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.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Passion (Kamran K): Scratch the Surface...

(1) Hiding only a sliver beneath the surface of the over-the-top presentation of public friendliness, positivity, jocularity, and "good vibe energy" one sees everywhere in the US today is a personality structure that is downright vicious, brutal, angry, discontented to a very high degree. This is more true for persons that live in large cities which is increasingly the majority of the worldwide population (80% of the US population lives in large cities). The particular problem here is the sudden vacillation of emotion from one artificial extreme to another: either over-the-top friendliness and positivity or seething anger. The vacillation of this personality structure make it more akin to a maniac robot that one can transform at the flip of a switch from positive to negative than a dynamic conscious sensible human person.

To anyone doubting the above, let him or her consider the proliferation of the following in the face of all this public presentation of friendliness, happiness, and positive vibes and energy: (a) random mass shootings in schools and malls, (b) road rage, (c) persons remaining single well into their 30s and 40s with better complaints that "everyone out there" is "shallow" "no good" and "crappy," (d) popularity of violent/angry rap music, horror films and shows, and other movies containing significant violence and brutality, (e) animal abuse, (f) domestic violence and abuse, including against little children (g) online "shouting matches" and bullying where people that don't even know each other threaten and name-call each other for page after page of written text (h) the angry and heated complaints received by the customer service departments of many businesses for defects and other issues that are minor at best.

(2) To gain more perspective on the abnormality of the above environment, we imagine what a healthy human person's emotions would "look like" on a daily basis. This emotional temperament would be most distinguished by its range and variability to the different events that arrive in real-time into consciousness. A reasonably pleasant somewhat jocular disposition would be the emotional baseline condition, but it would not lapse into RELENTLESS positivity or RELENTLESS jocularity.

Moderation (Kamran): Pressing Pause on the NEW

(1) Modern stupidities are many but a very large grouping of them centers on the fetishization of the NEW. The modern fetish for NEW has become very extreme, very distorted, and very false. Without evidence or principled reasoning, NEW is regarded as better than OLD almost every time. Most companies attempt to sell a product simply by announcing repeatedly that it is "New!" And then the fetishization of the NEW demands that another NEW rapidly replace the already NEW. There is no time to digest the NEW, genuinely appreciate its subtelties, and- in the case of knowledge- FULLY understand and apply it in one's decisionmaking throughout life.

(2) Let us assume humanity survives for some 100 million years. During this time, all manner of NEW inventions will be birthed and created/used by human persons to meet the requirements of life. It would be exceedingly unlikely that only the inventions made in the last 100 of these 100 million years would be "useful" or the "best ones." Even in the case of everyday products such as shoes, kitchen appliances, and even cars, it would be reasonable to assume that some of the best products were made in the distant past and- for whatever reason- are no longer "around." At this point, it would be reasonable for one to go back and resurrect the OLD rather than simply producing more new.

(3) The thought experiment can be repeated for any NEW value system, ideology, philosophy, or abstract truth residing in the REALM and outside physicality. Here, also, it would be exceedingly unlikely if ALL of the very best, most accurate values, ideologies, philosophies, and truths were discovered within the last 100 of the 100 million year run of humanity. It would be much more reasonable to assume all manner of positive, true, and life-enhancing values, ideologies, philosophies, and abstract truths could be found throughout human history, some in the near past and some in the very distant past.

When evaluating a new philosophy, there should be no assumption whatsoever that its newness makes it any better, truer, life-enhancing. At best, its newness may make it more understandable to modern readers but when has understandability become more important than whether something is better, truer, life-enhancing. What matters with respect to a new philosophy, value system, or truth is not whether it is simply "new" but whether it is BETTER than the best of the old.

(4) In a time when the NEW is absolutely proliferating without precedent and when most of the NEW is never seen, appreciated, or used by a single person, it is time to press PAUSE on the NEW and focus one's efforts largely on appreciation of that which already is and has been for some time. As one example, it is by no means clear that the "solution" to the current worldwide obesity problem lies in something NEW (some new wonder drug, surgery, or superfood) as opposed to the application of some very old very basic human nutrition principles.

Justice (Kamran K): Reflections on Progressive Degeneration and Progressive Ascension

(1) On a very superficial view of the world- one shared by many if not most people- the world is generally an "unjust" place. For some unknown reason or another, some small minority of people ("group A") are wealthy, powerful, attractive, healthy, blessed with many quality friends, happy, and moderate in their enjoyment of pleasures. For some unknown reason or another, everybody else in the world ("group B") is poor, weak, unattractive, unhealthy, lacking any quality friends, unhappy, and addicted to various pleasures over which they have no control. There seems to be no good reason why any particular person finds himself in group A or group B. STILL, the fact that MOST people find themselves in group B all their life is thought to be evidence of an "unjust" world that crushes and punishes persons 10 or 100 times as frequently as it ennobles and elevates them.

(2) As a matter of truth and reality, does the world actually operate like this? Is it as random and unjust as this? Is there such a propensity to randomly punish persons and relegate them to group B lives for no reason under their control?

(3) An alternative viewpoint of the world would not see things this way. This alternative viewpoint sees a world that is generally fair and generally equates one's actual results, achievements, and quality of life with the nature and quality of one's choices and behaviors over many decades of life. This alternative viewpoint sees the world primarily from the framework of a man or woman undergoing either PROGRESSIVE DEGENERATION or PROGRESSIVE ASCENSION over multi-year multi-decade time spans.

(4) Progressive degeneration and ascension can be experienced and observed across various realms of life. One can be degenerating in one realm while ascending in another. There is (probably) also a TOTAL that one can extract from the various realms, such that one could say that someone IN TOTAL is either undergoing progressive degeneration or ascension at any particular point in time.

(5) The physical health, fitness, strength, and vitality realm is the easiest realm to see these principles play out. Quite obviously, no one simply goes to bed one night fit, trim, ripped, and vital and then wake up the next morning 150 pounds heavier, obese, and completely weak and lethargic. Excluding extreme scenarios, this transformation probably doesn't occur for most people even over time periods as long as a few months or even a year.

(6) Rather, what happens over the course of several years or decades is the progressive degeneration or progressive ascensioin of a person's bodily health, fitness, and vitality. Day after day- with very few days, let alone weeks or months break in between- the person makes choices and then engages in behaviors that produce either progressive degeneration or progressive ascension in bodily health, fitness, and vitality. Interestingly, the day to day progressive degenerations or ascensions are BARELY VISIBLE and measurable. It is only when these fairly minor and small degenerations or ascensions are TOTALED do the results become much clearer.

(7) Assume we selected two moderately obese 30 year old men (Allen and Brett) and tracked their BHFSV for a decade. Both Allen and Brett hit the big THREE O weighing 40 pounds above their ideal weight, with nearly all of that weight being excess body fat (i.e. not muscle). From day one of his 30s, Allen devoted himself to the understanding and application of the many principles that have been proven to produce high BHFSV for human person:

  •  Allen lifted weights for an hour three times a week. Allen attempted to gradually increase the amount of weight he lifted in his various excercises but was sensible enough to recognize that such progression would involve inevitable plateaus, dips, and setbacks.
  • Allen engaged in some form of cardio calorie-burning activity for one hour a day, 5 days per week.
  • Allen studied the latest principles of nutrition and was generally aware of the quantity and quality of calories he was consuming. He generally avoided foods that were very high in number of calories but low in quality of calories (Soda, fruit juice, cakes and cookies, alcohol and beer, large sandwiches and cheeseburgers, basically most foods and drinks most Americans eat today). Allen's diet consisted primarily of fruits and vegetables, water, fiber, lean protein and fish, and healthy fats found in nuts and oils. 
  • Allen generally did not regard food or drink as the "centerpiece" of the day nor did he believe it to be one of the best means for humans to socialize with one another.  

Following this regimen, Allen placed the tailwind of PROGRESSIVE ASCENSION behind his back throughout his 30s. Unsurprisingly, Allen reached age 40 in unbelievable physical shape, with weight, bodily aesthetics, strength, energy, and cardiac condition in ideal if not awe-inspiring condition. This was a JUST result.

(8) Brett reached age 30 and chose a very different trajectory for his BHFSV. From day one of his 30s, Brett basically ate whatever he wanted whenever. He liked to save money so he sought out fast-food and other processed food that was relatively cheap and offered "good value." Brett never bothered learning about nutrition labels, calorie requirements, and all the rest. He didn't avoid any foods whatsoever, and generally ate what most people around him were eating. He freely consumed soda, cookies, cakes, fast food, large sandwiches, and tons of processed food. He didn't like the taste of most fruits and vegetables so he avoided them as much as he could.

Brett did have a gym membership but exercised only twice a week for 40 minutes at a low-intensity while watching games on the cardio machine monitor. Afterward, he would immediately drink Gatorade and eat some cookie or snack that essentially wiped out any calorie burn achieved in the gym. Brett generally lead a sedentary life; he worked a desk computer job during the days and then came home and watched sports on the TV for a few hours before falling asleep.

Following this regimen, Brett placed the tailwind of PROGRESSIVE DEGENERATION behind his back throughout his 30s. Unsurprisingly, Brett reached age 40 in pretty poor physical shape. He was 40-50 pounds overweight. He had zero bodily aesthetics, with a large gutt, man boobs, and a large amount of fat all over his face. Brett had no energy which caused him to want to watch even more TV as a daily nightly activity. His cardiac condition was also poor with elevated blood pressure, resting heart rate, and cholestorol.

Brett's physical condition at age 40 was a JUST result.

(9) In nearly every other realm of life for nearly all persons, the same pattern repeats itself. Within whatever realm one is considering, one is usually experiencing either a progressive degeneration or ascension that is ongoing, habitually chosen, and possessing very strong MOMENTUM for its continued degeneration or ascension.

Silence & Stillness (Kamran K): Reflections on Teeming Shat

(1) Generation after generation, sensible and emotionally sensitive/aware human persons have repeatedly turned away from the masses, the bright lights and big crowds, the huge fads and socially popular trends. Where have they turned toward?  Zones of human life distinguished by silence and stillness. They have gone- and gone repeatedly- where very few others are; and they engage in behaviors that very few others do; and they do these things for motivations that very few others share.

Naturally, over time this becomes more difficult because what was once a silent unpopularity may become a HUGE popular fad (example: the trajectory of the consumption of pornography from 1950 to the present is a great example; another example would be the creation of a blog or website from 1995 to the present). The number of areas where one can go where no one else currently is has shrunk; but since the total potential realms humanity can access is infinite (or practically infinite) this is not an actual problem.

(2) What accounts for this phenomenon? What drives the thoughtful AWAY from these very popular trends and fads, congested urban population centers, and activities in which literally everyone seems to be participating for basically the same motivations, etc.

(3) Although particularities exist, we can generally observe that the thoughtful appreciate the popularity for what it is, fundamentally a situation one could label "TEEMING SHAT."

(4) TEEMING SHAT quite obviously includes two core concepts: that of teeming and that of shat. BOTH are present in teeming shat. To continue this very obvious extrapolation, shat implies the popularity (whether behavior, activity, person, or place) is not actually of much quality. Whether it is the worst thing in the world (few things are actually THAT bad) is beside the point; it is still shat meaning it lacks any non-trivial attributes of quality that one can experience in any way shape or form.

Despite the popularity being shat (i.e. lacking quality attributes of any form, shape, or type), the popularity is still TEEMING. The teemingness of the shat does not make it more shat. What the condition of teeming does is it requires you to endure a whole host of (minor and major) annoyances, costs, burdens, sacrifices etc. to engage in the activity of teeming shat. In today's automobile world, this usually means the TEEMING SHAT activity will require you to spend many hours in traffic, pay significant amounts in fees and parking expenses, spend large amounts of time engaged in the activity, abide by a whole host of rules designed to facilitate the teeming nature of the popularity, and all the rest.

TEEMING SHAT activities would therefore necessarily be distinguished by the complete lack of silence and stillness. Perhaps this is a necessary requirement for TEEMING SHAT activities to retain their popularity; silence and stillness are perhaps the greatest enemies as they allow people to take a pause and actually experience the teeming shat activity for what it is. In whatever activity you are involved in, it is nearly impossible to evaluate it when you are wrapped up in its noise, hustle, and overall frenetic activity. This is often how adults can spend decades in a career they detest while never truly appreciating just how much they detest what they do.

(5) If the popularity was of great actual quality, then one would perhaps endure the TEEMINGness of it in order to experience the quality found at the very end of the tunnel. International travel to some popular tourist destinations (not all) perhaps fits this criteria; one endures hours of airport delays, hotel fees, jet lag, and the thousand other indignities involved in travel for the opportunity to visit a country like England and spend weeks in London and the English countryside.

(6) In the vast majority of situations, the popularity has so little quality of experience in it that it is better left undone and unexplored in favor of one pursuing activities that are neither TEEMING nor SHAT. Getting wrapped up in TEEMING SHAT is usually a horrible deal; one endures the constant TEEMING and one receives in turn only SHAT. Sensible men and women are (usually) not to be criticized for their initial foray into an area of teeming shat. There was a reasonable hope that the activity would not be teeming, would not be SHAT, or if TEEMING would compensate for the teeming with tremendous quality of experience.

Once the popularity proves itself to be TEEMING shat, then the situation changes dramatically. Then the decision to continue doing the activity of TEEMING shat suggests some form of weakness in personality and character in a person for sticking to TEEMING SHAT. All reasons why people remain tied up in TEEMING SHAT are not praiseworthy and to be criticized as weakness and fault in a person. Person A may be non-creative and repetitive to a fault such that he or she can't identify anything to do with her or her time other than habitual activities of TEEMING SHAT. This is a propensity that should criticized, faulted, and removed from one's character. Person B may continue doing TEEMING SHAT because his or her friends tend to do this thing all the time. Person B should suggest to his or her friends different things to do. If they are true and worthy friends, they will take the consideration and do other things together. If they reject the suggestion and continue doing strictly activities of TEEMING SHAT, then one is better off finding new friends or simply spending dramatically less time with such persons so that one can experience activities other than those of teeming shat. Person C may live in a location where the activities of teeming shat are the most convenient to do. Person C should examine his propensity to favor activities that are convenient and evaluate whether his time would better spent in activities slightly less convenient but far more rewarding.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Passion (Kamran K): Pessimism a Brewin'

(1) Standing alone as a rare beacon of undiluted, unapologetic, and unsentimental pessimism, the blog author has EARNED the right to continue sustained reflections on the reasonableness of modern pessimism. In fact, since he has begun adopting the pessimistic outlook, his reasons for doing so have only become more numerous and information-fact supported.

(2) So we must return again to serious reflection on why pessimism is now justified and a superior mental outlook on man's present trajectory on Earth.

Fundamentally, the root justification of our pessimism lies in the recognition that modern life is DOMINATED by some TEN or so OVERWHELMINGLY powerful trends that have so much momentum, financial support, and social popularity/acceptance that one must acknowledge that the trends will only strengthen over time and either result in cataclysm or the enervation of human social life to very very low levels (roughly the levels one experiences now).

(3) These TEN or so trends include:
  • Money worship and status-based material consumption.
  • Human communication dominated by emotionally-driven "reactions" rather than fact and logic based reasoning
  • Global warming, environmental degradation, and unprecedented loss of Earth's biodiversity
  • Rampant fraud, misrepresentation, and other artifices employed throughout the global economy to facilitate almost EVERY single economic transaction or sale. Related to this...the cost of nearly everything being many multiples of its true worth, value, and function.
  • The worldwide addiction to cellphones, tables, and other computers by persons that rely on these devices for their very personal identity, social "connection" to the outside world, and entertainment. Most people now regard the online world as the real world.
  • The ever-increasing inability to distinguish between "good" traditions that should be kept and "bad" traditions that should be tossed aside. Instead, we see an all-out attack on all traditions, even those that have served humanity well for centuries, and with only the most infantile stupid poorly thought through "replacements" for these traditions.
  • The vanishment of persons engaging in activities purely for their intrinsic worth. Which adult (30+) pursues any activity seriously if there is no money in it, no likelihood of it improving their sex appeal to the opposite gender, AND NO reputational boost available from social media posting of the activity?    
  • The ever-increasing pressure worldwide of persons to be RP ("relentlessly positive") and non-offensive to others AT ALL TIMES. Because these twin pressures are so persistent and their violation so socially damaging, social discourse and talk becomes immunized and sterilized and limited to utterly BANAL and trivial matters (weather, local sport team performance, favorite foods and drinks, favorite gyms, favorite movies or TV shows, who is "HOT" and "looks good"). All of this can be tolerated in a state of heavy drunkenness but sobriety provides a dramatically different perspective on the value of participating in these conversations. 
  • The dramatic alteration of public space in the past several decades. GONE: bookstores, public parks, open areas where people play chess and talk, libraries, museums, theaters. NOW WE HAVE: bars and nightclubs serving alcohol, a substance that causes heart failure, cancer, liver damage, and weight gain, restaurants that serve food lacking nutritional value and absolutely LOADED with fat, saturated fat, added sugar, and empty calories, gyms that foster the illusion that exercise- rather than a disciplined diet of calorie restriction- promotes "transformative" weight loss, coffee shops playing bland music and charging $5 for hot water and a sprinkling of tea or coffee powder/beans. stores selling mainly furniture and clothes for 8-10 times the cost of production and 5 or so times actual worth, value, and function, and numerous gas stations and other convenience stores (pharmacies, 7-11s, donut shops) selling gas that pollutes the environment or junk food that furthers the obesity crisis and has low nutritional satiety and value.
(4) Given the many billions of people on Earth that are rooted (addicted?) hook, line and sinker into these above trends, what basis could one have to be optimistic about the future? Given the reality that many thousands of corporations worldwide are investing many BILLIONS of dollars in furtherance of the above trends, what basis could one have to be optimistic about the future? Given the reality that social life is today dominated by the above trends- with precious few or no islands of escape from it- what basis could one have to be optimistic about the future?

(5) Modern pessimism has never before been as eminently reasonable, fact-supported, and sensible as a strategy for persons to adopt as a "window" through which one evaluates the human condition.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Courage (Kamran K): Achievement and Risk/Sacrifice. A Forever Paired Duo.

(1) We have long held that there can be no benefit without some cost incurred. To benefit in any way shape or form in any way, one must incur the cost that is related to that benefit and then compare how that cost compares with the benefit received.

(2) With many many activities in modern social life, the benefits received from the activity are dramatically outweighed by the costs involved. These are "bad deals." Almost everywhere one looks there are activities one could describe as "TEEMING SHAT" in which the costs absolutely dwarf the meager benefits. Examples are too numerous to list but will be apparent to a thinking man upon the slightest critical self-reflection and social analysis.

(3) In a very similar vein, there can be no achievement in life in any area without some level of risk incurred and some sacrifice made. The idea that somehow one can achieve things of value in this world without taking on significant risk and/or making significant sacrifice is simply absurd.

Risk and sacrifice are the "fuel" that CAN lead to achievement if all else breaks in one's favor. One must usually risk and sacrifice one's reputation, health, physical safety, mental tranquility, and all the rest to land at some achievement of human value. The biography of nearly any human being that has achieved something of value is likely replete with examples of risk and sacrifice assumed in order to reach the achievement of value.

This choice is purely optional, and not to be imposed on any person that is not so inclined. With 7 billion persons on the planet, even a very very small minority (0.001%) pursuing achievements of value can push humanity forward despite 99.9% of the remaining population achieving nothing of value.  The planet simply does not need 7 billion people all achieving things of human value.

(4) This is indeed why so many people today are flocking to the online world of social media as an escape from this risk/sacrifice/achievement paradigm. They do prefer the online world with its little to no risk, little to no sacrifice as a place to "call home." What risk or sacrifice is someone incurring simply by posting pictures of their dog, favorite foods, slow jog around town, flippant reactions to some politician's speech, and/or favorite bars and vacation spots? Zero. What is being achieved by doing this? Also zero.

This also explains why conformity is so widespread and a comfortable choice for so many. Conformity imposes minimal to no sacrifice or risk on the persons that adopt it. This is not to say conformity does not require physical work or exertion; just that it does not require any serious level of existential sacrifice and risk that one would be "struck by" and wish to applaud.