Archive for January, 2009

Man is by nature an aggressive animal

January 23, 2009

And religion in general does nothing to tame the beast. Although, it does promote the delusion that it does.

Mythbusters: Let Us Prey

Leach and his co-authors also looked at subjects’ religious orientations. While those who claim to practice religion in the service of God are no more peaceful than the rest of us, they believe that they are. Meanwhile, those who say they’re religious for personal gains (e.g., relief and protection) give themselves higher aggression ratings than do most people—and indeed back it up in the lab.

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Politeness as manipulative strategy

January 23, 2009

Polite people are not polite because they are polite, rather because they using others as means to their own ends. Politiness is a strategy of the weak to disarm the strong.

The fog of morality will not let people see beyond good and evil to the real motivators of human action. Morality encourages a blind eye.

Polar politeness – byline: Negative politeness disarms superiors, encouraging them to grant your requests.

Meaningless philosophy

January 22, 2009

Philosophy can no more show a man what he should attach importance to than geometry can show a man where he should stand.

Peter Winch, Analytic Philosopher

I agree – this is certainly true of analytic philosophy. AP is that most pretentious waste-of-time which imposes specious and fictional conceptual schemas on the world. AP makes a point of trying to isolate concepts from their complex, multivalent, human reality (abstraction) in order to deal more easily with them through dogmatic methods and unsupportable foundational assumpions (reason). The goal of AP is to make things ‘clear’, which means the development of a conceptual delusion which they can, with pride, purport to represent the world. This chicanery is pursued through looking at things from a limited perspective, presenting bogus examples, and ignoring any considerations which do not fit tightly into their conclusions. AP is nothing but conceptual speculation dressed in the Emperor’s new garb. It is ‘white mythology’ (Derrida) – mythology taken to be ‘true’ and ‘pure’ because it has been bleached of any colourful language, affective meaning and human existential context.

Winch uses geometry in his analogy, but to think that philosophy is or must be anything like geometry is utterly narrow-minded and ridiculous. But this is to be expected of Analytic Philosophers; they have long suffered an inability to think laterally. They lack broad experience and perspectives of the world – many are secluded geeks and their love lives are less than notable. The most dreadful thought for them is that someone, somewhere is thriving on the turbulence of human existence and finding philosophy helpful to the task, rather than as a means of escapist idealism.

Christianly

January 19, 2009

Christianly – I just saw this adjective used to advertise a talk by one of the more bigoted, opportunistic Christian celebrities in Australia.

I am stubborn enough to think that being a Christian is about becoming Christ-like, not Christianly; like the man, not the contemporary, idolised social identity of ‘Christian’.

The web site for the bigot’s talk is superbly garish and its language consumeristic. We even get a picture of the bigot taking the posture of a Greek god.

The event offers to its participants “extended time in God’s Word.” What hokey trash. You cannot spend time dwelling in Christ, living the life of Christ, at a fucking convention. I can’t find any mentions of ‘Christianly conventions’ in the records of Jesus’ life – want to know why? Because they aren’t there.

But let us not be fooled. To these Pollyanna Pagans, God’s Word isn’t the unenviable life of Jesus Christ, but an interpretation of a text that supports a sense of privilege and self-righteousness. God’s Word is a consumer product to enhance one’s modern lifestyle, as the language of the web site famously demonstrates.

I will obviously pass on this Christianly lifestyle event. Such inauthentic, pretentious idolatry of the self just doesn’t do it for me.

Negative and positive dialectics in existential philosophy

January 18, 2009

Nowadays, many believe that philosophy is only a legitimate pursuit in its negative dialectics, as a method of criticism. I think this attitude neglects the positive contribution that philosophy can make to our self-creation in the world.

Negative dialectics is ripe in existential philosophy. If you want relentless, occasionally brutal, criticism just go read Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heiddeger, Camus or Sartre on a broad array of subjects including Christianity, morality, contemporary culture, politics and philosophy in general. I would say its primary negative dialectic concerns countering unthinking adherence to hollow cultural customs (herd behaviour) and irresponsible personal relations to the world and others.

However, existentialism also points us to a positive dialectics. What it points to is not an objective ‘theory of life’, but a subjective, constructive behaviour in life rooted in the individual’s deepest roots of existence. It demands that the individual fill in all the details. This positive dialect is necessary because we all face unavoidable either/or decisions in life. We cannot stand back from the world and look at it as spectators with a critical, analytical, abstracting eye. We must live it.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how

January 18, 2009

Not a cognitive why, rather an emotional why. Man needs and strives for meaning. Real meaning is meaning for life, it is meaning that moves and sustains us. This life-giving meaning is to be found in the emotions.

Philosophy ought to give us meaning to better navigate though life. Wisdom is  a lady to be known with the heart; she is to be found in the loving attachment to life.

We may know things ‘intellectually’, yet are incapable of acting on that knowledge. The problem is that the implication of such knowledge hasn’t really sunk in.

By ‘intellectually’ I refer to cognitive/rational/propositional beliefs (“knowing with the head”), such as the belief in creedal statements, affirmations, and ideas constructed through logic (*cough*). The communicative medium of influence is primarily the written language.

The other type of belief is emotional/affective (“knowing with the heart”) and deals with implicational meaning. It is intuitive and holistic in nature and developed through the synthesis of various different meanings. It far more influential on behaviour than cognitive belief alone. The communicative mediums of influence are speech, body language and the written language, which includes myth, poetry, metaphor and other figurative language.

Philosophers have traditionally exalted cognitive belief. They have have proposed the cognitive-reasoning faculty as man’s highest endowment. I have condemned other (pseudo-)philosophers for their poo-poo’ing of the emotions and will continue to do so until they wake up to themselves. People are living with the affective, while philosophers are off with the fairies in their cognitive dreamland, their ‘white mythology’.

Further reading

Frontiers of Cognitive Therapy – specifically, p. 37

Cognitive vs Affective – “People do most things based on affection and justify their choices later with cognition.”

Primacy of Affect Over Cognition in Determining Adult Men’s Condom–Use Behavior: A Review – for those of you with no life who are interested in empirical studies. If you bother to read this it is probably a sign that you will never have need of a condom.

Nietzsche’s project, according to Keith Pearson

January 17, 2009

Introductory articles:

Socrates poll

January 17, 2009

Biased, but you may provide your own answer.


Why asking “what is…” always takes you away from ‘it’

January 17, 2009

Asking “what is…” is a process of abstracting from it to then determine abstract-it‘s ‘essential’ qualities. We are dealing with abstract-it, analysing abstract-it from a certain perspective. It is left behind.

Following this process recursively (what is abstract-it…?), abstract-it will come to signfiy less and less of the real world. Eventually, we will get to the most hollow of concepts, the ‘highest’ concepts, which, by virtue of the process taken to reach them, must signify nothing. A vacuum now exists, which nature abhors and that now must be filled.

We can only know that it is, never what it is, but more importantly for us as humans is what it is to me – how do I relate to it.

Be careful how you reason, because rather than finding a meaningful truth you may find nothing.

Hatzimoysis on Existentialism

January 17, 2009

Some introductory articles: