eleven things tagged “philosophy”

On The People Who, Like, Truly Love The United States and Would Like to Restore it to it’s Former Glory

Just as terror, even in its pre-total, merely tyrannical form ruins all relationships between men, so the self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality. The preparation has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men* as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, men lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Here are two meditations in the form of Jordan Klepper’s excellent interactions with the deluded. I just wish that every supporter were as candid as the woman Jordan spoke to in this first one (starting 00:40) without resorting to shameless and awkward sophistry and whataboutism.

This is a fucking clown.

The most pathetic position, however, is one where you will readily admit to all of your Orange Leader’s “cruelties, collusions, corruptions, and crimes” but sigh and support the thrice-indicted buffoon’s second go at authoritarianism (with or without issuing a weak “both sides”). Consider this solemn Solomon from my home state:

It’s either malice or delusion. Either way, the Truth does not matter when they’re hurting the right people.

On Morals versus Ethics

What is the difference between ethics and morality? A morality functions according to principle, while an ethics functions according to experimentation. A morality presupposes a discontinuity between principle and action, while an ethics presupposes a continuity of action and character. A morality tells one what one ought to do, while an ethics asks what one might do.

Brent Adkins, Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus: A Critical Introduction and Guide

According to Britannica, most of us tend to use the terms interchangeably, and we tend to associate “ethical” behaviour with professions (like law, medicine, and engineering).

Ethicists today, however, use the terms interchangeably. If they do want to differentiate morality from ethics, the onus is on the ethicist to state the definitions of both terms. Ultimately, the distinction between the two is as substantial as a line drawn in the sand.

The way I understand it is: We mostly agree that gay marriage is ethical. However, it may be immoral to an adherent of a religion that proscribes it (but would they agree that it is ethical?)

On Doing Nothing At All

As far as Indian Gurus go, I find this guy more illumined and full of practical, actionable advice than, say, this guy, less full of shit than this one, and definitely less batshit crazy than this one.

Via LT 🙏

Update

The creator of the video is Masood Boomgaard. Here’s his YouTube channel. And here’s the Balm your Soul needs in its entirety 🙏 🌸

Ayn Rand the Philosopher by samiiRedditBot More Pasta

“Two novels can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other involves orcs.” – Kung Fu Monkey

Ayn Rand is to philosophy what Twilight is to horror fiction - being that the only people who like it have absolutely no experience of what the subject is really about and as a result have nothing to compare it to. Her influence only extends to the general public and she is pretty much ignored by academia, and even then she is more or less unknown outside of North America. I suppose that if you’re a fan you might think this is due to her ideas being so radical that they threaten the liberal elite of University Academia, who plot to turn the USA into a communist country, or whatever. However the reality is that it’s just really bad to the point of being actually quite painful to read if you know anything at all about real philosophy. Reading the woman is to philosophiers like watching CSI if you know anything about computers - just painful.

What Ayn Rand supposed is that there exists a absolute reality of the A=A. Essentially in her mind existence exists and everything that man does is merely the reordering of existence. She goes on to argue that things like art enable man to create metaphors in reality enabling their wildest metaphysical dreams to take flight. She’ll argue that things such as visual illusions, do not prove that that man can not trust their perceptions but rather their perceptions are always correct and any mistakes are mistakes of interpretation, rather than perception of reality. She argues that since you are able to draw absolute logical conclusions and concepts from reality, that the only valid form of logic is Aristotelian logic because it is the one most grounded in reality.

She argues that the ideal world is one where all men are following their own “rational self interest” that they have drawn from reality, which in her mind is represented via a perfect capitalist society, and that there exists a “conspiracy” to suppress men by making them “unsure” of reality. She’ll redefine terms like selfishness and altruistic towards this end. For example a moral individual is one who follows their own “selfish” interest to build houses or whatever but that this is always undermined by “altruistic parasites” who will loot the efforts these selfish individuals rather than going out and doing things for themselves, mainly because they envy the selfish.

Now, as far as philosophical views go this is a pretty loony view of the world. Here are some objections

Her views are over simplistic solutions to complex problems, for example even if you suppose that there exists an absolute reality then you’re still left with the problem of how you, as a subjective individual, reconcile your abstract ideas to it - these are the sort of problems that real philosophers attempts to address. Basically in saying “existence exists” you haven’t actually “solved” anything but merely misdirected attention away from the problem. It is like saying that to end war people should just stop fighting, yeah sure, that people would stop fighting might be a consequence but then how would people otherwise solve disputes? It is childish logic, essentially.

Her views are dogmatic, that is they are true because you believe them to be true rather than being able to prove it to be true. There is this attitude that no one shall enter the kingdom but through me, this is not the way philosohpy works - because philosophy is dialectical - but rather the way religion works. What she is doing in saying that reality objectively exists is to make her personal subjective views appear to be more concrete than they actually are. Which is what her true intent is: to turn her specific definition of what capitalism is into some weird religion for the gullible, and nothing more.

She simply makes stuff up, for example she supposes that the whole of 19th century Idealism is merely a conspiracy to make people unsure of their own existence so that they are easier to control by 'altruistic ’ dictators. She spends the vast majority of her time in her books simply constructing and then knocking down various strawmen, who are represented by her characters. For example Dr. Floyd Ferris.

Her work is just derivative of other better philosophiers such as Nietzsche, that she has simply rewrittern a bad interpretation of in order to sell her rubbish moral opinions. As a consequence you’re much better off just going to the source and cutting out the middle hag, espically since she seems to have a rather limited grasp of genuine philosophy, and much of anything in general. This is very apparent if you even have a basic working knowledge of philosophy.

She’ll just ignore her own arguments when they turn out to be inconvient. For example she’ll celebrate the triumph of the Apollo project which being a government funded collective effort is the very antithesis of everything she is about. Brushing it off with broad statments like: “It would have been done” etc. And everything about who she was, how she became who she was and how she lived her life point towards a high level of cognitive dissonance. In fact there are convenient loopholes in her philosophy that state that her arguments can be ignored based a emergency situation, such as being on a life boat etc.

But the greatest failing is that even if you subscribe to her “philosophy” and ignore the above, even then it still falls down by its own argument. For example suppose I give you $5 for a hotdog, now as a objectivist to suppose that some benefit has occured between both parties then you have to presume that money is actually worth something outside of a social context, otherwise nothing has been created in the transaction since at the end of the day all money is, is a abstract concept. To put this another way, if I gave you $5 for a hot dog then there would be absolutely no benefit to you if you are unable to spend it due to it not being legal tender. To quote Adam Smith: “All money is a matter of belief”, currency is only currency because of social and economic forces and not because it is instrinically worth anything. It is not linked to reality in anyway, at all, but is only symbolically representative of reality. Do you see how it defeats itself? if objectivism is followed to it’s logical conclusion then money is worthless, in a supposed capitalist utopia

In conclusion: Rand just wrote a very bad interpretation of Nietzsche for young adults. Where Nietzsche argued that the problem with society was that it was based in ideals, E.G., Christianity, that were essentially founded in nihilism and were therefore self-destructive because they were effectively internalizing resentment and suppressing human passions, and went on to argue that the cure to this was to be found in the “free spirits” being those able to break free from this endless pattern of idealized self-destruction by getting back in touch with their own human drives, who love fate, who are (or do not resent) the strong and who reject notions of absolute ideal truth. What Rand does is take this view literary and argue that rather than rejecting it you should buy into a ideal - that further that it is objectively the only ideal, there being only one reality - that is ultimately for the benefit of those at the top of the pyramid, that represent the ideal man - her interpretation of the free spirits - and that society should be constructed only for the benefit of these people. That all the problems of society come about due to rejecting this and suppressing the elite - who would magically solve all the world’s problems if they were given free reign to pursue their own selfish goals. Really, it’s like the difference between devil worship and atheism, the latter rejects religion itself while the former gives up and decides to join the comic relief.

–edit, Wow if I known that I would have made best of Reddit I would have actually spent more time editting the post for clarity rather than giving up half way through and deciding to go to bed. It’s a jumble to be sure.

Chomsky on Russell

[…] I think late 50’s he was asked once “Why are you wasting your time with CND demonstrations when you could be working on logic and philosophy and doing something of lasting significance?” And his answer wasn’t bad. He said “If I’m not out there demonstrating, there won’t be anyone around to read the logic and philosophy.” And that’s a pretty good response.

Source

On What to Live For

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness–that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what–at last–I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.

The Prologue to Bertrand Russell’s Autobiography

Love, Knowledge, and Compassion

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy – ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness – that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what – at last – I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.

– Bertrand Russell, What I Have Lived For

Happy Popper

I slipped in a final question: Why in his autobiography did Popper say that he is the happiest philosopher he knows? “Most philosophers are really deeply depressed,” he replied, “because they can’t produce anything worthwhile.” Looking pleased with himself, Popper glanced over at Mrs. Mew, who wore an expression of horror. Popper’s smile faded. “It would be better not to write that,” he said to me. “I have enough enemies, and I better not answer them in this way.” He stewed a moment and added, “But it is so.”

– John Horgan, The Paradox of Karl Popper