Can 2+2=5 if the Bible Says So?

A couple of months ago I was debating an acquaintance of mine on the rational merits of the doctrine of Original Sin. After describing some of the logical failures and destructive consequences of the doctrine, I concluded by saying of Original Sin, “That’s impossible”. To which he replied, “That’s Bible”.

His reply is an example of the rational fallacy known as “argument from Authority”. The definition is pretty self-evident. One asserts a thing is true based not upon the internal consistency of the logic, but upon what, or who, happens to be asserting it. In this article I shall explain why the argument from Authority as it pertains to the Bible in particular is a rational disaster, and, due to its relentless prevalence and promulgation amongst today’s Christian apologists, makes these apologists the laughing stock of pretty much any and all intellectual discourse. I will do this by attacking the issue relatively obliquely, posing a hypothetical contradiction.

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If the Bible said that 2+2=5, would you accept it as true?

Well, there are three ways we can answer this question.  One is the best; one is the worst; and one is okay. The one most Christains use is unfortunately, and of course, the worst one. Why? Because it’s lazy AND contains no null hypothesis, either implicit or explicit, and thus it ironically allows them to claim infinite moral and intellectual superiority without ever having to consider critically nor defend or debate…well…ANYTHING about what they say they believe. This approach is VERY appealing to many because, among other things, it pretends to provide truth to those who for whatever reason are incapable of achieving it on their own. By offloading moral and intellectual responsibility to the Bible (that is, the Authority), absolute truth is (somehow) INSTANTLY accessible. This is intellectual and moral egalitarianism at its penultimate worst, behind only Marxism, and should be regarded by anyone with an ounce of integrity and self-respect as completely embarrassing.

At any rate, here are the three ways we can answer the question: Can 2+2=5 if the Bible declares it?

1. No. Of course not. If an assertion defies rational consistency and logic then it cannot ever be true. The source is irrelevant. For even if we assume that God himself could make 2+2=5, humanity would have no way of confirming its veracity. Human beings organize their reality according to the non-contradiction of concepts, period. We call this reason. If black is also white and up is also down and blue is also red and a square is also a circle then correctly interpreting reality is impossible for man, and his very mind is totally irrelevant and contrary to existence, itself, which means he cannot possibly know God let alone claim that God can defy reason. Concepts must mean one thing and one thing only for ANYTHING to be defined. If 2+2=5 then conceptualization itself is impossible, because concepts which contradict cannot generate meaning. Thus the very notion of “to conceptualize” is categorically defunct. And without concepts there is no language, and without language there is no meaning, and without meaning there is no knowing, and without knowing there is no God as far as man is concerned.

2. If the Bible says so then it must be true. Man’s wisdom is irrelevant; we must accept what the Bible says without question. After all, this is what it means to have faith. Because God is its author, the Bible’s veracity is not dependent on man’s finite capacity for reason.

The problem with this answer is that it implies that man must accept what is irrational as nevertheless true if God says it. But if you ask why, you will ultimately be told either explicitly or implicitly that because God is who He is, he is able to do things man cannot do, including claim “truths” that are inherently contradictory and thus ultimately self-defeating. In other words, the one making the argument from (God’s/Bible’s) authority is appealing to his insinuated RATIONAL belief in God as a defense of his IRRATIONAL belief that 2+2 can equal 5. It is REASONABLE, in other words, that God’s message is UNREASONABLE. Or, put most simply, the unreasonable is defended by appealing to reason.

Do you see the MASSIVE problem with this? We cannot argue that it’s rational to believe in the irrational, because we are obligating irrationality to rationality, which is a complete contradiction of the concepts. The entire argument then falls apart. If our understanding of God (even if we should claim it “incomplete”) is based on reason then we must likewise base our understanding of what he declares on reason. The method by which we understand who God is cannot be mutually exclusive of the method by which we understand what he says. If our belief in God is reasonable then our belief in what he says must also be reasonable. Of course we can attempt to jettison reason entirely with respect to God and his message but then we are left without a means to claim that we can know him or anything he says. Which makes God and his message meaningless to us. Man uses reason to arrive at truth, period. There is no other method. Even if we say we have pure faith we must be able to say WHY; otherwise it’s not faith. It’s “faith”…as in just a noise from your mouth hole.

3. I need to examine the issue further. It is possible that the Bible is speaking metaphorically or allegorically or poetically. Or perhaps I am interpreting the Bible incorrectly…perhaps I hold an erroneous assumption about what the Bible is actually saying, or have misunderstood the context somehow. Perhaps my own logic is flawed, so I will examine my own assumptions to see if they are indeed consistent with reason before I offer a verdict..

As for the last point—the possibility of flawed assumptions on my part—I offer the following example:

The Bible is often criticized as erroneous for teaching geocentricity due to many passages referencing the sun rising and setting. Though this provides little hard evidence for such a complaint, let’s assume that yes the Bible does clearly assert geocentricity. Now, we might be quick to dismiss such an assertion as impossible. After all, science has long since proven that the earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. But has it really?

Before we reject the passages which speak of geocentricity and chalk them up to error and ignorance, perhaps we should examine our own assumptions to see if our rejection of the Bible’s claim is actually warranted.

In a vacuum all objects must move/exist relative to one another. No object in a vacuum possesses in itself an endemic natural and existential property which makes it the “center” or, conversely, which makes it “that which revolves around”.  In a vacuum ALL positional references must be defined by an observer (one who is self-aware). This is utterly axiomatic.  An observer writing in the time of the Torah and New Testament would indeed perceive the sun as revolving around the earth. And, as bodies in space all move relative to one another, one could not declare this observer objectively wrong. Simply because geocentricity is not mathematically useful does not make it utterly false as a concept in EVERY context. Thus, the Bible would NOT necessarily be asserting a rational error by claiming that the sun revolves around the earth.

Thus, my first instinct when asked if I would accept as true 2+2 equaling 5 if the Bible claimed it so would be to examine the Bible, the context, and my own assumptions and conclusions before giving an answer.

Answer number three then is the best; answer number two is the worst; and number one I would say is okay, at least as a gut reaction.  The point is that if we stay away from number two, we stay away from foolishness. And then maybe we can legitimately and with integrity begin to  insert the Bible into mature intellectual discourse once again.

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The Inherent Authoritarianism of the United States Pledge of Allegiance

The United States Pledge of Allegiance presumes a collectivist metaphysic, and this is because it affirms an inherent collectivist ideal—the “people” as the “nation”, as if what is naturally singular (the Individual…the Person) can be made a “singular collective”, which is a contradiction in terms, in addition to being an arrant RATIONAL contradiction.  Thus, the Pledge is inherently tyrannical.  And this is pretty disturbing when we consider how utterly canonical it has become in United States society and in our cultural tradition.

Think about it for a moment…I’m not sure it is possible to devise a way to more precisely and effortlessly reject the ostensible individualist metaphysical foundation of a nation built for, by, and of the People, and replace it with a vapid, capricious collectivist one.

”I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…”

Allegiance.

Literally speaking, and in the strictest sense of the word “allegiance” means to renounce your own will in exchange for that of a master…to give or sell yourself to the whims of another who presumes to know, or presumes he has a RIGHT to know, more about your needs and wishes than you do.  And since the context is the usurpation of your own determination of your needs and wishes, we are talking about authority—authority being the practice of one person (or a few people) deciding just what another person (or other persons) shall do and shall possess.  Yet your will and your exercise thereof in service to what you need and want is inexorably bound to your very singular consciousness.  That is, your absolute sense of your own Self, which is, in fact, the Self which makes you an individual and not fundamentally a collection of body parts and cells and atoms and molecules, is utterly corollary to your agency…your will, and the exercise thereof.  Because of this, your needs and wants cannot actually be serviced by a nation (or a flag…the nation’s symbol…same difference) to which you pledge allegiance, because by rejecting the OWNERSHIP of yourself—that is, your will and the right to determine your own needs and desires—you have rejected YOURSELF ENTIRELY.  You cannot outsource your will to that to which you swear allegiance and yet somehow retain ownership of yourself, both as a body and as a soul (“soul” meaning You qua You—the Self of you).  By uttering the Pledge then, you do nothing honorable.  You willingly reject your very existence and give it to the State on a silver platter…without protest, without grudge, without fight, without condition, and without morals, reason, or truth.  In a few trite lines of vapid patriotic nonsense you sell your individual soul to the devil’s collective: the political ruling elite.  With hand to breast and the recitation of a Godless spell you magically transform a government of, by, and for the people into an infinite Slave Master of millions.

As for the ruling elite to whom you pledge allegiance…and yes, it is to these ruling politicians you pledge your allegiance, ultimately, not some ethereal notion like “Country”—for if you pledge allegiance to merely an abstraction like “the United States” then you have wasted your breath and your time and made yourself look even greater a fool because you do not realize that for any pledge of allegiance to mean anything some ONE will have to tell you just what that allegiance shall LOOK like when exercised practically.  And the “United States of America”, the abstract IDEAL, does not speak.  It’s politicians do.  The government IS the United States.  There is no practical application of the ideal “the nation” without its rulers who apply its abstract meaning practically, though the Law, as its incarnate.  Take away the government and there is no “United States”.  Take away those who enforce the Law which dictates individual behavior in service to the ideal ‘the United States”, and you take away the Law entirely.  For if there is no one to punish you for breaking the Law, then there is no Law.  This is axiomatic.  And if there is no Law then there is no nation.  And thus, you do not pledge allegiance to the United Sates of America, you pledge allegiance to politicians.

How is that for a punch in the face with cold, hard reality?

So again, as for the ruling elite to whom you pledge allegiance:

It is nothing but lip service at best—not to mention a contradiction—to suggest that one can reject the existential legitimacy of the individual by assuming the legal authority to compel his behavior through government violence, and yet also suggest that the individual’s needs and wishes can be serviced BY that government which CONTROLS and thus (at least) implicitly OWNS him.

The politician asks you to pledge to him your allegiance in return for protection, and material and emotional provision, as if that provision can go to you AFTER you have been rejected BY the politician through the collectivist metaphysical foundations of the State, and likewise you have rejected YOURSELF via the manipulative political bromide of the Pledge.  Once you have dismissed your right to self-ownership and agency you have dismissed your right to say what your needs and wishes are.  In other words, if the State owns you, thanks in part to you pledging yourSELF away to it, then whatever you think your provision is or should be, is in reality the STATE’S (the political ruling class’s) provision.  The State gives you what IT wants, not the other way around.  It does not and cannot give you what YOU want because YOU (You qua You—you the individual) don’t exist.

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Without the individual, there are no individual needs and wishes, by definition.  And here then, notice the logical fallacy and complete absense of reason—not to mention the mockery it makes of nature—with respect to an individual pledging allegiance to the State…to an authority OUTSIDE of himself:

You cannot give away yourself ACCORDING to yourself.  You cannot choose to be ruled, which is what you do implicitly when you “freely” pledge your allegiance.  Your free will (a phrase which is basically redundant) is inexorably and inseparably bound to your SELF, and thus to abandon your will is LITERALLY to abandon your SELF…You qua You.  You cannot choose to be a slave, you see, because a context of human choice contradicts a context of human slavery at the basic existential root, not to menation the fact that the very semantics are incompatible; and thus when combined (“chosen slavery”) make nonsense.  “Chosen slavery” is an arrant, and I would think obvious, oxymoron.  To choose to become a slave is to reject that you EVER had a choice at all…an admission that your entire existence as a natural agent of volition is and has always been an illusion at best.  You cannot choose to be ruled because you cannot choose to have no choice; you cannot outsource to the ruling classes by a pledge that which NECESSARILY demands SELF ownership.  You cannot grant ownership to another that which only YOU can own:  your mind; your will; your LIFE; your SELF.

In our American culture we love to heap vast sums of gilded praise upon the vapid patriotic pretense of “allegiance”, and laud a citizen’s self-sacrifice to the abstraction of the “U.S.A.” as the most sublime and noble of all virtues (as though self-sacrifice isn’t an existential impossibility and a contradiction in terms since ALL one does is from and thus TO the Self).  The “sacrificing citizen” (or “what one can do for his country”…an arrantly Marxist phrase if there ever was one) is in reality, completely irrelevant and irrational.  Those with ALL the violent compelling power of the State—the rulers to whom we pledge our allegiance, whether we want to recognize that it is to them we pledge or not—are Authority; and because they are Authority they cannot and will not and do not sacrifice anything at all, let alone themselves…for all they can ever fundamentally do by virtue of their political position is promote the collectivist ideal of the “nation” at the EXPENSE of the individual, whether these politicians accept or are even aware of this or not.  It is those who do NOT hold positions of government power, explicit, or implicit (implicit in the case of, say, the corporate plutocrats who manipulate  government through wealth and threats to take it elsewhere) who ARE SACRIFICED.  And I say “are sacrificed” because, again, by pledging allegiance you are pledging your will to the ruling classes, and thus are conceding that you have no choice at all, of your own, at root, and thus cannot choose to sacrifice yourself, but rather sacrifice must be done TO you, FOR you.

In summary, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is to make the quintessential rational error, and quite frankly one of the the most obvious and primitive:  to reject oneself and one’s natural and endemic self-ownership in favor of a false collectivist ideal—e.g. the “Republic”  (“for which it stands”); the Nation; the “Race”; the “(Political) Party”; the “King”; the “Tribe”; the “Church”; the “Team”; the “(socioeconomic) Class”, etc.

The United States of America (i.e. the ruling classes; the government) should be pledging allegiance to YOU and to ME, not the other way around.  The only pledge anyone need make is to the rejection of ANY and ALL pretense of government tyranny, which certainly includes the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Rethinking Prayer: Asking or telling? (Part TWO)

What do I think prayer is?

Well, this question cannot be answered without discussing what I think God is.  So, both questions will be looked at here, though not necessarily in any particular order…and I cannot say this will be an easy read.  These are complicated subjects, but if you apprehend the essence of what I mean then I’ll consider it a win for both of us.

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Prayer, or more specifically the answer thereto, is the necessary response of reality—specifically its underlying RATIONAL philosophical apparatus, and this apparatus is God.  In other words, God is reality as expressed, and as possible (efficacious), through the objective rational principles which utterly imply it.  Starting with an irreducible metaphysical primary (which can only be Ability, because existence must be active for it to be possible, and all action must be underwritten by the Ability to act), and proceeding through epistemology, ethics, etcetera, etcetera, where all the root philosophical premises (epistemological premise; ethical premise, etc.) proceeding from the metaphysical primary are corollary to promote, affirm, and reinforce the primary (and therefore themselves) thus creating  what I call the Great Corollary…or the Many Truths (the premises) from the One Truth (the metaphysical primary).

Now, I know this explication is pretty abstruse (though less so if you follow my blog) and this is a function of the complexity of the subject.  And the reason, in large part, for this complexity is because the church has spent almost the entirely of its existence avoiding the question.  The substitution of truth by the Church, you see, with equivocation, tarted-up logical fallacy (contradiction explicated as Truth), mysticism, pagan and neo-pagan syncretism, despotic absolutism and collectivist authoritarianism, emotional blackmail and outright blackmail, spiritual manipulation, excuse-mongering, and plain old lying, has made getting to the truth of what God is, and thus what is meant by prayer to God, exceedingly more complicated and enigmatic than it ever needed to be if we could have avoided the past two thousand years of the intellectual error of the sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists and fools who have traditionally comprised Christianity’s ruling (priest) class.

If you have spent any time in the Church you will know, unless you are a child or have the spiritual mind of a child, or are blinded by or thoughtlessly committed to the Platonist propaganda which passes for truth there, that there simply does not exist any actual definition of God anywhere therein whatsoever.  And you will understand that this is precisely why no one in the church really knows what prayer is, means, or how to do it.  Oh, for certain there are some mildly clever attempts to provide a meaningful answer to the question “what is God?”, like “he’s the Creator”, which in reality tells us not what he IS but what he DOES, and this only vaguely and insufficiently; or we might hear “he is the Alpha and the Omega (first and last)”, which only obliquely describes his nature and utterly omits the relevant practical implications of such a claim, and does not describe how such a label has any meaning beyond the mere figurative and/or poetic.  Alpha and Omega implies an infinity of being, which is fine, but what is required, and omitted, is how one reconciles the paradox of an infinite Agent manifesting as somehow distinct (finite) in reality. I am not saying that such a paradox cannot be resolved, just that the church has never done so…and will NEVER do so.

Next, of course, we have the extra-biblical assertion that God is a “Trinity”…the “Three in One”—whatever that means.  And don’t bother asking, because NO ONE knows.  If you do dare put on your hazmat suit and wade into the fetid abyss of Christian apologetics and ask about the “Trinity” you will get a smorgasboard of  equivocation amounting to, in practicality, a big fat shrug.  All explanations of the Trinity are designed to dazzle, not inform, because the church realized some five hundred years ago that explaining a rank contradiction in terms was impossible, even with all the divine clarivoyance of the whole medieval priest class, including the Pope with his magic tin can and string direct to God.  Back then, of course, demurring from the orthodox interpretation of God as Trinity was apt to get one murdered for heresy.  Today, murder is not the church discipline de jure, as much as the modern priest class would ABSOLUTELY embrace that power being that it is entirely consistent with Christianity’s doctrinal premises, however, disagreeing with the unbiblical notion of God as “Three in One” indeed marks you as an outcast and a troublemaker, unsaved and evil, denying even the most basic of God’s “truths”.

And here’s something else about the Trinity, as long as we are on the subject…and this relates to my overall point in the article here anyway.  I submit that the doctrine of the Trinity is a thinly veiled ADMISSION that Christian orthodoxy has absolutely no idea what God is or how to describe his nature.  Thus, a contradiction in terms (Three which is simultaneously One) has become the final word on God’s essence…and it is assumed that  this makes him somehow awesome as opposed to ridiculous.  We are supposed be inspired to literal and figurative prostration at the thought of our Creator as that which man cannot possibly fathom by any cognitive faculty or conceptual framework.

And herein lies the whole damn problem.

In an effort to make God astonishingly vast and complex, and thus to inspire man to worship and tremble at his feet, Christianity has instead made him a farce—an arrant joke—by placing him utterly beyond anything rational, and thus (and most abominable) playing straight into the hands of his those who mock and scorn his existence.  God defined as “Three in One” creates an interpretation of the Father which has been punted beyond man’s cognitive, conceptual, and intellectual frame of reference.  By defining God as a contradiction, Christianity has ensured that man cannot possibly apply the Father’s existence to reality in any way at all, making him utterly irrelevant to man, and exchanging practical and rational theology for mysticism, superstition, spiritual despotism, and willful ignorance; and making these things virtues whilst mocking, condemning, and murdering as heretics those who nurture a pure, holy, innocent, and RATIONAL desire to know him.

And finally, it would do us all well to remember that the madness known as the doctrine of the Trinity saw its Protestant canonization punctuated with murder when the scoundrel and false teacher, John Calvin, had Michael Servitus burned at the stake for rejecting it.  And this is the spiritual primordium from which today’s Christians claim to know God?!  I think not.  Look not to the church, my friends.  God is not known there.  The church has ghosts, but they are not holy.

Needless to say, then, since Christianity contains within all its disputations, catechisms, liturgies, and doctrinal interpretations no description of God which may pass for even a remedial or marginally realistic definition of the the nature of the Almighty, it clearly cannot provide a definition of prayer to him, nor how one should pray, nor what one should pray for, nor when, nor what one may expect with regards to its efficacy and outcomes.

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So what is prayer? Well, I will tell you…understanding that this is a summary.  Giving full attention to such a topic would, I think, necessarily fill volumes.

Prayer is an extension of man’s right not to be governed by deterministic cause and effect (cause and effect being purely an abstract rendering of what is an entirely relative relationship between objects when excluding the presence of the observer).  Prayer is an extension of man’s existence as a function not of abstract natural law, but of reason.  Reason extends beyond the mere physical/ontic parameters of the “laws of physics”, and demands that reality accommodate man’s RATIONAL will.  And this either by man’s physical OR metaphysical extension of himself.  That is, either by his hands or by his rational will—his understanding of his intrinsic right to witness his rational desires BEYOND those hands; that man’s will as it controls the object known as his body may likewise control ALL of that which is rationally obligated to affirm his absolute Self.  And because prayer is an expression of man’s categorical right to his own rational and absolute existence, he need not ask or entreat or beg or bargain with reality.  He commands it.  And then it shall obey.  God, you see, then, is not the worker of the effects of man’s prayer.  MAN, himself, is.  God, however, being an extension of the rational/moral (rationality and morality being corollary) existence of man (or, rendered more allegorically, he is Father and man is Son) is man’s PARTNER in manifesting the outcomes of that which is commanded.

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Debating Substantive Issues is Fruitless

I think debate is a waste of time.

I know that this proclamation may be quite puzzling coming from someone so committed to reason and cooperation.  And I know how valued debate is in our culture…though less so in our current political climate, which is trending solidly toward violence.  But given the number of debates I have had and seen during my lifetime, and especially since my break from Christian orthodoxy, which put me at odds with the majority of my friends and family, it is impossible not to notice how people simply NEVER change their fundamental positions—their premises and conclusions.  If anything, the more rationally consistent one participant is, the more stringently the other commits to his intellectual error.  So after years of witnessing this both directly and indirectly, in thousands of instances, I am forced to come to the disturbing conclusion that regardless of my commitment to voluntarism and idea exchange, debate is simply an irresponsible way to spend one’s time and emotional and intellectual resources.  It just doesn’t work.  You can’t drive a railroad spike into the ground with a rubber mallet, and you cannot reason someone into or out of a position by argument.  You just can’t.

This admission, finally made, while disturbing and disappointing given the amount of energy I have spent trying to change others’ minds, and they trying to change mine, is also somewhat freeing.  I can now evolve as an intellectual and an academic, and put my resources into more productive and fulfilling activities.  For instance, I have committed to no longer debating in the comments section of this blog, or others, or on facebook or any other social media platform.  Instead, I will spend more time and energy writing articles, pursing questions and finding answers, and less time caring too much whether or not anyone agrees with me.  I understand that the integrity of the ideas is the most important thing, and that my focus should be all about getting to the truth of each and every question, not maximizing agreement, and not even about presenting ideas in the most appealing or un-abstruse manner possible (not that I can really be accused of doing that anyway on this blog).  Because—and please understand that I am not saying that I have ALL the answers or am the paragon of intellectual consistency—rational and intelligent people will grasp my meaning, or at least apprehend the question I am trying to answer and see why doing so is important—and the more obtuse and complacent amongst us, let’s be honest, won’t get it and won’t care no matter how directly or simplistically the argument is made.  And bye the bye, I think that putting complex arguments into simplistic conveyances isn’t a very good idea, anyway.  Bumper sticker philosophy can be a fine way to affirm the opinions of those who ALREADY agree with a certain ideal, for whatever that’s worth (the laughably facile and ubiquitous “COEXIST” sticker comes to mind immediately), but this seems like a general waste of time.  Better to formulate the argument as comprehensively as possible, despite it being perhaps more arcane and involved, than to leave out a bunch of details which are inexorably necessary to the argument’s root veracity.

In other words, real understanding doesn’t proceed from the ass-end of a car.

Additionally, foresaking any concern with HOW to convince someone of an idea makes studying the idea more fun and relaxing.  Realizing that people who hold contrary premises and conclusions simply cannot be convinced by debate to agree or disagree with a certain idea puts YOUR understanding front and center, where it should be, not the understanding of others.  Now, I’m certainly not arguing that we shouldn’t have an utterly rational foundation for whatever we accept as truth, just that arriving at this foundation doesn’t need to appeal to anyone  else, not because other people don’t matter, but because it CANNOT be MADE to appeal to them, no matter how you develop it—they either accept it or they don’t, you need not spend much time on the aesthetics of your argument.  It only needs to be rationally consistent.  Further, the HOW you arrive at your conclusions and premises, though complex perhaps, WILL I believe necessarily be appealing and ultimately understandable to those who are are already rational.  The rational and intelligent among us are first and foremost committed to truth, as oppposed to the mysticism, sophistry and contradiction which underwrites most peoples’ root thinking, and at the end of the day rational and intelligent people don’t really care how complicated the path is.  Getting to the truth is what matters, not how comfortable or direct it Is for them.  The rational and the intelligent, who understand the deep moral relevance of the truth, WILL pursue it through fire and fury and hell and high water to get to it.  The lazy and/or the stupid and/or the cowardly will not be compelled to apprehend it even if given a map that points them in a straight line to an X which is marked merely across the room.

Now, having said all of that, let us get to question begged here:  Why is debating (issues of substance, in particular) such a waste of time?  Well, let’s talk briefly about philosophy.

Philosophy is cumulative as well as corollary. What I mean by this is that each philosophical category (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics) except for the first (metaphysics) proceeds from the one before it (cumulative). Epistemology of course proceeds from Metaphysics, metaphysics being the first category, dealing with the nature of reality, itself.  The metaphysical premise is the fundamental Primary of the entire philosophical paradigm which all other premises infinitely imply and from which they are infinitely implied (corollary).  Epistemology considers how man knows what he knows…or more specifically, how man can say what is true and what is not.  In this article we are mostly concerned with the epistemological premise (occasionally I may refer to this as the epistemological primary) but for the sake of clarity it’s important to know all of the philosophical categories, and how they line up and their basic symbiosis.

Whether we realize it or not ALL of us hold basic philosophical premises. If we did not, we simply could not function.  For example, that you know that you don’t brush your teeth with a banana at least obliquely implies a basic interpretation of reality, which implies a philosophy, which implies premises and a metaphysical primary.  In our example you must make a distinction between you, the toothbrush, and the banana.  A is not B is not C, in other words.  Thus, you accept a practical plurality of reality…these objects exist separately.  Yet because they are relevant to you (that is, they have equal practical meaning) you accept that they also exist in a single existential context. Thus, I already somewhat know your basic metaphysical assumption: reality is both plural and relative. This is very important. Your metaphysical premise is the basis for WHY you do what you do and think what you think.

Next, because you know that a banana is NOT a toothbrush (A is not B), the plurality of (relative) existence implies that specific objects in reality have distinct definitions.  The metaphysical idea that A is not B implies a difference in meaning, and the specific meanings elucidated are epistemological. Metaphysics says that A is not B. Epistemology says that A is a banana and B is toothbrush.

Next, you know that it is irrational to brush your teeth with a banana.  Another way of saying this is that it is not good (where “good” in this case is defined as “productive”) to use A to do a job reserved for B based upon its practical definition. This is a form of ethics—how you value things in a given context depending on their meaning and the nature of their relativity and relevance to you and each other at the existential level.

And here I could go on to politics and aesthetics, but you get the idea. However, I wish to make it clear that no one should ever assert it is a simple thing to determine the sum and substance of a given individual’s philosophy, for such a thing can be extremely complex, full of nuance, ostensible and/or subtle contradictions, and even rank delusion.  Not to say that it is impossible to determine with relative certainty the nature of someone’s philosophy at a detailed level, but it takes quite a bit of experience with and observation of their behavior, not to mention listening to what they actually say about what they believe, which is, unsurprisingly, probably the best way to figure it out.  So, while I can get an oblique picture of one’s ideas, philosophically speaking, by simply observing them brushing their teeth, there is a great depth to one’s understanding about the nature of their existence which reveals itself much more fully the better one knows them.  I cannot tell the difference between a collectivist and an individualist by their teeth brushing beyond the fact that they on some level accept an existential distinction between and contextual relativity amongst themselves and the toothbrush (and everything else involved in the process).  But I cannot see where those philosophical assumptions may give way to the contradiction and delusion of, say, a theocratic socialist state, in the case of the collectivist, or provide a simple but sturdy framework for the argument of property rights and self-ownership, in the case of the the individualist.

At any rate, the point is that we all have a philosophy and we all hold philosophical premises in all five categories.  We simply must, because such a thing is endemic to our identity as thinking creatures, period.

So back to the issue at hand.

Let us focus on the epistemological premise, because this deals with how reality is specifically defined and interpreted, and so it deals most directly and most substantially with the topic of debate.

I submit that one’s epistemological premise isn’t chosen, but is simply known—and this is very important because it provides the fulcrum for my entire argument here.  The epistemological premise is either inculcated by one’s environment, such as in childhood, and reinforced by experience and perhaps instruction; or it is realized, again through experience, but perhaps later on in life—such as in my case where the hypocrisy of decades of Christian orthodoxy left me with the realization that my spiritual “belief” was, at the irreducible root, a distinction between a “truth” that is madness  (truth within the church) or a truth that is reason (truth outside the church). I left the church because experience forced me to realize that real truth could not be found there, and thus morality dictated that I abandon it.  Which I did…to great emotional harm to my family, and emotional and physical harm to myself.  This realization amounted to a categorical shift in my most fundamental philosophical assumptions, and I mean consciously.  In order to make a move like that, trust me, you have to understand the ENTIRETY of why, and ALL of the implications for the nature of your existence for the rest of your life, both this one and the hereafter.  I and my family lost 99% of our friends and aquaintances by realizing that the church is built on a lie, and that the devil, as always hiding in plain sight, was meeting us every Sunday morning at the podium on the stage in front of the big, comfortable auditorium.  You don’t make a sacrifice like that unless you know the profundity of it exactly.  And you simply cannot leave that much behind unless your philosophy utterly changes.

And it isn’t a choice.  Because one cannot choose to be insane any more than one can chose to be rational.  Once you are punched in the face with rank evil and you recognize it and realize it, you instantly become apart from it.  In that sense, I didn’t choose to leave the church.  I REALIZED a new premise, reason instead of madness, and was obliged to follow it.

*

So the epistemological premise is not a choice.  And neither is it learned, in the strictest definition of the word.  Choice is a function OF the premise, it does not precede it.  Choice is impossible unless one knows the nature of it at any given moment, and the nature of the choice depends on what what you believe about truth.  Choice is NOT how you decide what you believe about truth.  The epistemological premise is lived and subconsciously accepted, or perhaps later in life circumstances change and a new premise is realized.  But it is not something which can be merely communicated to one another by language; it is not something one can reason another into, because the epistemological premise is that FROM which reason springs, and that which reason itself thus necessarily implies.

Reason, you see, is only REASONABLE if one ALREADY has a premise which serves as the plumb line for what makes reason meaningful and efficacious.  And this is why one never changes the mind of another during argument or debate of issues of any real substance…because both parties must have the SAME epistemological frame of reference in order to actually have an argument or debate on any sort of equal platform of reason; for otherwise their frames of reference for MEANING in general are incompatible, and debate is necessarily impossible.  But the paradox thus becomes that IF they do hold to the same epistemological premise—implying, remember, a metaphyscial premise—then debate is likewise not really possible.  Because “debate” amongst two people who share the same frame of reference of meaning (reason—epistemology) and reality (existence—metaphysics) don’t debate so much as merely exchange information. That is, one or both parties simply lack certain knowledge that if they knew, WOULD have them accept the SAME perspective with respect to the argument…and debate over.  Once the information discrepancy is corrected, then reconciliation—or agreement—is inevitable (again, assuming the argument is regarding something of substance, and by that I mean, objective, as opposed to, something like, say, whether Gene Simmons is cooler than Ace Frehley).  The “debate” in this case isn’t at root a difference in how reality is interpreted, which is the foundation of any true and worthwhile debate, but again merely a deficiency of information.  In other words, the parties debating already agree with each other, they just don’t know it yet.  But if the epistemological premises are different—if there is a descrepancy between the parties’ interpretive lenses with respect to meaning, then agreement on ANY issue of substance is impossible, because each party intellectually (and thus emotionally) occupies utterly distinct realities at root, which obviously makes these realities incompatible, and agreement ultimately impossible.

*

One’s epistemological premise is either reasonable (adhering to categorical conceptual consistency (e.g. a square cannot also be a cicle; black cannnot also be white; man cannot possess a depraved nature and yet be on the hook for making moral choices)) or it is not.  And again the premise is not chosen.  It is lived and unconsciously accepted or (later in life perhaps) consciously realized.  Choice I submit springs from and leads back to the premise, and thus choice is always relative to it, and therefore is in a sense superficial, all choices fundamentally and equally affirming the premise, which guarantees a particular MEANINGFUL conclusion, which may LOOK different depending on the given practical context (the context of routine daily life), but will be, when viewed in terms of the epistemological (and metaphysical) foundation, equal to ALL the conclusions of ALL of one’s choices.

*

Reasoning as an argumentative strategy is only effective on reasonable people (and the converse is also true…that is, irrationality as an argument only works on irrational people).  And a reasonable person is one who has already accepted a reasonable epistemological premise, which in turn means that he has accepted a reasonable metaphyscial premise, which is his very assumption about the root of reality itself.

Now, as I said earlier, the epistemological premise to which one holds is not a function of choice, but indeed it is the other way around.  The circumstantial context of choice in daily life may make specific choices seem fundamentally meaningful in and of themselves, but all choices are simply equal expressions of one’s premise, which isn’t chosen.  And this is why I find choice so fascinating and a little enigmatic.  I belive in conscious agency and thus choice, but I also understand that choice doesn’t play a very significant role in determining one’s actions…choice is basically superficial when it comes to fundamentally understanding WHY people do what they do.

In order for me to choose, I must already have a premise by which I devise a  working definition of what “me” is, as “me” relates to the environmental, emotional, and psychological context in which “me” finds itself, and this definition of “me” is a function of the subconsciously assumed or consciously realized epistemological premise.  To say I choose this premise is thus putting the cart before the horse.  The premise is the substrate of the meaning (to me) of reality, itself.  Thus, this primary, not my choice, is the ROOT of my ideas, and thus is WHY I make the choices I do (why I do what I do).  Therefore, if people holding mutually exclusive epistemological premises attempt to debate an issue of substance, then the absolute best that can be achieved is a stalemate.  Because I cannot CHOOSE to accept an argument which is rooted in an epistemological premise that I do not choose.

END

 

 

 

 

Rethinking Prayer: Asking or telling? (Part ONE)

Prayer is both a thing and a concept with which I have struggled for quite some time now.  Probably like you, I have had my share of answered prayers, and also my share of unanswered ones.  And this I think naturally leads one to consider the actual efficacy and legitimacy of prayer.  If we observe that prayer is only inconsistenty answered at best, then how can we not say that perhaps it is the mere cause and effect machinations of normal reality and is nothing of prayer?  I would think this not only reasonable but obvious.  If prayer only inconsistently effects change as we may observe it, then it’s logical to assume that what’s really going on has nothing to do with prayer at all, but is merely a matter of probability.

For example, I have chosen to fly on airplanes dozens of times, and I’ve prayed for each flight, and all have landed safely.  However, to call this an example of “answered prayer” is, in fact, quite a stretch of logic since statistics clearly show that the percentage of flights that crash is so very low relative to how many flights have taken place in history.  This makes “safe flight” much more likely a function of human engineering favorably manipulating the probability of a safe outcome rather than divine intervention.  The safety of the flights may have something to do with answered prayer, but how can one really know? The only way to know even mildly is if one observed that all his prayers were answered all the time…and even this would be logically subjective, but at least it would make a strong circumstantial case. Logically subjective perhaps, unless we are speaking strictly of the miraculous, but certainly compelling.

My thinking on the matter of prayer has  evolved through several iterations.  I went through the neophyte version of God-as-genie when I was a kid…but not quite so disrespectful as that sounds.  My prayers as a young person were never overtly  irrational…I prayed to be ignored by bullies at school—or, as I like to refer to them:  the bastard spawn of the mass dysfunctional family wreckage which hallmarks  the worst generation in history:  the Baby Boomers—to recover from illness, to do well on exams.  That sort of thing.  I remember God being quite gracious back then, but this is perhaps just the positive memories of childhood rising to the top.  Maybe God answered my prayers, but as I had no rational working definition of God back then (most Christians don’t, in fact) I really couldn’t say.

During my fifteen years as a neo-Calvinist in the cult of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) I brushed up against the congnitive dissonance of prayer as it relates to object and abject divine determinism.  This view of prayer makes it merely ritualistic, signifying nothing of any real efficacy, since all things are up to God anyway, so it goes, and he has already decided what to do with everyone, from birth unto hell or heaven, whichever you happen to get.  You’ll never really know until the day God disposes of you into one or the other eternal receptical.

Is that just a peach of a belief?  And yet this is where most Christains today tread water with respect to prayer…in this arrant folly of reason.  And don’t let them tell you they don’t actually believe this.  If you are BORN evil, which is precisely orthodox when it coms to the Christian interpretation of man’s nature, then you are entirely insufficient to any good thing, and this includes knowing the difference between good and evil.  And since this knowledge is the root of ethics (how man values what he knows), and ethics is inexorably tied to epistemology (how man knows what he knows), then the eradication of man’s moral compass by the doctrine of “original sin” completely wrecks man’s ability to know anything at all.  Thus, God must necessarily determine man to his eventual eternal destiny, regardless if he be “saved” or not, because man, once you tease out the doctrine to its logical conclusion, is utterly mindless.  You may go to church and follow all the commandments and abstain from all worldly temptations and throw out your television and excoriate the idea of modern technology as merely the devil’s distraction, but to think that you can know you are saved…that somehow you, who is rotten to core from birth, can know the mind of God and what his grand plan is for you is something that in a different time would have gotten you burned at the stake.

And thus you see the implicit evil behind the notion of prayer as merely a ritual we do because God commands it: salvation is not a thing the church can offer.  It’s a lie.  No one knows where they will end up, be they found in church on Sunday or in a whore house.  The advertisement that there is actual salvation to be gained in the church is the greatest bait-and-switch scam ever perpetrated upon man.

This abysmal version of prayer never really took hold in me.  I always found it terribly specious..and while I paid lip service to it, not wanting to cause a stir (SGM doesn’t take doctrinal disagreement with much levity…regardless of the degree, it’s pretty much stomped out with ferocity), I used to despise it when people would pray for me and top it off with “if it be thy will, Lord”.  Because that presupposed that God had already decided what should happen to me, and that what I wanted and intended was besides the point.  And this is the crux of what I want to talk about in this article.  The notion that what I desire for my life through prayer is infinitely subordinated to an outside will, even God’s, doesn’t sit well with me.  Not because I crave control, or lust sinfully and selfishly after what is God’s power alone, but because it is at root utterly irrational.  If God has predetermined for me my experiences, and possesses the ultimate veto on all my choices, and shall tell me whether or not my prayers contain any merit whatsoever, then what is the point of prayer?  What is the point of my having any ideas at all about anything?  God will do what God will do…my very existence then becomes entirely meaningless.  My mind is an illusion of a mind which cannot actually exist because it’s infinitely irrelevant.  And this is a contradiction in terms.  And I may not know everything about God, but I know this:  He cannot be God if his very existence is utterly incompatible to my own, or vice versa, and if what he asks of his children contradicts itself, thus rendering the very words he uses to communicate himself and his intentions utterly meaningless.

But even more superficial than all of that…I mean, we can get into the root philosophical contradictions, and that’s its own brand of fun, but we can put it in more pedestrian terms:  Would you continue to ask favors of someone who has told you to freely ask him favors if you never knew whether or not your favors would be granted; if there were all these stipulations about what could be asked for and when and how and that it really wasn’t going to be up to you and that you couldn’t be trusted to know what you really wanted or needed, and therefore the asking of favors became this tedious and exasperating task of self-examination and naval gazing and groveling and bemoaning your own infinite existential inadequacy and ignorance, and then when confronted with a desperate circumstance like a child with a terminal illness or the loss of a career or a sexual assault you found yourself groveling and prostrating yourself before this giver-of-favors, wailing and begging him to just this once give you relief; and then to forgive you for thinking what YOU want actually matters?  In other words, you are told to ask favors, but then told that you don’t possess the intrinsic wisdom or foresight to know which favors should be asked for.  So favor-asking becomes this giant farce…a facade of love.  Because the giver of favors is going to do whatever he’s going to do whether you ask for it or not.

Needless to say, most of us, if presented with such a clearly ludicrous waste of time would pass on it, and many of us wouldn’t hesitate to scold the snake oil salesman for his wicked deception.  Nevertheless, this is what prayer has become.  It is nothing more than the dance of a medicine man around the fire of primitive, polytheistic superstition.

So what, at root, is the error?  Okay.  Wait for it.  And prepare to be scandalized.

We ask instead of tell.  We politely request instead of demand an answer to our prayers, which I submit as children of God, with all the responsibilities and complexities and challenges that this implies, is our divine birthright.

Now hold on. Let me explain (in part two). This is not without its reason; it comes with much understanding and responsibility.  I promise, it is not a return to the genie in the bottle.

End (Part ONE)

Debating Most Christians is Basically Pointless

Here’s why debating (orthodox) Christians is so tedious, and virtually impossible to do productively:

[NOTE: When I refer to Christians I am speaking of the orthodox variety, not those like myself who differ categorically with almost every doctrinal premise and Biblical interpretation found in the Church today, from Original Sin to Christ’s Resurrection.]

“Faith” by Christian definition contains no null hypothesis.  What this means is that the doctrinal premises Christians accept and assert are not beholden to any sort of rationally consistent plumb line.  Indeed, I submit that for a Christian to accept that reason is efficacious, or even worse, NECESSARY, to “God’s Truth”, is heresy, at least implicitly.  Faith is beyond reason because God is beyond reason, so it is assumed.

This is of course entirely false, as God is, I would argue, perhaps THE most rational Ideal out there when defined correctly (“correctly” meaning: In a way which does not endemically contradict him). Anyway, the relevance of this is that it is impossible for the rational person to disprove Christian doctrinal assertions or interpretations because proof by definition is a matter of reason…of consistency and non-contradiction.  And reason is mutually exclusive of  “faith”.  Of course this also makes it impossible for the Christian to prove HIS assertions.  The standard of disproof for the critic is also the standard of proof for the Christian (and vice versa).  And this is another reason why debating Christians on matters of doctrine and interpretation is an almost entirely fruitless enterprise.

Here’s the paradox:  In order to truly debate a Christian, the Christian must have first ALREADY rejected the “no null hypothesis” root of their arguments.  And this necessarily means to reject those arguments, in essence, which equals a rejection of the doctrinal premises and interpretations—as these simply do not survive alongside a null hypothesis.  In either case, null hypothesis or none, the debate is pretty much over before it begins.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that debating Christians is a complete and categorical waste of time; there is a lot to be said for the manner in which persons engage one another.  You might be surprised at how successfully you can evangelize a Christian by simply not being a dick about things. (In other words, don’t model your approach after asshats like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, whose patronizing and irascible manner could turn off the Devil himself (and they are both completely wrong about everything, by the way…they pat themselves on the back for dismantling the object farce that passes for Biblical doctrine in orthodox Christianity—a task even my 10 year-old can do with facility—and think they are actually dismantling the scriptures, themselves…embarrassing.) But don’t expect to dazzle Christians with logic.  They punted that away a long time ago.

END

Man’s Identity is Not a Matter of Science (PART 2)

The previous article understandably warrants an explanation of the observer’s physical form, and how it can be rendered rationally distinct from the Self of the observer (i.e. Man qua Man/the Individual qua the Individual—the state of singular consciousness).

[Note:  Assume that a reference to the observer is a reference to man…as opposed to God, who indeed may be considered an observer, but who possesses his own unique metaphysical characteristics which aren’t particularly relevant to this article.]

The body, though I submit is corollary to the Self, is not ostensibly absolute, but rather empirical…that is, observable, where the Self is not, because nothing absolute can be observed, only reasoned.  (The Self certainly can be proven to exist, but not by using an empirical standard, but rather a philosophical one.). The observer’s body clearly exists, but is not absolute; it is relative to other bodies and objects.  The Self, however, being absolute, is not relative.  It is constant.  And thus, here I have already asserted some of the differences between the Self and the body which belongs to and empirically represents the Self in the environment (i.e. the universe on the whole).

Again, the Self is absolute, having no empirical form…no physical beginning or end.  The human body we can observe as being born and dying—as beginning in a specifically and empirically defined form and likewise ending.  Though we may speak of “ourselves” as one and the same with our bodies in common parlance, and as being born and later dying; as coming into existence and leaving it; as not being, then being, then not being, again, the philosophical truth is that the Self—that absolute essence of man BY WHICH the distinction between “I” and “other/everything else”  can be made in order that the universe and the reality therein may be referenced TO a CONSTANT—contains NO frame of reference for a beginning and/or an end; a birth and a death; not being, being, and then being again.  And further, we must include one’s body as part of the “everything else” which is distinct from the absolute singularity of the Self.  To me, the proof of the spirit/body, or consciousness/body, or mind/body dichotomy is the empirical reality of the body as an object which is relative to other bodies and other objects, and the necessity of a Constant so that those objects, including the body, which absent the Self are utterly relative, can be referenced and therefore defined.  That is, be given their own specific reality and existence by being NAMED according to the observer, whose essence is the Self.

*

Neither one’s birth nor one’s death can be experienced, because one who IS, according to his essential absolute Self, possesses no frame of reference for NOT IS.  BEING, itself, at its root, cannot experience NOT BEING.  What IS cannot transition to or from an IS NOT.  We claim that we are born and therefore must die (where “we”,  or “I”, is most commonly made the equivalent of the body instead of the Self) because these things are observed empirically, as though empiricism is the plumb line for truth, instead of reason.  Yet none of us can know birth or death—that is, BEING as a function of the ABSENCE of BEING—except by second hand observation, and cannot EVER experience the absence of being because we simply have no frame of reference for it.  It is infinitely beyond our existential capacity to know.  Ironically to some degree, birth and death do not technically meet the definition of “empirical” because there can be no DIRECT observation nor experience of them; they cannot physically/experientially EXIST to us.  And yet we speak of them as though they are indisputably a matter of fact, even though they cannot be proven true by any rationally consistent STANDARD of fact.  They are neither empirical nor are they essentially rational. They are abstract notions that are useful in some superficial contexts, but they are not in any way absolute truth.

Man simply cannot claim the reality of his existence in an unaware state, because it is only by awareness that he can make any claim at all. There is no such thing as pre or post conscious man.  “Man”  by any rational physical or philosophical definition, even using the “objective empiricism” of science, implies OBSERVATION, period.  Man is categorically the observer in his essence, never the observed.  He is therefore not a thing of science, but the author of it.

*

Unconscious natural laws cannot beget man’s mind…his consciousness, for the simple reason that they do have any frame of reference for it.  Consciousness has no meaning to that which is entirely unconscious—these laws cannot create what is mutually exclusive of them.  Further, in such a case, where man’s mind is a function of natural law, man could never devise any notions like “birth” or “death” because he, being a function of the absolute and INFINITE process of natural law, could not concieve of anything like an ENDING to what IS—that is, his own essence….his Self.  Perpetual natural law must create only that which possesses its own perpetual frame of reference.  For man to thus even THINK (his thinking a product natural law according to science) about a beginning or an end to himself contradicts the very root of the INFINITE and ABSOLUTE processes of natural law.

However, the Consciousness, or the conscious Self, CAN create the ABSTRACTION of natural law, because it—that is, the Self, that is, the observer—serves as the reference for the otherwise utterly relative objects in the environment which he observes.  And by his infinite conscious reference, he can create any concept he likes to describe this environment, even a “beginning” or an “ending”, because this is precisely what the Self, being the source of conceptualization and consciousness, DOES.  It abstracts, giving meaning and purpose to the otherwise purposeless, meaningless, and utterly RELATIVE environment in which its body resides.

The meaning and purpose of all things is a product of conceptualization…indeed, the declaration that a thing IS is a product of conceptualization.  This ability of man, unique to him amongst all living things, is why he claims consciousness.  The ability to conceptualize, which I submit is the fundamental essence of man’s identity, declares what IS, and thus declares what IS DOES, including “being unconscious”.

Consciousness implies the ability to conceptualize (and vice versa), and conceptualization, in order to be relevant and meaningful, implies reason, which is simply the non-contradictory integration and combination of concepts in order to form TRULY meaningful ideas.  And it is from reason then that we get truth, which is the rational definition of what IS and what IT DOES.  From truth we get ethics.  Ethics is simply the designation of what IS and what IS DOES in terms of meaning—meaning at root implying morality, which is the purview of ethics.  Another way of saying this is that ethics describes the essential MEANING of what IS and what IS DOES.

Which begs the question:  Means to whom?

And thus what we are really asking is:  What is the MEANINGFUL reference for the TRUTH of those things which are said to exist?  In other words, who makes truth true and meaningful?  Moreover, assuming that science declares objective truths regarding nature, to whom does it owe its objectivity and its truthfulness?  By what reference is the reality it describes rationally and meaningfully real?

The answer is the observer.  And the observer is I.  It is You and Me.  It is the Self.  Man qua man.

END.

 

 

Man’s Identity is Not a Matter of Science (Part One)

Obviously science is useful…clearly its efficacy is there for all to see, for thousands of years. But science can only describe that which is observed, it cannot describe the observer.

The importance of this cannnot be overstated.

Without the observer, there is no frame of reference by which to describe reality scientifically. That is, absent the observer qua observer (i.e. the observer not described and defined by the very scientific processes he is observing) the question begged is: to what or to whom can we reference the machinations of the universe which are said to be governed and defined according to the processes of natural law? Absent the observer, how are all object actions and interactions not infinitely relative? For example, does the earth really revolve around the sun in a universe which has no fixed boundary unless there exists an observer to say it is so, with respect to the needs and the expediencies of HIS vantage point?

The answer is no, it does not.

And neither does the sun revolve around the earth.  The relationship between sun and earth is infinitely relative. Absent the observer, there is no fixed location of ANY object in a universe which possesses no fixed boundary.

I submit that the only non-relative entity in existence which thus can serve as the reference for the (otherwise) infinitely relative movements (action/interaction) of objects in the universe is “I”.  That is, the sense of one’s utter Self…the IS of You and Me…the Root of one’s being. Self. This is the only immovable, fully absolute existing Plumb Line to which all scientific laws can be referenced, and thus it is the Self of the observer by which these laws receive every ounce of their relevance. Absent the Self-aware observer, it is impossible that scientific truths can be known, and therefore impossible that they be called true. That which is not known cannot be declared true—for it cannot be true if it is not true TO a CONSCIOUS reference; if it is not true TO ANYONE, then such a “truth” is wholly irrelvant…which, “irrelevant truth” is a contradiction in terms. A truth which can never be shown nor proven nor applied TO ANYONE is simply a truth which is not true.

And it is the observer, and only the observer, who knows and declares and applies. Truth is Knowledge and Application (relevance), and both of these are a function of the observer, period.

Science, then, if it is indeed true and also contains truths, is thus necessarily a function of the observer, and not the other way around. It is not a matter of discovery, but description. That is, scientific law is not found, it is created…by the observer. The conscious observer, by his powers of conceptualization and therefore language, rooted in the “I” of Individual existence, creates scientific truths from reason. He defines, in rationally consistent ways, to and from himself, that which promotes himself…that which is for himself, so that he may promote his own existence and his own root existential Truth, and absolutely so, according to the (utterly reasonable) metaphysics which demand him. A law of nature, then, devoid of the reference of the observer, is not discovered, as though an ethereal and transcendent natural “process” which resides in some utterly theoretical inky black nothingness beyond and ironically exclusive of man and his universe creates some kind of meaningful relationship between the completely relative existent objects in that universe. The observer, by the reference point of Self and by his powers of conceptualization and language, percieves his environment and gives definition and meaning to the relative relationships between and amongst his body and all other objects which act and interact with each other in that environment. Because of the observer and his absolute and immovable frame of reference of Self, the relationship between objects and all of their infinite parts is utterly relative no more, and thus can now be named, defined, and given purpose. The observer makes nature true, not the other way around. Indeed, the observer creates like God, or as God, perhaps…he by his nature brings into being a universe which otherwise cannot exist, because it can possess no Truth apart from him. And that which has no Truth can likewise have no existence; to say that something IS, which is the sole convention and prerogative of the observer, is the most fundamental truth claim of them all.

You Pay for the Protection of Political Correctness with your Life (PART 3)

The United States Constitution declares, under penalty of punishment via the most powerful and one of the most violent political ruling classes in the history of the world, that ALL citizens be granted the right of equal opportunity under the Law.  There is no LEGAL sanction in this entire nation given to anyone who wishes to marginalize, disadvantage, discriminate against, oppress, exploit, enslave, or annihilate another person when it comes to political representation, life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness.  No public university, business, bureau, department, or institution of any kind can disadvantage anyone; they cannot limit the ability of anyone to pursue their own desires and ambitions under the Law.  In addition, I submit that only the insane and/or the self-loathing private proprietor would discriminate in the practices of employee-hiring or customer service on the basis of some group identifier like race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, etc..  When it comes to private interpersonal value exchange, I can think of no typical collective attribute which can amount to any rational decrease in benefit.

But the Constitution assumes an Individualist metaphysic (albeit insufficiently by virtue of the fact that it legitimizes government, which is necessarily collectivist at root), and THAT, if one’s metaphysic is Collectivist, makes it entirely useless when it comes to guaranteeing “true equality”.  Therefore, because Individualism means that everyone gets to play the game, and everyone starts at the same place and with the same number of cards.  Collectivism means that the governement PUTS everyone in the same place and GIVES everyone the same number of cards…and it further means that that IS the game, period.  Because there can be no difference in outcome for any of the players, there IS NO game. There is nothing to do at all. Everyone STARTS at the place the government wants them to end, so there is nowhere else to go.  For the individual, this kind of existence is the equivalent of hell.

So, for all intents and purposes, the place everyone under collectivist ideology begins and ends is the grave, and the number of cards everyone eventually collects in the game is exactly zero.  Because eventually the ruling classes run out of people to rob.  Steal from the producers long enough, and they are simply unable to sustain production.  It is the elementary logic of cause and effect.

Collective/Collectivist “equality” has nothing to do with asserting the notion of all individuals possessing the very same root moral existential value, but rather has everything to do with forcing all individuals to submit themselves to the Collective Ideal, where the foundational existential frame of reference for humanity is not the Individual (i.e. One’s Self), but the Group.  Those deemed antithetical to the Ideal because they do not and/or cannot possess the necessary group characteristic (e.g. race, political party affiliation, socio-economic class, religion, nationality, etc.) are scapegoated as the root of all that is evil, by nature, and the bane of and stumbling block to the Collectivist Utopia (for example, the bourgeoise in Marxist ideology is the scourge of the Working Class) and therefore are oppressed, exploited, and murdered.

The ideology of Political Correctness (PC) claims in essence to provide socioecopolitical protection for “minority” groups (i.e. the “disadvantaged”; the “marginalized”; the “underrepresented”) against the “majority” —and in the case of the U.S., “majority” means straight white males, whose oppressive nature as a class has compelled them to create a rival Collective Ideal (e.g. the Patriarchy), which represents an existential threat to these “minority” groups.  PC does not claim protection for the individual, fundamentally, because the needs of the individual are not considered…because the individual HIMSELF is not considered.  Political Correctness by logical necessity assumes a collectivist metaphysic.  It doesn’t care about the Indiviudal because there is, at root, no such thing.  There are only rival socioecopolitical classes, period.  To consider the Individual is to contradict Political Correctness at its very foundation.  According to PC, there is no such thing as a “minority” individual …there is either the “truth” of the COLLECTIVE minority, or the lie of the Individual. A black individual, according to PC metaphysics, is a contradiction in terms.

*

Remembering what I said in part one of this three-part article, what happens to individuals when they are stripped of their individual identity and collectivized is that they are destroyed.  Group identity does not protect indivuals from the destruction they shall reap under Collectivist metaphysics.  Therefore, PC ideology is not a hedge against ANY ONE’S exploitation, exploitation being the corollary to destruction.  Being black will not save you from the inherent authoritarian violence necessarily to be manifest by an organization like Black Lives Matter should this group ever acquire a monopoly or a large percentage of political power; just as being a member of the working class did not protect Soviet workers from Stalin’s fire squads and Siberian gulags; just as being a Cuban in Fidel Castro’s Marxist-Nationalist revolution did not serve as incentive enough to dissuade thousands of Cuban’s from to sailing to Florida on what amounted to bits of floating garbage and random scraps of driftwood.

It isn’t YOU, the Person, that the Collectivist ruling class—which exists as the physical and practical incarnation of the Ideal in order to wield its Authority to compel obedience—cares about, no matter what you are told in the propoganda and bromide which passes for purpose amongst the socialists in our midst.  It’s the Ideal…that is, the Abstraction—the fantasy of group-think philosophy—which matters.  It is the notion of Collective Perfection which exists only and ever in the transcendent ether of a “reality” beyond the Individaul…beyond YOU qua YOU.  What this means in practical reality is that it is ONLY the ruling class which profits from Collectivism (and this only temporarily, until the experiment inevitably collapses under the weight of its own rational and moral bankruptcy).  And this is because the Ideal has no relevance nor meaning absent those who assume the LEGAL right (those espousing the PC Ideal are always statists at root) to compel humanity—to sacrifice it to the Ideal (i.e. themselves).   An Ideal with no rulers is null and void in any empirical and relevant aspect.  It is a law with no law enforcement…a self-contradiction, self-nullifying, irrelevant, pointless clanging of cymbals.  Noise, nothing more.  And so the Authority—the rulling class—IS, for all relevant purposes, the Ideal, itself.  And the IDEAL is all that matters.  Not you; not me, no matter who we are, where we come from, what we think, or what we look like.

So to all of you who laud the strengthening storm of Political Correctness and its evil twin sister, Social Justice, because you believe that it will usher in your long-awaited political and social and economic salvation, with commandeered wealth and a nexus of succor and self-aggrandizing satisfaction…

I laught at you.  I pray for you.

END

You Pay for the Protection of Political Correctness with Your Life (PART 2)

I submit that political correctness is unabashedly spawned from the substrata of collectivist metaphysics.  It claims to defend the civil rights and emotional integrity of “underrepresented” and “disadvantaged” groups…and this implicitly beyond, in spite of, and, at root, INSTEAD OF the principle of Equality Under the Law which the US Constitution guarantees for all of the nation’s citizens. So…already we seem to have something of a paradox going on here. Let’s unravel it.

As soon as it is claimed that one group (or more) is “disadvantaged”, it is necessarily implied that another is “advantaged”.  Therefore the only (rationally) possible, albeit perhaps implicit, goal of those advocating for “disadvantaged” groups is to make them “advantaged”, though they will claim either from ignorance or deceit that it is merely “equality” they are after.  But this simply cannot be the case as I will explain.

It’s not possible to have the second (“disadvantaged”) without the first (“advantaged”), so what advocacy for the “disadvantaged” amounts to in the end is merely the reversal of labels.  That is, there is and can be no real interest in equality, but rather in creating a system whereby the “advantaged” are relieved of their property through State-sponsored (“legal”) theft which is then given to the “disadvantaged”, ostensibly to engender social equality but in reality to create a permanently dependent category of voters who sell their freedom and their souls to have their fellow citizens pillaged by the State on their behalf…or so they think.  In truth the plight of the “disadvantaged” never ACTUALLY improves because that isn’t really the point.  In other words, advocacy for the “disadvantaged” is merely a barely-clever strategem intended to grow the Marxist-oriented ruling class into a juggernaut of utterly insatiable authoritarian political power.

There can be no rational speaking of equality whilst there exists any sort of collectivist class baiting, with spurious and manipulative jargon like “disadvantaged”, and this because of the collectivist metaphysical roots of whatever group of citizens happens to be the momentary political pawn du jour.  Because these metaphysical roots are certainly NOT merely political, but existential and as such MORAL, you see.  What I mean is that soon as one group is classified as “disadvantaged”, thus implying another is “advantaged”, we have morally bifurcated the citizenry at the very roots of how we define reality, itself.  That is, we have made our spurious class distinctions into a LITERAL war between good and evil; and this is why there is such ferocious and utterly intractable violence to be found on the collectivist side (the left) of the political spectrum. Collectivist politics make no distinction between a group’s economic value and its MORAL value.  The “advantaged” are EVIL; the disadvantaged” are GOOD…and why are they good?  Well, ostensibly because they are the victims of the political structures established by the “advantaged” in order that they may remain advantaged.  In reality it is because they are the group that the collectivist ruling elite have decided promote the Ideal which they will represent as Its governing Authority.  The “disadvantaged” are the group that promotes the expediency of their power.  This is the ONLY reason they are called “good”. Period. Full stop.

Another point on this idea of the “disadvantaged” as victims of political and institutional oppression, and thus represent the good:

Whether there is any truth to this ot not is irrelevant.  First, because those who advocate for the “disadvantaged” are those who wish to use the coercive violence of the State to promote their OWN political ideals at the expense of certain groups, making them hypocrites; and second because once you collectivize  human beings into groups—as opposed to foundationally judging and defining them as individuals—morality becomes utterly subjective.  To define an individual as FIRST and FUNDAMENTALLY a product of the group is to replace the person with an IDEAL.  And ideals, being purely abstract, can ONLY be SUBJECTIVELY valued.

Further, the “disadvantaged” cannot be made equal with the “advantaged” BY DEFINITION, because these two concepts are mutually exclusive. That is, it is impossible that EVERYONE be “advantaged” or “disadvantaged” because this contradicts these very concepts in the first place. So in order to be rationally consistent we must argue that these distinction are inherently false and utterly illegitimate as a means to describe the people…that everyone should be equal under the law, and that “disadvantage” and “advantage” are labels to be banished from political discourse (as self-serving and manipulative) and that equality under the law is ultimately the only meaningful, relevant, and practical context of each and every citizen as far as the State is concerned.

But this is simply impossible as soon as one claims to advocate for the “disadvantaged”.  You either advocate for equality under the law, or you advocate for the authoritarian despotism we see in EVERY society which has rooted itself in the pernicious class-baiting sculduggery of the bastard children of collectivism (Marxism, National Socialism (Fascism), Socialism, Social Democracy, Communism, and so on).

And so, getting back to the Constitution:

This document does not collectivize the citizenry (at least not intentionally…the inevitable rational and moral failure of the Constitution is due to the fact that it implies the legitimacy of government, of course, but not because of its driving metaphysical principles, which cannot be considered collectivist per se). And since it does not collectivize the citizenry it can neither imply nor confess the legitimate, legal existence or relevance of any particular “class”.  The Constitution, in other words, because it is not a collectivist document, has no frame of reference for the notions of “disadvantaged” or “advantaged” groups.  These are strictly Marxist ideals, and as far as the Constitution is concerned Marxism is a flaming ball of rubbish orbiting somewhere on the far, far outer fringes of reality, somewhere between madness and incompetence.  That is, class distinctions like “disadvantaged” are utter anathema to the Constitution.

Groups claiming that they are doing the “holy” work of advocacy for the “disadvantaged” you will notice NEVER appeal to the Constitution as the basis for rectifying any perceived unfair legal discrepancies between individuals.  This is because A. they don’t acknowledge the root existential legitimacy of the individual in the first place; and B. the Individualist nature of the Constitution means that as far as they are concerned it has about as much to do with rectifying social injustice and managing the disparate economic classes as does a spoonful of room temperature lima beans. They don’t concern themselves with the Constitution because they understand it is an ENEMY of their collectivist assumptions. True “Justice”, in their eyes, is not about the Constitutional rights of the Individual but about who wields absolute power on behalf of the “moral” collective Ideal.  The politics of political correctness are of power, not truth; revenge, not justice; sacrifice to the State, not cooperation among the people.

END (Up next, PART 3)