Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Shaking the Rust Off

August 6, 2009

It frightens me how much people confine themselves by defining themselves. It frightens me even more how this concept of identity is most often supported by the Socratic maxim “Know thyself”.

Self is a verb people. At least any sort of ‘self’ we would recognize with our 5 sense. The kind of self that rights blogs, talks to others, etc. This self is a verb, until it dies. Selfhood is a process, a growing, a shrinking, a loving, a hating… a changing.

If you ask yourself “who am I?” You change who you are as a result of answering the question. The question itself is unanswerable. Not due to incoherence, or lack of information, but do to the fact that the subject matter is the observer. To study the subject is to change the subject of study.

If we ask questions as a mode of definition we will never understand things truly. We must ask questions in hopes of understanding – a process that might have no terminal horizon in some categories. This questions most often occur when looking inward, toward the self. The toughest questions, as it turns out, are those closest to our grasps, not furthest away.

Who knows more about you than you? Yet, even in the perfection of our mind and spirit, we cannot pull a summation of our existence from our self. We cannot pin ourselves down. Because human selfhoods change. They are change. They are becoming. Hence, there is no reason to fear death, but I digress.

What bugs me are the people who are ‘individuals’ who ‘know themselves’. How are they ever free? How do they ever grow? We must try to be someone we are not if we ever aim to grow, or become better, or to adapt. Almost all limitations are ones we set for ourselves. Usually out of fear or comfort. There are exceptions, of course, but most of the time this is the cause of it.

We need to begin to understand that not all questions are answerable, and just because a question is unanswerable does not mean it isn’t worth asking.

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Walking Shadow

June 2, 2009

“A representation, however, changes neither the environment for the condition of the organism itself. An image making creature, therefore, is on that indulges in the making of useless objects or has ends in addition to the biological ones.” – Hans Jonas The Phenomenon of Life pb 158.

The image itself does not change the organism, but does the process? Does the ability to ‘create’ a ‘useless’ object imply an unbiological desire of man to do so? Can an ability be discovered prior to any desire to do so? What are the biological ramifications of this? Furthermore, does the viewing of the image have any affect? Here of course comes the idea of aesthetic beauty but also visceral repulsion. Doesn’t this constitute a use, even biologically? (Like a butterfly changing colors to frighten). What if other things had this desire and ability – Hans Jonas says that makes them one of us – is that so? Can we tell something about a creator by their creation? If so, then doesn’t that constitute a change in that creator in terms of its ontological revelation of self.

“I am very sorry, good Horatio, that to Laertes I forgot myself, for by the image of my cause I see the portraiture of his.” – William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act 5 Scene 2.

How much can one reveal about himself? Only so much as one knows about oneself. At least on purpose, I suppose. At what point do we become what he represent to others? At what point do we become the representations that we see from others? It is one biological question to say that we create these images to begin with (as Hans Jonas points out) but completely another to say that we fight and kill other humans over these images. Such fruitless killing has no evolutional advantage at the best and is completely contrary to evolution at its worst. What tie do images have to us? That they can go from being what connects us to what control us? Are we telephone operators connecting images together – or puppeteers – or puppets.

“I, the godhead’s image, who thought myself \ close to the mirror of eternal truth, \ and stripped of my mortality, \ saw Heaven’s light and clarity reflect on me. \ I, more than Cherub, with unbounded power \ presumed to course through Nature’s arteries \ to create and live the life of a divinity — \ now I must do penance without measure;\ one thunder-word has swept me off to nothingness.” – Goethe’s Faust Part I lines 614-622

It is not a new idea to say that we have a nature inside us that seems most particular. It is however a new idea to assume that such a power might not be good – at all. Certain doubts have always been raised, but we have come to a point where it is acceptable to completely mistrust man’s possible divinity. Unfortunately, by removing possible divinity (whether it was ever there or not) you remove the possible divine responsibility. The images that once connected us, or even enraged us, are now sedating us. We are the anti-Faust who have unshackled ourselves from the divine cravings so as to avoid the devil’s temptations. Rather than delve into our own image-making and discover ourselves (“Is parchment then the sacred fount \ from which a draft will quench our thirst forever? You must draw in from your inward soul \ or else you’ll not be satisfied.”) we use those same images to keep our eyes peering outside on digital parchments, in electronic hymns, and in bestial behavior, often violent and sexual.

“…what is man that You have been mindful of him, \ mortal man that You have taken note of him \ that You have made him little less than divine, \ and adorned him with glory and majesty.” Psalms 8 5-6.

what is man that he is not mindful of himself, moral man that he cannot take note of himself, that he has made himself little less than divine, and adorned himself with glory and majesty.

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Axiom I

May 26, 2009

Every physical actuality is the sign of a metaphysical possibility.

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It Is Not Good That Man Should Be Alone

March 3, 2009

“So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:20.

Genesis has two creation stories. They both exist because each tell us something different, yet necessary, about the origins of humanity. In the Judaea-Christian tradition that claims it, Genesis is the first occurrence of God acting through history and the story itself is a summary of not only the origins of man but the his nature and the rest of time that will follow. By giving us an account of our origins it also gives us an account of our nature and the timelessness of our constant situation.

The two accounts of man’s creation are clearly different. They have different details and different focuses. The first is man’s place in the whole of things. His merely one piece of a seven day puzzle. The second gives an account of things from his point of view. We will focus on this anthropocentric chapter.

Adam is created alone. Adam exists alone for some time. Enough time to name the things of the earth as is his function given by God. Adam is given dominion over the Garden of Eden and is given a rule to follow – the rule of God. Adam may converse with nature but ultimately couldn’t find a suitable helper.

From Adam comes Eve. It is important to note that Eve is different in some important ways. Eve is not Adam, yet she is like Adam “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh”. Eve is not like Adam in other ways – she is, in fact, female. It is not necessary that God created a female for Adam because death is not introduced yet. Yet “man and woman he creates them”.

This shouldn’t be particularly shocking to anyone since we still exist as man and woman and these difference perplex us still, but it is important to note that if God acts through history and biology then this means something else. Man, as a species, exists as a duality.

It is not good that man should be alone. In sex, in race, in speech, or in religion. We learn this again in the tower of Babel story. It is not good because man needs a ‘helper’. To exist, even in paradise, man needs a helper. That helper will be born of the same flesh and bone of the man and exist under the same covenant and same laws. Yet that helper will exist in a different way, its job will be different, its life will be different. It is not good for Eve to be alone either.

Other than previous importance that this story has had, I would like to add a new one. Genesis demands a duel covenant theology. It is not good for even the new man to be alone. As Christians claim to lead us to a new Paradise it is important to remember where they came from. Judaism was the first to receive God’s law, God’s covenant, and God’s word like Adam in the Garden. God decided it was not good for Judaism to exist alone and made for ‘him’ a helper. That helper, like Eve, was to fulfill the potential of the previous but could not replace Adam. Hence, our current situation of two seperate but equal covenants.

The job of the two churches is to coexist. Christians should not convert Jews and Jews shouldn’t covert Christians. Instead they should help each other grow in faith by challenging and educating. This is the history of man, the history of our origins, and the history of God written in the stories of Genesis.

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Much Ado About Nothing II

February 19, 2009

Nothing can only exist if there is a something in relation to it to define its absence. Likewise if two somethings exist as separate entities then nothing must exist in a form of being between them. Thus, either things always were hence time never was OR things originated out of nothing and hence why we experience time.

In reality both are true in different senses. We did arrive from nothing in some sense but always were in another thus validating (circularly) my understanding of nothing in its relation to being. Parts of us come from nothing and parts of us may be closer related to nothing that things as we know them. This also validates (circularly) my understanding of humanity as inwardly contradictory beings that are irreconcilably split and best understood through metaphor rather than pure reason.

Thus what I say might not be right, but it is at least internally coherent and thus I am happy… for now.

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A Weapon is an Enemy Even to Its Owner

October 8, 2008

(Subtitled: On Ownership)

My last post brought to light a discussion originally spurred by comments about the ownership of thoughts and whether they could be stolen. An investigation, like most of this sort, left me still curious but slightly more in favor of no rather yes. Perhaps this is so because of my idea of ownership. Originally this comment was in regards to a publication but we shall discuss it in terms of music. Because its more fun for me.

Nietzsche once said “Without music life would be an error”. I tend to agree and in order to avoid life being an error, without spending too much cash, I participate in music piracy. This, above all other forms in our generation, is the most famous use of “intellectual property” and thus the greatest example of “intellectual thievery”. But even this recently famous example of intellectual thievery leaves me begging the question – Is any musician actually worried about me stealing their IDEA.

It is important to keep in mind that the IDEA never leaves the artists head. The song and its lyrics are still within the singers head, the music is still credited to their names, and they are still known as the creator or at least originator of that song. Have I stolen any of that? The answer is clearly no. It is not like I am covering Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven and claiming I wrote. I just want to listen to it for free. So if I am not stealing their idea, why ARE they so angry?

Money. Musicians are angry because they are losing money – some are rich and some are poor but all don’t want to lose their money. Once again we return to a physical medium to apply our term of theft. You don’t see prosecutors talking about the musicians lack of inspiration because you stole it, or talking about identity theft because you are saying you are John Lennon. Rather they appeal to our pockets. They tell us about how the artist deserves compensation for their ideas. There is a money value attached to ownership. That is what we mean when we say internet piracy – you are not stealing ideas, you are stealing money. Except, of course, the money you steal is your own.

Why do I begin with this example? A couple of reasons. The first being to justify my use of internet piracy. The second is because it is a popular and understandable example. The third is to avoid the immediate argument I always hear when talking about ownership. The argument is a conversation killer and it comes from two people. The argument is “Nobody really owns anything” and its dangerous because it may be true but useless because we aren’t talking about ownership in relation to God or nature. What we are talking about is a very real phenomenon that even children experience. That experience may have no basis in truth but as a phenomenon that does REALLY happen we must investigate it.

The fact of the matter is that we do claim to OWN things. Otherwise stealing wouldn’t be bad. I often here the argument is this way: “Of all created comforts, God is the lender; you are the borrower, not the owner”. That may be true but then we still must discuss why God would tell us not to STEAL things then. We still must discuss ownership as a logical fiction even if it is merely created by us because in all people there is a cry for ownership. Such tragic cries for justice come against theft, vandalism, oppression, taxation, and rape (this would be a claim that you OWN your own body). If nothing was owned by anyone – why do we get outraged at such things. Shouldn’t be outraged at such things?

Thus I open a larger question while trying to resolve my own. I still believe it is impossible to own ideas but I do not remove the options. In the meantime we must find more useful ways of talking about ownership in general. People die over ownership all the time. Nationalism, patriotism, crime, law, order, and war all find roots in ownership. Ownership may cause them, but ownership also fixes them. For if we do not own ourselves and our actions than we will forever be making these mistakers. So I pose the question: are we screwed or just screwed up? Are we doomed to use our goods as bads and to do evil in the name of ownership when really we have arrived at this understanding of ownership because of evil that happens? How can rape so clearly remind us that we own our bodies yet ownership over another has justified rape so many times? Why does humanity turn upon itself in this way?

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O, what men dare do! What men may do! What men daily do, not knowing what they do!

December 12, 2007

 Arriving Where We Are

Finally we take an frightening step out from underneath the shadow of ‘being’. The two previous posts have set up a distinction which has lead to an utter paradox, a complete flip-flop, a disappointing maybe, and a host of questions unanswerable by their very natures. So we step away to investigate the possibility of freedom permeating ‘being’ like a disease causing the parts to act independent of the whole. Such a distinction has two problems. The first: How does anything exist separate from being – doesn’t existence imply being? Second: How does freedom’s appearance in being help us understand the possible salutation to the paradox in front of us.

First a restatement of the paradox: If things exist, they exist because they have beingness, then separation exists between it and other existents. Hence nothingness, the space between beings, must also exist – but if nothing exists, then we have some problems. Furth more, our experience leads us to believe that nothing exists – shadows and donut holes for instance.

The seeming solution to this paradox is that all things are under one existence, and hence nothing has ‘beingness’, but rather everything is in being, and the space between them is just an illusion of depth. This, though it answers our paradox, leaves us as unexplained phenomena – human beings seem very much separate, very much sentient, and would like to claim the same is true for other things in this world. From the investigation of these two paradoxes we see truth in both, and hence, without sufficient reason to disregard either, must plod along trying to make these seemingly true observations match with an abstract theoretical model – in hopes to be as internally cohesive as we can with our belief structure.

The Assumption

Freedom, the virus which infects beings causing them to stand separate from Being, must somehow also share in this special ontology we ascribe to human beings, if it can be said to do such separation. Note here multiple assumptions arise to echo previous conversations. If such a separation of beings from Being exist, or must exist, (this is a big IF) then ONE possible salutation is found in the phenomena of freedom (for it is freedom which allows man to work against the whole constantly, to work against laws, to work against seeming good). It is freedom which gives something the ability to stand out as individual – for freedom means autonomy. Hence, one salutation, gleaned from our own nature (since it was our nature as autonomous which leads us to this question, the answer might lay there) is to say freedom coexists with being as the fundamental principle of things in the world.If such is the case, and freedom is as primordial, as basic, as foundational as being itself… what sort of substance must it be? In regards to the assumptions leading us here, I cannot tell you if they are true, but I can tell you that if they are true, one thing is certain, and that is freedom is nothingness. Freedom is an absence, a lack of, a void – similar to the perceived void between objects. It is a nothing, which maintains the aspects of a thing, like a shadow or a donut hole.

Definitions and other Clerical Boredom

Freedom is the lack of another will on a being. This is to say that no will commands the being in its ways. In terms of beings within Being, this freedom comes from chance (see also. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle). The phenomena of chance, the idea of unknown future, statistics and probabilities, are all signs of a lack of a unified will. Being simultaneously falls into entropy and arises into life as if neither bore more significance. Despite the need for unity under the umbrella of Being (a need which is spiritual, metaphysical, and logical) reality instead plunges us into chaos, fracturedness, and folly.

The fracturedness of beings from Being arises as necessity because of Chance, and hence Freedom. Chance implies different ends occurring to the same objects for unknown or unknowable reasons. In that case, both objects must stand separated in the eyes of this chance whether cognoscente of their new found changes or not. Chance means distinctions. What is worn with pride on one, is a sign of disgust in the other.Freedom lies at the wellspring of existence. Whatever force called things into existence separated them also. Chance brings entropy but also brought life – the combatant of entropy. It is between life and non-life that ‘beingness’ is most different. The way in which a non-living object exists in the world, is far different than that of the living. To reduce one to the other is a folly I have no time to go into.

Freedom and Neediness


Likewise, the freedom of a non-living thing is precisely to have no will… it simply exists. The freedom of the living thing holds many difficulties, contradictions, and paradoxes. It would seem that freedom accompanies neediness, for instance, which makes all living things slaves to their needs.

Being free means being able to do. Being able to do means having fulfilled all prerequisites to the doing. Here enters neediness. We want to do things but need things in order to do things – so much so that even our most free decisions require the production of enslaved decisions. From this understanding arises the idea of freedom as a lack.Freedom is the lack of another’s influence acting upon your will. Freedom, whether it exists or not, is not something you have so much as something everyone else lets you have. Materiality demands influence on a will – the amount or type is a debate throughout academia. Likewise, Being is an influence upon your will. To be totally free would mean to not exist. For existence puts needs on your will, limits, definitions, separations, and desires. We see this even in physics. The ancients believed that rocks had a desire to fall to the ground – to return to their likeness – when they are dropped. We call this gravity, to them it was a desire. Such phenomena as magnetism, weak force, small force, and electro-magnetic forces accompany gravity in this category which places desires on physical objects. Desires that science has yet to discovered the nature of, or exact being of.

Electrons and Freedom

Finally we begin to shed light on this proper noun Being. What science calls ‘laws’ seem to be Being forcing unification onto beings (the parts that make up Being). Such a discovery moves one toward the idea of Being as a whole – moving toward unity. However, such a claim would be to ignore Heisenberg. Being seems composed of equally as many paradoxes as it does laws. The electron often breaks laws, bends rules, and defies understanding. They are the smallest particles of chaos, the defenders of freedom, and the seeds of Chance – from whose breast all life springs – or so it seems.

Salvation, or the fall of Man


At the heart of this enslaving existence lies chaos; the mumbles of a revolution. At the beginning of existence- whether big bang or genesis- the earth was without form. All was darkness, all was one, and nothing was free. The big bang, what an ironic thing, a wonderful symbol, a delicious metaphor, but an utter confusion when described by those who demanded its existence. Scientists, of all humans, misunderstand the big bang the most. The origin of the world, the origin of being, in the big bang is outside time, outside space (infinitely small), and utterly utterly slavish and small. Everything was one thing before the big bang. Freedom’s emergence from the big bang comes with a force that is unknown to this universe – the force of creation, of separation, of becoming. Such a force replicated today – would destroy all. Its emergence was not an action, however, to be reproduced, it was an error by all accounts. Freedom was the fundamental break down of laws and of harmony. It was the void caused by agitated electrons and by bubbling energy. Even before time could pass, or begin, or end, or be – there was a historic war of freedom against Being which then tears existence into two. Suddenly there are ‘things’ and ‘nothings’, in fact a lot more ‘nothing’ than ‘things’. The oneness was over.Freedom as a lack means that Chance cracked the egg of the big bang and from that crack oozed existence. Freedom is a hole in the laws of physics, an anomaly predating time, at war with utter unity. Its fearsome combat with unity forged an existence fraught with paradox and misunderstanding the greatest of which is the product of that Big Bang, the child of a torn existence, which we call Time.