Sunday, 30 April 2017

Thought 530: A Well-Fair Philosopher


Should a biography ever be written about my largely insignificant and unaccomplished life, a possible title could be:
"Tom Romer, the Well-Fair Philosopher." 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Thought 529: The Road to Hell Cliché


"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
Needless to say that it is also paved with bad intentions. Duh.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Thought 528: Does the Liberation of Money Liberate?


Following an observation by my girlfriend about 'anarcho-capitalism', according to which she claimed that anarcho-capitalists want to liberate money, not people, and to which I replied that anarcho-capitalists would argue that the liberation of money leads to the liberation of people, an observation which could be applied to all agendas to liberate financial markets, such as in Thatcherism and in the philosophies of Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek, an operative question that people on different sides of the political spectrum give different answers to is whether the liberation of money leads to the liberation of human beings or, to the contrary, leads to their enslavement?

In other words the million dollar question is: does the liberation of money, e.g. through a free market of monetary currencies or simply laissez-faire capitalism, liberate or enslave people?

I touched on this issue in my writing Position on the Money Issue but more from the angle of money as such. Is money a liberating force or an enslaving force? Surely it depends on whether you have it or not and whether in order to get it you need to sell your labour 24/7. As with almost all questions under the sun, the answer is context-sensitive.

Ditto, does money come to rule the minds of only 'unbalanced' individuals as someone I had a discussion with claimed, saying as he did that money was a neutral entity with no consciousness, or is it more that money, at bottom, only exists in consciousness and that we could perfectly function, if we were evolved and moral enough as a species, without it?

Does the answer to the question not also depend on how and why money is used and made, in keeping with the insight I've expressed before that the worthiness of any system, be it capitalism, socialism, voluntarism, or indeed, monarchy, democracy, anarchy depends entirely on its level of morality (France and the Collective, The Problem of Taxation - Importance of Morality)?

This is where looking at factual reality, how things manifest in practice, comes to take importance although of course, as I wrote recently, getting to grips with the facts themselves not to mention their interpretation is a matter of much contention owing to epistemological reasons of the limitations of knowledge acquisition (mentioned in The More You Know The Less You Think You Know and famously analysed by the 18th century philosopher Immanuel Kant and later epistemologists and scientific philosophers) as well to the diversity of people's life contexts and sensibilities (Knowledge and Sensibility) and the role played by such psychological phenomena as cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.

All this to say, many I think are in error in feeling that such and such a thing, e.g. technology, socialism or government, is intrinsically immoral if they fail to grasp that a high level of morality in any system or activity is conducive to the common good as opposed to a high level of immorality - which is conducive to general suffering. 

People will be quick to point out that what constitutes morality is itself contentious and historically changing but, as I have said before (Freedom & Morality), victimless deeds or deeds where only 'society' is the victim as opposed to living, breathing human beings are not prima facie immoral because no tangible harm or violation of Natural Law has been manifested.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Thought 527: Literalist Understanding in Many Conspiracy Theories


Readers of my thoughts will know that I am not completely averse to conspiracy theories since I view some of them as often being fact-based critical research of events in the interests of truth and public disclosure, undertook with the insight that the powerful do not, as a rule, have the best interests of the masses at heart (Evaluating Conspiratorial Angles, We're All Conspiracy Theorists, Conspiracy Theorist, Conspiracy Theorising, One Eyed Man and The Minions). 

As I've written before, a conspiracy means a group of two or more people secretly colluding together to do harm for selfish gain. 

This post however to say that I've picked up on a tendency to literalist understanding in some quarters of the truth movement.

An example that immediately comes to mind is David Icke's reptilian-hyprid theory, according to which many of the world's elite are not in fact human or that the moon is some form of alien spacecraft instrumental in keeping the earth under control. 

The reason this strikes me as literalist is that it may well be true that many of the world's leaders are based in the R complex of the brain, i.e. the reptilian brain stem, or that our perception of the moon is simplistic but to go from there to a full-blown position that the aforementioned leaders are lizard aliens or that the moon is a spacecraft, both angles being incredibly particular to our time with its science-fiction tradition as opposed to earlier times which had no concept of spacecrafts or indeed outer space populated by alien beings, is somewhat lacking in metaphorical subtlety. 

This is evident in interpretations of Ancient Mesopotamian Creation stories which do mention what some would take to be as extra-terrestrial beings: some see them as literally signifying alien intervention in the course of human development while others take a more metaphorical view of these alien 'gods' myths, being more sensitive to the mythologically-minded worldview of Ancient Cultures, μῦθος in Greek meaning speech or tale. 

Another example that comes to mind is the Disney subliminal messages conspiracy - do these subliminal messages really point to a purposeful agenda to corrupt the young by the satanic freemason Walt Disney and his successors or are they the fruit of disgruntled and naughty Disney artists having a bit of Tyler-Durden-esque fun at the expense of the Disney-watching masses, which has been proven to be the case in one of the most glaring of examples (Tyler Durden being an anarchist character in the novel Fight Club)?

In the first video I linked, the speaker interprets the Disney animated movie Beauty and the Beast as really glorifying a form of pagan bestiality, Belle falling in love with a kind of animal/dog man, when more traditional, metaphorical understandings interpret Beast as pointing to the beast within all of us, all the more so that the reason he became a physical beast was due to un-Christian pride and arrogance. 

Independent journalist James Corbett from corbettreport.com often amusingly makes slight adjustments to more extravagant conspiratorial angles by saying, for example, that recurrent media lies and cover ups are not so much due to all the journalists in question selling their souls to the illuminati but to sociological phenomena whereby journalists follow the lead of editors themselves answerable to the corporate interests of their organisation which, after all, is out to make money (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NuLWCHvkc8). 

He also makes fun of the 'conspiracy' that all US presidents are distant family relatives, again pointing to an illuminati dynasty angle, because scientifically everyone you meet is likely to be at least your sixteenth cousin. Nor will a document signed in Rothschild's blood about the evil intent of the Federal Reserve ever come to public awareness as opposed to dry, technical documents that few if any will bother to read.

Paul is Dead conspiracies according to which Paul McCartney from the Beatles died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike have a certain charm for those who feel the singer has lost the songwriting power and charisma of his youth and do seem to take a very literalist understanding of hints in some Beatles songs and album covers that Paul indeed was dead.

As John Lennon sang during his post-Beatles period
"Those freaks were right when they said you was dead."
I am not saying literalism as opposed to more metaphorical understanding is necessarily wrong or at fault but it is reflective of a conscious or subconscious interpretative choice in evaluating information and data.

As such there may indeed be a 'global conspiracy' to bring the earth under a one-world government of tyrannical proportions but is that due to a millennia-long drive of certain 'bloodlines' informed by the occult arts or to the tendency of those in power to want more power because power that ceases to grow is no longer power, at least according to philosopher Martin Heidegger (Nietzsche I & II)?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Thought 526: My Ergophobia


Ergophobia, which is Greek for fear of work, is perhaps the maladaptive condition I suffer from the most in my persistent if diminishing dread of jobholding and finding employment.

I have had jobs in the past, largely in catering, and plenty more voluntary roles for charities and so forth but the world of gainful employment terrifies me, not least because it exacerbated if not caused a great deal of mental health distress in my youth.

The fact is, this 'fact' of course being an opinion, that I am more gentle and sensitive than average which can of course be a drawback in the largely cut-throat, competitive labour market replete, in my opinion, with nagging and narcissistic employers, and certainly in the world of business which, it seems to me, requires a great deal of rude self-assertion and, depending on your position on the career ladder, bossing people around or being bossed around. 

It is my sensitivity - though some, to be sure, think me insensitive - that makes me philosophise and turn to creative modes of expression as ways to fulfil myself but the thought of having to earn a living through, say, teaching, catering, shop-keeping, caring, cleaning, even translating sends cold shivers down my spine. 

It is my ergophobia that has made me take issue with money, money-making, ‘economics’, the jobs system, right-wing and libertarian ideals of economic enterprise and so forth and that ultimately make me a misfit non-conformist. 

While I am someone of some creative ability, job-holding and making money are not one of my talents and I am very much at the mercy of the ever-dwindling Welfare State for my livelihood.

The point of this writing is that employment and making money, which so many see as the material purpose of life, because these activities are instrumental in being able to operate and survive in a monetary system such as ours, are not for everyone, and this is the case usually not because of lazy-ness and ‘taking the piss’, whatever that means, but because of having a personality that suffers from and is therefore averse to the social, sociological and psychological reality of the modern workplace.

In other words it is not that I’m work-shy (see post What is Work?), if work is defined as an activity of disciplined self-application in areas that need attending to, but employment and business-shy because these involve engaging with and labouring under other people in typically hierarchical and insensitive ways. 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Thought 525: What is Work?


In political and common parlance, when people say 'work' they usually mean 'jobholding'. 

Jobholding, at least outside the public sector, is really about doing tasks that contribute to a business, whether yours or someone else's, being able to make money in return for a monetary compensation known as a wage or emolument.

Yet there are non-jobholding forms of work: household or other kinds of chores, looking after children, caring for the sick and elderly, cooking, food shopping and so on. 

Thinker Hannah Arendt distinguished labour, which she saw as being the servant to the necessities of the life cycle, e.g. farming and growing food and most things pertaining to biological survival, from work which, for her, manufactures objects or creations that lend permanence to the world, like building a house, a pencil or a spacecraft. 

It could be argued that her concept of work included art works such as musical compositions, paintings, sculptures as well as literary books. 

I have a wider understanding of work as being any activity that requires applying myself with an element of a resistance overcome

That is to say when I'm not in the mood for an activity and yet do it, that feels more like work than leisure (what the Romans called necotium, non-leisure, as oppose to otium, leisure) whereas when I am in the mood for an activity, that feels more like leisure than work.  

Thus the same activity can be leisure one day and work another day depending on whether it feels like a nuisance or not at a given time.

Thus jobs would always count as work for me because they would always be a nuisance, something I don't want to do, an encroachment on my leisure time.

Practicing piano could also be work depending on whether I'm doing it out of pleasure and enjoyment, in which case it would not be, or out of disciplined drudgery, in which case it would be. 

It follows from this subjective approach to the concept of work that it is possible to work less simply by altering or at least influencing how you feel about a given task. 

As Mary Poppins says to the Mr. Banks' children who are reluctant to tidy their room
"In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and hop, the job's a game!"
However it might be that my definition of work is too wide if one should be of the more puritannical opinion that work always denotes an activity that has to be done, whether for monetary reasons, keeping on top of chores of even because of creative fever, regardless of whether you want to or not.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Thought 524: Who are Taxpayers?


Contrary to popular belief, out-of-work benefits claimants are also taxpayers, despite their income being drawn from taxation, in so far as everyone pays sales tax in the form of VAT whenever they buy goods or services - and who never buys goods or services?

Of course political rhetoric makes the equation between workers and taxpayers because people who are 'economically active' often pay income tax, national insurance and council tax on top of inevitable value added tax. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Thought 523: Tragicomedy


"The world is a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those who think."
Since most of us feel and think it follows that the world is tragicomic. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Thought 522: Both Parties Right in Disagreement


It seems to me that when disagreement occurs between two or more parties, both or all parties may be right, responding as they are to their own sensibility and focus (see Knowledge and Sensibility), or at least have some elements of truth in what they’re saying, only no one party has a full, monopolistic grasp of the whole, objective truth since this is humanly impossible. 

Truth, defined as that which is, can admit of more than one perception and while some perceptions may be closer to that which is than others (see Interpreting Information and Angle and Truth), no mere human can grasp the entirety of factual reality. 

At first it would seem that facts, i.e. events that have already taken place, would only admit of a single correct perception - although in practice even merely establishing what actually happened is often a contested and arduous process, such as in court procedures where there are different and competing versions of the facts of the case depending on whose side of the litigation you look at, as well as in history where different historical researchers disagree on such basic things as, say, who was responsible for deciding to launch the atomic bomb in World War 2, the military or President Truman - but events are of course open to interpretation and therefore opinion, defined as one possible angle out of many.

This is evident when it comes to terrorist attacks. All or at least the vast majority will agree as to the event of the attack itself but very soon there will be those labelling the attack as a false flag, i.e. blame its occurrence on the deep State, as compared to the officially acknowledged and mediatised culprits. 

[In fact it could readily be argued that the types and qualities of reactions provoked by news items like terrorist attacks - which can be measured and quantified online by those who possess the means - are of far more consequence politically than the event of the attacks themselves, despite the tragic loss of life and limb, which often involve far less victims than an average week of motoring on the nation's roads. 

This insight in turn would support a view according to which 'the news' can indeed be instrumentalised precisely to provoke certain reactions, as part of divide and conquer, worldview-poisoning or controlled opposition strategies, which conspiracy researchers refer to as a dark use of the Hegelian dialectic, whether it be David Icke's formulation of the 'problem-reaction-solution' technique of power or Mark Passio's equivalent 'chaos-confusion-opportunity' label which that researcher sometimes also refers to simply as 'chaos sorcery'. See Mass Mind Control Techniques, Engineered Crisis, Black Magic as Inversion, Electioneering, Conflict in Politics.]

When it comes not to factual truth but philosophical or even psychological truth this has entirely to do with sensibility and when a couple have a fight over something they both may be saying true things about the other partner yet both think they are in the right as opposed to the other who is in the wrong.

Ditto with left-wing and right-wing dialectics; both sides of the political spectrum will think they are in the right and the other side wrong yet it may turn out that both are right in some areas and wrong in other areas or even, as anarchists would argue, both wrong in all areas because these would interpret government itself as being the problem, the existence of which Left and Right take for granted. 

It remains that the different angles people have, i.e. their opinions, will seize and focus upon different aspects of factual and philosophical truth (often through the agency of what is called confirmation bias) and it would take divine, i.e. impossible, understanding to get a full grip on all aspects of factual and philosophical data in an omniscient manner.  

In my writing Half-Truths I quoted the saying that every truth is a half-truth and therefore also a half-error. I recommended embracing half-errors and half-truths, including the half-truth of the statement ‘every truth is a half-truth’, as the closest approximation we can achieve to a degree of truthfulness. 

The insight that those we disagree with in life may also be speaking some truth should alleviate unhealthy desires to dominate, dismiss or dehumanise those others as well as of falling into dogmatism, i.e. turning into truth-holders seeking to control the thoughts, emotions and actions of others as opposed to truth-seekers who are aware of the ongoing and never-ending journey of knowledge acquisition understood as continual life learning and unlearning (see posts Thinking v Opining and The More You Know the Less You Think You Know). 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Thought 521: A Disclaimer about this Blog


To state the obvious, my thoughts on this blog reflect my own angle on things, as formed by a combination of my own sensibility and personality along with the formative influences and life experience that I have been privy to. 

I know that I seem very outspoken in many of my blog posts, partly due to my formal writing style, as well as dismissive of many aspects of modern culture, weary of humanity, weary of institutions such as government, jobs and the media, but the truth of the matter is I do not take myself or my opinions as seriously as what may come across at first glance

Yes, I feel that my opinions, some of them at least, are worthy to be published and therefore shared on this blog but this blog was created really as a record of my presence on this planet and I am vain enough to wish to have a personal space of my own on the internet where I can keep a full record of all my creative activity, whether artistic, musical or intellectual.  

People are free to come and drop in as they please, to like or dislike my output and even to comment and disagree. But this blog is not about pushing an agenda, saving the world or even making money but simply a diary of my ever-evolving spiritual life in various forms and chronological incarnations.

Addendum  - When I told my mother that in terms of actual print-outs, my blog consisted of 517 writings she said it was impressive that anyone might have 517 ideas. Perhaps, but whatever the number of ideas, this blog is really one thought in many, many incarnations: know thyself

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Thought 520: Why I Will Never Be A Parent


Why I will never be a parent: I cannot bring myself to bring an unwitting human being into this world of ours which, let's face it, is largely tortured and unpleasant, without them being even able to consent to it in the first place.

Why would I want to impose such god-awful things as school, jobs, money worries and the bullshit of life including bullying, mental health problems, romantic and other forms of trauma, having to sell one's labour to earn a living on someone who didn't ask for any of it?

I can sort of understand having children if it's by accident but voluntarily imposing life on someone, bringing them up as you see fit and of necessity involving them in the cruel nastiness of modern civilisation baffles me in its selfish myopia. 

I do concede, however, the irony that it takes being alive to realise one was better off not being born. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Thought 519: My View of Happiness


For me happiness denotes more than contentment, being pleased or at least not displeased with one's lot, and of course is not the same thing as fun, when one is pleasantly distracted by an activity or other beings. 

Happiness for me implies a sweet spot in terms of energy stimulation, i.e. when one is at one's optimum in terms of energised immersion in life, whether through an activity, being with other people or simply just being alive. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Thought 518: Ayn Rand's Philosophical Narcissism


It's bad enough someone openly embraces psychopathic values of selfishness and greed in the written word but the fact others gobble their words up and acclaim them takes the biscuit. 

Nietzsche and Heidegger are nothing but girl scouts in terms of moral/philosophical toxicity compared to full-blown narcissists like Ayn Rand. 

Her influence on the world has been dire, not least because her ideas are the ones that are in power

What she called philosophical objectivism is really, at bottom, philosophical narcissism, seeking to impose ideals she happened to identify with on others that are both callous and a violation of basic human decency not to say acceptable human interaction.

As someone said, sin thrills then it kills. It fascinates, then it assassinates.

I see Ayn Rand as my complete philosophical antagonist, particularly in her endorsement of shallow left brain rationalism devoid of the holistic and empathetic mediation of right-brain intuition.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Thought 517: Enforced Selfishness


It is said by those who balk at socialist policies of redistribution, the polite ones that is, that you cannot enforce altruism on people. 

It seems however that we live more in a paradigm of enforced selfishness

Witness the increasing out-lawing of giving to beggars, the business and competitively-minded jobs system where you have to put yourself first at the expense of others, artificial scarcity of money and resources preventing people from sharing since lacking and forcing them into competition against one another, monetary pressures to constantly self-promote, a consumption-based economy where everyone is coaxed into being their own materialistic sovereign and so on.

Conservatives will say you can always give to charity and that is more moral than enforced redistribution since voluntary. Yet they do not stop and consider the immorality of the system they promote and support which glorifies selfish greed and pushes ethical people who aren't into money-making into the margins.  

In other words, charity, thinking about and giving to others, is the exception that is said to temper the rule of selfish monetary gain. That is to say, selfishness is built in and enforced by the system, whereas altruism is open to people's caprice.

I am not saying I agree with coercive socialist ideals of altruism achieved through taxation purely for the fact that they are coercive but I do not agree with coercive conservative ideals of selfishness either.

Libertarians and right-wingers generally take issue with redistribution through welfare policies and socialised institutions like healthcare with the idea that we do not have the right to other people's labour which is a right they claim socialist taxation pretends we do have. 

Yet they fail to see that the capitalism they support entrenches the right to other people's labour through the need to have money to continue to exist in a monetary system and therefore having to sell one's labour in return for often minimal wages increasingly decided at the discretion of capitalist employers.  

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Thought 516: Morality and the Big & Powerful


Question: when did the big and powerful ever get big and powerful through being moral?

They might have become powerful despite being moral but I doubt they ever did because they were moral. 

As someone said, it is not simply that power corrupts, but that power attracts the corruptible, i.e. those prepared to compromise themselves in moral terms.

And indeed it is known among psychologists that psychopathic individuals get off on having power over others, which is why Plato, who knew this, although more in terms of 'evil, wicked men', thought that the only time a political system, i.e. a system of power organisation, would be a moral one would be when those least attracted to power - genuine philosophers - would be forced into it, against their will, for to them worldly power is nothing but a burden of great responsibility whereas psychopaths see it as a great way to shelter themselves from moral responsibility and the consequences of their actions.

However, power itself may be immoral since, politically understood, power means nothing other than the ability to make others do what they would not otherwise do, which is to say, coerce them and rob them of their spontaneous free will, including by violating their natural law rights not to be harmed or thieved. 

In fact, the question at the beginning of this post invites three responses, a moral one, an immoral one and an amoral one.
  • The moral one: the question shows that it is the big and powerful who are the problem, including those who in their wilful ignorance and order-following give them power, because they are immoral almost by definition.
  • The immoral one: the question shows that morality is for weak people because only those who are prepared to violate it get to have worldly power and a coercive influence on their contemporaries - in other words, morality is for losers.
  • The amoral one: there being no such thing as moral facts in nature, it is natural that the most ruthless and uncaring, unburdened as they are by conscience, get to be masters of the world through superior strength and violence and that the prey who suffer under these predators invent moral grounds to tarnish these masters and make themselves feel better about their lot (Nietzsche's argument in Genealogy of Morality). 
Nietzsche viewed power in a positive light, seeing will-to-power as inherent in nature, therefore took sides against 'anti-nature' morality (or what he called slave morality as opposed to master morality, which he favoured, but on reflection reveals itself to be no morality at all). 

Or was it that he took a poor view of morality (anti-nature) and therefore took sides in favour of power (nature)? 

Unfortunately, those who are attracted to power and who wield it rarely have the honesty of a Nietzsche in flagging themselves up as immoralists, let alone as being immoral. 

Rather, as I wrote in my writing Evil as Test, power and its immorality love to disguise themselves in the cloak of good intentions and morality itself. 

Evil rarely openly warns people of its nature and tells them 
"Hi I'm Evil and I'm going to make you suffer for my own benefit."
It is therefore logical that power should in fact operate in secrecy and concealment, or even through mass mind control and deception, as American conspiracy researcher Jim Marrs understood in writing a book entitled Rule by Secrecy.

For if your true intentions are wholesome and palatable to the masses, why make them a secret or hide their true content under the cloak of the common good and popular causes? And why resort to mass mind control methodologies, making people act immorally through the spread of consciousness viruses in their brains?

Addendum - Psychopathy means, in Greek, suffering of the soul. It is a psychological illness, not the mark of superior individuals, and psychopaths tend to have no depth or creative capacity, which are the two human characteristics Nietzsche valued the most. As ever in my maturer years, I think that philosopher is remarkable in the extent to which he mis-judged things, providing a useful template in his bad example on how not to think. This includes how he thought moral conscience was the fruit of historical decadence and degeneration as opposed to being the mark of healthy, right-minded individuals and that free will was an illusion created by necessity itself rather than a tangible psychological reality achieved through aligning our thoughts with our emotions and actions. In addition, Nietzsche's rejection of metaphysics and indeed Heidegger's wish to overcome metaphysical evaluations are not philosophical endeavours I identify with.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Thought 515: Business is Business


Let's be honest with ourselves. Business is about money-making, not about contributing to the common good. 

There is no intrinsic correlation between making money and contributing to the common good (despite wordy leaps in logic by esteemed thinkers such as Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek and Ayn Rand). 

Sure, if people pay money for your product or service it could be argued that you are responding to a want or a need (although in practice, a lot of money-making seems to involve creating artificial wants and needs through advertising and widespread technological adoption). 

But this can be done in exploitation of certain conditions, such as in human trafficking where predators take advantage of the difficult life circumstances of others and deceive them or even by creating a monopoly on life essentials whereby you make others have to pay you to be able to live.

Thus in the movie Total Recall, air distribution on the planet Mars is privatised through deliberately keeping the atmosphere unbreathable and people have to pay corporate owners for the privilege of not dying on the spot. 

In addition, money-making may trump other considerations such as the sacrosanctness of the natural world and its finite resources, the right to exist of indigenous cultures, the natural law prohibitions against slavery and exploitation, the right of people to lead lives outside the monetary system, the right not to be harmed when this is precisely what mafia-style organisations threaten to do to people if they don't pay financial tribute and so on.

Money-making as such isn't a wrong but it is naïve to think it is always a moral endeavour. 

And capitalism being concerned with return on capital above all else, it is in fact in that system's nature to want to create monopolies and cartels over resource exploitation and allocation, so as to to maximise profit.

There is nothing intrinsically free-market about capitalism as such, which may well have a stronger interest in dismantling free markets, in order to make more money. 

The profit motive, pursued ethically, would of course be less problematic than the realities I have described above but when did the big and powerful ever get big and powerful through being moral?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Thought 514: Plato's Republic as Psychological Treatise


While the traditional view of Plato's Republic is that it is a political treatise discussing the best form of government, allegedly inspired by the disciplined, austere, oligarchic Spartan example as opposed to the decadent, undisciplined, democratic Athenian example, the Robin Waterfield edition of the work offers a different angle, to wit, that Plato's Republic is a psychological treatise recommending the rule of reason over the passions. 

Thus, the philosopher-kings are none other than the two sides of the neocortex, which enable higher brain functions, including reason, and that the lower you go in the ideal community, the baser the brain function, with the reptilian, basic survival mechanism at the bottom. 

The community as portrayed by Plato in his book is really an allegory for healthy psychology, where consciousness is unified and not led astray by emotionality taking over or basic instincts such as lust and survival counting for more than their fair share.

It seems to me that the work operates on both levels, i.e. a psychological internal level and a political external level, understanding as the mysteries-initiate Plato did that it takes knowing oneself and mastering one's inner kingdom to get a grip on the reality outside and the external kingdom of human society. 

Nonetheless it could be convincingly and respectably argued that a community where all are masters of themselves, unified and internally harmonious, has no need for 'philosopher-kings' because where all are internal monarchs, external anarchy manifests, i.e. where one and all is his or her own master, there is no room for capriciously designated leaders to rule others from on high with the effect of enslaving the latter. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Thought 513: Nietzsche's Position on Morality in Six Paragraphs


To reiterate what I wrote in Amorality of Nature - Knowledge of Good and Evil, before moral evaluations are introduced into the mix, amorality, not immorality, is the rule, for immorality exists only in relationship to morality. Nature is neither moral nor immoral in this regard but amoral, i.e lies outside the concepts of good and evil. For example, it would be a gross anthropocentrism to regard a tiger eating its prey for food to be an 'immoral' act - the tiger's existence lies outside good and evil, not himself being a member of the human species.

The acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil in the Hebrew Bible introduced moral evaluations into the human kingdom, which therefore became removed from nature's amorality and essential balance, with the result that predatory conduct was regarded as immoral for the first time. In other words, immorality takes the place of amorality, that level of existence which lies, as philosopher Nietzsche would say, 'beyond good and evil'. 

The self-proclaimed 'immoralist' philosopher regarded the transition from amoral evaluations to moral ones as a decadent regression, even as early on as his book The Birth of Tragedy where he praises the Olympian gaze of authors like Aeschylus and Sophocles in contrast to the moral, human-all-too-human rationalism of thinkers like Socrates and Euripides, creating in his estimation neurosis and instinctual corruption within the human body, understood both individually and collectively. 

He claimed that moral evaluations as propagated by Platonism and Christianity lead to the advent of nihilism, the devaluation of the highest values manifesting in spiritual exhaustion. This is because he regards these evaluations as being at odds with reality which, for him, remains amoral, there being no such thing as 'moral facts', as he once wrote. His hope for the overcoming of nihilism, the increasing meaninglessness of and disgust with life, lied with creative individuals who would come to offer means of evaluation that do not pass moral judgement but instead apprehend and redeem the world as it is, not for how it should be.

It could be argued that philosopher Martin Heidegger saw himself in such terms, writing as he did a treatise on Being and Time, devoid of traditional moral value-judgements except in so far as he highlights the importance of care. Heidegger's antisemitism might even have something to do with the fact, as Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, that the moral worldview was largely a Jewish invention (suiting, as Nietzsche argued, the interests of the priest class since where there is moral responsibility there is moral culpability and therefore moral accountability to said priest class) and that, as we saw, this moral worldview removed us as a species from 'Being' and arguably paved the way for the nature-destroying and nature-altering technological universe we live in today. This is possibly what Nietzsche had in mind when he wrote in his Anti-Christ book that, unlike other peoples of the Ancient World, the Jews chose not between Being and Non-Being but 
"Being at all costs."
It remains to be seen whether a categorical return to amoral evaluations is a sensible idea and whether this might not simply lead to rampant social darwinism and political neo-feudalism with human misery on a mass scale as their direct consequence.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Thought 512: Chav-Hating Chavs


This is not a blanket statement but I have tended to find that people who look down on the inadequacies of 'chavs' are often quite 'chav-y' themselves. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Thought 511: People Acting in Accordance With Their Nature

"Such as we are made of, such we be." - Shakespeare
A basic tenet of Aristotelian philosophy is that all beings act in accordance with their nature.

Unfortunately he thought that slavery was justified on this basis, i.e. that slaves were slavish and therefore rightly treated as such. 

Yet modern lessons can be learnt from this tenet. 

That is to say, the influences of mass mind control and cultural programming through school, the media, the working world and other instruments of conformity might not be as definitive as is sometimes made out, provided that alternative angles are available and accessible. 

For example, school does not usually provide a strong moral education in so far as Natural Law and Philosophy is concerned, but those who are philosophical and ethical by nature will come, with time and maturity, to look at sources of information that do offer such angles. 

Conversely, those who feel at home in looking down on others and conformist bigotry generally will ignore philosophical books and read newspapers.

Those driven to practical activity will become practical workers, those driven to worldly power and financial wealth will become politicians and businessmen, those driven to seeking truth will become scientists, conspiracy researchers or philosophers, those driven to creative expression will become artists and so on.

Nature has provided a corrective to the world's caprice, as Seneca put it, as manifested in conventional homogenisation and artificial belief systems by making people, if they have the courage and will to do so, act according to their nature.

Thus we can always expect that some will be moral, concerned with truth and humane, even when mainstream culture has gone awry in its immorality, greed and superficiality. 

Similarly, we can always count on practical people to achieve practical things which are essential for any society to function. 

On the negative side, however, we can always be sure that there will be some power-hungry individuals who seek positions of worldly influence and manipulation because that is their in their nature.

In that regard, in the simplest of terms, empaths will act empathetically, psychopaths psychopathically, philosophers philosophically, craftsmen craftily, artists artistically, intellectuals intellectually, sportsmen physically, sensitive people sensitively, abusive people abusively, narcissists narcissistically etc. 

That being said, working out one's nature and acting in accordance with it can be a task of long duration, especially if this requires unlearning a great deal of false information not relating to one's true self and then, in addition, a need to accept oneself for who one is rather than what one would like to be.

It goes without saying that the same individual may partake of several natures at once, e.g. artist, intellectual, practical, physical and sensitive. 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Thought 510: Introverts and the Working World


I think it should be obvious that some personalities, particularly introverted, uncompetitive ones, are highly penalised by the mainstream working world in its people-oriented, uncreative and competitive aspects and certainly the world of busy-ness. 

It has been shown that extroverts earn more as a whole than introverts and reach higher positions in most money-making sectors, unpaid deep philosophising not being one of them. 

Areas that would be conceivable for me to work in such as care and translation are notoriously underpaid. 

I gave up on careers a long time ago seeing that whatever skills I may possess are not valued by money-making institutions. 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Thought 509: The True Problem of School


In my opinion, the worst thing about (secondary) school is not the waste of time, getting the bus in the morning, the homework, the teachers, the low-level of information, the lack of proper life and technical guidance, the canteen food but the nasty and petty interactions that occur between pupils, i.e. bullying, name calling, stigmatisation, shunning, mocking, demeaning, stealing.

In other words: the rule of the lowest common denominator, which always means the dominance of the lowest level of consciousness imaginable. This is why reading William Golding's Lord of the Flies during this period was akin to getting the first taste of truth about the world that adults around me at the time miserably failed to impart me with. 

Nonetheless because of these phenomena I shut myself off from my sensitive as well as my creative selves, became a fearful person full of resentment and conformist bigotry as I grew older, loathed humanity and acquired a psychology of learned helplessness, i.e. that there being no correctives to dominator, abusive behaviour you have no choice but to let yourself be trampled on.

It took me seventeen years to liberate myself from the damage caused by the toxic environment of adolescent state schooling.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Thought 508: The Anti Nanny-State Brigade


Isn't it ironic that many of the privileged tories who have issues with the 'nanny state' were probably half brought up by nannies?

Friday, 7 April 2017

Thought 507: Philosopher-Bums


Far from what Plato would have wanted, the world creates not philosopher-kings but philosopher-bums. 

(Like yours truly.)

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Thought 506: The Problem of Taxation - Importance of Morality


As a benefits claimant I am acutely aware that my current livelihood depends on taxation. 

Yet I recognise that taxation, achieved under duress, i.e. the threat of punishment, is not voluntary and, being effectively coercive, is a violation of Natural Law. 

While right-wing minded people have a huge gripe with taxation, and understandably so, left-leaning individuals often think that, to an extent, you get something in return through public services and the security provided by the Welfare state. 

One of the socialist tenets is that we are stronger as a collective - the 'will' of which is mediated it through democratically elected 'representatives' - than as atomised individuals seeking to fend for ourselves and that there is morality in taking care of the vulnerable and those generally unable to be economically active. 

In other words there is a greater interest at stake than that of individual wants. 

Yet, in reality, public services that run on taxed money are not used to the same extent by everyone and some indeed may be financially contributing to them without benefiting from them or even whilst possibly disagreeing with their very existence, as I do schools, the police and the military.

In addition public services are centrally enforced creating what are in effect monopolies that are free of the laws of supply and demand and, so it is claimed, the need to perform adequately since guaranteed an existence. 

It is rather like being regularly forced to hire a particular computer technician to fix your laptop's problems when you have
  1. no need for such a technician, your laptop being in good repair or
  2. you feel that the technician is doing a bad job and/or charging too much but there being no alternative, i.e. competition, you are stuck with his mediocre/overpriced service.
Socialists would argue that there are some key areas, such as healthcare, that are so vital that it would not be wise to leave them to the private sector, partly for concerns of affordability and accessibility, but also because competition in such areas would be ill-advised due to the need for such services to be large scale. 

They will point to the inequities and inefficiencies of the American private insurance healthcare system to support their argument. 

The alternative appears to be increasingly allowing private corporations take a hold of things whilst in practice still benefiting from public money and still largely monopolistic since having to make a profit.

While private corporations might be more accountable than state monopolies through the power of the purse, this would not be the case if they act as State-approved monopolies or cartels that avoid the economic laws of competition. 

In addition, when handed over to private hands with a profit motive and a need to make gains for shareholders, concerns of accessibility and redistribution will fall by the way side, only those who can afford it being able to access these privately-run services.

And in turn, there is no guarantee that the profit motive translates into a better service - rather it might lead the company providing the service to cut costs at every corner, underpay staff, provide shoddy training, limit investment and so forth. 

Should the private corporation fail to make a profit from the service and even lose money then the service will be shut down completely so that whatever benefit the service they provided had for people, it will come to an end. 

This is indeed what capitalism entails since it is nothing more than
"a system of economics in which production is based on profit for those who control the capital." (Carroll Quigley) 
In other words, the common good or the welfare of customers is not, despite what corporations claim, their priority but rather the profit to be made from them buying their service or product, even and especially when there is a lack of practicable alternatives due to the formation of private cartels and monopolies. 

Right-wingers will argue that it is up to individuals to decide for themselves what they spend their money on and that each individual is best judge of what is best for him, not politicians chasing after the common good. 

It remains that we are now in a situation where public, taxed money is being used precisely to dismantle public services and provide corporate welfare, transferring wealth from public to private hands and from the bottom to the top, as was so evidently the case with the 2008 bank bail outs that should have been allowed to fail under strict capitalism. 

This shows that the great problem with taxation is that there is no direct oversight on how tax money is used, whether by the Right or the Left, since this is decided by people in power, and that the farces that are elections cannot be regarded as binding decisions on 'elected' officials to use the money in certain ways. 

As ever with these right-wing, left-wing disagreements, is that they lose sight of what ultimately decides the good or bad outcome of any economic or political system: its level of morality. 

If capitalism truly played by free-market rules without State support and gave up on the desire to kill all competition and if socialist ideals were achieved through voluntary rather than coercive means then this would indeed benefit the common good.  

In other words, as I've written before, the value of any system of power organisation is determined by its level of morality. 

However, it could be argued that power itself is the problem since, in its political usage, power as a concept means nothing less than the ability to make others do what they would not otherwise do, i.e. coerce them. 

And we all know that power corrupts and those who are vested with it rarely do so without harming others. 

All the same, if we were evolved enough as a species to give up on will-to-power and act morally enough for a stateless, anarchic society to work then it might well be the case that we would be evolved enough for systems such as capitalism and socialism to be less problematic than they are now since people in power would not be tempted to abuse it with immediate beneficial consequence for those living under them.