Friday, September 30, 2011
Pseu Pseu Pseudo-Do-Dah-Day
For Rob. Thanks buddy! Say hi to yer Mom.
We've been toying with some pretty weird bits of thinking here, and it's already getting hard to follow. Lemme try and tie a few things together. Also, if you're still with me, now's a good time to point out that this humble site is best read in conjunction with the discussions on my Facebook, (Steve Bass), and for this bit, especially within the PPCC Philosophy Club page linked from my Wall or wherever it is.
Remember my mention of Pseudo-statements back at Willie's story? Elsewhere, in Stage Magick and around about, notably at the PPCC Philosopy Club linked off my Facebook, I put up the business of our inability to prove a negative. The assertion that "This statement does not belong in the set of all true statements," is a nice example. The statement is internally self-defeating, negated by paradox; it's internally inconsistent, self-contradictory, neither true, nor false-- a pseudo-statement. The "set of all true statements" statement is a tidy example in that attempting an answer produces a nonsense response awfully reminiscent, at least to me, of the sort of thing that happens to those hapless physicists when they try to crunch their numbers beyond the event horizon and into the heart of the Singularity. Lots of PhDs get real pissy if you try and take their numbers and drag them into the "real" world here. Like most of us, abstractions are fine for them. Hanging flesh on the ephemeral turns it into a monster for some. I, on the other hand, have no such qualm. If matter isn't made of matter as some rather esoteric physics appears to indicate, that most assuredly effects us, sez me.
The problem of proving a negative is stickier than the "True Statements" statement, because we can somehow tell the essence of the genuinely self-defeating pseudo-statement is True. Something about the very idea is akin to the business of the Singularity--we can't seem to get there, or even define the nature of that There, but we know there has to be Something, OK? And thinking about it produces notions that resonate in our world.
We've also talked some about politics, and here's the clincher. Our whole system, our World, maybe even our very Selves combine to make a big ol' Pseudo-statement, overburdened by internal paradox and contradiction, and decorated with infinite concentric, overlapping circles and waves of Pseudo-reality.
The "Doctrine of the Many," claimed by Zoroastrians, Jains, some Gostics, among others, avers that we humans are compound beings. Some scientists at the fringe have claimed this as well, but let me keep this as political as I can for a moment. The concept surfaces in Western thinking when we speak of "talking to ourselves," which we all know can be quite an argument at times, and in notions like multiple personality. Most U.S. citizens will agree that we are a "Christian" nation in spite of that pesky 1st Amendment. We'll acknowledge "diversity" in religious matters, but obviously those other guys are wrong and belong in Hell where they won't fuck up our Christian Zen, see? The foundational Christian documents upon which the edifice of the world's biggest group of religions includes a whole lot of admonitions about Love. Yet it is hardly necessary to provide examples of the embarrassing fact that a whole lot of Christians are rabid, violence-loving haters dribbling foam from their chins as they rail about how, "God hates fags," or whatever. Don't feel so smug if you're a Buddhist or an Agnostic or
Humanist and you still get that rush of glee when you see Saddam dangling from a rope or hear about the supposed demise of Osama or Gaddhafi. I may argue that a thing can be both A and non-A at the same time, but you'll have a hard time convincing me that killin' a motherfuckah is the same as turning the other cheek. Where is the Love in this set of systems/politicals/religions/nationalisms? It's in there, but only in the sense that it sets the whole business up as a sort of cosmic, (and often comic), Pseudo-statement.
I spoke a bit with my homeless friend Rob yesterday and he told me about a guy he knows with some brilliant talent--musical, I think--that lives outside. Rob had burned himself accidentally and the topic brought to light his friend's plight; the guy is a multiple, and periodically his alter will emerge and industriously destroy his life. The fellow named his alter Jack, I think, and knows of his existence from observing the destruction "Jack" leaves in his wake, but the two never interact. The guy blacks out and has no recollection of moving about in the world while Jack is in control. Once Jack put his feet in a campfire til the shared body required a lengthy hospital stay. One day Jack just may kill the both of him.
I'm saying Christendom is just like Jack and his host, and so is American society. So is the whole freakin' society of the whole freakin' world. Only we suffer from a far more advanced stage of the condition and our legs are buried in hot coals. Our hair is on fire. Those homeless dudes don't worry about a house, but we've been building a huge edifice on a foundation of shit for so long we think we can't backtrack, but backtrack we must. This house is collapsing upon us right now, as we speak, so to speak, and we need to get the fuck out, tear down the M.C. Esher thing we've been trying to build, and start the fuck over or we're all going to be buried. Our society, societies, lives, and now even the solid earth is/are collapsing under the weight of internal contradictions of our own making.
Most who've read so far won't need me to explain the function of a keystone--the stone at the top of an arch that concentrates the force and thereby holds the arch in place. When the capstone at the top of an arch at, say, a Medieval cathedral erodes, the arch collapses. The capstone of the Christian faith is supposed to be Love, right? Isn't that key to a great many doctrines? It seems hard to find a player in all the world that will openly advocate for a doctrine of Hatred. Even the nastiest Devil-worshiping headbanger seeks Love, if only amongst his own within the particular bit of the Chaotic waveform in which he finds himself. Whatever. Our shit is missing its capstone. And its foundation is shit, too.
Don't you dare get all dogmatically ideological and ignore the fact that I've NOT preached Jesus here, or any other tributary. We--and I mean all of us, including those of us clutching the notions of enmity so close to our hearts, and those addicted to power--need to stand back, tear the whole house down, and rebuild something with a thoughtfully drawn blueprint. We need to build an edifice on a foundation of Love, designed toward the capstone of Love. When we do that--oh, what a mansion we'll have!
What did that one dude John say? "God is Love." Right? Can I get a witness?
Right. Thus sayeth the housepainter.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Yer in the Army Now
So much has been happening lately I'm afraid this will be a big confused mess, but what th' hey, right?
The world is in a Meltdown. Hell that's the reason I have time for this crap, ya know? This is NOT a surprise. We've all known it's been coming for a looong time now, though it's hard to nail down that specific moment when we knew. Maybe we always did. I'll get to how I think we've known, and how we didn't know we've know a different time. For now, a somewhat more imminent thought. Here's one place to find a buncha bone-chilling stats http://www.theglobaleducationproject.org/earth/index.php . The numbers are everywhere. This is only one source, and far more officious, (don't mess with me, I used that word on purpose), sources are available. YOU look 'em up. Anyone wanting to look fuckin' stupid can tapdance around them til--well, til the Apocalypse--and they're not gonna change, cause tapdancin' won't change it. If it was gonna, it woulda! I already put it more or less in a nutshell: WE'RE FUCK-ED!!
But we're not. We're still breathing, still eating, drinking, fucking, pumping out babies, and so on. I have two accidental children whom I love without bounds. I genuinely thought it would be rude, at best, to sire a new Person and foist all this bullshit upon him16 years ago when the pertinent romantic interlude took place. Maybe it is, in way, but in plenty of other ways life is as always a thing of such great, broad, deep beauty that I think all potential for its fulfillment ought to be pursued. (Don't imagine I've converted to Catholicism or something--that though was rather more metaphysically driven, and you should put on a raincoat if it looks like rain. Or waders if it looks like--you know ;)) Look around, though. We're ALIVE!! More than we know. And life shows us in every discrete packet of light entering our retinas that it will rise, no matter what. We can't kill the Earth. I rather think She'd prefer us to work this out, but She'll be fine. We can certainly destroy our ability to live here as Humans, though.
In Consider the Lilies, I started to explain what I'm up to here. Every time I approach that question, the answers that come to me sound more and more absurdly grandiose. Save the world? I mean, reeealy! When I was a young child, like in the 3rd grade or something, (no shit--ask Mom), I was politicized and set in a frame of mind opposed to Fascism, oppression, and...unkindness, for lack of a better term. Everyone knows this is the course of idealism, though, right? I got out in the "real" world and it struck me that one must make some pragmatic concessions to get by. Right? We all learn this, don't we? Usually when it "strikes" us it's like a brick in the head. It's usually thrown at us by some cog in the Fascist machine.
If you've read the earlier posts, or caught my live rant, you've likely been puzzled by my carryings on about money being a bad metaphor. It's outdated poetry, good for a time, now hopelessly outdated like that ridiculous, overwrought Victorian romance shyte you may have read in college or high school. (Leave them kids alone, Teacher!). "All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling," wrote Oscar Wilde, and the old thing has gotten us a long way; in fact, it's gotten us right here. Fucked. Or on the cusp of some spectacular event(s).
We live in a competitive world. Whichever doctrinal approach one embraces, whether scientifically mechanistic or holding out for divine fiat, it's the scrabbling over game pieces that has us in this sinking boat. Everyone has to have a buncha shit they don't need, in order to display for all the other poor losers how dominant they or their team has been in the Game. This isn't a fuckin' game anymore, though. Look at those numbers again. Do you really think a little half-assed reduction in increase in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 100 years or whatever is going to save the human race? Get real! Do you really think we might someday pay off our $23 trillion debt, or whatever it is? What's that shit, anyways? To whom do we owe it? When did we sign that contract? Didn't someone steal that from us last month? Do we really think we can survive a collapse of the oceans, the food chain, the watersheds, etc, etc, and so on?
I may be grandiose and ridiculous, but I can read the writing on the wall, in the sky, on the face of the Moon. We're gonna need to stop fiddle-fuckin' around and wrestle this shit to the ground, or we're all gonna die. Our kids are gonna die. Our grand-kids, if we live to see them, will be mutant freaks like Goldblum's fly monster, just like the poor fucked up three-eyed fish around Chernobyl and downstream of a BHP Billiton mine , (BHP: Broken Hill Properties. It's only a secret if you close your eyes, kids). They'll die miserably, and the Earth will breathe a sigh of relief, having fought off a pestilent Virus. Or we can CHANGE EVERYTHING.
I saw a panel discussion at the community college yesterday, (PPCC). A Bahai, a Buddhist, a Pagan, and a Christian philosopher walked into a bar and the bartender said, "What is this, a fuckin' joke?" Oh--sorry. They actually sat behind a table and spoke as cogently as they were able, and we all took them fairly seriously, if with the standard portion of salt--you know it's still all bullshit, right? A thematic keystone was the notion that we're all One, that it's all All-One. You'll notice me playing that riff for all I can wring from it. It's got a lot of Soul, and it sounds good. When I say we're all gonna die, I don't mean all us minor league players. The whole stadium is collapsing. It's already collapsed in a lot of ways. Check out my friend Skip's posts about the Federal Reserve. Don't be tapdancing when you read. The Fascists will die with us. Their secret bunkers won't do. Competition is over; the game pieces are reduced to Parker Bros. parts. Cooperative living is at hand.
Only LOVE will save us. That's right, y'all.Think that's hokey? Sure. It is. But that's a view from the old game. I put this shit up because I believe it. I'm just as much like water as anyone else. I'd stay comfortably here at the lowest level if it seemed for one second to me like that might be an option. It does not. It is not. Change or die. Right now. Today. Look me up. I have a couple ideas, and I bet you do too, if you were to stop concentrating on that tapdance.
There are many, many more things to say about all this. Come back and see us, eh?
Viva la rivoluzione! Viva l'Esercito dell'Amore!
Monday, September 26, 2011
I feel like a point is at hand where any of you who have observed or participated in the conversation between David Arnold and me, including David, deserve a pause for breath. The two of us have come to dominate the message board, it seems to me, and this has never been my intention. So I've given the thing a little thought and here's how it comes out, extemporaneously for you all to consider.
I love Philosophy. I think it's fundamental and unavoidable--an existential imperative--that is, intrinsic to the condition of existing as a live, conscious human being. No matter how we live, or what we do or do not do, it depends directly from how we think. I also believe that we have little, if any control over what we believe, that being further dependent from what we think. I find the whole business of such dramatic import that I obsess over it all the time, and seek out forae like this one from which to further explore the mutiple, if not infinite facets of the jewel.
Having said that...this board is a tool for the furtherance of education for students enrolled at PPCC. Neither David nor I are any more than interlopers, guests in your house. I am grateful to the club for the experience as it has already unfolded, and I truly hope to continue. I believe I have a couple assets to offer and I hope you'll all receive me with the humor with which I intend myself. Please--argue. I will not fight.
David, whom I address here personally, though I will continue in the second person for the group's sake, has suggested that I am guilty of unspecified errors in reasoning. I would love to treat those errors specifically here, hoping the rest of the club will engage as well. In fact, given the best of all possible outcomes, I'd like to be allowed to invite David and the entire Stanford University Philosopy Department to debate the question of Materialism v Theism as the conversation has been tentatively labeled in our previous chatting, and to have the thing judged by an unbiased panel, right here on the PPCC club's site.
I WILL NOT be an imposition here. I insist on explicit permission from the club, its officers, and Bruce if he considers himself in a position to arbitrate. This is about your education far more than it's about mine. I've seen to my own learnin' for some while now. It's working out plenty fine for me. I'll go away quietly at the simplest word from one with a legitimate say.
You'll notice I carry on about what I "think," and my "opinion," quite a lot, and that's part of what David finds elusive in me, I think. I don't "know" very much at all, and I think you all will discover soon enough that nailing knowledge down is a very slippery business indeed. I do think I have something of interest to the average PPCC philosophy student, though, if not the average Stanford variety. Though the halls of Stanford may be filled with a rarified air too thin for my blood to endure, I ain't ascairt.
Spread the word David. Even if they're not game here at PPCC, Stanford's been called out publically by an insousciant housepainter with a full 8th grade education. It'll be FUN!