The Effect of Uprising on General Welfare

February 26, 2012 at 14:40 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

Let’s replace professionalism with basic logic here, since I have only the latter to support my claims.

My starting thesis is this:  if a communist revolution were to succeed at the current time in the United States of America, as in, if in one year the entire process of the fall of capitalism and the rise of communism played out in full, for the first year (the rest is unpredictable) each and every person in the country would have, at max, a salary of $46,791.97. And by the way, the communist system would have to be truly communist, not some faux-communism where a dictator is placed in power with a state run system over the governance of wealth.

$46,791.97 is a number generated by dividing the GDP of the United States ($14.58 trillion)by its population figure (311,591,917 people). We take the average profits made in the country and divide it by its total residency,

14.58 trillion / 311,591,917,

showing that the number produced would be what everyone would equally earn. This is, of course, a crude version of something that could be much better, but it is a good guess (since we don’t have anyone producing numbers).

This amount of money is, I kid you not, about the same amount as the median income in America in 2004:  $44,389. This means that the amount of money each person would get would be the same amount of money the average lower middle class person earns today (with the average being between $35,000 and $75,000).

This shows us a correlation that we can decipher quite easily:  any sort of revolution that proposes an “equal redistribution of wealth” would grant it if it were perfectly run and played out to its end, at least, in the U.S.

However we can see that this is a short-sighted aim, for one year of life is barely anything; what happens after that? What would happen if the U.S. were to undergo a successful communist revolution? Though quite unpredictable economically, some things that we know will happen can be listed:

1) Capital redistribution will make the economy less efficient, as in, the production process will be hurt, since cheap goods will remain cheap (see 3);

2) Money redistribution will ultimately be helped along through the old banking system, which means that a balancing of all accounts will probably be screwed up- just look at how they handle foreclosures; after this, I presume there would be no need for money, but there still has to be some sort of system that regulates how much of something you can get, so the monetary concept of credit still exists here;

3) Profits will no longer exist and a lot of business will go out of business, not because they aren’t making any money anymore (they don’t need to), but because some businesses necessarily must grow (I have in mind businesses that produce cheap goods), and this type of system is incompatible with such growth;

4) Let’s say that U.S. communism has a huge effect on the world; what happens is that a worldwide communist revolution takes place, and a global communist order is set up (this has to happen with any economy, it is a natural tendency); after this the average amount you earn becomes less and less, since each country has a different population rate and GDP;

5) Many other minor factors, including things like rebellions (don’t forget, your bourgeois buddies are, or were, revolutionaries too)

You may have noticed the trend in these problems that I have brought up. Over time, the economy will not grow and people will not get more than that average paycheck; instead, it will continue to decrease. The factors laid out above would reduce the cap of the yearly paycheck, at this time and date, to this:

$9,277.39

That’s hardly enough to survive with every year. That figure was generated with the world GDP figure being divided by the world population figure of 2010, so that’s a higher figure than it should be.

What these figures tell us are that a communist revolution is not historically ready.

Why am I even talking about the historicity of a communist revolution anyways? Don’t I hate communism as much as I hate capitalism? Well, of course. But regardless of whether or not I hate economy in general, I must be, in the Hegelian sense of the term, historical, and point to each movement of the historical spirit.

My point for this post is to reveal that the worldwide communist revolution will not come about anytime soon. Until the world is dominated by capitalism in a “global capitalist” system, a communist revolution will not be practical, and thus, will not be possible, will be unheard of. “Global capitalism” will change all of the countries with huge populations and low GDP into countries with a balance between the two, and when balance has been reached in these areas, then the communist revolution will be ready. But it won’t happen, which I will explain at a later date.

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Carmilla

February 24, 2012 at 16:49 | Posted in Everything | Leave a comment

Walden, or, Life in the Woods: A Summary, A Quotation

February 20, 2012 at 02:18 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

Portrait of Thoreau

“Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.”

Henry David Thoreau’s experiment, his most famous American excursion, was to live in the woods of Connecticut for a year, in a self-sustaining cabin during the late 1800’s. He did this to see if it were possible to live a higher life on a lower level of means, to see whether or not he could combine the hardiness of the savage with the intellectual capacities of the civilized man. He went to the woods to find himself, to find company there that he had not found in the world of men. He left men to see whether or not one could make a poor man’s living and live like a monarch. And he certainly did.

Often heralded as a preeminent transcendentalist, Thoreau was something more than his contemporaries, like Emerson:  he was thoroughly entranced by the natural world and wanted to experience it as it was. Emerson was not as “wild” as Thoreau; Thoreau even criticizes his friend as being too stuffy at some point in his writings. Unlike the transcendentalists, he saw the spiritual in all things, including man, but not in man alone. And I assume he was more down to earth than his contemporaries, who were, in my opinion, too Eastern in thought.

The heart of Thoreau’s experiment was to escape the superfluity of civilization, which could include anything that surpassed the necessary means of life. He wished to live simply, modestly, for his own sake, really. Such a selfish mode of living, perhaps; but in the end, the experiment was supposed to wake his neighbors. He described himself as bragging “as lustily as a chanticleer in the morning,” singing to them this unsung way of life, so that they who were either poor in currency or poor in spirit could find either of those things.

In this very “boring” book, as most call it, Thoreau put forth some very dangerous ideas that could easily shake up the supposed necessity of superfluity in civilization. He put forth this idea in less than a page, whereas philosophers have had to write whole volumes on the subject:

“But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in an old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.”

Man digs his own grave, working for the money to pay for his coffin! And who benefits? Everyone ends up getting better coffins, that’s all. Preposterous way of life! What does Thoreau tell us to do about this?

“When he has obtained those things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced.”

When we finally acquire the means of living, which are shelter, clothing, food, and fire, we shall be ready to journey, just as our ancestors did. The fundamental problem of the modern era is the stillness of life (or the grounding of life, i.e. in permanent cities) that has been brought about by the culture of the West. Instead of remaining inert in these places, why not use them as save havens, for when we are in danger outside of them?

Thoreau wittingly states that a farmer who works his entire life to pay off the price of his house, does not own the house:  it owns him.

What does Thoreau think about the artistic movements of his time, that wished to free men from this terrible condition?

“The best works of art are the expression of man’s struggle to free himself from this condition, but the effect of our art is merely to make this low state comfortable and that higher state to be forgotten. “

The effect of an art that expresses an ideal is an unfortunate one:  it allows us to experience the ideal without changing anything about ourselves. So we remain imprisoned under the illusion that we are free through our art.

So, art doesn’t help us out of this civilized nightmare. What do we do to escape the drudgery of civilized life? Thoreau states this quite clearly in his “mission statement” found a good ways into the book:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. “

And so he did. The “boring” part of the book comes after his philosophical section titled “Economy.” Thoreau talks about how he discovered life, and it is one of the most beautiful texts I’ve ever laid my hands on.

I’ll end with that quotation I promised in the title:

“I had this advantage, at least, in my mode of life, over those who were obliged to look abroad for amusement, to society and theatre, that my life itself was become my amusement and never ceased to be novel. It was a drama of many scenes and without an end. If we were always, indeed, getting our living, and regulating our lives according to the last and best mode we had learned, we should never be troubled with ennui.”

 

An Interesting Theory: On Apocalyptic Films

February 16, 2012 at 12:44 | Posted in Everything | 6 Comments

Slavoj Zizek is at it again when he is interviewed about his famously humorous but equally insightful usage of pop culture to describe philosophy.

An interesting idea is posed in the interview about the nature of “catastrophe” in modern day films. Zizek says that the proliferation of apocalyptic films in America and the fascination with the apocalypse has arisen out of the falling away of capitalism. He also cites that as capitalism collapses, human solidarity (or strength of relationship) is collapsing as well.

Thus, in such movies as 2012, 99% of humanity must die in order that a family of humans may live and discover that they love each other. The state of humanity is so sad today that the majority of people would never “know” each other unless all of humanity was wiped out.

Skip to 1:03 in order to hear Zizek say this (he explains better than I do):

The Subject and Anguish

February 5, 2012 at 19:23 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

What is it that causes the subject to act? What causes the human being to escape determinism and choose to act against impulse? What allows the human to be “free” in the sense that he is free to choose?

Let’s define a couple of terms before we start. Fear is being afraid of something outside of the self, while anguish is being afraid of something coming from myself. Either can be present simultaneously, or alone.

Imagine a man looking down a flight of stairs that is littered with clothing. Two feelings will arise. Fear produces a feeling of fate in the man, a feeling that universal determinism will cause him to produce the effect of, say, falling down the flight of stairs after tripping over a shoe. So he becomes a passive object in relation to these other objects.

However, this fear will produce, in man, the fundamental choice of how to proceed. Options will be weighed:  do I hold onto the rail, do I slowly descend, do I crawl on hands and knees? Then the man posits that he has a certain control over the situation. But then he realizes a horror:  his possibilities of action are not deterministic, i.e., they may not work.

Anguish is produced at the thought of choosing a possibility that would lead to one’s own future demise. Thus man transfers fate from the outside into his own organism. It is now up to the man to act, and to determine his own fate.

Thus the subject remains free and is conscious of this freedom through anguish. This is how Jean-Paul Sartre transfers the power of determinism from the outside reality into that of the human reality.

Something to Take Note Of

February 3, 2012 at 16:40 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

I do not know whether or not this is the prevailing opinion, but I had never meant to portray myself as “standing above” anyone here. Let me explain some of the motives I have, and the reasons why I have either said or acted a certain way here.

But first:

“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.”

That’s a Montesquieu quote.

My original intentions were to bring back the fruits of my labor in reading to the general populace here to enrich their lives, not to harm anyone. That intention may be seen through the fact that I enacted no personal criticisms or petty arguments through my writing. It may also be seen because the posts were also directed to me:  when I write I speak to blank walls and an empty room, mainly to hear myself speak, to criticize those parts of myself that won’t listen to rationality. But I do want to help others as well, so I have invited you to my speaking hall. Nevertheless, I move on.

The fact of the matter is that I am not claiming to be some sort of Nietzschean “Super Man” but rather a Nietzschean “Zarathustra” who is heralding the “Super Man” in all of us, who says that we each contain the ability to go beyond our condition at this moment.

In all of my posts, I find fault even in myself. The side of me that speaks through these posts is only one aspect of self; it is the side with which I “transcend,” which means more or less “forget” in this sense, the rest of my mind. The “rest of my mind” besides the rational part is, essentially, the same as everyone else.

The reason why I could not return to the chat rooms (note that my recent appearance was not a return to the old ways:  it was more or less a new method of approach) is because of my own faults, necessarily that I have a certain obsessive compulsion to know what everyone is saying at all times. I have tried to transfer this obsessive compulsion to hearing what the books on my shelf have to say, and it has nearly worked. I’ll explain where my obsessive compulsion about “knowing what others think” comes from, in a later post, because it ties in with my sexuality.

Needless to say none of this implies that any of you are “below” my concern. This is where my obsessive compulsion comes to the fore:  I have not stopped thinking about you all since I left. I cannot stop thinking about any of you. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing either. But it does show you how much I genuinely care about this place (what is more compelling in love than a physical mental clinging that cannot be fought by consciousness?).

So to sum up:  Nothing I have said is an implication that I as a whole am of a higher order than anyone here. I may imply that my rational side is (whether or not that is the truth is up to debate, but I certainly think my credentials qualify that statement), but never have I said that I am some pure, holy god-being that has no human ailments.

I am a human being just like everyone here. I don’t like my human status, but that doesn’t mean I have gone beyond it. It’s impossible to do that anyways.

A Quote to Think Upon (VI)

February 3, 2012 at 15:03 | Posted in Everything | 4 Comments

“We live in an epoch of ‘dictated social order.’ The mass determines what shall be the accepted culture, art, literature, philosophy, science, even religion. And there is no social demand for culture of a higher order, for spiritual culture, for real art or real philosophy. The social demand now is chiefly for technics…There is no desire for the things of the spirit. Spiritual energy is switched over to be applied to objects of anything but the spiritual order. The intellectuals are socially defenseless; their existence is deprived of all material support.”

-Nikolai Berdyaev, The Fate of Man in the Modern World

A Quote to Think Upon (V)

February 2, 2012 at 15:02 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

“The crisis and decline of the freedom of thought is in direct causal relation with the fact that it is not so much man’s thought which is set free, as that thought has been set free from man, has become autonomous. But this autonomy is something quite different from freedom.”

-Nikolai Berdyaev, The Fate of Man in the Modern World

A Question of Beginnings (III)

February 1, 2012 at 22:45 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

This post is a response to AKH’s inquiries in regards to my former posts on the subject of the “end” of the universe (and the rejection of the study of the origin of the universe).

“In what scientific basis is the idea that the universe may be going towards an omnipresent death?”

Before I give you these bases, I want to respond to your entire comment, because those bases are not the point of the former posts.

The point of “A Question of Beginnings” was to abandon the scope of Science for the scope of Philosophy. The generalizations outlined here are proven by Science, but they were not discovered by Science; they were discovered before Science, and Science used them to interpret the world. Herbert Spencer’s Philosophical basis (which includes all types of evolution, from evolution of the species to evolution of planetary systems) is what I have outlined here. Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin were buddies, and Darwin discovered evolution “first”; but Darwin leaned on the biological/observational side of Science; Spencer stuck to philosophical deduction and reasoning for his concept of evolution. Science has already proven Herbert Spencer’s idea of species evolution, but Science is not advanced enough (or is too advanced for us to understand) this other type of Evolution. If you want to learn thermodynamics and other hard physics, you can (that’s where the proofs are), but I already tried, and I hated it. I’ll explain why I don’t necessarily need these in a moment.

“I don’t see how evolution would lead to perfection aside from coincidence, as it isn’t a being with intentions, but just a word used to refer to the principle that things change over large amounts of time as that which cannot be sustained (rather than that which is imperfect) is lost, and that which arises and is significantly beneficial remains.”

The first thing to note is that intention does not imply consciousness (I think you are assuming it means “a being put this in motion” but you have to remember that I never make that argument). Cannot an atom moving towards another atom because of an imbalance in the electron field be called having the intention of moving towards said atom? It’s a metaphor used by humans to understand why things move, especially ones that cannot mathematically or physically explain why they move. I can say it intends to move, but I cannot say that “it mathematically must move because…”, because I am not a Scientist. Being a philosopher and not a scientist, I feel justified in saying “intend” instead of some complex formula.

Here’s another metaphor (this one is used by chemistry professors):  Scientists (or at least, people trying to explain to us lay persons those tough scientific principles) often say atoms are “attracted” to each other with an imbalance in their electron fields, but that doesn’t mean they literally are attracted to one another, and does not imply they have consciousness. It’s just a method of comparison by which humans learn general things about earth. And that’s what Philosophy is:  generalizations about reality that can be applied through all fields in order to obtain knowledge. Some argue this is archaic but I say we lack it now.

I’d like to continue down the trail of the use of “intention.” If we trace back our race to animals, do animals have intentions? Their intention is not conscious, but it is willed, it is survival (the intent to survive). What about plants? Do they have intentions? Not conscious, certainly, and not willing. What kind of intention could a plant have, if it has no consciousness, will, or conscious will? The intention of a plant is purely biological:  the intention of the plant is the intent to grow, and nothing more. Trace it back further. What is the intent of inorganic matter? The atoms of inorganic matter have the “intent” of combining together to form more sustainable wholes. So their “intent” is purely physical, a phenomenon of some type of magnetism that can be explained by mathematics and the function of energy in matter.

And plus, if we look at intention as “determination to do something,” we definitely see why this is used as a metaphor:  because Evolution is very determinant (except where dissolution is prominent and makes “mistakes” in organisms that are evolving).

“after many years of evolution humans still struggle with happiness: it’s not beneficial to survival or the propagation of our genes because it makes us relaxed, despite the fact it’s something we want and many of us use it as a standard for how good a life is.”

When did I say that any utopia would be formed, that humans would evolve into “happy” beings? If you thought by perfection I meant some human type of perfection, I didn’t explain what I meant. So I’ll do it now. By perfection I meant the complete balance of energy and matter in the “system” called the universe. So I actually meant “stabilization.”

I know that I said that Herbert Spencer’s idea of a utopia being created was folly, because he earlier said that we would instead experience “omnipresent death”; I never said that a utopia was the correct view of Spencer because it isn’t. It doesn’t make sense with his other conclusion, and as you pointed out, Evolution doesn’t lead to it. So in that case Spencer was, indeed, wrong.

“Another example of what I’m trying to get across: humans have weak lower backs (they are easily injured), but if we somehow did not end up modifying our species using genetic engineering in the future, this would likely never go away, as it’s no criteria on which to select mates and it doesn’t usually affect people until middle age or older (if ever) and is not usually a barrier to survival.”

Humans are not the end product of evolution. That is a very moot point if you believe (as I believe and as I am sure you also believe) in an old earth. We can’t say we are the end product simply because we are the first species to have the ability to say so. Think about this:  why do species evolve into new species? Because the imperfections of the lower species cannot be cleaned out anymore (i.e. evolution cannot physically transform them into anything better within their species), so they must take on new forms that can take on more adaptations and take out more imperfections.

“Applying this to the universe, I see no reason energy and matter would be lead to equilibration, going by either the way evolution works or how evolution would lead the universe in that direction (what quality does it have that means evolution would lead the universe to it?).”

The quality is the movement of energy. Energy moves from a high-energy area to a lower-energy area, kind of like the movement in osmosis. That’s what Evolution is (Evolution isn’t some random biological phenomenon, as I stated in the post:  it is also a phenomenon occurring in inorganic objects like solar systems or stars, or even atoms). Thermodynamics, the study of temperature in a system, has proven that energy cannot be created or destroyed, and that it spreads out in a system so that a high concentration of energy (in the universe, there are multiple of these centers, but in thermodynamics you deal with one “system” which is something like a cylinder) produces a heated center and emanates throughout the cold outer areas until the entire area is equally occupied by energy. The only reason Evolution happened was because, somehow, an uneven distribution of energy ended up being in the universe. We’re being moved by a (still called) “divine” cause, which is beyond our control; that “divine “cause is NOT a god, but energy that moves us; it is energy that moves us to live, it is energy that moves us to move it along its way to equilibrium more quickly. The only true reason for existence that is not made up is the passage of energy through an imbalanced system, but that isn’t a reason at all, more like a circumstance.

So to respond to that question at the beginning (though I may have responded somewhat already), thermodynamics is the basis of what I am saying. I am not versed in thermodynamics; what I do know is that it posits that temperature exists, that heat is a byproduct of the transference of energy from high to low areas of concentration, and that an equilibrium of energy in a system is what is naturally supposed to occur over time.

In conclusion:  Spencer said that the truth of Religion and the truth of Science could be combined:  that is, the “Unchangeable Essence” of the universe, which religion called god and science called “law,” were the same thing, but that science described it more empirically, religion more generally. Philosophy, though, is the best way to view “law” or god, and we see through its scope that the general and the empirical can be combined to form a vertical plane of knowledge (i.e., one that can be applied on both macro- and micro- levels, and everything in between) that can be transposed onto other fields in order to make generalizations to be filled in by fact and to be overturned if the case be necessary.

A Quote to Think Upon (IV)

February 1, 2012 at 15:00 | Posted in Everything | 2 Comments

“In reality we are witnessing a return of the human mass to the ancient collective with which its history began; the return to a state which preceded the development of personality. But this ancient collective takes on civilized forms and uses the technical instruments of civilization.”

-Nikolai Berdyaev, The Fate of Man in the Modern World

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