Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reason

Reasoning is what you do with what you perceive.  Perception is always primary.  Science is nothing more than a system for challenging assumptions, which means that it is not science any more when some assumptions--such as the certainty that Darwin was roughly correct--are not open to challenge.

As I think about it, all reason does is create the possibility for sustained perception.  When we speak of "natural laws", what we are speaking about are consistent relationships observed over time--such as F=MA--from which we REASON that these relations obtain in all times and all places.  This is a pragmatic approach, but there is nothing in creation which necessarily makes it inevitable.  To say otherwise is to claim to understand creation in its entirety, which is hubris of the sort one would only expect from Oxbridge and Harvard dons.  Real schools, like the University of  Chicago, would know better.

We float in space.  It is best to always remember this.  It leads to less preventable error. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jesus

I think many people who are raised Christian unconsciously conflate the "judgement" of Jesus with the psychological atmosphere surrounding those who spoke to them often and early about Jesus.  We read that all sins are forgiven, but we see, as children, that not all sins are forgiven by those who speak of Jesus, and assume in some preconscious, muddled way that Jesus forgives, but only if we are perfectly obedient.  Slip just a little, for any reason, and anger is the result.

This idea is ridiculous, even if readily comprehensible for those of us who went through this process.  We posit a being of infinite love, who is a part of God Himself, and yet understand Him to be hung up on petty things.  Surely, if Jesus is love, then the better part of love is understanding?  And surely understanding is the source of forgiveness?

To my mind, no great love is possible without great intelligence, where by intelligence I mean not book knowledge, but the capacity to grasp both what is readily visible, and that which is hidden, often very carefully, and to relate to it, to empathize, to "grok".

Friday, June 15, 2012

Socializing risk through legislation

If you pay attention, the Federal Government has been engaged in an aggressive anti-smoking campaign recently, which includes some graphic television and billboard ads.  One I drive past regularly has a cadaver which has the stitch marks in his chest which are apparently left following an autopsy.

Why do they care?  The point which has been obvious to me for some time, and which I recently saw made elsewhere, is that if all health costs will funnel through the Federal government--which of course is the end game for the leftists behind Obamacare--then the costs associated with all forms of risky behavior will also funnel through.  In order to protect us, then, they will have to direct us, first through persuasion, and then more directly by diktat.

What is more subtle and already missed, though, is that by prohibiting insurers from refusing to insure preexisting claims, the costs associated with the fat, lazy, and stupid are already being passed along, through the premium increases which NECESSARILY attend paying increased bills for people who are already sick.

The way it should work is that every insurance relationship should be between the insurer and the insured.  The insurer should face sufficient competition that it feels the need to offer reasonable pricing, and the insured should have adequate choices.  What will be necessary, though, is that if you are fat, smoke, or engage in other risky behaviors, you will pay more.  This is simple enough.  The point is that at that point IT IS YOUR CHOICE.  If you want to smoke, then smoke.  You are paying higher insurance costs.  If it is worth that much to you, then have at it.  It's, in theory, a free country.

By pretending, though, that the healthy should pay the same as the willfully sickly, we all lose.  The healthy lose the benefits of making good choices, and the sickly are rewarded, in a sense, for their poor choices.  Everyone loses.

I want to be clear: other nations afford universal coverage by simply not providing the caliber of care we do.  People survive here who would die in other countries.  This incents the population of other nations not to be so self abusive, since the magic pill that will fix their illness will not be paid for.  Here, they get it.  Hell, it was developed here.

Yet, if those people had to pay OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKET for that miracle cure, they may hesitate just a bit longer before engaging in whatever risky behavior puts them at risk. What Obama and the left wing has proposed may--over some lengthy period of time rationing--reducing--both the quantity and quality of care here--reduce the moral hazard of complacency our system enables, but only at the cost of destroying the quality healthcare those who deserve it would otherwise have access to.

Hopefully this makes sense.  I am speaking generally, but I think sufficiently coherently to be of some use.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sacrificial culture

I think the entirety of my work can be viewed as oriented around one aim: enabling, for once, human culture not to revert back to sacrifice.  This is, of course, grandiose--I have recently diagnosed this as one of my traits--and yet, ideas DO matter.  They start somewhere, with someone who refuses to accept the tranquilizing commonplaces and platitudes at their face value, and in a qualitatively rich society, with MANY such someones, each from their own view, their own place, with their own method.

Most historical culture can only be viewed, in my estimation, as functionally psychotic.  It is based upon the elevation of power, of meaning based upon coercion, of conformity muted and routinized and vanished in vast seas of time and habit.  If the particular recapitulates the general, at any rate.  Certainly, this process can be seen in many homes the world over, and what I read of history seems to bear this basic idea out.

Sacrificial culture: the inability of some mass of individuals to learn to trust their own instincts while respecting those of others.  This leads to the build up of covert and generally undiagnosed, subterranean hostilities, which can only dealt with by expression.  This expression can take the form of ritual murders of various sorts, and it can take the form of ritual sadism in the form of requiring some set of the population to be "born" inferior.  I think one could take Pareto's formula here and put it to rough use: either some 20% of the population controls 80%, as in most forms of authoritarian rule; or 80% rules a 20%, as for example in the Hindu caste system, which renders some inferior, and some not even worthy to be included in the system.  The inferior in the system are referred to, appropriately enough, as the "feet".

So much of the life of every person is myth.  It is covert, hidden, subtle.  Only by revealing the hidden can we avoid the sacrifice, avoid covert sadism of our own.  Most sadism, you see, is not overt violence.  It is not overtly taking pleasure in the pain of others.  It is, rather, best seen in refusals to perceive, in manic repetitions, in failures of empathy and love.  We could all love one another, yet we don't.  We don't due in part to fear, but mainly because the root of love--understanding--is absent in those under the thrall of unrecognized sadistic compulsions.

Love, to be clear, is not a duty: it is an outcome, of a particular level of understanding.  To see oneself is to see others as they are; yet most of us refuse to see ourselves, and thus fail to see others.  And thus we create chasms when the world is otherwise filled with bridges.

This has been a strange week for me, and I will leave it at that.  There is ample to ponder here, particularly if you think you have already understood what I am saying to you.

Edit: I will add an obvious point, which seemed extraneous: the Hunger Games is quite obviously a description of a sacrificial order.  The children are human sacrifices, fed to appease the inability of the ruling elite to form independent identities.  They do not need their material comforts nearly as much as they need to be SUPERIOR to some other group, and sacrifice is a means of expressing this superiority and the following bloodthirst openly.  It tranquilizes them, calms them, eases their relations with one another.

This is perhaps gratuitous, but I do feel like I have been on Earth many times, and seen this dynamic countless times.  What is surprising is not that there is evil on Earth, but that at times and places Goodness blossoms, and decency fills the air. 

This is a feeling only, with no memories to back it up.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Koan

Stillness can only be found in constant motion.

My Yoda statue has been speaking to me again.  That or I am super tired, and feeling mischievous.  I do mean it, though.  It's a thoroughly defensible and frankly unduly clear statement for a koan.

If you can't figure out, ask someone to bop you on the head.

Bon Mot

Hate is wasted anger.


Church of Satan

In considering my last post--if of course anyone is so inclined--please look at this link to the Church of Satan .

If you read about their beliefs, they are atheists.  They recognize no gods outside themselves.  This is what I intend when I speak of Cultural Sadeism.  These people may be politically active.  What direction would they go?  Logically, in any direction which weakens religion, the family, and all cultural forms which are not principally ego-oriented, which is to say narcissistic.  The Left, obviously, has this as a goal as well, with the nihilism of the true Sadeists being a perfect match.

If you reject morality IN PRINCIPLE, why would it be wrong to eat babies?  Would eating babies, on the contrary, not signal "liberation"?

Watch.  Listen.  Feel yourself.  We all have evil in us.  Some feed it in ignorance, and some starve it in wisdom.

My rules, again:

1) Never feel sorry for yourself

2) Never relent in your pursuit of qualitative pleasure, which is a deep, fulfilling happiness of living with gratitude, purpose, and connection.

3) Breath perceptually.  Be always aware of the totality of your feelings, those of others, and what effects your actions, thoughts, and emotions have on you and others.  Seek what releases you, and realize that cruelty imprisons you.  Anyone can see this, if they look without cowardice.

Cannibalism

Drudge Report has recently linked several stories of cannibalism, the one I saw most having had to do with someone suffering from a drug induced psychosis.  That tells us nothing about our culture.  There have always been lunatics: Jeffrey Dahmer, for instance.  And as far as that goes, I see no reason to suppose there have not ALWAYS been serial killers in human history.  Many of them probably just found wars to fight.  You can get away with damn near anything in wartime.  Others were simply never caught.  Improved forensics and increased reporting have brought many things--like child abuse--to light that were simply hidden before.  As I have said a number of times, pedophilia seems almost structurally necessary in severely restrictive Islamic countries.  One suspects their men fuck everything but women.

Since the mid 90's, though, I have felt that our culture is in such a state of decay that at some point a cannibal cult, constituted by "normal" middle class to wealthy Americans, will come to light.  There is so much anger, so much confusion, so much failure to form a common culture, to form coherent meaning systems, that it is small wonder the video stores are filled with stories about cannibalism, torture, and thrill murders.  Go to your local video store and LOOK at the Horror section.  Why are people watching these movies?  Are they watching them to make sure the good guys win?  Much of the time, the BAD guys win.  There is no hope, and much suffering.

Then we read that some roasted, gold covered babies (do not click on either link if you are easily disturbed; it is unclear to me why they saw fit to post pictures: it itself that is a bit disturbing, as they knew there was a market for it)  were intercepted in Asia, bound for we know not where.  Alex Jones thinks they were bound for the Bilderbergs.

Personally, I don't think Bill Gates eats babies.  This is ritual Satanism, and he is likely an atheist.  It would make no sense for him.  He is searching for a mechanical Endloesung for the problem of human mortality, the "singularity", I believe techophiles call it.

It seems to me that some of the Bilderberg attendees are evil, but not all of them.  A common mistake among conspiracy theorists is, I think, to overestimate the uniformity of purpose of heterogeneous groups.  It seems to me that there are likely various groups, some of which ARE homogeneous and unified in purpose.  Such a group may exist in the Bilderberg group, and may in fact do black magic.

One can depend upon those who NEED to pursue power, whose source of meaning lies in attaining power, to succeed.  This is the SOLE argument against political liberalism: that it can lead, over time, and in conditions of the complacency of the population, to the aggregation of power by those who do not want to share it.  This differs from a hereditary monarchy, in which those who wield power do not choose it.  I will note as well that historical monarchies were limited, at least in theory, and I think largely in practice, by religious restraints.  I see no reason to doubt that many kings did in fact believe themselves appointed by God, with all the responsibilities that implies.

There is no such restraint for the Cultural Sadeist, for whom power is an end in itself.  Such people can and have existed in ALL possible systems--Monarchy, Theocracy, Plutocracy,  Fascism, Socialism, Communism, and any other -ism or -archy you can think of--and they use the rhetoric appropriate to the time and place, but the end is always the same: control.

I do think cults have sprung up around the country and world, which do create a market for this sort of thing.  I have known one person who participated in a black magic ritual, which she described as very frightening, as they did get in touch with SOMETHING.  She did not go back.

In my favorite Mexican restaurant several years ago I saw a graffito in the bathroom saying "Ich habe kleine Kinder gegessen", which means "I have eaten small children" in German. I have pondered this, and see no strong reason to suppose that the meaning was other than that conveyed.

There is a chain of coffee shops in Louisville, KY I am 99% sure is dedicated to the Marquis de Sade, named "Quills".  This, of course, was the name given to the movie about him starring the very excellent Geoffrey Rush in the title role.  Here is their blog: http://www.quillscoffee.com/blog/

On their original website, they claimed they were accused by some of being Christian fundamentalists, which they denied.  Playing with the truth is, of course, a Sadeian virtue.  On the blog, you will see signs like "we don't believe in keeping secrets. . .", and an owl with the coffee, with the owl often being an occult symbol, whose exact meaning of course depends upon that which you assign.  Their sign has a quill dripping something black, which is presumably ink--but whose ink?--and which I think they intend also as blood.  My feeling, which could be wrong.

We live in a world of constant motion.  Things go up and down.  Good is done, and so too is evil.  Most motion is circular, making it hard to see aggregate, generalized motion.  It is impossible to say we are moving the wrong way, but it does seem clear to me that very little of our culture is oriented around feeling and processing the deep emotions we all have.  When you fail to process, you become a slave to those feelings, and slavery is a way of escaping the responsibility of processing those feelings.  Clearly, people do flee freedom.  You cannot, in the end, flee reality, but you can hide from it, and many people do.  Evil is a direct flight from freedom.  It is tightening a noose on your own neck.  It is a chosen death.













Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Drug War

As I read here, some 37,000 people die annually in the U.S. from LEGAL drugs.  As I read here, some 110,000 people die annually from adverse drug reactions, and nearly 800,000 from all failures in medical care.

How much worse would it be if we legalized all drugs, channeled through doctors for supervision?  The number of people who die from cannabis use is really close to zero, and definitely non-zero for alcoholics.

We would not be a nation of lunatics without the DEA.  Mexico would be a much safer place, Columbia would be a much safer place, and the same people would be doing drugs.

In my view, it is absolutely clear that the Federal Government has NO business, Constitutionally, in declaring "war" on drugs, and that the DEA and all associated arms of the Federal Government should be disbanded, and all States allowed to dictate their own policies as far as drugs.

Oh, you say, but they we would be surrounded by drugs.  Here is the thing: I don't do any drugs but alcohol, but I suspect that whatever I wanted, I could get, and that the route would be a friend of a friend of a friend.  That short, in nearly every city in America.  This after 20 years of "war".  The only difference with it being illegal is the price, and the violence that that price engenders.

Both the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, in my increasingly firm opinion, are simply intended as VEHICLES for trampling the Bill of Rights while alleging we are being protected from some amorphous threat.

People die.  We all die.  It is how we live that we should be free to choose.  That is freedom, as should be clear.

Europe

I have not searched for a definitive explanation of the exact nature of the European financial problems, and doubt seriously I would be able to find one in plain English in any event.  The people that "do" finance use jargon that like all jargon likely works to hide foundational misunderstandings.

As it seems to me, though, you have 15 nations or so that all use Euros.  Currencies, like stocks, are bought and sold, depending upon their shrinking or increasing value, which is a function of relative rates of inflation.  Now, this applies to both the currencies, and to any investments offered in those currencies.

Despite having a common currency, the individual European nations do their own taxing, and their own spending.  Half of Europe has decided to spend far more than they tax.  This of course creates problems.  Greece in particular has the further problem that it is ADDICTED to all the things that come from having your parents Platinum Amex.  You spend the money, and somebody else pays the bill.  Not your problem.

Now, the economic disaster everyone keeps warning about, for Europe, is that somebody is going to go broke.  When they go broke, all the bonds issued by their government will become worthless. That is what going broke means: you stop paying your bills.

Now, this means that the Euro as a WHOLE could collapse in value.  This means that those banks that are currently financing the lifestyles of the poor and frivolous will stop making those investments.  Greece goes bankrupt, but then Spain and Italy can no longer borrow money.  This is why they are talking about "eurobonds", which is to say bonds that in effect are backed by serious people who keep tight books, and who can be expected to pay for the spendthrift ways of their profligate brother nations.  This in effect rewards fiscal profligacy, and if the past is any indication will do nothing at all to curb the fundamental irresponsibility of these nations that think you can do close to no work and live like a rich man.

Unless and until the entitlement mentality of the PIIGS can be dealt with, there is no hope that the overspending and following problems will end.

As I see it, unless the juveniles in southern Europe can be convinced to grow up, the only credible option for those who do not want to support them forever is to figuratively (and literally) boot them out of the house.

 The irony, of course, is that the EU is a Socialist project, one intended to work towards a unified world government, under the nominal control of the UN, and the actual control of the global bankers--particularly the Central Banks.  ALL of these nations are trying to implement socialism.  They are all trying to use the power of government to eradicate poverty and provide social equality.  They have just failed prematurely.  One legged stools do that, though, the moment someone stops holding them up.