The Death of Good, and Evil.

This article is going to start getting into the aspects of my roleplaying game design.  Namely Moral Relativity.  Well, as one could extrapolate from a postmodernist perspective where the judgment of cultures is supposedly impossible due to relativism.  There is no absolute judgement of cultures to be made.  Ex; I can’t readily criticize Arabic culture because I haven’t grown up under it’s umbrella.  Just as it’s aberrant for me to throw rocks at Christianity.

Simply because I haven’t had the exposure to the doctrines.  I haven’t “lived that life”, so how can it be “moral, or right” for me to judge aspects of it?  I don’t think I can as an outsider, for my words are likely to mean little.  “You’re an outsider, go be a sinner, deviant, exile elsewhere…etc.”

Although I am a human, and I can judge based upon a human perspective which isn’t something I want to get into too deep here, at least right now.  Instead, I want to postulate and explore what is “Good” and what is “Evil”?

Good can be defined through several other terms; Virtue, Honor, the Right, Justice, …etc.

Evil can be defined in similar terms; Vice, Sin, Dishonor, Injustice…etc.

Seems simple enough, right?

Well, here comes the wrench.  What if these are merely words to justify, or certify a standing?  That justice came about through Eye for an Eye, and Tooth for a Tooth (Hammurabi Code) which as far as I know, it did.  Thus right there, justice is based off of revenge.

Going off on a slight tangent, consider lions…those kings of the savannah.  It was a common practice amongst the males of said species to commit infanticide when they took over a pride.  Running along with this little tidbit, one could imagine “lion culture” being perfectly fine with this.  Thus at a base lion morality, must be somewhat okay with murder.

Now it’s obvious that we aren’t lions, but are we any different?  Do our nearest genetic relatives, the chimpanzee, have odd little quirks like this?  Well, they’re more prone to violent resolution of disputes than say a Bonobo who would rather screw/fuck out a solution (imagine that).

Thus we could imagine, a “Chimpanzee culture” to be more tolerant of violence, and a “Bonobo culture” to be more “conceited”, or used to indirect and passive aggressive resolution of conflict.

The theme I’m running with here, is a notion that our “biology” helps shape our culture, and to extent our culture can shape our biology in the long run.

Say only the passive, and spiritual portion of the population became monks, nuns, and priests.  Now if they adhered to their vows of celibacy, they’d select themselves out of the genetic pool/population.  They aren’t breeding, thus their traits aren’t in the pool anymore.

Where does that lead us?  Well, it might lead to a hyper aggressive society, or what have you, but the take away point is that our morality is based upon our genetics/species to an extent.

Humanity, if viewed by an alien species, I could easily imagine the notion that they wouldn’t know how to “judge us”.  Reaching way back to the beginning of the post, they haven’t lived as humans, but judge us they can.  We may have hostile relations with them.  Thus they’d likely see us as their form of evil, but at that point it gets a little silly.  Is it evil for a shark to eat a fish?  What if they too are a predatory type species?  Would it be evil for them to eat us?  We’d say so, but to them it’d be the natural order.

Thus in some ways, our conceptions of Evil start to fall apart.  Now one could say that it is only meant to be a tribal inclusive title.  As in only a human could call, or consider a human evil.  And yet, can we?  Who are we to judge?  If one of us was Hitler, or Stalin.  And we met the other, and walked away thinking…man that is one evil bastard would either of us be “Right”?  We can’t make those judgments.

This also seems to apply to the Good, in some way.  I can in theory call “Stalin” a great man, and many of the older Russians do, as far as I know.  Am I going to do so, not likely because I’m an “American”, and I can’t like that “Tribe”…because politics.  Thus if Good is only “Good” because of our interactions with said individual, or property, or idea (ideas, and objects can be good too, right?).  Everything that helps me or mine, is Good, but isn’t that a selfish Good?  And yet being selfish is “evil”…

Anyways, just my thoughts on the matter.  To me, I think these terms are somewhat obsolete because Good, Evil,…all of it is Human.  It is Human to kill the way we do.  It is Human to love the way we do.  And is it ever right, as a Human, to condemn or judge another Human for an action they do?  I don’t really know, in some ways yes, when they break common Human/Societal Norms, but then we get into the mucky issue of who’s in the Right?  If it all made sense at the time we acted, and we can only act with the knowledge/assumptions that we’re capable of understanding…., and if current society approves of our actions while later society doesn’t…can we be prosecuted?

Kinda like with all the Sexual Harassment, or Rape charges flying around at the present junction in time.  It was “okay” in the past, but now?  Is it now?  One has to remember, that we create our societies.  And our societies reaffirms ourselves as entities.  The odd thing, is that we don’t always have a say.  We may think we’re being just, and reasonable…, and the next thing you know you’re in jail, the hospital, or whatever institution.

Therefore what sort of errors, or misdeeds may we do?  The Human Kind.  One of my internal jokes is, from an “alien perspective”;

An alien, upon hearing of a fight, or explosion in some sector of the Galaxy;  “Well, the Humans’ are at it again….”

…is that the way you’d have us be known?

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We Are Works of Art.

(Building Upon: (The Light of Postmodernism, and Its Very Own Cave).  Point #7; Good, Evil, and Every other Moral/Rationale Descriptor is based upon Perspective.).

And with art, comes the sense that not everyone “gets” what the art is about.  Take a look at modern abstract art, and it physically doesn’t represent much.  A few blobs of paint upon a canvas, and it leads one to speculate upon their emotions.  The red reminds me of passion, and rage.  This is nothing more than old school symbolism.  Red can be used in any sort of painting or image.  It should be sufficient that I don’t “get” modern abstract art.

Tying our sense of self to this notion that we are actors upon life’s stage.  One can easily come to terms with a notion that not everyone will understand, or appreciate our performance.  What you consider a great performance, or enactment may just be “eh” to me.  And vice versa, this is postmodern relativism.  My value system doesn’t have to relate to yours whatsoever.

Running with that notion, it is coupled to our inner sense, our introspection.  Are we being authentic to ourselves?  Am I fulfilling the role I feel I should be portraying in a manner that is consistent with my value/belief system?  This is where we get into the “Penitence” post.  I’ve found a reason why I posted it, or at least I’m conjuring one up now.

The reason, I think, is that it was meant to illustrate that all of us go through those inner turmoil where we don’t know how to act.  We’re just as judgmental of ourselves as we are of others.  Is this a problem, it can be.  We are petrified of the different, the unknown, and the strange.  Sure some people may lean into the transitions, but overall.  We like it when reality makes sense, even if it is a little bubble that does.

And a little bubble it is, regardless of what we think the scope of our awareness may be.  For instance, it’s starting to dawn on me that not many people have a non-religious based perspective.  I fell out of religion when I was six or seven years old.  Not entirely through my own actions, but it just precipitated out that way.  The last time I stepped into a Church with intentions of belief was probably close to tow years ago.  And it simply didn’t click with me.  I’m 28 now, pretty much, and so I’ve been without Religion/God, for about 20 years.  Yes there’s been times that it has bubbled up, but they’ve passed.  Mostly as my understanding grows.

Yet for many individuals, Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, Moses, …et al are significant factors in their lives.  To me they are historical figures, ones who almost summon up the same reaction that someone saying Thor would (technically not true because I know a guy named Thor….).  And is my way “wrong”?

To some, or maybe a lot…I’m starting to realize, Yes.  My way is “Wrong” simply because I haven’t been cultured to the dominant “culture”.

Although we’re hitting the stage, where we’re having the power of individuality.  That the individual is starting to have a presence in life.  Most of us aren’t uneducated slaves toiling away at our overseer’s jobs.  Our language, and our privileged place in history allows us to reflect upon Humanity’s Past.  And say, yeah we as a species did some stupid things, but let’s not repeat them.  Hopefully.

We have to dive into the unknown, swim in the eddies and currents of being woefully misplaced, surface when the need demands, and overall Live in the absence of space where other generations have tread.  Else we are doing ourselves, and our progenitors a disservice.  Their history is incorporated into traditions, moments and aspects that we chose to propel forward or to discard as unnecessary burden.

We should look to places where our languages, our experiences fail us, and dive in.  In order to have new experiences in order to talk about, and delineate new portions of reality.

That is what makes our lives art, we aren’t a set plan.  An if A then B, or proceed here from C to D.  Plans are to be acted upon.  Art conveys meaning, and expression.  We are meant to convey our personal sense of value onto the next generation.  We are vessels for our Ideals.  In addition to being the crucibles which purify the essence of those Ideals.

Even the word, Virtue, to our present understanding it means “moral high quality”, in essence, to the ancient Romans.  Vir the stem of Virtue, simply meant Man.  This something didn’t know months ago.  It is something I realized as I was looking through Latin Grammars, and it clicked.

We are living in our concepts, our perspectives of the world.  We are actors who don masks to perform, but is there an inherent state of wrong to this?  I can’t honestly say, so maybe we all need to realize that nothing is set in stone.  It all is dust going to dust in our lifetimes.  Our perspectives die with us, and that is a good thing.

I just found this last night, and it resonated with me; https://youtu.be/MBRqu0YOH14

Morality, A Perspective.

(Building Upon: (The Light of Postmodernism, and Its Very Own Cave).  Point #7; Good, Evil, and Every other Moral/Rationale Descriptor is based upon Perspective.).

Perspective, one word, and it can change our entire outlook on the world.

My perspective:  There is no good or evil in the world because the world really isn’t motivated by said factors.  Natural disasters aren’t biased morally, they don’t strike “evil towns” more often than “good towns”.  Disease is generally based upon our own personal constitution, and integrity of our being.  Not moral quality.  I can’t pray away my ailments, and I can’t have a broken leg mend because I’m a holy person.

People, are motivated by said factors, but the caveat I’ve noticed is that everyone thinks they’re doing good.  Else why bother?  The problem as I see it is that The Good is so open to interpretation which is fine, but we seem to forget that.  I haven’t yet met a person who’s actually proclaimed that they are constantly in service of Evil, and I wonder why?  Is it because of the baggage the term carries, or our own incompetency to see what we actually do outside our own cognitive lens?

I’d say the latter.  Most definitely the later.  For fun, let’s toss in a concept of Sin.  Sin from what, or proscribed by who?  I can’t fully state.  Let’s say it’s just a moving vector that varies from season to season.  A child needs to be “conditioned” for society, right?  They have to have their character built, but how many of us have resented our parents for the very same reason?  Sin…, is the ever-ripening fruit.  Sin can be sex, hypocrisy, murder, or even any of the concepts to be considered evil.

And so, when it was implied, “to have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil”.  Is this what they meant?  That one can’t grow up without tasting that forbidden fruit?  That fruit of knowledge that they too may be “Evil”…because they cause their parents to resort to tactics that their own parents felt coerced into enacting?

Emotional Blackmail?  The birch, or the belt?  The cuff of one’s hand?  Is this the origin of Sin?  That idea that we can’t escape the experiences of the past, and we’re likely to propagate them forwards?  In truth, I think that’s why all of us are “Evil”.  Not from some malignant being that is conspiring against us, at least I hope not, but from our own poetic justice.  We can’t seemingly act in a “good” way unless, or until we’ve been punished for our evil ways.

What does this tell you about us as a species?  That we’re really so clever as to warrant a civilization worthy of our efforts, a Utopia.  Even as grey, and bleak as the one we do have?  It is sometimes during the night where I start wondering, what would happen if our elders left?  That there was an entire generation skipped, or gone?  Who would we look to for guidance?  Who would be the foundation, or the spine in our principles?

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, has been a goldmine of thoughts for me in my life.  What happens when a pecking order has to be re-established?  Is it possible to have a society re-orient itself if there was a void in history?  I don’t think so.  I, myself, in my personal history have “keystones” that signify what I considered to have been significant events in my life.

The changing isolation in elementary of always having to find a new friend every year because the previous friend moved away, or went to a different school.  Being the “odd one” because I was either too tall compared to average, or reading more than everyone else.  I recall reading parts of the Redwall series by myself in 2nd grade, and those were/are 300+ page novels.  I don’t ever recall reading a “young adult novel”….except perhaps Harry Potter…which first came out when I was roughly in 4th grade, and I read those before they started becoming huge in 6th grade (how hipster, eh?).  Come 6th grade when Harry Potter became popular, I was working my way through a series.

The Riftwar Cycle ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Riftwar_Cycle ), and at some point Elminster in Hell by Ed Greenwood which….had some interesting scenes in it.  Probably a lot more graphic than a 6th grader needed to be reading.  Suffice to say, reading about a character getting disemboweled (graphically) along with having their mind flayed for answers to a question… can have an interesting effect on kid’s mentality.  Especially when they were found of wizards, and sorcery.

Oh, and 9/11 happened then too.  7th and 8th was social hell as it always is, but it was nothing like Elminster in Hell thankfully.  I didn’t get eviscerated, and no one else did as far as I know.  Invasion of Iraq happened then too, and the war in Afghanistan during High school.  Somehow or another during 7th or 8th grade I found myself reading Chickenhawk ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickenhawk_(book) ) which was an autobiography of a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam war.  Allowed for some interesting perspectives to form when the wars started in Iraq, and Afghanistan.

If anything, it is some of those experiences, and books that I’ve read/witnessed that makes me think that perspective can be highly mutable.  In turn it was other books, having bounced around with Moral Relativism (say written from the perspective of the antagonists side) that really opened up my mind which may or may not be a bad thing.

It made me realize that for all that we claim to be good in the world, we often aren’t.  We are simply masquerading our intents because we’re afraid of losing out on what we desire.  Fear often motivates a lot of us.  Fear, or insecurity.  What happens if I lose my Job?  What if I can’t pay the bills?  What…if?

But then I simply remember, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -F.D.R, and, “Fear is the mind-killer…”, -Muad’dib in Dune by Frank Herbert.

 

Forging An Identity.

(Building Upon: (The Light of Postmodernism, and It’s Very Own Cave).  Point #2, Too an extent, the World revolves around the Observer, You. & #3 There are, multiple reference frames, and modes of being. ).

I think I’ve said, and alluded to it before.  Although I can’t remember which posts right now, so bear with me.

I know I’ve mentioned the thought that a person doesn’t have a soul until they actively strive to create one.  Perhaps I need to clarify, and support that claim a little more.  I’m not sure if it entirely makes sense to those who read, but I’m going to run with this topic in this post.  If it’s redundant, skip over it.

By soul I mean a sense of self, not awareness, but a self that has a noted value system.  One that wasn’t handed down, and defined for a person.  A value system that takes into account what they feel suits their lives.  Kinda sounds paradoxical, and it is, you don’t have an identity until you have a value-system, but this value system is based off of your judgment (identity).

As odd as it may sound, that’s what I think the truth is.  A person is raised in whatever belief/social system they are (Christian, Islamic, Hindi, Buddhist…etc), and it becomes a cornerstone of their identity.  Moving to a slightly less touchy subject, I’m switching gears to language, but still holding onto this theme.

In most school systems they teach, and codify a language to you.  This is fine, for it allows one to communicate with reliance/skill/understanding to those around themselves.  Example, I learned mainly English in my academic life, and that was it.  Actually, I learned a little bit of German too, but I’m probably at an elementary level in it.

Language, like English, allows one to make sense of the world, and structure it.  Much like a religion/core value system does.  What it doesn’t always do is allow one to develop themselves (I can’t rewrite the rules of English to my amusement).  In Latin, and old roman cultures (based off of the grammar books I’ve been teaching myself from).  Women, and daughters were numbered, and that’s what their name was.  Secunda, sounds like a name right?  It means Second Daughter.  Kinda offensive I’d imagine.  You are just my second daughter, and thus I call you Daughter #2.

Latin, huh?  English may, or may not be better.  Same with German.  Helmut, is a German boy’s name, but it means helmet…, as in the head-ware.  My name Richard, comes from a pair of words “ric” meaning ruler, leader, king…etc., and “hard” meaning strong, brave, hardy…etc.  Now like most people, I didn’t choose my name, it was chosen for me.  And this is where I’m starting to get at my point.

We tie our identities to our names, “Hi, my name is Richard, or I’m Richard”, but our names don’t necessary reflect upon who we really are.  They kinda signify an object.  Like Secunda.  I am not the “Richard” if there ever was one, but I’m an instance of “Richard”.  And people make assumptions based upon our names, that were given/assigned to us.  Our object identifiers, and our handles.  Government bureaucracy, and the society built around it takes our identifiers, and makes it our “Identity”.  According to the U.S. Government I AM Richard.  I even have a nifty little number that applies solely to me, or it should…at least in theory.

Now getting into the aspect of forging an identity, I am Richard, but I am also Not Richard.  To make sense of this I’m going to have to jump to Sartre’s Authenticity.

In said concept, a person isn’t the role they are acting out in public, or even in private.  If I was a student yet, I fulfill the role of a student, but it is not who I truly am.  Who I am, is the identity behind the mask, the sense of Self that lives within said role, and makes it act.  The role is like a mask, and a persona….just like our names are until we make efforts to “Own them”.  My “Richardness” is a mask for my “I”.  And if all of this makes some sense, I’d say you’re on track to having an Identity.

An identity is formed by the values we consciously choose to accept, endorse, or be complacent with.  It is also formed by the values we strive against.  A person may take away my “Government Identity” of an issued number, and the like.  And yet it will have no effect on me, other than maybe making my external life more difficult.  Thus when an “identity is stolen” it is little more than a mask that is lost.  What a person can’t lose is their sense of value, and what they actually chose to value.

Now, to develop this more.  I grew up in a Christian/Humanist environment.  Thus those beliefs are sort of the foundational stones of my belief/value/ontology.  They used to be the load bearing stones, but I have since removed some of them.  Either so they could be updated, or because I didn’t agree with the system they fostered.

I’ve used the “language” of my foundation/upbringing (English, and Christian/Humanist Mindset).   Simply because I have no other one readily available to develop my own “value system” which I won’t explicitly lay out…at least not overly intentionally, there may be traces of it appearing here and there.  Although overall, I don’t see the point in telling someone , or acting like my “Value system” is superior to theirs…simply because I don’t know if it is.

Overall, this is what I mean when a person has no “Soul”, or “Identity” until they actively take time to make one, and joy be told.  It seems to be an active piece of life.  Everyone seems to do it as they grow older.  At least a little.

The Hold My Beer Aspect of Thinking.

Some things make sense, somethings don’t.  It’s when they make sense is when you have to test the thoughts either by proving them yourself, or against another.  We need to soundboard out our own logic, and thoughts for we can make an easy assumption that we’re all unsteady thinkers.

We’ve hit some sort of point in life, and in reality where we’re able to impact it according to our whims. Actually we’ve probably always been able to do so.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be actors in Reality.  We’d be objects, and well there’d be no real interactions.   It’d be just like a blade of grass swaying in the breeze with no one to even acknowledge that it’s doing so.

Thus, when it comes to thinking, it’s better to be somewhat doubtful instead of overly confident.  I can think that, but maybe I should have someone else think along with me.  You know distribute the problem.  And it doesn’t have to be to the same people you actually like!  It may actually be fun, if not funner to throw those really weird thoughts out there to those parties that you seem to jar/disagree with.

You know, “HOW ON EARTH COULD YOU THINK THAT!” type of reaction.  And that may be enough of a jarring to get one to reconsider either their notions, or for the “opposing party” to question their own notions.  And if you can clearly think it, it doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea.  Hence an aspect of, “Hold my beer”, in thinking.

An example of this; The effects Hitler had on a generation was a great thing, and in turn the person that was Hitler wasn’t as evil as commonly portrayed.

To defend this notion, think of the Holocaust, yes it happened, but think of the reactionary events against it that happened after it was revealed.  People started to realize and understand on a deeper level what a human can do to each other when blindly lead.  And it put doubt/questions on the value of a “Heroic Strong Leader” that can brute force, or bend their opposition to heel.  Yes, millions of people died from the ensuring genocide that Hitler enacted, but how many more where saved?

The very institution of the Concentration Camps, caused us to revisit, and revise thoughts about eugenics and what it means to be human.  Eugenics, as far as I remember was originally an American thought, and it was slowly building up in America before Hitler came about in Germany.  Thus if Hitler didn’t happen, we’d likely have a greater impetus to destroy “undesirables” today.  If simply because the thought patterns would’ve continued slowly, and somewhat benignly.  A slow growth, and gentle eradication of “the unwanted”…, and with that thought we get to the point where there likely would’ve been an extreme narrowing of the Human Experience/Character.

There wouldn’t be any of the symptoms we witness today.  No gays, no queers, no autistic, no down babies….etc.  No schizophrenics, no depressed, no bi-polar…etc  Simply because of the extremist position, and sudden lurch to it that Hitler enacted.  We can say that there is now many types that are alive today, if not most of us, that can actually make an effort at enjoying life.

The same, or a similar thought pattern can/could be applied to Religion.  The Catholic Church, when hit by Luther’s Reformation Hammer, caused a major upheaval in the social order of the day, “What the peasantry reading?  In their own common tongue nonetheless, absolutely preposterous!  I’ll stick to the educated man’s tongue of Latin, thank you very much!” (Not always connected, but some events precipitate others).  The Protestant reformation was a huge thing, in some ways it lead to the American Experiment.  And caused numerous fiefdoms/princes/kings to butt heads in all new, and inspired ways.  Also the notion of the printing press.  More books, more readers, more languages…more “thoughts” that need to be “beer checked”.  The same goes for the Internet, more ways to say, “Hold my beer”…cause I’m gonna think something stupid, and try it!

You’ve got to remember, in most situations, it made sense at the time.

Word Salad 101 (A Primer in Language Construction).

I was just perusing the web, and out of curiosity I decided to plop in “and/or” as a grammatical function.  It turns out using such a connotation is apparently “wrong” by the almighty style guides.

There is some sense to be made there, but in another case there seems to be some ridiculousness to be found too.  Take for instance, this expression; “You may have cake, and/or cookies”.  It seemingly sounds sensible, but apparently it isn’t.  You can’t have both cake and cookies nor may you have cake or cookies.

Just for fun, I want to try to ram as many of these connectives together in a few phrases and see if it’s possible to make sense of the.  Starting with trying to ram three of them together, let’s say and/or/either.

It is possible, if seemingly to do so, to have a car and/or/either a vehicle with an electric, gasoline, or diesel engine.

In some ways, it doesn’t seem to work, but let’s examine it.  It is possible to have a car.  It is possible to have a car and a vehicle.  It is possible to have a car or a vehicle.  It is possible to have either a car or vehicle.  Hmm…  It is possible to have a car, or/either a vehicle?  It is possible to have a car and/or/either a vehicle that has an electric engine.  It is possible to have a car…, and so forth with various permutations.

To me there seems to be a possibility that there is a usage of and/or/either.  Let’s get a little bit more logical.  1) “and” implies a conjugation that brings in the following as an additional component.  Ex; You and I are going to figure this out.  2) “or” implies that there is a disjunctive between one or more components.  Ex; You or I are going to figure this out.  3) “either”, again implies that there’s a dis-junction between components.  Ex; Either I am, or you are going to figure this out.

Although wait here, there’s an “or” that slipped in with the either in that last one.  Now is it possible to try to slip in an either with an and?  Let’s see, Either we are, and we can’t, or we are, and we shall.  It doesn’t seem natural to leave it Either-and, but maybe there’s an innate reflex against doing so.  Maybe it’s a conditioned response?

….who knows!  And yes, this was brought about by mashing together ideas from “Many-valued logic”, and “Linguistic Relativity” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity ).  https://youtu.be/u6eXw0AAKZ8 For fun, imagine combining the different directions that one refers to time (forward/backward/left/right/top/down) into a sort of “3d” mapping of time.

That’s something I’ve been intellectually toying with, and I call it an “onion of time”.

 

The Resurrection

As a public and personal reply to the Crucified Lord, I realize that Christianity is lauded as something that unites, and creates a community.  As does every other religion.  Not a big difference there.  Note; I don’t feel, or think I have a personal grievance against Christianity, and I can readily admit that in the past that it has done a lot of good things.  Safeguarding schools of learning during the dark ages, encouraging, and supporting the refinement of social mores.  These are good things that Christianity has done, and should remain the things that they focus on.  This notion that God would or wouldn’t support this, or just the plain obsession with God…, Deus.

This is what I find really peculiar about the way it’s bandied about, and it may just be my personal age (ignorance).  It just seems odd to resort to idolatry of a term which is what it seems like to me.  My personal understanding of faith, I feel is more nuanced than what I feel the stereotypical understanding (broad generalization here…, so apply discretion if needed).  I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the simplified concepts of tribalism that seems to resolve in religious communities.  To my perspective it should be a period of intellectual, and emotional development while under a safe space.  Not a cudgel to bandy about, or a “moniker” to adopt to fit in.  Why yes, I’m a good Christian….

There is so much more to this notion (Christianity), and having never fully made it through the narrative (I’m working on it) of Christ’s Life.  It seems to me that it’s sorely misunderstood.  Not just the Bible, but the a concept of what religion can be.  At it’s base, from my perspective, Religion is a belief about the World.  It is the ontology (intellectual/mental/philosophical foundation), or the ground upon which one sets their edifice in order to construct their worldview, and life.

Mathew 7:24-27 (King James Version)

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and if fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be linkened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+7%3A24-27&version=KJV )

From this it should be possible to see, or understand that this is exactly what it says.  Christianity is a foundation of thinking…is it The foundation of thinking, no.  It is simply a way to make sense, and understand the world around oneself.

Going back further; Exodus 3:14 (King James Version)

And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.

( https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+3%3A14&version=KJV )

To me, and at this time, the “I AM THAT I AM” (or “I AM WHO I AM”) seems to me a base realization that it is “I’ness” that founds, and sets that first stone in an ontology.  It is not “Richard, Bob, Susan, or Marley” that does it.  It is our own sense of “I’ness”.  The consciousness we have ourselves.  We have to think for ourselves, and with thinking for ourselves we have to build our own foundations.

Take for instance that we’re all born ignorant, and unaware of the world around us.  Our parents set up the basics of our foundation, and worldview.  Is it safe for us?  Is it going to provide for us?…etc.  We have an instinctual drive towards somethings, sure, but what I don’t know is if people always move beyond the security of their homes.  The security of their communities, and the security of their worldviews.  This is where I think Religion could excel, as pushing an individual out further, and further of their “comfort zone”.  Alas, Religions are institutions, and over time institution’s motives change according to the heads that change (which can be good).

Take for instance, a person who lives at their parent’s home their whole life (metaphor about adhering to one Doctrine/Ideology for one’s whole life).  Are they really living in accord with who they are, or who they could be?  An existentialist says, and implies that existence precedes essence.  With that simple expression, is a huge notion that in order to be considered an “individual”, or to actually have “essence” (a soul).  One doesn’t merely have to “Exist”, they have to actively strive to create it.

Thus I don’t think a person who’s going through the motions, and isn’t expressing themselves in any manner.  Even if said expression causes conflict with the almighty status quo.  Is an entity.  They are there, physically, but are they there “Spiritually”?  No.  For what are they, they are just a domesticated …thing, not an evolving, and growing being.

Look around society, and you see cultural trends, or groups of people who act in accord with each other.  A group identity, but do you really truly see individuals?  A person that is so exceptionally different that they stick out without effort?  Not because they always want to, but simply because they do.  Kierkegaard alluded to some of these thoughts with his Knight of Faith, and so did Nietzsche with his Ubermensch.

A person who loves their individuality, and their uniqueness fully?  All to the point where they’re willing to suffer any slings, and barbs that life throws at them?  Should a religion foster this mindset?  That we are all unique, and different?  And with that, a notion, that we’re all Human, all too human.  We run the entire spectrum of behaviors that we’re aware of because we’re only aware of what it means to be “Human”.  That it’s okay to be “different”, or one of “those”.  The “Other” in everyone else’s conception of what it means to be alive?  That until you know one, and their life…they are merely a stage character?

Or should religion be about safeguarding against fear?  I much prefer the notion that it’s meant to uplift, and revive the Human Spirit.  That it’s meant to foster reflection upon what it just means to be “Human”.  Humanity has a story, and every one of us has a chapter in that book.  Do you wish for yours to be unique?  It is already, but do you truly wish for a “stage presence” in someone’s life?  What does it take to be comfortable in one’s skin?  Over being afraid of the judgment from the “Other”.

I think it is fear of ourselves, and what we may potentially do.  There is freedom in our lives, freedom to kill, freedom to hate, freedom to wound…, but it is our choice whether we do so.  It is always our choice.  It’s okay to think, “What would Jesus do?”, or “What wouldn’t Jesus do?”…a bigger question is; “What would I do?”…, and “can I live with having done it”?  That is the harder set of questions.  To be responsible to oneself, and that is what considered being an adult is, is it not?

 

A Case for Multivariate Logic.

Well, in life, and in philosophy there’s often the case that we’ll default to a basis of two states.  True, or false.  This is ignoring the potential realm of multiple truths, and multiple falsities (like the Buddhist two truth doctrine, and/or double-binds).  If we were to run with Kant’s Categorical Imperative ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_imperative ), we’d be hitting some serious problems.  Namely in the realm of deceit.

A basic rundown of the Categorical Imperative is the idea that if you wish to do something, consider if it became a universal law.  An example; If it was okay to lie, there’d be no honesty.  Let us consider now with classical logic there’s always a truth, or false.  If that be the case it’d be impossible to have deceit in the real world.  Everyone would be absolutely honest, and that in itself is up for debate.

As pretty much everyone learns as they grow older, it’s possible to lie to themselves, and to another.  Let us name a lie to another “f”, and a lie to ourselves “F”.  The little “f” presents a notion that it is possible to know the truth, but to render forth a small little deceit.  This is often done, namely to get kids to probe further, and/or to dig into their own investigations.  It is a concept called “lie to the children”, in which the rudimentary elements are conveyed first as to not scare someone off, but to entice them in.  It is like the Witch in Hansel & Gretel offering them candy.  Sometimes it can be used for good, others bad.  Thus the little “f”, is contrasted by a “t, or a T” (more on those later).

The big “F”, is a deceit that is integral to our very being, but we can’t comprehend why, generally.  Let us ruminate for a moment on Religion (doesn’t matter what flavor), but running on with a pair.  Old Nordic paganism, people say Thor killed the Frost Giants which is “true” because no one sees frost giants.  This is contrasted with a “newer faith”, that mandates an idea that “someone died for all our sins”.  To those within both respective doctrines, they’re considered absolutely true, but to the other (outsider) it’s seen as a false belief.

Thus a “F” is an ontological cornerstone.  It seems odd to place that there, doesn’t it?  That our reality isn’t based upon Truth, but a lie, and a big lie to ourselves?  That in order to operate effectively in the world, a person has to have some sort of belief that lies outside themselves.  Call this a conditioning of Childhood.  Now leaving this thought behind for a moment, let’s go on to the “T”, and “t”.

A “t” is a small truth, it may be superseded by a big “T”.  As such when a small “t” is revealed, it is shown that there may be more behind the curtain.  Assuming that there is other lifeforms in the universe.  There is a fairly safe notion to make that they’ll reason differently than us, and have completely different lives from us.  Take for example that they could breathe nitrogen, over oxygen.  Scientifically, I don’t think that’s impossible.  Thus if we were to unite multiple “t”s to get a bigger “T” which in turn itself may be a small “t”, for there can’t be completely certainty that a “T” is truly a “T”.

Taking this back to the personal perspective, there is a notion that in order to lie, a person has to have at least know what they’re trying to cover up, or be completely bluffing.  Thus when rendered in the world, a “f” may run with a “t” to ourselves.  Adding in some other factors, like say “U”, and “I”.  “U” would be uncertain which gives us a notion that when combined with the other operators a notion of certainty of said value.  A “U” with an “f”, or a “t” would lead one to question the respondent to a further degree.  Whereas an “I” which stands for indeterminate simply renders the question, or the notion of “T/F” invalid until a later date.

Although, I think on some levels this multivariate logic is predicated, and dependent upon the binary logic.  Ex; True or false, for one question leads into another question of true or false for the results that were dependent upon the first question.  Thus I intuitively want to say it’s possible to build up to a multivariate logic through binary logic bootstrapping.  Is one better than another, it depends upon context.

Picking back up with the offhand remark of a big “F” being an ontological cornerstone, let us ruminate for example that this is only apparent to an “Other”.  One who by definition is outside the system.  Those who believe, and adhere to the practice of Christianity certainly do believe that Christ will save them from their demise.  Is the belief wrong?  I can’t say for certain, but I could knock it down to a “f” with a “U”, or an “I”.

The thing is, I think we need to set a “F” as a place to start, and from there it is left to us as individuals to make said “F” at least somewhat plausible.  Thus in some sort of rationale it makes sense to have a “F” as a starting point, and to start migrating to a more plausible “T”.  I mean is there a point to development if you’re really going to stay at that “F”, and not update information as needed?

I see a similar problem with “Science” in the sense that it’s adherents are just as prone to being dogmatic as those of the “Religious” persuasion.  One says, “God did it all”, and the other gets more “nuanced”, but still has to appeal at the base of its ontological foundation.  That Humans are such-n-such entities (rational, skeptic, sane…etc, and that’s getting called into question with modern “psychology/psychiatry”…which at the deepest level is based off the work of at least two people…Freud, and Jung back from the late 1800’s- early 1900’s which is built off of “Existentialist thought”… Nietzsche 1844-1900, Kierkegaard 1813-1855, Sartre 1905-1980…et al).  Science can claim to be empirical, and evidence based.  And yet, if that be the case why are historical thought processes discarded at a moment’s notice as “nonsensical/pointless” .

This is the “Demarcation Problem” that is in science; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demarcation_problem .  Every doctrine that we enjoy presently is based on of some sort of “Deviant” that dug deeper than the average bear.  Take Newton for example; His primary concern according to this book ( https://www.amazon.com/Foundations-Newtons-Alchemy-Cambridge-Paperback/dp/0521273811/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1510789031&sr=8-4&keywords=sir+isaac+newton+and+alchemy ) was alchemy, and theosophy!

He was trying to explain, and understand God’s Design for the Universe.  And he was/is the Father of Classical Mechanics (Sophomore College Physics).  And yet this stuff is “swept under the rug”, generally.  His work is the beginning “fiction” for our world.

Polarities of Existence.

Nihilism and Postmodernism are somewhat similar in the sense that they both annihilate, and deconstruct meaning for their respective adherents.  Yet, I think there’s enough of a difference to throw them in a cage with each other, and let them fight it out.

Starting in one corner of this match is Nihilism, who weighs in with nothing and stating that everything has no meaning inherent.  Including itself, as a self-contradictory notion, but it doesn’t care about this.  It won’t acknowledge that it destroys its own definitions of value for itself.  A meaning that destroys meaning destroys it’s own meaning, essentially.

In the opposite corner, there is Postmodernism, who is in such a dizzy state that it’s constantly asking, “what does it mean?”, and there’s no reference in which to apply value.  Your good is just as good as my good.  It’s all relativistic to who does what in what circumstances, and conditions.  There is no basis of judgment.

Stumped by why these mindsets seem so prevalent?  So am I.  Thus let us tilt at both of them then.  Historically, it is Nihilism that was first cogitated, so it has a claim there for being the progenitor of Postmodernism.  Although it probably won’t admit to it.  It gets deconstructed for itself.  The self-contradiction of its own logic.

Stepping out beside these two, there’s a void of meaning on the Nihilistic pole of this spectrum.  All the way up to the, “Meanings everywhere, and they’re all equally valid”, of postmodernism.  Thus it’s almost like saying Nihilism (0/Nothing) to Postmodernism (Infinite).  Both perspectives may be “valid” as intellectual constructs/curios, but they fail in reality.  Big time.  For if one where to be a die-hard nihilist, why do they continue living?  Nothing has meaning in the First sense.  That that of everything being negated, and left purposeless.  Applied to a postmodernist mindset of, “All meanings are constructed”, one is left with no edifice in which to ground themselves.  Suicide, is prevented by the State/Society which holds Human Life as sacrosanct based off of Christian Theology.  If one doesn’t support this view, just off oneself.  There’s no meaning to hold one back.  Thus how many people are willing to take the plunge over that cliff?  Not many, I’d assume.

Thus to struggle out of that void, of being in an ocean with no boat, or surface to cling too.   One is in the depths of Being, that infinite potentiality realm.  This is what postmodernism writ large is.  That everything has the same potential to exist, and just as valid as another to exist.  If that be the case, why does one value default to existence over non-existence?  Simply put, one has to exist to have thoughts about both existence, and non-existence.   This is truth.

Who’s to say in all this postmodernist struggle that one won’t be reborn/resurrected again?  You didn’t choose to be in here in the first place, thus there is the mindset to negate and destroy all things as illusion.  Thus why wouldn’t you not exist by getting dragged into existence again?  Thus suicide, is such an asinine move on so many levels it just seems stupid.  And here’s why;

  1. You’ll never know if you succeed, because if you are; you’re logically not there/here to see said success.
  2. You will only end up crippled, and/or worse off for every attempt made.
  3. You may just get reincarnated once again, and against your will.  Much like you were the first time.
  4. It doesn’t “solve anything”.

This is what the postmodern/relativistic/nihilistic mindset climaxes in.  Starting again at point A.  Thus to build from there, and that plane of “nothingness”.  Let us consider that, “Nothing has meaning” in a second sense.  That of which, somethings simply mean “Nothing”.  Nihilism becomes a tool at this point.  It allows one to constrain their system of awareness/growth to a manageable realm.  Especially when applied to postmodernism.  Postmodernism (infinite meaning).  Bloats itself up to the grandiose level itself.  A sort of , I can recreate and apply new meaning to everything because the “Author is Dead”, and there is no Inherent Meaning!

Good luck with that, if one wishes to create from scratch, and Sui genesis.  By all means attempt to do so, but realize that if you’re playing this way.  Everyone else is too.  Why should I adopt your given meanings over my given meanings?  Thus remains relativism.

If you adhere to the relativistic mindset, you can’t change anything because you are paralyzed by the mere notion that all are equal in all senses.  Thus I have to put no stock into your “Truths”, and if you wish to violate another by imposing your truth upon them through force…well, you’re no longer Relativistic.  You are merely another tyrant.

Note:  This era is likely the “Great Leveling” that Kierkegaard feared, and the “Re-evaluation of all Values” that Nietzsche prophesied was coming back in the 1800’s upon hearing and thinking about the “American Experiment”, and Democracy.  Taken to the extreme, Democracy fails.  Even the Ancient Greeks knew this.

Juxtaposition of the Lens, and Multiple Candles of Consciousness.

(Building Upon: (The Light of Postmodernism, and Its Very Own Cave).  Point #9; All things are comprehensible to some reference frame, but it may not be the reference frame one is presently in).

There’s much ado about well, everything.  Hold one concept in mind, and the counter concept eludes you.  Ex; A person generally has a hard time holding these two emotions in their mind at the same time; Sadness, and Happiness.  They are generally opposed to one another, aren’t they?  It sounds odd to say one is blissfully tragic, or suffering from sorrowful ecstasy.  And yet, we can ram those concepts together, gotta love words.

It’s kinda like shifting statically, a person want’s to be “enlightened”, but they also don’t want to lose sense of themselves.  One is antithetical to the other, or so it seems.  And yet, is it really?  Can I efface myself to the point that there is no-self, yes.  I supposedly shouldn’t do it, for that may be a little problematic.  “Where does the person of Self go, and what about all those relations?”.  Well, in addition to losing sense of self, there’s also the loss of “Mutual Reality”.  My world is less real than the common one because why?  It wasn’t endorsed by those around me?  That the patterns within the chaos that I Observe isn’t, and aren’t the same patterns that you would pick up on?

How is this any different than spotting figures in the clouds?  What looks like a man, or a person to you could just as easily be another animal to me.  And yet we have to ram each others’ conceptions down the “Others'” throat.  Isn’t that what schooling is to an extent?  Teach ’em good, and teach ’em well so they don’t question anything ever again?  That they have no innate curiosity about the world around them?  And so they can express themselves in the proper verbiage of the day?

Are these characters, that were/are descended from “Latin” any better than their Arabic, or what have you counterparts?  What if you want to express a concept that is so foreign in a certain language that you don’t have words for?  Much less a limited palate/pallet of characters?  Sure you could invent new words, and/or new characters.  Although what have you really done?  You’ve changed the rulebook, at least for yourself, and that’s somewhat of a no go.

Say for instance that one couldn’t speak half the words that they can/could read.  Does this mean that you can’t converse with the sesquipedalian dialect?  I suppose, yes.  Let us assume that we only use a tenth, if not less, in any given language that we know.  And when confronted with an interlocutoring interloper…we get confused, and/or befuddled.

This is building up to the notion that with all our postmodern relativism, we’re losing an “absolutist” core.  That of a reference point that can be mutually agreed upon.  My last post was a slight towards Christianity, but I could have easily referenced any other Religion, or Worldview, including my own.  And that is a problem I think we’re starting to catch upon as a species.  This world is a little too vast, but small enough to be manageable yet.

As context, imagine having received a “Like”, or a “Follow” from someone halfway across the globe.  It happens.  Although do they grasp the full context of the events that are going on in one’s own world that allow them ability to relate?  I don’t honestly know.  An example of this is the American Culture War ongoing, and I think it’ll always be ongoing.  That the arguments being made about gender identity, and every other thing imaginable are now reaching halfway around the globe to what?  Ears (really eyes) that may, or may not be in a similar position?

That one can go to an international site, like Youtube, debate with a complete stranger, and foreigner about concepts that affect both of their worlds in completely different ways?  Imagine this for instance, an Afghani (or Iraqi) near the time of the American Invasion (perspective here matters).  Going online in the era afterwords, and arguing with Americans themselves about being “bombed” or attacked.  Its baffling, but also humanizing.

Or even this idea, that a Hindu from India could be privy to the same arguments that I hear in person about any of the American Cultural conflict right now.  They’d just have to navigate to the site on their browser, and see if their government will allow them access to it.  The world is getting smaller, but in multiple ways.  The internet connects us to such a broad, and diverse audience.  And yet, it causes us to get cornered in our own little echo chambers of rationale.

A person’s ignorance, can multiply faster than they can realize it now.  If I started rambling on about the Vedic Philosophies, I’d be completely clueless.  Much as I feel about Christianity sometimes (namely every time I reference the Bible/Jesus).  There’s simply too much to know, and this is what I think deters a lot of people.  They’re comfortable with the world that they know because it is their world.  Something from the other side of the planet won’t affect them that much, but it still will.

I watched a video last night that advised Millennials in America to work to change themselves if they want to change the world, and this was from a Canadian Psychologist.  ….As someone who got a little lost (psychologically, and socially) in a culture that was still American (Minnesota to Alabama) a 1000 miles from home.  It just strikes me as odd to realize that anyone can have a global audience.  Nonetheless one that could relate to what’s going on in the drama of life on my personal stage.

How is this any different for me over anyone who chances upon this blog?  I could catch a reference to say the Mandala, but I would have to reference a Western understanding of it.  I may be able to “live” some aspects of it, but is there a meaning behind say the Sanskrit that eludes the meanings to be found in English?  Most certainly, and this is where I fear we’re losing the context that is so important to many in our daily lives.

As a final example; Nihilism, in Western thought it is a dreaded concept at least on an emotional level.  That it leads to the nightmare of, “The Dark Night of the Soul” (Christian Thought), and despair.  Despair has been called the sickness unto death by Existential Philosophers in the West back in the 1800’s.  And from a deeper perspective, Nihilism is a meaning that annihilates all meaning.  That it renders void, all thoughts/emotions/values in life and puts one in a dark depression.  And this is all from the Buddhist thought of “Non-Attachment” as interpreted by the Western Mind.  How does a native thinker/experiencer of Buddhist doctrine view this change in mindset?  Is it even possible for a Westerner to attain “Nirvana” in a classical sense?  Or are they too biased by their old ontology?  Just like realizing Maya.