Buriden’s ass, pain, rambling…

I’m not sure what this is going to be, I’m just going to word vomit a little about some stuff I’ve been thinking about.

So, um, life is pain. To live is to suffer. Buddhism starts there, which I think is good. I don’t think any religion originally tried to deny that life is pain, but the idea seems to be imported into Christianity with the idea that God is “omnibenevolent” as well as omnipotent and omniscient.

“God is a concept by which we measure our pain” is spot on, I think, for this reason. I think our relationship to “God” is often a way for us to make sense of suffering, really – either by trying to give ourselves the illusion of control, maybe, or maybe in the, like “screaming at the sky” trope that we sometimes do when terrible things happen to good people…

I mean, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the dominant religion of the West puts a dude who suffers unjustly at its center. The only way humans know how to make sense of this life, how to keep ourselves sane, is to imagine that maybe the most central part of the whole onion of life is suffering.

The story of Jesus is so compelling to us because it’s the story that tells us that even God suffers – and presumably, if anybody had a choice, it would be the dude we imagine as running the place, right?

So, but, to get away from the Christianity part, I think the point is… God is a metaphor for our individual relationships with existence as a whole, and an exploration of the possibility that there’s some kind of direction or teleology or purpose to… reality itself, I guess. So naturally, religion has at its center the question of suffering, and is used as a way to try and make sense of life in the context of suffering, of struggle and heartache and loss and, just… all of the shitty parts of life, even when hope wears dangerously thin and you feel like all of human progress has been built on a collective delusion that what we’re doing here matters at all, in the grand scheme of things.

Continue reading “Buriden’s ass, pain, rambling…”

A rant about boobs, I guess?

So, I want to make it clear that I am not criticizing this person or their comment. But I didn’t know how to respond to it without just writing a whole post about it because this is stuff that I think about every waking second of every day.

So here goes. I got the following comment on my “You Don’t Scare Me” video, which I’ll put at the bottom of this post in case you haven’t seen it for some reason.

There’s a lot to this comment, and it’s nothing I haven’t heard before – I was advised not to post this video by several people with similar concerns, and I didn’t even ask my family for their input before posting because, well… there are obvious concerns to be had because, yeah, it’s possible that this video will invite more unwanted attention, but here’s… okay, there are a few things to say, here, actually.

Continue reading “A rant about boobs, I guess?”

I don’t take enough time…

To be grateful that I can just post ANYTHING I want to on here. It’s scary but ultimately… is that not what most people in “media” want? Complete freedom to say whatever they think is true?

I guess the problem is, if you can say anything, it’s your fault if you say the wrong thing. You can’t blame it on anyone else. But in the end, that’s a pretty good problem to have, so… maybe I should just use it until I have nothing left to say??

“What is Philosophy” Extras (Part 2)

Miss Part 1? Click here!

As promised…
I mean, just… wow. Anyway…

Here are all the links from the description, but prettier:

Philosophy is a big ol’ monster of a subject, so it can be hard to know where to start. In this video I’ll give you a quick overview of the six branches of philosophy, and provide some resources that also introduce the subject in an accessible way, in case you want to learn more.

MindMeister!

The Great Courses and The Great Courses Plus!

The Modern Intellectual Tradition from Descartes to Derrida with Lawrence Cahoone
The Great Ideas of Philosophy with Daniel N. Robinson
The Big Questions of Philosophy with David K. Johnson
Why Evil Exists with Charles Mathewes
Science Fiction and Philosophy with David K. Johnson

An Introduction to Philosophy” by Daniel J. Sullivan

Audiobooks:
Will Durant’s “The Story of Philosophy
Bertrand Russell’s “A History of Western Philosophy
Exploring Metaphysics” with David K. Johnson

What else? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on…
Metaphysics / Epistemology / Logic / Ethics / Politics

I also really love this website: www.philosophybasics.com

I also just found this free Intro textbook while looking for the above site.

“What is Philosophy?” Video Extras (Part 1)

Okay, you’re here. This is exciting. So first, I might be biased but I think you should go check out my “Philosophy” tab because… I want you to?

Additionally! I know sometimes people are like “you didn’t leave the visual aid/text bit up for long enough!” – for which I’m sorry, it’s hard to time stuff like that right and I’m working on it, BUT here’s all that stuff in one convenient spot, if you want to go back over it.

All of these diagrams were made using MindMeister, which is literally my favorite thing.

Alright. So. That’ll be the end of Part 1.

Click to read Part 2!

Philosophers in a sentence

I just felt like doing this, it’s not going to be perfect or complete at all:

  • Arendt: Evil can be banal.
  • de Beauvoir: Something about ambiguity?
  • Camus: Life isn’t fair but fuck it, make it your bitch instead while you can.
  • Descartes: The only certain thought I can have is that I’m thinking, and also some stuff about God.
  • Epicurus: Pleasure is dope but also complicated?
  • Foucault: Prisons are fucked, fucking is fucked, and also… uh… acid?
  • Gadamer: Jesus who knows, that guy is over my head.
  • Hobbes: Anarchy is shit, therefore totalitarianism.
  • I… don’t know any philosophers that start with I.
  • Jaspers: Technology is a fickle mistress?
  • Kant: I Kant get no satisfaction. Just kidding, uh… the categorical imperative and synthetic a priori blah blah stuff.
  • Liebniz: This is the best of all possible worlds, and also… other stuff probably.
  • Marx: Capitalism is fucked.
  • Nietszche: God is dead and we have killed him, so we need to find a new way to talk about moral issues or we’ll just be totally hosed.
  • Oppenheimer: is a name that maybe corresponds to a philosopher I have no idea
  • Pascal? Plutarch? I got nothin on either.
  • Quine: fucking, like… qua? Do I only think he coined that because they both start with Q?
  • Rousseau: Uhhh beauty and stuff and also society, honestly I don’t remember.
  • Sartres: Existentialist broo-haha. What more is there to know, and also it’s a great word.
  • Thoreau: one should experience nature, and oneself… thoroughly. I’ll go.
  • U…?
  • Voltaire: Y’all academics are all nuts, don’t @ me.
  • Wittgenstein: What are words, mannnnn?
  • X…
  • Y…
  • Zeno: All movement is basically a math miracle.

That was fun…? I’ll try again with new people sometime for funsies.

Consent.

Okay, so, the first thing we have to get out of the way is one of the most important, I think, in a LOT of the more polarized conversations we’re having right now, so I’m going to make it big and bold:

NO ONE IS PERFECT.

Got it? You, the reader, are not perfect, nor is anyone you know, and I certainly am no exception.

Whether you’re a man, woman, left-winger, right-winger, trans, nonbinary, straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, omnisexual, your belly button is an inny or an outy, we ALL have made mistakes and we all will continue to make mistakes, because life is a confusing and messed up predicament for all of us – ESPECIALLY when it comes to sex.

Now. Let’s keep the philosophical stuff to one side, for a second, though I think those conversations are also important and interesting – I want to use this post to build bridges where before there was only confusion and fear. So if you’re a victim of sexual assault – I get it. This might feel a little like I’m extending an olive branch to the enemy. But just try and remember that the people who hurt other people do so because they’re in pain, too. So if we want to stop sexual assault, we have to start with a conversation about why people assault other people to begin with.

Continue reading “Consent.”

“The Society of the Spectacle”

I’m working on a video about this book, written by Guy Debord & published in 1967. The Kindle translation I have isn’t as good as the Audible translation, so I was going to type up some quotes/notes on the Audible version so I can compare the two more easily, since comparing two translations is often a lot more, uh, elucidating. I couldn’t think of a word that sounded less pretentious. Anyway. I figured, why not share it with you? So.

1. The whole life of those societies in which modern conditions of production prevail, presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.

2. Images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common stream, and the former unity of life is lost forever. Apprehended in a partial way, reality unfolds in a new generality as a pseudo-world apart, solely as an object of contemplation. The tendency toward the specialization of images of the world finds its highest expression in the world of the autonomous image, where deceit deceives itself. The spectacle in its generality is a concrete inversion of life, and as such, the autonomous movement of non-life.

3. The Spectacle appears at once as society itself, as a part of society, and as a means of unification. As a part of society it is that sector where all attention, all consciousness, converges. Being isolated, and precisely for that reason, this sector is the locus of illusion and false consciousness. The unity it imposes is merely the official language of generalized separation.

4. The spectacle is not a collection of images. Rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.

I just find this picture of Debord amusing…

Okay. That’s enough for now, because that’s where things start getting more complicated. This is a good place to start, because there’s already quite a bit to unpack. I had a professor once who had us rephrase philosophy passages in the simplest terms possible to help us understand them better, which I always found really helpful, so here’s my attempt with these ones:

  1. The media is at the center of modern life. Instead of living life for ourselves, we watch movies and TV shows about life.
  2. The Spectacle (media/movies/TV/books/etc) chips off a piece of many different ways/aspects of real life and presents itself as the real thing. This new homogenized reality turns us into passive viewers of the version of life it presents to us.
    1. The second two sentences here are tricky, I’m not quite sure but I’ll give it a shot..
      1. These representations of life take on a life of their own… and begin to believe in their own validity.
      2. The spectacle prioritizes the general over the individual, which turns individuals into zombies whose real lives are lived in service of the spectacle, which is imaginary.
    2. It’s kind of hard because I feel like you could write a book just about what he means by “the spectacle” exactly, but imagine, like, corporations where the real people sacrifice their actual lives to this bigger idea of the corporation that doesn’t actually exist, and so the corporation, which isn’t alive, takes on a life of its own by siphoning life from the living people who compose it.
  3. The spectacle (for simplification purposes, let’s just say the media) – presents itself as both a part of society and all there is of society – as the means by which the different veins of social life become unified. But because it isn’t really society, but rather a sort of fun-house mirror that allows society to watch itself, the unification it purports to create is a lie.
  4. The spectacle isn’t just the amalgamation of all media (it isn’t a list of all the shows on Netflix and Hulu, all the videos on YouTube, etc., it’s the means by which those things mediate our relationships to each other on both the individual and the collective levels.

So this is kind of going to be the cornerstone, I think, for me, in thinking about the philosophy of the media, and I hope you can kind of see why. Because what’s completely bananas, is this dude wrote all of this before the internet even existed. Social media wasn’t even a thing – he was JUST talking about, like, cable news and sitcoms at the time.

Continue reading ““The Society of the Spectacle””

Our economy has subjugated…

…all values to instrumental ones. If it isn’t of value to the economy, it has no value. 

Inherent value is either not recognized or simply ignored. 

This is how it becomes possible to have a healthcare system that operates on the assumption that the lives of people with money are more valuable than the lives of people without. 

This is how it becomes possible to have a justice system that operates on the assumption that the lives of drug addicts are less moral than the lives of people who only do as many drugs they can afford. 

This is how it becomes possible to have an education system that teaches children that their worth is not in who they are but in what they can achieve. That teaches children to value a letter on a piece of paper more than the process of educating themselves and becoming individuals. 

This is how it becomes possible to have “art” that exists for the purpose of making money, of gaining views, of rocking the boat enough to get people talking about it but not so much that it turns people away. 

THIS is how it becomes possible to have a political system that is so easily co-opted by a reality television star with no real values whatsoever other than the survival of his own ego. 

And this is also how we have come to see each other. Not as ends in themselves, but as purveyors of other ends. Money. Sex. Power. Exposure. Validation. Acceptance. Companionship. 

But the saddest part, perhaps, is that this is how we have learned to see ourselves. And so we’ll continue to try to fill the hole in our hearts with all these other values in an attempt to convince ourselves that WE have value, that WE deserve to be seen as more than just the goods and services we can provide, even if we live in a world that stubbornly refuses to acknowledge it, that has trained us since we were children too see ourselves as vehicles of value, not as possessors of it. 

Let yourself be valuable just because you exist, and you become a subversive. Let yourself value others just because they exist, and you become a radical. Let yourself choose values that serve something other than the machine of production and spectacle that is the world economy, and you become a revolutionary. 

My Philosophy Video Plans

So far, my channel has involved a lot of, uh… goal-setting would be a generous way of putting it. I was sort of inspired by the story about how Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for a million dollars, in the sense that I kind of figured that if I say I’m going to do something, I’d be much more likely to actually do it just to prove that I meant it. 

Shaving my head comes to mind as a less labor-intensive example of the same principle…

Anyway, so I wrote myself into a corner sort of intentionally, I think, because I felt like that was probably the best way to motivate myself to work as hard as I can. I didn’t really imagine the corner would end up being as tight as it currently is, but… the point is, I have plans. Arguably, too many of them. But I’m going to tell you what they are in more detail, right now, in case anyone other than me cares. 

Continue reading “My Philosophy Video Plans”