Friday, September 30, 2005

Rational Reality

The presocratic philosopher Parmenides, not Descartes, was the first to say that to think and to be are the same thing. Mankind has progressed toward falsehood and self-elation ever since. It is the genesis of universal human pride to believe that the cosmos needs human thought to exist.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Becoming a Philosopher

As soon as an imaginative, original, and persuasive man stops speaking the truth and begins to plead for untruth, he becomes a philosopher. For truth itself cannot be considered his, and to speak the truth is no one’s particular domain.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Eternally Untrue

The truth does not belong to anybody or to any system. Truth, like the potential for being, has always existed. Untruth on the other hand has not always existed. It lives only in the human mind through the agency of reason. To create a divinity endowed with reason is to make untruth an eternal force. Through human will untruth strives to be believed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Universal Stand

A stupendous feat of philosophy has been to create the idea of a universal enemy and then to persuade mankind to unite against it.

Philosophical Objective

One who creates a gratifying object of will for others makes himself into a thing of veneration and thereby satisfies his own will in a distinguished and more exalted way.

Motivated Contemplation

Philosophers change the perspective of others, but for some reason we do not worry about their motivations.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Perceptively Scrutinized

What is more powerful, your perception of yourself or your perception of others? If you attempt to concern yourself with the former and to allow the latter to develop on its own, you will begin to make others uncomfortable and will receive a lot of unsettling scrutiny for your trouble.

Replaced Perceptions

My self-perception collapses, so to speak, insofar as I do not heed the perceived perceptions of others. When I drink alcohol, for example, my perception of myself alone becomes increasingly dominant, and my inhibitions decline proportionately. Ultimately, though, when we exclude from our perception of ourselves the immediate perceived perceptions of others, we replace them with something else, such as imagined posthumous fame or benevolent gods. We do not live without the perceived perception of something. We become the external perceptions that we internalize, regardless of how accurately we perceive them or even whether or not they actually exist.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Myth of Knowledge

If we are supposed to absorb the hearth and fairy stories about Zeus and King Arthur, take them slowly into our bodies, it would follow that we have a purpose that would be furthered by the process. But if we are doing nothing but pushing through endlessly accumulating paperwork, trying to get to our break at the end of the day when we can do little more than stare blankly at a book or TV screen, or to a two-week vacation during which we drink ourselves into a soma-like oblivion, then what good could it possibly do us to have absorbed anything but the ability to do paperwork with sufficient efficiency? If we cannot apply our knowledge to our primary activity, then it is a waste of effort to acquire it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Recommended Knowledge

“Know yourself!” We recommend it to others but rarely to ourselves.

Altered and Unchanged

Over the course of recorded human history, man’s perception of himself has altered, but his will has remained the same. Therefore he has and has not changed.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Unavoidable Contributions

I am in a constant state of self-observation. However, it is by taking into account the unavoidable contributions of others to my sense of myself that I have come to appreciate my own behavior -- why I imitate, why I rebel, why I want to live, why I might want to die.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Rational Servitude

The problem with purely rational explanations of things is that the human psyche is far from purely rational. Its will puts rational explanations into its own service.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Desired End

Reason cannot govern the will because it is not motivational. Reason looks, it does not act. Consider the will to self-preservation and the will to suicide. Each uses reason to bring about its desired end. “What is the best way to kill myself?” the latter might ask; “I really do not want to look bad or to leave a big mess when I am dead.”

Monday, September 12, 2005

Extended Sense

Reason is an extension of the senses. It is not the immediate cause of my actions any more than my vision or my hearing is.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Perceived and Approved Path

When I choose one willed direction over another, I seem to be guided by reason, especially when reason, which foresees consequences, perceived the chosen path in the first place. But I only choose the direction when my will approves it. Reason by itself does not originate movement. The will demands, “I want to be well perceived. Give me suggestions!”

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Just Dessert

Perception guides me, but will governs me. Is it possible for me to act against my will? With what force would I do so? I want to eat dessert but resist the urge. Why? Because I do not want to be overweight. I want to eat things that taste good, and I want to be healthy and attractive. My will resists itself because of external consequences recognized by my perception. I myself do not act against my will as if I were something outside of it.

What You See

To myself I do not appear complex. I sense perception and intelligible will, nothing more.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Under Your Breath?

Moral exile is practiced today with great enthusiasm. Imagine the most offensive thing that you could say in public. Are you able even to whisper it under your breath when you are sitting by yourself in the dark, let alone shout it aloud in the town square?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Perceptively Subordinate

The will relies on perception because it is perfectly capable of causing us to act in ways ultimately unsatisfactory to itself. Nevertheless, our perception, as its guide, is subordinate, leading the will to places it wants to go, either in the short run or the long run, and never to places it does not want to go.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Secret Agents

Morality is an expression of the human will directed upon others. We fail to recognize it as such, in the first place, because we are unperturbed by moral imperatives that we follow of our own accord. And if these same imperatives confine people whom we fear or dislike, we are apt to see something divine or at least extra-human about them. Today, moreover, because our societies are so large, it is hard to think that individuals are responsible for the common morality. But when the moral code shifts, and you realize that others are being favored at your expense, the agents take shape if you look closely enough. You see people where previously you were certain you saw nature or God. ‘But human will dictates morality only insofar as it ceases to be God’s will.’ Oh yes, I know that argument well. To the extent that morality accommodates me, it is an expression of God’s will. I was once convinced of that myself.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Posthumous Reward

Admiration and power are not the same reward, although the desire for them comes from the same motivation to be well perceived. How are we to understand the desire for influence and renown after death? Many great men have disregarded the fear of death, because they have been stimulated by the prospect of posthumous fame.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Rational Desire

Men feel remorse for their lust because their will wants something else too, a loyal wife or a secure reputation, that their reason, their perception, realizes is at risk if they take the object of their lust. But that is not to say that their reason is governing them. They are governed by the desire for the wife or the reputation. Their reason after all will do everything it can to assist in the satisfaction of their lust, when they do not have the other desires to restrain them.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Conflict of Consequences

To say that the human will is whole is not to say that it cannot have more than one object as specified by its perception, and that the pursuit of one object will not conflict with the pursuit of another. Many times of course I have recognized that if I get this, I do not get that. My wanting them both, however, is not an internal conflict. The conflict lies in the external consequences. There is no struggle between reason and passion, as countless people have believed. Passion and reason, will and perception, are not at odds with each other.

Reasoned Disbelief

Reason is always subject to passion. Hume’s observation is one of the most significant ever made in the ethical arena, but it has the disadvantage of being true without being persuasive. We can easily will ourselves to disbelieve it.