For Halloween Week, I figure I should get some dark posts in…. If you are in a happy mood, skip this post. Seriously.
[I am not nearly eloquent enough to make this post seem positive. So though it may seem very dreary, know that it is not as heavy as it sounds. The heaviness is a fault of my description, not some insanity that plagues me. Please be lighthearted when reading this…This post is permeated with personal examples. They are not to make me sound better or something like this, they just are the only worldview I possess and therefore are the only examples I know to use… It is also super fragmented, so bear with me…]
Free will might be necessary, but I fear it has ruined this world. I cannot trust my brothers or sisters to have anything besides their own selfish agenda to put forth over everyone else on a personal level. This is not the way things are supposed to be. But I have never known anything else and I still have little hopes every day. And I no longer wish to hope. I put hope in people; I hope for the future; I hope until the very second it all turns to gray and the dawn of another letdown. I am hope-filled on a daily basis, like a little kid in wonder of the world. But not concerning the big picture. I have heard that my generation seems to be the most hopeless to exist, and I can see why. My hopelessness is not dismal for the ultimate end of each individual, but it is devastatingly difficult to hope for the human race as a whole. We are spiraling wreckage 33,000 ft high, and rooting for ourselves (and no others) the whole way down…
I still can’t believe people. How can we be expected to hope when our neighbors are so passionately hapless, vapid, morally bankrupt members of this neutral world? (This is just the average guy I am talking about [sadly], not the disturbed criminal or some exemplary individual) There is no longer a view that we should seek to control our passions or have relationships that serve to strengthen ourselves and those around us. There is only the dark, lonely world in which we have become slaves to our own wills. Our intellects have been neglected with the rise in Nietzsche and Schopenhauer’s worship of will (if you do not know who these men are explicitly, you know their legacy in the way they have shaped society. They are responsible for showing us that the will is to be followed at any cost and without regard to the intellect or any authority outside ourselves [which in turn, you might notice, was taken and expanded by Freud and many other prominent historical figures]). ‘Do not appeal to reason or past chains of authority (no matter how reasonable)! You are your own person and should do what you will!’ These men who, as philosophers, claimed reason was the answer to most questions in life failed to see that reason being left out of personal life and views was defeatist logically to their own view (how can you reason your way to claiming reason is unimportant?). [An even bigger problem with these men’s philosophies is that those who pronounced it erred in doing so. For if they wished to get ahead and be the super and will-furthering men they sought to be, shouting it from the mountain tops would just alert the world to their goals and ensure they helped others. This altruism that they displayed in showing others how to be the ‘best’ shows that they didn’t practically believe the creed they claimed and helping others was even to them a valuable thing.]
Self-control has become viewed as ignorant and archaic. “Don’t think, indulge and seek for yourself alone!” I am ashamed at the human race on a daily basis because of this. Personal morality on terms of issues such as reverence for human life, including objectification of others (especially in sexual, emotional, or professional realms; i.e. ‘I don’t love you, I need to indulge a sexual passion,’ ’I don’t love you, I need a boyfriend to share my life with,’ ’You have no worth to me, I need your status or knowledge,’ respectively [but not encompassing-ly]), respect for all people, and the literal view of the sacredness of each life, concepts like gratitude and altruism, and common decency and self-reflection have been demolished in favor of insecurities and self-doubt:
“…for the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubt about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether…”
– Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy
It started with a change in the ideas of morality and personal honor, having much to do with the self-esteem movement and a warped view of the value of the human being:
No longer is morality given a standard – ‘Your morals have become a transient choice, often based on nothing other than whims. You can choose what is right for the world, based not on knowledge of the world and the reason a particular thing should be a certain way, but on your comfort level. You needn’t even be careful with your choice, because you can always justify your behavior or your standard later. [There is a standard now called ‘ethics’ that sets a minimum standard of behavior. This is okay, not for any reason in particular, but just because there should be some rules of how we should act. Forget where we drew the line (or how we found it) between this new ‘ethics’ and morality, ethics is the new standard and you can pick personal morals yourself.]’
No longer is honor or societal worth in question – ‘You are all special because you are all the same [even despite premise 1].’ Equality was changed from the idea that we should all receive the same treatment to the idea that we are all the same. Modern feminism does not seek equal rights for women and men; it seeks to erase the distinction so those rights are ensured. Modern race theory does not seek to celebrate differences between races; it seeks to make everyone gray. ‘We are created equal, as the Constitution explicitly claims.’
[It is interesting to note that there is an interesting contradiction in this liberal mantra: ‘You are different, but you are the same. Choose for yourself but you get these rights. Believe this but believe whatever you want. There is no best, but you are the best to decide your life. Be accepting of the world around you but don’t accept those who do not accept your views of acceptance.’]
A system of virtue holds the key to the above problems:
- An appeal to Plato and Aristotle is key here. Somehow, we do, as humans, have a minimum standard that is common among all. This minimum has been devolving lower and lower, and now only the basic primal behavior is outlawed. But there is a standard, a pie-in-the-sky golden yardstick that says there is a right answer to a moral problem. But we no longer seek that standard, because we have been told it does not exist. But as I developed in a previous post, it is virtue that we need to seek, in particular knowledge:
“I think knowledge is a virtue as well, and the more knowledge you have, the better choices you can make, and the more choices you make, the wiser (yet another virtue) you become. In gaining this wisdom through knowledge (combining both the physical facts of the world with the experiential aspects of life), we become more informed about the decisions we will have to make, and this gives us the ability to operate our free will (the ability to make the right choice) more fully (total Aristotelian and Platonic virtue concepts, developed a little by me to involve the most useful understanding of free will that I know…If dis-education were expanded to other areas, you can see how problems would not only manifest themselves within each person’s moral action and thought, as we see in [moral] dis-education, but also their professional application of science in the workplace. The less you know about biology, physiology, physics, diagnostics, and anatomy as a doctor, the less informed choices you will be able to make in your treatment of a patient. It is about choice and the ability to make informed decisions and education is always its key. The same is true for life and morals. The less we know about the way the world works, the less likely our moral view will be correct. Though the decision might not become simpler (on the contrary, it will likely get harder), the more we know (as x, being knowledge, approaches infinity – in which case there would be a legitimate right answer), the more likely we will make a correct moral choice…The more we know, the more uniform our choice will become, until we know everything and there is one right decision…”
- There is a moral standard inherent in man. Although no man possesses it fully, I assure you it exists. Modern philosophy has taught us, however, that we can reject this standard and appeal to a bare-bones view called ‘ethics.’ Where the line has been drawn in morality to create ‘ethics’ seems to be somewhat arbitrary, but in all is a basic standard of social facilitation. And by basic, I mean very basic. Concentration on the self is of the utmost importance in the new view. Appeal to no one and the world [objectified] is [literally] yours. But part of being human is not having the world subject to you, but being subject to the world. That is how was got into this whole greenie movement about saving the earth. We objectified the world as our own and now we have naught to show for it except deterioration of our life support system. The world does not belong to us. We belong to it. As such, our view is never totally correct. Our subjective experience does not allow it. But we can improve our view. In order to do it, however, we need to reflect on our lives and criticize ourselves before moving on to critiquing other areas of life. “What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism,” (Chesterton). ‘Me first!’ is a brilliant way to think about self-criticism. But nothing else… [The conquering of the ego is for another post]
- The confusion about equality and sameness is somewhat to be expected. But we were not created equally, and we are not the same. Evidence of this is clear in life. From being born retarded, to being gifted with running speed, to having good eyesight, to almost any realm, humans have different levels of achievement that are personal to their own being. And that should never be discussed in a negative fashion. What we are born with or without is not up for question of if we should have it. At the same time, that does not mean any life is worth less than another. Everyone should be treated with a sense of personal dignity and respect that is tied to being human. Being a person should dictate how we respond to each other, but not how we limit each other. Equal rights and sameness are not equivalent. In seeking to erase our differences, we are seeking to ruin one of the most powerful aspects of our humanity.
- [It is easy enough for us to imagine a conservative dystopia: Hitler Germany, Stalinist Russia, etc. Liberal dystopias that are so rarely discussed are where western culture seems to be headed. Examples of this can be seen in Harrison Bergeron by Vonnegut, in which all those with special abilities must suppress them or they will be taken by the government. Also see Incompetence by Grant (A world where you cannot hire based on ability and the entire system fails because people are not allowed to discriminate who they hire based on skill) or Facial Justice by Hartley (women’s faces all made to look the same so that none are more beautiful than the other), or Logan’s Run (in which the world is a nonstop sexy party of indulgence but people die very young of being coddled so much and having their every desire sated), among a few others.]
“My vision of perfection assuredly cannot be altered; for it is called Eden. You may alter the place to which you are going; but you cannot alter the place from which you have come. To the orthodox there must always be a case for revolution; for in the hearts of men God has been put under the feet of Satan. In the upper world hell once rebelled against heaven. But in this world heaven is rebelling against hell. For the orthodox there can always be a revolution; for a revolution is a restoration. At any instant you may strike a blow for the perfection which no man has seen since Adam. No unchanging custom, no changing evolution can make the original good anything but good.”
– Chesterton, Orthodoxy
[…”What about you…You preach very well, but do you carry out what you preach?” This to me is the most natural of questions and one that is always asked of me; it is usually asked victoriously, as though it were a way of stopping my mouth. “You preach, but how do you live?” And I answer that I do not preach, that I am not able to preach, although I passionately wish to. I can preach only through my actions, and my actions are vile…And I answer that I am guilty and vile, and worthy of contempt for my failure to carry them out.
At the same time, not in order to justify, but simply in order to explain my lack of consistency, I say: “Look at my present life and then at my former life, and you will see that I do attempt to carry them out. It is true that I have not fulfilled one thousandth part of [my moral precepts], and I am ashamed of this, but I have failed to fulfill them not because I did not wish to, but because I was unable to. Teach me how to escape from the net of temptations that surrounds me, help me and I will fulfill them; even without help I wish and hope to fulfill them.
“Attack me; I do this myself, but attack me rather than the path I follow and which I point out to anyone who asks me where I think it lies. If I know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way because I am staggering from side to side?! If it is not the right way, then show me another way; but if I stagger and lose the way, you must help me, you must keep me on the true path, just as I am ready to support you. Do not mislead me, do not be glad that I have got lost, do not shout out joyfully: ‘Look at him! He said he was going home but he is crawling into a bog!’ No, do not gloat, but give me your help and support.”
– Tolstoy in a letter to a friend]
The hardest part about this whole issue and my hopeless generation is that people do not connect hope with reality. I think the hope we find in those closest to us is much stronger than the hopelessness in the masses. Everyone knows this. But for some reason we staunch feelings of comfort, exhilaration, and respect for those around us before it gets a chance to grab ahold of us. These are the little hopes I referenced earlier. My daily battle is connecting hope to experience. I am excited every day to see people and learn about the world. But that excitement is never reconciled. The other party is apathetic and my hope is murdered. And how can it be expected that I remain exhilarated about life when no one else is? How can I care about everyone when no one else does!? And then I am apathetic. And the cycle starts over (luckily I have a restart every morning). Apathy is the most dangerous thing to ever exist because it spreads unchecked, dampening the light…
Although it is devastating to my view of humanity, why isn’t this view the necessary destruction of personal salvation (whatever that may be)? Because as a person, I cannot be held accountable for a worldview I have never been exposed to. I can only be judged according to that which is right and true in my experience and the reasonable moral developments therein. So you are safe from my judgment. But we are not…
Do I feel strongly about this? Yes. Does it leave me depressed? No, I still have the instinct of hope…for now…
Think for yourself, but with the guide and ranger as facilitators of thought. This world does not have to be the worse for anyone around you for your being in it…But that might be something you ask yourself daily: Is this world a better place for my having been here? I would guess for most people that it honestly is not…
How should we view each other? The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer is a possible answer:
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from it’s presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live and how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me to know where or what or with whom you have studied, I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”
My posts are starting to remind me of Blaise Pascal’s Pensees with how disorganized they are…
Cheer up. I am still a possession of joy despite this view. After all, “He is a [sane] man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head.” (Chesterton) Now go watch a youtube video from the posts a’past!