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Monthly Archives: November 2012

ludimagister said (and I strongly recommend his blog. It’s quite good!):

In (hedonistic) utilitarianism, the goal is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. The utility of an action is defined with reference to its consequences on the senses. But, as admirers of Nietzsche, we regard pleasure and pain as accidental outcomes, we choose to ground ourselves in our Will.

Here, in existential utilitarianism, the objective is to maximize existential well-being. The utility of an action is therefore defined with reference to one’s embodied values, grand passions, and life-project—i.e. one’s Will. Instead of pleasure and pain, we focus on meaning and value (not as ‘objectively’ defined, but as defined in relation to one’s own Will). Thus, we would welcome challenges, we would seek challenges, since we seek the fulfillment of our Will. And, the ultimate success for us would be amor fati. This mindset, as a practical tool, would be useful for self-actualization, for self-becoming.

But, beware, this idea is not to be confused with existentialism. Existentialist ideas like the other, the look, bad faith, etc. are irrelevant for us—even misleading.

Any thoughts?

My reply:

The problem with Utilitarianism — and I understand here that Existential Utilitarianism you’re proposing is different the usual school of Utilitarianism, but just bare with me for a moment— is that it’s really just a disguise for the enforcement of some standard of Normativity, especially the enforcement of normative morality and normative value judgement. It assumes that every action and its moral consequence is predictable and equal. It assumes that everyone places the same value on the same things, and that everyone will interpret/react to the same things in the same way. Also assumes that everyone all has the same information available to them.

Worst of all, like many moral theories, it’s based on the biasthat the rational, level-headed, reflective mind, who has been schooled in philosophy, ethics, and the delicacies of high culture, is always there to make good moral judgement with allthe information available. It does not foresee the breakdown of the human organism under mob behavior or in the complexities of political authority. It doesn’t foresee how humans behave under indecision, stress, suffering, sickness, violence, or even less extreme states of being like leisure, happiness of the decision-maker, and removedness from the situation.

That said however…

It seems that you’re proposing spreading the gospel of self-actualization and self-sublimation — spreading the ethos of individuals becoming responsible for their own freedom, and all the awesome stuff that goes with that. This is good! We need more of this, however—-

The only problem with such movements — and I don’t mean to use you as the reference point in particular, because this is an issue inherent to the very condition of movement-making— is that it attracts droves of people who are just looking for something to identify themselves with, and who don’t actuallythink for themselves, but just follow. They may quote Nietzsche or Ayn Rand or Camus or Sartre, but their very inclination and behavior is that of the slave. They need aGroup for the sake of the Group.

In this case, the Group they will be trying to fit into is the one that takes the rhetoric of Individuality as its Group mascot/god/slogan. The rhetoric of actual individuality and self-sublimation thus becomes co-opted for the establishment of the Group, and this Group fashions its own dogma, customs, symbolism, value judgementsand creates the need for Group acceptance.

We see this happen with the individualistic movements like Objectivism and Libertarianism. We see this going on in outside of the Western world where power groups try to look “Individualistic” in the way that the West has packaged for them, in order for them to meet the West’s approval (the institutions of the State, “secularism”, etc.)

We see this in the West itself with the Walmartbranding of rebels, revolutionaries, and other free-spirits on T-shirts, pop music, the Mass Media. We see this in Western counter-culture movements like the Hippy movement, Punk, Goth, Hip-Hop, even hipsters and yuppies.

Clothing, Body modification, style, slang, language — the whole style that identifies one with one of these advertised-as Counter-Cultural, Individualistic, Rebellious groups, thisstyle become the *Normative* way to express your individuality — you may self-sublimate *only* on the terms that Society has given for you. They no longer are an actual expression of individuality — they are an expression of branding for a movement that will only declare its individuality with framework given to it by society.

(*No, I do not hate the style of these subcultures, I don’t hate art. I despise how they are co-opted and Normativized.)

“Fuck the system” isn’t wearing the t-shirt, or a tattoo, or spray-painting a graphic — that’s just advertising for the idea (or at some point it was), and advertising that gets confused for the fight for self-sublimation itself. To “fuck the system” is taking the fight directly against the institutions, and against your own self-limiting weaknesses, that are the condition of your own oppression.

Again, as I said above, this feature I just described whereIndividualism is co-opted for the Group is just the pitfalls to the very condition of group-making. It goes way back to the foundations of the first religions, cults, tribes, and societies. Humanity can be so disgustingly slavish.

In other words, slaves will be slaves. The slave has just learned to disguise themself — to deceive themself — by wearing the “Fuck the system” T-shirt only insofar as the slave has met society’s terms of what can and cannot be called adequate resistance.

But the slave is not destined to be always be slave. The slave can be liberated from this tragic cycle of slavery, and from the lies that maintain slavery.

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Madame Einzige: Amor Fati

A Novel Synopsis

(Due for 2013 release, copyright© 2011, 2012 Ismael Sarepta)

Madame Einzige

In the once glorious homeland of the great spiritual-philosophers Zarathustra, Bodhidharma, and Rumi, on the frigid decaying steppes of Central Asia, amidst its bleak Modern condition of mafia-oligarchies, ruthless oil politics, extraordinary rendition torture and execution, corporate exploitation, and the proliferation of private military companies, a new Spring of Revolution breaks out.

But, unlike the Arab Spring years prior, this Central Asian Spring receives no international attention. These Eurasian States and their foreign puppet-state masters have learned from the bloody examples of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria, of the necessity to systematically patrol and monitor regional Internet activity for dissidence and revolutionary activity. In the wake of the Arab Spring, the multi-trillion-dollar enterprise of mass State-wide Surveillance, Censorship, and the total State takeover of all inbound and outbound digital data, has been opened up for anyone with the resources, skills, and money to engineer Big Brother. Its sole contractors are the secretly founded subsidiaries of European and American Computer Corporations that operate outside of the law of their home countries, in order to engineer this Dystopic Nightmare of the Information Age.

And unlike the Arab Spring, this Central Asian Spring receives no blessing from Moscow, Beijing, Washington, Brussels, or even the United Nations — not even an attempt to co-opt the Spring for a Superpower’s proxy war against another State — they are the unmemorable, the reviled, the censored. This is a refusal of the Spring’s recognition all for the sake of protecting the State’s geopolitical oil and economic interests in Central Asia, and out of the irrational phobia of the most misunderstood and most diverse force reacting against the Nihilism of Westernizing “Globalization” Modernity today: political Islam.

Madame Einzige is thrown onto the front lines of war-torn Central Asia gripped by the thoroughs of Revolution and Counter-Revolution. Takes up arms alongside these unknown, unsung rebels, she participates full-on in the brutality, carnage, insanity, and surrealism of warfare in the Information Age: the terror of the unmanned aerial drone, the cyber-war of mass disinformation, the ubiquity of the Superpower State’s self-preservation instinct, and the mercenary looting, pillaging, and massacring of the Private Military Company—

Yet, despite the privatization of totalitarianism, despite the industrialization of destruction, despite the mechanization of slaughter in modern warfare, Madame Einzige witnesses the emergence of a new, enlightened, counter-culture movement — a counter-culture movement that combines the Hacker Ethic and reverse engineering, populism and Social Democracy, with the Mystical, the Philosophical, and the Rational of the Islamic tradition.

Inspired by the enlightened spiritual-warrior Sufi orders that once populated Central Asia and the Middle-East, and armed with jury-rigged cyber-warfare devices, homemade weaponry, salvaged old Soviet automobiles, camels and horses, these new techno-spiritual rebels carry out their revolution against the Corporate Machinery of the West, against the corrupt Oligarchies of Eurasia, and against the torrent of regressive Puritanical extremist interpretations of Islam.

Madame Einzige: Amor Fati is where speculative fiction, the political thriller, and the war novel meets the philosophical narrative, in a hyper-real, Postmodern Nietzschean Epic. Amor Fati is the first installment of the Madame Einzige series.

(Click here for Madame Einzige series general outline)

I think I officially love this person’s Tumblr. Here’s a reply, which sent me into my usual entranced philosophical diatribes and insights–

antigravity000:

Heat can be measured, there are values for its presence whereas ‘coldness’ is simply a description for absence of heat. Cold is the void, heat is space. Nihilism, atheism, absurdism are the voids, faith in god(s), in creative forces, is space.

I like this.

It’s funny, isn’t it? Once we stick that -ism on Nihilism, we have Nihilists — followers — who consciously adopt a system of philosophy they want to associate with Nihilism. But in adopting a system, they affirm an identity, and in affirming an identity, you now have an identity — a positive thing — associated with yourself. It’s quite literally counter-intuitive for someone to consciously adopt Nihilism.

I’ve always thought true Nihilism would actually be closer with simply lacking in  self-criticality, or any thinking what so ever — this McDonalds, MTV, Nike culture of the 21st century is true Nihilism, for example.

True atheism isn’t the scientific rationalization of the universe and coming to the conclusion that gods don’t exist — true atheism is just the complete lack of any form of theistic insight of belief: apathetically avoiding religion, or apathetically/ignorantly following religion. (This was Nietzsche’s point about atheism, actually, and how atheism is actually just the deification of humanity sublimated over the Abrahamic God. Hence, why he’s quoted for saying “God is dead”, and not for saying “God doesn’t exist”)

And true absurdity, is just the doing absurd things without reflecting on them. This is just the common condition of daily life.

So basically, what I mean to say is, the greatest of the Nihilists are not the suffering, paralyzingly self-critical characters from the pages of Dostoyevsky or Turgenev, or that angsty youth clad in a leather trench coat. The greatest Nihilists are the Kim Kardiashians and Paris Hiltons of this world.

Wrote another reply to another interesting question on Tumblr–

antigravity000:

What might the cultural and religious emphasis of the Moon for Middle Easterners (Arabs) and the Sun for Europeans suggest about the growth and development of these people? Or does their reverence of one over the other (Sun vs Moon) demonstrate differing psychological growth, a different geographical, evolutionary development?

Historically in the Middle-East, the Moon was closely associated with the female monthly cycles, and pregnancy and fertility. The pre-monotheistic traditions emphasized the Moon’s direct magical role in these things as the astrological agent that caused the female cycles, and the Moon was regarded as a deity. This gave birth to the anthropomorphicized versions of the Moon, and their subsequent cults — Inanna (Sumerian), Ishtar (Assyrian-Babylonian), Ashteroth (Levantine), Anahita (Iranian). These cults became extremely powerful in the Middle-East, until the rise of Abrahamic Monotheism.

The Moon’s “unpredictable” nature, seemingly self-guided movements (relative to the sun and the seasons, at least), and its strange psychological affects on people  during a full moon, was understood as something completely defiant / opposed to the Sun cults that tended to emphasize a male Sun God.

You also had female cults of death that emphasized the Moon — Moloch (male god, Levantine), Ereshkigal (Mesopotamia), Allat (Arabia — part of the pre-Islamic Arabian “trinity”). Sometimes, these deities were invoked during ritual infanticide, usually performed by mothers who couldn’t support the baby.

The whole Moon-Female-Cult religious complex tended to stand opposite to Sun-Male-Cults of Marduk, Ashur, Ahura Mazdah, and Yahweh (Bible), who wanted to impose regularity, patriarchy, legal order, and the establishment of priestly class.

In the Bible and the Qur’an, there is a lot of admonishing of these cults. The Bible curses the cult of Ashteroth (Moon-matriarch-fertility cult), and the Qur’an does the same with Allat (or “Allah’s daughters”) and ritual infanticide.

Actually, Abrahamic-style monotheism, with its emphasis on a male god, law, light, and regularity, can probably be seen in the bigger picture of history as a direct Patriarchal reaction to these female-Matriarchal-dominated “Lunar” spheres of religion.
Patriarchal reactions aside though, there’s tons of Moon imagery across the board in Middle-Eastern mythos, especially in post-Pagan scripture. Judaism’s calendar uses both the Sun and Moon, and the Islamic calendar is purely lunar. Islam also adopted the Crescent as its symbol, but this is actually a much more recent development (~200 years) (Judaism also didn’t really settle on its use of the Star of David/Seal of Solomon until around that time.)
As for evolutionary development peculiar to Middle-Eastern peoples — and I think you and I seem to share similar views on human evolution (mine isn’t really a “view” per se, it’s more of a pretty damn strong hunch) — the fact that there is a Sun vs Moon conflict in Middle-Eastern religious-mythological complex might be demonstrative of something shared bio-psychic among the people. Perhaps, it’s related to an inclination and susceptibility for intense spiritual experiences, vivid imaginations, charisma, prophecy…? But in the Middle-East, historically (and right through to present day), there’s also a great respect for science, precision thinking mathematics, problem solving, wisdom, rational thought, etc., so that the mutual exclusivity between religion and science, mysticism and rationality, doesn’t really exist like it does in the West. Very hard to say on this question of evolution. Perhaps it’s just symptomatic of the holistic embrace of the Sun vs. Moon mythos — being at ease with dichotomies happily co-existing… Just floating this here, though.

^ Not a definitive answer, but worthwhile to consider.

meta-mash:

Does atheism = dogmatic materialism? How would Nietzsche feel about this?

No. Not necessarily.

Nietzsche frequently ridiculed dogmatism in all its forms — and the world-views of physicalism and materialism. And he pointed out the origins and functions of dogmatism in the unconscious, historical formations, in power structures, and in abstracted lies.

Further, while Nietzsche disparaged most modern forms of religiosity and many forms of theism, Nietzsche himself was not necessarily an atheist. A god has to exist first before the we who kill it kills it. (Not to mention what God’s deathmeans to Nietzsche!)

I believe (and I’ll write a more thoroughly on this someday) that the entire project of Nietzsche’s philosophy, was precisely this: the smashing of dogmatism in all its forms — especially the residual slave-moralities that persist after a particular dogmatism has been supposedly destroyed. We see this with the rise of dogmatic science after and with the Enlightenment — the destruction of the old aristocracy and new universal suffrage — modern free market economies creating effectively new aristocracies without the need to call on Divine Investiture — modern medicine, especially modern psychiatry, and prison systems taking the role of the Christian confessor and enforcing Christian penance.

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