Tag Archives: reason

Enlightenment or Dogma?

It’s not enlightenment to simply parrot an ideology. To simply repeat the spurious assertions of others is to be a merchant of dogma, not truth.

To agree with others is to accept a rationale; and likewise to be enlightened. And to accept a rationale requires the ability to present a reasoned explication of the ideas with which you agree and to which you claim to be enlightened. And a reasoned explication demands rational consistency.

Enlightenment to and agreement with ideas thus goes only as far as rational consistency wil take it. And that is as far as the nearest contradiction.

To claim to believe something and to proceed to preach something that you cannot explain without categorical rational consistency is, again, simply dogma, and any rational and moral person should reject it as such.

To preach dogma is to advertise to the world that you have rejected the sufficiency of your own mind, and by that the sufficiency of your own Self.  You have become a missionary of death worship.

 

Truth Can Never Serve Under the Auspices of Authority

Read the title to this essay one more time.

I asked you to do this because it is very important to understand; and it is also important to understand that for all the words of this essay, it really is that simple, and it really does come back to that basic point.

Truth can never serve under the auspices of authority.

What does this mean?

Well, it means precisely what it says.  Truth does not serve, nor can it it serve, authority.  And this is because the two concepts are antipodal.  They are entirely opposite.  One, truth, is reasonable.  The other, authority, is violence…and violence by its very nature rejects reason because once it is injected there is no more discussion–for discussion ultimately becomes moot.  And once discussion is moot there is nothing left to talk about.  And naturally if there is nothing left to talk about then reason, which uses concepts, which uses words, is irrelevant.

Let me put it another way, this time in the form of a question:

Is appealing to authority the same thing as appealing to truth?

The answer of course is “no”.  And this is because truth and authority are entirely difference concepts, and, again, I aver that they are antipodal concepts.  If we attempt to integrate them we are attempting to integrate complete opposites.  To say that authority can incorporate truth on the practical level (like, say, in the neo-Reformed, neo-Calvinist Church) is like saying that left can incorporate right or that up can incorporate down on the practical level.  It’s a logical impossibility simply because one is considered the very opposite of the other.  That is, practically realized, if we empirically observe one we cannot, at the same time, observe the other from our frame of reference.

In the same way, no one can appeal to their authority whilst claiming to wield that authority by being in possession of truth.  This is because truth cannot be a function of authority, and vice versa. Just like up cannot be a function of down and left cannot be a function of right.  If someone appeals to authority to direct your behavior, he can never appeal to truth as that by which he also directs that behavior.  And the opposite of course is true.

What is authority?  Well, I have heard it said best by John Immel of SpiritualTyranny.com:  Authority is force.  And in this case, the reality is that authority is nothing more than a euphemism for threatening.  To claim authority is necessarily to threaten your life.  If you do not obey authority, you forfeit your existence.  Period.  For without that implicit (or explicit) understanding, there is no such thing as authority in the first place.  There is no appealing to authority ever, past, present, or future, anywhere in the world, where obedience to authority is optional.  If it’s optional, then the authority has no inherent right to compel outcomes in service to itself.  Or put another way, if authority is not authorized to compel outcomes in service to itself then it cannot, by definition, claim to be an authority.

What this means is that if I tell you that you must do X or Y because I am in authority over you, what I am actually saying is that I claim the right to force (violence) you to do X or Y. My authority grants me the right (and the “moral” right is implied) to compel your behavioral outcomes by force, whether you want to do them or not.  And of course, if I can force you into the behavior I desire then there is no sense in reasoning with you.  There is no sense in convincing you that you should do what I ask because its the more rational thing to do.  Again, reason, which is the formulation of truth, is beside the point.

I understand that there are those who will disagree with this assertion. However, I maintain that under the scope of someone’s authority any attempts to reason with those he claims are subordinate to his authority cannot possibly be ultimately reasonable.  Now matter how reasonable the argument may be in and of itself, once it is coupled with authority it becomes subordinate to force.  Meaning that the only reason one who is in authority over you might appeal to a rational argument in order to convince you to behave in a manner he desires is because in the present context, whatever it may be,  it is more expedient or efficacious to use ostensibly benign words and ideas to compel your behavior than physical violence or threats of violence. Thus, reason, when existing under the auspices of authority, becomes an artifice, nothing more.

Why is this?

It is because authority has only one rational practical outcome, and that is to compel obedience independent of and rendering inert the individual’s will; while reason (and its logical conclusion, truth), also has only one rational practical outcome, and that is to to affirm the morality, utility, and efficacy of the individual will as necessary to his identity as a human being and thus as necessary to human existence both individually and collectively.  Reason exists only to serve the individual–who, because he possesses an absolute and singular frame of reference for life, himSELF, must be the Standard of Truth and Morality– in order that he may manifest his own life as he chooses, to the promotion, profit, and perpetuation of that life.

The equation, for clarity’s sake, can be rendered something like this:

Authority = Force, while Force = Violence.  Violence compels outcomes, and these outcomes are then described as acts of “obedience” to the authority (though this is, in fact, merely a bastardization of the idea).   Violence to compel outcomes in service to authority necessarily disregards the will of the recipients of that violence.  Meaning that once violence is sanctioned as a moral tool to coerce an outcome, human volition is irrelevant.  You will obey or you will be forced to obey.  And if you cannot be forced, well…the only logical conclusion is your death.  If your purpose is to serve the authority whether you want to or not, simply because he is the authority, and you refuse to fulfill your purpose, the logical extension of the right to compel by violence is the right to murder those who will not be compelled, even by violence.

If your will is subordinated then to authority–which it is, otherwise authorities could not claim authority in the first place, as appeals to authority are ALWAYS and ALWAYS an appeal to force–then your very life, your very existence, which is dependent upon your own will in order to render and make choices to determine the outcomes of your life as an individual, moment by moment, becomes subject to the claimed authority.  And not just some of your life, but all of it.

It is impossible for an authority to claim the right to your will only contextually.  As a function of your very nature, at any given moment you are acting under the capacity of your own volition, and this entirely.  Or, said differently, your volitional decisions affect the entirety of your existence at any given moment.  Thus, to claim the right to compel your actions by force via an appeal to authority, and thus the right to disregard your will at a specific moment in time is to, if we take the premise to its logical conclusion, claim the right to disregard your will at all times.

I might render this idea this way:  To command your will by force is to command your mind by force.  And if your mind can be commanded by force then your cognitive assumptions by which you exist, and exist entirely, can be commanded by force.  And and since the entirety of your actions are dictated by the fundamentals of what you believe, and these fundamentals, like the rest of you, are subject to the authority, your entire life in all respects and all contexts becomes sacrificed, necessarily, to he who claims the right to compel you by his authority.  Anyone who claims the right to force the outcomes of your existence claims the right to govern, redefine, and/or eradicate your basic assumptions.  And since these assumptions are universal to your entire existence, he who claims authority in a specific context of your life must in reality be claiming it in all contexts.

Therefore, you must understand that when you place yourself, under an “authority”, you have committed functional suicide.  If someone else places you under authority, he has committed functional murder. You have ceased to exist, because your independent volition–your free will–governed by your own assumptions, has been eradicated and replaced by a proxy who claims, at his fundamental philosophical root, the right to murder you at any place, time, and for any reason.

And this is the real point of authority.  Authority is force and force is control, and that control can only be in service to that which claims ownership of you.  And to own you is to dispose of you.  Whether that dispossession is literal or figurative, as far as you are concerned, the outcome is the same:  eradication of SELF.

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Because HE, the authority, decides you should do something, and YOU are utterly subject to his authority, you must do it, and when you are doing it you are doing it because, and for the sole reason, that he has claimed to the right to force you.  Whether you want to is beside the point.  Your choice is irrelevant, and so your will is irrelevant.  You act only–and for no other reason than because he can make you act.  For YOU are irrelevant because YOU have no actual say in the matter. Even if you agree, agreement is irrelevant when self-ownership is irrelevant.  The slave who agrees to do his master’s work because he “loves” the master is no less a slave than the slave who does so grudgingly because he fears the whips and shackles.

Willingly obeying appeals to authority it is the death of SELF in the practical, pragmatic sense; while refusing to do it is the death of SELF in the literal sense.  But the practical sense is the corollary to the literal sense.  In other words, to you, the outcome is the same:  the absence of YOU.  As I said earlier.

My friends…my readers…please, please remember this.  Anyone who claims authority over you, for any reason, cannot possibly be appealing to truth.  And if they are not appealing to truth there is no possible way they can have your interest in mind.  To accept an authority is to accept death.  Period.  Full stop.

All legitimate ideas will be ideas that are paradigms of consistently integrated concepts all affirming the right of the only legitimate Standard of Truth and Morality, the Individual SELF, to be promoted, affirmed, and prospered.  Truly there are GOOD universal mores to follow…truly there are moral actions which demand praise and imitation, and evil ones which demand justice and recompense and rejection.  But these are always a function of reason, and reason is always a function of the right of the individual to own his own life, fully and freely, full stop.  Truth, goodness, and meaningful outcomes are NEVER a function of authority.  Ever.

Whatever you believe and do, believe it and do it only because it serves you, practically, in the way in which you desire, and freely so.  Do not believe it and do it because someone threatens you with violence or pain or misery or death for not believing or doing it.  In such a case, you can be sure that there is NOTHING actually there to believe or do in the first place, because in such a scenario there is NO YOU to believe it or do it at all.

Me Saying I’m Not You is Not the Same Thing as Me Saying, “There’s Only Me”: A rebuttal to accusations of subjectivism

The knee jerk reaction to my ideas is to assume that when I appeal to the SELF–the individual human being–as the metaphysical irreducible and thus the only rational moral and epistemological absolute Standard (“epistemological” in this context meaning, how we know that what we know is in fact true), that I’m making the contention that my SELF is the only salient Self.

Several attempts have been made by people whose intellect I admire to link my ideas to Kantian Subjectivism in this manner…the thought being that since I deny a Standard of Truth and Morality outside of Self, that “reality”–as they call it, “external reality” (an illogical definition entirely) must necessarily be based upon whatever whim I, alone, devise.

Now, it isn’t that I don’t understand why some people believe this, it’s just that I think it is simply because they have been functioning according to the “this or that” dualism of Aristotle vs. Plato for so long that they aren’t able to integrate any truly new ideas.  Indeed, even averring that I am presenting “new” ideas would likely be taken as a grand apostasy.

But it is a logical fallacy to believe that just because I declare that I am ME and YOU are YOU, and absolutely so, that this must mean that I am the only one who actually exists; which is precisely what I am accused of asserting.  The loose logic is that since all knowledge is a function of the senses (it isn’t; its a function of the ability to sense, which is a function of the ability to conceptualize SELF as “he who senses”) which observe “objective reality outside you”then we must assume that “objective reality” is a function of the “cause and effect” of (invisible) physical laws which “govern”.  In short, any appeal to a Standard of Truth except that which the senses first observe is labeled subjectivism.

As ostensibly rational as this argument is, its fatal weakness is that it doesn’t come close to answering the question: What is man?  And as I have submitted on numerous occasions, if you cannot rationally answer that question then the rest of what you believe about anything is immaterial.  If there is no definition of man–and a definition of man cannot be: an absolute function of a reality OUTSIDE himself because that is a rank contradiction, and makes man a direct function of that which is “outside of him”…or said another way, of that which is NOT him–…yes, if there is no definition of man then there can be no relevance to what he believes. Because “he” must be declared something, and even more, something capable of being aware of his own relevance to the existential equation.  And this awareness cannot be a function of that which is outside of him, because that makes his awareness not his own, in fact, but whatever “caused” him.  However I submit that awareness must be an innate function of man’s ability to be himself; anything else removes man from his own consciousness, which makes all appeals to man’s existence a lie.  For a man who is fundamentally unable to be aware, and this awareness of himself, cannot be said to know anything.

Man’s ability to be himself IS his ability to KNOW himself, and his ability to KNOW himself is his ability to conceptualize himself as juxtaposed to the conceptualization of what is NOT himself.  Both the SELF of man and the Environment of man are predicated upon man’s ability to know–to conceptualize–them both.  There is no thing, “inside” or “outside” of man, which is not conceptualized in order to be understood, made relevant and efficacious, and applied to the promotion of man’s identity.  And there is nothing conceptualized which is not a function of man’s inherent ability to conceptualize.

From this I argue that reason is simply the internal rational consistency of the “conceptual paradigm” as I call it (I’m not a linguist by trade; they probably have an “official” name for that to which I am referring).  Meaning, man’s ability to take the concepts he uses to organize and reconcile himself to his environment, and thereby create his own specific identity, cannot contradict one another.

In other words, man’s relationship to his environment cannot be paradoxical (as in “contradictory”), and the only way to assure that this is not the case is to reject  descriptions of reality which are, within the conceptual framework–which is man’s only means by which to reconcile  himSELF to his Environment (the basis for “existence)–mutually exclusive.

For example, if we believe that John Immel (of spiritualtyranny.com, and a friend, a philosophical critic of mine, and a brilliant thinker and deft writer) is both determined by God and yet also has free will, we have violated conceptual consistency, since “determined” and “free-willed” cannot both have the same absolute reference.  John Immel cannot be given the characteristics of abstract concept X and Y when X and Y are conceptual opposites.  And this means that the assertion must be false.  John Immel cannot be both determined and have free will, because it defies reason (conceptual consistency) and thus cannot be a valid explication of “reality”, since “reality” is, in fact, its own concept.  And if reality is a concept then its definition must be non-paradoxical; that is, it cannot be defined by conceptual characteristics which are antipodal.  If we attempt to explain “truth” by appealing to conceptual opposites as its fundamental basis we have violated reason; and since reason is the only way to arrive at truth, we cannot violate reason and still claim truth.

Further, if truth is the means by which man’s SELF, man’s identity, is affirmed, a violation of truth is in fact a violation of morality, since man is the root conceptualizing agent and thus all truth rests with him as reference.  If he is denied, nothing can be called good (or evil), because “good” can no longer be defined, since the means to apprehend truth, man’s ability to conceptualize SELF, is invalidated.  Truth and morality are corollaries, I submit, and both are a function of reason.

Therefore to concede conceptual paradox as the basis for “reality” is both false AND evil, is my point.  Man’s existence is affirmed by truth; and since man is he who possesses the ability to conceptualize, he is the one whom truth serves.  And for truth not to serve him is evil.  Put simply:  insofar as truth and morality are corollaries, so are evil and lie.

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That which is said to be true cannot be predicated upon conceptual opposites.  Concepts are used by man to promote the primary concept of SELF upon the Environment, and this is not possible if those concepts used to promote the SELF are found to contradict on their way to concluding with the SELF as the metaphysical absolute.  This is the philosophical equivalent of doing a maze puzzle and claiming you arrived at the “END” by drawing a straight line from “START”.  You cannot blow through all the dead ends and say you’ve correctly arrived at the logical conclusion.  It just doesn’t work that way.

According to all of the above rationale, in order to condemn me as a subjectivist means that one must show how I can proclaim conceptual consistency as reason, and reason as truth, and truth as goodness, while at the same time denying that other human beings can be conceptualized any other way except as full-fledged metaphysical singularities.  In other words, as THEMSELVES, or OTHER SELVES.

But here’s the problem with doing that:  Since they can recognize ME as not THEM, and consistently and empirically use and apply the concept of I, and ME, and MYSELF, just as I do, it is impossible to define them except as SELVES without violating the conceptual paradigm and thus violating reason and truth and morality.  Therefore, in the interest of maintaining conceptual consistency, according to my philosophy, I must assume that I am NOT the only SELF in existence.  It would be a violation of the conceptual paradigm to call ME the only true SELF, and then relegate all other human beings to the status of mere objects.  Rationally, this simply does not work.  A chair, a car, a tree, a breeze do not use the pronoun “I” or “me”; nor do they refer to me as “YOU”.  Not even Artificial Intelligence (which is a completely false threat, and is based on the assumption that human awareness is a function of unconscious particles coming together as a function of the “causal” laws of physics which “govern”…which, um…yeah, unconscious cannot by defintion = conscious)…yes, not even Artificial Intelligence can refer to its own “style”, its hopes and dreams, placing itself at the very center of a conceptual paradigm by which it is understood by the very structure of what comprises it, that Truth is meant to serve it, and not the other way around.  A talking computer cannot pontificate upon or exegete its feelings or dreams or make itself as the subject of a “future” or “past”.  Only the human being can do that.

And even if the computer could do this it would not invalidate my argument; for we define a sentient being not by its body or its “objective” material form, but its ability to recognize itself as its own existential constant; its own metaphysical absolute.  “I” means not the body, it means the root by which all that is defined as existing, as an IS, has any relevance or meaning or purpose or truth or goodness at all.  In other words “I” is a metaphysical concept, not a physical one.

But what my critics argue is that somehow my philosophy demands that I observe humanity as a thing, not as a SELF; which I declare is impossible according to my rational plumb line: reason.  Which I define as conceptual consistency.

On the contrary, it is not my, but their objectivist, empiricist philosophy which demands human beings must be things, not metaphysical singularities; not sentient agents; not thinking SELVES.  They are the ones who demagogue “objective reality” as being a function of the “laws of physics”, which are unseen, unknowable apart from “material reality”, and unable to effect or affect anything at all absent material reality first, and man’s ability to conceptually organize reality before that.

It is their philosophy, not mine, which must deny any that another human being outside of oneself has any intrinsic character.  Their philosophy must proclaim consciousness an illusion and assume that all references to one’s own awareness are either illusory or madness.

It is their philosophy, not mine, which must deny any real efficacy of the senses, and ignore another person’s appeals to “self” and “me”, and to reference “you” and “us”, and dismiss them as merely the predetermined ramblings of programmed organic robots who have no actual understanding of such concepts because such thinking agents simply cannot rationally exist in the “real world” of the “objective” causal universe.  Outside of oneself of course.  After all, someone must be privy to the “truth”.

It is their philosophy, not mine, which must deny human conceptual consistency as that which is reasonable, fundamentally destroying and rendering inert both truth and morality.  It is their philosophy, not mine, which must observe human beings as external objects which can have nothing to do with those concepts which affect the “objective, observing self”, because “self” in this paradigm can only be defined exclusively as the one who can observe his own consciousness–“me, and no one else”–and thus the only one who can claim to properly observe and thus parse reality “objectively”.

They, not me, must assume that “future”, “past”, “love”, “want”, “need”, “hope”, etc. can have nothing to do with others they observe, because they do not concede that a rational conceptual definition of “other person” has anything to do with reality.  Other human beings are not products of their own ability to conceptualize SELF, thereby referring to themselves in the first person singular and placing themselves at the center of the conceptual paradigm, just as they do.

It is their philosophy, not mine, which subordinates all humanity to the subjective whims of the only one who can, by their rationale, be “real”.

And who is that?

It is he who calls himself: the observer.

But I do not preach the reality of the observer.  I preach the reality of the SELF, who must, in order to rationally define SELF, must define OTHER as his metaphysical equal.  Equally aware and equally valuable and equally entitled to the sum and substance of their own lives.