, too much in one area would jeopardize the development of many, maybe pragmatic or emotional skills needed for social integration.
The fact is, when we take control of our lives, we can design our being, and plan our life and its development. When we accept ultimate responsibility for our lives, for our time and decisions (or lack thereof), we are able to literally program ourselves and unlock potential in any area, whether its in the realm of knowledge or intelligence or relationships or success or money or emotions or whatever.
But what stops us from making the decision? Lack of will? Lack of drive? Are we too comfortable? Have we grown too content, too pacified by our circumstance. Are we settling for average and mediocre results? A life that blends seamlessly together with everyone else but fails to possess originality or utility or beauty? That functions like all the other threads stranded and weaved side by side, but never stands out?
Do we play it safe? Are we afraid of failure? Our inadequacy? The hardship? The rejection? Perhaps we are terrified that we possess limitations? Perhaps that is the most damaging fear of all.
And I quote
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
— Bruce Lee
“Reading good books is like having a conversation with the most distinguished men of past ages.”
— Rene Descartes, Discourse on the Method
I have been very fortunate in worldly matters; many men have worked much harder, and not succeeded half so well; but I never could have done what I have done, without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one object at a time, no matter how quickly its successor should come upon its heels, which I then formed.
-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts–just mere thoughts–are as powerful as electric batteries–as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison.
-The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
“One must […] take refuge in philosophy; this pursuit, not only in the eyes of good men, but also in the eyes of those who are even moderately bad, is a sort of protecting emblem. For speechmaking at the bar, or any other pursuit that claims the people’s attention, wins enemies for a man; but philosophy is peaceful and minds her own business. Men cannot scorn her; she is honoured by every profession, even the vilest among them. Evil can never grow so strong, and nobility of character can never be so plotted against, that the name of philosophy shall cease to be worshipful and sacred.
Philosophy itself, however should be practised with calmness and moderation.
— Seneca: Moral letters to Lucilius, Letter 14
In any case life is but a procession of shadows, and God knows why it is that we embrace them so eagerly, and see them depart with such anguish, being shadows.
Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Plato’s allegory of the cave. This notion of freedom is perplexing. Does freedom extend solely to the body, or to the mind, or both?
If you are locked in a room, and you have no desire of escape, are you free?
Something about this question doesn’t sit right with people. There is an injustice subsiding in the background. But why?
If you are in a room that is unlocked, and you have no desire of escape, are you free?
Somehow, this question ameliorates some of this injustice.
What if that room is unlocked, but you don’t know that you can leave, are you free?
All these questions are analogous to society and the people, to inherited beliefs and accepted customs and histories. There are the naturally ravenous people, culpable of war and conflict when left to their own devices, and then there is the sovereign state that provides peace and stability and security, which we obey merely because of our belief in its authority. But where does this authority come from? A social contract subjugating our absolute freedom in exchange for security?
This post got political, but the point I was originally trying to illustrate is that we are all brainwashed. Anyone who endorses society, the tastes and preferences of the masses, is disillusioned. Words such as Freedom and Equality are the opiates of the masses.
People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
— Søren Kierkegaard
I suppose the alternative is anarchy, survival of the fittest. If we must sacrifice our will for a sovereign government, it may as well be for a stable one.
But who is this government? What makes us believe governments aren’t survival of the fittest on a grand scale of centralized power? Have we been duped into believing we are free, when in fact we are actually slaves? Mere workhorses for the few conducting an economic system responsible for gathering resources as a means of retaining power?
Shadows. We are all grasping at shadows.
“Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing,” answered Holmes thoughtfully. “It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different.”
The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I developed many relationships this summer. Some were cultivated from existing bonds, while others were wholly new. There was one girl in particular who I got to know this summer whom I shared a unique curiosity for. We related on a certain level. She mentioned off hand one day that her brother was suffering from depression. Given my extensive past with matters such as depression and suicide, I inquired further in hopes of uncovering any potential risks or allaying any apprehensions. She explained his struggle as a Iraq war veteran reeling from post traumatic stress, as well as his other perceived failures as a person. I told her to talk with her brother. To reach out. No one can possibly know the abysmal mind of another man. We must take time to probe the depths and find the core of their true self. Long story short, she talked with her brother, the first time in years. She let me know and thanked me. She was hopeful that their relationship was improving. I expressed my joy in their reconnection. Last Tuesday she phoned me and informed me that her brother killed himself. I’ve since been providing what limited comfort I have to offer. She asked me to join their family this afternoon at the airport as they wait to receive his body. She needs support that does not provide pity, but hope and understanding.
We are what we think. I decided that I fully endorse determinism. If there was no determinism, there would be no statistics. Nor would there be mathematics or any logic and laws of thought. However, we know that these operating principles serve as necessary conditions for reason, and without them we would know nothing. Reason, coherence, dialectic procession would be fantastical.
I am a determinist. I have been shaped by my circumstance; by my parents, my geography, my peers, my language, my history, my culture, my education, my nutrition, my government, my time, my birth, my name, my siblings, my world. I am a victim, a mere product, a result, of mechanical circumstantial processes. Do not let this intimidate you. I am unique, wholly unique, there is none like me, nor will there ever be another in my likeness. I contain experience, and physical and genetic material that allows me to actualize and respond to my world most appropriate to my survival.
This notion of free will was implanted by some sardonic hedon. There is no free will. Free will is a fabricated conception,
So after a long line of processes that afford up with
We are apt to think that our lives are shaped by memories, by the multifarious impressions left by experience. While this seems intuitive, we overlook the forgotten, the oblivion that we are, which shapes the current moment. We are much less than the memories, and much more of the oblivion. The process of forgetting is much more instrumental in shaping our being. What we are is of little matter when looking at what we are not.
There is a perpetual disassociation that occurs to my being, an infinite splicing that happens to me, which leaves a residue of alienation. While I occupy the moment, there is a person that trails behind who I cannot escape and who I am a stranger to. People speak his name in my direction, recall his attributes as if they possess me, appeal to a person who is a stranger. Michael contains far more than I am, and I contain far less than he is.