Thursday, December 1, 2016

Politics (Kamran K): Capitalism and Democracy? No Easy Marriage.

(1) Capitalism has transformed most everyone that lives within its borders. But, precisely, what are these transformations? And are these transformations destroying democracy and the minimum components of the "democratic spirit" at the same time?

(2) Worldwide, those adults 30 and older living within capitalist economies are capitalist consumers FIRST and above all. This does not mean these adults don't have other sentimental attachments, to perhaps a church, a football team they support, a pet they adore, a gym they frequent, a writer or thinker they respect, and a style of music they love. These all still exist, are all still fully "REAL." Yet these dalliances are also all still MINOR.

The DOMINANT daily thought patterns of capitalist adults- including their overall long term hopes and fears- center on their ability to (1) increase MONEY IN as much as they are able without unduly sacrificing quality of life and (2) reduce MONEY OUT as much as they are able without unduly sacrificing quality of life. As the days, weeks, and months "come and go" they repeatedly return AGAIN AND AGAIN to this dominant topic and seek AGAIN AND AGAIN new or better solutions to it. They spend tremendous amount of mental attention on this central topic and many of their behaviors fall in line with the various decisions they have (tenatively) reached on this topic.

The dominant daily thoughts patterns of most people in any capitalist economy ROUGHLY take these forms:
  • Can various fixed expenses (transportation, health insurance, clothes, food and drink, shelter, utilities, routine recreational pursuits, cable/internet/phone fees, membership in various preferred organizations, taxes) be somehow manipulated and reduced without undue sacrifice in quality to reduce the total expenditure out?
  • Can various income generation activities (job, investment in stocks, real estate assets, networking with friends, family, and alumni, training for new work) be somehow manipulated and increased without undue harm to one's quality of life?
(3) Nietzsche and other philosophers have made various negative evaluations of the "spirit and soul" of such a person. These are of no interest to us at this juncture. What is hardly subject to dispute is that SUCH a person simply spends too much of his time in mental thought patterns that are not conducive to his informed and quality particpation in the democratic process. Such persons are not bad or stupid on this account; they can live lives of total decency and virtue as they go about their lives. They may be wonderful- and even highly intelligent- persons; they simply are not ideal democrats.

Who would be the ideal democrat? Simply, the ideal democrat is able to do THREE things well (i.e. not perfectly): (a) identify the most important issues that deserve to be resolved via the democratic political process; (b) gather the most relevant and reliable information bearing on these issues; and (c) participate in a respectful, though still spirited dialogue, with other political actors with the sole aim of generating the BEST solution to the issue that appears reasonably likely to succeed based on all of the facts, information, and best reasoning available at the time.

(4) The habits of mind, traits of character, and critical and other mental abilities required to become an ideal democrat is within the reach of all persons if they are sufficiently motivated to become ideal democrats and their behavior and thoughts fall in line with this genuine motivation.

As discussed above, 99% of adults living within capitalist economies are dominantly preoccupied with the thoughts patterns identified in (2) above. To the extent they are so occupied- and to the extent they become increasingly so occupied as years pass- they become that much less capable of the kind of participation in the democratic process that one could- with confidence- label "worthwhile."

(5) We are not in a position to evaluate the relationship between capitalism and democracy. Capitalism's gains are obtained at the expense of gains in quality democratic participation.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Wisdom (Kamran K): Earning the Wisdom License



(1) What quality, above all, signals a human person's arrival into enlightened wisdom or even adult maturity? When does one earn one's WISDOM LICENSE?

(2) Among many plausible answers, we suggest one herein: the ability to intelligently articulate why one's fundamental passions are aligned as they are. A fully perfected person would be able to articulate a compelling statement- filled with compelling reasoning and information- as to why exactly he favors this or that in his life and to just this extent and no more. An imperfect person would be unable to offer any coherent statement on these points, beyond the perfunctory he or she "really likes" A, B, or C or believes that it improves their "spiritual well being" and "overall quality of life." These are not articulations of any deep reasonings but rather the mere repetition of tired cliches.

(3) By fundamental passions, we mean an adult's dominant preferences in terms of place of residence, cultural attachments, musical interests, sporting activities and other dominant hobbies, romantic and sexual inclinations, political leanings, attachment (or not) to money and what it can purchase, preferred vacation destinations, and things of such ilk.

(4) All adults receive a free pass on this test into their mid-30s. Up to that point, character is still forming and all sorts of lengthy, often dangerous trial and error experiments must be conducted to determine what one's dominant preferences actually are: "and I was now...beneath the point at which I had started. I was down in the cellar of society, down in the subterranean depths of misery . . . I was in the pit, the abyss, the human cesspool, the shambles and the charnel house of our civilization." (Jack London) It is impossible in advance of a trial and error experiment to have well reasoned ideas on what one's dominant preferences are and why they DESERVE to be dominant in one's life. It is acceptable to be a herd-like follower deep into one's 20s and even early 30's. It is no sin to be in the herd at some point in your life; the sin is being trapped in the herd all one's life.

(5) As the mid-30s and beyond are reached, a mature enlightened wise adult will begin to accumulate a whole host of well-settled well thought out dominant preferences for what he or she does and does not like to do, what types of persons he or she does and does not enjoy the company of, what sorts of intellectual subjects do and do not excite him or her, and so on.

(6) A whole series of further statements are appropriate as to this last point.

  • The more time and energy a person devotes in a sphere of life the more one would expect his or her reasoning for favoring that sphere so dominantly would be well thought through, able to survive various forms of objections and critiques. 
  • As life progresses and one's situation and environment in life also evolves, one would expect the reasoning to become more robust and supported by actual facts and developments of the person's own life. 
  • The articulation should be both subjectively and objectively compelling to intelligent decent persons of liberally oriented sensibility as to the human GOOD. An articulation that remained fully tied up in one's own subjectively formulated reasoning and information would be deficient. 
  • Negative dominant preferences- what one does NOT like to do or whom one does NOT like to associate with etc.- should also be well thought through and capable of a semi-intelligent articulation. For someone to say they "hate the rich because they are arrogant" or they hate "office work because it crushes the soul" is woefully insufficient. Dominant negative preferences often completely wipe out entire realms of life that one could otherwise explore and benefit from in myriad ways. One could argue that one's reasoning as to dominant negative preferences should be even more developed than dominant positive preferences.
(7) Persons able to pass these tests receive their wisdom license. Given the ways of the world and the present configuration of humanity, they will be EXTREMELY rare in having received this license at any point in their lives. Persons receiving the license will always remain perplexed as to the various behaviors, feelings, and habits of their fellow man. Even while remaining friendly and kind to such persons, they will see such persons as not fully free, not having fully chosen why their life is structured precisely as it is, why one's dominant habits and likes are X rather than Y or Z. They will wish that their own lives- so much as they are capable of preventing this from happening- will never proceed down the same random road.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Humility (Kamran K): Them "Idiots" Disagree with Me!

"We are led by very, very stupid people. very very stupid people." The Donald

(1) Current events are confirming- ON THE DAILY- the correctness of our pessimistic orientation on present generation humanity's "chances" of reaching the human GOOD.

(2) In particular, a pessimistic evaluation finds ample support in the worldwide tendency for persons to swiftly regard each other as stupid or idiotic or uncultured or simple-minded whenever they disagree on an issue or adopt different lifestyle behaviors. This phenomenon has been around for years but is now obvious for all to see in the political environment of the US 2016 presidential election.

(3) Let us take the proverbial Jack and Jill as an example here. Living in a US megacity like NY or LA, Jack supports gun control and abortion rights, favors drastic measures to limit environmental pollution, believes racism and sexism are still big problems and government should actively work to end these realities, and supports much higher minimum wages and greater redistribution of wealth. Jack is also secular, would never die for his country, and doesn't go to Church or otherwise demonstrate a relationship with God.

Living in a small rural town in Nebraska, Jill supports broad gun rights and is pro-life. She doesn't believe environmental pollution is so bad that drastic measures should be implemented in its name. While she occasionally witnesses racism and sexism, she doesn't think these are huge problems for the society and doesn't think government should do anything about it because -ultimately- the problem is a cultural one, not one rooted in politics. Jill thinks employers should set wages and employees should decide on their own whether to accept the wages being offered or refuse. Jill doesn't think the society should redistribute wealth and doesn't believe everyone should lead lives that match the comfort of the uber rich. Jill believes deeply in God, and would sacrifice her life for the good of her country.

(4) In this country and others, there is a very strong likelihood for Jack to view Jill as stupid or idiotic or uncultured or simple-minded. The Jills of the world also often take a rather unflattering view of Jack, although this seems to happen less. The Jills of the world prefer to see the Jacks as living in their own delusion rather than being outright stupid or simple minded.

(5) The problem here is neither Jack nor Jill are entitled to view the other as stupid or idiotic or uncultured or simple-minded or delusional SIMPLY from the fact that the other thinks, lives, and behaves differently than they do.  On each of these points, Jack and Jill are free to present arguments- ROOTED ONLY IN REASON AND INFORMATION- as to why they are on the right side of the issue or behavior. This is hard work, it takes time, and it requires both introspection of moral values as well as complicated information gathering and information evaluation. They are also free- and they often absolutely must- seek to understand how the other perspective could be rooted in reasons and perspectives that are rational, virtuous, compassionate, prudent, commendable, and many things other than abject stupidity: "Every explanation of the world presupposes a rich apprehension of the phenomena of the world..." (Bloom)

The easier/lazy route- and when has man done anything recently but take the easier/lazy route- is to dispense with this procedure and instead immediately resort to insult and categorization of the other as stupid or idiotic etc. With each repetitive iteration of this behavior, the belief in the stupidity of the other takes stronger hold, becomes, ultimately, all that one sees when one thinks or regards the other. One looks at the other and doesn't see humanity or rationality; indeed one sees nothing but stupidity and backwardness.

To think that such a society has any long term future is illusion of the highest degree.





Friendship (Kamran K): Reflections on the LOST art of conversation

(1) Worldwide, humanity is now experiencing an unprecedented explosion in the use of cellphones, computers, tablets, televisions, and all other electronic gadgets. What this means is an entire generation is now growing up and has "come of age" MORE comfortable, more habituated/addicted, and more prone to interacting THROUGH the intermediary of a digital electronic screen.

This astonishing revolution in human relations is now "in the cards" and there is no "easy way back." Already today, most persons mostly interact with each other most of the time through the intermediary of a digital electronic screen. Only very rarely do most people actually experience and enjoy significant face to face time.

(2) Theoretically, this entire revolution and shift to electronic screen mediated human communications could have progressed without a significant loss in humanity's ability to engage in decent human communication and conversation. Whatever it means to conversate and do so in a thoughtful humane manner, one could theoretically imagine this continuing to proceed in the electronic world as it did in the world of face to face.

This has NOT happened. Not even close.

(4) What has happened? What does conversation look like today in the world of text messages, emails, and social media comments? While of course there are variations in perhaps every corner of the globe, there are some alarming trends that one should be able to spot most of the time in most corners of the globe:
  • Conversations that begin and end RANDOMLY. Without any flow or apparent purpose, a conversation begins electronically with some random remark or question. IF- and this is a huge IF- there is a response to that random remark or question, there is just as likely to be no response to THIS next remark or question. And so on. Basically, any remark or question in one of these conversation is associated with a 60, perhaps 75%, likelihood of no response.
  • Little to no attempt to reason through arguments and reach reasoned conclusions as to some course of action. The brevity of most electronic communications does not permit reasoned examination of even basic issues, let alone complex life issues that require HOURS of conversation to get right. With reasoned argument and conclusions absent, electronic communications almost always remain at the level of both party's "feelings"- and the intensity of those feelings- as respects some proposed behavior or decision.
  • The overwhelming tendency to resort to "polite" generally positive generally rote gibberish speak. Almost entirely gone are any statements that would disturb the other person or indicate significant disagreement with their viewpoints.
  • A glacial pace of communication quite literally unseen and unimaginable in previous eras. One does well to receive responses in 10-15 minutes to even the most basic comments or questions. Conversations that in real time would take perhaps 3 minutes can and do span several hours and often several days in the electronic world.
  • No ability to convey ideas or emotions of any complexity. Lacking the ability to use voice volume touch eye contact and all the other complexities involved in human face to face communication, communications begin, stay, and end largely on the level of playful light-hearted banter, the type and level of conversation that kids enjoy in middle and high school during their lunch breaks.  
(5) At its best, human conversation does distinguish humanity from all other living species on Earth. Dogs and cats, bees and zebras engage in almost all of the same behaviors humanity engages in. They, too, eat food and drink water, have sex and raise children, die of disease or old age, engage in physical activities for diversion, sleep at night and rise in the morning, urinate and defecate, and all the rest. 

If human conversation is degenerating- and degenerating rapidly- as a result of the move over toward electronic communications, then humanity itself is degenerating IN ITS HUMANITY. 

Moderation (Kamran K): Feminism and the Wrong Turn.

(1) This recent generation is the first to grow up in an almost totally sexually liberated era. They came of age after the rise of the feminist movement and all manner of legal victories it secured. So, too, contemporary attitudes on women's career prospects, dating lives, premarital sex, and manner of dress have all eased from earlier highly conservative positions.

(2) One would thus have hoped that this recent generation of women and the ones to follow would have somehow USED/TAKEN ADVANTAGE of all of this newly found freedom to act in ways that would do honor to their HUMANITY and their multi-faceted personalities which would have nothing to do with the shape and contours of any of their body parts. Chiefly, one would have hoped that this generation of women would act in ways that made clear that they were not to  be evaluated mainly or even primarily based on their various bodily appearances.

For, after all, what are those various bodily appearances but simple DNA codes over which a woman has zero control or say? What makes a woman have a shapely butt or large breasts or beautiful eyes or lovely hair? 99% of the time it is the simple fact of her inherited DNA. Why should a woman root her identity so deeply in these aspects of her existence over which DNA- and not her actions or thoughts or development or self-fashioning or virtues- had any role.

(3) And, indeed, the situation is even worse than this.

With respect to their bodies, modern women (particularly modern single women) have RUSHED to banish any trace of natural womanhood encoded in their DNA, demonstrating an absolute disgust and hatred with the shape of their bodies as their DNA naturally would allow. Go to any large city in any area of the Western globe and what will you find: millions of single woman that literally look nothing like what their natural DNA-given womanhood would dictate. Modern single women have waged an all out war on natural DNA, seeking to banish any and all traces of it from their body.

From head to toe, these are the alterations being made by women to what their DNA naturally would provide and allow: (1) All manner of hair dyes and hair style changes, (2) all manner of makeup and creams applied to the face, including the lips, eyes, and skin, (3) plastic surgery of all sorts, including fat removal (4) shaving of hair all over the body, from armpits to legs to genital areas, (5) breast augmentations, (6) nail polish applied to all nails on the body, (7) all manner of perfumes applied to the body, and (8) all manner of creams applied to the skin.

Within the entire animal world, it is only female humans that do anything to alter their natural DNA provided look. All other animals reproduce, mate, and partner without any need to alter their appearance in the slightest degree.

As a result of these alterations, most modern women look NOTHING LIKE what they actually look like in their natural DNA provided womanhood. If one sees such a woman "outside" when she has applied the eight alterations described above and then later sees the woman in private lacking any of the alterations, one would literally be ASTONISHED at the difference. Outside of male bodybuilders that use anabolic steroids, modern single men have done nothing of the sort and appear publically in their natural DNA provided manhood, jiggling beer belly and all.

(4) Modern single women's war against their natural womanhood is a deeply disturbing phenomenon. It suggests most deeply that most women are deeply insecure and resentful of their bodies' appearance, and- further- their self-esteem is so weak that they can't fight this insecurity and resist the impulse to redo their bodies in such extreme fashions. Is this what feminism imagined as female liberation, a woman so at odds with her natural womanhood, so insecure of her appearance that she would ON THE DAILY subject it to such extreme cosmetic alterations, to a daily mix of chemicals that only seemed to increase as time passed.

How is a man to evaluate such a woman? What are the chances he will be moved to regard her as something other than a human body that he can use for random 10-20 minute intervals for his sexual pleasure and use for longer intervals for his overall aesthetic enjoyment of life? The woman herself through these various cosmetic alterations is signaling that the public presentation of her body is highly important to her and that she wants people to like and be impressed with her BECAUSE of the shape and appearance of her body: "the primary way of distinguishing among [people] is in what they pursue as worthwhile, their ends." (Bloom)






Politics (Kamran K): On Political Progression

"often he-is busy with politics, and starts to his feet and says and does whatever comes into his head"
                                                 Plato, Republic

(1) It is by no means clear how or why a democratic regime is the best political system "out there." Democracy does indeed generate widespread public participation once in a blue moon (a presidential election); but most of the time democracy generates widespread public apathy and disinterest toward the political issues of the day. Lovers of democracy paint a picture of a political environment where citizens are deeply concerned and engaged and interested in key political issues; the reality is very different.

Even during times of widespread public participation, there is little evidence that the public arrives at the voting booth either informed on the key political issues, the different candidates' policies on those issues, or the critical thinking abilities to evaluate the differing candidates' policies as to their quality and likelihood of success. 

And there are other moments in a democracy when there is widespread public participation but this participation is driven by fear and unjustified hatred/prejudice or simply begging the government to solve problems that people should solve themselves.

(2) In a world where the number and complexity of political issues continues to spiral upward, it is illusion of the highest order to regard the average citizen as having the time, ability, or interest to become fully informed on even two or three major political issues, let alone ALL the issues. Most political issues are simply far too complicated for the average voter to opine on.

(3) Instead, what we actually see happening is voters evaluating candidates based on completely NONPOLITICAL metrics. Did so and so candidate actually sleep with so and so? Is so and so candidate likeable and funny? Does so and so candidate appear "strong" and "manly"? More trivially, does so and so candidate like cilantro? Do they have the "energy" and "stamina" to lead?

(4) What is happening these days during the never ending marathon of a political campaign? Everything is happening EXCEPT the one and only thing that SHOULD be happening. That one and only thing is this: increasing precision and clarity on the most important political "problems" of the day, each candidates' approach to resolving the problem, and the public's increasingly better, more informed, more critical evaluation of whether or not the candidate's approach will solve the political problem. 

(5) Any political campaign- be it one in a democratic system or otherwise- which is able to progress on THESE metrics is a "good" campaign, one that was worth the time, attention, and money devoted to it. Any political campaign- be it one in a democratic system or otherwise- which failed on these metrics is a miserably BAD campaign, one that was NOT worth the time, attention, and money devoted to it. 

The length of a campaign is no guarantee that it actually progressed on these metrics. Similarly, the amount of media attention devoted to a campaign is also no guarantee that it actually progressed on these metrics: "the increase in know,ledge made possible by these instruments is offset by a corresponding loss of awareness of the whole." (Bloom) The amount of media attention on the last US presidential election likely dwarfed by several million perhaps even a billion words what was devoted to the US presidential election of 1960. Was the election this time any more informed or just or commendable? It is difficult to answer this question in the affirmative.

(6) In a true democracy motivated by public spiritedness and the common good, there perhaps would be political parties and political opponents who competed for office. Yet this competition would take a very different form than that observed today. While still competing with each other, the campaigns would always be overwhelmingly guided by the genuine motivation to identify the core political problems, and then the information and reasoning necessary to guide everyone toward an acceptable solution to these problems.


In THIS virtuous democratic state, no candidate would ever distort any fact or reasoning simply to gather a single additional vote. Negative ads on the character of a particular candidate would be universally shunned as such an attack does nothing to identify pressing political problems or the solutions to those problems. 

Voters would be always judging the candidates by their commitment to the political process itself, by their earnest attempt to progress the political dialogue toward the identification of the most important political problems, and the facts and reasoning most likely to guide everyone to the best solution to that problem. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Work (Kamran K): My, O, My! Dat Magnificent Middle



(1) Nearly all human lives end in the same dark and miserable place, with a body decayed and decaying, with physical vigor, attractiveness, and vitality completely gone and never to come back, with friends and family members dying nearly every month and year, with dementia and accelerating loss of cognitive faculties that were once routine and automatic, with dwindling financial resources in the face of rising prices for food and other essentials, and so on. As a friend recently opined, life itself is a series of very small adjustments, with the final adjustment being adjustment to non-existence as a physical reality (death).

Further, nearly all human lives begin in the same unremarkable constrained freedom-deprived circumstances. Children are born in cities not of their choosing and disciplined by parents, teachers, and community to obey various rules and moral standards which may or may not be reasonable or even have any purpose or point whatsoever. They are forced to spend long hours in schools, under the pressure of exams, and have hardly any of their faculties fully developed.

(2) Between these two dark periods, there is some brief period of time where one can indeed approach physical, mental, artistic, creative, romantic, moral, and even business/investing perfection. One has opportunities to rise above the level of otherwise banal, trite, repetitive, and dull ordinary human social living, and reach one's golden peak period in terms of physicality, intellectuality, creativity, morality, romantic connection, entrepreneurship, and so on.

(4) Let there be no doubt that this peak period will come and go fairly quickly (usually 3-5 years, hardly ever more than 10). The undefeated champion known as TIME will inevitably come around and defeat one's ability to remain at peak levels of intellectual, physical, creative, or intellectual functioning. Through self-deception, one can naturally refuse to admit this has happened, refuse to grant the undefeated champion TIME the rightful victory it has secured. Undefeated champion that he is in depriving humans of their hard earned perfections, TIME can't and doesn't argue back and attempt to show or convince us that he has won and our perfections are dwindling or have been lost entirely.

(5) We are left then with a basic structuring of a 70-80 year human life as follows. Generally (there are exceptions to EVERY rule), the 25 year period beginning life and the last 10 years ending life are NOT peak periods in most of the areas of human excellence. This does not mean that they are periods where one cant function in, for example, the level of physicality. If one is a marathon runner, one can still run in these periods as well but LONG GONE is the opportunity to set personal records, win major races, set and achieve impressive feats of both endurance and speed, etc.

(6) For persons so inclined and so blessed with available time and freedom, the middle period between 25 and 70 does allow multiple opportunities to reach varying levels of human excellence. IF one's goal is human perfection in as many of the core areas of human functioning as one can get, then one will make every effort to structure one's life to allow maximal time and freedom to actually pursue these levels of excellence between the ages of 25 and 70. This would quite obviously mean that one could ordinarily not seriously pursue a traditional life of marriage, career, and kids during these years IF one is interested in actually reaching numerous human excellences in the peak period years.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

Justice (Kamran K): Reflections on Human Dispoability

(1) Experts, pundits, and commentators worldwide were shocked to learn the UK had voted to leave the European Union. It was as if the entire UK nation had simply woke up one morning and decided they simply had "no more use" for the EU. There certainly was a time and a place when the UK thought very differently regarding the EU, when it had a strong attraction and desire toward remaining in the EU. But that time passed and the UK simply decided to "toss aside" the EU and "move on."

(2) In behaving as it did, the UK is no different than millions, perhaps billions, of persons worldwide that now treat each other as disposable human beings. The situation will become apparent with a metaphor.

(3) Take the situation of any human being in any corner of the globe on a hot (90 pehlous) summer day. For one reason or another, this person has become very thirsty and needs to drink something to quench his growing thirst. At that precise moment, the person's attitude toward an unopened cold Coke can or bottled water is one of need and heightened interest. Nearly all of the person's attention is riveted upon the unopened cold Coke can or bottled water. He or she wants to USE the Coke or water in the obvious way of drinking it so as to quench the growing thirst one experiences.

And then what happens? What happens when the person has drank the Coke or water and has had his or her thirst quenched to some large degree? The person will obviously TOSS ASIDE the Coke can or bottled water and probably never think of it again. Because the Coke can or bottled water can no longer serve any function or use for the person he or she is done with it.

(4) This is precisely what is now happening in human personal relations. If they have not already, historians, psychologists, and sociologists will soon see the period beginning perhaps 7-10 years ago and continuing unabetted into the present/future as the era when people became disposable, and yet more disposable, and even yet more disposable one to another.

In the exact same way the thirsty man or women "dealt" with the Coke can, men and women today worldwide are treating each other with the same attitude of pragmatic disposability. For a very brief period of time, some person or another has some pragmatic benefit to offer you. They could potentially be a tenant and pay you rent. They could be a boss or employee with whom you have an employment relationship. They could be a teacher that could write you a stellar letter of recommendation. They could be a member of the opposite sex from whom you could obtain sexual pleasure. They could be a member of the opposite sex from whom you could obtain narcissistic supply and ego stroking. They could be someone you meet on vacation with whom you could have a beer or two or go "sightseeing with."

Whatever the specific relationship, the pattern replays itself in the same way and in the manner of the thirsty man or woman's "relationship" with the Coke can. For the (often) exceedingly brief moment when the person can offer you some pragmatic benefit, you treat them with respect, you pay close attention to them, praise and flatter them, and so on. As a result, you then receive whatever pragmatic benefit you expected to receive from them. Shortly thereafter, when there is no more pragmatic benefit to extract, you essentially dispose of the person and toss them aside. Of course, this is not done in the world of physicality, with anyone "tossing" anyone anywhere.

Saturday, June 4, 2016



(1) As we've emphasized, life presents for most people most of the time as one continual (i.e. uninterrupted) procession from one banal repetitive life-maintenance routine to the next. The banal and bland quality of these maintenance routines does NOT mean they can be ignored or rejected; almost all of them still must be done at the right time in the right way for a sensible reasonably decent life to proceed. Many lives end tragically when just one of these bland and banal routines/habits are botched (usually in an extreme fashion). One must park one's car in the garage in the right way, turn off the car engine and lights before leaving the car, properly place the keys away in a sensible place inside one's home, attend to the various routine maintenance tasks that the car requires, and so on and so on JUST to have a car that is operating properly and safely at all times.

The bland and banal QUALITY of these various maintenance routines and habits can't reasonably be disputed. Perhaps one in a million persons will object and attempt to take the position that these various maintenance routines are filled with meaning and beauty. They may claim to be genuinely enthused to take their car for an oil change and perhaps they are BOTH being honest and of sane mind in making this statement. Still, this would be an exeedingly rare perspective, and one that is likely to be the product of an eccentric mind that cannot set the standard for everyone else.

(2) Thusly, we have human life FIRMLY anchored and PREDOMINATED by activities of banal and bland routine/repetitive maintenance. In some form or another, all of these activities simply try to keep "things"- whether a car, one's home, one's career- "well maintained." What EXACTLY is meant by life being "firmly anchored and predominated" by these maintenance activities? Simply that they ALMOST consume all or close to all of the time one has, every day, week, month or year. With sufficient wealth, one can delegate some of these activities; technology can take burden away as well; and one can get more efficient at doing almost all of the maintenance activities. One can even "downsize" one's life such that the number of maintenance habits and routines starts to fall as one has less possessions and other property that must be "kept up." For all this, life will STILL remain firmly anchored and predominated by the activities of banal and bland routine maintenace for most persons most of their lives.

(3) Given that one can neither wish away these routines nor routinely botch them without consequence to one's health and the overall sanity of one's life, one faces the dramatic question of why one should consent to such a basic framework of exisistence at all? Isn't this a fairly bad setup for man all in all? If life is firmly anchored and predominated by repetitive maintenance, how could life be said to be "good" or worth living given such a basic predominant framework?

(4) The key concept here is that life is ALMOST consumed by the activities of maintenance. Life is not TOTALLY consumed by the activities of maintenance and one can set MIND to the task of making sustained persistent efforts to reduce the amount of time, mental attention, and anxiety that the maintenance activities consume. Perhaps five human generations from now robots will do most of the maintenace activities and that will solve the problem right there. Perhaps.

(5) Beyond the maintenance activities lie the activities of exhiliration that impart life with ALL of the meaning, beauty, and goodness it has ever had and will ever have for a rational human person. It is for the sake of the activities of exhiliration that one should bother with the maintenance activities in the first place. If human life were such that there were NO activities of exhiliration then it would not be rational for one to attend to the maintenance activities at all...for in this scenario all would one get as reward for the proper tending to maintenace activities was yet more banal, bland, and repetitive maintenance activities.