Let’s get to the issue at hand here: the collectivist philosophical irony of thinking that what is clearly an outside–in metaphysic–that is, man is a direct and absolute function of his environment–is really something which can relevantly include the individual man; what I would call the “inside”, or the Self, of man. I aver that this is the deception being propagated by the new animated Pixar film, “Inside Out”.
The message implied by the movie is basically the same message implied by American culture in 2015 in general, and it is that the individual somehow stands to gain by accepting the idea that all he or she is is a function of what they experience…of the causal universe; of what happens when the “discovered” physical laws which are absolute and inviolable, and somehow exist in an infinite, unseen vacuum of their own perfect and self-contained integrity, knock one thing into another thing, and then those things into other things, and so on and so forth until “you” appear.
And this is the root and unavoidable conclusion of this message: that you are both you and NOT you. That you have emotions and you don’t have emotions. That you benefit from understanding these emotions and what they do and what they contribute and you don’t benefit. Because you somehow exist and yet do not exist. That somehow one times zero can equal something NOT zero. That you are a direct function of your environment, and your emotional experiences attest to this, and yet, this in spite of the glaring and overt contradiction in the statement “YOU are a DIRECT function of your environment”. For it does not take but a remedial understanding of logic and a cursory glance at reason to ascertain that if one is a direct function of his environment, then one cannot possibly exist in the first place…which renders the statement itself patently false, and thus inevitably destructive and murderous should it ever be implemented in any practical way upon a society. And by “society”, I mean individuals.
Now, let’s pepper the assertion “You are a direct function of your environment” with some educational (and ostentatious) parentheses, in order that we may render to it a proper translation and explication:
You are a direct (read, “absolute and inexorable”) function of your environment (read, “laws of nature”; read “determinative forces”; read “the causal universe”; read “someONE needs to be in charge of the masses because they can only possess the illusion of consciousness, which will be a disaster for them (read “the ruler’s self-assumed power”) if they ever decide to exist for and to themselves; read “group metaphysic”; read “destruction for the sake of destruction”).
And thus is revealed this formula:
Absolute causality = absolute determinism = absolute collectivism = group metaphysic = inherent vacuum of definitions/meaning/purpose for said group which any given member of the group at any given moment is unable to provide due to the very nature of the group metaphysic (e.g. the illusion of individual consciousness) = a select number of “divinely-appointed” rulers who must compel the unenlightened masses into “right” thinking and behavior = the categorical sacrifice of the individual for the group = destruction for destruction’s sake since without the individual and without a perpetual and external “threat” to the group there is no reference for the group in the first place = perpetual group vs. individual antagonism (wherein the individual is always collectivized into a rival group, since the illusion of individual existence must be maintained in order for the leadership to convince people of the need to passively accept and willingly offer up their own self-sacrifice) = rationally vapid, morally nebulous, never-ending calls to overt nationalism almost exclusively limited to unfettered pro-militarism, seemingly incongruously paired with the Balkanization of society into competing groups who villify each other and vie for some illusion of power within the Central Authority structure which is in reality restricted solely to those “called” to lead the group by the mysterious and cosmic Divine Will. And thus, the formula becomes circular, repeating itself over and over and over again, with literally no end in sight until nature alone finally brings about the end of humanity.
Only the individual can end the cycle, which is nothing short of hell on earth (or hell in general); but this necessitates that the individual become the absolute existential constant, fully of himself and to himself, and this necessitates an almost total re-defining and re-codifying of the accepted human metaphysical premise. And given the pervasive and almost inextricably planted notions of Man-as-Extension-of-a-Causal-Universe averred by even the most trenchant and brilliant of libertarians and rationalists, I do not see an end in sight, if there even is one at all. I mean, I see it for myself, because I live it with the understanding that my life is not a function simply of my environment, and that in some way, in some form, I, via my acceptance of my SELF as the only universal constant by which anything has any rational meaning at all I will perpetuate that Self irrespective of the environment or other people’s irrational ideas, and that death has no more claim upon my existence than “blue” or “left” or “heavy” or Planck’s Constant or any other concept which man has decided that though he created it, and he is the sole reference for which it can have any relevancy or usefulness, nevertheless he is entirely subject to it, unto both life and death.
Which ironically (though this irony goes unnoticed) renders life and death one and the same. Meaning that if you concede the moment you are born you begin to die, then logically you assert that the moment you come alive is the moment death lays claim to your existence. Thus, life = death. And since not even these two basic concepts can serve any rational purpose to any form of efficacy, because they lack even a nascent facade of practical meaning, what difference does it make what we think or do? What difference does anything make when we declare death a direct, inevitable, and absolute function of life?
Here’s the answer you are looking for: It doesn’t. Because we have no claim to SELF, because we have sacrificed it to the very concepts which are supposed to promote us. For shame!
So..in short, you were born for the sole and determined purpose of dying. And that makes you literally no different from any collectivist who may demand your sacrifice for his pleasure (sorry…the “group’s” pleasure”); from the collectivist you claim to reject; and your claims no different than claims you pretend to trample.
No. Sorry. It isn’t as easy as you would like, nor as you would think. Rational consistency, it seems, itself must be sacrificed in service to “truth”, right libertarians?
Time to think a bit more about things.
The basic epistemological chain of reasoning, which bespeaks of the collectivist, determinist metaphysic (as I shall explain), on display in the movie “Inside Out” is this: Your emotions are a function of your environment, and you are a function of your emotions. Which makes you a function of your environment (your environment = emotions = you, which means environment = you), according to transitive property. Which is in perfect harmony with the group metaphysic. Since you are a function of the very “laws of nature” which govern all reality, and therefore existence, you cannot really lay a claim to “yourself”, nor can you claim to possess any real truth because, again, there is no such thing as “you”. “You” are just like everyone else, who really isn’t anyone else. For everyone is a function of the same, inalienable, inviolable laws which govern everything, and so there is no means for you, individually, to obtain truth, or knowledge of any kind, or morality of any kind, or existence of any kind, except it be bestowed upon you from the outside, just as your existence is. And the only ones who can do that are those who (in some manner or fashion, usually under the guise of a state “ruler” or “leader” or “pastor” or “priest” or “king”…some manner of “divine” proxy) have been somehow specially “called” to represent to the masses of humanity those forces (God’s Divine and Sovereign Will, the Laws of Nature, the Essence of the Party, or the Race, or the Culture, or the Nation, or the Tribe) which govern them absolutely. How they get a pass on their own absolute group metaphysic and their own insular and total determinism is a “mystery” punted into the cosmic abyss. They never explain it because they cannot–for even they are merely lowly representatives of the infinite Will, they will say. And even if they did explain it to you, you wouldn’t understand anyway because your lack of individual awareness makes you an nsufficient vessel to contain such lofty knowledge.
In other words you wouldn’t understand it even if they told you; and if you did understand it you would abjectly concede it, which makes understanding it quite irrelevant. You would simply agree that it is rational; you would have no questions to ask; thus, there would be no discussion…no defense of it. You would be a “called” one, fit to rule and to lead and to cajole and compel and to sacrifice and to profit and to absorb. And you certainly wouldn’t question that. For the benefit of such a role would be self-evident and readily apparent, particularly when it is in perfect keeping with the Divine Will.
If you see the movie “Inside Out”, or if you have seen it, you will notice or have noticed that at no time does the ability to maintain a rationally consistent conceptual paradigm ever enter the discussion. Concepts, in other words, are presumed ipso facto…that is, they simply exist as the universal absolutes which compel material outcomes in the environment to which human beings have a corresponding, determined and predetermined emotional reaction. This chain of causality does not change, you will also notice or have noticed, from infancy through adulthood. Human beings have bestowed upon them, somehow, language, which is merely the codification and cohesion of concepts (abstractions) into a practical linguistic framework allowing for group integration. That is, we communicate via language because we are a natural product of the group–the collective–which has given birth to us, because we are it, as far as we can know, and not as a means to manifest our own individual personalities, wills, whims, and ideas upon our environment to our own ends and for our own comfort and pleasure and perpetuation.
Which is what language really is and why we really possess it. In other words, we have language because we, individually, have the inherent ABILITY to have it; making us, individually, the only true reason for it. The ability to conceptualize is the ability to communicate through language; and this is the ability to reason. For reason is simply the rational consistency of the conceptual paradigm, applied through language. Language qua conceptualization qua reason is only relevant if there is an absolute reference for it. Since it is the individual who has fundamental, existential possession of it, it is a direct function of the individual, which means the individual must be the absolute source and absolute objective of it.
But once you remove the individual and make him an absolute function of the environment qua his emotions, as this movie does, then you have no need for language, and thus concepts, because language is merely a means by which to compel people into the collective, period. Language is not of the Self, it is of the group; but this movie is about ONE girl. NOT the group. And in this context, the individual “you” is merely a bundle of emotions, without rhyme nor reason; directed to and fro by the passions elicited by determined and inevitable environmental stimulus, trying to make sense of what is fundamentally senseless, because the true metaphysic of the Self has not been realized; and this is the message of the movie. Without the group to tell you what everything is supposed to mean–to define your reality for you and to provide the interpretive lens for all the seemingly incoherent and capricious environmental influence…to give you a hook from which to hang your very existence–NOTHING fundamentally can prevail except confusion, which in the movie is rendered as “Sadness”. And “Joy”, no matter how hard she tries, cannot overcome to emotion of “Sadness” because the truth of existence according to the group metaphysic is that ALL reality is doomed to crumble into an endless abyss of nihilistic madness and despair if one concedes that he or she has some manner of individual presence. Individually, you are the rope being stretched between two competing, irreconcilable, forces: the lie of Self and the Truth of the Group qua the Environment. And though all emotions seem to have an equal say in things at first, as the child grows up left to herself, the power of Sadness becomes more and more dominant, subordinating ALL other emotions to its inevitable consequence: destruction. Destructive behaviors, destructive ideas, destructive conclusions.
It is the group’s responsibility to turn sadness, happy; to make the confusing, rational; and the meaningless, purposeful. And when we are left alone (and the little girl in the movie is nothing if not the metaphor for the lonesome INDIVIDUAL, as we spend 90% or more of the movie inside her head), with no group available with which to integrate ourselves, then the environment will kill you. The only way to control it is to acknowledge its power, and your complete inability to organize it on your own. You need OTHERS. And that’s the moral of the story, as we see when the little girl finally understands that she must either subordinate herself to her family–her parents–or die.
The perceptive among you will notice that the little girl never has any just cause for her sadness, or her anger, or her disgust, nor even her joy; though “Joy” is, I submit, a metaphor for the collective, because Joy always invokes images of belonging; whereas Fear, Disgust, Sadness, and Anger are the emotional displays of rank selfishness. No, the little girl feels things without the corresponding conceptual rhyme or reason. And what this means is that she can never claim to have been wronged by any circumstance, which means she can never claim to have a legitimate grievance against anyone else, and thus she can never claim that she has a right to justice.
This too is hallmark–an uber foundation–of collectivist philosophy.
Interestingly enough, the family “unit” is seen as the salvation for emotional-qua-environmental induced misery, and yet, through a few scenes within the heads of mom and dad, we see the following emotions in the “leadership” roles (in each character, there is the “boss”; the dominant emotion to which the other emotions defer). Mom’s dominant emotion is “Sadness”, and dad’s is “Anger”. Which, yeah…interesting. In the little girl’s head it is “Joy” who is the brains of the outfit, but Joy quickly gives way to Sadness (reluctantly…showing the stubbornness of the young in clinging to their individuality) when life’s circumstances take a turn for the worse and she is forced to move away from her friends to follow dad’s job to San Fransisco. This speaks to the prevailing negative power of the environment, I believe, which is a subliminal way of criticizing America’s “free” society. You see, no matter how hard we try, even as adults the negative emotions dominate, because there is just too much fucking freedom. Even in a society ruled by the largest central authority the world has ever seen, individuals are just too burdened with their own choices and their own interests to ever truly be happy.
I’m sure more could be said about this, but alas, I’m getting long in this essay, even for me.
At any rate, this, I submit, is why the movie doesn’t spend any time at all dealing with concept formation nor language development in its treatment of one’s emotional evolution. They remove the individual from himself (or herself, as it were) by making him a categorical function of his environment; his emotions being the primary and only relevant expression within the human organism of environmental stimulus absent the influence of the collective (and since the collective isn’t directly dealt with, per se, in the movie, there isn’t any reason to deal with concepts, which again are only useful in emphasizing group dominance).
I find it telling that there is almost no back story to this movie. We know nothing about why the family moves to San Fransisco, or what dad does for a living, or where mom went to school, or even if she did, or what either mom or dad like to do for fun. They exist as merely props for the girl…a representation of the monolithic power of the environment to control feelings and thus behavior and thus existence; and then, near the movie’s conclusion, the conveniently provide the metaphor for collective integration. For the life of me I cannot even remember their names, of if they were even given names at all.
The family has no friends, no extended relatives, no work acquaintances to speak of. Basically, mom and dad aren’t fully human, let alone ever portrayed as sentient, volitional individuals; and this is made even more poignant when we see that they, exactly like the little girl, are ruled entirely by the anthropomorphized emotions in their heads. Mom and dad are the intellectual and metaphysical equivalents of the child. Their only “advantage” it seems is that they have at least some semblance of group-awareness. They understand that the key to happiness is to let the environment–your collective–define it for you. Give in and let go. Mom and dad, and later the State, will make it all better once you stop thinking that you somehow have a say in anything at all; as though you are anything more than a pre-programmed cog in the inexorable mechanism of universal causality.
The moral of the story, with respect to how to interpret emotions, is that all experiences are a composite of emotions. That is, a given experience, to be truly matured and meaningful, is neither sad nor happy, nor angry, nor disgusting, nor fearful, but is a combination of some or all of these emotions. Those of you now familiar with the implicit nihilism and futility of assuming an individual existence within a prevailing collectivist metaphysic will quickly make the connection to this conclusion and the fundamental assumptions which underlie this film.
Why do you think this is? Why do you think we are to assume that no emotion has any singular, inherent meaning? Why can no emotion stand alone as this or that, or as claiming absolute sovereignty over any given situation? Why cannot losing your best friend be simply sad, and not both sad and happy? Why are the emotions always mixed?
Is it because you are happy about part of the experience and sad about another part of it? But “environment” cannot be compartmentalized, you see. Environment is the singularity…it is THE governing force behind your emotions. There is no partitioning of what is absolute, by definition. You are a function, in totality, of your environment, and therefore there is no such thing as you deciding which experience means what to you; or which part of which experience means this or that. Environment, and thus experience, is entirely monolithic, homogenous. And this means what?
Right. You’ve got it, I dare say.
The moral of the story is that of emotional equivalency. The reason why emotions as they relate to environmental stimulus are always mixed is because, being a direct effect of the singular environment, they can have no distinctive value. Sadness is no better nor worse,nor more rational or irrational, than joy. Anger is no different than fear, practically speaking. “Sadness”, “joy”, “fear”, “anger”, “disgust” are concepts, and concepts are the sole purview and prerogative of the collective. They can have no meaning with respect to you individually. As such, whatever you perceive, as an individual, as a function of the environment, is the exact same thing as what you perceive next, or what you perceived before. Feelings are simply not distinct in any practical nor relevant way. You cannot claim to be sad, nor happy, nor angry at any given moment because there is no actual difference. Emotions are the environment, and the environment is unequivocal, and YOU are the environment. Meaning is conceptual, and conceptual reality is group reality. Period. Full stop.
In short, there is no need for you to be afraid, or disgusted, or angry, or sad; and there is no need for you to worry about being happy as though you, individually, are in any way responsible for that. You only need to obey.
And through your obedience you will find all the practical emotional meaning and fulfillment you need.