Category Archives: Epistemology

(Part 3: Quick and Easy Criticism of UPB) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

 

UPB begs the question: Why should preferable behavior be preferable? Or, said another way: Why is preferable behavior good? If we say: UPB is good because it’s UPB, then we have a circular reasoning (tautology), which is a logical fallacy. If we say that UPB is good because it’s good for individuals, then the individual, not UPB, is the ethical standard. In this case “universality” is an irrelevant ethical concept. Since individuals are individual, collectivizing their actions (demanding or even suggesting universal compliance) contradicts their existence. Which implies that the individual is not actually the ethical standard. Pursuing UPB then demands the collectivization of humanity, and once this happens, “preference” goes out the window. Since preference is a parameter of consciousness, and consciousness is and can only be singular (a function of the Individual qua the Individual), it has nothing whatsoever to do with Universally Preferable Behavior.

Trust NO philosophy from anyone which implies the collectivization of humanity. No matter how warm and fuzzy and peaceful it may sound, it’s all utterly evil. There is no rational apologetic for ethics which demand or imply universal compliance. They are all the spawn of hell. Period.

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(Part Two: Why UPB Self-Nullifies) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

[I apologize in advance for the tedious and highly technical nature of the following article. Bear with me. There really isn’t an easy way to do this. Thanks.]

1. If UPB is simply a set of possible choices, but does NOT reference an absolute moral Standard which makes compliance with UPB not simply preferable, but necessary in order to avoid some kind of irreparable existential contradiction, which thus implies and necessitates some irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all), then UPB cannot claim to be either universal nor preferable, since there is no fundamental existential difference between compliance and non-compliance. In which case, UPB self-nullifies.

2. If UPB IS considered an inexorable natural law–referencing itself as its own absolute moral Standard–to which the individual is obligated or face some form of irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all) then UPB is not preferable, but necessary, and perfunctory, and it self-nullifies.

3. If UPB is a legal (as opposed to ethical or moral) Standard–that is, Law as defined by a legal Authority, like the State–then by definition the individual is legally obligated to comply, and non-compliance results in punishment which, though legal, is, for all practical purposes, existential in its effect, since the manifestation of the ownership of oneself–i.e. free will/choice–while under State sanction is impossible. And therefore, UPB is not preferable and therefore self-nullifies.

Now, to expand upon point number two; and the reason is because this argument is, as I observe, the primary argument utilized by apologists for secular ethics:

If UPB is considered merely a de facto parameter of (one’s) Existence–that is, the perfunctory behavior of (one’s) Existence which affirms that (one’s) Existence actually exists, then UPB is nullified. Meaning, if we use the argument that because we observe that species or the individuals of that species behave in ways which are consistent with survival and reproduction and then claim that this behavior is actually preferable…we’ve contradicted ourselves and shown that such behavior cannot possibly be preferable, let alone ethical, and is only universal in that it is simply a de facto function of Existence qua Existence. In other words, if we remove choice–moral agency–from ethics entirely, or make it purely a function of the laws of nature, then a choice is never actually chosen. However, removing choice contradict ethics as meaningful in any rational or practical way, because amoral ethics imply behavior which doesn’t make a distinction between good behavior or bad behavior. So…why would any given behavior be preferable? It wouldn’t.

Also, notice how in scientific terms, which are the secularist’s terms of epistemology, ALL action is merely “behavior”…”choice” as a vehicle is sophistically smuggled in later–a bromide meant for and used by the small minority of non-communist atheists as a nod to the non-aggression principle; but UPB pairs with the NAP like salad pairs with Guinness.

If we accept Existence as the Metaphysical Primary, and therefore objective (empirical) reality and natural law as its practical Ethical and Epistemological derivatives , then we must admit that one cannot act via his Existencee in a way which contradicts his Existence…so regardless of what one does, and therefore what one chooses, one must necessarily always be acting ethically. To claim that one can somehow violate the terms of his or someone else’s (absolute) Existence by Existence, itself, is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, if UPB is said to be an Ethic derived from Existence, it is impossible for one to violate it, since one cannot violate the very thing that makes all behavior–like the “violation” itself– ultimately possible.

On the other hand, if we were to place UPB outside of (one’s) Existence and then argue that, as an Ethic outside of Existence (which is its own giant fallacy, given that Existence is the Metaphysical Primary for all apologists for UPB, I think), failure to follow UPB somehow amounts to an Ethical, and therefore moral, violation, and therefore is evil, and therefore obliges men to “prefer” UPB,  then the individual–as a rank existant–could neither be the source nor the reference for UPB, which makes whatever the individual prefers, and thus ultimately chooses, entirely besides the point…since his choice and preference are a function of himself. This again, as I asserted above in point 3., relegates UPB to the status of a Legal Code–the Legal Law–which means that coercion by a legal Authority, not preference, is the only legitimate and rational means of fulfilling the Law.

Now, if we claim that (one’s) existence is not in fact absolute, but somehow transient–an effect and not a cause, as it were, or a function of some Absolute Cause outside of (one’s) existence, then we would have no logical reason to conclude that behavior which promotes one’s existence is preferable to behavior which does not. For (one’s) existence, being non-absolute, is no more valid a state of nature than is his non-existence. Non-existence, because existence is not absolute, does not violate the Absolute Cause (that of which (one’s) existence AND non-existence is a direct effect), and therefore it can be no more rationally nor morally preferable to behave in ways that promote existence–of either oneself or others–than to behave in ways that do not. And therefore by what basis can we argue that UPB is actually preferable at all? No basis.

Interestingly, I have noticed that those who promote Existence as the Metaphysical Primarily DO, irrationally, make the distinction between Existence, the Primary, and one’s individual existence–because they understand that individual existence necessarily incorporates consciousness, and therefore they reject it as having anything to do with Existence qua Existence, because consciousness they assert is not objective, because it’s not empirical. But you see as soon as one makes the distinction between conscious existence (consciousness) and Existence the Primary, then whatever the individual consciously prefers--and all preference is conscious by definition–is beside the point. When you reject consciousness as fundamental to Existence you necessarily reject choice. Which means that you reject choice as fundamentally meaningful, which not only wrecks UPB but wrecks morality entirely, and makes any discussion of Ethics pointless.  I submit, however, that if we oblige consciousness to rational consistency, which is entirely logical (and a separate article), then reason alone serves as a perfect and categorical guide to Ethical behavior, because it makes Truth actually and objectively possible.

Part three very soon.

(Part One: Introduction and Ironic Metaphysical Roots) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

There’s no short way of doing this. At least not one that I prefer (see what I did there?), so I will just get to it. A while ago I was introduced to something called Universally Preferable Behavior (UPB). This, I understand, is more or less a formal apologetic of what is termed “secular ethics”. Which really is simply an Ethic derived from the metaphysics of Atheism (which are the metaphysics more or less of Aristotle…more on that later). There is no God to declare what is good behavior and what is evil behavior. Without such an arbiter of morality, it is assumed, there is no anchor for moral behavior.   Enter UPB stage left. UPB purports to fill the role of Arbiter, and hence the term “universal”. Which is an odd term when coupled with “preferable”. I understand that in the handbook of UPB some attempt is made to address this oxymoron, but the explanation left me pretty unsatisfied. It qualifies itself by claiming that behavior is only universal once a given objective has been defined. Like, IF I want to get to work on time, it is preferable that I drive, not walk. And within that context, it is universally preferable to drive and not walk. Of course the inconsistency is clear. Since the preferable behavior is contextual, it isn’t universal. It is only contextually universal…which is a contradiction in terms.

Here are some links that you can examine to give you some reference for this article. The first is the handbook for UPB (you may have to copy and paste this link into your search bar), by Stefan Molyneux, who purports to be the progenitor of UPB…I have some doubt about this, however. I think most of his apologetic for secular ethics has been around for some time. I could be wrong, and ultimately I don’t really care. Perhaps he coined the phrase and then added his own spin. Whatever. He can have the credit. It’s okay by me. The second source is a very condensed version of the basic assertions and conclusions of UPB. It gives you a good summary of what secular ethics is all about.

http://cdn.media.freedomainradio.com/feed/books/UPB/Universally_Preferable_Behaviour_UPB_by_Stefan_Molyneux_PDF.pdf

https://rudd-o.com/archives/the-twelve-principles-of-universally-preferable-behavior

I was tempted to ask my readers if they could spot the big problem right off the bat, but the more I examined UPB the more I realized that it was so terribly fraught with inconsistencies that this amounted to a trick question. It also makes it difficult, at least for my scatter-brain, to know where or how to begin, so I apologize in advance if this article seems somewhate disconnected. The more I wrote, the more I had to go back and add things to the margins of my notebook. So…I’m going to start and hope that some semblance of order reveals itself. In any case, all my points will here, somewhere. 🙂

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One of the first problems I noticed with UPB was that it doesn’t explain why preferential behavior is good behavior. That is, it doesn’t provide a convenient moral reference. This is a troubling and stark omission for a behavioral code which claims to be a universal Ethic. But I think I understand why the omission is there. A. Because it presumes “Objective Reality” as an ipso facto epistemological primary (that empiricism is proof of itself…which is a contradiction); and B. Because to include it highlights some serious inconsistencies with “Objective Reality”, which atheists and others, like those with Objectivist sympathies, don’t want to discuss (though they love to rant) and never resolve. Ever. And C. Because Atheism simply has no place for Good. It has an Ethic, but this is not the same thing. Behaving ethically does not necessarily equal behaving morally. And that’s the whole disaster of secular ethics in a nutshell. Not that religious ethics are any better. It’s just that they aren’t worse.

We understand that an Ethic gets its moral value from its foundational Metaphysic–metaphysics being the nature of what exists, and ethics being behavior that is ultimately consistent with the metaphysical primary, what I simply call the Metaphysic…and in between them is epistemology, which answers the question “What is Truth?” where Truth must be a necessary and ipso facto derivative of the the given Metaphysic. For example, Aristotelian philosophy essentially assumes that the Metaphysic is Existence, and its Epistemology thus is Objective Reality; it’s Ethic then is behavior which affirms the existence of Objective Reality–and of course one very common behavior is known as “being atheist”…and “being smug” is usually a corollary to this.  Unfortunately Aristotelian philosophy implies that Objective Reality is utterly empirical, which it’s not, and cannot be–which is why I respectfully reject Aristotle’s philosophy–and this presents a big problem for UPB because it implicitly relies upon the Aristotelian Metaphysic for its apologetics.

UPB seems pretty clearly to imply that the individual is the moral reference. That is, that UPB is “good”, or really, ethical, because it serves and affirms the individual. Unfortunately, while this sounds “so far so good”, this is as far as any semblance of rational consistency goes…at least for anyone who then has the intellectual foresight to ask the question thus begged: What is the individual? Or asked another way, what is the root nature of an individual’s “individual–ness”? (What is the nature of “I”?) This question naturally brings us to metaphysics, where atheism–remember, UPB’s roots are fundamentally atheistic–relies upon “Objective Reality”, which itself relies upon Scientific Determinism…which ends up being what is really meant by “Existence”. Scientific Determinism is the causal Platonic offspring of Science…the “why” to science’s “how”. Which is pretty ironic given how atheists love to name drop Aristotle as the philosophical father of their ideology. Ever since science decided to masquerade as philosophy and people decided to worship at the feet of lab-coated priests, we’ve gotten Scientific Deteminism as the Great Transcedant Cause in the Sky. Which is exactly like Divine Determinism. Oh, how the rivers of irony flow deep and thick and wide ’round here.

Part two real soon.

 

More on the Self and the Fallacy of “Existence Exists”

Let’s take a chair.

Is the chair able to exist…as a chair?

No?

But if it is unable to exist, then how does the chair manifest its existence…how can it BE a chair if it’s not able to be a chair?

Let’s say that Ability is not considered  wrt to the suggested metaphysical primary, Existence. Then “chair” is simply a manifestation of existence qua existence…it cannot be distinctly known as “chair”. You see, if the chair doesn’t have any inherent ability to BE a chair then it isn’t actively a chair…it doesn’t act–it doesn’t DO–as a chair, and so how can it be said to be a chair? What’s the difference between the existence of “chair” and existence of, say, “tree”? It doesn’t ACT as a chair, so what exactly makes it a chair? All of the things that make it chair must be relative to the things that make a tree a tree? But the tree doesn’t act as tree, and the chair doesn’t act as chair–because they possesses no inherent, underlying Ability–and so by what means can we qualify or quantify the distinctions? Chair is chair and tree is tree, and neither act and thus there is no relative distinction between the two..because relativity (relative distinction) requires action requires the ability to act, and they possess no ability. They only possess existence. But then what is the difference between the existence of tree and existence of chair?

There is none.

There is no ability and thus no action, and thus no relative distinction.  Any distinction would be absolute. But there is no such thing as absolute distinction because absolute distinction is infinite distinction; and infinite distinction precludes co-existence.

And this is why Existence as the metaphysical primary wrecks ALL distinctions between its supposed particulars. There is no tree and no chair; there is only existence. There is no ability to exist and thus no action of existence and thus no relativity of the objects which are said to exist and thus no way to make distinctions of the particulars of existence and thus no way to define the particulars of existence (e.g. chair as opposed to tree) and thus no way to claim that any of the particulars of existence exist and thus no way to claim that existence exists.

But if we say the chair has the ability to exist then we make existence AS CHAIR an action…something the chair does. It is doing as a function of its ability to do. And all doing is relative. There is no action that is not relative, because a single object cannot move in a vacuum. (In a vacuum, there is literally no difference between position A and B of a given object, whether in time or space.) And so if being is action and action is relative then those extant properties which make a tree a tree and a chair a chair are, in fact, a manifestation of their ability to act (as chair or tree) and thus are likewise relative. And relative distinctions do not make a chair a chair and a tree a tree except that they be by conceptualized. Relative distinctions are not absolute, by definition. They require an observer. They require conceptualization via a constant…a reference. And that reference is Self. Is “I”.

And so the Ability (to “exist”…e.g. as chair) which drives the action (of “existence”…e.g. being a chair) demands the relativity (of “existence”…e.g. of chair) which demands conceptualization (of “existence”…e.g. the sentient observation of the chair) which demands a constant–a reference (for the “existence”…e.g. of the chair) and that reference is “I”.

That reference is what I mean by the Self.

Metaphysics: Ability-Action-Relativity-Conceptualization-Constant

How Exactly Does Existence Imply a Plurality of Itself?: More Problems with Objectivism

Objectivism asserts a reality distinct from the observer…the observer being, of course, “he who observes”.  Now, understand that when we speak of observation we necessarily imply cognition; and I prefer this term to “consciousness”, since “consciousness” has become rationally opaque and is used by objectivism and other philosophies as a synonym for what is fundamentally subjective. Also, “cognition” is less cumbersome, anyway.  It merely means an observer conceptualizing the distinction between himself and what he observes.  Which is the foundation of language, and therefore gets to the very heart and root of real truth.

But cognition is not simply a biological or physiological process…so we need to be careful here.  It CAN BE a rational synonym for “consciousness”, I submit, because it implies a necessary awareness of the distinction between one’s Self, as the Observer (the frame of reference for knowledge), and that which is observed.  In other words, cognition does not necessarily imply the neurological, but rather the active and efficacious and relevancy-giving conscious awareness of the neurological (so to speak…meaning, awareness that “neurological” is a thing in the first place…a truth which can be applied to a purpose specifically and necessarily determined by the observer).

So objectivism assert this distinction between “objective reality” and the observer…by which it means a distinction between “objective reality” and cognition.  Now, this distinction is alone enough to discredit objectivism as any kind of rational school of thought, since absent the observer’s ability to define this reality from his own existential frame of reference via cognition, he cannot claim that it exists at all…as objectively real or otherwise. In which case you cannot make any philosophical claims about it whatsoever.  I mean, if “objective reality” is objectively real, and the observer’s position in it is not mutually exclusive of it, then the observer must also be objectively real.  Which means that the tool by which he interprets and defines it, that is, his cognition–his own conscious and singular frame of reference–must also be objectively real.  So…how can one’s consciousness/cognition be divorced from objective reality?

It can’t.

So…there is no “objective reality” outside of consciousness.  Which means that once you are no longer existentially conscious (alive), then you have no frame of reference for objective reality, which means it has no relevancy to you, which means it has no truth to you, where “you” is an absolute context, which means that it cannot be said to exist.  It cannot be said to be anything. Which means that beyond your consciousness you cannot claim a reality which continues, outside of you.

As soon as you attempt to divorce consciousness/cognition from objective reality, you’re done.  You’ve created a contradiction which collapses the whole philosophy.

Nevertheless, let’s continue, because there is another problem–albeit closely related–with objectivism which bears explication.

There can be no distinction between reality and the observer because the observer has no frame of reference for such a reality; and this  because he has no frame of reference for for anything outside of that by which he knows (and therefore can claim) anything–his absolute SELF.  And himSELF, is “he who observes”.

Because he cannot step outside of his own observation, he cannot claim that there is anything outside of that observation.  Whatever is outside of his powers of observation cannot be defined, and therefore he cannot claim that they exist outside of himself.  For “himself” and his observation are entirely corollary.  There is no reality outside himself because it is only by himself, and absolutely so, as the observer that he can make any truth claim, of which “reality” is perhaps preeminent.  It is like claiming that I know what it’s like to be a cup of coffee…that is, because I can “be” a cup of coffee outside of myself, I can claim that “here is coffee”, and “there is me”, from TWO completely distinct frames of reference.  But this is impossible since my SELF as the observer is utterly singular.  The cup of coffee “outside” of me only exists as such because I OBSERVE it and define it and give it truth as a function of ME–my absolute frame of reference as the (conscious/cognitive) observer. Without me, there is no frame of reference for that cup of coffee; in which case, I have no definition for coffee that is “real”, “outside of me”.  That is, since I am not a cup of coffee, I can only ever define a cup of coffee as it pertains, absolutely and categorically, to me from my absolute frame of reference as the observer. The distinction, then, between “me” and “cup of coffee”, is entirely a function of MY singular ability to conceptualize the distinction.  Without that ability, that is, without me, as utterly and absolutely myself, consciously/cognitively, there is no distinction.  And therefore, there is no “reality’ outside of me.  A cup of coffee entirely and “objectively” outside of me–outside of my SELF–is entirely and infinitely irrelevant.  And one cannot claim the existence of that which is infinitely irrelevant. And in this way, apprehending a “reality” for me–that is, a reality that I can observe and thus claim from the place of me, yet not from me, but outside of me–is a violation of both my identity and the identity of “reality”.  To claim a reality outside of me that I can somehow observe and know and yet exists entirely and absolutely and completely independent of me is not to affirm reality, but to destroy it.  It is to dismantle cognition as the means of ascertaining truth, because it is to say that human cognition has nothing fundamentally to do with reality.  But since cognition is, in fact, the means, and only means, by which man can know anything, to dismantle it is to subordinate humanity to an entirely unknowable “reality”.  And if that isn’t a recipe for tyranny, then I don’t know what is.  And this is precisely why in the 60 years or so since Objectivism became the chef d’oeuvre of “rationalists” despotism has done nothing but advance…and mightily so.

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While Objectivists speak of absolute distinction between the observer and reality, they also claim that Objectivism fully and absolutely integrates the observer, via the metaphysical primary of Existence, into that reality.  This is a problem.  How can you step outside of that which is, at root, you–existence–in order to observe you?  That is, if you are are fully and absolutely a function of the absolute and infinite metaphysical primary, how can you make the distinction between “you” and “reality” by appealing to an absolute which is both?

In order to answer this contradiction, some objectivists, or respecters of Objectivism, will assert the concept of “emergent properties”. And this is the idea that something in whole becomes greater in some sense than the sum of its parts.  This, in fact, cannot be literally true. That is, it is only ever subjectively true, never objectively so. Abstractly…subjectively, yes.  A thing can have more value than its mere material properties would suggest; but notice that this requires a conscious observer to apply that thing to his particular frame of reference of Self. In terms of objective truth, it is impossible to claim that a thing is anything more than that of which it is comprised at root.  That is, there is no such thing as some “property” “emerging” beyond the absolute irreducible ontic essence of something. Like, if we claim that all things, including human beings, are at root a function of immutable physical laws, or absolute fundamental particles interacting according to these absolutely immutable physical laws (which is a contradiction…but that’s a topic for later), and that this has nothing whatsoever to do with consciousness/cognition–that is, has nothing to do with the fact that man apprehends and defines ALL of what he perceives as real via his awareness of Self (his ability to conceptualize relative distinctions between his Self, and what is NOT Self)–then we cannot claim that consciousness is somehow an “emergent property” and therefore doesn’t contradict the absolute and irreducible source of man and all things, which is utterly and absolutely unconscious.  This is a fallacy, and cannot be taken seriously.

The idea of “emergent properties”, in other words, is the irrational assertion that you get consciousness from what is absolutely unconscious; that you get free will from irrelevant determinism (biological, physical, natural, mathematical); that you get Self–in the sense of a singular “You”, from NOT You; an observational and existential frame of reference of “I” from NOT I; that what is infinite, Existence–which according to Objectivism is the irreducible, infinite metaphysical primary–spawns a plurality of finite objects; that an infinite existence somehow produces a plurality of itself without contradicting itself.

And it is from this claim–that existence as the metaphysical primary somehow spawns a plurality of itself…where things can actually exist utterly distinct from one another and allow for the observer to perceive a “reality” outside himself (outside his cognition)–that we get the common obectivist refrain of “existence exists”.

But “existence exists” is simply saying that existence has existence, which is a tautological assertion, and therefore a logical failure.  You see, the rational metaphysical argument is not that the primary simply implies itself, but that it implies someONE–some observer; some reference–who is able to claim that it is, in fact, the metaphysical primary in the first place; that it is, in fact, TRUE. That it holds REAL relevance; REAL efficacy.  That it implies something in a practical sense beyond itself, which can see it, and know it, but doesn’t contradict it as the absolute and irreducible primary.  Objectivism fails at this, and therefore ultimately fails entirely…as does any other philosophy which fails to meet the requirement for a rationally consistent metaphysical primary.

Now, having said that, reconciling this inherent metaphysical paradox is really hard.  So hard, in fact, that I’m not sure of any primary outside of my own (Ability) which successfully does this.  Here’s why it’s so challenging:

Let’s look at “existence exists” again.  What is absolutely itself, and irreducibly, or infinitely so, cannot possess properties of itself, because those “properties” are necessarily also infinite.  And as such they are undefinable…other than to say that the properties of existence are existence itself, which as I have explained is a logical failure.

Further, saying that existence exists is merely saying that existence is itself, which is a meaningless claim unless “itself” can be defined.  But if “itself” is infinite then it cannot be valued…for if there is no limitation to itself, then it cannot be anywhere, and thus it cannot be anything.  Another way to put it is: that which is everything and everywhere cannot be anything or anywhere.  That which is all is itself nothing.

But the rational metaphysical primary must certainly be absolute, and thus infinite, which according to my explication above is a contradiction that seems beyond resolution, making any metaphysical primary impossible.  Now, I submit that this is not actually the case–that it is a true paradox, and not a contradiction, and therefore has a resolution.  But the question here is: Does “existence” as a primary resolve it?

The answer is no.  Because “existence” doesn’t imply anything beyond itself, and this is proven by the epigram which oft accompanies it: “existence exists”.  This simply means that existence implies existence.  It begins and ends with itself.  The “plurality” of itself, from which the observer ostensibly arises, ironically doesn’t actually exist! The observer cannot be made rationally distinct from “existence” if “existence” is the metaphysical primary…a distinction which is utterly necessary if he is to actually observe anything.  You see, it’s not about whether or not the observer exits, but whether or not the observer is able to define existence.  That is, it’s not about whether or not the observer IS at root the metaphysical primary, but whether the primary actually implies–demands/necessitates–that there BE an observer…that he occupy a place from which he can SEE it, as distinct from himself, and know it, and define it, and therefore make it relevant; make it actually the TRUE metaphysical primary.

But, again, “existence” doesn’t imply anything beyond itself, and therefore the observer cannot actually observe it (nor anything else, since all “things” are equally infinite “existence), and so he cannot define it.  Therefore, as soon as an objectivist makes any truth claim, let alone the claim that “existence” is the metaphysical primary, they have dismantled the primary and thus their entire philosophy. There is nothing outside of existence, not even the objectivist. Because all things have equal absolute existence, there is no such thing as “all things”.  There is just infinite existence, which is, in fact, nothing at all. Because: that which is all, is actually nothing.

In summary, there is a dreadfully complicated paradox here that for all of its beauty and Rand’s inarguable genius Objectivism doesn’t answer.  Because to answer it is to reject its metaphysical primary, which is a rejection of itself.  The only root objective thing at all anywhere is the metaphysical primary; and Objectivism’s primary, existence, spawns nothing but subjectivism by affirming and necessitating that the observer/reality paradox is infinitely paradoxical.  And this is how a paradox becomes a contradiction.  Because a paradox which can have no resolution is no longer a paradox, it is an impossibility…a contradiction in terms.  And contradiction is the mother of subjectivity. Because contradiction as infinite foundational “truth” spawns infinite truths. Which is simply infinite contradiction.

All of this makes Objectivism considerably ironic.  An “objective” metaphysic which demands utterly subjective epistemology, purpose, ethics, and politics is hardly objective, let alone a rational basis for the argumentation of objective reality.

END

When the State Asserts that Man is Both the Standard of Good and the Threat to the Good: The rational failure of a Government by and of the People

Man must be protected from himself is the argument for government in a nutshell. And this? Is a very bad argument. This sophist rationale is why freedom is never to be found under the auspices of government.

Any government.

Ever.

Anywhere.

Because freedom which is function of what an external monolith of “legal” violence, like the State, will allow is not freedom. It is, by definition, control. The phrase “that which allows us to be free” contains a fundamental contradiction in terms. Freedom does not and cannot operate under the auspices of threats of violence for stepping out of external, codified boundaries. And to say that these boundaries are what guarantees that freedom itself (in the form of unfettered wicked indulgence by the naturally depraved human being) doesn’t become oppressive is another contradiction, as it makes the restraint of freedom the foundational moral operation; it makes the limitation of freedom the means, so the argument goes, of ensuring freedom.  But unless man is able to choose his actions, by not having his behavior fundamentally dictated and coerced through threats of violence should be stray from an abstract, subjective (yes, subjective) legal code, there can be no morality. Why? Because there can be no choice. For if man cannot choose to do good, then man cannot do good at all. And actions which are compelled at gunpoint are not choices!

It is not necessarily intentional. It is not necessarily rank deception. It is most likely a function of the prevailing philosophy regarding the nature of man which has never, to my knowledge, been reconciled to reason…where reason is a place that cannot ever, under any circumstance, accommodate contradiction.

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Because of man’s tendency to do evil, so the argument goes, left to his own unfettered (un-governed) devices society must inevitably dissolve into an orgy of tyranny and oppression.

This is a contradiction which nullifies the argument, and renders the practical application of it both impossible to any efficacy and ultimately destructive. For man cannot be both good and evil. What I mean by this is that he who is the standard for morality–for good–cannot also be he who wrecks this standard. He from whom rights are said to be derived cannot also be the one who poses the threat to the those very rights. Man cannot be the primary thing worth saving and the primary thing which jeopardizes that salvation.

Now, of course we may rightly assert that some human beings truly do evil and therefore are capable of harming others, but this is not the argument with which we are presented in defense of government. The argument is that human beings on the whole cannot fundamentally be trusted to exist outside of the power of coercive authority because human nature itself is depraved.

Human beings have the natural tendency toward evil, so it is argued. They are prone to it–not by choice, but because of naturally determined instinct. What this mean is that when presented with the option of good or evil, human beings, absent any external arbitrating, force, will do evil. They must…because they are driven in such an unfettered circumstance by their nature, and their nature is evil. Therefore, human beings must be governed by an outside force–a governing authority– in order to keep their natural evil in check, and to (hypocritically) ensure the existence and perpetuation of the human race by means of a rigid and regulated social apparatus that ultimately dictates all behavior by threatening its denizens with violence should they dare resist its self-proclaimed mandate to control man for the sake of man. And this is the metaphysical and ethical foundation upon which government stands. Go and see for yourself. Ask 20 people why we need government and I guarantee you that 20 of 20 will regurgitate, in some manner, the hypocritical philosophy I just explicated.

This foundational philosophy ironically and certainly inadvertently undermines the oft-trotted argument that government can exist of the people, for the people, and by the people. That is, it undermines–by its inherent and fatal contradiction–the assertion that people are the standard of the law which the government exists to uphold. If people are by nature evil, and this the root of their very being, then it simply cannot be argued that they may simultaneously represent the good which government must protect. On the contrary, if man is by nature evil, and can no more help doing evil when left to his own devices than he can help walking upright, then people in fact represent a singular threat to good. Because their nature is inexorable and absolute evil, they are the antithesis of good. And therefore, people must be controlled, not set free, by an external coercive authority. And this is exactly what they are, no matter what anyone says to the contrary. You cannot claim to be free in an environment where all of your actions are ultimately a function of what someone else says you are allowed to do.

Further, the  idea that a government can exist in the interest of a humanity which is by nature evil is to assert that the government is a proponent of evil. This, however, is never the argument for government, because though true, it wrecks the benevolent facade of coercive authority. On the contrary, the argument is always that government exists for good, and that without government, man’s evil nature will reign supreme. And what this means is that it is not man, but the government which is actually the standard of good. The people are not the standard. The people are not that from which moral “rights” are derived. The government is. For the “rights of the people” are irrelevant absent government, because absent government man’s natural evil must subordinate them. The people, then, are not the source of moral dictums, but are the singular danger to them. They are not the value of the law. They are the enemy of it. So they must be controlled.

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You cannot legitimately argue that man represents that from which natural moral rights are derived, and yet at the same time claim that he is evil and represents the singular existential threat to those rights, and therefore must be governed. This is to create in man a dichotomy of nature which contradicts and nullifies itself. If man is good, and this as a function of his very nature, then it is both irrational and counterproductive to establish an institution which exists to compel moral behavior by “authoritative” (legalized)  violence. For to insist that the naturally good man must be compelled to good through violence is to deny that man can do good on his own, and this denies that his nature is in fact good.  And if man is evil, and this a function of his nature, then man cannot possibly be compelled to good, for good is utterly exclusive of his being. To compel him to good is an impossible task. For man, being evil, perverts good, he does not cultivate it. It’s like adding poison to a meal and calling it seasoning. The only thing for which the naturally evil man is fit is destruction. In either case, government is utterly beside the point.

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To attempt to use force to compel the naturally evil man into goodness, or to prevent the naturally good man from losing his goodness is like attempting to compel the frog out of his frog-ness, or to prevent the frog from losing his frog-ness. The frog is by nature absolutely a frog. No amount of violence and no amount of coercion can make him a rabbit. And since the frog is by nature a frog he can pose no threat to his own frog-ness. No centralized coercive authority is necessary to prevent, nor is it effective in preventing, the frog from losing his frog-ness.

The man who is good by nature has no use for government, because by definition he cannot lose his goodness. Nor can he pose a threat to his own natural goodness (i.e. left to himself, man who is “naturally” good when governed somehow becomes “naturally” evil when free of government). Because to claim that he may pose a threat to his own goodness is to deny that he is, in fact, naturally good. And the man who is evil by nature has no use for government, because he cannot be compelled to do good. Because to claim that the man who is evil by nature can be synthesized into good is to deny that he is, in fact, naturally evil. The naturally evil man is fit only for destruction. And if he is destroyed, then there is no one to govern, and thus there is no point in government.

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And all of this leads us to another truth.

Man cannot be defined according to a moral nature. And of course once we no longer define him this way, there is no rational philosophical argument for the existence of government. Why? Because government is force, and force is violence, and violence nullifies choice. The man who cannot choose is a man who cannot express his own agency; and the man who cannot express his own agency cannot express SELF. Thus, he cannot BE himself in any relevant way.

You see, man is not a moral agent in the sense that morality defines him. Man is a rational agent. What this means that man is the epistemological frame of reference for all he knows; all he thinks; all he does. That is, man being himself, where “himself” is the agent who conceptualizes existence and thus makes it relevant and meaningful, is why man knows what he knows. Because he is SELF, and absolutely so, he is able to make distinctions between good and evil, and truth and fallacy. He is the arbiter–the reference–for knowledge.

Man’s nature is not a moral one, it is to be the reference for morality—for good and evil; truth and fallacy.  HE defines and applies these things. Therefore, it is HE who governs them, not the other way around (the other way around being to make man subordinate to the very ideas and concepts which are meaningless and useless without him). For what is Truth unless it is true TO AND FOR MAN? And what is goodness unless it is good TO AND FOR MAN?

These things are worthless. They are nothing. They are non-existent.

It is man who serves as the epistemological and moral standard for all of the reality in which he exists. Man cannot rationally or productively be subordinated to a legal moral standard that derives the entirety of its value and relevancy and meaning from him. Man cannot serve moral standards, moral standards must serve him. Man does not serve truth. Truth serves him.  To erect a set of rules for man to follow and by this claim he is good is to strip man from his rightful place as the only rational moral and epistemological reference for all of truth and goodness. And once this happens, truth and goodness have no meaning…and so the rules are pointless. Rules to which man is subordinated by violence are ultimately his destruction, not his salvation.

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The Ability to Conceptualize Must Precede Existence: Existence is an irrational metaphysical Primary

As described in the previous essay on this subject, object A must be defined in comparative terms with object B–or C, D, E, etc.. That is, in terms  that include what is not A.  And the presence of he who defines, that is, the observer, makes this fact self-evident. The observer can only know A from the frame of reference of himself. (Where Self is not a mathematical, but a metaphysical/ontological absolute. Not merely a reference, but the reference for all of what he calls Reality). Meaning, he must make the distinction as an observer between what he is and what he is not– that is, himself and, in this scenario, object A; he must make the distinction between the observed and the observer. And since the observer is required to provide the frame of reference for the definition and thus the Truth, Efficacy, and even morality of what is observed–again, in this example, object A–it is clear that A cannot exist in a vacuum of itself. The observer is required to define A in the first place, and thus declare that A, now defined as this or that, does, in fact, exist.  Which brings me to…

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The Utter Necessity of Existence as Simply a Function of Conceptualization:

Of course, observation is not merely observation, itself, but is, in all practical and efficacious fact, a function of conceptualization. For it would seem self-evident (though, paradoxically, this is not asserted, except when conceptualization is confused with consciousness, which is false) that absent the conceptuualization of what is observed it is impossible to define what is observed. And if what is observed has no definition then there is no rational grounds to claim that anything is actually observed at all; and thus that which is said to exist–when Existence is the metaphysical primary, and observation (empiricism) is the means of ascertaining reality–at root cannot possibly be named and thus it cannot possibly be known, and thus it cannot possibly be said to BE, period.  In which case, where Existence precedes Conceptualization, it must be asserted that nothing actually exists first; and the observer then observes this “nothing” and somehow defines it.  In other words, the observer is said to observe nothing (that which is nameless and utterly definition-less), which somehow exists, and then conceptualize it, after which it becomes something…that is, nothing, which exists, becomes something because of man’s conceptualizing power, and yet man has nothing to do with its existence, even though without him it cannot be known or stated what actually exists at all. Which thus undermines the argument that Existence exists prior to conceptualization, because existence absent that which is defined as having existence is not only irrelevant and irrational, but impossible. Infinite Existence as a Primary can neither be valued, nor does it imply the existence of things which can be valued. Only conceptualization can create things which are said to exist. It is a controversial statement, but Conceptualization creates things from otherwise infinitely relative infinite parts; Existence does not, and cannot. And this fact disqualifies Existence as a the Primary.

(Without first the established and absolute Ability to conceptualize, Existence can have no relationship to whatever is said to exist, since it is not Existence which DEFINES that which is said to exists/that which is observed to exist, but the conceptualizing powers of the observer. Without first this ability, nothing can be defined, and thus nothing can exist, since it is impossible–by the very defining of Existence as the metaphysical primary–to divorce Existence from that which exists.)

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The Epistemological Importance of Relatively

A will be conceptualized in terms which include what he, the observer, is not, which means that A  must also be defined in terms which include what it is not. For example, A is not the observer. Thus both the observer and A are defined, necessarily, due to the nature of observation, by comparing one to the other. A is A because it is not the observer, and vice versa. Rendered a different way, A is A because it is not B.  Which makes B a foundational reason why A is in fact A. One cannot make an existential or ontological  distinction between A and B without conceding that A and B have an existence which is entirely dependent (so to speak) upon one another, which means that neither A nor B can be themselves merely a function of themselves. Relative distinction between A and B, plus the conceptualization of the observer are all necessary in order for any definitions to be rendered for any of these things. (This is why I assert that Conceptualization and Relativity are corollaries, and are the foundation of all rational epistemology. In short, they are the only rational means by which man can know what he knows.)

So again, A is A because it is not B (where B could mean the observer) and vice versa; and this is the only means by which anything is and can be defined. Being relative to, but not B, means that A can actually be defined. For if something is not something else, only then can it be itself–and from this truth the observer is able to define that A is A. A is this, because it is observed, relatively (and only relatively) speaking, to not be that.

But if A is A absent this relative comparison–if A is A qua A, as Existence as the metaphysical Primary asserts, then:

1.  The observer cannot be present, because the presence of an observer automatically creates a relative distinction between the observer and A.  Which means that A must and will be defined in comparative terms…that is, in terms which include its relative distinction from the observer.  That is, A will be defined in terms that include what it is not. And therefore, it is impossible to claim that the existence of A is a function of itself–A qua A. If the assertion is that A is A qua A,  then the observer cannot be present, which means that no one is there to conceptualize A. In which case, how can A be defined?

2. A is infinite, with no end to itself, because an end necessitates the concession that A is distinct.  A ends, and where A ends something else not A must begin, even if the end of A is “space”. For  in this instance, where A ends, and there begins space, it must be conceded that space is in fact something, even if we merely concede that that something is simply “not A”. (Note: I do not concede that there is such a thing as space-as-an-object. My metaphysic declares a corollary relationship between relativity and conceptualization, eliminating both the need and the possibility of “empty space”, as a thing in and of itself.  I merely use space in this example to illustrate that a literal physical end to object A necessitates its relative existence with something not A, even if  we suppose that that something is merely empty space.) So again, if we accept that  A is A qua A, then we must concede that A is in fact infinite. Which means it cannot be valued, which means it cannot be defined. Hence…

3. Infinite A means that A cannot be valued, which means it cannot be defined. Which means it cannot be said to exist.

Conclusion

All of this serves to illustrate why the notion that A is A because A qua A–that is, A is itself because of itself,  from itself and to itself–is impossible. The very presence of the observer makes this fact self-evident. The very fact that A must be conceptualized in order to be defined means that A cannot be A qua A.

Remember, wherever there is someone asserting that A is A qua A, there is an observer, which thus nullifies the assertion.

Forgiveness Cannot be Removed From the Exculpation of Wrong

If we divorce forgiveness from exculpation, then the repentance of the wrongdoer is unnecessary. But if we divorce forgiveness from exculpation, then what exactly is forgiveness? If not forgiveness, then what is concept which describes the idea that we will no longer hold against someone an evil?

Think awhile. I’ll wait.

And if we say we will no longer hold an evil against someone who actively promotes it and refuses to reject it, then how are we not excusing it and thus tacitly promoting it ourselves? And how exactly does this help the emotionally or physically traumatized deal with their pain? How does calling evil good help victims of evil to even define the problem in the first place? 

I submit that the very concept which is forgiveness demands that it be directed to someone. Which is why it’s contractual, not psychological. Forgiveness not directed to another person or persons to me is meaningless. Obviously we cannot direct it to ourselves. If we are the innocent victims, then there is nothing of which we need to be forgiven. And if we extend it to another who rejects it then what exactly can be done with it?

Forgiveness as a bromide to sooth our emotional pain doesn’t seem consistent with its definition. Of course, I may choose to not allow another’s offense(s) to affect me either emotionally or physically or both (and there are many psychological/spiritual strategies for this) but I cannot forgive an evil act or idea that is still being actively perpetuated without tacitly excusing it. This is a bastardization of forgiveness by all rational definitions of the concept, including the Biblical one, and this makes it satanic.

Another false assertion/assumption is the idea that all “negative” emotions are somehow bad…are counter-productive. Nothing could be less true. Directing pain and anger towards an unrepentant abuser, for example, is extremely effective in motivating people to avoid the abuser and to seek justice for both themselves and other victims. It is not a desire for revenge–as the lie often goes–it is a means of self-preservation and the eradication of evil. Perpetual evil-doers–psychopaths, narcissists, and other vile sundry abusers–absolutely love the idea of forgiveness absent their repentance. Because it allows them to continue to sin without fear of reprisal and shifts the focus from their wickedness to the victim’s “bitterness”.

Reject this false forgiveness and at the very least we resist evil, reject the devil, defang lies, heap judgment upon the wicked, and rescue the innocent from the gaslighting of their oppressors.

Forgiveness is a Contract, Not a Coping Strategy

Forgiving someone who has neither asked for it nor admitted to any violation is not possible. Forgiveness not sought is pointless. For example, by definition, you cannot give a person a gift if the gift isn’t wanted or accepted.

Forgiveness as a tool for emotional healing willl have the opposite effect, and will prove destructive; and further, it really just means the excuse of evil, or the repression of one’s justifiable anger, or both. This isn’t a remediation of the wrongdoing suffered, it is a compounding of it.  And this makes it satanic.

Some may claim that forgiveness is a way we don’t allow evil people and their actions to have power over us (whatever the fuck that means). But two things:

First, you cannot say “I will love and accept you [which is precisely what forgiveness is] no matter how evil you are or what evil you remorselessly perpetrate” without at the very least tacitly excusing the evil. And excusing evil,  empowers evil. It does not neutralize it. 

Second, evil SHOULD have the “power”–that is, the effect of making us angry; to make us hurt so that we see it and feel it for the turgid crime that it is; to spur us on to demand its redaction and to furiously demand justice.

Also, to not extend forgiveness does not necessarily mean that one wishes harm or death upon the perpetrator of the violation. It is not the desire for revenge. It is simply a rational recognition of the inability to excuse guilt until the guilty admit their failure and vow to correct it.

We must remember that real forgiveness is meant to be a contract between people, a peace between the repentant wrongdoer and the wronged. It is not an emotional coping strategy for the legitimate sufferer of evil. A better coping strategy for dealing with unrepentant perpetrators of evil is justice, and/or a termination of the relationship, or even violent defense of oneself, depending on the circumstance.

Finally, in my experience I have noticed that forgiveness-absent-contrition tends to favor the evil doer, and especially authoritarian clergy people, who often shift the focus from their wickedness and mendacity to YOUR “sin” of “bitterness” and “lack of grace”.

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