It occurred to me today, only after many years of exposing myself to Spiderman comics, that the hand gesture that the superhero uses to shoot his webs is the devil's hand symbol. Here are two other examples of famous individuals using the symbol:
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Monday, 23 January 2017
Neither moral nor immoral, Nature is amoral. There are predators, there are prey, the frail and injured not to mention the vulnerable young and old are doomed to be either preyed upon or left to rot by nature's stubborn mercilessness and even the most superficial viewers of natural documentaries will realise that life in the wild is no piece of cake, weakness being promptly and summarily punished with premature death not to say extinction.
However, a more profound view of such documentaries will highlight the fact that even the most merciless and cruel of predators, such as sharks or wolves, have a key role to play in the natural world and its essential balance.
For example, my father reported to me an upsetting scene in the documentary series Blue Planet where a mother whale is fleeing a group of killer whales along with her baby offspring and these killers just bide their time knowing full well that the calf whale will not be able to keep up in the long run, thus falling under their teeth and providing them with their next meal.
Yet, for all the upsetting quality of this predation and the mother whale's loss of her youngling, the food as eaten by the killer whales and processed by them is essential for smaller, scavenger types of fish to survive so that there is dependency on the predators who often also have a function of population control, a function necessary for green food not to grow too scarce through over-grazing.
In the documentary Yellowstone, it is clear that the reintroduction of wolves in that American Natural Park located in the Rocky Mountains actually led to the reappearance of beavers because the wolves reduced the amount of elk who ate the beavers' food and prevented them from erecting their dams.
It is also clear in that documentary how some species scavenge and scrounge food off weaker species who worked hard for it, just like the boom and bust financial credit system parasites off genuine human labour in return for virtual debt money that was created out of nothing.
In popular culture, the series Breaking Bad in its second season makes character Jessie out to be a blowfish, i.e. a fish that is harmless but able to scare bigger fish away through the deception of growing in size at will. This is because he is believed to be a ruthless killer when in fact he is not at all.
Nature's cunning indeed knows no limit where survival is concerned. Witness the attractive looking, carnivorous plants that attract insects with their tasty secretions only to close in on them when these insects do get attracted and land on them.
We would be seriously fooling ourselves if we failed to acknowledge that such dynamics of deception, predation and cunning not to mention interdependency and inter-relatedness apply to the human kingdom as well.
In fact rampant capitalism itself constantly preys on the weaker, the smaller, the more frail and, like the ecosystem, everything is financially interconnected in commercial society so that if, for example, motor cars were to disappear all manners of business, be it tyre companies, garages, driving instructors, traffic wardens, road and motorway constructors as well as oil giants would be out of a livelihood (at least theoretically).
The same is true of the internet. Were it to disappear masses of businesses and private individuals would have their financial livelihoods annihilated and would have to find alternative means and platforms to make money and publicise themselves, resorting back to old-fashioned market squares or even barter.
Taking myself as an example, I know Amazon.co.uk to be a most predatory, damaging company for many retailers and that Amazon are known to treat their labour force very poorly, whether blue collar in their massive storage houses or white collar in the form of their corporate headquarters which employ cruel psychological techniques to get the most out of their employees.
Yet the platform is so universal and effective I have managed to make money from it via Amazon marketplace which enables individuals like myself to sell their stuff, recouping some of the loss I incurred impulsively and imprudently buying from Amazon! And of course Amazon took a cut from each sale I made despite the fact I was selling items purchased from them!
It is noteworthy that Amazon too is dependent for its business on the internet but also a working postal and home delivery service as well as a system of electronic payments online.
Looking to the natural world in all its glorious if ruthless balance, Nietzsche went so far as to consider evil to be 'man's best strength' since forcing him to become strong and overcome his weaker instincts and impulses.
And there is no doubt that, historically, evil men have fared better in wars, politics and wealth than moral peoples. Indeed modern England itself is the fruit of a ruthless invasion involving brutal killing, raping and starvation started by predatory French Normans led by William the Conqueror.
The anti-war banner never saw the light of day in the Ancient World because giving up on war in those days would have meant de facto being conquered and sold into abject slavery and living at the behest of cruel tyrants and masters.
Pre-socratic philosopher Heraclitus expressed this insight most laconically and earnestly when he stated
"War is father of all and king of all; and some he has shown as gods, others men; some he has made slaves, others free."Perhaps eating from the Tree of Knowledge as Adam and Eve did in Genesis was the moment we as a species removed ourselves from Nature's 'Divine Law' as English poet Ted Hughes put it, however unforgiving and predatory that 'Law' happens to be, making us understand moral reality and thereby introduce moral evaluations into Nature's mix.
"Man means the evaluator." (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)After The Fall occurred, we experienced shame for the first time (including at our naked bodies) and became conscious of our baser and higher natures whereas before The Fall we were entirely at one with Being without the need for reflection or moral decision-making. It is now necessary to wilfully choose rightful action over wrongdoing if one is to be deemed moral.
Now I am not preaching social darwinism, preying on the weak or some such satanic ideology - readers of my blog will know that I believe in the concepts of good and evil and Natural Law - but the fact is there are those who use people as means rather than ends, deceive them, exploit them, harm them every which way, including the young and infirm, and that by virtue of our Knowledge of Good and Evil such actions need always be condemned and never tolerated precisely because we have removed ourselves from pure Being and thereby have become, some of us at least, attuned to right-ful and wrong-ful conduct.
A right is anything that is not a wrong (not some centrally granted legal entitlement) and a wrong is any action that violates the bodily and mental integrity of other sentient beings without their consent. Such violation constitutes violence. Violence is always a wrong under Natural Law since force used against violence as self-defence is just that - force. Force does not violate the rights of others if these have wrongfully initiated force (violence) against us.
In conclusion, before moral evaluations are introduced into the mix, amorality is the rule, neither good nor evil. The acquisition of knowledge of good and evil introduces said evaluations into the human kingdom - which means that the concept of morality and therefore also its opposite, immorality, takes the place of a-morality, that level of existence which lies, as philosopher Nietzsche would say, 'beyond good and evil.'
That philosopher regarded the transition from amoral evaluations to moral ones as a decadent regression, creating neurosis and instinctual corruption within mankind eventually leading to the advent of nihilism, the devaluing of the highest values manifesting in spiritual exhaustion. His hope for the overcoming of nihilism lied with creative individuals who would come to offer means of evaluation that do not pass judgement but instead apprehend and redeem the world as it is, not how it should be (see also Nietzsche's Position on Morality in Five Paragraphs and Relative Failure of the Nietzschean Project).
Addendum - It is interesting to note that the substance of my position in this post regarding morality hinges on a book, Genesis, in the Hebrew Bible which of course became the Old Testament in the Christian tradition. Without 'knowledge of good and evil', i.e. without morality, how could one even begin to criticise the strong preying on the weak and other forms of social darwinism? To be sure Socrates attempted to challenge the perceived justice of the strong exploiting the weak in Plato's Republic. Nevertheless, it would seem that, despite the alleged conspiracies of Jewish Zionists to bring the world to ruin, the Jewish heritage is a great thorn in the side of those intent on global domination. Witness the statement by one of them, Adolf Hitler, according to which
"The Jews have inflicted two wounds on mankind - circumcision on its body and conscience on its soul. They are Jewish inventions. The war for the domination of the world is waged only between these two camps alone, the Germans and the Jews."In other words Hitler hated the Jews precisely for their moral conscience whereas I am grateful for that moral conscience, my intentions being opposite to Hitler's and his ilk.
Sunday, 22 January 2017
The amusing comic above pinpoints a serendipitous linguistic truth with regards to the expression 'con man'. A con man is nothing more than a confidence trickster and to con someone entails gaining their confidence through deceit and cunning.
It could be argued, moreover, that it helps to be con-fident (from the Latin con, with and fidere, to place trust in), or at least project an outgoing image of confidence, as did the iconic creator/business man Walter Disney - who privately was an insecure and shy man (at least according to his Wikipedia entry) - in order precisely to inspire confidence in others so that, if such is the intended purpose, they may be conned, i.e. misplace their faith.
Successful politicians, such as US presidents, are masters at inspiring confidence in their populations giving a firm, sometimes friendly, face to a heinous imperial power and agenda.
As the movie Back to the Future observes, Reagan's acting career would no doubt have helped him give off an effective, TV-friendly appearance as President in order precisely to inspire confidence and therefore con the American public which, let's face it, is the prime skill required of any presidential figurehead owned by bankers and other established spheres of interested influence.
Barack Obama went back during his presidential tenure on practically the entirety of his campaign promises (see this video by James Corbett) and yet, despite the continuous lying, enjoys a vast approval rating now that he has finished his two-term presidency because he and his team have managed to engineer an image of affable, competent, man-of-the-people, straight-talking, unphased and cool respectability.
To take these points further, one could say that psychopathic individuals - of which the political realm has no shortage - are the masters of confidence trickery as they are well known to give out surface, seductive charm in plenty and as being able to mimic relatable human emotions. This is on top of the natural predisposition and expertise they possess at manipulating others, e.g. by gas lighting them and subversively and covertly managing their perception, e.g. through transference of blame.
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Django Unchained - a revenge movie both for the wrongs committed to the main character's wife by the despicable and affected slave-owner as well as the wrongs, more generally and abstractly, perpetrated by US black slavery generally. It is in fact the liberal-minded Christopher Waltz character, a German-born white man, who kills the white slave owner, on grounds mostly of his boiled-up hatred of racism and its justifications for slavery, expounded at length by said slave-owner (Leonardo Dicaprio), not the black man who has himself undergone slavery played by Jamie Foxx. The latter takes his sweetest revenge against another black man, a house slave sold heart and soul to the cause of the slave-owner's immoral slave practice and even more sadistic in his treatment of black slaves than his master, despite being, well, black. No wonder did this movie provoke a degree of anger among black commentators.
Death Proof - a movie of revenge against a particular psychopath who preys on young women and thereby also one of revenge of the female sex, portrayed very assertively in the film, against old-school macho men who delight in denigrating women. This is done also through making some of the women be just as interested in and partial to kick-arse cars and other typically male preoccupations like sex and drink.
Inglorious Basterds - a highly fictional yet entertaining counter-factual movie where World War Two Jewish protagonists kill the entirety of the Third Reich high brass in a revenge storyline which only art and its imagination can bring forth after the fact of the historical events themselves. It is interesting to note that it is the Jewish woman (a self-proclaimed 'Jewess') whose family was massacred at the beginning of the movie who wreaks the most damage as opposed to the toughened up Jewish men known as the Inglorious Basterds who wind up playing a more minor role.
Kill Bill, Volumes 1 and 2 - This is a marital, couple-based form of revenge which I'm sure many who've fallen out with romantic/marriage partners can get something out of. What's interesting here is that the main protagonist enjoys the revenge process for its own sake, as revealed by the end of Volume 2, and that she goes all the way, leaving no stone unturned, until she, the so-called Bride, is reunited with her offspring. The husband/father is utterly expendable despite taking care of the child in the mother's absence - a plot point that can be read from a feminist angle, an ideology not without some basis in revenge, as showing that men are somewhat redundant when it comes to the raising and nurturing of children.
My Take: Tarantino in both his themes and his - let's face it - attractive aesthetic of violence and gore, not to mention foul language, can be seen as somewhat of a sick genius. He seems to have a fascination for themes of revenge in the hands of traditionally underdog demographics, be it African-American slaves, teenage women, female spouses or Jews.
Oliver Stone I believe took umbrage with Tarantino's beautification of violence in his movie Natural Born Killers which is an ultra violent movie that seeks to put one off gratuitous violence in movies through precisely over exposure to gratuitous violence. Unfortunately Tarantino's gory efforts are in my opinion artistically more successful, not only in terms of direction but also in terms of light-heartedness and humour, than Oliver Stone's moralistic and largely misunderstood gory opus in all its heavy-handedness and barely concealed seriousness.
Let it be noted, as a final word, that revenge is a very ancient artistic preoccupation, whether it be Homer's epics The Iliad and The Odyssey (where Achilles avenges his friend Patroclus' murder in the most brutal and unforgiving fashion in the former and where Odysseus kicks everybody's arse at the end of the latter, whether it be the suitors who attempted to seduce his wife and depleted his property in his absence or even the house maids who merely slept with them), Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy where Orestes kills his own mother out of revenge for his father's death at her hands which was itself committed out of revenge considerations or the heartfelt tragedies of playwright Euripides, such as Medea, Hecabe and Electra which show revenge in all its gruesome, raw reality.
Friday, 20 January 2017
Irony was in plenty when I posted on Facebook
"Facebook is a great medium to realise how little one has in common with one's 'friends'"only for the comments to this post to highlight precisely that fact!
The internet does show to a large if not complete extent how pissed off we are a as a species, constantly fighting, disagreeing and even hurling abuse at others that we've never met.
Looking at it all with some ironic distance, this permanent (online) war of all against all (bellum omnium contra omnes) is rather amusing if a little pathetic.
Perhaps South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had it right in satirising planet earth as a disjunctive, tragicomic and highly entertaining reality TV show for sentient beings throughout the universe to enjoy.
Thursday, 19 January 2017
The creative process can be understood both in terms of the feminine principle of receiving and the masculine principle of germination.
To take an example, creative writers are often vociferous readers of texts and as such follow the feminine principle of reception.
In this state of receiving, something may catch and germinate in them, just as male sperm may at times fertilise female eggs, inciting and encouraging them to produce their own output: the child.
Ditto, musicians will listen to and 'receive' the songs/compositions of other musicians and then, if this artistic wad catches so to speak, will somehow be moved to bring forth their own musical creation, often referred to as 'their baby'.
As a creator myself it is always interesting to note which of the authors I read, artists I look at or musicians I listen to will be potent enough to germinate creative yearning in my own being and, by extension, new creations, i.e. artistic children, just as not all sperm comes to play the role of egg fertiliser.
Moreover, what we receive in-forms us just as the DNA contained in male sperm comes to combine with the DNA in a female egg to form a new, unique, child.
That is to say, a creator's work, in whatever medium, may come to fertilise my own creative being which will bring forth a work (child) as a result and this child will represent a combined association of the (artistic) information that I received (the sperm) along with my own inner (artistic) sensibility/information that is already present in me (the egg).
This is most obvious in music where bands are said to be inspired by and replicate the musical ideas of other bands, e.g. Nirvana and the Pixies, or in classical music where a specific musical tradition goes from composer to composer, e.g. Beethoven and Haydn, so that the artistic creation, the child, combines the DNA, i.e. information, of both the artist who inspired/fertilised as well as the artist who, so fertilised/inspired, brought forth/gave birth to the actual work.
We can see therefore that art is rather like the long sexual chain of human generations, as artists fertilise (i.e. inspire) other artists who in turn fertilise others, all this creative information coming down through the centuries to shape the art we have today.
The operative difference with sexual creation, however, is that the artist constitutes in himself both the fertilising man and the fertilised woman, if you will, since in receiving the work of other artists he is inspired (fertilised) to create (give birth) and this creation (child) in turn may inspire (fertilise) other artists who will bring forth yet more artistic children (creations), all this information passing down the line, just like D.N.A./genes in the (human) reproductive process.
Monday, 16 January 2017
One advantage seldom stated about being a jack of all trades (and master of none) is that it allows for a greater equilibrium of purpose and application than being singly involved in one occupation, however much money's empire forces so many to (over)specialise in one field to the detriment of others.
Is balance and the avoidance of excess not the most treasured lesson the Classical Greeks (particularly Pythagoras) have imparted us in their works and writings? Is not the best way to achieve balance, at least artistically, to try one's hand at several mediums of creative statement?
And, of course, applying one's body in physical exertion is just as necessary as applying one's cognitive faculties in intellectual labour to achieve optimal balance in the mind-body complex.
Thus the ethos of balance and equilibrium as well as the avoidance of excess in one area of life over others seems to point to the virtuous and wise path of the much-maligned jack of all trades.
Saturday, 14 January 2017
This piece of creative writing, which imagines a conversation that might have occurred (but most reliably didn’t) between well-known thinkers Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers at the time of the early days of Nazi Germany, is, for all its historical inaccuracies, possessed of a few notable facts:
- Einstein did indeed put a word against Jaspers joining the American university the famous physicist was tied to, at least according to Jaspers himself in his writing on Einstein preserved in his multi-volume work Lives of the Great Philosophers
- Heidegger’s legacy has been tainted by his involvement with National Socialism and is the source of much spilt ink and continued intellectual enmity between his supporters and detractors
- Jewish people did wind up getting a home in the form of the modern state of Israel whose existence and actions remain the source of much controversy and bitter resentment today, whether it be on the side of those who support and defend the nation’s right to exist and protect itself violently or those who deny its legitimacy and demonise its actions and those of alleged Zionist conspirators.
- Karl Jaspers did indeed have cyanide pills stored under his bed in case his wife and he were rounded up by S.S. militia on account of her being Jewish and he a dissident and known non-sympathiser to the Nazi regime.
- While Hannah Arendt did manage to eventually flee to America and become a world famous political thinker, writing the majority of her output in English, the fate of Walter Benjamin, also Jewish and under persecution, was not so lucky once his adopted nation of France came under Nazi and collaborative influence. He committed suicide in tragic circumstances near the French-Spanish border.
Issues of Legacy
In a lecture hall full of unsuspecting students, somewhere in Nazi Germany, a philosophy professor pushes for the cause of Hitler’s nascent Reich:
“We Germans lie in the pincers, caught between the two unholy empires of Technocratic America and Bolshevik Russia. Only a strong leader can avert the cataclysmic situation we find ourselves in. Modernity has brought down to its knees what was once great about our nation of thinkers and poets. Henceforth let only the Führer be your law and guiding light.”
A pretty student quietly leaves the auditorium to commune with her dissertation director.
“I cannot believe the words that came out of Professor Heidegger’s mouth, Herr Jaspers. It seems as though he has reneged on everything that he once stood for, be it truth, being, or care. I cannot help but wonder at how political considerations can warp and usurp the critical faculties of even the most cerebral of men!”
“Dear Hannah, this is nothing new. Many thinkers in the past have taken sides with those in power, blinded either by worldly rewards or deluded romantic yearnings. Most if not all great philosophers wound up becoming traitors to their own cause, losing sight of their blind spots let alone the fallibility and finite nature of human understanding which they did so much to highlight in the first place. As Nietzsche said so well in his prelude to Thus Spoke Zarathustra, let the tragedy begin!”
“But Herr Heidegger is using precisely Nietzsche’s legacy to buttress National Socialism and its most unpalatable of agendas. It seems that Herr Heidegger’s only gripe with the Movement is that, as it stands, it has taken the sides of science and technology rather than those of poetry and philosophy. But does Herr Heidegger have even the slightest idea of who these National Socialists are? What kind of despicable men they are?”
“Martin has never been the most astute of psychological observers and his seduction by Nietzsche’s ghost, as posthumously laid down in published writings, has made him lose sight of Moral Law: do not treat others in a way you would not wish to be treated. He has failed to grasp the immorality of the police State as an institution and has instead wholly identified with its nefarious plans for the governed. I fear that Martin’s moral shortcoming in this as in other areas will taint his legacy. We can only pray for posterity to forgive his myopia if only as a reminder of the frailty of even the most developed intelligence.”
“I for one cannot forgive him, Karl. How can he prostitute himself in such a dramatic fashion? Has he lost all in the manner of self-respect? Perhaps I am also partly at fault in my disappointment; I misapprehended his spirit and person, seeing him as a wise, courageous thinker standing his own ground like old Socrates when in fact he is the first to run behind the cause of crackpots and criminals. Anyway enough about him. I must leave this country as soon as possible. I have already made plans. However, I am concerned about my dear friend Walter.”
“Walter Benjamin you mean? I think he told me he was headed for the safe haven of France, although how much of a haven it will prove to be in time remains to be seen. But I must confess that I too feel I have lost a friend in the shape of Martin; while so much more vigorous than I in philosophical protreptic, he has nonetheless failed to comprehend the immutable and consequentialist principles of Natural Law which pays back violation with suffering. I fear for our people Hannah, or rather my people as a German - for God knows what fate has in store for Jews like yourself. We are looking at dire consequences for our fatherland once all this nationalist craze has blown over and we finally reap what we have sewn.”
“I have no sympathy for the German people, Karl. My only tie with your countrymen is the German language and nothing more. And even then I will start writing my thoughts in English to spite even the last bond I possess with these uncivilised brutes you call your people. I belong to the Jewish people, the homeless, ever-wandering ones. God have mercy on us should we ever have a home that seeks supremacy over all! But it will never come to that… We are, as we always have been, the underdog.”
“May good fortune be with you Hannah and that your flight from this darkened land of ours brings you and your loved ones a measure of peace in this, our tortured world. I myself am concerned about my wife who is also Jewish. However, should an unwelcome knock at the door wake us up one night I have an escape plan at ready.”
“A quick, painless death brought on by poison. Better die free than live a slave, as Cato the Younger knew well.”
“Oh Karl is there not some other means for you to escape? Why not come with me to America?”
“I am getting old Hannah and a fellow named Albert Einstein put a word against my joining a particular American university, making out that my writings were those of a rambling drunkard. Were it not for him I would have been given safe passage to the Promised Land. My last hope to flee this mess has been summarily dashed I fear. I cannot reliably fend for myself as a refugee in foreign country, not at my or my wife’s age. It appears that I must confront the evil genie that Hitler has unleashed on this land with fortitude and steadfastness. After all to philosophise is to learn how to live well, which is to say, to die well.”
“Karl my thoughts will be with you and your wife even as I reach the other side of the ocean, should I be so fortunate. May it never come to your poisoning yourselves. There are too few decent people on this planet as it is. I couldn’t bear for humanity to lose as enlightened a figure and wise a spokesman as yourself. May your deeds outshine in time Martin’s words. Farewell Karl, God be with you.”
“And you Hannah. I will be in touch once the inevitable catastrophes in wait for my country have subsided and the sun shines again, at least for a brief while, on us god-forsaken Europeans."
Thursday, 12 January 2017
Researcher Mark Passio claims that worldview poisoning is one of the big guns of (soft) mind control, making people give up on the world, others and themselves and often making them complicit in the toxic and nefarious agendas of genuinely wicked persons of power who tend to be masters at manipulating mass perception and therefore mass action.
My argument in this post is that a worldview that contributes to a feeling of being under constant threat, e.g. one that takes the view that certain demographics or government itself are out to get one, can and does sometimes lead to desperate and/or violent action.
Information leads to action (see post Thinking v Opining) and it is a natural, animalistic response to threats, whether only perceived or actually real, to engage in fight or in flight by the mere play of bodily chemical activity.
Thus, if one is of the view often promoted by the media that one's country is being flooded left, right and centre by immigrant populations, with all the threat to one's identity and livelihood this could potentially cause, then one might start engaging in violent and abusive conduct, if only for reasons of perceived self-defence.
By contrast, people who have a relatively jaunty, temperate worldview - perhaps due to a quantum of privilege and peace in their lives - will be a lot less likely to fall into violent, desperate action simply because their happy worldview will not cause them to feel threatened in their mind-body complex and therefore as needing to fight or to flee.
The lesson to be learned from this is that it is paramount to monitor one's worldview with care if a dark worldview should cause us to harm others (fight) or retreat into ourselves and hide from the world (flight) with the attending risks in the latter case of indigence and suicide.
The converse also holds, i.e. whenever one feels under threat or is prey to a stress reaction one's worldview will possibly take a dip leading to the vicious cycles of
dark worldview > stress > dark worldview = fight or flight
stress > dark worldview > stress = fight or flight
as opposed to the virtuous circles of
positive worldview > absence of stress > positive worldview = happiness
absence of stress > positive worldview > absence of stress = happiness
In conclusion, one's level of serenity will impact on one's worldview and in turn one's worldview will also impact on one's level of serenity. Thus it is advisable to keep one's thoughts in good order so as to be spared the throes of emotional turbulence - thoughts and emotions being mutually reinforcing though not identical agents - and its potential negative consequences for one's actions.
Let it immediately be said, however, that a dark worldview does not necessarily lead to a stress reaction, especially if one has faith in oneself and is otherwise of a temperate disposition, and stress reaction does not always result in a poisoned worldview if one does not universalise and project one's emotional self onto the world - which can admittedly be hard to do at times.
This brings me back to the basic polarity that affects all of human existence: love and fear. A worldview rooted in fear will shut consciousness down and lead to negative manifestations for one's own being and the world itself whereas a worldview rooted in love which expands consciousness will lead to positive manifestations for oneself and for others.
Wednesday, 11 January 2017
Just as food and sensory data constitute information for the brain/body to decode, whether it be the nutritive elements of a carrot or the words and picture of this blog post, it could be argued that people are information, i.e. in-form us, i.e. form us from within.
Indeed any person in his or her appearance, smell, gestures, spoken words, habits, personality, sensory and emotional traits is a constant source of information for us to interpret and decode so to speak. This is sometimes called a person's 'vibe', i.e. vibration. It has therefore been said
"I am a part of all that I have met"since, as I wrote above, information forms us as human beings. Thus our parents have formed us in our formative years through the information they necessarily offered us since the day we were born and the same goes for all the people we interact with but in varying levels of intensity depending on the depth of our relationship with them (see Parents as People).
Sex with a partner is also a way to be in-formed by that partner and constitutes its very own kind of sensual information. Letter, email, text message exchanges are also ways in which we gain and offer information to the people we know.
None of these considerations are that revolutionary, however, since all phenomenological data constituting information of sorts, it is obvious that individuals as so many unique phenomena, whether human, animal or plant, will also for their part contribute to all that is in-formative.
Friday, 6 January 2017
It is often said not without a hint of self-satisfaction that roughly a third of our lives is made up of sleep.
That sleep be not only necessary for our functioning but also a biological need akin to eating and drinking is worthy of some philosophical attention.
(Good) sleep helps restore and regenerate us, boost our immune system, both physical and mental, and without it we would be seriously damaged in both mind and body within mere days of missing it.
While there are no doubt adequate scientific explanations behind our need for sleep, it is worth pondering the fact that nature has evidently designed us not to be always awake, alert and as having to pay constant attention to life's duties and worries.
Rather, through sleep, nature has ensured that we need that momentary, daily and several-hours-long escape from life's treadmill for, sleep failing, the treadmill would of necessity become a fatal Everest.
In other words, escape, as evidenced all the more by the phenomenon of dreaming, however much the latter is said to reflect our subconscious reality, is inbuilt in the human condition and life being the rough teacher that she can be, many need to escape her or, at the least, put her on hold, not only in their sleeping hours but also during much of their waking hours, whether it be through entertainment, mindful relaxation (where one takes a break from beings to commune with Being), entrenched routines, coping mechanisms, creativity, mind altering substances and so on.
As Thomas Eliot once put it,
"Humankind cannot bear too much reality"and even though sleep could be said to constitute a reality of its own, vital to such brain functions as memory and learning, it could also be seen as a gift given to us by way of nature to escape waking reality and understand that life's daily and habitual manifestations are but a part of the human story and psychological/existential make-up.
That is to say, the existence of sleep and the dreams that it conjures point us humans to that which is not, that which is not manifested in physical reality, that which does not exist in the visible realm, that which belongs only to the kingdom of the imagination, that which lies beneath five sense reality.
It was this insight that made Nietzsche argue in his work Human all too Human that the phenomena of sleep and dreaming are at the basis of the otherworldly, metaphysical, religious and even artistic preoccupations of mankind which none have to do with immediate biological survival but pertain to man's spiritual self and his need to create meaning.
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
The moment one attempts to seize the now it is already past. Each word as I am currently typing it is already at that moment part of all that has taken place on earth and belongs chronologically to that which is no longer now.
The now cannot be seized directly for the moment it is seized and acted upon, e.g. through verbalisation, it is a no longer now, an event. That being said,
"The past is never dead. It is not even past."Indeed, taking this blog post as an example, even though it already belongs to the past as soon as I write it down, it will be preserved for some time through the medium of its technological presentation.
The magic of recording something, whether through visual representation, writing or, more latterly, with video and audio equipment means that the no longer now is still accessible in the present and future moment, i.e. the not yet now.
The past is therefore not dead in this instance and has left a trace on both present and future just as events in one's personal life leave a trace in one's psyche's memory, today and tomorrow.
Perhaps the earth, supposing it were conscious, is a database of all that has happened on it and indeed traces of past civilisations and epochs can be dug up archeologically, geologically and biologically.
And by mere virtue of looking at the no longer now one is making it a now again, i.e. the past is accessible through consciousness, through memory, through attention.
As Arendt and Heidegger were keen to point out, the queen of the Muses was none other than Mnemosyne, Dame Memory, and she consists of all the events that have already taken place which, for philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, is the essence of truth, truth in this case being absolute but likely to be perceived in different ways and from different angles (see Truth is Objective but No One is Omniscient).
Monday, 2 January 2017
Sunday, 1 January 2017
Me: Seems like January 1st 2017 would be a good day to quit smoking.
Tobacco addiction: HAHAHAHAHA that's a good one, got any more New Year jokes?
Me: I feel like we're a married couple, you and I, as I've come to accept that by now only death will do us part.
Tobacco addiction: Fucking count on it, bitch.
P.S. As it turns out, as of 26 February 2018, I have managed to stay stopped for 33 weeks!