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

 

 

 

 

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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)

You Pay for the Protection of Political Correctness with Your Life (Part One)

The moment you are collectivized according to group identity, and even if the dominant group (that wielding supreme coercive power) is the one in which you happen to belong, your annihilation is assured, both spiritually (metaphysically) and (eventually) physically.  As a member of the dominant group you might feel safe for a while, but that time is most definitely borrowed. And it is to your advantage to understand that your sense of security is astonishingly irrational.

Did the fact that they were white and German protect the “master race” from the horror and destruction which befell Nazi Germany both from within and without?  Were the proletariat spared the fear, abuse, starvation, incarceration, and firing squads of the Politburos of Soviet Russia or Communist China?  How are the Korean PEOPLE faring under the oppressive thumb of the leadership of the Democratic PEOPLE’S Republic of (North) Korea?  What about the poor working classes in Pol Pot’s Cambodia or Castro’s Marxist-Nationalist Cuba?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, a cursory Google search will provide you with them in less than 90 seconds.

I’ll wait…

There is no rational, moral, or lasting benefit to belonging to any socio-political collective, be it the scapegoated (e.g. white males in America from the latter 20th century to the present) or the lauded (e.g. virtually anyone, including animals, except white men in the same time frame) because such a thing is simply a defiance of Truth.  The collectivization of the individual, and when given his facile and utterly subjective collective Identity, be it race, gender, religion, political party, culture, nationality etc., etc., entirely denies him.  And thus to collectivize the individual is to destroy him, and this in turn—individualism being the very foundation upon which rational reality (that is, the nature of ourselves) is defined—makes the lasting perseverance of humanity impossible until the political power structure which is forcing collectivized reality upon the masses collapses.  And this collapse is inevitable…the political power structure will either fall prematurely due to the greed, laziness, and inevitably resultant incompetence of its state officials, or it will run its full course to a necessary conclusion: the death of everyone under its authority; and thus it will collapse because it no longer has anyone left to rule, making it no longer an authority. That is, its ideological and practical self-contradiction will have come full circle. And inside the circle the individual is destroyed, regardless of the group with which he is identified.

*

Each one of us possesses an absolutely singular consciousness, which I define more precisely as our innate ability to know Self (Awareness of the “I”).  This metaphysical singularity (of Self) serves as THE reference for all of reality.  In other words, what is real must be real TO THE SELF.  For without the Self, reality cannot be referenced, and thus it cannot be defined, and thus it cannot be said to exist, and thus it cannot be said to be REAL.

The Sense of Self is is why the most distinguishing aspect of human identity is its linguistic reference to the “I” of existence.  That is, human beings reference themselves as “I”—as a fundamental singularity—despite our bodies being non-singular…that is, a collection of parts: limbs, organs, veins, capillaries, ligaments and muscles and sinews, cells, molecules, atoms, particles, and on and on.  Yet we instinctively understand that our awareness and agency—that which makes me “Me” and you “You” and him and her “Him” and “Her”—are not parts, but an IS.  And because this singularity is the root of our very Identity, we all NECESSARILY and innately use the pronoun “I”; and “I” qua “I” cannot by definition be “We”.  The Individual cannot be Collective.  Though ontically our bodies are collective, instinctively humanity develops language around the Self, proclaiming “I” as the linguistic representation of the singular frame of reference for reality…a reality which collapses once “I” is sacrificed to “Us”.  Because “Us” is naturally the antithesis of “I”.  That is, “Us” as the reference for reality specifically and necessarily subordinates “I” to an IDEAL that is beyond the Individual.  And that Ideal is the Collective (race, nation, culture, class, etc.).  The Individual who is collectivized then BELONGS to the group, utterly subordinated to it at the very root of existence.  The logical conclusion of this is that the Individual, being metaphysically subordinated to the Collective, ceases to have any relevance in and of himself, and therefore is seen as entirely NON-existant…he is an offense to the existant “reality” of the group, and thus morally reprehensible and necessarily disposable.  He will be murdered in service to the group, first spiritually (metaphysically), and then, eventually, physically.

*

If the “Us” of the Collective is the metaphysical foundation of reality then it becomes that which is objective…or objectively real.  This necessitates that the Individual must become that which is subjective…or subjectively real. Therefore the Individual can be given NO definition at all, since there is, OBJECTIVELY, no ONE to communicate with some ONE else in order to agree upon a definition.  In fact NOTHING can be defined because all definitions become a function of Authority—that which exists to force the Collective Ideal upon Individuals (more on this in a bit)—not reason.  And Authority is FORCE, not TRUTH, and thus Authority is the very antithesis of meaningful reality.  It therefore is the promoter of rank chaos…of not meaning but MEANINGLESSNESS.  In other words, once humanity is redefined as metaphysically collective, RATIONALLY defining reality becomes impossible.  Reality becomes disorganized, not organized, because language, which relies upon REASON for its relevance, is replaced with POWER (Authority).  And this is why the more humans become socialized (which means collectivized), the more chaotic and hypocritical society becomes.  Men are women and whites are black and adults are infants and she is he and propaganda is news and accusation is proof and majorities are minorities and psychological projection is righteous indignation and socialism is freedom and fascists are anti-fascists and punishment is privilege and bullies are victims.  And the natural political consequence of an increasingly chaotic and meaningless reality is growing tyranny.

So…if you want to know why the United States looks the way it does today, well, now you do.  The madness, you see, when you understand the metaphysical differences between Collectivism and Individualism and all that these differences necessarily imply about epistemology and ethics and politics and aesthetics, ironically makes PERFECT sense.

*

Collectivism, due to its inherent rational inconsistency, simply cannot provide a framework for any kind of efficacious reality.  And in such a metaphysical context the Individual will be considered utterly insufficient to existence.  NO individual, then, no matter the group in which he is placed, can ever ultimately thrive in a Collectivist context.  The individual—be HE, HIMSELF, black, white, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, etc., etc.—represents an absolute offense to the Collective and will be destroyed.  It is not the black INDIVIDUAL, for example, which the Collectivism of Black Lives Matters cares about, but BLACKNESS the IDEAL.  And that Ideal is what REALLY shall be promoted and served.  And as all abstract Ideals must have a practical incarnation in order to force Individuals into their service, the Ideal becomes, for all practical intents and purposes, the small number of men and women who exist as its political officials.  In other words, the ruling elite who “lead” the movement are the Authority represeting the transcendent Ideal in the tangible world, and they, being IT for all practical purposes, become the SOLE beneficiaries of the “justice” the Ideal promises. BLACKNESS (using our example) as represented by the ruling Authority, not black PERSONS, reaps all the power and all the wealth and all the “rights” and all the “justice”.

The natural, unavoidable, and unalterable purpose of Collectivism is to destroy every man, woman, and child, no matter who they are, with no ultimate regard for any ONE’s class, race, economic or social status, etcetera.  None of that makes any difference in the end.  If left to run its course, Collectivism, no matter what pet group identity it is said to represent, is NO respector of persons.  And so in a way, this actually DOES make it the most “socially just and equal” of all philosophical paradigms:

EVERYONE dies.

END (Part One)

 

 

 

Argument From Authority: the Christian’s go-to move

Last week I had a heady discussion/debate with a friend of mine at the home-school cooperative my children attend.  Beginning with some marginally interesting/relevant social issues, in particular the NFL kneeling-for-the-anthem controversy, and then proceeding in due course to the meatier topics of Christian theology and doctrine, it went on for well-over an hour.  Happily, we found ourselves in agreement about a great many things.  It was turning out to be quite the satisfying and encouraging yarn.

Or so it seemed.

In reality, I suppose it was no real shock to discover that we actually had nothing in common, theologically speaking.  Since my full-on commitment to heterodoxy seven years ago, I have had these sorts of conversations with Christians—99% of whom are orthodox—many, many times.  And they ALWAYS end the same way.  Always, always, always.  Without fail; without distinction; without caveat; without ambiguity; without doubt.

Any theology/doctrine discussion, given enough time, will eventually terminate at metaphysics: the nature of reality; the nature of man.  And once we get down to metaphysics, there are really only two directions you can go:  Reason or Mystery.  That is, do we define man according to an innate existential ability to apprehend Truth, make moral distinctions, and then choose good over evil (or vice versa); or do we define him as merely an epiphenomenon…his consciousness and his will merely an illusion, purely a function of some great, transcendent determinative Force, which we may define as God (or the gods, or the Universal Mind, or Natural Law/Evolution, and so on)?  In other words, can man truly KNOW by what means and to what measure he exists, and can he be certain of what is true and what is not, and from that what is good and what is not, and from that CHOOSE on his own behalf to manifest his existence in a way that is utterly and objectively REAL? Or is Truth infinitely beyond him, because he is not, at essence, himself, but a direct function of some Ultimate Power which controls all things, as all things are, in fact, an absolute function of this Power, Itself.

I don’t expect it will come as any surprise to learn that my friend ultimately appeals to mystery metaphysics.  He is, after all, a consummately orthodox Christian, whereas I have rejected orthodoxy on the grounds that it indeed projects this very brand of metaphysics.  I have rejected the idea that real knowledge is the knowledge that one cannot ever actually know.  And any definition of God which makes everything fundamentally an extension of Himself by hermeneutically wrecking the distinctions between Him and the iterations of His creation, is at root an appeal to Nothing as the root of Truth.  Because if everything IS God, then we cannot ever actually know what God is…because we cannot tell what He is not.  It’s like when we are told that nothing happens which God does not allow.  If this is true, then human choice is impossible for obvious reasons.  And if human choice is impossible, then knowledge is meaningless, which makes “knowledge” itself a contradiction in terms, and thus makes it impossible to KNOW God.  Which means you cannot declare that nothing happens which God does not allow.  Because…who is God?  Shrug.  That’s a mystery.

Now, this is all interesting and is all well and good, but it’s not really the point of this article.  The point of the article is to examine the way in which my friend defended a particular metaphysical assertion towards the end of our discussion.  I questioned the veracity of his claim that man was “fallen” and that God did not consider any “unregenerate” person’s actions to be moral, regardless of whether or not they WERE, in fact, moral. In other words, my friend conceded that man is born with the innate capacity to apprehend Truth and is therefore capable of making moral choices, but that as far as God is concerned, ALL the choices of those who have not confessed Christ as Savior are evil choices.

I demured, saying that if God decides that what is moral is in fact immoral, then he has contradicted Himself by contradicting reason.  How can God value Himself as Good whilst at the same time denouncing man’s good choices—whether he is “unregenerate” or not—as being fundamentally evil?  No God worth his name would conflate evil with good and then have the audacity and lack of self-awareness enough to simultaneously proclaim Himself a MORAL being,  Furthermore, if ALL of man’s choices are evil, then man can never be in a position to accept Christ as Savior, because THAT choice is, to Christians, the apogee of moral action.  God must choose FOR man.

So…let me get this straight.  God must choose Himself, BY (or OF) Himself (that is, from His own will), and somehow this means that man, who has absolutely nothing to do with THAT Choice can now make choices that God now considers to be moral?

Er…

I’m sorry, but this kind of theology is madness, and doesn’t come within a thousand miles of reasonable.  It’s magical thinking…the stuff of children’s fairy tales and old wives tales and superstition.

And yet, what did my friend say in reply?

Exactly what you’d expect.

”But, that’s Bible.”

And that, my friends, is called an argument from authority.  And it is the Christian’s go-to move whenever they find themselves backed into a theological corner.  Always.

You see, it doesn’t matter that the idea is completely devoid of reason, and that it is impossible to explain because how do explain a square circle?  How do you convince someone with words that black is simultaneously white or that up is down or that a bird is a cloud?  You don’t.  Because there are no words for such a task.  Words are the audible expression of ideas, which can only exist if contradiction is excluded from the process of formulating the concepts which are connected together to form those ideas.  If A is NOT distinct from B then neither can be said to exist.  Man cannot express “tree” if “tree” also means “shoe”.

Once Authority has been injected into the discussion, then there IS NO LONGER any discussion because words have become entirely meaningless.  You accept what the Bible says because it’s the Bible and because it’s the Bible you accept what it says.  This is a tautology, and it specifically falls under the category of “argument from authority”.

You see, the argument from authority removes any “why?” from the equation.  There is NO “WHY?” because Authority is FORCE, absolutely, and therefore becomes its own “why?”.  To ask why is to assume you have the right to have something explained to you…but that explanation has been punted entirely out of the realm of Truth.  You OBEY, you don’t ask questions.

So what my friend did, and I like to think unwittingly, is completely nullify the hour of discussion that preceded his declaration that what is an utterly ridiculous, impossible, and intellectually treasonous description of man’s metaphysical state is nevertheless true because the Bible says it.

Well, A, no the Bible doesn’t say it…YOU say it.  I know the Bible, and I can assure you that it makes no such assertion, period.  Full stop.  THAT foolish and evil metaphysic has been smuggled into the pages of the Bible by the gnostic paganist roots of the Augustine/Luther/Calvin theological death cult.  And B, according to your very own admission, the Bible cannot actually say anything because clearly words don’t matter.  The Bible is force, and therefore is not obligated to EXPLAIN a damn thing to you or me or anyone else.  The Bible is nothing more than an idol or a talisman which demands your categorical obedience under threat of terrible punishment.  So how dare you deign to attempt to explain it to me.  How dare you decide that it SAYS something…as if the Sword “says” anything other than “obey or die”.  As if meaning matters.

And this…was sad.  The whole conversation was a bust, I believe.  His declaration was a tacit admission that he has no real interest in what he says he believes, let alone in convincing me of its rational and intellectual integrity.  The point of Christianity is to force the world to obey, nothing more.  Which in actual fact makes its theological apologetics of no more relevance nor interest than any old random jumble of words.  The entirety of Christian orthodoxy has been reduced to mere mouth noises.

So the next time someone says “But, it’s Bible”, take a glance upwards.  See up there?  That’s where you’ll find the guillotine dangling when the political conclusions of that statement are finally realized.

END

 

You Don’t Have Free Speech and Never Did

ALL governments, no matter the form, and without exception, depend upon the metaphysical presumption that the Individual is a function of the Group, not the other way around.  The Collective, being at root an IDEAL (the People, the Nation, the Race, the Class (e.g. the Workers), the Kingdom, the Church, the Tribe) demands that the Individuals within that group be defined fundamentally according to Group Identity.  And THAT definition naturally and necessarily cannot be determined by the Individual, who, in his SINGULAR metaphysical frame of reference (one’s Individual sense of Self…the reason we all use the pronoun “I”) has no root existential context for the Group.  Thus, a Ruling Class of political elites are put in charge of the Individual, and are tasked with being the incarnate representation of the Ideal and then using a codified system of ethics, known as Law, to compel Individuals into their group identity by force.  Absent this Authoritative Force, there is no Law, and without the Law there is no Collective Ideal which can be practically realized.  And unless the Collective Ideal be realized, it is no longer an Ideal at all.  In other words, Law, if non-compulsory—if optional—is not Law at all.  If the Indiviudal can CHOOSE to act in accordance with the collective Ideal, then clearly the Individual precedes the Collective in the metaphysical context.  The Individual who is free to choose whether or not he acts in accordance with group ethics is not defined by the group, and thus has no foundational collective identity, which means he cannot be beholden to a Collective Ideal…he has no Authority over him to compel him.  And an Individual who cannot be compelled by force into obeying an ethic meant to promote the Collective Ideal is an Individual who is not governed.

To be governed is, at root, to be controlled, you see.  The Individual who is in control of himself then is not governed.  Which means government is fundamentally unnecessary, and cannnot exist, because there can be no way to quantify or even qualify its efficacy in a context where it has no Authority to compel by force.

Based the above, I submit three things are certain:

  1. Government is necessarily Collectivist, making the Group the head of the Individual, metaphysically, which means that the Group forms the basis for the interpretation of reality when government is established.
  2. Government shall and must use force to compel Individuals into collective behavior, and this by its Authority to represent the Collective Ideal as its practical incarnation.
  3. Indiviudal freedom is impossible within the Collectivist Metaphysical paradigm of Goverenment/Authority/Law.  The ethics of LEGALITY demanded by the Collectivist metaphysics of Governemnt preclude CHOICE as the means by which ethics are realized. Obedience is the only means by which the Law can be satisfied.  To claim that the individual is free to choose to accept and adhere to that (the Law) which he is obligated under threat of punishment, all the way unto death, at the hands of the ruling classes, is a contradiction of reason and logic.  Choice qua choice…the ability of the Indivudal alone to determine his own outcomes at a fundamental level, from the place of a singular “I”, contradicts the very philosophical foundations of Government, and this categorically so.

Often, in response to the assertion that all Governments are fundamentally tyrannical because all Governments exist for the sole purpose of compelling the Individual into a Collective Ideal, people will bring up “free elections”. Unfortunately, the idea of citizens deciding who will represent them in Government is a thin veneer of liberty, but contains no real substance beyond the surface. I would think this obvious based on the clear contradiction imbedded in the idea:

We freely select those who shall rule us.

First, who is “We”, pale face? “We”, when we are speaking of how reality shall be organized (sociopolitical context) is a Collectivist term, and specifically rejects the idea of the Individual at the metaphysical root. Second, to vote upon which manifestation of Governing Authority one will obey is merely the illusion of choice.  True choice is not the ability to decide whether one will accept A or B, but whether he will accept A or NOT A, and B or NOT B.  In other words, true choice is that in which the indivudal is not obligated to make a choice at all, so to speak.  Even under “free” democracies, those who refuse to choose (to vote) are nevertheless obligated, by the force of Government, to obey the outcome of the vote.  This is not freedom of choice, but slavery to the State.  The faces of the State may change, but its Authority to compel individuals by violence is constant.

The illusion of choice is the illusion of freedom.  There is no freedom which can exist under the auspices of the Absolute Authority of Government, which exists ENIRELY as a function of Collectivist Metaphysics and which therefore defines Ethics in terms of Legality, not Morality (the Individaul Ethic); and Legality is entirely about FORCE, not Choice…about obedience to the Collectivist Ideal, which is practically manifest as obedience to the Ruling Political Elite.  And that which is entirely about Force cannot, by definition, have anything to do with Freedom.  All the Individual does within the context of a society ruled by the State is a function of not his freedom to choose, but of what the Government ALLOWS him to do.  The Government owns the Individual because it has the power and the purpose to define him according to the Collective Ideal, which means, necessarily and effectively, to eradicate Individuality qua Individuality entirely in favor of the metaphysics of Collectivism.

*

It has been shown that all Empires rise and fall in the same way and in approximately the same amount of time, regardless of their political structure (autocracy, democracy, monarchy, etc.).  This, I submit, is because of the inherent impossibility of combining the false reality of a Collectivist Ideal, practically represented by the State, with the rational reality of the Individual and Individualist metaphysics.  Even here in the United States, which is currently undergoing its own tragic and frankly embarrassing undulations of late-state empire behavior, is not immune from the rational cause and effect of root metaphyscial assumptions leading to inevitable social conclusions.  Which is egg on the faces of all who have lauded the uniqueness of America’s Enlightenment-influenced ideals, and the unshakable moral integrity of its founding documents.  For all of its appeals to the enlightened principles of the Rights of Man, the United States is yet again proving that when we define man collectively, society inevitably collapses.  And I must admit that of all the Empires I have studied, the fall of America is perhaps the most sickly-sentimental, the most self-loathing, and the most cliche…it’s a shameful wad of the worst and most embarrassing aspects of empire decline: gushing feminine sentimentality (every country song on the radio for example and every commercial on TV), pining for “old main street” traditions and in-your-face-flag-waving, insatiable consumerism and life-by-debt, the rampant acceptance of rank idiocy into the public discourse (e.g. daytime talk shows), immigration as a crutch for the rich and the ruling classes, and the plain old boring corruption of the selective application of Law for personal gain…and so on and so forth. And for those of you not convinced that we in the U.S. are not in the least bit unique and are merely yet another Collectivist Ideal on the verge of inevitable collapse, ask yourselves why the U.S. Constitution begins with “We the People…”, as opposed to “We the Persons…”.

It’s because Persons don’t need government.  PERSONS choose; People are ruled.

*

The following is the philosophical process of collectivism—based upon its metaphysical premise—from Epistemology to Politics; and it illustrates why, under government, you do not have freedom of speech (or any other freedom for that matter) and never did.

(an) Idea = (a) Truth (or a proposed Truth); (a) Truth = (an) Ethic; (an) Ethic = (an) Action; (an) Action = Violence (fundametally); Violence = Coercion; Coercion = Legality; Legality = (the) State

I know that this is a bit abstruse. Please bear with me.

From this we can see that ALL ideas are the purview of the ruling class. ANY idea from and by an individual thus is subject to the Authority of the State…because ideas equal actions, and these actions MUST at root serve the Collectivist Ideal; and since the realization of that Ideal is dependent upon Law, and Law is FORCE, all ideas—under the auspices of the Collectivist Ideal which in that reality DRIVE IDEAS—imply force.  And force belongs to the State.

Okay…still abstruse.

Keep bearing.

To allow the Individual to own his ideas, beyond the Law and thus beyond the coercive power of the State, is to invite a challenge to Authority, at the metaphysical level—Individualism—which the government by its nature cannot accept…ever.  To claim one’s speech is free is to claim that the Individual has a right to his ideas INDEPENDENT OF THE COLLECTIVE…that he has ownership, utterly, over his own mind, which is entirely an affirmation of INDIVIDUALIST metaphysics.

A Collectivist Authority cannot recognize an Individual’s ideas, and therefore it cannot accept them, and therefore it cannot accept the Individual speech which expresses those ideas.  It can only recognize ideas which affirm the reality of the COLLECTIVE IDEAL…which doesn’t fundamentally recognize the EXISTENCE of the Individual qua the Individual. It does not recognize the legitimacy of ANYTHING about the Individual—his thoughts or anything else.  Your “free speech” as far as the Collective reality of the Collectivist Ideal is concerned, is, like everything else, something the Government ALLOWS. And what is allowed is not, in itself, free.  It is enslaved.

*

The Collectivist Ideal is metaphysically the ROOT of reality itself, and requires a concentrated, centralized, Authoritative Force (the State) to compel Individuals into that reality.  ALL epistemology (proposed truth; ideas and speech) necessarily implies force as the means by which the Ideal will be served and become efficacious and practical in reality.  All ideas then, from the point of view of Government, can occupy one of only two possible categories:

  1. Ideas which affirm the State (Government)
  2. Ideas which threaten the power of the State (Government) and seek to replace it with a different version of Centralized Force (new Laws).

And when I say all ideas I mean ALL…from your views on heady subjects like term limits and abortion to what you want from breakfast.  All ideas, when viewed from the position of the Authority which exists soley and utterly to make the Collectvist Ideal THE standard of reality, can fundamentally ONLY mean affirmation or denial.  Period.  Full stop.  The State cannot recognize ANY OTHER MEANING.  Because all other meanings imply individual thought.  What YOU want for breakfast, from the point of view of the COLLECTIVIST AUTHORITY, has nothing whatsoever to do with YOU.  It has ONLY to do with whether or not your idea—in this case, your breakfast selection—represents a challenge to (its) power and to Collectivist reality or not.  It may sound absurd, and on some level absurd it may be, but when the categorical suppression of the Individual metaphysic is the sum and substance of Authoritative Power, it is impossible for ANY idea to mean, fundamentally, anything else.  Impossible.  All that matters is control.  Everything about the State is about control.  THAT’S what the State is.  Governement IS Force.  The two are unavoidably corollary.  There isn’t one without the other.  And thus, there isn’t any meaning to ANY idea that isn’t fundamentally about control.

And this is why speech is not, cannot, and never will be free within the context of Government, its Authority, and its Law.  All speech, like all actions and all thoughts and all ideas, is purely a function of what the State will allow.  And to do only what you are allowed to do means that fundamentally what you want to do or think or SAY is as far from free as east is from west.

END