Monday, May 30, 2011

Retrogressive Sexuality

Watch this video "Doing the Continental".
It almost made me want to cry with how innocent and yet fun it was. There is so much information in there, so much quality, such an open, expansive set of feelings, that complement in a wonderful way the hormones that were no doubt present as well.

Does this spirit still exist in this country? What are they playing in dance clubs, mainly? Hip hop. Music that is heavy, hard, aggressive, and focused purely on physical pleasure and domination. As I commented several weeks ago, we have had at least two big hits that dealt more or less openly with S & M. That is actually the name of Rihanna's song.

Listen to this song for a few moments--Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back"

This is the sexuality of machines. It is contracting, compulsive, and utterly devoid of pleasure.

Returning to the theme of a few posts ago, I think sadomasochism is best understood as an effort to get into the open a covert reality: that of being assaulted qualitatively. In regard to modern sexuality, I think most women are in effect assaulted the first time they have sex by doing it WITHOUT LOVE. Boys say what they need to to get in their mouth and pants, and then abandon them. This hurts.

Consciously choosing pain is perhaps a way of managing it. Consciously inflicting pain is a way of expressing anger.

This is all very sad. Socialism, as a doctrine which effectively requires women to act like men in matters of sexuality, and which requires men to act like women everywhere else, is not just unnatural and perverse, but very indicative of cultural decimation, and the impossibility of an innocent existence in an intact cultural space.

Socialism makes "home" impossible.

Alinsky

It occurred to me the other day that the essence of the tactic of Alinsky is cultivating a sense of moral superiority without ever developing a coherent morality. It is binding (remember the root word for religion means to bind) people together in a shared feeling, but not philosophy.

Often, we focus on the effects of Alinsky on enemies, since his principles of character assassination and vilification plainly work at disrupting rational debate; we forget, though, that they also keep the herd in line.

Philosophical Repair Shop

"Good morning, my name is Bob. Welcome to Bob's Engine and Philosophical Repair Shop. What brings you in today?"

"Well, I just can't seem to get started. And when I get going, the power just isn't there to go far."

"I see, well let's take a look. Do you spend a lot of time on computers?"

"Yes, I'm on-line at least 5 hours a day."

"Do you believe in God?"

"No, I'm actually a big fan of Richard Dawkins".

"How about your love-life? Do you believe in love? Have you ever experienced it?"

"Not really. I was actually pretty lucky, and first got laid when I was 15 with a girl I went to grade school with. It didn't really work out, and she's in a punk rock band somewhere down south. I hook up with girls now and then--I usually meet them on-line--but nothing serious. I never really wanted kids, and the idea of getting married scares me".

"OK. What about politics? You a fan of Obama?"

"I'm actually disappointed in him. He seems to have sold out to Corporate America, and is continuing those stupid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"Right. Here's my diagnosis: you're not going anywhere because you don't know where you want to go. How can you get started without a destination? How can you go fast in a direction you don't have? You're stuck.

First step is to expand your world. This includes opening up to the possibility of philosophical optimism. Get the book "Quantum Reality", by Nick Herbert. He is a good physicist, and knows his stuff. The net is that the best minds on the planet cannot seem to locate a physical reality unaffected by consciousness. This militates against orthodox materialism, and opens up the possibility of something like God, the survival of death, and the non-physical interconnectedness of all things.

Next, read something by Dean Radin. I read "The Conscious Universe". It details the evidence for things like psi, which has become overwhelming, even though many will not admit it. Quantum physics, though, opens up the physical possibility for these things.

Third, read this free book all the way through, and follow up on any particular lines of research that interest you. I enjoyed the book "The First Psychic", by Peter Lamont.

If you do all this with an open mind, it should get you some space for dreaming, which is to say perceptual movement.

Next, read everything on this website. Having written it, I'm a bit partial to it, but it comes out of a similar problem to what you are presenting to me.

Last, but not least, remember that the excitement in life comes from small things, not big things, and that if you get good at building from small things, then you'll get all the satisfaction you deserve. Buy the book Kum Nye relaxation, by Tarthang Tulku, and incorporate it in your life.

That, and a little elbow grease, should get you on your way. Thanks for stopping in at Bob's Engine and Philosophical Repair. Philosophy: use it or lose it."

Flowering machines

This phrase popped in my head the other day. This is an apt metaphor, I think, for living systems. We are not fully free--you have genetics, hormones, nutritional imbalances and other influences external to consciousness--but my God we bloom.

Intention

There is a John Ruskin quote which I have long thought summed up the Leftist creed admirably, but I can't find the damn book. It's from his essay--an apparently pivotal influence on Gandhi--"Unto this last". The net of it is that one must be held accountable to one's principles, and not to the outcome of actions based upon them.

That is the sum of the problem. It is perfect since he was in fact an early and very influential advocate for Socialism, who was constantly advocating for morality in a strident voice; and yet he was a pedophile, who drove a young girl--I believe his niece--mad. She literally spent most of her life in a mental institution. He eventually went mad himself. Go to San Francisco: those are his people.

If one says that one's principle is to be guided by principle, what one has actually said is that one is to be guided by ideas which can neither be vindicated nor negated by outside events. They connect to the external world not at all. This is why Leftism is so popular among intellectuals: all they have to do is think, talk, and write about; no one ever, within their community, feels the need to measure any concrete result.

Detroit is Detroit because of "urban renewal" policies. Some renewal.

This post is a bit of a repeat of things I have said before, but this point is critical to grasp clearly: if you are not naming in advance your desired outcome, then verifying your success or failure subsequently, and making intelligent changes as needed, then the actual principle upon which you are operating is solipsistic narcissism. The rest is words without referents.

This would patently apply to most academics in fields in which nothing ever actually gets physically done. They are not used to measuring anything--how do you measure an essay?--and see no reason to change their mindselt when it comes to their politics. That is how Fascist nations like China and Cuba get their approval.

To say "my principle is my principle" is to say "there is no there here--I am the world and all that matters in it."

One extension of this baffling stupidity is that Leftism does not work well as a creed in building happiness even for Leftists. You want to find a lot of screwed up, confused, nihilistic people, look for heavy concentrations of Leftists.

Liquor Laws

I ran into something the other day I have never seen before: watered down hard liquor. In Ohio, apparently, only State-controlled stores are allowed to sell hard liquor, so you have in the grocery stores 40 proof whiskey.

At the liquor store, I was told that the State tells them what they can stock, and how much to charge; and if I wanted to use a debit card, there was a $1 tax imposed for hard liquor, but not for beer or wine.

Being me, I got to thinking about the Constitutionality of this, and what my thoughts were about that extent of direct government interference in what should be a free market, but was no longer.

Liquor is one of those things that can plausibly be argued to exist in the moral domain. Alcohol has destroyed more lives and families than all the drugs ever invented combined. It's not even close. People drink and drive and kill people. They beat their kids and wives. They lose their jobs. They get in fights. They kill themselves.

At the same time, it is my understanding that beer is the drink of choice of most alcoholics, and certainly one can get drunk easily enough on a sufficient quantity of ANYTHING that has alcohol, so making it harder to get hard liquor does not necessarily cut down on ANY of the undesirable behaviors.

Constitutionally, it would seem to me this should be acceptable. The Constitution does not protect liquor sales, although it would, I think, prevent States from banning liquor imports from other States. Actually, though, I know that some States ban the shipping of alcohol.

Unrelated, too, but relevant, is the fact that it would seem the Federal Government ought to ban the de facto prohibitions on competition in the insurance and other realms that some States impose. For example, in Alabama Blue Cross/Blue Shield--the local branch--has some 85% of the market. Why? Nobody else is allowed in there. I would suspect rates are as high as one normally sees in conditions of legally protected cartels.

I'm not going to take the time to work through all the ramifications of this, but thought I'd pass a few preliminary thoughts along.

Farming versus Manufacturing

I am dealing with a large corporation that has applied a zero defect manufacturing mentality to the construction process. Although this would seem to make sense in principle, the reality is that machines can't be stupid, but humans can and often are. If you are tired and hot, you sometimes get sloppy. This does not mean you don't know what you ought to be doing--most of this is common sense--but that you momentarily forget. Then an accident happens.

This got me to thinking, though, about the difference in mindset between the farmer and the industrialist. Not all seeds sprout. Not very year sees enough rain, or enough sunshine. There is a great deal that you can't control directly, making it foolish to even contemplate a zero defect strategy. Instead, you develop emotional tenacity, and quite often a strong religious faith. Prayers for the success of crops--or livestock--were very important in almost all known religions, and may well have played a role in the development of formal religious traditions.

The image of the manufacturer, though, is one of an endless series of perfectly conjoined wheels, all operating with perfect precision.

When we say that talents blossom, or speak of something flowering, we are acknowledging that living systems move, and that they have stages. You have the planting in the Spring, the growth in the summer, the harvesting in the Fall, and the surviving in the winter. "To everything there is a season." (Ecclesiastes, by the way, is my favorite book of the Bible).

There are no seasons in manufacturing. There are production schedules, that can be rationally planned out far in advance, in theory for decades, although of course market demands cannot be mapped out that far, so cycles are likely closer to the year interval or so.

I think this basic metaphor, though, can accurately be mapped on to the difference between true Liberalism, and Leftism, or what I have at times called "gradualism" and "catastrophism".

One can readily admit that a given social order warrants improvement, without thereby granting that the solution can be planned and imposed.

Leftism is nothing other than the idea that the ideas and methods of manufacturing can be applied to social "engineering". The use of that word makes this abundantly obvious. The man who began the massive government interference in the economy that has characterized the last 80 years or so of anti-Liberal politics--Herbert Hoover--was nicknamed either "The Great engineer", or perhaps just the "engineer".

What is the word we see continually applied by Central Planners of the Nationalistic Fascist and Internationalistic Fascist sort? Rationalization. They assume that human systems can be made to operate like mechanical systems. They even apply manufacturing methods to their repressions. The Nazis developed the poison gas suggested by George Bernard Shaw to efficiently kill their opponents. The Soviets--being Russians--were much less efficient, but no less dedicated to the basic idea. They separated out "ingredients"--dissidents--who did not fit into the slots alloted them in the great machine they were trying to build. They put them in massive camps.

But people are like seeds. They have seasons. They alter as they grow. True, deep rooted social change comes about gradually. The attempt, for example, to impose "equality" on black people has been enormously counter-productive. They tried to erase hundreds of years of tradition overnight. They tried to give money to people to make amends for past wrongs, rather than simply allow them to continue incorporating themselves into the community on their own. The "War On Poverty" not only failed, but it made things much, much worse.

It failed because it used a manufacturing metaphor. As I have said before, Leftism is nothing but the application of the metaphor of the Procrustrean Bed to actual living societies. If you don't fit, you will be made to fit.

True Liberalism is the antithesis of this, in that we all build our own beds. This is the way of kindness, decency, and moral sustainability.

Alphaville

This is apparently a band, a movie, an Army Fort, and who knows what else.

It is also a name I like for the unconcious/subconscious realm of our selves, obviously referencing the Alpha brainwave state. To my mind the "unconscious" is best understood as a sort of drama containing many characters, all of them the residue of imprints of various sorts. Our consciousness listens to all these characters, and chooses which ones to listen to. Perhaps what a principle does is create a perfect character--instead of the many imperfect ones who constituted our family and friends and strangers and enemies. You create a voice for yourself that is unchanging and unsusceptible to moods.

I'm thinking out loud here.

At times, when I meditate (and I have found, by the way, that some of my most useful reveries are sitting still in the darkness drinking whiskey, and simply watching my emotions flow by like a stream; I do not think I am rationalizing when I say this has been enormously therapeutic), I feel the presence of this universe, where things really don't change. It is not perhaps an altered state of consciousness, but a focused one, where I have removed all need for problem solving, all need for purposive action, and most external stimuli.

Talking about feelings is not therapeutic, but feeling them flowing is. Things that flow tend to move, and blocks can disappear that way. First, you have to see the blocks, which is to say to feel them.

Returning to the stage metaphor, it is perhaps like you--I, as should be obvious, but this is hopefully tranlatable to the experience of any readers I may have--have been hearing a cacophony of conflicting voices from a dark playhouse, where you can't see the stage, and now you are putting a spotlight on each character and asking them what role they play, and giving them the room and time to speak in their own voice.

Most all people have multiple "frequencies". This was perhaps the only useful insight I retained from my study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming years ago. This is another way of saying that everyone has multiple "personalities", multiple selves, some of which contradict one another, but which can be speaking at the same time.

One simple example is someone saying "I love you" when they don't mean it. There is what Freud called the ego--and what I might call the "presenting self"--saying rationally comprehensible words that are understood by the listener.

Yet, these words have referents. We all have some idea what love is supposed to feel like, and if that feeling is not there, then the stage is set for cognitive dissonance. It is my feeling that we all have profoundly accurate intuitive understandings as latent capacities, but that many people--men, particularly--tend not to express them, consciously.

So we get a mixed message. Which one do we listen to? Actions speak louder than words, but one can always rationalize the actions of others, so there is always a choice.

This is the behavioral equivalent to those quizzes many will have seen, where you have to choose the color of a word quickly, but in which is typed a different word. For example, the word "red", but typed in the color blue.

Persistent incongruities of this sort amount in my view to a sort of qualitative assault, in that you are demanding of people to choose between what is said and what is done.

To the point here, the only part that enters "Alphaville" is the reality, and to the extent we are not able to consciously separate the reality from the facade, then confusion enters the picture.

A good example of this would be beating children and claiming it was for their own good, when in reality it was an outlet for the anger of the parent. That child will internalize that anger, and not know why it is there.

We see a lot of anger in our culture today. There are no doubt many reasons for that, but among them are, I think, a heightened sense of entitlement/expectation, and the de facto qualitative assaults of the modern, retrogressive American family.

First, if you expect more, if you think "life" owes you something, if you think you ought to be able to live an exciting, fulfilled life of the sort shown in commercials and peddled by Hollywood, then most people are going to experience a gap between fantasy and reality. This breeds self pity, and self pity breeds anger and resentment.

Second, though: what about the parent who abandons you to the media, who instead of creating a living culture of interaction with their children, lets them sit in front of the TV? Kids find TV (and, to be clear, video games, iPods, computers, cell phones and everything else) fascinating, but it cannot replace constant living human reinforcements. There is a frustration that builds for many, I think, that arises from a LACK that they can't identify. They are "communicating" with others via Twitter perhaps dozens of times an hour, but they are still lonely and afraid of being alone.

I wonder how many kids today could stand sitting alone in a quiet room for an hour? I think five minutes would be pushing it for most of them.

They have been abandoned, without knowing it. Their parents have disappeared, and turned into automatons, incapable of nurturing. Everyone has their own TV, and their own channel. Time is scarce, and everyone wants more, more, more.

The kitchen table, of course, is the solution.

These are a few scattered thoughts. I have had a lot of ideas since I last had time to focus, so I'm going to move on.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Christianity

I don't put many boundaries on my reveries: I just sort of let them go. One I have from time to time is reimagining the actual history of Christ. In evaluating Christianity, we have to remember that the canon was not put together for several centuries after the death of Christ, and that when it was done, it was a politically important enterprise, since the Romans had embraced the faith.

In evaluating the history of Christianity, the intersection of the Roman Empire and the Roman Universal (Catholic) Church is pivotal. Roman never fell. Its institutions morphed into a political apparatus appropriated by the Catholic Church, with the most important being tax collection.

Here is a short summary from Wikipedia that jibes with my own understanding:

"In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided provinces were administratively associated in a larger unit, the diocese (Latin dioecesis, from the Greek term διοίκησις, meaning "administration").

With the adoption of Christianity as the Empire's official religion in the 4th century, the clergy assumed official positions of authority alongside the civil governors. A formal church hierarchy was set up, parallel to the civil administration, whose areas of responsibility often coincided.

With the collapse of the Western Empire in the 5th century, the bishops in Western Europe assumed a large part of the role of the former Roman governors. A similar, though less pronounced, development occurred in the East, where the Roman administrative apparatus was largely retained by the Byzantine Empire. In modern times, many diocese, though later subdivided, have preserved the boundaries of a long-vanished Roman administrative division. For Gaul, Bruce Eagles has observed that "it has long been an academic commonplace in France that the medieval dioceses, and their constituent pagi, were the direct territorial successors of the Roman civitates."

The point here is that it a matter of historical accident that Christianity survived. One can, of course, posit God's will, but if you look at what was actually done in the name of Christianity--the Cathar repressions, the Crusades, the Inquisition--it is hard to see the hand of God in those events; at least not if we posit a loving God.

Making a short story long, I wonder about key events in the Bible. What if Jesus washed his disciples feet because he realized he was getting too full of himself? What if that was for his own growth, as well as didactic purposes? What if he never actually intended to get crucified, but could not figure out how to avoid it without snuffing out the groundswell of social change he had catalyzed?

As far as miracles, everything Christ reportedly did is contained in formal writings from India (and other places) that predate him, and which have been reported many times since. These would include walking on water, healing the sick, resurrecting the dead, and producing objects from nothing. There is an Indian guru who lived recently who according to many witnesses could produce sacred ash from his hands. I have not investigated the details, but plainly the stories are there, some of them much more evidential, being recent, than those of the Bible.

Daniel Dunglas Home was seen by witnesses to levitate, whose word on any other matter would have been accepted without question. It was in regard to his case that the word "psychic" was coined.

To my mind, the conclusion to be reached in regards to formal Christianity is that to the extent it encourages people to live with pleasure, and to love one another, it is a life affirming doctrine; and to the extent it is used to separate people, and to render judgements, it is life denying.

I feel the world is much too interesting to be packaged within a single unchanging creed dedicated to the proposition that non-conformists are tortured forever, and that the only means to avoid this is a slavish ("But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life") devotion to the creed.

What needs to be made clear here is that "God" is not speaking, as one human to another, to anyone. What are being expressed are intuitive understandings that are different between people, and a set of verbal teachings which were put down by MEN, not God. This was Muhammad's innovation, to claim that his teachings were taken verbatim from Allah's chosen spokesperson, in a direct connection with the larger universe.

I might put it this way: to the extent a creed encourages playfulness within a context of fidelity to core values of honesty, sincerity, thoughtfulness and personal responsibility, among others, it is valid. To the extent it fosters hate and unreasoning fear, it is in my view wrong.

Here is a nice poem from Rabindranath Tagore I have always liked, and not infrequently quoted:

On the Seashore

On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.

The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances.

They build their houses with sand, and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds.

They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl-fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.
The sea surges up with laughter, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach. Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the children, even like a mother while rocking her baby's cradle. The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach.

On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams in the pathless sky, ships are wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and children play.

On the seashore of endless worlds is the great meeting of children.

The wages of death is sin

Life is pleasure in experience. One example was I hit the road very early one day last week, and was driving a windy, hilly road. On one turn, I could see just the top of a very red sun, and thought it beautiful. Then it "set", as I went down a decline. For the next twenty minutes, it played peek-a-boo with me, rising and setting, always in different places. It made me happy.

Driving the same road in reverse yesterday, I came upon an opening in the clouds with a beam of light coming down, like heaven had opened. Behind me I saw a rainbow. It was amazingly beautiful. I really enjoy complex, moving skies, and the interplay of light and shadow.

To the point, though, it would in my mind be a sin to let the beauty in our world go unnoticed. There is so much ugliness, that we must be attentive to what is right and good and wonderful.

Jim Morrison--who really wasn't very smart, but had the capacity to seem that way--once said "no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." That seems clear enough: live in the moment. But he died as a drunk and likely as a heroin abuser. Somewhere along the way, he lost the dawn.

And his apparent distinction--between morality and experience--is a specious one. Why would Christ not want us up enjoying the dawn? He would be there with us.

In my mind, sin is a separation from the capacity for this sort of experience, from feeling deeply. You don't die because you sin; you sin because you die, because you lose contact with some primal feeling of respect for yourself and others. The first thing you have to do to sin--say to cheat on your wife--is rationalize it. This can include getting drunk, but that is simply a rationalization through avoiding an adult and conscious decision.

I have a clear conscience. I have not always done what I ought to have done, but I have only rarely done something I ought not to have done. My sins are of omission, of for example drinking too much when I could be up and about exercising.

There is something about innocence and pleasure that go together. Our children express emotions spontaneously, but as we grow, we pull back, many of us because we have made conscious compromises with our own first principles. You can get that promotion, but only if you stab the other guy in the back. You can run a profitable business, keeping money for yourself that could and should go to the people doing most of the work.

Whatever the cause, people lose touch with the life within them. For myself, I am endlessly fascinated by everything around me. I never, ever, ever get bored. I enjoy looking at how elevator signs are put together. I always find it interesting that nobody ever has a 13th floor, even though 14 obviously IS 13 (I saw a 14A and 14B the other day, which normally means a front and back entrance, but in this case it was just a new solution to this old problem of triskaidekaphobia). I like watching small insects, and how trees move in the wind. Etc.

I am not bragging on myself, so much as suggesting a possible way--Tao--of interacting with life. I am not being excessively self-congratulatory, I don't think, in saying that I am a creative person. That creativity comes from a largely unregulated and spontaneous, living, interaction with what I do all day every day.

What I do for money sometimes involves ladders, safety glasses, and a hard hat. If you've never worn a hard hat, you may not realize that it gets hot under those things. By law, they can't have any ventilation holes, so you sweat a lot. Safety glasses trap heat, too, and the cheaper ones fog up a lot. It's uncomfortable, and I get a bit grumpy at times, like most people who do manual labor.

Yet I was standing there the other day, and realized that you can do that work with love. Rather than looking at physical objects as intentionally retarding your progress--there's always something in the way in the plenum--you can stop being so damn stupid, and realize they are just there, and that with gentleness and attentiveness you get more done faster anyway. After thinking this, the day went faster, and I left happy. Any work can be done like this. There's always some pile of something--patients, legal briefs, emails, phone calls, lighting ballasts, walls to be painted, lawns to be mowed--and you can attack that pile as an enemy and be irritable; or you can realize that that work can have any meaning for you that you want, and that if you are mad, it is because you are being childish. Life is work. It cannot be anything else. You can work with love, though, and grow from it.

Growth creates life, which creates more growth. This is how we are meant to live.

Friday, May 20, 2011

DSK and Race

Race is rarely something that pops to my mind in evaluating issues, since--even though it is invoked continually, on a loop, by the Left--it is rarely relevant.

I wonder, though, in the case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He gets out of the shower, and sees a black, African, woman, and his first thought is that he can have his way with her with impunity, get on a plane, then attend some meeting dedicated to the demolition of the American and global economies.

Was it because she was black? I mentioned this earlier, but it literally seems like he emerged not from the shower, but from another age, when the man of the manor could do what he wanted with the "negro" slaves.

This from a man whose professed political beliefs reject all hatred but that of the wealthy (himself excluded, obviously), including explicit rejections of racism.

Socialists do not want "Justice". They can't even define it, other than "we are in power". Power is what they really want, and the words they utter are purely cynically pragmatic towards achieving that aim. They want the world to be turned into whores, pimps, and a ruling class which uses them. DSK just jumped the gun. We aren't quite there yet.

But what is the top cash economic activity in Cuba? Prostitution. This is the outcome of a revolution that aimed to "free" the Cuban people, and which has turned them into slaves and whores. North Korea, no doubt, would be a whore mecca, if they were not so worried about letting people in and out. Prostitution thrived in the old Soviet Union. You have to make money somehow, and if the economic system won't feed you, then you have to figure something out.

Socialism, pure socialism, is a doctrine of evil. DSK merely drew the curtain back for a brief moment.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Recognition

I think more of our thought workers need to take on the mindset of soldiers in the figurative and literal trenches. They fight, and they die. When they die, most of them are missed by only a few family members and members of their units. They die in unspectacular ways, often, including simple traffic accidents. Yet, they die serving their country, and I don't think it is over-idealizing most of them to say they do it without complaint. Not by design, of course, not eagerly, but because they accept that possible outcome as part of their job. I was once told that explicitly by a man who did in fact later die in an IED explosion.

For my part, the writing I do is not intended to reflect on me in the slightest. I prefer to be in ths shadows, and let the words spark ideas in others. Nothing pleases me more than to be copied, and if I were to see something lifted verbatim from here or my other site, I would likely delete the original to prevent controversy.

My intent is to get ideas out there, and hopefully ones that are better than the ones currently in circulation. This means that if other people are mouthing them, then I am succeeding. That is the point and plan.

A motto of mine is Benjamin Franklin's "There is no end to what you can accomplish, if you don't care who gets credit."

We are in a war, and a war in which many Americans have literally died. Surely the chattering class can content itself with getting useful work done, without self aggrandizement, and image-consciousness?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Order versus meaning

I got to thinking the other day, as I often do. I was thinking about this idea that God has a plan for our lives, that everything is unfolding the way it is supposed to. Me, my gut tends to reject this basic idea. I think the afterlife is highly ordered and just, but what happens here is a bit like going down a mogul slope. If you keep your balance and your strength, you can have a lot of fun, but most of us get knocked on our asses, and the main virtue of this is that you can grow from it. A random universe and this one, though, would look quite similar.

Anyway, though, there was at one time the "music of the spheres". There was Thomas Aquinas explaining to us that science and religion are perfectly compatible, since all forms of order uncovered are simply manifest evidence of God's presence. (I think that was Aquinas: I listen to Teaching Company stuff a lot, but I was not and never could have been a philosophy student formally).

Coincident with this order was a teaching, Christianity, that saw in life the possibility of transcendence, if lived correctly. To submit to Church teaching was not only to understand how the universe worked, but also the purpose of life.

If you deduct God--or any sort of transcendental order beyond mere physical "laws"--from this, though, you get order without meaning. You get math describing gravity, predicting chemical reactions, and creating smart machines. You do not get a reason to live.

Is it better to feel you understand the universe, and find life devoid of intrinsic meaning; or to fail to understand the universe, but feel empowered and vital? This is, I will note, a different question than "is it better to be sad and wise, or dumb and happy?" Ultimately, we all find ourselves submitting in the end to some version of the scientific myth and method, so the first question depends upon premises which can be questioned. For example, is any doctrine which rejects ANY, of many, possible explanations for any visible phenomena scientific? Of course not. Scientists are agnostice. They are not in the business of proving anything. They are in the business of describing and predicting.

What got me on this line of thought is that I think many people need, emotionally, answers, even bad answers, as to how things work. Free markets are intrinsically fear-inducing to a certain class of people, most particularly those who have spent their whole lives in the comfortable knowledge that the answer to Question 8 was C, and that it could not have been otherwise, for anyone who read the textbook, and did Exercise 17.1. Duh.

I was told the other day that the purpose of the Federal Reserve was to maintain the value of our money, to avoid inflation and deflation, and to create full employment. Something like that. The details don't matter, since it is a patent lie. My thought was: and how does it actually work? You just regurgitated what you were carefully spoon fed by someone with an agenda--an "expert"--but have done so without a shred of understanding.

Socialism, for these people, serves the need for order. They want tyrants to be in charge, since that way, they think, the economic system will be orderly. They value order over freedom. They value order over meaning.

But even here, is that an accurate statement? Based on the historical record, it is virtually impossible to call any socialist experiment a success. They do not foster an engagement with life, but a disengagement. They do not foster hope, but rather a dull and dismal existence that shades into a welcome death after a shortened life.

What is order? How is it defined?

As I argue constantly, the order that matters is that of the formally chaotic system, from which order flows as an emergent property of a system in motion.

Consider Lao Tzu's famous "uncarved block". As I pointed out in my Goodness Sutra (on the other site) the language can probably be better translated as "unchopped forest". This is a metaphor for a chaotic system.

Consider the difference between 100 trees planted in rows, ten by ten, and the same 100 trees allowed to plant themselves. What is the difference in order? Visibly, obviously, to the human eye the block is more orderly. But surely this looks like idiocy from the perspective of the plants? At a minimum, can we not assume that it is not necessary to assume that simply because that pattern appears orderly, that order is in fact present? Some of the sites may be unsuitable.

I've been debating this with myself all day, and it's one of those things like Scandinavia. I can see both sides, and arguments for both sides.

I'm tired. This post is not finished, but it will have to do for now. I'm sure I'll have more to say after a while.

Perceiving a gap

It seems to me one of the hardest challenges to overcome in personal growth is seeing what could have been, and wasn't--specifically, in accepting it.

As we grow as children and emerge into adulthood, we develop approximate set points, behavioral and cognitive tendencies, that tend to persist for long periods of time, often lifetimes. We reconcile ourselves, contextualize ourselves, with those around us. If we more or less fit the pattern, then absent major trauma, we never see any reason to change drastically.

Yet, there is always a gap between what is and what could be. I can't say how large that gap is, since I can't see that far into the darkness. I do think I can say, though, provisionally, that that is what the Buddha meant with the term Duhkha, generally translated as suffering. He meant that we are all falling so far short of what is possible that what we term happiness might as well be regarded suffering. Moreover, even happy lives end in old age and death.

As I think even an average mind could readily infer from reading this blog, I have my issues. We all have our crosses to bear, and one thing I've noticed is that carrying heavy weights for long distances makes you strong.

At the same time, what I am seeking is efficiency, and that is found traveling light, not weighted down. How do you release that weight?

What I have been seeing more clearly than ever in recent days is that to grow you have to see the gap between what was and what could (if you want to be morose about it, should) have been. There is a mourning process you have to go through, for a possible present that died long ago. To some greater or lesser extent, we are all victimized throughout our lives by human stupidity and greed, including our own. This is not how it should be: it is just how it is.

When we feel pain, I think often the tendency is to disown it, to push it away. You then create a new world, a new way of being, in which that pain is not present to your conscious awareness. But it is still there, and affecting you in ways not immediately obvious, but certainly including self sabotage and lessened effectiveness. The New You has wrapped a protective coating around that pain, but it is there in all your movements, everything you do. The longer you take to process it, the more effect it has over time.

To make it go away, you have to remember who you were, and who you should have been. When you do this, the coating comes off: this is what I think most people fear, and why so many countless hundreds of millions of people live lives of lessened joy.

On a related note, I will add that I saw yesterday something interesting. I was thinking about the process of sin, of breaking your own acknowledged rules. I think it is important, when you sin, to acknowledge it as sin. That way, you retain an uncorrupted primary ethical sense. The alternative is rationalization. If you rationalize, you change who you are and what you believe. I think this is why Lao Tzu counseled against trying to become a saint. Some of the most awful people out there profess themselves to be Christians. They are able to reconcile their professed creed with their actual behavior through rationalization. Once that process starts, there is no necessary end short of utter and complete depravity, as seen for example in the pedophile Catholic priests, or the rape and stoning of women in countries like Pakistan.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Droit du Seigneur

When I heard about this apparently attempted rape of a chamber-maid--can I call her that?--by the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, my first thought was that he was trying to exercise something like the Droit Du Seigneur, the right of the Lord of the estate to take anything he wanted. In our country, one can readily tell the difference between most American-born blacks and those from Africa. The difference results, largely, from affairs in the night between two people of very unequal power.

The hotel room was $3,000/night. This man is a Socialist. He claims to represent the interests of the poor and downtrodden. Yet, it is important to realize that the IMF was conceived as an agent of tyranny by a Fabian and a Communist agent, and that the people running it are no one's friend but members of their own class. Their class status will not weaken as they take power: it will be the source of all power that matters.

It is beyond stupid to hope that giving power to those who promise "social justice" will result in anything but misery for most of those dumb enough to believe them. That is the unambiguous historical record. This event is merely an unfortunately accurate metaphor brought into literal being.

Inflation as interest

As I think about it, if we posit that inflation is wealth transfer, that it is gradual, and that it is in theory measurable, then the best logical analogy for it is compound interest.

As my money sits, in a condition of inflation (which can only truly be brought about by someone leveraging a privileged position to create money from nothing), it loses value. I see this called a hidden tax, but that only take into account the government. Most inflation does not benefit the government, except to the extent that it enables continued borrowing, and continued pursuit of nakedly opportunistic policies which win the votes of short-sighted, selfish, and stupid people.

In this country, on the contrary, we have a truly Alice in Wonderland system, in which the government has no control over our money supply, which has instead been entrusted to unelected, unaccountable bankers who operate in complete secrecy, even though their decisions affect all of us. This is lunacy.

The notion of inflation as interest income works, I think, to help make this more clear. Sometimes these bankers are charging us interest openly, and sometimes they are writing themselves checks that make the rest of our money worth less. Either way, in aggregate they win, always.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Desert

I tend to think in images--well, gestalts, of which images are a part. I try to use all my senses in processing things. It is challenging for me to think of any culture without feeling the food they eat, and what their homes must smell like.

Anyway, it came to me that the way through the desert has been blocked. For the better part of a century very motivated people have been making progress through an unmarked space, generally devoid of life. Imagine an armored army flanking an enemy which can't see them. They travel where no one is, so that when they arrive opposing them will be hard.

This is the essence of the Fabian strategy. Fabius Maximus never actually kicked the Carthaginians out of Italy. He just kept them from winning.

What we must understand, here, is that Shaw and his co-conspirators did fully plan to win, but what they saw is that movement which is invisible can easily be forward, if unchecked. It is hard to measure economic subversion. It is hard to measure political subversion.

Moreover, most people simply do not have the capacity to recognize that there are people capable of evil who are nonetheless genteel, and even jovial, as in Shaw's case. The prospect of the mass murder of social undesirables made him chuckle, apparently. This means that horrible people, who plan millions of acts of violence which would them a death sentences if done without government sanction, can make progress in open view.

Let's take one simple example: Bill Ayers and his crowd of cowardly sociopaths wanted to kill some 10% of Americans. Mao said that roughly 10% of the population can't be "reeducated" (morally murdered, and emotionally gang raped), so they figured they would have to organize death camps of the Nazi sort somewhere in the Southwest.

Bill Ayers is a free man, and he has been teaching our children for 30 years or so. Consider that.

At the same time, this path requires generalized complacency. The complacency is gone. The Left may not want to admit it, but a very segment of the United States population is now permanently radicalized against the Fabian agenda. Their days of slow, steady progress are at an end.

The way is blocked. From now on, they will have to offer justifications of their actual agendas, which is much harder than lying about it.

Intuitions can be wrong, but that is what I see clearly.

Anti-Boredom routine

I will sometimes have to wait for something somewhere. If I have nothing to read or do, I like to pretend I am Sherlock Holmes and try to see everything in my space, and make as many inferences as I possibly can. Everywhere you could possibly be this will work.

Why are there water stains on the wall? Which way does that vent blow air? Why is the dirt unevenly distributed? Why is that cover on the wall? What did that do? Why are there two plugs into one TV? Why are there two colors of brick? What does that chimney do? Why are the ceiling tiles different colors? Why are they bowing?

Why do leaves on trees have different shapes? Is the bark the same color on both sides? How many leaves to a group? Do some seeds have better shapes for sprouting? Why is this rail here and not there? How else could this room be arranged? What would be the benefits and negatives? What is missing from this room? What did it used to be? Can I infer anything about previous owners?

Maybe it's just me, but I can virtually instantly make my brain very active anywhere, if I so choose. Now, I have plenty going through my brain normally anyway, so this is often not the best idea, but I do think it warrants consideration. Periodically changing your perceptual focal point is an integral component of my moral philosophy.

Internecine Warfare

I was talking with my oldest tonight about the ancient Greeks, and how they were always fighting one another. One city-state would take another, then the next generation it would reverse. Some peoples stayed enslaved; some people were always strangers in that strange land.

Further: this is the history of humankind: stupid, counterproductive theft. You can't live on what you have, so you go take the stuff someone else created. You don't want to work, so you take their people, because you can. You kill because you enjoy it, and it's just the fighters bill come due when you finally fall. The Chinese, the Japanese, the Italians, the Germans, the English, the French: anywhere you look in history you see this pattern. Who killed Ali, the third (if I'm not mistaken) Caliph? Other Muslims. Who killed Caesar? His rivals.

I saw today where the Dalai Lama supposedly reduced his creed to kindness. If this is true, I disagree strongly. The strong have to protect the weak, and that requires being very UNkind at times. To attempt to be nice all the time is to need to live alone in the jungles or a mountain cave. For those trying to accomplish actual, sloppy, useful Good in this world, your hands will get dirty.

It occurred to me too that the Greeks are still at it. They are still waging internecine warfare with one another. Rather than identifying themselves with polei (polises? Something else?) they identify with their group, normally a union, and the Socialists more generally. They then wage literal, violent warfare against all who would stand in the way of their vision of more for them and theirs, and less for everyone else. Screw the long term. Screw everyone else: if they win their battle, they are so stupid they fail to understand the war is not over, and never will be as long as, in aggregate, they are pursuing economically ruinous policies.

While they squabble among themselves, the IMF is carving them up. That is what it was designed to do, and it has been effective. Keynes was very certainly a brilliant man; he simply put his intellect to the service of evil.

Selfishness leads to vanity. and vanity leads to folly. It is not too hard to tempt stupid, morally weak people into self destruction.

Quality

What is 11% of a lie?

Koanish, but not really. Popped in my head, and looked like an appropriate, if perhaps unclear to some, definition.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Psychoanalysis and Totalitarianism

George Lakoff, in some book or other, argued that people could be defined with metaphors. No, wait: he argued that OTHER people use metaphors to define people. Those are the people he called THEM. They are definitionally wicked because they tend to use terms like "them" in spooky ways.

Anyway, Republicans were supposedly operating on a metaphor of government-as-father. The idea was that fathers--in Republican gender constructions, which is to say in terms so insufficiently ambiguous that they still possess meaning--were the disciplinarians, who valued structure and order over nurturing. The figurative breasts, of course, were what he presumably called "liberals". His people, whatever word he used.

At the present moment, I have been fermenting for several weeks in the dank stink of overprotective regulation. I have been reading the OSHA site, getting drug tested, filling out form after form, and wondering how anything gets done at large corporations, when you have to develop a Quality Control process for crapping, sneezing, and masturbation (allowed during lunch and after 5pm, but only is the door is secured properly, you use an approved lotion, you use your non-dominant hand on occasion to prevent repetitive movement injury, you indicate your status on your calendar, and that you report the out-come of your efforts to management within one hour using the proper form).

I look at this, and if we are going to call this Maternalism, then it is the protection of a psychotic mother who never wants her child to leave the house. Freedom is when you get to do what you want, when you want, within reasonable limitations.

To my mind, the Department of Labor is an affront to the notion of the Constitutional restriction of the powers of the Federal Government. Governing commerce is little more than making sure no States implement tariffs, and arbitrating any disputes that may arise between sovereign governments. It is inconceivable to me that any rational mind can look at the massive bureaucratic apparatus that has been created to "protect" us, and not see it as having the power to limit us to the little black cages Max Weber saw as the ultimate outcome of a process he termed (ironically, in my view) Rationalization.

If we want to live as machines, then the ultimate in efficiency is for humans to create sentient machines, then die off. What the "Maternalists" want for us is perfect security, which can only occur in conditions of complete tyranny. They want to make it impossible for anyone to make a mistake. Always, always, always, though, it comes down to the judgement of individuals. If those individuals are competent and motivated, they will usually make the right decision. If not, the process involved won't prevent stupidity.

I referenced psycholanalysis since in my view important things are happening. I'm circling around this issue since I am still working it out, but please just keep that word in mind as a code word for breaking through my deeper meaning here.

If we define mothering as the actual development of a sense of place, safety, and a feeling of being valued and loved, then socialism is the opposite. It is the substitution of rules for freedom, and command and control for individual judgement. It is, in a formal sense, Paternalism, and quite free of nurturing.

Witness, for example, the hue and cry that attended George Bush's efforts to deploy social program spending through churches. His intent was to put a human face on the government, one which had an actually useful belief system meant to provide meaning to human life. Governments do not deploy meaning. They deploy money. Money does not make one happy.

Who raises our kids? Stay home moms seem often to view their kids as science projects, then they lapse into an evanescent world in which thoughts can be Twittered, and in which the actual mother is the media. Working mothers have kids who do this even quicker.

Our media world is cold. Computers do not talk. Television characters do not recognize you. Perhaps that is why social media is so popular: we are alone with our devices, and feel less alone when communicating through them with others who are also alone.

Where does the nurturing in our modern world come from? Where is the old fashioned connection, respect, and bond that was present everywhere until our lunatic modern world evolved?

We feel both connections that are there, and connections which SHOULD be there, but which aren't. That latter induces anger, and we see hateful, vicious, evil anger expressed across our media complex. There is a Hello Kitty skull now, if I'm not mistaken.

Therapeutically, people do not suffer from Prozac (or whatever it is they use nowadays) deficiencies. Rarely do they suffer from not talking enough, or benefit from talking more. What we need is a common culture, or at least the permission to exercise the cultures we do have in public.

Socialism--the intellectuals doctrine and expression of the moral idea of egalitarianism--is a type of madness, and creates insane people.

I will add that I don't view the countries of northern Europe as socialistic. If compliance is not compelled, that is still a type of Liberalism, although I still tend to label most versions "Sybaritic Leftism", since there is almost always a component of moral relativism, which is to say cultural destruction.

One final note, not entirely related, but not entirely unrelated either. In classical Chinese culture, respect for one's elders--filial piety--is very old, and very deeply rooted. Consider in that regard how much worse that made the Cultural Revolution, led by Anita Dunn's hero, Chairman Mao, in which hordes of brainwashed and psychotic children--young kids, 10-12-14--would attack torture, and kill venerable old men, for no crime other than not being young, and not being ardently Communist. The children in a classroom, say a 6th grade classroom, would literally rise up against their teacher, take them outside, and beat them until they died. This is what that great leader Mao wanted, and no doubt something Obama's former Propaganda Secretary admired.

But consider what a revolting, nauseating flip of the old system this was. It is evil in and of itself--self evidently, as if this is even worth saying, it accomplished nothing good anywhere--but even more horrific when one considers the esteem with which traditional Chinese society taught their children to view their elders.

What the intellectuals who run our universities and who surround our President want is nothing less--in the long run--than the sociopathy of children who never socialised, and never bonded with any mother.

In this regard, I will add one last thought: it is a strange contradiction that the entirety of Socialist theory is oriented around means, but not ends. They obsess about means of subversion, but literally cannot see that the long term outcome of their morality is to deny everyone else their right to live as they see fit. They want the death of moral agency, which I have said often. They want everyone to be forced to commit moral suicide, to renounce who they are--if they have any remaining "stains" of identity (male, female, professional/worker, Jewish/Hindu, Californian/Tennesseean, etc.)--and march in lockstep as ordered.

You can talk to nice people who espouse these ideas. The point I am making is that they don' think through the logical and necessary outcomes of the policies they espouse, and that this in itself constitutes a major moral failure.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Periodic Krugman piece

This is disingenuous even for him.

First, though, I have not explained recently why I single out Krugman. The reason is simple: as the messenger of economically disastrous--and lunatic-- policies, as a "thinker" (actually, why don't we insert "ideological activist" within those brackets?) who has a wide audience, he is arguably the single most dangerous non-politician in the country. Certainly, his name needs to appear on a short list that includes George Soros, and the elitists Obama has gathered around him to do everything they can to impose through fiat what they cannot get legislated.

If the task is job creation, the private sector does that. Is it smarter to take their money, spend it on pet projects favored by people who have never had jobs, then hope it trickles back to them; or does it make more sense to make more capital available to the people who use it to fund business growth and the jobs that go with it? Your answer literally speaks to your capacity for the use of reason.

I want to be clear: if the task is to eradicate all competitors to the Ivy League-ish, Fabian, morally weak but intellectually dogmatic people who think they are privy to a uniquely valuable understanding of how the world "really works", then Keynesian economics works. The task JMK set himself was eroding private wealth and economic and personal liberty, under the cloak of helping increase private wealth and liberty. You see, these people are liars and liars lie. That's what they do. That is the sort of statement that has become difficult to make in our post-rational age.

Anyway, Keynes--strike that, Krugman--hits all the usual suspects: tax cuts, war with Iraq, deregulation. These have by now become for synchronized leftists become little more than trigger points. They spasm when he says how high. They lie when he says tell the truth. They are perfectly trained.

But in the world most of us occupy, in which fact and reason are studied judiciously to develop statements which conform well to visible reality, Krugman is simply wrong.

The Bush tax cuts increased dramatically the share of taxes paid by the rich. They weren't tax cuts at all. That demographic paid more. In most cases, presumably they paid more because they made more. They made more since they engaged in more economically productive activity. That activity is what creates jobs.

Net revenues to the government also went up under Bush. None of the irrationalists who want to pretend Keynes was other than deviant moral monster (exhibit A is his close relationship with George Bernard Shaw) ever take not of what actual receipts are. Deficits go up because WE SPEND MORE MONEY. If you increase you income 10%, and increase your spending 20%, is it the part of reason to argue that the increase in income was bad? Of course not.

War on Iraq: yes, it was expensive. So too has been the War on Poverty. The difference is that we won in Iraq, and we have been losing the War on Poverty since it was launched. I see no way of believing, on the contrary, that it has not played a major role in the IMPOVERISHMENT of large segments of our nation. Where two parent families were the norm, now they are gone.

Krugman won't discuss this. Of course, he could: he seemingly has no moral compass or particular attachment to actually helping improve the lives of ordinary, normal people, so no doubt he can spin failure into genius, and horror into excitement.

Finally, the Great Recession. How did it start? The failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Significance? They backed a very large segment of the mortgage-backed securities whose belated devaluation by the Credit Rating Agencies provoked the cash flow crisis that created the larger problem. The whole reason the Credit Ratings Agencies were able to pretend that securities of unknown and unknowable value were golden is that they were backed by, what? The full faith of the Federal Government. Bail-outs were promised to all.

The government ENABLED the crisis.

I will frankly never really understand how people like Krugman look in their mirrors with other than naked self loathing. He is not working to help the lives of anyone. He is protecting a fundamentally corrupt system--characterized by Central Banks who are only too happy to support his frequent calls for more spending, since they can print the money to make it happen--while offering nothing that will help John Q. Average on the street.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Multiculturalism

It is not obvious, but the end game of the socialists--the nihilists--who push so hard for the eradication of American culture is the end of all other cultures as well. They don't want Mexicans to behave like Mexicans (as if such a diverse nation could be reduced to some uniform set of behaviors in the first place), or African Americans like African Americans. Everything must be the same.

I was watching this today in my mind, in a clear sky that was raining, and it occurred to me that what we want is negotiation. What we want, really, is the reconciliation of varying truth and behavioral narratives (truth and behavior can be separated, as in ritual).

What do we do when we negotiate a price? We compare two different desire sets, and reconcile them in such a way that in a condition of freedom both are satisfied. Is the negotiation of culture any different?

Why is American culture so ubiquitous? Simple: to many people, it has value. We are the ones who solved the problem of self government, even if we are being overrun at the moment by fools. We don't have to compel our culture: it sells itself.

Buddhists never used the military to spread their creed, but there it was: all over Asia, including Central Asia. The Mongolian hordes fell in love with Tibetan Buddhism, and--uniquely for them, as far as I know--left the Tibetans alone, and implemented Lamaism in their own social order.

In negotiation, you can still be you, and I can still be me. In socialism, this is against the rules. No one can exist with an identity not prescribed for them by the pseudo-scientists who have gained control of the system through brutality and lies.

Immigration

Obama was apparently mocking Republicans for wanting to actually protect our borders, and for their reservation about rewarding 11 million criminals for their behavior. I posted this in response to an article about this. I suspect it won't make it through the filter on the leftie place I read it, so figured I'd post it here, since I took the trouble to write it.

The Republican position is that we have a nation with borders, called the United States of America, in English. To the extent Obama's Administration patently refuses to protect the border from people coming here illegally, they refuse, very literally, to accept the fundamental integrity and value of our nation. We are not citizens of the world: we are citizens of our country. Mexicans already have a country: it is called Mexico Those who don't want to live in their own country come here because we have a political and economic system that actually works. We didn't take their wealth: they failed to create their own. This is not our fault. It is their fault. With their resources, Mexico should be wealthy. Switzerland achieved a much higher standard of living with a fraction of what Mexico has.
Logically, too, how can any increase in the competition for labor not have a downward affect on wages? We hear this argument all the time that Mexicans (which here stands for all illegal Central American immigrants) do work Americans don't want to do. The fact is Americans don't want to do it at THAT PRICE, which itself is the result of added and illegal competition.
Never forget that Obama's Attorney General sued the State of Arizona for nothing more heinous than trying to pick up the slack left by people who work for Obama refusing to do their job effectively. The Feds weren't getting it done, so Arizona said we're getting in on the game, since the status quo is unacceptable.
You people can publish whatever BS you want, but the actual people in this country still get votes, and your anti-Americanism is grating a LOT of people the wrong way. Roughly a third of the Senate seats will be up for review in 2012. Do you think this is what is going to protect or win them for Democrats? Think again. Even most legal Hispanics in this country realize this is a problem.

Happiness Hallucination

I'm making changes in my life. What was good enough last year is not good enough now. What seems to happen when you look down the road, and not at your feet, is you see all the constraints and webs of habit that have been bedeviling you, without your conscious awareness.

I realized this morning several things. First, failure which is unaccompanied by self pity is a means for generating detachment of precisely the sort the Buddhists, Taoists and others advocated. Any trauma, that you confront honestly, and which you do not contexualize as unnecessary--as if any life event could be called that--helps you grow. You become deeper and richer in the ways that matter. You become more invulnerable to the shocks to which the flesh in prone.

What also occurred to me is that we contextualize happiness. We view it as the outcome of certain sorts of experiences. I was doing my morning exercises, listening to music, and suddenly felt happiness. It just came to me. I don't know why.

And this is the point: happiness does not NEED a point or purpose. I think we often feel it, and reject it on a preconscious level as contexually inappropriate. Why would driving to work make you happy? Why would doing another report make you happy? Why would being at work make you happy? Why not?

I spoke several posts ago about negative hallucinations. I think we have happiness negative hallucinations, in that happiness is there, it is present and possibly expressable to our conscious awareness, but we repress it, thinking it can only happen when you're having sex, or on your boat, or shopping, or winning something.

It is, I think, accurate to say that to the precise extent you make happiness an end, it disappears. That is why so many members of the Me generation, and their kids, are on anti-depressants.

Think about how you conjure a Patronus in Harry Potter: you think of a happy, powerful experience, and you give external expression to it in the form of light. You do not find something out there: you take something inside, and move it outside.

I read a Sufi story once where he was talking about the innate justice of wisdom which, as he put it, could not be given to the unworthy, nor withheld from the worthy.

This feeling of Windhorse, which I have described on here somewhere, likewise can neither be withheld nor given. I saw that yesterday.

One more Harry Potter example (clearly, Joanne Rowling's success arose in no small measure from her capacity for myth-making): the mirror of Erised. The Sorcerer's Stone could only be released to someone who did not want to use it selfishly.

Life, likewise, in the sense of pleasurable, deep experience, can only be released to those who are not trying to consume it like famished wolves.

This probably sounds deep, and maybe it is, but I will point out that I am still often a screwball. There, now the mood is gone.

Or maybe that was the path forward. You decide. Good luck!!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Self PIty Drain

Edit: I just noticed the I in Self Pity is too big. I was going to correct it, then realized that is a completely accurate statement. Think about it.

Self pity is our worst enemy. We are all born with empty backpacks on our backs. Self pity is systematically placing stones in it.

The other day I was sitting somewhere feeling the potential for self pity. Whatever it was (superego as editor: chasing women in the wrong place), there I was. I saw the self pity welling up like a wave, the "it's not fair", the "this should work", the whatever made me feel sorry for myself.

I watched it, then let it go. I visualized a drain, in which all those dark waters simply disappeared. Lo and behold, they did, and there I was listening to some songs I put on the jukebox by Sugarland and the Ting-tings (and some more macho bands, but frankly I enjoyed those two the most). It was calming. It was nice.

If we could all live like that, the world would be a much better place. Let it go. Let the resentment go. Let the self importance go. Let the anger go. What good does it do you, much less anyone else? It is a damn anchor, sinking you down into the black water. If you want to float, you need a boat, and boats don't need heavy weights.

And if you are under water, step one is to look up, n'est pas? Oxygen will be along soon enough, if you swim where the light is.

Tragedy and Comedy

You have perhaps heard the old saw "for those who think life is a comedy, and for those who feel a tragedy." This is fodder for the depressed, over-intellectualized-yet-angst-ridden college kid.

Think about what makes us laugh. Is it not ridiculousness? Vanity? Greed? People bumping into things, tripping unexpectedly. Consider Seinfeld. Were not most episodes not about nothing, but rather about neurotic, selfish people acting neurotic and selfish?

Comedy is dysfunction. It, also, consists in dramatic hamartias, but flaws expressed in unexpected ways which generate and release tension.

Here is a funny story, from one of the Darwin Awards books: two Marines developed a routine whereby they would drive in a truck, and on left turns, one would swing out on the door, then swing back in. Most of us have thought about doing that. It was amusing. Then one of them hit a lightpole, was flung into the cab, and knocked the other guy out his door. Fortunately the truck came to a halt, and neither was permanently wounded. That catapult image, though, I find amusing. My kids did too.

Why? They were both hurt. The accident was stupid and preventable. But don't many of us see why someone would do that? Do we not see in them, perhaps, a bit of our own silliness, and laugh from relief that it WASN'T us?

What we find funny has a lot to do with how we set our default expectations for life. If we expect it to be easy, then every little bit of pain out there saps us, and drags us down. Nothing is funny, if funny consists in an ironic appreciate of the misery and stupidity of others. It's all just a bore; it's all just work.

If we expect life to be hard, then we realize that all of us are stupid, and we learn to appreciate and laugh at all the little things that happen to us. I managed to set my oven on fire last night. After I put it out, and got the smoke detector stopped, I thought it was funny. That's not a bad story. Not just everyone is stupid enough to set their oven on fire. My kids thought it was funny too.

It seems to me, too, that you have to have multiple selves to analyze and process life properly. If you are analyzing humor, it isn't funny. You have to be able to switch back and forth, here and there. This is the Tao, at least in part.

God and the Negative Hallucination

I have often objected to Scientism, which I define roughly as "that doctrine which believes that everything in the universe is in principle measurable empirically", on the basis that it lacks what I tend to call a "qualitative place-holder" for the transcendental: for experiences which are real, but which cannot be fully described within the limits of a materialistic paradigm, wherein all apparent "experience" is simply an epiphenomenon of biochemical processes.

It just occurred to me that what I mean by place-holder is a conceptual basis for the elimination of the negative hallucination, which is when something is there, but invisible to you, as a result of effective hypnotic programming. We likely see signs of the divine daily, but lack the perceptive capacity to recognize them. We are much more likely to do so, though, if we accept in advance that such things are POSSIBLE. I have often debated dogmatic materialistic atheists, and it is quite obvious to me that were a spirit to materialize in front of them, and punch them in the nose, it would make no difference in their belief system. How much less could one expect them to feel or appreciate the subtle?

Sexuality

It is strange to think that all the skyscrapers in our largest cities were in no small measure created in response to the sexual instinct. Everything you see in front of you--the roads, homes, stores, telephone lines, your computer, the Internet--were created in some measure as a result of the sexual instinct.

For his part, Freud wanted to see us as swimming in an endless ocean of emotional energy ultimately deriving from the reproductive urge, which is to say our sexuality. The only events that matter in this lifelong swim are birth, reproduction, and death. Everything else is meaningless detail. Dawkins "love" of science is a sublimation of the instinct to put his penis in every hole which opens up to him, and plant his seed there. It "means" nothing. Meaning, itself, is an artifact of this process. It conduces to reproduction.

For my own part, as I have often said, I feel (and for which I can offer empirical evidence) that we are composed of both our instincts, and something higher, which I tend to term the capacity for non-statistical coherence, which is to say the ability of consciousness to affect what we term matter, which would include our brains, and behavior.

Yet, here we are.

Once, I dreamed of a beautiful purple crystal created by the Swiss over a long period of time, a structure that created itself, but with loving care by craftsmen, who directed it much like a bonsai tree, who created tendencies, but not precise outcomes.

Perhaps we are like children on an endless river, forced to choose left or right, and given a tendency, but who with work can make a different choice, and at some point sever the alternative, travelling a unique canyon.

I watch my own sexuality, and it has often seemed a curse. Do men not often look at women as sexual objects, without meaning to? Do we not catch ourselves sneaking peaks of breasts, even of women we consider friends? Is there not this endless need, at least for the sexually healthy, to inseminate the world? There it is: driving, driving, driving.

So much misery comes from this, especially in our modern world. Historical cultures faced the same evolutionary biology we do. They solved the problem, in many cases, of sex by creating very strong, and very strongly enforced, social taboos, making the miseries of jealousy and resentment logistically difficult, since failure was so violently punished. Not in all cases: many American Indians shared their wives with early explorers, getting syphillis and gonorhea for their trouble.

You can't have sex with everyone all the time: this creates, at least in this stage of our evolution, a lot of trouble.

And to the point, it is not sex we want: we want connection. If I have any readers, they may roll their eyes, but I was reading an interview with someone who had had many Out of Body Experiences (which, by the way, is a scientifically replicable procedure for most people, as far as I can tell), who was commenting that "sex" in other worlds is in effect a meeting of souls, in which you share who you ARE, in the most intimate sense, and so does someone else. This makes for the most perfect connection possible. It has nothing to do with the "exchange of body fluids". That exchange is merely an inferior symbol for what is possible. In our own world, this exchange can be that of life itself, but the life of another. In other worlds, I believe, that exchange can be of OUR lives.

Consider this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHpJotjP2kM

Here are a few lyrics:

You left me here
Alone in my own world
From pain
A new light is born
Your perfect world's
Evading
Sedating
Your perfect world's
Evading
Sedating
I hate your face
Reminding
Despiting
I hate your life
You cast me down
You look at me with one glance
And turn your face
To watch you burn
You bury me alive

In your perfect world
I'd rather make peace with 3 rounds

Now, I was looking for a different song I just heard on the radio, with roughly the same theme, but this will do. I don't expect most people will get far in that song.

Sex and love are connected with trust. To the extent we value sex, we value multiple partners, since reproductively all fertile men and all fertile women are roughly equal. If life is just about sensations, then why not have as many as possible?

Yet, this mindset leads necessarily to betrayals of intimacy, of love. I don't think it is precisely accurate to say that the more sex, the less love, but it is close. I heard the Summer of Love summarized once by someone who was there as: "a lot of sex, but very little love". Summer of betrayals may be perhaps more accurate, where jealousies were masked but not eliminated by drugs and alcohol, and a culture which demanded that anything go. In all such cultures, there will be winners and losers.

When I listen to this music, I can't help but seeing it as the inverse of the Summer of Love. It is the ugly reality, stripped of its veneer of superficial joviality. It is the insanity of never being able to deeply trust anyone, since everyone is always looking for something, and someone, better.

These are a few thoughts. I think by thinking, and as I have said chose some time ago to think publicly, in the hope my musings may benefit someone.

I have come to the conclusion that the only way to counter the effects of the sea is to grow legs long enough to reach the bottom. We must become giants, and that cannot be done through reason and emotions alone.

The truth of that statement is in the spaces here. You will note that the possibility of the words emerges from that space. Nothing otherwise would have form, and no communication would be possible.

Happy Moonday!!! May your lunacy be less today, and your sanity more.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fashion

It occurred to me that it is symbolically significant that the major fashion centers of the world: Paris, Rome/Milan, and New York, tend to centers of political radicalism.

Burke commented 200 years ago that the Leftist revolutionary tradition tends to create an enchantment with novelty. They want lots of new things, particularly new things that do not arise from a traditional focus. They want lots of noise and fury; they want entertainment, and it can be the sort provided by the worst excesses of the Roman Coliseum.

What does not organize the flood of the new is any sort of goal or tradition-oriented principle. The New is assumed to be progress.

Politically, this leads to mass support for stupid ideas, which people do not think through. It leads to the subversion of reason. When you take a powerful car, put it into drive, put a brick on the accellerator, it will run into a wall, sooner or later.

The Conceit of the intellectuals who try and run the process is that they know what they are talking about. Most of them have NEVER accomplished any practical task--Lenin didn't, Mao didn't, Hitler didn't, Ho Chi Minh didn't (although he did wait tables and work as a cook, which is useful). What happens, practically, is that the torrent of images and novelty creates chaos. Chaos can only be tempered by the individuals in question, or by forcing everyone to fit into a Procrustean Bed that is the exact dimension of the intellectual in charge. This means that the exact energy unleashed by the elimination of reason will lead, in short order, to oppression.

This begins with the sacralization of the evanescent. Conservatism is the best block to this. It slows progress, but stops regress, which is positive. The Liberal ethos, based on Reason, leads to progress, slowly, but inevitably. Any rejection of Liberalism goes in the opposite direction. The question is: do we go 3 steps forward, 1 step back, or 5 steps back and stay there?

Chinese Society

Traditional Chinese society was delineated into four classes (a common enough pattern around the world): the Jin Shi, which was a class of intellectuals who had passed the examinations; farmers; tradesmen and manufacturers; and merchants. Merchants were at the bottom since they did not make anything.

Modern Chinese society, it occurred to me yesterday, still has a Jin Shi: the Communist Party. The Party, like the traditional Jin Shi, is composed of many people who were born connected, but not necessarily. With sufficient brown-nosing and/or talent for helping subordinate the nation to the Party, anyone can rise to the top. It is clearly not a meritocracy, as in the old system, since there is no test. The test is ideological conformity, which is to say intellectual and moral mediocrity.

The important difference is that the old order--the "ancien regime"--placed moral blocks on the behavior of the elites, at least in theory. Heaven, in its governance of the Earth, was ruled by li. There were certain rules to be followed, and revolution was considered acceptable, if successful, since it, ipso facto, was considered the Will of Heaven.

Communists think the same way. They consider themselves to be just because they are in power. "History" is their version of "li". History, being whatever happens, necessarily means that whoever wins, by whatever means, is correct. This is roughly the same doctrine, based more explicitly on Darwinian evolutionary theories, that motivated and justified the violence of Hitler.

Communist condemn racism, but they are racist. Look at how they treated the Tibetans. They condemn Guatanamo Bay, but practice torture regularly as a matter of State policy, and as a way of generating the only virtue they recognize: conformity.

So what has happened in China? After tens of millions of unnatural and unnecessary deaths, and the wholesale ruination of billions of lives; after widespread torture, civil wars, and mass suicide, moral assaults on tradition, and the utter corruption of the capacity for rational thought: we have the same class system.

We can argue that manufacturing has overtaken agriculture, as has, possibly, business activity. What has not changed is that an elite is still in power.

This is the progress of idiots and the wicked. They still have kings, dukes, and business oligarchs. The only progress has been out of the hole dug by the Communists, and would have been vastly faster had they not ruined their society in the first place.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Alice in Wonderland

How is it that TSA screeners can put their hands down our pants, touch the vaginas and penises of our children, expose women's breasts in public, and take naked pictures of us, but we can't demand of our President the most basic disclosure of his past?

In dysfunctional families, the setpoint of reality is recalibrated, such that the absurd becomes acceptable. I've known children of alcoholics and drug-users, women and men who were molested, and many people with de facto psychotic parents. Their boundaries are skewed. They do not have a clear cut sense of what is acceptable, and what goes beyond the bounds of acceptable. Obviously, this creates a lot of problems for them.

We do not occupy a sane polity. Our nation--as embodied particularly in our so-called leaders and media--is not sane. We are the equivalent--many of us at any rate--of lotus eaters, lost in a perennial dream, a dream occasioned by the trauma of reconciling multiple conflicting truths, and lacking the perceptual tools to do so.

In a sane polity, the moment Barack Obama became the Democrats candidate for President, the Supreme Court would have demanded his long form birth certificate, and rendered a verdict, taking into account the British nationality of his father, his mother's later apparent Indonesian citizenship, and his own registration as an Indonesian, and made a decision as to whether or not this unprecedented situation complied with "natural born". Quite simply, this has never been a problem before, since no party has never had the temerity to put someone forward whose entire family rejected America and our traditional Liberalism. Neither of his biological parents chose to live in America; nor did his adoptive step-father. And his grandparents seem to have been Communists, having been good friends with Frank Davis, with at least the grandfather apparently smoking weed with him.

Keep in mind, too, that we now know we were lied to when the claim was made that Obama could not get a birth certificate released. He just did, in exactly the way common sense would have said it would be done. He paid $10, signed a form, and got a computer printout.

What does this mean? Assuming the birth certificate is valid--and I assume the people who have preoccupied themselves with this are poring over it--then this can only mean that the President cynically used this as a political tool, to help polarize people (pace Alinsky): on the one side, we had rational Americans, who understand that a photocopy is not a driver's license, espcially if half of it is whited out; and on the other those who are really tired of thinking for themselves, and who therefore simply parrot as loudly as requested whatever their thought leaders, their den mothers, tell them to.

This ploy landed a man in prison who spent the last 18 years serving our nation with distinction: Lt. Col Terry Lakin.

Our President does not have a conscience, not when it comes to anyone outside his tribe; and his tribe does not include the bulk of the wealth producers in this nation, most white people, most Asians (unless they are unsuccessful), and--to be clear--most tax payers.

We forget at our peril that his most important influence, on his own account--Saul Alinsky--taught that morality is a vestige of another age, and that the revolutionary had as his task to do ANYTHING that furthered the revolution.

This is contemptible. Obama is what he is: a selfish, short-sighted, morally retarded prick (what word would you have me use, for someone who could have produced this certificate at any time, and who could have prevented Lakin from going to prison?). What bothers me is how many Americans are willing to accept this, are unwilling to see the evidence in front of their eyes.

How can any nation that desires so desperately to be lied to preserve a culture worth passing on? How can we avoid ruin?

My code is clear: quitting is never an option, for any reason. Death, insanity--a type of death--and victory are the only options. At the same time, seeing these things--looking for example with impartial eyes at the contemptible cowards in the Supreme Court, at least many of them--makes my blood boil.

Why didn't they do their job? There is no good excuse, other than that they somehow think the view from Olympia severs them from the lifeblood of our nation, even though that lifeblood is and always has been a deep reverence for the rule of law, which they in theory protect, but which they have failed utterly to protect here.