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A Journey Through 20th Century Philosophy – Free This Weekend on Amazon Kindle

journeythrough20thcenturyphilosophySo, I have decided to make my first book free to buy on kindle at amazon this weekend, as a thank you to people who have followed and liked my posts here on this blog. A Journey Through 20th Century Philosophy: From Russell to Searle

This book, published around 2 months ago, was the fruition of years of study into primarily analytical philosophy in the 20th century. It tracked the divergence of this school of philosophy from ontological considerations, based partly on a misunderstanding of the extent of its own achievements with logic and analysis. These things are considered in detail with various thinkers, such as Bertrand Russell, Quine, and Saul Kripke and John Searle. And some suggestions are made of where they went wrong and how we can take a different path in the future.

Such a path is sorely needed and missed. For, as I argue in that book, the abandonment of philosophical and reasonable discourse in the domain of ontology has only allowed a particular ontology of positivistic science to tyrannise and undermine the debate. Appealing to, depending on, and deferring to authority and experts for our ontological understanding of Being was a big mistake. It allowed a particular doctrine to become a mainstream dogmatic narrative that is largely unquestionable, and which has infected much of the education system in the western countries also.

The knock on implications from this and all the dominoes that fall in succession from it have gradually eroded the western tradition of thought to a point of crisis, which it can only reclaim by acknowledging the mistakes of the past, rather than hiding them, and trying to defend them at all costs. Scientific apologism is not good philosophy and it is not good for thinking and western thought either. There is much reasonable in science, but still science is not the arbiter of reasonableness. I hope I have given some good suggestions for an alternate path we can take in that book, while preserving some key parts of the western legacy and heritage in thought.

So, please feel free to check it out at Amazon on kindle this weekend for a free offer, and feel free to give reviews of it and feedback to me,

Thanks,

Jonathan

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What Next?

So, I have spent the past seven to eight months now, travelling, living and working in South America. I experienced Ayahuasca, the Amazon and the Pacific Coast for the first time in Peru. I experienced Salsa dancing, and hiking on Monserrate in Bogota and Tres Cruces in Cali for the first time in Colombia. I taught in various English institutes also in Tunja, Colombia alongside writing my first book, and tutoring online. Then I have experienced hiking near volcanoes and being right on the equator here in Ecuador.

I still feel I need to dive deeper into certain aspects of being. I still feel I am bouncing over the surface of reality in some ways. I am in the process of completing editing my second book. And I feel with this book and the other book combined I have now completed my thanks to my predecessors and those thinkers whose books I have learned from. Giving my own contribution to this story of thought.

I suppose the next step is to plow into territory all of my own. To make of my writing not only an appreciation of things past that I have learned from, but more of an ongoing dialogue with my present life and its challenges and lessons. To bring my writing into the present moment, so that it can reach into an uncertain future. Not with a pre-planned result, but with only uncertain guidelines.

Every journey begins with a first step is the common saying, but I think also that every first step is the beginning of a new journey. What that bigger journey will be feels unclear at this time, so all I can do is take the small steps that feel right to me now. Learn to follow my own instincts more, as I think this is the only way to really make steps into genuinely new territory.

 

Underhand Sexuality

So often petty battles ensue, when you become friendly with a girl.

All guys mindlessly start competing in a pathetic ego battle.

I like being friendly with girls, but these related ego battles I find repulsive.

If you win you lose your self and your self respect, if you lose, you lose the girl and human companionship.

Fake self aggrandisement is all they are, and nothing more.

A short-term ego victory among a long-term personality failure.

Always performed on a sneaky level, refusing to be consciously discussed or considered.

Well I myself refuse to let the mindlessness continue.

I will expose it in my words and my thoughts, no matter that it leaves me isolated.

Imagine that all the furtive, creepy darkness in human sexuality and relationships were exposed to the light of day.

Imagine that we took a conscious and shared awareness of all of this.

It would probably be the death of relationships and humanity.

If we exposed all of our dirty laundry.

We would run as fast as we could, from this dangerous hallucination.

I guess this is why most people prefer to continue dreaming.

The Drawbacks of Automation

One of the consequences of the lack of belief in god and higher levels of reality and the sacred, in secularised western society, is that this lack is replaced by beliefs of another kind. There are many examples of this, such as a moral reversion to belief in materialistic idols like money and fame and celebrity worship. But, more generally, there is this underlying belief in perpetual progress. This belief feeds off a constant anxiety and angst felt by those who can find no meaning in the flattened secular world they have either chosen to accept or been made to accept as the fundamental ontological reality of existence. The next bit of progress can perpetually distract them from this existential terror.

Following on from this, the tendency is to presume that more automation has to be an unrestricted moral good for society and humanity with no drawbacks. For, it is a prime example of the kind of perpetual progress they have come to believe in as their distraction from more murky existential realities. It is the guiding star in a flattened secular era. But, like any belief, it leads to blind spots and cognitive dissonance in those areas of reality and truth that don’t fit the belief. The more this divergence is created, the more their belief becomes a moral principle that they don’t so much see in reality as try to impose on a resistant reality.

We are left with a situation where any criticism of certain positions becomes very offensive to these people. We could go into progressive social justice politics for many examples of this irrational attachment to perpetual progress. But, I want to focus here specifically on technology and automation. And even more specifically with the example of the automation of cars with driverless cars. It seems an unquestionable good, right? It’s progress, how can it not be?

But lets unpack some of the real and inevitable social ramifications of it. There are two main ways in which this can have negative effects on society in the longer term. On the one side there is this whole issue of taking away the only work and sense of productive earning of a whole sector of the population who drive cars, and concentrating all that wealth into one person, some one like Elon Musk, for instance, who creates the driverless technology. Now, this is not saying that he is a bad guy, or evil or anything like this, it is only pointing out that, those people are now going to be dependent on some rich person who knows nothing of what gives meaning and worth to their existence, for handouts. The men, and it is mostly men in this profession, who have their worthwhile earned money taken from them will lose motivation in all other aspects of their life, because the value that was guiding them has been taken away. Their vocation has gone, and they will either rely on handouts or be shuffled into some office job or other.

This, then effects their kids, their families, they will be unlikely to have any more kids if they have any already. It was actually this whole truth, pointed out in the mainstream media by Tucker Carlson that led to him being demonised by the left and all sorts of liberal groups. It was not him attacking some social justice point or minority or political correctness that was the final straw to them. It was their ultimate sacred cow of progress, that, once he questioned, they had to start attacking him at his house even, and go on this mission of demonisation. This kind of uniform thinking the left has become so good at. Check back at the history. It was a debate, I think with Ben Shapiro, where Tucker Carlson pointed this stuff out about some downsides of automation for working men with driverless cars. From that event the left could take no more, and since then they have done their best to get him silenced and off of the mainstream, though thankfully, so far their bullying tactics have failed.

Think about how irrational this is. A few reasonable and realistic points are made about some bad sides of automation. But the liberal left cannot handle it. They are too attached, and more attached than the right to this idea of progress. Everyone in the West is infected by it, but the liberal left is the strongest and blindest in its attachment to it.

Another whole area of the downside to automation in the case of driverless cars, is the lack of accountability. When there is an accident, who is going to be held accountable? The creator of the technology will just point to some statistic saying they are on the whole safer than cars driven by humans, and that will be the end of it. The specific dead people from an accident will be dismissed as a statistic that noone is going to take accountability for.

Automation is progress towards less human accountability and less human worth in an occupation and earning a living. All for what? So we can make one person very rich and we can point mindlessly to statistics saying we are a bit “safer”.

The fact is that progress in itself means nothing till we define the values we want to progress towards and how we want to order those values in importance. We see above, that the tacit assumption of automation is that safety and control are the ultimate values of progress. But these are not the ultimate and only human values to consider. As soon as we see other values, like responsibility, accountability, earning a living, then the reality of the mixed blessings of progress begin to become obviously apparent.

 

9/11: What Really Happened?

I have to be honest, 9/11 is still one event I cannot get my head around. I don’t have a clue what really happened. There are two possible standout theories to my mind, but they are so opposite and so equally likely, that it is impossible to make a reasonable judgement.

  1. The event was real, and since then many anti-american interests have tried to delude us that it did not really happen, and that it was a conspiracy by the americans to justify wars in the middle east
  2. The event was not real, and since then american interests have tried to delude us that it was real to justify more wars in the middle east.

So much hinges on which of these two propositions is correct, but I have not been able as of yet to find a way to choose between them.

What do other people think?

Holons instead of Systems

To free ourselves from the “system”, we do not need to engage in anything so dramatic as revolutions. We do not even need to take the red pill, so to speak. All that is really required is to understand that life is a system of Holons. Entities that are both wholes and parts. We ourselves are such entities. We are both a whole contained of parts, in which we assert our authority, and a part of a larger whole, where we acknowledge our interconnection with something bigger than ourselves. We have our personal aspirations and enjoyments and independence as a self as a “whole”, and we have our social roles and responsibilities as a self as a “part” of a larger whole of a family, community and society.

The basic left and right in politics depends on which of these two features we choose to emphasise. As such, we always need a healthy dialogue and dynamic between these two parts of our being. On the left I can acknowledge some value in the ecological visions of Gaia as a guiding light. While on the right I acknowledge the value of the self-assertive independence of Western principles such as freedom of speech and liberty. We need a healthy balance here. It is just like the Tao.

We cannot lose ourselves in a larger whole with delusions and posturings of altruism. Neither can we immerse ourselves completely in our isolated selves. The problem with some on the left is that they have confused and confounded the good in the ecological vision of Gaia with their own personal desire to posture morally as altruists. They have confused this higher level of organised being with a level of universality and objectivity. When such a level of generality does not exist in reality.

The problem on the right is when we refuse to acknowledge the help of others to us and posture about self sufficiency and being better than anyone else. To avoid both these extremes, what we need is not a moral shouting match, but a dialogue. We cannot have this dialogue as long as the parasite that is the mainstream media keeps interrupting our channels of communication with its emotive click bait for both sides of the debate. We need to come to a joint awareness of this common parasitical enemy that has infested our political discussion. And highlight and expose it where ever we see it.

As long as people react in predictable emotive ways to certain debates and topics the real practical considerations cannot advance one bit. The left can scream racism any time the issue of immigration comes up, if they want. But they are only denying a part of themselves and a part of all of us. For really what they mean by racism is any self assertive tendencies at all. Any self assertion has become, to their altruistic, universalistic false consciousness, a case of racism and discrimination. Would they have us all indiscriminately the same in a collective mass?

Of course, this is no solution. In which case, you are going to have to grow up and have the adult debate about immigration and where the balance is to be drawn for a social organism to maintain and sustain its continuity over time. We are not really part of any universal collective. The earth is not a universe, it is Gaia, a small localised pocket of life, and negative entropy, an island surrounded by a sea of entropy. So we must end our delusions of grandeur here. We can be a part of the larger whole that is the earth, but we are also a part of other larger wholes, such as our communities and families. Let’s not give up these real groups we belong to for the sake of some illusory ultimate group. For all that waits for us in that ultimate grouping is death.

 

Blaming the System

A common trend on the left is to blame the “system”, for the problems in society. An inability to distinguish the details of all the specific power relations of society, leads to this generic notion of a system. It is also a convenient thing to bring up after the fact whenever anything happens in society that is bad. It is conveniently always that same “system” at work which is to blame.

It doesn’t make much thinking to see that this notion of the “system” has no empirical content and is just a changeable placeholder for whatever the latest trend in power is. This notion of a system at work beyond human agency was brought to us by Karl Marx and his notion of the superstructure of society. In the 20th century it was transmuted into the doctrine of this “big other” of the world by French marxist thinkers such as Lacan. A big other that we are always fighting a battle of oppression against.

Now, I won’t deny there is some truth, for instance, to the notion that some social systems acquire a degree of inertia once in place that makes their actions much slower to change. As a result we often see the same patterns in cultures, in economics and in wars, for instance. But this inertia is not a robotic, mechanised foolproof system. Like the Shrike in Dan Simmons novels, or the terminator in the terminator movies. We are not dealing with some relentless untouchable and unchangeable machine. We are dealing with a social organism that has certain habits and ways of acting, that, to change it takes time, and the change must be enacted by human effort and agency with continuity and gradually.

Society and civilisation insofar as they exist, exist on a continuum. It is like a fabric, where to change its shape we have to avoid rupturing the fabric, because this undermines the whole society. This is the problem, once we set up this immovable object, terminator like entity of the “system”, we make ourselves the victim of it. We make it impossible to change it or overcome it. We force ourselves to indulge in fantasies and utopian visions as the only alternative and we force ourselves into a corner where the only change to that system can come through lashing out blindly and mindlessly, creating a violent revolution that will only destroy, or tear a hole in the social fabric and replace it with nothing new. But only, at best, if not with total death and destruction, replace it with something far worse and more primitive.

So, yes we need a healthy appreciation of the inertia of social institutions, but still the only way to change them is through human effort and agency, negotiation and compromise. It all sounds so limited compared to grand Utopian visions. But the latter is based on dealing with a monster that doesn’t exist, “the system”. And involves taking away the agency to do anything about it from ourselves, except random outbursts of violence.

Many on the extreme left today, for instance, refuse to engage in a reasonable debate anymore, they have decided that their opposition is an evil monster like Hitler, and so once this pent up emotion builds up out of control it inevitably finds its only release in random outbursts of violence. If this was not such a pressing and urgent problem, so destructive to our society, we could have the luxury feel sorry for them, as they have been victimised so much that they have lost any ability at this point to enact their own ideas and thoughts through their own body.

What all of us can do, is much earlier, before it gets to this point, is to show more responsibility in our dealings with people so we don’t set them down this destructive path of victimisation by some unbeatable system, but teach them more practical ways to cope, negotiate and reason in socially difficult circumstances, so that they can become empowered in their own bodies, channelling their ideas and thoughts through their bodies, rather than deferring it to some utopian dream or delusion of revolution. Every left thinker who sets the seed in peoples minds that there is this “system”, machine-like, out of our control, is engaging in a generic, lazy, irresponsible form of conspiracy thinking that sets people down a dangerous path to self destruction.