What’s the best compliment?

I think that the best compliment anyone can give someone is “You’re weird!”

Sometimes weirdness can be symptomatic of pathology; sometimes people could be weird through effort because they want to maintain an identity or because they think that weird is cool.

Those kinds of weird aren’t the kind of weird I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kind of weird that everyone really is. Weird is just a derogatory way of saying someone is unique, individual and their own person.

Everyone is weird; some are just better at hiding it than others.

The reason why I consider weirdness as a positive description is because it is often symptomatic of someone not pretending; someone not lying. It’s the taking off of the mask that causes the phenomena of weirdness in the authentically weird people.

The people who don’t have an agenda when they talk to people.

The people who aren’t trying to fit a cube into a small triangle hole.

The weirdness that’s caused from being genuine and the cessation of lying.

Throughout most people’s’ lives they are always trying to be what they think will be acceptable. They spend so much time and expend so much of their mental activity on trying to fit in that they are constantly distracted from themselves; they are constantly not doing what they want and doing what they don’t want purely because they fear the ridicule of others.

To be called weird is to be told that you’re behaviour doesn’t conform to what is arbitrarily acceptable; to be called weird is like the they-self pinning a medal on your chest for escaping the trap of conformity.

Of course the they-self – being stupid – thinks it’s insulting you but if you’re weird because you’ve realized the lack of ground that the They-self’s protean “acceptable” has you’ll see the irony.

To be called weird is to be told you figured out the puzzle…. at least some people’s weirdness is caused by such things.

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Are you Open or Closed?

I have found in my encounters with people that there are two kinds of person.

Actually a better way to express this is that I have found that two categories which I either discovered – or more likely – created are useful for describing and talking about people.

These categories I have called openness and closedness.

Aristotle’s quote “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” is a good, succinct description of an open person.

A word that is close to closedness is bigot.

A closed person has their opinion and are willing – all too willing – to express their opinion and hear other people express commensurate opinions; but they will not listen to and try to understand the opinions of other’s if they run contrary to their own.

Both the closed person and the open person are susceptible to verbosity and to remaining silent.

So how much someone talks is not a metric for how open or closed they are.

What defines the open person in contrast to the closed person is the way in which they listen.

An open person listens with the intent to understand. If the thoughts being conveyed run contrary to his own he will suspend disbelief and attempt to understand as if he believed.

A closed person listens with the intend not of understanding but of criticizing, showing as wrong the thoughts of the other and showing how his thought is superior to that of the other.

Of course people oscillate between these two states.

A closed person can be very open when he is conversing with someone about a subject he hasn’t developed any concrete beliefs about.

I’ve noticed this particularly in religious people; amongst whom I include atheists because they are both quite dogmatic and the questions “How did reality come to be?” and “Is there a God?” are both unanswerable with the scientific method (or any method I have come across in my hotch-potch wanderings through philosophy).

In fact they are metaphysical questions and the negative answer to the question of God is as much a positive metaphysical proposition as the affirmative answer.

The agnostic position is the only position with regard to such questions that we can give any grounds for. That is we can show that we just don’t know and show the reasons for that inability.

Dogs and What we should do about Values and Instincts

I have two bitch Jack Russells . We got the younger one a few months after the first to keep her company. The problem was that at some forgotten point in time they started fighting.

Now these weren’t your normal, run-of-the-mill playful dog fights. These were fights that would result in the death of one or both without our intervention.

As a result of this we keep one in a cage at all times. Not the same one; we switch them every walk.

The problem dog is Jesse (the older one). It takes two to tango though and the fights would start whenever Elsa would make a bid for dominance.

Neither of them have been spayed so that aggravates the problem somewhat.

But why this behaviour?

They act in this way towards one another based upon pack instincts.

They didn’t choose to have these instincts but these instincts almost totally determine their behaviour and in such a way that it causes them suffering.

Humans are no different really.

The only thing that makes us different is that we have a highly developed and sophisticated means of self-reflection and self-analysis via a sophisticated language capacity.

We can review our behaviour and interrogate it:

“Why did I do such and such?”

Imagine that my dogs had this capacity.

Jesse could reflect on why we keep her on the leash while we let Elsa off the leash and see that it’s because Elsa never attacks other dogs whereas Jesse attacks other dogs without warning.

She could see that the reason why she is caged up half her life is because when she is let out of the cage with Elsa they fight.

If she were especially perspicacious she may even realize that the reason she feels this drive to attack other dogs and fight Elsa comes from a set of instincts that are no longer necessary to her domestic situation.

Namely those of a pack of wolves.

There is a surplus of food and no matter who is top bitch neither of them are going to breed with my dad.

It is this ability – the ability to communicate to others and ourselves on such a highly sophisticated level – that distinguishes us from animals.

Instead of instincts we have values that we sucked from the teats of our mothers.

We also have instincts and I’m sure animals have socialization as well.

What do we do with this gift of a highly sophisticated means of self-interrogation and the ability to interrogate our values and instincts that were shoved down our throats before we could even speak?

Do we interrogate these values and instincts that so determine our behaviour and happiness?

Do we ask them: “Are you necessary?” and “Do you cause me suffering?”

No!

Instead we use this highly sophisticated capacity in the main to defend these values and instincts without ever really understanding them.

We have this wonderful capacity to sift through our values and instincts and practices to get rid of that which no longer serves us; but instead of using it to better our lives we allow ourselves to be hijacked, to be hacked by values and instincts that were forced into us before we even had the capacity to understand what was going on!

Sex ed as young as possible and how innocence is really lost

We always find ourselves thrown into a social situation that consists of social-norms which determine our behaviour.

Normally we don’t question these values which are given to us; we just take them on face value and call those who don’t share our set of values strange or evil.

These norms go on to regulate our behaviour and determine our reaction to opinion.

For example people express shock and horror at 5-year-old children being given sex education.

They believe that by learning about sex at a young age a child will lose their innocence. Whereas really by learning about sex as young as possible they are protected against being used by paedophiles as objects or if they are used then they are given the language and the lack of shame to communicate the fact to an adult and stop further acts occurring.

The belief that a child will lose its innocence given knowledge about sex is an unfounded belief.

The people who belligerently express this view don’t even know what innocence is!

Personally I believe that an innocent child will react to any information innocently. It is not knowledge of sexual acts or how children are produced that causes a child to lose their innocence.

Maybe the question we should ask is “what does it mean to lose innocence?”

Let’s take the archetypal example: the story of Adam and Eve.

What emotions did they experience upon losing their innocence?

Shame.

So who are the true perpetrators behind the loss of innocence children suffer?

Isn’t it the parents?

Isn’t “lose of innocence” just a term we use to describe the finished product called the fully socialized child?

That is aren’t you robbing your child of a bit of their innocence every time you tell them off?

What is innocence?

Isn’t it typified by a genuineness, an authenticity of being and a lack of dissimulation?

What did Adam and Eve do when they lost their innocence?

Didn’t they cover themselves up?

Why did they cover themselves up?

They covered themselves up because they were ashamed before God because they didn’t do what he told them to. That is: instead of expressing God’s being they expressed their own being.

If you read the story you see that the snake didn’t get Eve to do anything against her nature. The snake didn’t get Eve to do anything against her will.

The snake only made available to Eve the understanding that she could fulfil a desire that was a natural result of her God-given nature.

The loss of innocence Adam and Eve experienced was orchestrated and perpetrated by God just as in the case of the child the loss of innocence is orchestrated and perpetrated by the parent.

The parent has a strong emotional hold over the child and knowing this the parent issues commandments. The child inevitably disobeys because the commandment wouldn’t need to be issued if it wasn’t in the child’s nature to abide by it anyway.

Once the parent catches the child out the child lies and boom loses its innocence.

Why is there so much conformity and such a scarcity of true, individual uniqueness in the world?

Why is there so much conformity and such a scarcity of true, individual uniqueness in the world?

When we are born we are immediately surrounded by people behaving in certain ways which are expressions of social norms they have sub-consciously taken on since their birth.

As we grow older and gain the ability to speak these behaviours become imperatives.

“You mustn’t do that!” or “You must do this!”

At first children question.

“Why is the sky blue?”, “Why is that bad?” and “Why do I have to do that?”

See people are born naturally inquisitive. They don’t just take things on authority. This of course has to be stamped out of them.

So in much the same way a parent stops their child from fouling themselves and being naked in public they stop their child from questioning authority; which in this case happens to be represented by the parent.

In answer to all the questions the child asks the parent answers “It just is! Stop asking questions!” Often attended by a scowl on the face to implicitly say that asking questions is naughty because the parent knows – on some level – that the statement “Asking questions is naughty” is just not right.

When the child moves onto school this isn’t changed. The child isn’t taught how to inquire for themselves – oh no – instead they are told what is and then told to repeat what they have been told in things called exams.

It’s not really until they reach certain subjects in university – by which time the conformity has become safely entrenched in the sub-conscious – do they start to re-learn their innate capacity to inquire.

`The thing is once you break out of the conformity. Or at least once you see that there is no ground for you to necessarily conform; you see that it’s so easy to see.

So why don’t more people break out of this?

I think it’s because they become entangled in activities that don’t need them to inquire into their own being, their own way of life, their own possibilities of action.

Instead they do things like build tables. Want to build a table? Well here’s how you do it. If you do it a lot you might find some better ways of doing it; but you’re still going to live your live, wear your clothes and talk about the same stuff the way everyone else does.

Even in science there is a large element of dogmatism. Mainly in the methodology which wouldn’t be a problem if people recognized that the scientific method – or any method – is not universally applicable. But there are a large number of people who believe – and evangelize vigorously this belief – that if the scientific method cannot be applied to it (that is if it cannot be quantified in some manner) then it doesn’t exist. (Not to mention the paradigmatic dogma talked of by Kuhn).

Philosophy is maligned on all sides because it doesn’t produce definite answers. Instead it calls into question everything and in so doing it grabs hold of its practitioner and forces him to look at himself and ask “What am I?”, “What do I want?”, “How am I to live?” and “How the fuck am I meant to answer those questions?”

Philosophy is maligned because it not only points at the emperor and says “You’re naked mate” but it also causes the emperor’s subjects to look at themselves and realize how silly they have been in obeying this old, wrinkly, naked man.

Why do cults surround people who proclaim messages of personal, individual freedom?

I don’t know much about the cults surrounding Crowley. I just got the book.

But the same seems to be the case for most people who expound a liberating ideology.

If you read the bible the new testament basically does away with priests and temples; yet what are all these churches that I see?

In buddhism the Buddha gave directions to attain enlightenment or the cessation of suffering and it was open to all; yet so many cults and offshoots sprung from it.

It seems humanity has an inbuilt desire towards conformity. People want to be told what they want; it’s too much effort to discover it for yourself.

I mean I spend most of my time reading fiction and playing computer games. So I’m on no pedestal here.

To go to back to Crowley.

With Crowley’s magick being one in which people supposedly (I say that not because I don’t believe; but because i haven’t had it shown to me) collect together their intentional energy you can see how tempting it would be for a charismatic individual to manipulate a group into acting and intending his will instead of their own.

In fact the whole idea of a group is loss of self. One becomes part of the They the second one enters a group. Just depends on the intentions of whoever/whatever is guiding the group. Malevolent, benevolent, or just natural undirected something.

I’ve always preferred the latter two.

Social conditioning as Magick

Crowley talks of something called a man’s true Will.

He says that if a man’s perceived Will is at odds with his true Will then any actions he takes to achieve it will be inefficacious.

Crowley also identifies all intentional acts with the term “Magick”. Basically he says that an intentional act takes advantage of the regularity of nature; with which certain effects follow certain causes.

That is to say that if you create the right conditions then right the right effect Will follow.

Whether you are writing a book and getting it printed or performing an arcane ritual and producing whatever your intention is.

The magi is just someone who experiences forces that are not recognized or experienced by the masses and are currently unknown to science. These forces act with the same regularity as the forces already known by science.

To apply this to social conditioning.

All through a youths life certain things are put upon pedestals. Things like wealth, fame and such.

In a very real sense people are being told what their Will is by the media’s rituals of X-Factor and the lottery; and the music industries incantations of a rich life-style. These rituals and incantations make the masses believe that they can attain them if only they want them enough.

So what does the individual born into this world do?

Instead of exploring himself and his environment, discovering what possibilities of being there are, what activities he can engage in and become passionate about.

Instead of searching for his true Will he is spell bound by the incantations and rituals performed in the media and admired by his equally spell-bound peer-group to put all his effort into attaining what he has been told is his Will.

The result is the mass of people become factory fodder because the ambitions implanted into the youths psyche are ambitions that only a few can attain and that not by their own intention but by selection and chance.

The Prisoner and the imprisoner

The prisoner and the imprisoner.

prisoner8imprisoner

Often when we meet people, even people we are familiar with we view them through a mesh of preconceptions.

When it is a new person there are certain judgements attached to the style of clothing they wear, the colour of their skin, their gender and sexual preference.

When it is someone we are already familiar with the mesh is constructed out of our memories of their previous behaviour and beliefs.

These preconceptions or judgements go on to colour and distort our view of the other. In the case of the stranger it distorts our view of who they are now; and – funnily enough – in the case of the person with whom we are familiar it distorts our view of who they are now too.

It can be especially pernicious in the case of the person we are familiar with because it doesn’t allow us to see them change – which they inevitably do – and even if it does the mesh attempts to maintain itself by making out that this change is “bad” or pathological.

Often we say of someone who changes or rather someone who has the courage and is able to express that change that “They are going insane.”

Imagine the case of a stranger. Before I introduce you to this person I tell you “John is a very clever man!”

Now we meet John and John says: “The grass is green!”

Due to the fact that I have told you that “John is a very clever man!” you may interpret this statement as something profound but because you are not a “very clever man” you just can’t understand it.

Now imagine I had instead of telling you “John is a very clever man!” I had told you “John is an incredibly stupid man!”

How would this change your interpretation of John’s statement?

You would think it as something typical for a very stupid person to say. You wouldn’t see or think there were any profundity in the statement. You would just dismiss whatever John had to say without really even listening to it because I – part of the “Them” and considered an authority on John because I know him and you don’t – had told you John was stupid.

The collage at the top of this post was an image that popped into my imagination whilst I was at work pondering the nature of the Them – or in common parlance society, social relations and social norms.

I constructed the hexagonal mesh out of “Y” shapes because I have given that shape the symbolic meaning of the simple sentence. “She is stupid” “She” is the subject and is the left line of the “Y”; “is” is the verb (in this case a copula) and is the downward line of the “Y”; “Stupid” is the adjective and is the right line of the “Y”.

This mesh is a real world phenomena that imprisons us all.

It doesn’t just imprison the person who is looked at through it but it also imprisons the person who looks through the mesh.

 We even use it as a prison in which to place ourselves when we attach significance to things we say about ourselves.