The Great Dichotomy: Passionate Power

Random musings.

Money to get power, and power to guard the money.”
~Medici family motto

Dichotomies are interesting. Many are none other than existential paradoxes: mind and body, thought and matter, possibility and necessity, spiritual and physical,  and the list goes on. Kierkegaard, as well as Nietzsche and other agents of enlightenment, was a literary guru when it came to expounding upon how to live with these irreconcilable realities. Over the years I’ve learned to cope with the resulting blindness of these realities, the otiose character of life and the recondite disunion of body and soul. I’ve compromised with myself and learned to live with one eye pointed inward and the other pointed outward so as to balance introspection and aspiration.

In recent years I’ve faced a dilemma of deciding what to do with my life and career. It’s not like I didn’t see this crisis coming, but I guess I didn’t realize how many times I would be wrestling with my conclusions and convictions. Despite the temporary setbacks and failures mottling my youth, I’ve orchestrated my education beautifully over the years, exploiting a multitude of disciplines of thought and growing ever cognizant of how achievement is actualized. I’ve gone to great pains to realize the context of my condition and the contingencies of my aspirations.

Out of my experience grew two concentrations of study, economics and philosophy, each representing the broader dichotomies encompassing life. One satisfies my intuitions about what I perceive other people to value, the other regards what I value in my heart. I’ve tried to reconcile these over the years and explain why this dichotomy exists, whether a balance can be achieved, or what direction I should favor. For a long time I decided to refuse to sell out. But this clashed with the omnious system that I would face upon entering the workforce: success seemed tantamount to abiding to the myriad of expectations laid out by others.  As I have no trust fund to lean on for support, no assets to buy my way into fortune (compounding investment: you must have money if you wish to accumulate more money), I faced the reality that no upper echelon would endorse my musings, my art, my thoughts, unless I belonged to them, to their network or, by chance, satisfied their criterion of worth.

The citizen of the world in me refused to conform to the ‘system’, to the authority that dictates standardized achievement and propagates worldly values. The autonomy within me bucked as I studied philosophy and developed the tools and methods for critical inquiry, tools I used to ridicule the backward nature I learned to see in the world. The pragmatic element of my spirit recognized the utility of conformity and uptook various preoccupations that would fashion my mind according to them, such as the study of economics and finance.

But I ask myself: what does it take to be successful? I always like referring to the context in question. I’m American. I live in a ‘democratic’ country where the few rule the many. The few in this case are not the parasitic politicians (although in many cases, when it’s convenient, they are one in the same). The politicians are figureheads, merely the arm or scepter of power, not the head of governance. The true source of governance and power resides in the wealthy, the capitalists, the business owners, the stock holders. These are the greats that arbitrate the economic and political atmosphere. They embody the will to power. They pass the laws, set the wages, orchestrate the commerce, conduct the symphonious marketplace we’re lead to believe is free and open. The current sentiment is that if governance is left to the people, we’ll be in a real mess. The populous is simply a bewildered herd, uneducated and incapable of self-rule. (The Wagner Act of 1935 was the last real effort of the masses to mobilize. Since then these efforts have been squashed. Unions are ‘evil’ and communist.) This is why we live in a ‘democratic republic’ where we elect a small group of ‘leaders’ to instruct the masses on which policies they should live by.

To be successful you must be a sycophant. More specifically, you must possess utility for those in power. If you cannot help these people achieve more power, you are worthless and will amount to nothing more than a cog, expendable and interchangeable. But the wealthy will not extend a job or opportunity to just anyone with ample capacity and a strong will. No. They must be familiar with you. You must possess some wealth, influence, charisma, intelligence, talent or power that they can leverage for their own gain. Posterity is as empty as truth. Rationality is an instrument of the powerful: they dictate the rules of the game, the vernacular, the premises and logical structure of your success.

“All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” (Nietzsche)

Rationality is a function of motives, of intention. Pin-point desires and motivations and you can construct a cathedral of reason to leverage against those in power to mutually achieve independently contrived ends.

The questions that have wracked my mind most over the years: Do I follow my heart or my mind? Do I follow my passions or my prudence? What it’s come down to is that, given the current state of affairs, given my context as a young American, passions are prized only in youth, as is freedom. With the coming of age what is most prized is security, with the passions left to fantasy much like the irrealism of dreams are left to enamoring vagaries. We discard our passions and convictions, our fantastical visions of grandeur for a better world, in favor of a ‘realism’ scented with a dark cynicism that dispels illusion, that acquiesces under the ‘system’ that we obey out of sheer necessity grown from our will to survive. What has been trampled is our will to power, but it is never too late to revive this urge.

The artists, when they are not lining the capitalists pockets with profits, are simply muses in the most passive sense of the term. These artists are no longer concerned with inspiring as much as they are fixed on entertaining, or ‘amusing’, for their agenda is the same as the capitalists: money. They render the audience as docile and facile as possible, getting them in a blurred frenzy, caught up in emotion, totally distracted from the realities that oppress their sad existence. The poorest, the most impoverished left with only their intangible dreams, love these entertainers the most. Since they cannot live through possessions and materialism they escape through fantasy, artificial emotions induced through hollow emotives.

I’ve decided I want to sell out, for a time. I want to master the system so I can one day create the system. Considering my background, I’ve played my cards right up until now: the best university, the best internships, solid degrees, great grades. What is necessary now is to capitalize on these achievements instead of forfeiting them for the preponderances of my heart, the longings of my spirit, the existential conundrums I unravel in my reflections.

What I need to do is exploit the source of power for my ends: finance. I need to get into the industry where all the wealthy have a mutual stake. Wealth is the common denominator of power. Investment banking, wealth advising, asset management.

I need to toss these ephemeral thoughts about passion, about right and wrong, about selfless creation, to the garbage. They are fruitless. If I want to succeed, I must capitalize on my strengths: people skills, smooth talking, will-power, vision, charm, intelligence, good nature, pleasant appearance. I can be obedient. My rebellious nature was resistant to obey arbitrary authority, and my attitude throughout school and to my superiors proves this. But this needs to be corrected if I am to succeed and dominate. I must fawn these superiors in order to advance. There are many who wish to succeed, but only those who stroke the ego’s of those holding the keys to power will allow be to ascend to their true potential. I look around me and I see so much talent. Young automatons do everything right, except they haven’t a clue that doing everything right has a ceiling. You must not only serve the interest of your superiors, you must also create value for them, you must learn to hijack and supplant their vision with yours in order to aid them in their accumulation and concentration of capital. In this way achievement is guaranteed.

Morality does not exist. There are no facts, only interpretations. You cannot have a universal moral conscience as a businessman, as a ruler of wealth: only a fabricated justification that accepts the inequality of man as a rule. Nietzsche said, “The reasons for which ‘this’ world has been characterized as ‘apparent’ are the very reasons which indicate its reality; any other kind of reality is absolutely indemonstrable.” Those in power dictate these reasons. Their are the moral clergymen.

It’s interesting to consider the influence of media control. The media is the mouthpiece of the powerful. As Chomsky said in his book Media Control, “Propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”

Who rules the world? The powerful, the elite. These are the American ruling class. We elect proffered politicians which have been paid for by these elite with the single agenda of taming the bewildered herd, of keeping the masses complacently compliant.

Slavery was replaced by share cropping, which has been replaced by credit and loans: all of these forms of debt rob the citizens of equality, life and liberty, and it’s legal. Bankruptcy laws. Capital gains taxes. Trickle down economics. Sub-prime mortgage lending. Failed education reforms: No child left behind. The war on drugs. The rise in pharmaceutical psycho-therapeutics. Currency manipulation: Coinage Act of 1972. Foreign wars and fear mongering, communism, creating enemies like Russian and terrorists as a means of keeping the populous paralyzed and fearful, of keeping their attention turned outward instead of inward. All creating fear. All manufactured to suit the ends of the elite. All propaganda.

Truth and lies are one in the same. They condemn or praise according to which subjective end you are most vested.

 

paradox and reason

Lifes vicissitude’s are the only source of hope. The Heracleitean argues the irrefutable law of non contradiction held by Parmenideans. How can there be no change? As the philosopher of antiquity said “You cannot step into the same river twice”. How can we maintain a rational perspective if the very foundations of logic are undermined by the plain observation of change?

Paraphrasing from Robert Fogelin’s “Walking the Tightrope of Reason”:
The law of noncontradiction states: It is not the case that something is both the case and not the case. Or… to simplify… ‘if we let “~” mean “it is not the case that” and if we let “&” mean, reasonably enough, “and” than:
~(p&~p)
Substitute whatever you like for the proposition, you will still have a true statement- even if the propositional value is false.
This seems so trivial that one asks what is the point? Ofcourse something cannot be and not be at the same time. Yet, if this law is true, the whole world would be static and unchanging. Nietzsche said it best in ‘Will to Power’ #584:
The Law of Noncontradiction [tells us that] the true world… cannot contradict itself, cannot change, cannot become, has no beginning and no end. This is the greatest error that has ever been committed.

Can something be and not be, simaltaneously? Do we not live in an ever changing world? One cannot be rational and reject the law of noncontradiction. You would think in circles and never establish a point. Following any assertion or denial, one must ask if it matters whether we interpret it as an assertion or a denial. Aristotle handled those rejecting the law of noncontradiction in the following way: In interpreting what I say, you may add the phrase ” It is not the case that” to the front of any senence I utter. Do this as you please, for it will in no way alter the significance of my discourse.

This life of ours is lived simply on faith. We use the law of noncontradiction to establish the law of noncontradiction. We have no foundation on which this logic ultimately rests. There is no demonstration or proof which delineates the law- it is taken on faith.

Reality is a paradox. We live life as rational, logical beings, yet we drift among a sea of flux. Some argue on the side of Heracleitus , as Nietzsche, Emerson, Whitman and others did, rejecting the notion that there are absolutes in life. Even modern philosophers, try as they might, and as rediculous as they seem, to reject science as a dialectical illusion-ironically enough as they type on thier computers.

To me, this justifies that there is a God. For such paradoxes to exist, in which my rational and logical processes are found to be hallow and misguided, would cause me to break down. My faith, ultimately, must turn to God. That higher power, the infinite consciousness transcending supermetaphysical contraints, is my only source of guidance. Rejecting him and my world begins to literally fall apart. Placing my faith in Him produces an unparalelled fecundity in life. That is where my faith is planted.

Write more later…

waves

man oh man. i am feeling interesting right now. i told myself a few years ago that I’d never let my feelings dictate how i live my life. i dont know how much of that is true. I am searching for a passion that appeals to my logic and my feelings. I always stray from emotional discourse pertaining to my life. I dwell on it in my inner cavities and it fumigates deep in my heart but i’d never let it make me who i am. I prefer the solitary reliance on hearty logic that weaves itsr way into my agenda. Feelings make me feel alive though. This is a huge paradox that i live in. For years i was a victim to my feelings. How i felt dictated life at any given time. There was no logic involved really. flawed logic like ” If i feel great, life is great… is it not?” or if i felt bad, life was bad. but no. life is good no matter what. as long as you’re actions support the belief that life is good then no matter what you feel you should know life is good. and good thoughts bread good feelings… do they not? it is easy to think bad thought when your hormones and biochemicals communicate differently… but a single thought can bread the best of feelings from those neurotransmitters. anyway. Logic.
Reason.

A woman. I dream about feelings. I dont like letting feelings interrupt a logically constructed existence. Feelings go contrary to my logic far too often. I love her. Then chase her mike. It would hinder your plan for success. alright. i wont. maybe it’s never been worth it. maybe not.Chase her mike. She won’t appreciate the sacrifice. Its not about you mike its about her. well who’s gonna think about me then? she’s not thinking of me. what if she is? its never ideal. Feelings are never Ideal. Feelings are never logically based. How i wished they were. A perfect relationship would be a logically orchestrated symphony of emotional discharge. Does that paint the picture? maybe it sounds too logical. A beautifully woven sea of harmonious understandings of love. nope. its never that mutual. The best of the relationships may touch on those magnificent waves but they never stay on those crests so close to heaven. eventually you come down and the wave beats its ferocity and power against the bow which weakens the heart and causes a change in course. Its a delicate balance of risking trust to feel.

Linear.

hmm

I’ve encountered a paradox. I find that living life, and understanding life are almost impossible to do simultaneously. Yet- It is absolutely necessary to find time to do both. Lest you end up crazy, all action and no theory, or a philosopher with all theory and no action to back the claims he spent a lifetime to conjure.