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Reality Shunned

An amazing sense of unity has emerged among half of the USA in the light of the presidency of Donald Trump. But the media have decided to ignore it, to shun it. They have become settled in a cynical attitude of self hatred. They refuse to swivel their cameras and see what is happening around them. They have predecided in their minds that we must move towards some globalist state, regardless of the consequences for human dignity and human flourishing. They have predecided that what they think is best for them must be forced on the rest of us whether we like it or not.

So they turn their back and shun the positive things being done by the current presidency. Convince themselves they have a moral and intellectual higher ground with daily accusations, often groundless, always hypocritical, and often based on projections and based on their desperate search to find even the slightest hint of something to get morally outraged about.

They double and triple down in their accusations of nazis, where there is nothing closely resembling it, because in their minds the only thing they have left to orientate themselves in their overly liberalised, morally lax, meaningless, atheist lives is their understanding that nazis are bad. This is all they have, so they must project this label on to anyone who upsets or disagrees with their predecided narrative.

When all is said and done they have nothing to show for their blustering but one, probably contrived event in Charlottesville where one person died that they continually refer to to support their narrative. In the mean time, violence from the left rises: attacks on republican officals, attempts to assassinate, continual harassment, left right and center and they ignore this, as much as they ignore the positive things going on in half of the US right now.

They have tunnel vision and tunnel vision can only mean a decrepit and unhealthy and inflexible dogmatic view of reality. I gain little from making these statements other than as a vindication of something I have felt deep inside me now for many years. That the liberals and their media enablers have gone completely crazy in their self hatred disguised as altruism to the point that they are a clear and present danger to anyone they have any influence over in their lives.

 

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Book Review – Limits to Medicine, Medical Nemesis: Ivan Illich

Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of HealthLimits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health by Ivan Illich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the most concise and clear books I have read illustrating the dangers and pitfalls of our industrial model of life in secular societies and our unhealthy dependence on centralised state systems. Here at the beginning he lays out the criticism of our health-care system:

“A professional and physician-based health care system
which has grown beyond tolerable bounds is sickening for
three reasons: it must produce clinical damages which
outweigh its potential benefits; it cannot but obscure the
political conditions which render society unhealthy; and it
tends to expropriate the power of the individual to heal
himself and to shape his or her environment…”

This last factor is the most critical and the one that will ultimately be the nemesis of the attempted medicalization of life. We have already seen, since this book, a lot of backlash to it. But we yet also do still see ourselves heavily burdened with overgrown welfare states, and dangerously low birth rates. Indicating our continued dependence on medicine and our lack of independent thriving and autonomy in our lives.

There is so much in this book that gets right to the heart of the problem we face. I don’t agree with some of his suggested solutions, such as his claim that our only alternative is to create conditions in society for equitable autonomy. As much as this would be a nice thing, I don’t see it as realistic in the light of human nature that tends to prefer hierarchies to equity. So I think you would have to enforce that equity unnaturally, which would rely on a kind of state dependence he is trying to warn us away from.

The common theme through much of the book is the absolute critical importance of retaining human dignity into our future society, and the hubris of reliance on technologies and ideologies to save us from the basic human realities of life. These latter attempts always create a nemesis as an unintentional consequence, and so we must learn to get back to understanding and promoting basic human dignity in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.

Here is how he concludes things:

“Man’s consciously lived fragility, individuality and
relatedness make the experience of pain, of sickness
and of death an integral part of his life. The ability
to cope with this trio autonomously is fundamental
to his health. As he becomes dependent on the
management of his intimacy, he renounces his
autonomy and his health must decline. ”

“The true miracle of modern medicine is diabolical.
It consists not only of making individuals but whole
populations survive on inhumanly low levels of personal
health.That health should decline with increasing health
service delivery is unforeseen only by the health managers,
precisely because their strategies are the result of their
blindness to the inalienability of life. ”

We need to take back some self responsibility for our pains in life. Not just for our own, but in our responsibility to the health of our families and the community around us. In this setting we function a million times more efficiently because we have natural capabilities in our brain for sensing illness and problems in our lives. These need to be nourished, educated and developed once more, so we can move into a future of less reliance on experts and professionals who cannot know what is best for us when times get tough, but only in an unsustainable situation of perpetual economic growth and expansion.

We no longer can rely on this latter. Something we have certainly learned in the last 10-20 years. So we must get back to reclaiming our birthright to have autonomy over our own vital life processes. And resist the dangers of those such as the transhumanists and those who insist we must expand further industrially and those who think we can prop up our own health with the labour of poor and helpless people from more disadvantaged parts of the world. Going this latter way is only digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a hole that one day we may not be able to extricate ourselves from.

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A Monopoly on Virtue

When you are convinced you are in the right, based on an ethos of perpetual help of “victims”, you make for yourself a monopoly on the virtue that can be dispensed to aid those victims when they are in need.

So when some group of people emerge who don’t want to be your victim, you find yourself having to demonise them in one way or another. They are not fitting in with your narrative.

I think this western morality extends deep into our christian past with missionaries going around the world looking for “victims” to help. It’s not a totally bad thing, by any means.

The problem is when it becomes an all-consuming outlook, when it becomes in your mind the only way to be morally good. To find victims to help.

The reality is that this simply is not the only way to be morally good. You can be a good father, mother, a good partner, a good friend, a good example by your actions and life choices, etc.. these and in many other ways, without having to “help” “victims”.

Why are these ways of being morally good all swept aside as nothing compared to the grandiose gestures of helping victims?

Jordan Peterson and many others have it right when they say you should get your own house in order first. If you have not even attained this level of moral goodness, you can’t simply skip it and go straight to “helping victims”, like some altruistic saviour.

If you cannot even save yourself, you will do nothing but harm in trying to save others. And I am not sure we should even be looking to get to this level of morality of helping victims. I think for most people doing this in a genuine and real way is going to forever be unattainable. Maybe a few saints can achieve this level.

For most of us, just imagining we can skip straight to that morality, is a dangerously unrealistic assessment of our own moral capabilities. For when most of us try to help “victims” we are really trying to empower ourselves as the virtuous person, and we are trying to disempower the other as someone always in need of our help to be saved.

No, this is a precarious way to conduct oneself, and is why it is best we largely leave it alone, and focus instead on applauding people much more for regular moral goods such as being a good friend, being good to yourself, being a good parent, partner, etc…

We cannot override this moral base with our virtuous sentiments towards victims. I realise there are big problems on the world scale that need to be addressed, but you have to integrate your sentiments here with your own moral behavior in day to day life.

The virtue signaller, and trendy liberal of today is not integrating their own life experience with these larger sentiments. They are creating an unbearable strain on our moral sensibilities and tearing the fabric of our civilisation apart.

Because they have created an ideal of behavior that no one can live up to, and that they certainly don’t live up to. With this impossible standard in place, everyone acts like zebras trying to blend in with the herd, because they know if they stand out in some way, there is bound to be something they have done in life that can be held against them.

Liberals cling desperately to this notion that they have a monopoly on virtue because in the face of the terror of a reality that otherwise makes no sense to them, this is the only thing that provides them some solace.

As long as they can create a narrative of victims who they can help they can claim that monopoly. But what happens when no one, or less people, want to be or play their victim?

Their whole world begins to unravel, so they manufacture grievances on more and more ludicrous scales.

The simple moral here is don’t be anyone’s victim, don’t let someone make you their victim, and for those insistent on finding victims, sort out your own lives first, then maybe become missionaries and go to some area in genuine grave need of help.

Do not use this kind of morality as a substitute for lacking regular morality in your day to day life. It is not a substitute, it is an additional extra that most of us will never be morally advanced enough in our own lives to pursue. Be more realistic and honest with yourself.

And on top of all this, don’t let your moral sentiments be manipulated by the mass media’s emotive statements. They are not directing you towards being a good person, they are manipulating you into an emotional line of action that has absolutely nothing to do with virtue.

Whatever happened to humility? The morally good person should be humble in their claims, not proud. All this disgusting pride in moralising that we see on the left lately is something to be regretted. Be proud of what you are sure, but not of your claims for what others should and shouldn’t be.

 

The Strange of Order of Things: Antonio R. Damasio

The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of CulturesThe Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures by António R. Damásio

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For the last few chapters I give this a 5 star rather than an anticipated 3 or 4 star rating, because I think what he has to say here provides potentially a very useful framework for how we can find a reasonable connection between biology and culture in our future speculations on humanity and its place and purpose in the world.

The main arguments surround a few key points regarding affective neuroscience:

1) The homeostatic imperative
2) The importance of feelings to monitoring and regulating this homeostatic state
3) The importance of feelings to giving us a sense of value and purpose to our subjective assessments of things.
4) The interaction between the monitoring of feeling states in our own internal organism and our cognitive models of our external surroundings through reasoning to form intelligent cultural responses to our condition.

Here is a good summarising quote from the book:

“This approach would regard the notion that reason should task charge as pure folly, a mere leftover from the the worst excesses of rationalism, but it would also reject the idea that we should simply endorse the recommendations of emotions – be kind, compassionate, angry or disgusted – without filtering them through knowledge and reason. It would foster a productive partnership of feelings and reason, emphasizing nourishing emotions and suppressing negative ones. Last, it would reject the notion of human minds as a equivalent to artificial intelligence creations.”

And for the future culture:

“would require upholding human dignity and reverence for human life as nonnegotiable, sacred values; it would also require a set of goals capable of transcending immediate homeostatic needs and both inspiring and elevating the mind as projected into the future.”

This whole approach of affective neurobiology is a welcome and refreshing change from the limitations of functionalist accounts, behavioral accounts and those accounts that start from some notion of inherent selfish or self directedness in organisms and expect to contrive a purely procedural or computational strategic solution to moral and cultural human problems from there. This latter is simply not going to work, other than to feed dystopian imaginings. It will not create a viable and healthy long term culture for humanity. Because it ignores the felt subjective experience of human beings and how critical this is to our whole biological and cultural evolution as a species.

Culture is an ongoing negotiation with our own feelings, with others, and with our environments. It is a negotiation with self, other and the world, not merely an exploitation or instrumental manipulation of them. The choice is not the polarised selfish exploiter or the selfless altruist. Both these options in the west ignore your own personal feelings. The choice is a reasonable negotiation between your feelings and the surrounding world that you must be striving to always be aware of. When we can regulate our own feelings in modern cultures much better we will rely less on the instrumental manipulations and technological machinations of a predatory elite group of people, and we can maybe make some steps towards a democracy, not just in name, but in our real lived culture.

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Hive Mind

Hive mind mentality is probably going to destroy our civilisation. Recent events have confirmed to me that most people are simply unable to reason critically about pretty much any information they are given. And so, the only winner can be the loudest, most persistent voice. I don’t like to take political sides, because it feels inauthentic to me. But the hive mind mentality of the left liberals is something so horrendous it deserves special attention.

It is so sad because I can see how it all developed from something seemingly innocuous and innocent. People who wanted to be nice and welcoming, people who wanted to do good for others. But these same people were abandoning their own culture, their own community and their own families. They were uprooted individuals. I don’t blame them for this, their own culture became one of uprooting individuals. So they were left isolated, facing an adult world that seems plain wrong on so many levels.

It all merges together in this sad spectacle of today. Pseudo community of the hive replaces their lost real community. Virtue signalling keeps them morally superior in their eyes to their own family and culture. They have no material prospects in life, no chance for a family and kids of their own in many cases. They have been left unequipped to compete, no family and cultural support. There is no incentive for them to develop in life, so they become stunted in their maturity.

The white liberals are both the most over privileged and under privileged group all at the same time. They were sold grand dreams of utopia, they were sold education, education, education. They got pampered all the way and yet at the same time they are then chucked out in the void. As if by pampering them when young, we assuage our guilt at chucking them into the void. As if a good education will allow them to breathe in a vacuum!

Illich is largely right when he diagnoses this situation as the west living in its industrial past trying to lever everyone up into the middle class. It could not be achieved. All they achieved was to create middle class expectations en masse, with no need for most of those people in the job market or even in the life market. So they are then thrown into a void. No religious values to take solace in, no community to give them support, no incentive to aspire to in life. What then do they do instead? They clutch at any morsel thrown their way. They idolise the few successful ones, they idolise technological progress, they idolise first generation immigrants, they escape to online fantasy realms. And all the time they remain convinced they are good people. Because their education coddled them. So when all else fails they revert to child like behaviors, tantrums etc.

The ultimate action is to seek safety in numbers. And there we get the pseudo community of the hive mind of today. The elite are playing these poor lost souls for everything they can get out of them. I can see it, I can understand it, but I don’t know what much there is to be done about it.

Book Review: Janus, Arthur Koestler

Janus: A Summing UpJanus: A Summing Up by Arthur Koestler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was published around the same time as Dawkins’ selfish gene and it is sad to think that this much more balanced and critical account has been largely forgotten while the Dawkins dogma has held sway for so long. This book diagnoses much of what is wrong with the reductionist Dawkins’ style mentality, without, as far as I know, being aware of the work of Dawkins emerging, though he was well aware of the previous attempts of the neo-darwinist orthodoxy. His concept of Holons, as janus-faced entities, always with a self assertive tendency as a whole ruling over parts, and integrative, self transcendent tendencies as a part in some larger whole, is a good way to understand biological phenomena without becoming caught up either in the old materialist dogmas of the past or becoming overly confident in uttering things about purpose, intelligent design and such like.

The postage stamp consensus of mainstream reality needed a simple Dawkins dogma to believe in, because it is in line with the tendency of the west of a small elite to try and turn the rest of us into no more than robotic machines, slaves, or zombies. But this consensus ignores the more complex reality, and this book gives you some insights into that more complex reality. He illustrates particularly well the dangers of fixed conceptions of reality combined with over self assertive tendencies. And the danger of attachment too strongly in others to self transcendent ideologies while denying their self assertive tendencies. When a big group of people with a fixed self transcendent ideology get lulled into a hypnotic sleep by a self-assertive elite group, the results can be devastating for society. The health of all those people will continually decline because they are not in proper homeostasis between their self urges and their transcendent urges. They have become schizoid. Similarly in that situation the elite group has lost all touch with self transcendent urges, and so they are liable to become “evil” for they lose all conception and respect for any values that transcend their own interests.

Much of our mental health problems in this era come down to the fact we have had real challenges in life taken away from us, that for all the good will in the world, that may have driven this tendency, means that people turn largely into robotic and automatic ways of being. We have lost in the west the balance between our self assertive and our self transcending tendencies. It shows in our poor health, in our depression levels and in our low birth rates. We have to break out of this reductionist idée fixe, we need to bridge the gaps in our schizoid brains and live once more as healthy whole individuals. Koestlers holons, is one concept that can be used to help take us in this direction.

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Explorations of the Self

“Man knows only a small part of his psyche, just as he has only a very limited knowledge of the physiology of his body. The causal factors determining his psychic existence reside largely in unconscious processes outside consciousness, and in the same way there are final factors at work in him which likewise originate in the unconscious.” C.G. Jung

We tend to assume the self is a simple unit, the ego, around which we orientate ourselves in the external world, if we think about it much at all. But when we explore more deeply we realise that even our own internal reality contains many mysteries and layers. There is the basic self awareness we have of our place among other people, as being in a human body that will decay and age. But going further than this cognitive sense of self awareness is the affective sense of self awareness. In this area lie our deepest desires, emotions and motivations for acting. Here is where decisions are made, not in the outer cognitive layers. The latter merely provide thought for reflection, and after the fact adding on reasons for why we acted as we did. But they are not able to motivate our actions so well. And when we try to force our actions from only this layer of the self, we soon will be repressing the deeper self that will be bubbling up underneath with problems and issues.

Here lies the unconscious levels of the self. Jung explores this with notions such as archetypes and the collective unconscious. Stories and myths deeply programmed into our being that we choose to identify with. I encountered a similar thought to this reading Bruce Lipton regarding the fact we must believe from this deeper level of our being in order to help heal ourselves and change our lives in certain ways. It is easy to change our cognitive level of self, but this won’t motivate our deeper affective center to action. Also from reading the Phantom Self by David Icke, similar ideas have come up regarding our programming by the mainstream system into certain beliefs on this shallow cognitive level. The postage stamp consensus as he sometimes calls it. Identifying too much with this shallow level of self in all cases is a sure way to be unhealthy and to spoil your vitality. So we must learn to explore the deeper realms of our selves for the sake of our health.

No one gives us this training anymore in the western world. We are just left on our own as isolated individuals confronting this behemoth of unconscious impulses. Ancient societies even when they were not aware of these layers still at least had rituals for assuaging these deeper self urges. We abandoned such things as irrational, which in one sense they were of course in the case of people who were blindly enacting them and not able to formulate the rationale for them. But these people were more rational than us in the sense that they stimulated the deeper affective self with their rituals, rather than merely the shallow cognitive self. We currently rely too much on experts and medications when we have problems in our lives when so often an accurate reflection on our deeper level of affective selfhood would be a much better path for us.

The quite new science of affective neuroscience offers hope of increasing our understanding further in this area. But with institutionalised truth such as this one must always be aware that their function is to be experts dispensing knowledge to non-experts. As such their tendency will be to an explanation that makes you a passive victim of things in your brain on all levels from our evolutionary history, impulses, instincts, fears etc. Against which they, the scientific expert, will be the hero saving you. Do not fall for this interpretation though, for these deeper levels are not just manipulators of us. When we identify with them correctly they can be positive values giving us an empowered self identity with which to approach the world with health, joy and vitality.

The era of the atomised, punctuated self, to use a favorite term of Charles Taylor, is coming to an end. We do not face the whole of existential reality as an isolated, indivisible point of reflection. Such would make us hopeless and powerless as reality would flood and overwhelm us if we tried to comprehend it from this perspective. We face it as an already complicated and layered being. Our self reaches out into our long evolutionary and cultural past and is a living, changing reality that needs exploring and rediscovering. The atomised self was a projection of the shallow cognitive layer of our brain/mind. We now know the real self is that through which we can orientate ourselves in life. While the phantom self is just a cognitive projection. The real self is an affective source deep inside us that commands much respect. A source of values and stories that we identify with as we travel through this world.