Posts Tagged ‘Brainstorm’

Thinking in Singular

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

I think a lot of confusion in thinking and discussing comes from failing to recognize one crucial requirement for having clarity: singular. What I mean by this is that it is absolutely clear what we are talking about, a single thing, clearly defined and described AS SUCH, without vagueness and room for guessing around. Otherwise we’re trying to “focus” on two or more things at once and that is no focus at all.

The effect of such lack of focus or clarity is that we basically don’t know what we’re talking about and end up making judgments that are terribly at odds with reality. Yet this ends up leading our action in false hope for desired positive results. Focusing on singular and thinking in singular rather than plural, is a key to precise thinking.

This came to me when I was trying to explain why I don’t believe in the existence of a “collective” in reality and thus why I don’t believe in “collective rights”. The argument is that the “collective” is in fact solely a mental abstraction describing multitude or plural. Two or more human beings can then be described as a collective. Two or more trees can be described as a collective (and synonymously a “forest”, another similar mental concept) and two or more cells can be described as a collective (or synonymously a multicellular organism).

As such this mental abstraction is similar to numbers. The only difference between saying “collective” and saying a number like “4″ is that in the former you don’t specify exactly how many, merely that there are more than one (plural) whereas in the latter you’re specifying how many. But a number 4 itself doesn’t exist in reality. Looking at 4 people you see “4″ in your head merely because you have the mental capacity to count. If you didn’t then you wouldn’t have the mental concept of “4″ to use in your description of what you see. Same goes with the concept of a “collective”. You see “more than one”.

But does a collective actually exist in reality? This isn’t the same question as the question “do individuals referred to by “4 people” exist or “do cells referred to as an “organism” exist”. It is a question like “do 4 people exist as an individual” or “does a forest exist as a tree” or “does an organism exist as a cell” or “does a molecul exist as an atom” and so on.

The formula is: Does a plural of X exist as a singular X where X is equal? The answer is always inevitably negative because it is:

A plural of trees cannot be a tree, it can be an individual forest. A plural of cells cannot be a cell, but it can be an individual organism. A plural of atoms cannot be an atom, but it can be an individual molecule. A plural of human beings cannot be a human being, but an individual society, for lack of a better term, or something else that we as human beings cannot from our vantage point exactly determine, or perhaps nothing at all; end of line as far as that type of form is concerned.

So when it comes to the concept of a collective it may be an useful abstraction sometimes, but it is clear that a collective of X cannot have the properties of X and itself is not X. It instead becomes something else that is again itself individual; unique. Or nothing else. This is why it makes absolutely no sense to think in terms of there being a human “collective” for the good of which individuals should sacrifice expecting that this good would somehow trickle down to more good for all.

Additionally, the object of focus can never be anything other than individual, singular. Even when trying to somehow point to a “collective” that exists in reality we end up describing “it” as “it”, a singular thing, thus further validating the individualism rather than “collectivism” of its nature or at least showing ourselves unable to, when we actually begin thinking with such precision, actually pin point the “collective” in reality when some voluntaryist challenges: “Show me the collective, where is it?”.

Granted, both “plural” and “singular” are mental abstractions, but it is pretty obvious that we cannot refer to anything in reality without going through the abstraction of a singular, even when we wish to refer to a “collective”. In other words, the only way to directly describe things in reality is through singular, not plural.

So it would appear that both our minds and the reality itself is naturally wired as individualistic rather than collectivist. There are merely multiple levels, one being fundamental to another which is fundamental to a yet another and so on possibly indefinitely, but an individual thing always comes first and it’s “collective”, as we would mentally describe it, only ends up creating another individual thing.

Collectivist is murky thinking. There is no precision in an argument which has collectives as its variables.

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Absolute relativism

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Absolute relativism is basically a belief that truth is only what you choose it to be. It is relative to your own choice and nothing more. If you choose a statement to be true it is true and if you choose it to be false it is false. The only thing that can possibly determine the falsehood or truthness of a statement is your choice of either.

This allows for such statements as the following to be true, if you decide and convince yourself it’s true:

“This marble is both red and blue to me at the same time”

I added “to me” purposely in order to account for the claim that what one perceives as red may be what another perceives as blue. I tried to make the statement into one which is according to my own current paradigm stating an impossibility.

But according to the belief that every statement can be true or false depending ONLY on whether I choose to believe it is or isn’t, that statement can be true.

As you can imagine I have trouble accepting this. It effectively means that a cause is equal to relativity. I can say an object is moving relative to another object from which you observe. But according to absolute relativism whether the observing object exists or not is completely irrelevant. The object is moving because I have chosen that it does. Thus absolute relativism denies all other relativism replacing all cause and effect with a single thing: your choice, regardless of whether it’s conscious or unconscious. The only thing that can matter is your choice. (And even that statement can be chosen to be false.)

Absolute relativism thus implies that I am a god and you and other humans exist only because I think you do. I am omniscient because everything I see is everything that I choose I can see and I am omnipotent because everything I can do is everything I choose I can do. This goes beyond “The Secret” which suggests that one can alter reality, since absolute relativism puts you in the position of reality’s creator, effectively. Limits of your reality are limits you yourself have chosen to exist.

I think this is different from saying that I believe something exists only because I have perceived and chosen to believe it does. This is not about choosing beliefs, it is about choosing reality itself. If reality outside of that which you think is real does not exist, then the only reality that does exist is your own.

This kind of belief requires no evidence supporting it whatsoever because its validity or invalidity can be chosen at a whim. A true absolute relativist thus has no “standing ground” from which to judge because the standing ground itself is something he brought into existence by nothing more than a choice. Thus there are no paradigms according to which evaluate true or false. There’s no need for evidence or a scientific process.

I’m not sure there even is anyone who is truly an absolute relativist. I think instead that everyone who would ever claim to be one is just trying to escape the need to provide a more solid argument or evidence for his belief. It’s like saying “you’re wrong because I say so”.

And if there’s in any case ever a need for solid evidence to support a particular belief that evidence must be based on something that exists outside of your own mind, something that your own mind did not fabricate. In other words, reality external to that which is consisted only of what we believe (subjective reality or “belief reality”) must exist. This does not necessarily mean that there couldn’t be other realities existing outside of the one external to my subjective reality, but that ceases to matter.

Also it doesn’t matter if a statement is true or false if its truthness or falsehood does not matter to me or you individually. Also, it doesn’t matter to the universe itself (external reality) whether you are right or wrong about something.

In any case, I as a voluntaryist have to say that if absolute relativism means anything at all then it is that an individual matters since it is individual choice which makes up individual’s reality. Forcing one reality on another results in destruction. On the other hand, since believing in absolute relativism can also mean believing that such force is perfectly justified and perhaps even good, the whole idea of absolute relativism is one of perpetual contradiction, a constant collision of realities and paradigms.

Currently, I remain a relativist only in the sense of knowing I can be wrong, enough to make me believe that I shouldn’t force my beliefs on another. But I also believe that reality outside of my beliefs exists as well and it is where the data stream I perceive comes from. I tend to call that one the “absolute reality” and my own subjective belief as my “subjective reality” or “relative reality”.

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Everything happens for a reason.

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

The more I understand causality the less I believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. A reason for every event is its cause. Where conscious choice is involved, the cause may be a purpose of the one who chooses. I pursue a goal, thus I act to produce a cause that will produce an event that is a part of the chain of events that leads to the achievement of my goal – my purpose.

The more one knows and understands the multitude of causality chains affecting ones pursuit of purpose the more powerful one is. Having a defined purpose is, however, a pre-requisite.

We may be facing a new Great Depression in this world, and a subsequent resurgence of violent fascism and war. This too happens for a reason. Some would say it’s prophecies coming true. Others would blame human inability to resist violence (which results in governments tyranizing markets of otherwise free people). Some would say both, or some other imaginative reason.

But whatever we say or believe the reason exists and it is what it is regardless of what someone thinks it is. The closer one is to the truth of what this reason is, and moreover what all to one relevant reasons are, the more powerful one is.

Great Depression and increases of threatening violence easily instill fear in us, but there is an illusive truth somewhere in my mind which seems to hold the key which opens the doors out of that prison of fear and into the endless realm of possibilities. Where even in the worst of times one can have a world of his own. Once you rise above the chains of events – the causalities of our time and sees what they are you can mold it to your will. Even if you can’t change the whole world, since it involves others who may have the same power as you, you can transform your world.

But it is an elusive truth. My guess would be that it reflects, one way or another, the exact belief that is the topic of this post: everything happens for a reason.

So perhaps, if you find and know the reason to everything that affects you and everything you want to be affected by you can act against reactions that press you down and instill fear in you, to create the consequences that do the opposite – empowering you.

Maybe the greatest of souls will be born during the hard times that are coming. Maybe the singularity, the awakening, the new enlightenment, the transition, the evolutionary leap – will happen when the times seem the darkest.

And perhaps it will be a deliberate act by the few and a react by the many inspired by those few, that will bring it about.

Freedom is a state of mind. So is serenity and power. Rewiring a mind to these states is a painful process, but it is possible.

As the banks fall and violence rises, let us be ready. A powerful mind can stop bullets before they’ve been fired and make a mountain out of a depression.

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Reality, Humans, Fascism and Anarchy

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

First there is reality. It simply exists and it is true and absolute. Existence is its defining nature. And everything that exists is a part of it. Things that exist are the way they are and operate the way they do.

Within reality there is a planet and on that planet there exist a variety of life forms. Among them there is a form of life which calls itself human. A human has an apparently rare quality on this planet. It consciously perceives itself and the reality around it (awareness) and is capable of processing the perceived information (thinking), assigning values to it (feeling) and choosing a manner in which it will partake in the processes of reality (acting).

When a human combines awareness (perception of reality) with thinking (processing the perceived), it learns. When it combines the learned with feeling (assigning of values) it forms choices and acts.

So a human is constantly, like everything else in reality, answerable to reality itself. Absolute reality is the backdrop of its existence. However, uniquely, and because of the ability to perceive differently, process the perceived (think) differently and assign values to the processed information (feel) differently every human individual creates a sub-reality of its own. How successfully a human is to pursue any particular goal involving reality depends on how much overlap there is between the individual sub-reality and the absolute reality on which it is based.

This is because this sub-reality, this combination of perceived and processed information mended by feelings, is what individual’s actions really come from. And individual’s actions are always applied to the backdrop of his existence, the external absolute reality itself.

There exists many of human individuals. Currently more than 6 billion (and growing). They all, being human, perceive the same reality and then process it (think), value it (feel), and act upon it. However, since they are not all exactly the same, the information they perceive, processing programs they employ and the values they assign are different. Every human perceives, thinks, feels and acts differently.

When humans perceive, think about and feel about other humans they create human communities in which they share thinking programs, feeling programs (values) and even acts to create human cultures.

These thinking programs as well as the information that results are what humans often call “ideas”, “concepts”, “beliefs” and “knowledge”. And those feeling programs (values) are what humans often call “morals”, “ethics”, “right”, “wrong”, “good”, “bad”, “love”, “hate” etc.

Thinking programs affect feeling programs and vice versa. Together they are, after all, what creates the sub-reality of an individual.

These cultures inevitably contain shared ideas on how should humans interact with each other in any of their pursuits. There are two fundamental ideas.

1. My sub-reality must override yours at any cost.

An individual may feel so strongly about its sub-reality or any of its subsets and believe its overlap with absolute reality to be 100% without compromise. This may lead it to believe that every other human within a given community or the entire planet should share that same reality.

Such humans call for unity and believe that unity is strength. Indeed, such a human believes that the more people believe his own sub-reality to be the only true result of the whole perceiving-thinking-feeling the stronger that idea becomes for he sees legitimacy in numbers.

Many times, other humans who do not necessarily share that same exact sub-reality, because in truth, they cannot, believe in the idea of unity in hope that they could get their own sub-reality be the one under which to unite. So they too believe that unity means strength.

Basically, human individuals approach the idea of unity in hope that unitedness will happen under the premise that they individually carry.

The result of this is perpetual war. Individuals whose minds carry one sub-reality fight those who carry another. They represent these subrealities with different flags, logos, slogans or just desires and acts. A war between those who believe they must rule and those who believe they shouldn’t be ruled. A war between classes, cultures, nations. The extreme result is what humans commonly call fascism.

2. My sub-reality is my own. Yours is your own. Be and let me be.

While an individual may feel strongly about his sub-reality being 100% overlapped with absolute reality, it may also realize that it is not the only one believing so and that it is therefore less harmful, to its own sake, to let others learn for themselves why what they believe is wrong than for it to force this belief to others and end up in a state of war.

Such an individual leads himself or herself only, and nobody else unless asked. Such an individual sees the war things others have created as illusory (borders, countries, governments) and unnecessary.

They find strength in diversity rather than unity.

Such individuals are, on this planet today, still a rarity and often potentially or actually oppressed.

Such individuals are commonly called anarchists.

Ever since they have existed, humans have been tumbling between these two fundamental ideas on social organization: fascism and anarchy and consequently the two states of mutual affairs respectively: war and peace, chaos and order.

I wrote this post in a cold tone, as if observed by an alien who has been studying humans for a long time, deliberately, in order to present things “as is”, and polute with emotional exclamations and statements as little as possible. My hope was to express a little bit of an epiphany that I had tonight on the relation between reality and human affairs. What inspired thinking that led to this post is this interview with Alan Moore

I’m not sure if I succeeded in terms of clarity, but I let it out.. and now it’s on the record and I can build on it. Feel free to comment.

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Culture of Rebellion

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I have a feeling that the young generations of today and rebellion go hand in hand. Some would say that it is in the nature of teen age to rebel, but judging from what I hear from my own parents, a story which may be confirmed by many other parents, is that even if they did want to rebel, the voice of obedience was often much stronger. Their own parents must’ve been much more intimidating. :P

Today, in the age in which rebellions thumping sounds are what we call mainstream music, from hip hop to trance and techno, it looks like the young generation is winning. Only a couple of decades ago this kind of music was frowned upon as mind washing, overly seductive and drug use inducing and people have and probably still are literally forbidding their kinds to listen to it, let alone go to one of those huge parties

Yet the number of these parties and the number of attendants seems to be growing! The once considered “hard” electronic music is becoming mainstream. This music very often invokes feelings of self power and thereby rebellion to anyone who says you can’t do what you really want.

There is only one problem. People who love this kind of music, and despite criticism from their elderly go to these parties, often go only to get themselves “wasted” or to “have a good time” or even to find a (sex) partner…

It could be more, however, if the mentality of rebellion is brought a step further. I could say that the rebels have the music, but still lack the determination and a target. The electronic music culture seems a little like the anti-globalist movement, but with a twist. They both love to make lots of noise wherever they go. They both come in great numbers and they both have a sense of rebellion in them. It’s just that anti-globalists, when they come to one of their “parties”, that is, protests, shout and scream and wave signs and flags and even sometimes do material damage in their agitation towards the perceived enemy, the target, the powers that be, like the G8 group or the Bilderbergs.

Their problem? What the hell is their solution? They have the target alright, but they seldom offer anything they fight FOR. Like, who would they replace the G8, the Bilderbergs and the worlds corrupt governments with??

The electronic music culture of rebellion is similar. They’ve got that kick (pun not intended), but it’s not channeled towards anything but “wasting” themselves. Many on those sensational trance parties talk about “energy”, “love” and “connectedness”, but where do they channel these things? Maybe this energy could be channeled towards a particular shared goal? Maybe the electronic music culture of rebellion needs to define a target and a goal of its own. We feel rebellious, but who are we rebelling against and what are we FOR?

Bottom line is, I’m essentially advocating a merger between what is essentially entertainment and activism. Both have enormous power within them. Entertainment, like electronic music in this instance, can get people incredibly energized, fired up and excited. Activism needs exactly these elements to fuel its campaign for a particular cause. Merging the two is an explosion waiting to be detonated.

I will, in fact, probably be working on this sort of thing. My last post was incredibly vague and impulsive, but it does have something to do with what I am talking about here. ;)

The culture of rebellion will be powered up. Ingredients are there. We just need to mix them up.

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What’s wrong with this sentence?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I just had a little game idea that would promote greater awareness about the language we use to convey certain thoughts and encourage people to think more about what they believe and what they’re saying.

There are a lot of myths circulating among people and some of them are literally mind numbing. They keep using a particular term or a particular sentence or even a slogan without really thinking about what it means to them and what does it truly refer to in reality.

The game would basically keep popping up such myth-full sentences and ask you to fix it, to write down what it really means and if there is nothing beneath it then what is the equivalent. I think an example will best illustrate what I mean.

Starting with a simple sentence:

Here is a little more challenging one.

Not a very effective argument against government perhaps, but it does seem to reflect the truth much better and that’s the whole point. I think that if people thought about what particular sentences really refer to, to basically dismantle the abstractnesses which cover up what’s beneath, they would soon by themselves realize certain fact that they may have never been aware of before.

In case of this particular sentence, saying that “government is here to protect you” implies that there is someone or something called government that is “here” to protect you or that it exists for your protection. This isn’t quite clear unless your thinking is fuzzy and you’re fine with it remaining fuzzy. Who or what is “government”?

The fix demystifies “government” as people, the group of people. “Here” is removed because the place doesn’t seem to have any relevancy to the intended meaning, unless it did in which case we could leave “here” in so the sentence would be “People calling themselves the government think they are here to protect you”. Also the myth that they exist to protect you, as if it’s their sole purpose in life or as if it was an absolute truth, is removed and replaced by that they think they need to protect you.

Indeed, people in government are often led by genuine beliefs. Obviously, I find those beliefs to be extremely irrational, but that’s what’s leading their actions.

I’m not sure what kind of programming would be required for this kind of game to be made, but I’d allow multiple “correct” answers for the fixed sentence because various people may form their sentences in various ways. It could also contain direct equivalents to particular words which would always apply, such as in above case where “government” is replaced by “people calling themselves the government”. This kind of substitution would probably work in most sentences.

Other substitutions may include replacing “public good” with “individual liberty” or “personal liberty” (public good doesn’t really exist.. it’s only individuals which we can be concerned with), “nation” with “group of people calling themselves a nation”, “taxes” with “theft” or “stealing”, “president with “a person calling him/herself the president”, “law” for “rules forced by one group of people to another” or “rules forced by one person on another” etc.

Anyway, I just wanted to express that idea.

Cheers

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The Religion of Order

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

It is interesting how both The Borg and The Dominion, two of the greatest evil adversaries in Star Trek are portrayed to desire one thing above all else: order. The Borg assimilate everything they find valuable to their collective, valuable according to their own view of order. Everything then becomes a part of a bigger whole and without a shred of individualism. Just as it was once said in Hitler’s Germany; Hitler is Germany and Germany is Hitler. The same can be literally said for The Borg and The Borg queen. Perfection that Borg so adamantly pursues is in fact the most extreme form of totalitarianism possible.

The Dominion, on the other hand, was founded by a race of shapeshifters who were once exploring the galaxy and finding many “solids” (non shapeshifting beings) to be quite fearful and thereby violent to them (or so they believe). Shapeshifters then begun perceiving all “solids” as a threat and that became a part of their own order of things. Instead of being the hunted now they are the hunters. Instead of being controlled now they are in control. The Dominion is portrayed to be a powerful force in the gamma quadrant, of course, with a job of establishing order upon chaos.

Now while these are fictions, they do come from the creative minds of certain human individuals and they do therefore reflect particular characteristics of the reality as we know it, a reality in which we ourselves have repeatedly established governments in order to do exactly the same thing that these fictive organizations were portrayed to exist for: establish order upon chaos.

The concept of government exists as part of an ideology that can be summed up as a “Religion of Order”. This “religion” consists of these three core beliefs:

1. A certain limited set of beliefs constitutes and defines “order”. Everything else is the opposite; chaos.

This is essentially a perpetual self administered delusion, that things we currently believe to be true are the only things that really are true absolutely, that things we currently believe are right are the only things that could ever be right, that things that do not conform to our current set of beliefs belong to the realm of chaos.

This is a result of a fundamentally closed minded, self defeating and self limiting idea which lives, like a virus, in the minds of the masses on this planet.

2. All that does not conform to this order (defined by the above set of beliefs) is wrong or evil.

This merely follows from the limited view of reality above. In addition to branding things that don’t conform as “chaos” we introduce a strong moral judgment of the non-conforming as absolutely and uncompromisingly wrong, evil, thereby worth fighting against by any means necessary.

3. Force is justified against all such evil

What else to expect from such a limited yet absolutist view? If force and violence is what it takes to purity everything that belongs to “chaos” so be it. If you don’t conform to “the order” you must be punished. This is why followers of The Religion of Order tend to eventually one way or another persecute everyone who lives in defiance or non-conformity to the order they designated as such.

I could say that all governments are guilty of being a part of this religion, but governments are nothing but just people who assumed the roles that this religion naturally provisions for; essentially the role of preaching the order (law), teaching conformity (public education and propaganda) and doing enforcement (force, violence). Governments would be meaningless without the people who give them their support and they give them their support exactly because they too believe in this religion of order – they actually agree that order, conformity and force are necessary and good and are usually utterly ignorant of the flaw inherent in this philosophy.

The flaw is that it is ultimately self defeating. It deprives from the natural tendencies and potential of the most basic unit of every human “order”: the human individual. This is how it crumbles. Sooner or later you find that believing in this religion only got you shafted, unless you were lucky, devious or foolishly hotheaded enough to actually be a successful power grubbing politician or managed to combine your ingenuity with political protectionism to build a corporate empire. But we know those people are in a minority, or else why would we speak of a divide between rich and poor, right?

So why do the rest of us, the majority who repeatedly gets shafted by this religion, still believe in it? Why do we still follow it? Why do we feed its power? I can only think of two basic reasons: ignorance or fear.

The first is probably most prevalent. As long as you conform, for instance not break any laws no matter how stupid some of them seemed, you don’t have anything to be afraid of, or at least that’s what you believe. But that’s where the story ends. You live your life within those confines and think of no better way. Your ignorance is bliss, until the almost inevitable consequences of such mind imprisoning mentality hit you – and they almost always do.

The second is fear. Even if you are a bit more inquisitive and less ignorant and find that there is a lot things wrong about “the system”, the order of things, you fear the very ideas that could set your mind free as “dangerous ideas”. You fear that if you refuse to conform one way or another you will end up punished in some way by the ignorant followers of the order.

The trouble is, we’re so deep into this problem that it indeed is hard to blame an individual for feeling either of the above two ways. This religion of order is like a pan religion whose ideas managed to pull through many other religions as well as among the supposedly non-religious people. Order, Conformism and Force. Many christians believe it. Many muslims believe it. Many atheists believe it. Too many believe it for too long. The idea has one way or another been perpetuated throughout centuries.

Yet, if we get stuck in this perpetual ignorance or fear, waiting for “better times” we will only see history repeat itself, because that is what happens when we have this single core set of beliefs governing billions of people on Earth for such an indefinite amount of time. Times change and technology changes yet the fundamental belief remains, the belief that is the very cause of “history repeating itself”. As various “orders” collide we have power struggles, wars, fascism, economic collapses etc. It will never be truly any different if we never finally wake up to the reality of what is behind all this:

The Religion of Order

It created more chaos than “chaos” itself could. When are you gonna wake up to that reality?

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