Toll a bell for depression
paralysis of expression
and hopeless mental compression
contorted negative thinking
falling down, drowning, sinking.
No escape, a struggle in quicksand
helpless groping with sieve-like hands
Past my grip slips life,
like butter through a hot knife.
Options exhausted, an early end
against death, even no point to defend
Oh well, oh well, oh well,
just keep tolling the bell
I have been catching up on the news lately, having switched off to it all for the past 5-6 months atleast. The combination of the Paris Attacks, the ongoing war against an ever changing named terrorist group: Al Quaeda, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, and the European refugee/economic migrants crisis. This combination of interrelated factors has brought to my attention the sheer degree to which things are currently getting out of control in the globalist society. So I have looked into it, and I find a big problem is our unwillingness to debate critical issues due to an obsession with being politically correct, and an attendant fear of being seen as politically incorrect.
Things are very far gone when statistics are not discussed because of political correctness on one side of the debate, yet on the other side of the debate, statistics are shoved in our faces. For example, the succesful integration of a muslim into western society will be heavily emphasized, but the media will not talk of no-go zones for non-muslims in our countries, of facts such as the massive increase in rape in Sweden since the introduction of Islamic migrants en masse, in the name of multiculturalism. The Hungarian woman tripping a poor innocent refugee will be emphasized, while a mass of economic migrants rushing in and throwing stones at Hungarian engineers in a train at a train station will not be talked about. The white cop shooting a black teenager will be emphasized in Chicago, and people will protest massively, but all the black on black crime in Chicago will not be similarly emphasized. The white supremacists in Minnesota will be talked of as shooting black people at a protest there in the name of a hate crime, yet we will not be told the added information, that they had earlier been attacked by black people at the protest, and were running away before they opened fire on them, you could then argue in self-defence. But of course that argument won’t be made, because it would be politically incorrect.
These are examples of the madness we currently face in the media presentation, but it goes much further than this, for it is fed and fueled also by the left-wing political-correct, pluralist, post-modernist mentality many people have been inculcated into. I remember when I studied at university in the early 2000’s, and the post-modernist outlook was just beginning to take its grip, and I remember being very suspicious back then of its fuzzy non-commital arguments, of moral relativism, cultural relativism, post-feminism, post-enlightenment, and the strange talk of “dead white males”. As a keen studier and respecter of these “dead white males”, and what they have done for our civilisation, it struck me as people denying their cultural background, without offering an alternative, in a faddish kind of rebellious act. This is what the “post” really amounts to in these things, it is not POST, but END.
This I believe is then largely to blame for the current era of political correctness, because people have lost the ability to have a rational and reasonable dialogue about critical issues. We cannot express out viewpoint for we don’t acknowledge our viewpoint, we are post having a viewpoint officially, so instead we just get all offended and morally outraged about one statement or another, that true or false, all we are really mad at is our inability to express a rational argument about it, and so we just grunt disapproval or shout a person down with claims such as sexism and racism. And these claims immediately end any dialogue or discussion about real issues, and whisk us off to some fantasy post-land of purely relativist ideological battles, which can have no basis and no common ground, thus we must simply take sides on an instinctive preference, but of course instinctive preferences can be very easily manipulated by those with the leisure time, and influence to do it, i.e. the powerful, via such things as advertisement and mainstream news.
Then we are left as we are now, no discussion, no debate, no rational appeal to facts, just a shouting match of taking offence at other peoples facts and being the first to shout racism. This is political correctness, and it is much more insidious and deeply ingrained in our psyche now, than any genuine concerns about those we are being politically correct about, it is just a hair-trigger reaction to anything we are scared to talk about, and any facts we are scared to face.
Same old, same old, the wheels go round
the groove digs deeper and deeper into the ground
predictable channels, an overly beaten trail
makes life and living seem ever more stale.
What point to this slavery where we all have our masters
be it people, needs, or genetic forecasters.
Nothing new under this jaded sun
the die has been cast, the web has been spun.
Predecided life become a tormentuous sham
Very hard to care, or to much give a damn
Time slows down, an expanded moment ensnares me
I can’t run away from what I can’t see.
I only feel it engulfing all my pores,
drowning me deeply in sorrows and sores.
An empty and vacant feeling remains,
inside my barren, hollowed out chest
for life I hold great disdain
that can never be rightfully expressed.
I want to consider here the general status of intelligent discussion in society. The general status of rationality in our discourse with others. And in many ways I would like to suggest that we have took backward steps in recent times. On what basis would I make this suggestion? It is a combination of the increasing specialization of academia, and the increasing dumbing down, or levelling out of general education. As a result there is little communication between the high level view and the average, everyday view of reason. The high level view thus resorts to ever more technical speculations, further and further removed from the intuitions of our daily concerns. The common view becomes ever more entrenched in a fixed set of basic premises/beliefs, with which it is bombarded during education and in a cultural self-affirmation and re-affirmation of these premises that fixates them in peoples minds to the extent of making them incapable of independent and critical thought regarding them, which would be the starting point for proper rational and philosophical enquiry.
In regards to each of metaphysics, epistemology, logic and morality, the common view has become deeply entrenched in materialistic premises regarding the former two, and cultural relativistic premises regarding the two latter ones. So how then can we have an open, rational discussion with people who are already committed to these premises? They have decided already how they want to end the discussion, and what they think the true answers are before we have even begun the debate!
Take metaphysics: right lets sit and have a discussion about reality. Their response: Okay well lets see what the scientific evidence is telling us. In other words, lets take whatever current science says on authority and not think for ourselves. Instead, just use buzz words like evidence to cover our own ignorance and end the debate before it can start. It never seems to cross their mind that it is people who are scientists and who interpret evidence in line with many theoretical assumptions and inclinations. Of course it doesn’t, they never tried to learn epistemology for themselves, because they take it on faith that science has or will have the answers thanks to their indoctrination, I mean, education.
We could go through them all in this way. In each case a philosophical discussion never gets a chance to get started, and so our common philosophical inteligence as a community drops. This has been happening for some time. Logical atomism and positivism inaugurated this disdainful approach to open and critical discussion of subjects such as metaphysics. They were tired out and fed up that there were not simple, clear-cut answers, so they decided to claim there must not be any answers, so we should stop asking the questions. Of course, historically, the grounds for their view were shown to be weak and so they did not last long in academic philosophy. But academic philosophy is no longer in touch with common, everyman philosophy, so there is no stopping the latter from holding to such views regardless.
It is a difficult situation we currently face, the examples of scientists propounding naive philosophies disregarded a century ago as if they are new is a particularly damaging development. As I think is the cult of atheism. That thinks atheism is somehow true by default. The default of course being its materialistic premises it was indoctrinated with in school education.
These developments are dangerous because they are not open to critical reason. They thus play into the hands of the holding of convenient views, which further entrenches corrupted power in the system. For what is convenient is whatever the current powerful people say is true. Truth and critical reason as properly practiced, remain something that is very inconvenient, and far from easy to accept. But they are what we need to keep sight of because ultimately they are all that keeps man from descending into an unconscious, unreflective, herd-based existence.
It is all too easy to get stuck in a rut philosophically. It is never easy to be genuinely open to new ideas. Yes, kids are sponges, open to anything. But as such they are vulnerable and as easily influenced by misguided ideas as by valid ideas. It is only with maturity, and through developing our powers of thought that we can become a harsh, but fair critic of the ideas presented to us.
This is what philosophy is all about. It is not simply being open, anymore than it is simply being closed to argument and debate, committed to a system or school of thought dogmatically. It is about having the ability to reassess and reevaluate basic premises when good reasons and arguments are presented to you. It is about not rushing to get angry when your cherished premises are questioned, and reacting blindly, as if a debate is merely an argument to be won. Little more than a mental battlefield of assertion and counter assertion.
This view of affairs is the natural presumption of the lazy mind. But we must fight this laziness, and strive to be willing to accept reevaluations of our beliefs. Loudness and persistence of assertion is not a sign of a well reasoned argument, but quite the opposite. To philosophise is quite often to work against some of our basic human instincts, this is what makes it hard work.
And this is why I have in the past emphasised the importance of the spiritual aspect to philosophy. This can help us to avoid attachment to some premises and so be open for a reasonable debate. But also there does remain certain key points of logic and methodology that we need to keep sight of. Witholding judgment on a topic is a difficult and complicated art form in itself. Lets hope that we don’t let this art be lost for the sake of simple, quick judgments on complicated things in the name purely of winning shallow arguments.
You tried to destroy me, to pull me down
to make me cry, to make me frown.
You tried to make me not care
give me hassle I could not bear.
All for nothing, simply that I was aware
of your ways, of your weakness
you thought I would take advantage
you did not realise I had no interest
my motives were not as low as yours
I would never stoop to that game
I would rather die in burning flames
to me it is all the same.
Please refrain from assumming I am like you
as I now bid you farewell forever, as I bid you adieu
It is all too easy in this era of grandiose technology and knowledge, dwarfing the corresponding acheivements of previous societies, to get carried away with it all. To get drawn in to high flung speculations of “theories of everything”, cosmologies explaining the creation of the universe, and at the other end of the scale, to immerse oneself in the intricate details of chains of genetic code and quantum probabilities . As a result, the process of reasoning itself becomes a hierarchy of knowledgeable experts dictating truths to lower levels of amateurs and lay people.
The problem with this, as important as specialisation is, is that it is a basic and common error in philosophical reasoning to use arguments from authority: to appeal to ones reputation in an argument for a particular field, rather than the content of what you are arguing for. Now this error can proliferate throughout society on all levels, downwards from the high level scientific experts, infecting all our day to day reasonings with each other. Anyone, who has gotten into arguments on You Tube, will be aware of the low levels to which people will stoop to get the upper hand with absolutely no thought and little care for the content of the subject matter under discussion.
They are just imitating a process that has trickled down to them from higher level experts, a process they have come to identify with success at allowing one to make ones way up the hierarchy of authoritative knowledge, and so feel a little bit superior to some other people in a debate, at least for a few minutes.
This wholesale process of people competing with each other in arguments to gain the higher ground, has took on almost sinister Darwinian undertones. The people good at this process, make their way up the echelons, and so further promote and justify this whole misguided process of reasoning. A form of selection certainly, but a selection that is deletorious and disadvantageous to the promotion and continuance of good reasoning and arguing skills.
For what is being passed on is a natural selection of argument forms of arguing from authority. A form of logical fallacy that I mentioned just before.
It is well and good to push on, on the frontiers of scientific exploration. But if we become so far-sighted and specialised that we become blind to the things most close to us: the ability to reason fairly and logically in our day to day debates with other people. Then the loss in knowledge will be substantially greater, for the skill and art of spreading reason freely and naturally among consenting individuals will be gone, to be replaced by a gradually more and more coercive approach of enforcing consent.
Of course many would argue this process of enforcing consent is already in full swing. The peer pressure within many scientific academia to toe the line of the standard theories and models, or face ridcule and loss of professional standing and reputation being a prime example.
We need, then, to get back in touch with the art of reasoning and debate. This is what good philosophy is about at the core. It is what can promote equality and democracy in our relationships with other people, as we then strive to appeal to the content of our arguments, rather than the authority or expert status of our position. Much philosophy has become misguided by, bamboozled, starstruck, by recent scientific and technological advances. It has mistook its task as that of supplementing this success, of trying to get a piece of this pie while it is still being divided up. And so it lost touch with its true home, promoting good reasoning in all areas of life and on all levels of life. Not just on levels permitted by current scientific standards under fear of ridicule and peer-enforced social exclusion. This latter is not a rational process, but the giving in to an emotional and personal need. We need to overcome this tendency. It is difficult to put into practice. But that is what the art of reasoning and philosophising is about. And we owe it to our forebears and to future generations, to maintain a level of respectability in our debates and reasoning, and to advance further here, rather than taking backwards steps.