Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zeno's Martial Truth

"Zeno stretched out his fingers, and showed the palm of his hand, - 'Perception,' - he said, - 'is a thing like this.'- Then, when he had closed his fingers a little, - 'Assent is like this.' - Afterwards, when he had completely closed his hand, and showed his fist, that, he said, was Comprehension. From which simile he also gave that state a name which it had not before, and called it katalepsis. But when he brought his left hand against his right, and with it took a firm and tight hold of his fist: - 'Knowledge' - he said, was of that character; and that was what none but a wise person possessed."

How might I read this? The world remains formless and flows undistinguished. There is no use but only the witnessing of appearances. The hand remains without purpose; it is a crystallization of its nature. Then the world takes form slowly as things are ripped from the flow of appearance to be dissected; the hand begins to form into something of use. Finally the fist is clenched; things are known, a thing is distinct, a truth emerges from the flow of appearances. What do we do with this fist of truth? We attain it, as wise people, strike out and use it in the world. Truth is not truth if it is as useless as an opened, unmoving hand. For knowledge and truth are not abstractions removed from the body and the world, lofty, feathery things to drift in some deaf, dumb and blind dream. Truth and knowledge command us to act, to use them, and a truth that does not demand action, is nothing but the meaningless, useless flow of appearance. Only in the use of truth do we find out if its fist is strong and healthy enough to shatter the fallacious; without this exercise of truth, this pugilistic match, knowledge and truth remain the fallacies of sickly cowards.

But are the fists rough and brutish like a boxers? No, while the striking out in the name of truth may require a degree of crudeness and a willingness to become dirty, the pugilism of truth can be sheer starkness of a lived ethic in the face of a spiteful crowd of denouncers. Our truth is measured by the strength of a the fight, the strength of the truth, not by the brutality of the fighter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Humanism Wanting

Often we are commanded directly by threat or didactically through the judgment of others to act humanely. What is threatened? What is being judged? Your essential nature, a secularized soul, that is grounded in the assumed qualities of what forms a human; to act in a way that is inhumane is to risk your status as a human. As you deny the rights guaranteed humans, so you go on to deny your own humanity in the eyes of others.

For example, consider what you have thought and have heard others say about arraigned killers -- all acts become permissible in conversation against the dehumanized "it" that was once a person. Our own behavior reveals a startling irony. We go about requesting the decency of being humane, to subscribe to the core properties that compose a human as a full social being, but how can one request a nature?

A nature is static, permanent and self-sufficient, producing a deterministic teleology. The very request to be humane, to subscribe to a type of humanism, tacitly reveals there is no nature. For how do you request a person to choose his or her nature? There is not a human soul, a human nature, or a true humanism in which to subscribe to. The request uncovers a nothingness in the human. His obsessive concern with being human points to his true composition. He is paradoxically naturally unnatural. The nothingness as if a vacuum hungrily sucking up anything in the outside world to fill it and form it into something more tangible to humanity. Humanism, those that request you be humane to others, it comes from the initial nothingness of the person that desperately seeks out something.

Did I just tell you to go out and slaughter everybody because there is no humanism to build a system of rights and ethical behavior? Unfortunately for the more violent members of our species, no. A denial of human nature and the revelation that humanity's core is a "nothingness seeking outward" allows for a host of new ways for humans to relate. A more truthful analysis and thus a better practice concerning daily human interactions can be achieved if we rid ourselves of the abstractions in the humanism of nature and right. Has it not been so dishonest that we acknowledge a worldly humanism, but at the first opportunity, tear our enemy's children into bloody ribbons and excuse it with the call "war"? Isn't the idea of world love between all nations so insincere it is nauseating? A truer understanding of humanity allows for something like a love to exist in a purer sense. Love can exist without a humanism though that may sound strange. Love is actually strangled and blinded by the false notions of a human nature. To end a sham marriage, two lovers must reveal their true "selves" to each other -- that they are both grasping nothings desperate to be affirmed by each other -- and human touch becomes more real than it has ever been before.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Opiate of the Masses? More like White Trash Turpentine Cocktail!

Christianity, and any revelatory religion, have been the meeting ground of two distinct types of people -- psychotics and conformists. A few individuals encounter god, daring enough to break rules and declare their waking dreams a reality. Then those who are unwilling to protest by the decency of their intelligence go to work organizing and establishing the new religions and communities. All religions and all traditions not based in sensible purpose start as mendacious, indecent, violent cults; it is only through the hardening of history, even, surprisingly, an illuminating, embarrassing history of unprecedented human folly and shame, that these cults becomes proper, acknowledged religions and traditions. The cult of the weak, sick and dying known to the Ancient world as Christianity is the inescapable, pervasive glue of Western society for nearly 2000 years -- this is our legacy!?

And those few that are not psychotics and conformists, must sit hopelessly with their nausea from the cursed fortune of intellectual decency, knowing their culture is the Scientology of a glaringly observable past.