Morality, love and freedom

When I express the idea that morality is a fiction some people say to me:

“But what about the murderers and rapists?”

As if the only defence we have against them is the law. Apart from the fact that criminals don’t obey the law by definition I think this indicates that people don’t trust themselves.

At some level they believe that if they didn’t have this outward prescription for their behaviour they would rape and murder.

Personally the reason I don’t rape is because it isn’t what I want. What I love about sex is that it is two people both doing what they really want to do and in that doing they fulfil for the other what the other really wants to do.

It is like two rivers gushing into each other, becoming one and then separating out again. This is beautiful and it is what I want when I think of sex.

Sex is the ritual that sustains love, that expresses love.

Anyway to get back on point rape would take away from sex all that I want from it.

The same with murder. I simply don’t like hurting people so I don’t.

A more extreme version of the reply I’ve had to my lack of belief in morality is when a Christian says “Why be good if there’s no hell?”.

To which I reply “So the only reason you aren’t viciously raping toddlers is because you think that if you did you would go to hell?”

Now I do think as a society we should institute laws. That is to say we should tell people within our society that if they do certain things then we – as the society – will fuck them up.

I also think we should be honest about the basis upon which we rest these laws. That is a consensus of preferences within a society. We shouldn’t obfuscate the matter through an appeal to some cosmic order.

The fact is that if the cosmos, God or whatever didn’t want murder to occur it simply wouldn’t occur. He doesn’t want people breaking the law of gravity as you can tell by the lack of people flying unassisted.

On learning

You gotta be empty.
 
One of my first leaps in understanding was when I was reading Jean-Paul Sartre “Being and nothingness”.
 
I battled with that text for weeks then one day I realized my problem was that I was trying to get it to say what I believed… once I let go of that it was like an explosion went off in me nut.
 
Bodybuilding is a good analogy. All the activity one does in order to get bigger muscles is actually destroying the muscles… only once you have destroyed muscle through effort can the body rebuild bigger, better and stronger.
 
In learning the activity we do is one of destroying or ignoring already existing belief structures in order to make room for the new understanding…
 
In a sense we can live without believing anything… just let thoughts come and go without caring about their truth…
 
Of course in practical affairs – like should I drink the bleach if I care about my health – it’s different but even there before you can see whether a thing is true or false you have to know it and in order to know it you have to at least pretend to believe it for a bit and let it show itself to you.

Mental Illness and the internal narrative

Most mental illness can be traced to narcissism.

Previously I said that mental illness is when the self society demands of an individual is something the individual cannot attain to. The conflict between the real self of the individual and the self society glorifies being mental illness.

Now this still holds but it doesn’t go deep enough.

Most people spend their whole lifes as if they are on stage; as if they are playing a role in a drama. Of course this role is the central role.

Just listen to the internal dialogue you have when you are feeling depressed, anxious or whatever.

“Poor me, why are they looking at me, what did I do to deserve this, why is this happening to me, they aren’t showing me enough appreciation…”

The problem with perceiving yourself in this way is that in any drama (or even comedy) there has to be suffering, conflict, and unattained desires.

Happy people have a different dialogue.

“My life is so good, everyone loves me, I’m so happy…”

Very happy and content people have no dialogue.

In a sense we construct a narrative about ourselves and then we project ourselves into that narrative. The problem here is that society doesn’t applaud positive narratives about the self.

Try telling people you think you are a genius and try telling people you think you are shit. Compare the results. I bet that you will be called names and put down if you declare a positive narrative concerning yourself but people will rally around you if you declare a negative narrative. Just look at Russell Brand and Kanye West.

What this essentially does is positively reinforce a negative opinion of yourself that few people are able to overcome or even realize as the cause of their suffering. Few people have access to a realm of knowledge that transcends the opinions of others.

No matter how much they may affirm that all because everyone says something is so doesn’t mean it is so they still cannot let go of popular opinion. They cannot let go of that crutch and learn to walk on their own.

There is a way out though but it is slow and gradual. There are no on and off switches, you are not a computer; you are a plant and plants grow slowly.

The way out is to recondition your mind to shut-up. Don’t try to replace the negative narrative with a positive narrative. Just practice shutting that voice in your nut up. This is the power of mindfulness and meditation.

Feelings and situations

First let me define some terms.

By external environment I mean our circumstance. This includes what we own, what is being done to us, and things like that.

By internal environment I mean how we feel, what we think and so on.

Of course both of these inter-mesh. For example you can have a feeling about a thought just as you can have a feeling about a situation. In fact you can have a feeling about a feeling.

This is because words are hazy and create distinctions that don’t really exist.

Most people believe that they are miserable because of a certain situation. In a basic sense this is true but it doesn’t take into account the whole of the matter.

Why do you feel how you feel about the situation?

The problem with seeing the problem at such a basic level is that most people will attempt to change the situation in order to feel good again. This just leaves you weak and susceptible to other situations. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leave a chaotic and insufferable situation. You need a peaceful situation to start on the path to seeing the peace in any situation.

If you start watching yourself. Watching your thoughts, your feelings and your situation you soon see that your feelings are often independent of external stimuli. Sometimes an event can happen one day with no reaction but the next day there could be a reaction.

After a while the thought may occur “Why am I bothered by what I’m bothered by?”

I think the answer to this question is that our feelings concerning things are the result of our social conditioning and genetics.

Another funny thing I noticed is the similarity between the emotions. Anxiety before Christmas is called excitement.

So our feelings being negative or positive isn’t the result of the feeling itself but rather the result of the feeling in combination with the context within which it arises.

The amazonian woman

I want a girl with fire

In her eyes

who dances with chaos

the Amazonian woman

who strides beside her man

at the front of the serried ranks

into battle with the world

I don’t want a bitch on a leash

who cares about her teeth

I want fire and life and glory and freedom

I want to pour myself into her foamy torrents

as she pours herself into mine.

I want to watch her

as she goes about her day

with a pride in my chest

that she chose a wretch like me

I don’t want to be the man

And I don’t want her to be the woman

I want the roles to be fluid

dynamic

a constant effervescence

a spinning ying/yang of a relationship.

I want to dominate

and be dominated

I don’t want to be fixed

into a corner of a sexy dialectic.

On freedom

What deeply interests me is my own personal freedom.

I used to think freedom meant being able to do what you wanted when you wanted. This is the common understanding of freedom and in a sense it is freedom. The problem here though is that it treats freedom as if it is an independent entity; something that exists independently of context and human action.

Not only that but it ignores the fact that human desire is a malleable thing.

Through the media human sexual preferences have been changed drastically. For example in the 60s Charlton Heston with his hairy chest was a sex icon; now Justin Bieber with his pre-pubescent physiognomy is a sex icon.

Humans acting freely have not brought about this change; it has been brought about through the media.

So what this indicates is that there is a freedom that goes deeper then just being able to do what you want when you want. This is because freedom seems to me to include freedom from things such as control and influence.

You can argue all day long about who is doing this controlling and manipulating of human preferences.

If you manage to find who is responsible and change them for a better person you would have done nothing about the underlying cause of the control. That is your innate capacity to be controlled in such a way.

A useful analogy is that of a dog on a leash.

Instead of focusing on who holds the leash we should examine the mechanism of the leash itself. Once we understand the leash and the latch we can take them off. It wouldn’t matter who is the holder of the leash.

Another advantage of this approach is that the means of control, the way in which we are influenced is directly available to us. This is because in order to manipulate us they have to do something to us.

The good thing here is that even if a person isn’t deliberately manipulating us we can analyse what is being done to us and the effect it is having and see that it is control even if the perpetrator of the action is oblivious to this.

I think I have given a good example of this in my critiques of education. The teachers are well-intentioned and often oblivious of what they are being used to do. This masks the control from people who look at the leash-holder.

It’s easy to love an other

It’s easy to love an other

If you try

just see another brother

Looking out of their eye.

Saw a lady walking her baby

By walking I meant wheeling

and by baby a dachshund.

She had a glum expression

on her face full of tension.

So I looked her in the eyes, smiled

And lifted my brows. That got her attention.

All of a sudden a change swift as lightening

flitted through her face:

the release of the tension.

It’s easy to love another

If you try

Just see another mother

Looking out of their eye.

What did this cost me?

Just a smile and a stare

Sure there’s a scare behind a stare

what if they don’t like me

what if they don’t get me

what If I offend this cripple in a wheelchair.

But that’s all an illusion

a spell cast of confusion

to separate fellow-humans

and force constant consumption.

What was the reward?

For just a brief second

me and another mother

shared a little bit of heaven!

Education, Grading and Obedience

In formal education the student is taught that truth is a function of authority. There is a teacher who knows more than him and to whom the student goes to get a grade.

The problem with grading is that essentially what it is doing is converting an essay, a series of propositions organized into paragraphs into a letter or a number.

In order to do this fairly the standard must be universal. That is to say that the grade doesn’t take into account the uniqueness or truth of the piece that is being graded.

For example one of the means of grading is to number the points that are made and backed up with evidence and that offer an explanation of how the evidence confirms the point. So the teacher would go through the text, number the instances of this and use the result as part of the grade.

Another example would be grammar; a point deducted for each breach of grammar.

The problem here is that the content, the understanding of the individual isn’t really addressed or treated as important. All that is important is the grade which is made up of universals.

When I was in college I studied English language and literature. The highest score I got in any exam was for a paper on Joyce’s “Dubliners”. This was shocking because the night before I had taken a stupid amount of LSD and didn’t feel at all with it.

I knew that in the test I didn’t write well – I wrote grammatically correct English but there was no passion in it, no me in it.

I sat before the paper and just thought “Point, example, explain”. Just throw together any argument and P.E.E, P.E.E, P.E.E. I can’t even remember the argument but I knew it was spurious nonsense yet I scored the 2nd highest score for it in my college!

The reason I quit college was because I can’t maintain that kind of coldness and distance from what I write. I write with passion about whatever is gripping me at the time and I believe this way of writing is “right”. So my experience of formal education was that it filters out those who are truly passionate about subjects; instead it allows through those who can jump through the hoops.

As Noam Chomsky said Go to any elite university and you are usually speaking to very disciplined people, people who have been selected for obedience.”

The Etonian Fig-Plucker

We live in an age of stupidity

When people are offended by words

But not poverty.

We elect a pig-fucking monstrosity

Whose sole intent is to ensure

The perpetuation of inequality

Coz he’s rich, you see

While you and me live in penuary

He doesn’t care about us

To him we’re just dicks full of pus

We should smack him in the face

With a red double decker bus.

This poem is about David Cameron.

This poem isn’t about David Cameron.

Look behind the puppet

to the system of the contraption

the strings that dangle us all

And shut us up with an election.

Learning is so easy, when you see it you’ll kick yourself!

The truth is that learning is so easy that it takes the establishment 11 years of conditioning called school to convince us otherwise.

Here is the secret: Pick up the book, say in your head what’s written on the page and continue until an epiphany occurs.

You don’t produce the understanding; the understanding just happens itself. All you do is say in your head words… that’s it.

Now for some people it may take longer than others for the understanding to occur but whether it takes 5 minutes or 5 years to understand E=MC^2 is irrelevant… both people have the same understanding.

Be comfortable with being baffled. Bafflement and confusion are the first steps on the path to intelligence and understanding.

A trivial difficulty may occur: boredom. I would advise taking it slow. Read the book for a couple minutes at a time at first. Build up your endurance.

Why is it that no-one blinks an eye at the fact that in order to learn to play an instrument you have to practice and spend time on it.

That in order to lift heavy weights and become a body-builder you have to spend time lifting weights, progressing from light to heavier weights.

Why is this accepted and applauded but the exact same thing in the context of understanding and reading isn’t?

People bad mouth difficult texts because they are difficult. The fact is as one progresses in understanding and articulating that understanding words need to be invented that do the work of many words.

Education has turned this simple task, no different in essence to the most simple of tasks – bodybuilding (aka picking stuff up and putting it back down again) – into something it isn’t.

Learning isn’t complex or difficult. The results of learning are complex and wondrous.