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The First Volume of Being Conscious

The True Isnt the Rational


Advance Uncorrected Proof
Essays by O.G. Rose
To Eunoia and The Jefferson Literary and Debating Society
Thank You

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Book I
Ironically
Section I

Sociological-Awareness 10

The Creative Concord 15

Should We Get Rid of the Internet? 23

Joy to the World 27

Representing Beauty 35

On Materialism, Purpose, and Discernment 39

(Im)morality 44

On Want and Awe 55

On Love 59

Emotional Judgment 65

Self-Delusion, the Toward-ness of Evidence, and the


Paradox of Judgment 70

On Trust 75

Concerning Epistemology 84

Inception, Discrimination, and Freedom 92

Words and Determinism 96

Section II
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Reader(er) 118

On a Staircase 127

Transposition 130

On Is-ness/Meaning 136

On A is A 139

On Thinking and Perceiving 147

Ironically 160

Book II
The Map Is Indestructible
Section I

On Consciousness, Creativity, and Being 175

Trading Wages for Hours 181

Innovating Credentials 186

On Integrating People of Color by Bernard Hankins 191

Are You Sure the World Needs You? 196

Probable Cause 199

On Bipartisanship 213

(W)hole Hope 219

On Human Punishment and the Value of Human Life 231


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On Worry 233

Sensualization 243

500 Socioeconomic Points 251

Discussing Racism 277

On Beauty 293

Emotional Memory 301

Collective Consciousness and Trust 306

Maximizing Tax Revenue 315

On Responsibility 321

The Specter of McCarthyism 333

What is a Judge to Do? 341

The (Trans)values of Justice and Love 357

The Tragedy of Us 361

Section II
Question? 389

Truth Organizes Values 393

Epistemic (Ir)responsibility 395

The Death of Skepticism 398

Assuming the Best 402


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Basic Math 415

Death is the Event Horizon of Reason 426

On Critical Thinking 432

Meaningful and Metaphoric Tendencies 443

Paradoxes of Awareness 448

Defining Evidence 459

Incentives to Problem Solve 467

The Death of Process 492

Experiencing Thinking 498

The Metamental and the Dismodern Self 504

The Heart/Mind Dialectic and the Phenomenology of View(s)


514

Monotheorism 526

The Phenomenology of (True) Ignorance 530

Trivia(l) 540

On Wisdom 548

Scripted 558

Learning to Speak 566

Flip Moments 575

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On Brainwashing 583

In Defense of Bestiality 587

On Description 600

The Conflict of Mind 605

Ideas Are Not Experiences 655

The Uselessness of Thought 661

Compelling 668

The True Isnt the Rational 680

Notes 738

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Book I
Ironically
A kindergarten teacher was observing her class of children while they
were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each childs
artwork. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked
what the drawing was. The girl replied,
Im drawing God.
The teacher paused and said,
But no one knows what God looks like.
Without missing a beat or looking up from her drawing, the girl
replied,
They will in a minute.
-A Popular Joke

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Section I
Tracing Out Humanitys Ironic Ontology

9
Sociological-Awareness
On Self-Aware Societies, The Hawthorne Effect, and The Observer Effect

In teaching Sociology, the field of Sociology risks rendering itself meaningless.


Economists, political theorists, literary critics, and others are in the same boat. Like
scientists and psychologists, sociologists must take into account the Hawthorne Effect,
which, generally speaking, is a theory concerning how participants alter their activities
once they are aware that they are in an experiment.1 The very presence of countless
sociological and educational articles, lectures, and books online which can spread
quickly like memes may change the very way societies act.2 This may render what the
data claims about societies wrong, making it seem as if the data was always wrong; on
the other hand, the data may make societies suddenly act in the way the data suggests,
making it seem as if the data was always right.
The writer who is aware of James Joyce may see his or her self like Joyce, and
this simile will result in the writer acting and creating differently. The society that is
aware that it is becoming less violent will not act the same as a society that is becoming
less violent and unaware of it. The society aware of Marxism will not develop the same
way as does the Marxist society unaware of Marxism.
A reader reinvents his or her self with every book; though the reader can later
change, with every page turn, the reader has no choice but to be who he or she has now
become. Likewise, a society aware of Marxism cannot go back to being a society
unaware of it; it must deal with the cards it has been dealt. As a scientist must stand on
the shoulders of those who came before, so societies must do the same. As this
standing robs glory from a scientist who invents a light bulb on his own today, so too it
may render the advancements of nations void. Therefore, it is important that societies
today be aware of Sociological-Awareness lest they simply invent the wheel over and
over again in their efforts to address real and present problems. Yet, ironically, the more
a society becomes aware of previous modes of thought and accomplishments, the more
it risks rendering its own thoughts and accomplishments vain: the thrill of ignorance is
lost. If it never runs this risk, it can never see the greatest distances, for it will stand in
place, afraid of standing upon shoulders.

For the first time, humans live in a world in which the majority is conscious of
how societies historically change, function, and collapse; furthermore, they are aware of
how historical epochs come about and understand themselves within the context of
such epochs. Few during Modernism considered themselves Modernists in comparison
to the number of individuals who consider themselves Postmodernists during
Postmodernism today. Through history, there has been a gradual increase in the number
of individuals who readily align themselves with theoretical constructs that define the
age they are living in, and this has transformed the way people live and act. Lacking
modern technologies, those alive during the French Revolution would not have seen
themselves as living during a time that was the subject of the works by Burke and
Tocqueville. Though Burke predicted the rise of Napoleon, most were ignorant of
Burke.3 Today, many are aware of Burkes prediction; as a result, many feel equipped to
predict which policy decisions will lead to a modern Reign of Terror, and, in
concordance, the way they think and act changes. Consciousness of historical periods
transforms how present history unfolds. Perhaps this causes a Reign of Terror to be
avoided; perhaps this causes something worse I don;t know. My point is simply that,
for the first time, societies are conscious of themselves, and theories that do not take
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this into account will not be as valuable as they could be in determining how societies
should act presently (assuming theories can be of service at all).
Julian Huxley claimed humans are in whose person the evolutionary process
has at last become conscious of itself.4 Similarly, I believe the present world is in what
history and socioeconomics have finally reached self-awareness. There have been
sociologists, anthropologists, and such for years, but until now, the majority lacked an
awareness of their own self-awareness; the rampant access to information that has made
this self-awareness more influential and prevalent. This doesnt mean the majority does
or doesnt have any expertise in these given fields of study, but that many think they
have expertise. Never before has there been a society so full of sociologists and those
who believe they are sociologists. Consequently, as will be explored, sociological
theories that predict how societies will act no longer readily apply. When societies seem
most predictable they are most unpredictable.
People think of themselves living within the schemas of various theories, and
they engage with the world through those theoretical lenses rather than directly and with
a clear mind. This shift can be dangerous and wasteful, as is the shift to learning about a
hammer by thinking about it versus using it (to allude to Heidegger).5 People press
their thinking down upon the world rather than let their thinking emerge up from the
world, per se. As a result, the way people engage with and understand the world
changes; for example, those who understand the American economy within the
construct created by Adam Smith, having learned it from off Youtube or from a lecture
at the University of Chicago, will understand and engage with the economy differently
than the one who understands it through Keynesianism and yet both people will be
dealing with the same entity. The reality of the system changes relative to the observer in
concordance with his or her mindset. This is similar to the phenomenon in Physics
called The Observer Effect, in which a particle presents itself differently depending on
who is observing it and how it is being observed.6
Humans select assumptions and beliefs based on what they observe. If what
two individuals observe changes by their very act of studying (which is the act that
combines the observation with their thoughts), those individuals may acquire differing
opinions about what they saw and what theories the observation legitimizes. A recent
example of this phenomenon can be found in how those who believe in Capitalism
interpret the 2008 Housing Bubble. They take it as evidence that government
involvement caused the failure, while liberals interpret the incident as proof that more
government involvement is needed. Since it is the case that what the two parties observe
transforms because of the act of observation itself, it is incredibly difficult if not
impossible to show either side something that will make them change their opinion. The
awareness the two sides have of economic theory and past events only further justifies
the way they interpret their observations, for in studying the past, their act of observing
it transforms what they see into that which justifies their positions. Awareness of
historic interpretations of the economy by experts who too were prone to the same
Observer Effect will only further influence the way those individuals engage with (or fail
to engage with) the world.
Hegelians will perceive the actions of their governments differently than will
those who are unfamiliar with the German Philosopher. This will cause the Hegelians to
vote a certain way, and may even influence the overall way the Hegelians chose to live
their lives. Though it is unclear whether it is good to think like a Hegelian, I believe it is
unwise to title ones self a Hegelian, as it is unwise to call ones self a Capitalist, a
Kantian, etc. there are countless titles to choose. Never is a persons capacity to think
for their self at greater risk than when they grant themselves a title, for not only will
their capacity to observe be affected, but to the degree the person makes such a
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declaration is to the degree they will be tempted to defend a position rather than pursue
the truth. In line with the Observer Effect, since their act of observation will transform
what such a person sees, that individual will believe he or she has evidence justifying and
necessitating this act of defense, and so be tempted to fall deeper into a self-enforcing
cycle. Those who call themselves liberals or conservatives, Republicans or
Democrats, etc. are those I believe threaten the American political system. Likewise,
those who readily call themselves Capitalists or Marxists threaten economic truth, as
those who assert to being a Faulkner or a Joyce threaten literature. The granting of
ones self such a title results in a transformation in how one conceptualizes and
understands their self, acts, lives, and interprets all phenomena. Ironically, the more
fields like economics, politics, sociology, etc. are taught, the more individuals will be
tempted to grant themselves a title.
A title is a lens. The moment an individual or group is aware of itself within a
theoretical construct, like participants aware that they are in an experiment, their actions
and attitudes will change. Randall Collins, through his extraordinary A Global Theory of
Intellectual Change, makes it clear that new ideas form along the borders of intellectual
circles that disagree with one another.7 Unfortunately, a society full of individuals who
readily identify themselves as Liberals, for example, will naturally isolate themselves
from the wrongheaded Conservatives (in choosing a place to live, social gatherings,
etc.), afraid of having their identities undermined or constantly confronted and believing
they see evidence justifying such action (due to the Observer Effect). Never before in
America has it been easier for people in the name of justice, saving America, etc. to
separate themselves from those with whom they disagree, and never before has it been
so tempting. The more people fall into this temptation, the more idea creation and
empathy will decrease (to name some consequence), which will lower wealth creation
and intellectual advancement while raising existential angst, psychological tension,
spiritual apathy, and depression.
On the other hand, thanks to the same technologies that have contributed to
social, intellectual, and political divisiveness, the wide availability of theories, ideas, and
material by brilliant minds enables societies to achieve levels of education and
knowledge the likes of which the world has never seen before. With so much material
readily available, the kinds of achievements that could happen today could far surpass
the works that have come before. Assuming, of course, people have not lost their
capacity to be creative (something Ken Robinson warns that the education system
contributes to), and assuming that people do not sacrifice their ability to think for
themselves in order to be a Kantian, a Marx scholar, or an INTJ.8 We need our
societies to cultivate citizens who can handle theories and ideas without being negatively
altered by them, using them instead to create new, intelligent, and creative edifices.
Hopefully, this age is one that doesnt today lack the institutions which cultivate such
people.

II

Terms like Marxism and Capitalism represent a kind of parameter for social
development. People consider themselves a Marxist or Capitalist: they do not consider
themselves a John-ist, even though John down the street may have a superior theory.
This John-ist term lacks authority; maybe a hundred years from now, John will have
passed the test of time and study, but until then, to be a John-ist is to be no one. New
ideas are naturally resisted, and those who try to align with new theoretical constructs
tend to be exiled. In a social context, if a person is to be understood, he or she must
align with a familiar/authoritative thinker or system; if the individual refrains from
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doing this, others will try to push him or her into some category, as those who desire to
say I am John will be pressured into I am a doctor. Paradoxically, theories rarely take
into account how their very presence results in people pushing and molding one another
into their constructs.
The theories and thinkers of the past are the standards by which the present
people act and understand those around them. The terms a society accepts will
determine the theoretical lenses through which that society understands itself, and this
self-awareness will transform the way the society behaves, thinks, and develops. It is
because people are aware of Marx and Lenin that the idea to protest on Wall Street
dawns upon the people so readily, and it is through these thinkers that spectators of the
protestors will interpret and understand what the protestors are doing. The spectators
may call them Socialists or Anarchists, aligning the protestors with the theoretical
constructs the spectators are familiar with. Believing they know what these people are
all about an impression made possible by their understanding of various theories the
spectators will feel immediate admiration or disproval, and it is this kind of knowing
judgment which can cost a society its creative, holistic, bipartisan, and novel thinking,
necessary for prosperity.
Ironically, despite the authority that various terms bear, those terms are
ultimately arbitrary in themselves: their power comes more so from a kind of social
contract than they do from any actual substance. If a term like Marxism was attached
to the definition of Capitalism, individuals would, logically and rationally, call America
a Marxist country. As numbers cannot be axiomatic or self-justifying according to
Gdel, neither can theories.9 And yet people must live as if they are authoritative:
citizens cannot live as if Marxism isnt Marxism, as if 1 = 2 (though, as with theories,
once a society is aware that 1 = 1 cannot be axiomatic, the society cannot approach 1 as
it did before Gdel: numbers and theories are forever different). Despite their
arbitrariness, terms of some nature are necessary for thought to build upon itself
through time. Terms and theories will always be present, and so one must study society
considering the presence, use, and internalization of these arbitrary terms and theories.
Since a societys authoritative terms are ultimately arbitrary, one must study
society recognizing the possibility of citizens refusing to assent to the social contracts
granting certain terms legitimacy. Also, in being arbitrary, the meanings of the terms
arent self-evident; consequently, participants can misinterpret them and formulate
interpretations relative to their interests and backgrounds. Therefore, social theories
must take into account not only self-aware societies, but societies with self-awareness
that are always in flux and open to redefinition, even though the terms of its awareness
may seem unchanging. What it means to call a society Marxist to one person will mean
something different to another, and the two people will respond differently in becoming
aware that their society is Marxist. Like weather forecasts, self-aware theories that take
into account Sociological-Awareness can map out possible directions of a society based
on the different ways a term like Marxism can be interpreted. Such theories can ascribe
likelihoods to courses of action based on the degree the society is enamored or repulsed
by a term like Marxism (and so is likely to go full speed in the opposite, socioeconomic
direction upon being called it). Ultimately, the possible directions of a society far exceed
what any theory can calculate, but since a society must theorize (if for anything, to at
least have authoritative terms by which to understand itself and achieve a sense of
stability), valuable theories will take into account how there is much more the theories
cannot entail than can. In a sense, theories should be anti-theoretical.

III

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Like any field, for Sociology to be current rather than historic, the field must
understand not just societies, but self-aware societies. Sociological-Awareness, like self-
awareness, can be good or bad. Awareness of the Bystander Effect has resulted in the
phenomenon happening less, as awareness of Revolutionary texts have increased the
willingness of individuals to revolt and protest, but even when unjustified.10 Violent
videogames and pessimistic news has increased societal capacity for violence and apathy,
as awareness of Martin Luther King Jr. has increased capacity for love and justice. The
Sociologically-Aware society is neither better nor worse; it is different. My point is
simply that sociological, economic, and political theories that do not take into account
the awareness of the participants of those theories will not address reality as well as they
could. For one, the theories will fail to recognize that a Sociologically-Aware society is
one that is prone to sudden and unpredictable changes or accelerations in development;
for the very reason that it is self-aware, the society is black swan-prone.11 Whether this
is good or bad depends on the nature and direction of the shift. Also, theories that fail
to identify Sociological-Awareness will not be theories that enable a society to stand
upon the shoulders of those before it; in failing to identify reality, the theories will fail
to enable the society to advance as they could, thereby increasing the likelihood of social
regression.
Sociological-Awareness, driven by technology, has contributed to the advent of
a highly bipolar, unpredictable, and rapidly altering world. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy,
an individual who is aware of Capitalism may act in such a way that assumes that what
the theory forecasts will be the case, hence making those forecasts come to pass and
always seem right. On the other hand, a Christian who hears that America has become
Post-Christian may be incentivized to launch a series of mass revivals that change the
religious landscape of America for generations. The sociological studies that find that
marriages are falling apart may contribute either to an increase in divorce or a rebellious
increase in marriage stability. No one can say for sure: with knowledge, information
increases uncertainty.
Those who believe they are in a Post-Christian world will act differently than
those in the same world unaware of it; the student who has read Locke will act
differently in a Lockean society, and may contribute to making it un-Lockean or too
Lockean; an evolving society aware of Evolution will evolve differently.12 As a television
camera directed toward the screen it is hooked into will depict an eternal regression, so it is
possible a society aware of itself will regress too, especially if it is unaware of its self-
awareness.
Sociological theories about the present world that fail to take Sociological-
Awareness into account will simply retrace old parameters long after societies have
stepped beyond them, hence failing to provide direction that could save society from
mistakes and regression.13 Yet, even this paper may itself fall into the same trap: after
reading this work, societies might be Aware of Sociological-Awareness, then Aware of
the Awareness of Sociological-Awareness, and so on. It is perhaps futile to make people
aware of their own awareness, for awareness may instantly become an awareness of
facades. All theories eternally regress, yet theorize we must lest there be nothing to regress.
We regress if we dont theorize and if we do.
Man is a useless passion, Sartre theorized, usefully unemotional.14

14
The Creative Concord
The Artifex, Bourgeoisie, and Proletariat

Successfully, Karl Marx identified the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the
material dialectic, but, despite his emphasis on creativity, he failed to identify the artifex,
meaning creator class, which is made up of entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists. An
artifexian, which is a term first introduced in this paper, is anyone who creates or
recreates a means of production and/or a thing to be produced. Marx, it seems,
conflated creators with the general proletariat. Consequently, his material dialectic only
halfway addresses the nature of socioeconomic change. The full dialectic by which
society marches through history can be expressed as follows:

The Creative Concord

Creativity The Material Dialectic


or
Creator(s) (Owner(s) | Worker(s))
or
Artifex (Bourgeoisie | Proletariat)

Defining the material dialectic, Marx argued that Capitalism was inherently
contradictory, for it inevitably undergoes, of one kind or another, creative destruction:
the businesses it produces destroy others, the resources it consumes leaves many
lacking, and so on.1 In other words, at the center of Capitalism is self-destructive
paradox. Though the material dialectic properly delineates how socioeconomic orders
change within a given creative epoch, it does not describe how such orders change through
them. To allude to Karl Popper, history changes not in line with any kind of dialectic,
but in concordance with unpredictable inventions, eurekas, and creative acts.2 Marx,
coming before Popper, missed this point, and so created a theory and system that works
within a fixed epoch, but not through multiple epochs. If Marx, as brilliant as he was,
had been afforded an awareness of Popper, he would have probably recognized the
creative concord and artifex himself. Failing to identify the creator class, Marx missed
that Capitalism expands itself while carrying out creative destruction within itself. The
proper dialectic isnt just composed of creative destruction, but creative destruction along
with creativity, which is the applied mental process behind innovation, invention, and
creation.

Marx claimed that alienation drives the working class (or proletariat) to revolt
against those who own the means of production (the bourgeoisie). He was correct,
making revolution eminent; the question remaining is how the revolution will occur. For
the proletariat to seize the means of production and thus become like the bourgeoisie
they rebelled against is just as alienating and ironic as being forced to work on
something that one doesnt own. Both kinds of alienation manifest in apathy, violence,
and/or a desire to be amused to death.3 A forceful and violent revolution, as Marx
pointed to and Lenin advanced, rather than overcome alienation, causes alienation,
which stimulated the revolution in the first place. Marxists and Leninists throughout
history have revolted in the wrong way: theyve continually chosen a French
Revolution over a Glorious one, per se.

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The concept of revolution for Marx was set in motion by his axiom of the
material dialectic. Again, in this framework, since the revolution occurs within the
dialectic that caused the tension, a successful revolution only makes the revolutionists
the new bourgeoisie. This is no revolution, only a shifting of chess pieces. A true
revolution moves beyond the framework it occurs within: a moving around of pieces is
only revolutionary if chess is the only game around. If means of production were not
created but simply were, then to seize them would be an act of revolution. However, all
means of production are created, and it is this very act of creation that is truly
revolutionary.
To create is to revolt: the man who starts a business claims that he has a
competitive advantage over other businesses and seizes the means of production by
creating a new means of production. Through creativity, he claims that he is part of the
bourgeoisie without their permission. In creating what he owns and what he works, he
furthermore chooses how he needs others by choosing which enterprise to create that
requires demand, and so escapes both the enslavement of the bourgeoisies need for the
proletariat and the proletariats need for the bourgeoisie. He becomes both an
artifexian he becomes free. In this regard, the woman who pickets Big Oil doesnt
launch a revolution as effective as the woman who invents the alternative energy that
obliterates its stock value.
Entrepreneurship is peaceful revolution.
Creativity is nonviolent resistance.
(Note that an artifexian isnt someone who just thinks creatively, but who also
realizes that creativity into being or enables others to formulate it. Unrealized creativity
is nothingness. Also note that creativity is realized in structure. A society without
structure is void, but a society whose structure includes organic activity and whose
organic activity develops the societys structure is a society that thrives. A purely
artifexian society isnt one without customs, laws, or rules, but one in which the limits
enable limitless development.)
As there is a conflict between owners and workers, those who own and operate
the means of production are always in a conflict with those who create the means of
production. Those who invent can render a system of production arbitrary, which is a
threat to both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Keep in mind that those who own the
means of production are not necessarily the ones who create the means of production
or who make them possible. Owners are many; inventors, few. Though Marx
recognized the bourgeoisie and the proletariat caught in a tension, he failed to identify
the tension between both them and creators.
Yet as the owner is enslaved to needing his workers, so the creator is enslaved
in requiring a functional and efficient society and system of production. The creative
person who has no food does not have time to create, and even if he does, without a
means of distribution, his creativity cannot be received. It is the system of production
that sustains a means of distribution for creators, but without creators, those means of
distribution wouldnt come into existence. The better and more stable the
socioeconomic order, the more creativity can flourish. This is why technological
advancements have grown rapidly over the last hundred years: society has become
increasingly stable.
A creator requires an environment, but a creator doesnt require others in the
same way the bourgeoisie and proletariat require one another. The material dialectic
fashions the environment that creativity occurs within, like a botanist preparing an
environment for plant life, but the artifex ultimately transcends the dialectic by
becoming that which feeds it material to construct its environment and itself, all while
also teaching the dialectic how to do so.4 Though the master requires the slave, the slave
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the master, the creator is his own master and servant. If there was no material dialectic,
the artifex could create one, but the material dialectic couldnt create the artifex. The
artifex creates itself, while the bourgeoisie and proletariat create one another. They are
helpless without the artifex, but the artifex isnt helpless without them. If it needs them,
it creates them. While the material dialectic forces people into the bourgeoisie or the
proletariat, entrepreneurship and creativity offer a means for people to transcend this
dialectic by becoming artifexians, owners and workers of their own makings. This
transcendence is only possible in a free and creative Capitalistic society, while a society
that is merely free inevitably undergoes creative destruction.

II

Unlike the material dialectic, the creative concord is not inherently conflicted or
neurotic. The bourgeoisie and proletariat can choose to collaborate with the artifex and
vice-versa. Thanks to the artifex, it is possible for the bourgeoisie and proletariat to
likewise choose to collaborate with one another. The inherent tension of the material
dialectic is thus eased. Through the artifex, the proletariat can transfer into the
bourgeoisie and the proletariat into the bourgeoisie without conflict. The relationship
between the three classes can be expressed as follows:

A good society is equally B, A, and P. Without either B, A, or P, the system


collapses. A growing society is one in which B and P lessens while A expands
correlatively. It is never good for A to shrink, and always healthy for A to grow
(considering people will naturally become different kinds of artifexians). An
extraordinary society is completely A, and such a society, always self-motivated, is
constantly growing and never alienated. Marxs error was evolving Capitalism into
Communism by melting B and P, rather than by growing A while B and P shrank into it.
As depicted, some members of the bourgeoisie are also members of the artifex,
as are some members of the proletariat. It is possible for a member of the proletariat to
become a member of the artifex, and in so doing, transfer into the bourgeoisie without
alienation, as a member of the bourgeoisie can slip in the proletariat and escape upper-
class alienation.5 The artifex is both an overlapping and independent structure, and it
can function as a transfer stage or as a class-unto-itself. By creating an enterprise, a
person comes to own and work a good of his or her making. Unlike the bourgeoisie,
who is alienated by not producing what they own, or the proletariat, who is alienated by
not owning what they produce, the artifex is free.6 The citizen who travels within the
material dialectic from the proletariat to the bourgeoisie or vice-versa, finding alienation
in both conditions, hopeless, is very likely to fall into depression, tragically rampant in
the modern world.
The artifex is both autonomous and freely collaborative, while the proletariat
and bourgeoisie cannot have autonomy and are forced to work together due to the
material dialectic, making true, un-alienating collaboration impossible. Independence,
freedom, and true community are only possible with the artifex, and the stronger it is,
the stronger the individual and the society as a whole. The more the individual is able to
help the other without alienating or being alienated, the more able the individual will be
to find that working with others makes the most of oneself.

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As mentioned, unlike between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, a person can
be part of the artifex while also being part of the bourgeoisie and/or proletariat. This is
a significant difference from the material dialectic; in that schema, the owner of the
means of production could not also be one of the proletariat, nor was the other way
around possible. But, in the creative concord, without conflict at all, a worker at a
company can also be creating a new company on his laptop.
Not inherently self-destructive in relating to one another, the artifex,
bourgeoisie, and proletariat can choose to transcend the material dialectic into the
creative concord by working in concert. Rather than simply a dialectical relationship,
creators and the material dialectic can harmonize. Until, that is, the bourgeoisie and the
proletariat turn against the artifex, or vice-versa; then, the unity breaks down into a
cacophony. Consequently, the creative concord devolves back into simply the material
dialectic. It is only a matter of time then before the relationship between business
owners and workers also collapses, just as Marx predicted. Clearly, the presence of the
artifex is important for avoiding creative destruction by annulling the alienation caused
by the means, management, and creation of production, while also offering a means for
the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to shift or combine positions without psychological
tension or violence.
The artifex both sees problems and envisions possibilities, and either addresses
them or enables others with technology, knowledge, or motivation to do so. Others may
not see what can be addressed, or may address one thing and fail to realize anything else
to do. Because the artifex sees what is to be done and often does it, it is the artifex and
the creative concord which drives history in the Hegelian sense. This is because, with
perfection always just ahead, there is always something to be done which drives the
artifex. If prevalent and influential, the artifex also shifts the focus from the distribution
of limited resources to the creation of new ones, from the health of todays enterprises
to the birth of tomorrows. Rather than a model that is at the expense of some and
advantage of others, the creative concord is inexorably to the benefit of all. Its only a
matter of time.
Again, without the artifex, the bourgeoisie and proletariat must clash; without
creativity, the material dialectic is all there is, and, stuck in creative destruction, it will
devour itself. Marx, like Einstein in Out of My Later Years, was correct to note that at
the core of Capitalism is a paradox that is both the source of its productivity and self-
destruction. Capitalism is an economic system driven by a desire for profit that
subsequently raises the standard of living through mechanisms of problem solving
and/or possibility realization, but once those problems are solved or possibilities made
real, unemployment increases. Without new problems or possibilities, the system
stagnates. Even if the material dialectic continues to have old problems to keep solving
and maintains low unemployment, without new possibilities or problems, the standard
of living flat-lines. With this lack of development comes a raising level of boredom,
alienation, and tension between paralyzed high and low classes.
Creativity is both a source of employment and unemployment. It is a source of
creative destruction, and as long as it is present, so shall creative destructive, and the
material dialectic will not devour itself; at worst, to its benefit, it will lose itself in the
creative concord. In a society where creativity is high, unemployment stimulates workers
to be creative, and employment, for those feeling alienated by it, does the same. The
jobs lost by creativity are made up by those created by it. If creativity was prevalent,
when creativity caused an enterprise to close down and unemployment to go up,
creativity would then set its eye on solving that problem. Unfortunately, in a society
lacking creativity, unemployment and employment both cause alienation, alienation
from which workers find no alleviation. These workers will want to revolt, but without
18
creativity, they will revolt in a deconstructive manner and their personal lives suffer. In a
creatively illiterate nation, the creativity there is causes jobs to be lost, and those who
lose their jobs find themselves helpless, unable to transition into the artifex.
Consequently, the less creativity there is, the more creation feels like a sin.
In a nation vibrant with creativity, the unemployment caused by the artifex
would gradually force all members of the society to advance into the artifex, eventually
causing the society to transcend alienation and the material dialectic. This makes society
like Communism, but rather than obliterate class structure into a universal class, as
Marx called it, it makes all people both classes. While the bourgeoisie and proletariat
exist in conflict by definition, in the creative concord, the artifex eventually absorbs
them into a harmonious family.7
The artifex also forces the owners of the means of exchange to invest more in
variable capital than constant capital, addressing the concerns Marx raised in his theory
on the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. While the bourgeoisie tends to invest in
itself to maintain power ironically stifling profit the artifex forces it to invest in
innovation and exploration by creating goods that put the value of the means of
production that the bourgeoisie owns at risk. In other words, the artifex forces the
bourgeoisie to grow the artifex. For this reason, if the artifex is large, it tends to become
larger. However, if the artifex is small (as will be explained), it tends to become smaller.
It is the proletariat, either for creativity or against it, which decides the directionality of
the artifexs development. Ironically, it is possible that the bourgeoisie will influence the
proletariat against the artifex, but the proletariat can revolt against this manipulation by
becoming creative and joining the artifex. A wise bourgeoisie will balance investing
resources in the proletariat and the artifex, causing a gradual and sustainable rise in both
the standard of living and rate of employment until the society is unified in the artifex.

III

Creativity both creates and solves unemployment and drives up the standard of
living through the technological achievements or entrepreneurships it invents to solve
the problems which previous technological achievements or successful
entrepreneurships may have caused. A society high in freedom and creativity, then, is
inherently self-motivated. A self-motivated person is the opposite of an alienated
individual and is only possible in a both free and creative society. Depression is
practically guaranteed in a nation that is free and wealthy but not creative, while a nation
that lacks freedom fails to foster creativity. Leisure without vision is as alienating as
work without ownership.
The value of Capitalism is determined by the degree it enables creativity, which
is tied to sustained productivity and prosperity. The system is self-destructive, as Marx
admonished, without it. To the degree Capitalism is successful then is to the degree it
enables and educates a strong creative class. The stronger the artifex, the stronger the
economy and happier the people. Once creativity is gone, since the material dialectic
must undergo creative destruction by definition, freedom must eventually also be lost.
There is no liberty where there is no economy; the weaker the economy becomes, the
more liberty decreases. This is because there cannot be liberty where individuals do not
have the economic capabilities to rise above their circumstances. Though economic
freedom is not the only freedom, it is a necessary part of a free society that is lost when
the material dialectic implodes; the other freedoms tend to follow. Great nations fall
once freedom is gone, and the reason they give up freedom, rarely if ever realizing it, is
by devaluing creativity.8

19
Left to the material dialectic, without creativity, a society becomes reliant on
growth through repairing damaged goods,9 distributing limited resources, credit
creation,10 and/or living off the fruit of past generations, none of which are sustainable.
While living on that past fruit, it is very tempting to stop emphasizing creativity, for
there seems to be no pressing need for it until things turn fatal. If the present is good,
its hard to think about the future or to care about the past. Ironically, creativity is what
makes possible this entitlement mentality, the making of the broken window fallacy,
and so, via the increase in the standard of living which creativity causes. In this sense,
creativity is risky.
The less creative a society, the more threatening creativity becomes, as shares
of a company become more threatening (and yet more vital) to ones livelihood the
more money the individual has stored up in that one basket. Take how Google is both
viewed as a great blessing and a monopolistic threat. Yet regardless of how threatening
it may be, a society has to tap into that creativity, for economic growth is driven by it.
Knowing they are enslaved to this source, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat can
become increasing uneasy with the artifex, with alienation gradually setting in. This
tension eventually leads to violent or unjust forms of rebellion against the artifex when
business owners, for example, recognize they arent creative enough to adapt to creative
innovations, such as the internet, and when the proletariat consequently recognizes their
jobs are at risk. As an increasing reduction in the availability and abundance of the
means of production accelerates the self-destruction of the material dialectic, so a
reduction of creativity accelerates the shrinking of the artifex. This being the case, once
creativity begins to fade in a society, it is probable that it will continue to do so. With
that eventually goes freedom, and for this reason, though the present may be good, it is
clear that America is in a dire situation.
Risk management is the practice of diversifying risk in order to reduce loses
and increase profit. The more creativity there is across a society, as influenced by the
school system and family structure, the more that society has invested wisely and
diversified the risk of creativity. Yet the more creative a society becomes, the more it
risks high unemployment if that creativity ever screeches to a halt or slows down (due to
regulation, a drop in abstract thinking, etc.). Creativity always entails risk, and risk is
always necessary for value creation. Creativity is a double-edged sword, but a nation will
only be cut by it if it freely chooses to stop paying attention. In the self-destructive
material dialectic, regardless of what one chooses, an individual inevitably ends up slain.
If America is to recover, it must take a risk and reform its education system and society
to incubate creativity. Otherwise, it will lose its freedom: it will end up slain.

IV

Capitalism is driven by innovations that increase the standard of living, yet those
innovations make jobs obsolete, increasing unemployment. An innovation solves a
problem, yet once that problem is solved, further creativity is needed to address the
problem of unemployment caused by that innovation. An innovation both creates and
destroys jobs: the question is does it do more of the former or the latter?
The material dialectic keeps problems involving material goods solved while
failing to address mental and personal problems. On the other hand, the creative
concord solves and/or finds problems in the first place, while simultaneously liberating
participants from alienation. Yet all classes need one another: if cars stopped being
produced after Ford died, no one would be able to invent a new car that runs on
alternative energy; rather, people would keep reinventing Fords original model. Though

20
this may keep employment high, it would not raise the standard of living beyond what
Ford already raised it.11
Without creativity, the artifex disappears. Once that occurs, the bourgeoisie and
the proletariat must clash and undergo creative destruction, for the material dialectic
must work itself toward disappearing. This disappearance occurs fully, perhaps, during a
draft, collapse, revolution, or in Socialism. In Socialism, there is a new dialectic between
the owner, worker, and the government. Though the problem Marx identified has
changed form, it has not been solved. Like the material dialectic, this totalitarian
dialectic must also undergo a kind of creative destruction in which those who are forced
into being both the owner of his or her labor and the laborer, feeling alienated by the
government which forces them into this role, rebel against the governing class. The
people do this to seize back the power to make an artifex class by choosing to be
artifexian, rather than be forced into a similar but alienating non- or universal class.
Though this society may be creative, lacking freedom, compensation, motivation, or
resources, this society cannot will to be creative or maintain creativity, lacking a material
dialectic to work in concert with, causing the artifex to vanish. Socialism fruitlessly tries
to make citizens free by eliminating the classes of worker and owner, rather than
enabling each to be a worker/owner. There is no true unemployment, so neither is
there true employment: duty and altruism replace both. Consequently, neither
employment nor unemployment can drive creativity and innovation, and though no jobs
are lost by creativity, none are created by it either. Employment may be high, but the
standard of living will be low.
In Socialism, bringing about a police state, the people rebel because there is no
artifex that can create itself, but the same can occur in Capitalism. Once creativity dries
up, so goes the artifex, and with that, the material dialectic self-destructs. Though
Socialism inherently destroys the artifex by annulling freedom, the artifexs existence is
possible, but not necessarily present, in Capitalism. Capitalism does not inherently work,
but it does have the potential to avoid creative destruction by maintaining a healthy and
strong artifex. Unfortunately, the present American school system stifles creativity, as
attested to by Ken Robinson, and most creative people are pressured by society to enter
the real world of numerical chutes and corporate ladders. Self-destructively, this kind of
peer pressure is a manifestation of the tension between the bourgeoisie and the
proletariat against the artifex.12
As the proletariat is most likely to start the conflict between it and the
bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie is most likely to start the conflict between it and the artifex,
though the bourgeoisie will only be successful if it can influence the proletariat to join it.
Yet, unlike the proletariat, the bourgeoisie is not as likely to turn to violence and
revolution to stop the artifex if creative individuals turn down their offers to be bought
out or to sell their patents. The bourgeoisie is too comfortable, and though they may
lose their businesses, they wont lose their lives. In this regard, it is more likely that the
material dialectic breaks down than the creative concord, though the creative concord is
more difficult to achieve. Also, citizens can choose to keep the creative concord strong by
choosing to join the artifex, while the material dialectic collapses inherently. All are
alienated in the material dialectic, but in the creative concord, which comes into being
by the choices of people, creative freedom can be exercised.
It is important to emphasize that the creative concord collapses when the
artifex class vanishes, shrinks too much, or is greatly disabled, while the material
dialectic breaks down because it is itself. The artifex class doesnt have to collapse, but
without it, the material dialectic must fall apart. It lacks a center. Therefore, the choice
to give up the artifex is the choice to give up freedom and the society. With creativity
goes everything.
21
V

To be in a socioeconomic order is to be in the material dialectic.


To be in a society is to be in a position for revolution.
To create is to revolt. To start a business is to create a thing to produce and a
means by which to produce it. Revolution is always imminent: Marx was right. Schools
decide if revolution is bloody or glorious. An analytical school system that stifles
creativity in a Capitalist society is a strange, fatal paradox. Capitalism is failing today
because the artifex is small and inhibited by regulation and guilt. Those who invent 3D
printers put the lives of millions at risk who will be unemployed as a result of their
genius. Realizing this potentially puts creators through an existential crisis when they
should be receiving praise and gratitude.
In our current socioeconomic order, once unemployed and robbed of
creativity, a person is helpless. Enabled by school to be creative, upon losing their jobs,
people would simply create new means of employment. In a creative society,
unemployment stimulates technological advancement, because those who are
unemployed are forced to create a new way for themselves. Unemployment results in
numerous entrepreneurial start-ups, and seeing that small business drives the market,
creativity would make unemployment healthy for the economy, rather than terminal. By
becoming an artifexian, each unemployed worker would stage a revolution and
transcend alienation, social stigma, and the material dialectic. Sadly, by glossing over
unpredictable, unmanageable, and organic creativity, schools have taught Americans
how to revolt violently in trying to avoid the subject of revolution altogether.13
The entrepreneur revolutionist saves the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the
society as a whole. The artifex enables social mobility, actual wealth creation, and a
higher standard of living in economic, psychological, and personal terms. Making it
easier to focus on the next project, artifexians dont pull themselves up by their
bootstraps. Rather, they invent boots without straps.

22
Should We Get Rid of the Internet?
On How Our Cultural Attitude Toward Art is Just as Absurd
Coauthored with Bernard Hankins

The internet, coupled with a lack of discernment, character, and craft has
exacerbated our self-imposed dehumanization. People are creative, and people will use
the internet to express their creativity. Since the internet isnt going away, the question is
whether humans will use it constructively. Its easy and funny to use it for
deconstruction, so the challenge to incubate self-motivated individuals to use the
internet for the development and expression of excellent craft is great. People will
generate culture even if they arent capable, and if society doesnt equip its citizens
properly, the generated culture will be one that dehumanizes and destroys.

Today, the valuing of art is nearly nonexistent. Since art is the way we learn to
express emotions, compassion, and empathy, and since art helps a person to put his or
her self in other peoples shoes, art is vital in understanding others. Hence, the
decreasing valuing of art is partially the reason for the lack of emotional intelligence, and
this can cause very bright individuals to commit horrific harm to themselves and others.
People are becoming artistically illiterate, which makes them emotionally and
empathetically unintelligent. The loss of emphasizing creative excellence in a world with
more creative avenues than ever before has contributed to the formulation of a people
whose empathy doesnt exceed their television programming, and whos reaction to
learning about a horrific event is to post a statement on Facebook that makes it clear
that they are moved to tears by the situation.
Society has access to artistic possibility and experience like never before and
has managed to waste and mutate that potential into a cacophony that people laugh and
gaze at but dont understand. Consider Youtube: all have access to creativity and
inspiration thanks to it, yet the majority watch slapstick comedy, the provocative, or fail
videos. If what is considered funny and popular is on the same plane as dehumanizing,
such kinds of projects will be created, causing dehumanization to be cool. Without
empathy, not only will societies be unable to stop this trend, but they wont even be able
to recognize it as dehumanizing in the first place. Good art, to the majority, whether
they mean to or not, is now equated with popular art, making good art debilitating.
With the internet, children now have the ability to not only see newly generated
culture on a daily basis, but to also contribute. They are no longer passive receivers of
culture, but part of the creative body. Since Youtube is based on likes and a poster who
dehumanizes easily receives them, children will create dehumanizing content. Young,
they will be lead to believe that this kind of work is culture and playfully contribute to
the end of culture. This kind of art is also easy to produce: you do not need to go to
college to push someone out of a chair or to make a cat play piano. This leads children
to believe that art is easy and that art humiliates. Armed with these beliefs, they go about
designing the next age.
In the 90s, Americas Funniest Home Videos was full of clips of people who
happened to catch accidents. Aware that this was popular, people today arrange these
accidents. Moderns are a generation conscious of potentially being part of Americas
Funniest Home Videos any moment of any day, not mere viewers. Instead of waiting
for random events, people are able to cause them and then post their videos
immediately for a global audience without any kind of screening process. Living
amongst this kind of self-awareness is something children will be unable to avoid being
23
influenced by, and so, through their creativity, if not trained otherwise, children will be
unable to avoid constructing culture without craft.

II

Children today can access a thousand songs with a click, while children of the
past would spend ten years gaining access to only a hundred. Music is consumed, as is
all art, and children have learned to treat art like a consumer and, paradoxically, a
hoarder. Therefore, children produce what can be consumed instead of experienced and
confuse it with art. With a single post, a thousand people can know what a person is
doing. Consequently, children go through their day looking for activities that are worthy
of tweeting versus experiencing. This generation instantly shares something the moment
it finds something worth sharing. Furthermore, the internet culture encourages
counterfeiting: a false quote can be attributed to Morgan Freeman to generate likes,
and theres nothing the great actor can do to stop it. Gradually, people become
distrusting of what they see and hear.
With such ease and availability to art comes the temptation to skip the long
road on which craft, character, and discernment are cultivated. Anyone today can be an
artist whose work is distributed, and this has its benefits. It used to be an artist had to
know the right people and have access to money to achieve an audience. Now, everyone
has a chance, but this removes the clear border between the artist with craft and the
artist with crass. Without discernment and wisdom, this border vanishes all together.
With it goes artistic appreciation, the makings of which are already in the works.
Democratization requires elite discernment to check and balance it, but democratization
tends to destroy any kind of elitism. In freedom, people should choose to make
themselves experts, but sadly freedom makes it easy and popular to settle with
mediocrity. Without experts or elites, there are only novices judging novices: there are
no filters to sort the good, the bad, and/or the ugly. Quality inevitably diminishes, as
does artistic literacy, and with that a society loses its ability to define art and the artist.
Without definition, both fade away. This is not to say the loss of elites is inherent with
Democracy, only likely. Freedom, like the internet, is a hefty responsibility. With it
comes the potential for great good and great horror.

III

Once, it took time to arrange and see art: a curator had to prepare an exhibit
which people had to travel to experience. Today, art is posted rather than hung on walls,
requires no host, and a couple can view it immediately from home on a homepage.
People are bombarded with countless stimulants throughout the day, many of which
they have no choice but to absorb. Since the majority of the content is low quality, this
results in the light-speed spreading of dehumanization into the minds of those who have
no choice but to see what is posted on walls through updates and Youtubes
homepage. This is a way in which people become too passive in receiving art, and it
trains individuals not to spend too much time paying attention to what is in front of
them. By their inability to keep information out, people are trained to distract
themselves as a defense mechanism against the overwhelming tidal wave of data.
It used to be the case that accessing art almost always cost money, but the
opposite is now true. In the past, the price tag inherently forced individuals to be more
discerning, because humans naturally think more about what they buy in comparison to
what they receive freely. Unless, that is, they been have trained to overcome this natural
tendency with a capacity to cultivate appreciation and gratitude on their own. Without
24
training though, it is difficult for people to treat free art as if it is valuable. Todays
society can never go back to a world in which most art is paid for, hard to access, and
hard to make. Never before has society required so much training; never before has it
received so little.
It is clear that the internet can affect people negatively if they chose to use it
poorly, but these negativities can be overcome so that the good is achieved. Removing
the internet is not an option, and even if it was, it wouldnt be a good one. Thanks to
the internet, a writer has access to countless more resources than James Joyce, and
arguably writers today can achieve greatness never before glimpsed. Also, ease of access
to art and the removal of economic barriers makes it easy for artists to receive
inspiration from other artists, enable artists to reach across borders and combine genres,
and opens the world of art to those who otherwise couldnt afford the entree fee.
Since the internet cannot be removed, the only way to address the
aforementioned problems is with increased character and discernment. Schools and
families must contribute, though both seem to be collapsing. Making the challenge
greater, people have been trained to be distracted and inattentive in order to survive in
the internet age, yet concentration is necessary to develop both craft and character. The
challenge is great, but societies must succeed: the only other option is the end of culture
that uplifts and promotes rather than disintegrates. Success though, thanks to the
internet, will usher in art and culture of an unimaginable caliber and grandeur.

IV

In school today, math and science are emphasized over the humanities, often
because the humanities dont get you a job. These fields are called humanities because
humanity is given form through them. By making these studies seem extra or
unnecessary, education implies that cultures humanity is a nicety which doesnt hurt to
have, but only insomuch as it doesnt get in the way of work. Yet work without
humanity is deadening. The school system readies children for the real world as if the
real world is an economy without a culture; in its efforts to be concrete, school is
abstract. Providing no outlet or incubator, children are forced to create outside (rather
than inside and outside) of school, but lacking skill and wisdom, the children create that
which dehumanizes: they set themselves on fire and plank. Children will be creative in
one way or another; its foolish to pretend that they, equipped with the tools and
presented a limitless and constant audience online, wont create. Ignorance isnt bliss; its
dangerous.
In its efforts to prepare children for the real world, schools leave kids with
one option when it comes to releasing creative urges: doing it at home alone. Unguided
and untrained, kids create self-destructive culture. Their only guidance for how to
engage with the real world in areas outside of academics comes from programs like The
Real World and what other children are creating online. The arts function as guides by
which to understand the world, and when arts are poorly done, people can become poor
in areas of relationships, families, etc., having never been taught how to act properly.
This is especially the case when the family structure is waning. When children cannot get
life lessons from their parents, they get them from their televisions and laptops. When
these mediums are filled with crassness, children have no other standard by which to
determine how to live. Undeveloped, unguided, and equipped with abilities to create
content online without anywhere else to release creative urges, children then become
gears in the machine that dehumanizes them.
Lacking wisdom, without the capacity to recognize or create crafted art from
crass art, children will fill the internet with poison. Often one on the internet is
25
bombarded with information they have no choice but to at least see. Hence, it is
inevitable that the poison will reach everyone: they will be unable to escape, the internet
being so large, so quick. Since the capacity of children to discern art and humanities is
placed beneath competence of math and sciences, children, especially when on their
own, will be helpless to know which influences to let in and which to keep out. They
will have no shield with which to defend themselves against the Leviathan of crass
culture.

Art has been accused of causing mass killings, debauchery, etc. Take
Columbine: many speculated that heavy metal contributed. What should be done?
Censorship in an internet age will never outpace users and will ironically only increase
the production of, and interest in, what is censored. Censorship will not erase the desire
to create, only frustrate it into directing itself toward the destructive. Besides, even if the
internet wasnt too large to censor, one doesnt know what to censor until after a terrible
event; retrospective, censorship is always behind. Rather than try to shut down various
music genres or shows, people should ask why they come out in the first place. To
censor is to address symptoms of a culturally systematic problem the fall of artistic
literacy and censorship will not decrease internalization of what dehumanizes.
The only solution is to increase character and discernment, and this will
naturally move society as a whole from the destructive to the constructive, from crass to
craft. Though math and science are important, emphasizing them over the humanities
deemphasizes capacities necessary for a people to craft culture that doesnt self-destruct.
Culture is going to be created and creativity is going to create something: denial of the
inevitable makes the inevitable a problem. A failure to develop positive creative skills in
schools will only increase the venting of these capacities in manners detrimental to
society. If heavy metal contributed to Columbine, it is clear art is powerful and
influential. Therefore, a tremendous way to improve society should be directing and
strengthening creativity for good. Failure to do this by doing nothing or stressing
retrospective action like censorship will usher in the bad, for children will ignorantly
improve their skills on their own and direct them without experience and/or wise
guidance. Failure of society to properly emphasize creativity causes its corruption.
Culture will be made, and it will be made in the image of its creators. The
children of today are the creators of tomorrow. If we do not do something, tomorrows
world will be full of children who cannot discern the difference between what
dehumanizes and what enlivens. The greatest gift the current generation can give the
next is teaching it how to live. If this age cares about tomorrow, it will enable children to
have craft rather than be crass.
People will be creative, especially children: the question is only how. The
internet isnt going away, so the question is what will fill it? The dehumanizing or
Dante? The choice is ours, and the sooner we overcome the easy temptation to be crass,
the sooner we will engage in crafting a new and beautiful world.
So should we get rid of the internet?
Lets just change ourselves.

26
Joy To The World
An Economic Indicator

An economy exists to make joy accessible, and a society that doesnt enable its
citizens to feel like life is worth living is a society that fails. The easier the economy
makes this realization for its citizens, the better the socioeconomic order as a whole.
Though both entail emotional fluctuation (at least according to this work), joy is non-
contingent fulfillment while happiness is contingent upon externalities. Consequently,
unlike internal joy, happiness is temporary. Furthermore, though such an estimation
cannot be made from happiness, the actual value of an economy can be estimated from
the joy of its participants. The higher the joy, the less likely there is a bubble in the
system.
From overall joy, which can be estimated from rates of depression, suicide, and
job satisfaction, it can be estimated to what degree an economy is driven by credit
versus productivity, as it can be estimated to what degree inflation and rising prices
reflect productivity versus currency devaluation. This is because joy is a result of
intrinsic motivation, and the more intrinsically motivated a society, the less likely
productivity will decline during periods of economic stability and/or growth.

The basic assumptions and outline for this paper are as follows:

1) Joy doesnt rise as does consumption.


2) Joy rises as does intrinsic motivation.
3) Joy isnt volatile.
4) Intrinsic motivation ultimately drives productivity, while extrinsic motivation
ultimately drives credit cycles.
5) Consumption without productivity causes bubbles (or cycles of booms and busts).
6) The extrinsically motivated are more likely to consume in a manner that doesnt
drive productivity, while the intrinsically motivated are more likely to consume in a
manner that drives productivity.
7) When the economy is good, the extrinsically motivated produce less, having
achieved the goals of their labor (financing a home, wants, etc.). They no longer
have to work (productively): they can pay for all their costs. If they do still work,
they dont have to work any harder than they already work. Yet during a boom,
with inflation or more credit in the system, the economy needs more productivity to
finance that increase in credit. However, the extrinsically motivated have no reason
to increase productivity because it doesnt seem like they need to (because that need
is hidden behind credit): they seem to be working enough.
8) When the economy is good, the intrinsically motivated continue working, because
their work is not contingent upon their environment, but personal drives.
9) The higher the joy of a nation, the higher its number of intrinsically motivated
people. The more intrinsically motivated people, the more likely that a boom isnt a
bubble which will eventually lead to a bust, that stability doesnt destabilize.
10) The lower the joy, the more likely stability destabilizes and credit outpaces
productivity.
11) To the degree credit outpaces productivity is to the degree current growth is a
bubble and/or fake.
12) If joy is high, credit and productivity are likely close to one another. If joy is low,
credit probably exceeds productivity.
27
13) Therefore, the higher joy (not happiness) during a boom, the less likely it is a
bubble, and the higher the joy during a bust, the more likely a boom is on the
horizon. In other words, the likelihood of Depression lessens as does emotional
depression, but the likelihood of economic Depression rises as does the prevalence
of emotional depression.
14) Whenever joy is low, an economy suffers (which can lower joy).

II

1) Joy doesnt rise as does consumption.

This is the prime assumption of the work; if consumption does increase joy,
the theory is incorrect. However, though I dont think it can be proven, it is common
knowledge that money doesnt ultimately buy happiness. It seems to in the short-term,
but not the long-term. Money, in a sense , does buy happiness, but not joy. One can
estimate a nations joy by its levels of depression, suicide, boredom, and job
dissatisfaction (which may, in fact, increase as does prosperity).1 One could perhaps also
include satisfaction with family life (which might be reflected in divorce rates).

2) Joy rises as does intrinsic motivation.

This is the second most important assumption. Intrinsic motivation, or non-


contingent motivation, is nearly identical with purpose, and the assumption is that joy
increases as does ones sense of purpose. This idea is reflected in the work of Victor
Frankl, Daniel Pink, and others.
Additionally, it is doubtful that a person who has purpose and meaning in life
wouldnt be joyful. The person wont necessarily be happy at a given moment, but it
seems unlikely that the person wouldnt be generally very satisfied. Therefore, the higher
the lack of joy, indicated by rates of depression, suicide, boredom, job dissatisfaction,
etc., the higher the lack of intrinsically motivated individuals.

3) Joy isnt volatile.

Happiness has contingencies, but joy does not. Once instilled within an
individual, joy remains constant by definition. By claiming joy isnt volatile (though
happiness is), I mean to claim that joy is a reliable indicator. Once a person achieves joy,
it is more likely the person will keep it than lose it. The opposite is the case when it
comes to happiness, since happiness relies on contingencies and externalities.
Joy, being intrinsically motivated, can resist being changed by circumstances
outside an individuals control more so than happiness, though that isnt to say an
individual cant choose to stop being joyful. However, since it is natural for a person to
seek a state of joy (though that state is often confused with a state of happiness until an
individual experiences the difference), it isnt natural for a person to choose to leave it.
This isnt to say individuals wont make this choice, only that the majority of joyful
individuals wont and that a given individual will rarely choose against his or her own
joy. Hence, joy isnt volatile.

4) Intrinsic motivation ultimately drives productivity, while extrinsic


motivation ultimately drives credit cycles.

28
Incentives are everything, but not all incentives are the same. To be extrinsically
motivated is to be a mouse that runs through a maze to get cheese, while to be
intrinsically motivated is to run through that maze because you like running. Extrinsic
motivation requires that someone always places the cheese at the end of the maze, while
intrinsic motivation requires nothing of anyone except for the mouse to enjoy doing
what the mouse does. Furthermore, the extrinsically motivated mouse, when he reaches
the cheese, will stop running, while the mouse that likes running, whether given cheese
or not, will run on.
The intrinsically motivated mouse can become extrinsically motivated if given
cheese every time he finishes the maze: the mouse may come to like running because he
likes cheese through running, rather than like running in and of itself. Furthermore, if he
gets used to cheese and suddenly its not there, the mouse may change his attitude. The
very act of offering an extrinsic motivation to get the mouse to start running may be the
very act that ultimately makes the mouse stop.2
The mouse that is running for cheese and the mouse that likes running look
identical in the act of running. In the long run you can tell the difference, but not
immediately. And if you could ask the mice do you like running?, both may answer
yes, though one of them likes running because of the cheese he gets him while the
other primarily likes the experience of running. Actions speak louder than words, but
actions arent always easy to read. The one who likes running for runnings sake may
also like winning prizes (or that same mouse may happen to win prizes). Whether an
extrinsically motivating factor is involved at all wont equip us with the discernment to
tell the difference between the two mice. Something more is needed.
An incentive is a kind of purpose. If I am given money for taking out the trash,
the reason I take out the trash is to receive compensation. I feel happiness when I
receive the money, but taking out the trash probably doesnt bring me joy (in and of
itself). Extrinsic motivators are the benefactors of temporary happiness but not
necessarily consistent joy; though they gratify instantly, they last momentarily. There are
some things that no one wants to do but that must be done, and so extrinsic
motivations have a role. However, when all of life becomes something that people dont
want to do, extrinsic motivations are responsible for too much. People are supposed to
be intrinsically motivated to live and extrinsically motivated to do things in life they
resist because those things inhibit life. When extrinsic motivation entirely replaces
intrinsic motivation, all of life is in the way (of something that doesnt even exist).
Consequently, people become reliant on transient experiences of happiness, which
causes decreases in joy and increases in depression.3
Where modern Capitalism has gone wrong is that it is now motivated by
money in order to consume, when Capitalism only works when money is used to fulfill
purpose. Purpose stabilizes a system which cannot stabilize itself.
In a way, no one wants to make money: money is that which people have to
make in order to accomplish what they want. Money is a means to an end, even if that
end is to feel good about being rich. If people could get everything they wanted or
needed without others and instantly, money wouldnt exist. The existence of money is a
testament to the reality that the world isnt perfect. Money also testifies to the fact that
people have to do things they dont want to do, and yet money is also a beacon of hope
pointing to a world in which what people want is achieved. However, for money to be
such a beacon, people must always want something. When that purpose (or want) is
gone, money becomes an end in itself, which it cannot be (without being paradoxical
and hence existentially unsettling). When treated as an end in itself, money becomes
contradictory, and those who own it are contradicted by it.4

29
When economic good times begin, it seems as if the world has become perfect:
the point of money seems to have been achieved. Consequently, a euphoric period sets
in and productivity drops. As people tend to look forward to the weekend, people work
looking forward to the times when spending is easy. Then, they let their hair down, per
se. This seems to be human nature, which, like animal nature, enjoys pleasure.5
When living and consuming become similes versus living and producing,
the economy is threatened. This is because as soon as everyone feels like theyre living,
theyll stop producing or wont produce as much. Yet if credit is fueling this boom,
production must remain high in order to eventually pay off the amassed debt burden.
Capitalisms worst enemy is probably its own success.

5) Consumption without productivity causes bubbles (or cycles of booms and


busts).

Bubbles are not possible without credit: all bubbles are ultimately a result of
consumption that isnt backed by production. Consumption without productivity
requires credit. Credit functions like production, for as production allows one access to
capital to fund consumption, credit does the same. Spending drives the economy, so
consumption is of the utmost importance, but not all consumption is equal.
Spending which is backed by credit may drive the economy, while spending
backed by (actual) money does drive the economy. Whether or not credit does drive the
economy depends on whether debts and loans are ultimately paid off. The ability of
borrowers to finance debts is ultimately tied to how productive they are, which is tied to
the productivity of the overall economy.
Economists struggle with estimating how much credit is driving growth. Since
credit is used both during bubbles and real growth, its hard to tell. Likewise, since
inflation is a type of loan, its hard to tell how much inflation is actually reflation versus
currency devaluation. Inflation is reflected in an increase in prices and/or the money
supply, but prices can both reflect an increase in productivity or a loss of spending
power: its hard to tell.6
To use a metaphor, growth driven by money and production is like increasing
the volume of a singer by telling her to sing louder, while growth driven by credit and
inflation is like increasing her volume by turning up the radio.7 Ultimately, only growth
driven by money and production counts. To the degree credit and inflation contribute to
money and production is to the degree credit and inflation are beneficial, while to the
degree they dont is to the degree they contribute to bubbles.8 However, its hard to tell
when the singer is getting louder because someone is turning up the volume from when
the singer is actually singing louder. Fortunately, joy can help identify the difference.

6) The extrinsically motivated are more likely to consume in a manner that


doesnt drive productivity, while the intrinsically motivated are more likely
to consume in a manner that drives productivity.

Credit cycles overlay productivity, making it hard to tell growth as a result of


production from growth as a result of mere credit. Production and credit are like two
rivers that can cross in one spot and not in another. They look the same and sometimes
virtually are, and yet theyre distinct.9
Any kind of growth will satisfy the extrinsically motivated, rather it be growth
through credit or growth through production. On the other hand, the intrinsically
motivated will never be satisfied by growth, because theyre already satisfied by

30
themselves. Their satisfaction comes to them through their work: theyll keep working
regardless their prosperity.
Since growth through credit is easier and quicker, the extrinsically motivated
will naturally and rationally be in favor of that form of growth than growth through
production. The reason the extrinsically motivated work is to achieve growth and
pleasures that result, and since credit realizes that goal quickly, growth through credit is
more rational than growth through production. What is rational is relative to ones
incentives, and if one is incentivized externally, whatever achieves that extrinsic goal
quickest and easiest is most rational.
Therefore, for the market to be rational toward productivity rather than credit
creation, the market must be intrinsically motivated. Otherwise, a rational market will
be one that blows itself up with credit. The market is rational, but what is rational today
is not always rational in the long run.

7) When the economy is good, the extrinsically motivated produce less,


having achieved the goals of their labor (financing a home, wants, etc.).
They no longer have to work (productively): they can pay for all their
costs. If they do still work, they dont have to work any harder than they
already work. Yet during a boom, with inflation or more credit in the
system, the economy needs more productivity to finance that increase in
credit. However, the extrinsically motivated have no reason to increase
productivity because it doesnt seem like they need to (because that need is
hidden behind credit): they seem to be working enough.

Economist Joseph Schumpeter warned that Capitalism is ruined by its success


as Hyman Minsky the main inspiration for this paper likewise warned that stability
destabilizes. During good times when the economy seems strong, consumers tend to
over-leverage, over-consume, and over-spend. Consequently, the system booms and
then busts.
Furthermore, if people have become reliant on extrinsic motivators to work, as
those extrinsic motivators vanish and the system dwindles downward, production rates
will depress.10 They wont rise until someone who is intrinsically motivated creates and
offers cheese or extrinsic motivators again (since the intrinsically motivated are the only
ones who ultimately make cheese regardless the state of the market or whether
someone offers them cheese to do so). But if the society lost such individuals during
the boom, when the majority became reliant on extrinsic motivators, the intrinsically
motivated wont be there when they are needed. The system will enter a Depression
with little hope of recovery (especially if most savings were squeezed out on the way
down, as Keynes warned likely).11
It is human nature to want to borrow but not to pay back, as it is human nature
to want to spend rather than save.12 When it becomes too easy to spend, it will be the
case that spending outpaces production, and a bubble will ensue. This is the risk with
credit. According to Schumpeter and Minsky, something of this nature will happen
whenever Capitalism is successful. Worsening the collapse, bubbles are self-feeding. As
debt grows, lending increases, and the economy is further pumped up and expanded
with credit; incomes increase, the stock market booms, housing prices rise, and more.
This results in less people producing because these extrinsically motivated individuals
achieve the cheese they worked to acquire. Consequently, production drops, which
means credit outpaces production, yet credit makes it seem as if production is high.
When the debts are called in, there isnt the productivity to finance them, and the boom
busts.
31
Debt drives growth in the short-term for the very reason that it lets people live
outside their means. Yet it eventually forces people to live below their means when
they have to pay back their debts. Therefore, one should only get into debt when he or
she wants to increase his or her productivity, lest that person be unable to survive the
pay back period. Yet because debt makes the short-term comfortable, it is likely a given
person will stop working and lower his or her productivity, making it unlikely that the
person will survive the pay back period.13
What makes or breaks Capitalism is the level of production that occurs during
the good times, and when Capitalism is dependent upon extrinsic motivation, these
good times are exactly when production falls.14

8) When the economy is good, the intrinsically motivated continue working,


because their work is not contingent upon their environment, but personal
drives.

A Capitalism thats entirely intrinsically motivated is ones thats stability


doesnt destablize.15 The problem with debt is that it creates a comfortable present,
which makes a person who isnt intrinsically motivated complacent. Consequently, when
the debt has to be paid back, the person isnt ready. This logic applies to society as a
whole.
On the other hand, the productivity of the intrinsically motivated isnt
influenced by the environment: they continue being productive regardless. In theory, a
society that is entirely intrinsically motivated would be one in which there would never
be bubbles, though that isnt to say there wouldnt be mild or gradual price adjustments.
This is because the intrinsically motivated do not often consume at the expense of
production, nor do they tend to take on debt that doesnt contribute to production.
However, while the intrinsically motivated produce for the sake of production, the
extrinsically motivated produce for the sake of consumption. Debt, feeding
consumption and easy to amass, will gradually replace production for the extrinsically
motivated, and to the degree the extrinsically motivated make up the majority will be to
the degree a bubble is inflated.

9) The higher the joy of a nation, the higher its number of intrinsically
motivated people. The more intrinsically motivated people, the more likely
that a boom isnt a bubble which will lead to a bust, that stability doesnt
destabilize.

The assumption here is that joy, as defined apart from happiness, requires
purpose. Purpose begets intrinsic motivation and work to realize that purpose.
However, purpose isnt simply a goal. Goals can be realized and finished with, but
purpose is always undergoing realization. A goal, for example, would be to write a
book, while a purpose would be to be a writer. The first is a period of time, but the
second is a way of life. The first is an extrinsic motivator, while the second, dealing with
identity, is intrinsic.
The intrinsically motivated have a sense of purpose, and with that comes a
sense of identity. Having a secure identity, such an individual isnt easily swayed by his
or her environment. Whether things are good or bad, the individual generally stays
constant. Therefore, the intrinsically motivated are not likely to be destabilized by
stability and so fall victim to relying on credit.

32
10) The lower the joy, the more likely stability destabilizes and credit outpaces
productivity.

The less joy, the less intrinsically motivated the society, and so the higher the
likelihood it is extrinsically motivated and driven by growth through credit versus
production.

11) To the degree credit outpaces productivity is to the degree current growth
is a bubble and/or fake.

When credit isnt backed by productivity, prices and earnings are not backed by
real assets. Consequently, a bubble develops. When this bubbles pops, a bust occurs.
Growth that vanishes during a bust is growth that was arguably fake. Its real until it
pops, but ultimately it does not stand to scrutiny.

12) If joy is high, credit and productivity are likely close to one another. If joy
is low, credit probably exceeds productivity.

When joy is growing, intrinsic motivation is probably doing the same, and so
productivity is probably backed by actual labor. When joy is falling, intrinsic motivation
is probably plummeting, and so high growth is probably backed by credit more so than
productivity.

13) Therefore, the higher joy (not happiness) during a boom, the less likely it
is a bubble, and the higher the joy during a bust, the more likely a boom
is on the horizon. In other words, the likelihood of Depression lessens as
does emotional depression, but the likelihood of economic Depression
rises as does the prevalence of emotional depression.

14) Whenever joy is low, an economy suffers (which can lower joy).

III

Credit allows growth to exceed productivity in the short run but not in the long
run. Credit is dangerous when it fuels over-consumption, but good when it fuels
productivity. The same can be said about inflation. The big question is: how do you
determine, in the present, to what degree credit and inflation are directed toward over-
consumption versus productivity? If you could estimate this, you could estimate the
likelihood that current Federal policies are contributing to a bubble and that current
growth reflects a bubble versus actual growth, and more.
Joy functions as a powerful indicator for making this determination.
If joy is high when the economy is strong, then the economy is probably actually
strong. If joy is low during such a time, the economy is probably actually weak.
Furthermore, if joy is high during a time when the economy is weak, then the economy
is probably actually strong. If joy is low when the economy is weak, then the economy is
probably actually weak.
Perhaps the best way to determine the joy of a nation, and the most direct way
to determine the probability that growth is a bubble, is through job satisfaction. The
more people hate their jobs, the higher the likelihood that productivity will drop as
credit is pumped into the system and that current growth reflects a bubble. On the other

33
hand, the more people love their jobs, the higher the likelihood that growth is backed by
productivity.
A viable gage of inflation and index for determining the presence of bubbles
and severity of consequential busts, joy is a measure of real growth. In a globalized
world where the viability of one economy reflects the viability of all, for all our sakes, let
there be joy to the world.

34
Representing Beauty
On Disembodiment, Dimensionality, and Dominion

Escapism is the antithesis of Existentialism. Existentialism, a philosophy that


claims existence precedes essence, establishes that we come into existence and then
decide the meaning of our existence, rather than the meaning be predetermined. It
entails an engagement with the actual world, and an existential crisis results when a
person finds that actuality doesnt match with what that person thought was real. Such a
crisis causes a shattering of beliefs and preset complexes. It is a painful experience; it
causes angst. To avoid this crisis, the modern person can view everything as a potential
photograph, tweet, posting, text, etc. In this way, the modern stands as a viewer,
outside the world, and hence the world is something humans conquer rather than the
world conquer humans. Perhaps in Eden humanity could have dominion over the
world, but now the world holds dominion. In protest, humanity has digitized itself and
the world to reestablish the rules of Eden, but this dominion is a kind of escapism and
denial rather than a true engagement. It disembodies us: anytime we escape the world,
we escape ourselves.

Off and on, without conscious thought, we cannot help but view everything as
a potential tweet, Facebook post, and/or picture. Consequently, we transform the world
into something we can capture rather than something that captures us. Now, our
imaginations capture the world rather than the world capture our imaginations. We have
moved into a position of control from a place of humility.
To face the world is to face nothingness. To make the world face us enables us
to keep our back turned to the emptiness of life as the void stares into the back of our
heads and transforms into a monster.1 Never facing reality, we never see the need to
equip ourselves with the capacity to create purpose (versus images), and to thus rise
above the void. If we faced the nothingness, we would realize there was nothing to fear.
Denying it, we come to fear ourselves, thinking that we fear the void.2
By acting as if the world is something we can manage and capture, we
outsource our cognition. We abstract ourselves into (a) non-reality for, in reality, the
world cannot be captured setting up an ever-worsening existential crisis. Hence, we
are incentivized to take more pictures and to make more posts to further dominate the
world and to push off this worsening crisis until later. Equipped with countless
technologies, we feel more able to deny the inevitable than ever before and fall ever-
deeper into abstraction.

II

Technology reformats our toward-ness, our orientation toward the world.


Websites on which we can rank restaurants can make us experience restaurant as rank-
able while also making us feel that such establishments should make us happy rather
than we learn how to be made happy by them. Instagram can make us approach sunsets
as phenomena that we are responsible for translating into digital information for the
world to experience, as if the picture of a sunset was as wonderful as the experience of
one, as if sacrificing the experience of beauty for a representation of it is rational.
Websites on which we can share pictures of parties we attend can fashion lenses we
wear when we attend those parties: we see everything there as things we can share with
loved ones who might be hurt if we dont help them feel part of the fun.
35
Everything can be commoditized.
Everything can be exhibited.
Everything is now a potential post which can be liked: every experience is an
opportunity to draw attention to self and a chance to give others something to which to
respond. The more friends a person gains on Facebook, the easier it becomes to achieve
responses, likes, and to avoid actuality with community, comments, and pleasure.
Consequently, community can become inauthentic, founded on denial, not because
digital friendship is inherently fake, but because the digital tempts us to sacrifice the
actual and often succeeds. Digital friends can be as good as real ones if engaged with
authentically: only a given person can know whether or not he or she is real online
(though keep in mind that no one thinks they arent).
Every experience is now susceptible to blogging and commentary: ones
opinion can now be attached to everything in the world. One can always approve,
disprove, and commentate: silence and study are not required. Nothingness has become
a subject of commentaries, and consequently, through complacency, it has become easy
to take flippantly. Facebook has also made it easy to see the faces of many people
without actually encountering them: seeing others is no longer necessarily a labor of
love. People can achieve the sensation of seeing friends without taking intentional time
out to do so, and when tired, people can tuck friends away. Friends, in never
inconveniencing us, give us the illusion that friendship and love are easy. When they
become hard, we dismiss them as having rotted, when such difficulty is through which
relationships achieve authenticity.
Experiences are no longer necessarily things we undergo but things we record:
parties, for example, arent so much attended as they are shared. Consequently, we feel
transcendent of the pressure of engaging with reality. There is no longer such a thing as
a party free of the sensation that it should be recorded (perhaps in order to remember
the charm, to leave artifacts for future generations, etc.), and its now as if there has
never been such a party. Before the invention of Twitter, it wasnt possible to engage
with entities or experiences as potential tweets; now, its impossible to engage with them
any other way.
We use technology to help us comprehend and understand the world around
us. Consequently, the very way we are toward the world changes. By fathoming
everything as potential posts, our understanding and sense of how we are to engage
with things changes. Technology always, in some way or another, impacts the toward-
ness of being. Whether or not this is good or bad depends on the technology in
question and the mindset it fosters.
The invention of a technology doesnt make it inevitable that a given individual
will fall into varying modes of toward-ness, though it does mean an individual will have
to actively combat the urge to view the world as a thing to be digitized. It is only certain
that the majority and spirit of the age (zeitgeist) will take up varying modes of toward-
ness; whether or not a given person does depends on the individual in question.
Ultimately, it cannot be said for certain whether technology is good or bad, only that it
changes us.
With every invention, the world is never the same.

III

Alluding to Read(er) by O.G. Rose, we read atoms into chairs, cats, etc.: we
translate lower and higher dimensions into our dimensionality. Its in our being. Yet,
what we read into being is not necessarily to our liking: what we have actually made
doesnt always fit what we would like to make. Similarly, what is real doesnt necessarily
36
fit what we think is real, though both come unto us because of our reading-
consciousness. It is because of the space between our ideas and the subject of our ideas
that existential crises are possible.
Technologies, like video cameras and cell phones, enable us to escape our
experiences by allowing us to record them as if an outsider. They also give us the
illusion that we can read reality into different dimensionalities from our inherent and
natural calibration. The photograph is frozen, like a world without time; the tweet and
Facebook page are one dimensional; the video is repeatable and stoppable, as if time is
controllable. Technologies help us feel like reality can be reformatted and as if we can
respond to an existential crisis by changing the channel; consequently, the imperative
to learn how to overcome nothingness vanishes.
Technology has equipped us to combat reality. Threatened with being
overcome by actuality and thrust into an existential crisis, we have fashioned works that
frame, capture, and translate the world into different dimensionalities than ourselves.
Consequently, in abstracting the world into something other than us, its nothingness
becomes increasingly incomprehensible, distant, and less threatening, in the same way
that the suffering of children faraway doesnt grip us as does the suffering of children
nearby. In viewing every sunset as a potential photograph, we approach them as if they
are one dimensional. The sunset is of a higher dimensionality than this, but keeping it
one dimensional, its beauty doesnt overwhelm, capture, call, or threaten us. Rather than
listen to the summons of beauty into humility, we unintentionally silence it by thinking
of sunsets as commodities to be hung on walls and appreciated when convenient.
Beauty fills us not with awe but pleasure; no longer does beauty suspend us into
experiencing it. With our homage of the photograph, beauty has become digestible.

IV

Existence precedes essence, but rather than try to fashion meaning for our
lives, we often fashion representations. Through this act, we can attempt to escape our
responsibility to fashion purpose and consequently neglect our existence, challenging it
in its asking of us to rise to the challenge of nothingness with a meaning we craft and
live out. Even those who believe in God can live meaningless lives; everyone, from
believers to atheists, are challenged in this way.3 Unfortunately, most of us now ascribe
to a new philosophy, a philosophy which establishes that existence precedes digital
existence, and that makes the digital and recorded the essence of the actual.
We have outsmarted reality.
We can now judge reality and the worth of the world around us by the degree
to which it is like our digital and digestible representations. The unreal world is now
more real than the real world. The fake is our objectivity; the real, our subjectivity.4 In
making this switch, we attempt to draw the whole world outside of itself, as we use
digitization to draw ourselves out of what can cause us angst. Because memory is
unreliable, the more we exist in this paradoxical age, the less we remember a less
captured time and the mindset that accompanied it. The more time passes, the more the
delusional becomes the way its always been.
Like earlier generations that believed essence preceded existence, we are once
again free of angst. We have escaped the nothingness of the world by fashioning a
different, digital world made in our image(s) to face. Rather than an essence of our
making, it is an existence of our making. We have answered the challenge of
Existentialism by denying its existence. We have achieved freedom. However, the
freedom we have achieved is an escapist, ignorant one: it is inauthentic. It is a freedom
that disembodies and disables us from being able to handle true freedom, which is
37
found in the actual. We have fled from the freedom presented to us to a freedom of our
own making; we have fled from the world to our world; we have fled from our image to
our images.

The actual world physicalizes as the digital one digitizes. When we encounter
beauty in the world, we are attracted toward physicalization; when we encounter beauty
online, we are attracted toward abstraction. When we digitize actual beauty, we abstract
it into that which then attracts us into disembodiment. What we digitize always tempts
us in this way; if we can avoid the temptation and rather use what we digitize to remind
us to be toward the world, then the digital is good. However, this is a difficult
temptation that requires great character to resist in an age that is arguably losing it.
Tragically, the less concrete and authentic we are, the more we view nothingness as a
subject for jokes on 4chan. Rather than viewing beauty as a summons to engage the
actual more deeply and so achieve authenticity, we can view it as a chance to create a
new representation, so abstracting ourselves and the world further.
Beauty needs representatives, not representations. We must regain the ability to
look at a sunset and not think about taking its picture; only then can we master
photography rather than be mastered by it. People have been making representations
and images of the actual world for centuries through paintings, statues, etc., but
representations used to take hours upon hours to make. We can now be insta-artists
and our creations, no longer requiring intensive labor, are no longer labors of love.
Everyone is now a creator without striving to become one, and when it comes to
representing the world, we have become thoughtless. In this sense, we must become
more loving; it is through love that we achieve authenticity.
There is nothing wrong with photography, tweets, etc. as long as they direct us
toward deeper engagement with the world and the actual, rather than inspire us to look
away.5 We must regain the capacity to embrace beauty and so become more concrete,
rather than try to flex dominion over beauty and forgo our reality. In doing so, we shall
master digitalization and cease being mastered by our inventions. The more we capture
beauty before we are captured by it, the more we are disembodied and the more
actuality is lost. Beauty and the world must move us to lift ourselves up, rather than
move us to pull it down.
Life is short, but if we learn to experience it, life can be a beautiful vapor.6

38
On Materialism, Purpose, and Discernment
Self-Synchronization

To be materialistic is to focus on material things, while the optimal way humans


relate to things is as if those things are invisible, per se. According to Heidegger, a
doorknob is invisible to us until it breaks, for until then we use it to open a door
without thinking about it. Its only when the doorknob doesnt work that we stop and
notice it. Similar should be our engagement with all things in the world: to exist in this
way is to avoid materialism. This isnt to imply that material items are only valuable to
the degree they have utility; rather, by claiming things should be invisible, this means
things should be synchronized with the whole of ones life, as a gear is invisible when
synchronized with the whole of a working machine. One can notice a gear as one can
notice a nice rug, and this is not problematic as long as this act of acknowledgment
doesnt infringe upon the synchronization or operation of the whole. However, when
the machine doesnt work, so the synchronization stops and the gear becomes visible
in the sense that it stands out as a thing independent of the other things with which it
works in relation. Likewise, material things become visible to a person when that
persons life ceases to be unified into a synchronized whole, a unification which only
purpose can bring about. Considering this, one is materialistic to the degree that his or
her relation to material things results in the de-synchronization of that individuals
whole life, which occurs when things detract from that persons realization of his or her
purpose. Without purpose, materialism is unavoidable.

A doorknob is not literally invisible, but it is usually phenomenologically


invisible to humans as they go about their everyday lives. The same can be said about
most things. This doesnt mean people arent thankful for doorknobs or that they dont
notice that a particular doorknob is particularly unique, but that most things in life only
stand out to people when those things grab their focus. It is when a doorknob breaks
that humans tend to focus on it: we dont tend to do so beforehand. That said, when a
doorknob isnt part of a door, we notice it, but when a doorknob is part of a door, its
only when it fails to do what we suppose it do that it stands out to us. When a doorknob
that isnt part of some synchronized whole comes before our vision however, it is
necessarily visible to us, as material things are necessarily visible when one lacks
purpose.
Materialism is a mode of engagement with material things. Its not so much
what or how many things people engage with that is the problem, but the way in
which they engage with those things. To be materialistic is be constantly and consciously
aware of the fact that you have hands, per se. Hands are important, and to not spend all
ones time talking or thinking about hands doesnt mean the person wouldnt mind if
they were chopped off. Ones thankfulness for hands is embodied through thats person
use of them, as ones appreciation of material goods is enacted through that persons use
of them toward his or her purpose. This isnt to say one can never say Im glad I have
hands, but that one shouldnt spend all his or her time absorbed in the fact that he or
she is glad for them: such a person is like the centipede that ends up paralyzed upon
trying to figure out how he uses all his legs simultaneously.
A person can most certainly say I love my new rug, but a person should check
his or her motives if every time someone comes by the person talks about the rug.
Likewise, a person should check his or her motivations when that person thinks I have
a better rug or even I have a good rug versus I like my rug or I am grateful for my
39
rug: materialism easily slips in through hierarchical thinking (which one must always be
weary of). This isnt to say there isnt such a thing as better rugs, or that one can never
assess that his or her material things are better than others in fact, only that conscious
or continuous hieratical thought can lead to pride. Furthermore, one can only assess
something as better if there is a standard by which to compare the thing to, and only
one with purpose has such a standard. The one with purpose is the one who is equipped
to avoid materialism, as such a person has a standard by which to determine what
constitutes better by assessing what does or doesnt help achieve his or her purpose.
Without purpose, one cannot determine how and in what way something is better than
by materialistic, subjective, individual, and ultimately arbitrary standards. Since purpose
is individual, so too is what constitutes better: it can only be said what is better to
me, never for all, and only to most when there is an agreed upon standard to which
most assent.

II

When it comes to purchasing goods, for example, a person should decide to


make the purchase which, upon making, the purchased good will become invisible to
the purchaser (though a purchaser can only make this hypothesis, and so estimate what
will or will not synchronize with it, to the degree he or she is familiar with his or her
purpose). Consequently, in being invisible, the good will not be a focus of the
purchaser or de-synchronize the purchasers life. If a person buys an expensive rug and,
consequently, wont think about wanting a nicer rug, the person should buy the more
expensive rug. If, however, a person will over-think about how nice his or her rug is, the
person should buy the cheaper one. Whichever item will not de-synchronize the person
is the item which that person should purchase; whether or not a purchase should be
made in the first place is up to the purchaser.
The one who lives in the cheapest house is not necessarily the least materialistic
if that person thinks about being un-materialistic: thriftiness can de-synchronize as can
wealth. If one tries to buy the cheaper coffee and is consequently unhappy about the
coffee he or she is drinking, it would have been better for that person to have spent
more and purchased the finer coffee. Only a given person can know which purchases
will be invisible to that person, and so only that person can ultimately make such
decisions for his or her self.
To live free of materialism is to live in relation to all material goods as
incarnations of your reason for living. These goods are invisible because they are in the
right order (or synchronized with ones purpose) and do not impede it, as a doorknob
that works doesnt get in the way of a persons objective to open a door. When material
goods are visible and overly capture the gaze or focus of an observer, they can distract
that observer from his or her reason for living. Consequently, like a doorknob that
doesnt work, the person is broken, as are all people that live in relation to material
goods in such a way that disorients them from why they are alive.
That said, the one who has defined his or her purpose as being a rug-maker is
not materialistic to focus on rugs, while the one who has a different purpose (such as
being a writer) is materialistic to focus on rugs. Someone without a purpose cannot be
said to fall victim to such distraction having no purpose to be distracted relative to
and yet that person is necessarily materialistic, for there are only material goods to be
toward (its the worst kind of materialism arguably, for the materialism itself is
invisible, lacking reference points). Still, only a given person can assess when he or she
has become materialistic: no one else can judge.

40
A person can have multiples purposes (such as loving others, being a
businessman, and loving art), and while one decision may not be toward one of these
purposes, it may be toward the other. As only a given person can access whether a
given purpose is valid and know what diverts from it, only a given person can know
when he or she is living purposefully and so non-materialistically: the complexity for
making that assessment is far too great for anyone other than the person in question.
The standard by which a person should make decisions is relative to that
persons purpose. Without purpose, one can only make decisions via preferences,
instincts, etc., but without purpose for these preferences, instincts, etc., to be toward,
preferences must more so arise out of material and subjective reality, and so be more
materialistic. Yes, purpose can emerge in response to materiality, but is more so over
materiality, unifying it, then simply at it and a single part. In being more materialistic,
preferences must be a contingent and temporary standard for decision making, but this
standard is ultimately arbitrary and conditional: it cannot, objectively, be called a
standard. This isnt to say that it is wrong to have preferences, but that preferences that
arent grounded in purpose are arbitrary (which has existential effects on the chooser,
even though arbitrary doesnt necessarily mean insignificant or irrelevant). They are
subjective and unreliable, and though they can be used for making decisions, they
cannot be said to be used for reliable or meaningful discernment.
One should work the job, for example, that will be invisible to that person
and that wont get in the way of that persons purpose (unless that job is that persons
purpose). When it comes to the question of where a person should live, what a person
should buy, etc., the standard of judgment is the same: what decision will not infringe
upon my purpose?, meaning what decision will best result in material reality embodying
or pointing toward my purpose?. If buying a television will result in a person having a
way to relax which will help that person recharge but wont at the same time make the
persons spouse feel neglected, the person should buy a television. If living in New York
will result in a person being unable to focus on his or her artistic passion, the person
should live elsewhere. Only the person making the decision can know.

III

A persons purpose is a persons reason for being alive, and a person can have
many of them. One could call daily or micro-purposes goals or tasks, while ones
overarching reason for living is their purpose (from this point on, the paper will hold
this distinction). Ones purpose might be to be a writer and goals within this purpose
may entail reading a book or going to a coffee house. At the same time, this person
could also have the purpose of being a mother and within this category have goals like
taking children to school or making children feel loved. Only that person can know.
A person can have goals without purpose: one can have the goal of reading a
book today but no purpose to which the goal is toward. Goals without purpose are
like preferences without purpose: they must arise more so out of material reality (and so
be materialistic). In being materialistic, such goals are ultimately contingent, temporary,
arbitrary, and ultimately fail to unify life into a synchronized whole. Purpose though
unifies goals into something beyond themselves and does so into (and until) death.
Though Heidegger is right that death unifies life into a whole of life
conceptually, without purpose, this unification is ultimately empty and arbitrary. Such a
life is like preferences without purpose: it must be materialistic. Life requires purpose to
synchronize, and though death can unify life into a whole, it cannot alone orientate us
toward what we should do with that whole. Death only makes us aware that we have
something that we can do something with, while purpose makes us aware of what to do.
41
An awareness of death without an awareness of purpose makes us aware that we have
something we fail to use: it may make our anxiety worse. To never think of life as a
whole may be better than to do so without a purpose (which makes that whole
substantive).
Often, a person starts with a general purpose (like being a good doctor),
which then is narrowed into something more specific and particular (like being a good
neuroscientist in Philadelphia). As ones purpose is honed and refined, so too is ones
discernment and so more clearly can a person distinguish when he or she is being wise
or materialistic. Like a child who lacks full facilities, a person who lacks purpose can
only be held but so responsible for being materialistic before he or she has (more) fully
realized his or her purpose. However, a person is in control of whether he or she at least
pursues having a general purpose out from which a particular purpose can be found,
and to the degree a person consciously chooses not to do so is the degree to which that
person is responsible for being materialistic (to allude to thought expounded on in On
Responsibility by O.G. Rose). However, only a given person can know for his or her
self the degree to which he or she is responsible: no one else can judge.
All that said, as self-consciousness can infringe upon ones harmony of self by
causing anxiety, being overly aware of the importance of purpose can result in a person
failing to live purposefully and can break and de-synchronize a person just as much as
can materialism. Likewise, as discussed in Paradoxes of Awareness by O.G. Rose, if
one is overly aware of how decisions facilitate purpose, that person will be like the
centipede that is immobilized because it wonders too much about how it manages to
simultaneously use all its legs. To have purpose is to risk making this mistake, and only a
given person can know if he or she is maintaining the proper balance. However, to not
have purpose is to necessarily be materialistic and de-synchronized: the risk must be
taken.
Being overly purpose aware is an unavoidable risk. Yet, even if this mistake is
made, so long as a person doesnt give up, the person will never fail. A person never
fails until he or she quits, for until then, the person continues to unify all experiences
toward the same purpose. The person hence continues to be a working machine, per
se. Until a person breaks down, a person doesnt fail, for there is no standard against
which a person can be said to fail other than against the purpose that person has
discovered and/or created. Until a person gives up that purpose, it cannot meaningfully
be said that the person has given up success. Success is still possible, for success is still
being worked toward.

IV

Purpose unifies. In being transcendent of material reality, it can unify materials


into something beyond themselves. As the whole of a machine, in being transcendent
of its parts, can unify its parts, so purpose, in being transcendent of material things, can
unify them within a given person. Furthermore, as parts of a machine cannot work
together and so become invisible without a whole, so material goods cannot become
invisible without a purpose. As the whole of a machine, in being transcendent of its
parts, can unify them, so purpose, in being transcendent of material things, can unify
them within a given person. Furthermore, as parts of a machine cannot work together
and so become invisible without a whole, so material goods cannot become invisible
without a purpose.
This paper is not a supporter of Utilitarianism (as popularly understood):
perhaps a person can impose upon his or herself a sort of Purpose Utilitarianism, but
what constitutes that cannot be boiled down to what is commonly considered useful or
42
practical. A purpose of life is to love it, and loving life entails, for most, appreciating
beauty, seeking truth for truths sake, and embracing goodness as an end in itself. The
one who fails to visit art galleries is then, relative to life as many value it, failing to be
practical, though the businessman may consider exploring art impractical. Furthermore,
for the homemaker, the beauty of a rug is as vital to the rugs utility as is how effectively
it covers the floor, for the beauty of the rug functions to create a homely and welcoming
environment (which is the end for which the rug was purchased). Considering all this,
what is practical and useful is relative, and an artist can, in a sense, be a Utilitarian for
visiting art galleries just as much as the businessman can be a Utilitarian for learning
accounting.
As this paper isnt Utilitarian, it isnt Gnostic either. Material reality is valuable
in and of itself, not simply to the degree that people have purpose. The world matters
whether or not people realize it, and the value of the world isnt at the mercy of peoples
capacity to purpose it. However, whether or not the world matters to a given person is
dependent on that person. Though the world itself matters (for there would be no life
without it), without purpose, a person doesnt have the eyes to see that value or a
keystone with which to translate it into something comprehensible. To say people give
the world purpose is to say people give their world purpose, and their world lies over
the world like a painting brushed harmoniously over another. Things in the world to the
purposeful become symbols that point to purpose, multiplying the innate value of
material reality. Considering this, to be materialistic, in failing to realize the full
potentiality of materiality, is to focus on material things at their expense.

Purpose is a persons standard of decision making, and before it, all things will
be invisible. The one who isnt materialistic isnt the one with the least things or the
one who disregards all expensive things, but the one who uses and engages with things
in synchronization, in the same way one engages with a doorknob that works. Without
purpose though, life fails to be a meaningful whole of life, and the world is a collection
of fragments, of un-unified things. Materialism hence becomes unavoidable, the
synchronization of phenomena impossible, and all decision making rendered aimless.
In breaking down the synchronization of life, a person breaks down the
wholeness of life into visible fragments. Consequently, lacking purpose, the observer
relates to material thing arbitrarily, as material things relate to one another arbitrarily
relative to that observer. Ironically, it is hence the materialistic person who, in causing
this de-synchronization, fails to make the most of their material reality. Like a person
abstracted by digitization, in failing to have purpose, a person abstracts his or her self
from full physicality and full embodiment. In this sense, the materialistic person isnt
materialistic at all, but anti-materialistic.
As one sees the sunrise looking out over the mountains on the horizon, so one
looks toward their purpose over material things, and as one without purpose must look
upon the things of life, without the sun, one must look out upon the things below the
horizon. As the sun illuminates the world, so purpose illuminates, and though the world
still exists when the sun sets, it cannot be seen, as one cannot fully see the world and its
meaning without realizing a purpose for their self. And as the sun unifies what is under
its light into day, so purpose unifies the things of life into a synchronized whole.
Without purpose, we are all unavoidably stuck in materialism, as without the sun we are
unavoidably stuck in darkness.
Purpose illuminates our lives.
Purpose unifies us together.
43
(Im)morality
Ethics as Irony

Ethics is an (im)moral study. While reading The Groundwork of the


Metaphysics of Morals by Kant, I do not try to save the life of a starving child in Africa:
I act immorally. Yet I am reading the text in order to learn how to be moral, and if it
contributes to me being moral in the future, then I act morally. I act immorally relative
to the child in Africa now, and morally to whom I will help in the future. In sum, I act
(im)morally.

If I saw a child was drowning in front of me and didnt jump in to save the
child because I was reading Kant, I would act immorally. Yet that is exactly what people
do whenever they read an ethical text, the only difference being that the child is
hundreds of miles away and starving rather than drowning (which is arguably worse).
Unless, that is, visibility and proximity have moral significance: unless the fact that the
child doesnt suffer near me makes it morally acceptable that I keep reading rather than
help the child. If so, not only is morality contingent, but then by closing my eyes while
someone is drowning nearby, I may free myself of moral responsibility.
In reading this paper, (Im)morality, you close your eyes, per se, to the
suffering of the world around you: by reading, you act immorally. Worse yet, since
humans have infinite value, you are infinitely immoral. Since infinity is limitless, even if
you go and help a million children from this point on, you will still be infinitely immoral.
Even if in the past you helped millions of children, the fact that you are reading this
paper right now means you arent helping someone at this instant. Since that forsaken
child has infinite value, you are infinitely immoral. As a man who has done thousands of
good deeds but committed one murder is still a murderer in the eyes of the court,
though you may help countless, infinitely valuable children, to neglect one is to be
infinitely immoral forever.
Unless that is children dont have infinite value. People have contingent value,
based on some standard then? What standard? Money, social standing, genes, etc.?
Perhaps society believes such, but if thats true, then genocide, murder, rape, etc. cannot
be equally immoral: it depends on whom the act is done against. Against a valuable
person, the acts are very wrong; against an invaluable person, the acts arent so bad. But
does the quality of a person really affect the morality of an act? If so, by what standard?
If that cant be determined, it must be said that humans either have no value or infinite,
non-contingent value. If you believe people have any value, you believe people have
infinite value. Therefore, if you dont believe the worst of people, you must believe that,
in reading this paper, you act infinitely immoral. But rather than infinite value, maybe
unalienable value is a better phrase? Does that linguistic change transform the
immorality of you doing nothing as children suffer? Even if you do help millions later
on (thanks to ethical insight garnered from this work), how does that make up for failing
to help someone right now? Does one redeem a murder today by saving a life
tomorrow?
Maybe.
If all this sounds silly to you, realize that it doesnt to the suffering. Does this
paper infinitely offend you? Isnt it an infinite offensive against those you dont help
right now to be infinitely offended by something that forces you to acknowledge your
(im)morality? Are the implications of this work infinitely outlandish? Dont they have to
have infinite implications to parallel the infinite worth of those you are overlooking at
44
this very moment while reading? Do keep in mind that you really could be saving
someones life, because a child somewhere is dying right now from a preventable disease
or hunger which a few dollars could remedy (to allude to the thought of Peter Singer).
Perhaps youre poor, but are you really justified to not help someone just because you
dont have money? Are the lives of others contingent upon your economic situation?
Why dont you go and get money? Arent you at least obligated to try? And if you have
money, what justifies you not giving it to someone who needs it immediately? And if
you do give your money away to someone, why to that person and not someone else?
What right do you have to judge one life as more worthy than another? If you watch
someone get mugged in the street, is it alright if you do nothing just because you dont
have a way to defend the victim? Why dont you go get a means of defense, and even if
you cant find something, why dont you just do something? Instead of giving to the
starving, perhaps you need the money to take care of your family? Does that mean your
family is more important than the starving children? Havent you implied that with your
actions? Should your family live while others die just because your family was lucky
enough to be born in relation to you? Does life and death depend on birth? How can
you make that selfish and moral judgment? And would your family really die if you gave
away a few dollars to save someone elses life? And why does your family deserve to be
provided for, since theyve most certainly let a moment go by in which theyve
contributed to letting children starve in Africa? Arent they guilty of an infinite trespass?
Dont they deserve death?
Dont we all deserve death?

II

Every act is (im)moral. While asking what is moral?, I let children starve;
therefore, asking what is moral? is an immoral act, and yet insomuch as it prepares me
to be moral, it is a moral act. At any given moment, a person acts immorally, for there is
always suffering that a person doesnt address. Yet even when a person acts morally on a
limited scale, relative to the whole world, that person chooses to act morally to some
rather than to others. This, in essence, judges some as more valuable than others, which
is discriminatory, likely arbitrary, and immoral. Therefore, even in moments of moral
action, a person is immoral, and in total, everyone and everything is (im)moral. This
doesnt mean that people are merely immoral, but that people are a constant synthesis of
both.
Ethics is an ironic study: our attempts to be moral occur during our immorality.
To learn how to be ethical requires not being ethical, and when I become ethical, I am
ethical relative to some and unethical relative to others. Relative to particular individuals
in particular moments, I can be moral, immoral, and/or (im)moral. Relative to the big
picture, I can be immoral and/or (im)moral, never moral.
There is no moral life, only moral moments. You can live morally to those
around you but cannot live morally to everyone in the world. Since people have infinite
worth, your moral actions are negated by your immoral shortcomings. Unless that is you
dont believe people have infinite worth? Do you have infinite discernment to be able to
pass such judgement? If not, you cannot say whether people do or do not have infinite
value.

III

If you are saving someones life but across the street someone else is dying, is it
acceptable if you dont save that person? Who were you to judge that the life you saved
45
was more important to help than the life you let perish? Does the fact that you serve
children in America make it okay that you let children in Africa die? If you help children
in Africa, what about the children in America? If you help one child, what about the
other children? Doesnt everyone have infinite value? Isnt it always immoral to not help
people who you could help? Is finitude a valid excuse against an infinite transgression?
Does the fact that you cant help everyone make it alright that you let some die? Does
your ability to help someone dictate whether its moral to help an individual? Is the
value of others contingent upon your condition and abilities? And is it ever the case that
you truly cant help someone? Couldnt you pay someone to go to Africa and save a
kids life as you took care of your sick mother? But what right do you have to judge that
you should help one person versus another? And if rights are unalienable, I cant give up
my rights even if I wanted to, nor infringe upon the rights of another even if that
individual tells me that I can. So even if someone says its alright for me to help
someone else at their expense, I have no basis for letting that person give up their right
to life. At the same time, I shouldnt let someone Im helping currently die as I go to
help another, for then I would contribute to taking away thats person unalienable right
to life.
If a child was drowning right in front of you and you didnt jump in because
you didnt want to get wet, you would be immoral. But someone is dying on the other
side of the world right now, and youre still reading this paper. And Im writing it. Were
both immoral. Unless that is morality is contingent upon location? What if a child was
drowning and the majority voted to let the child drown? Would it be okay then? What if
you voted to help the child but the majority voted against you, resulting in you doing
nothing? Could you really claim youre moral simply because you voted to do the right
thing? Is morality subservient to democracy? What if the child told you to let him die if
the majority voted that way? Is morality subservient to words? What if the child was
brainwashed? What if the majority threatened to kill the childs parents if the child didnt
say that about his or her self? What if the majoritys threat was empty and yet you didnt
do anything because the child asked you not to, thinking the threat was substantive?
What if you let the child die because you didnt want to get wet or suffer any judgment
from the majority and a jury found you innocent of murder? Is morality subservient to a
jury? What if a judge told you not to save the child and you listened? Would that make it
moral?
And so on.
Ethics is too often just a game of quick wit. Its meant to make the world a
better place, but people being (im)moral, all too often Ethics just rewards creative
thinkers with college tenure. Isnt it good to contemplate moral questions? Well what is
the moral justification behind the act of contemplating moral questions (especially
considering that children are suffering while youre thinking)? It would seem to me there
is none, that there is no moral justification for reading about Kants categorical
imperative as children suffer. In learning that I shouldnt do something that I wouldnt
want to be a universal, moral law, I study philosophy while people suffer, which is
something I shouldnt want people compelled to do by a universal law. Of course, you
could argue that if we never thought about certain problems, we wouldnt know there
was anything in the world that needed fixing in the first place, but does a starving child
have the luxury to make such a counterpoint? Is a moment of thought ever justified if at
the expense of a moment when a childs pain could be alleviated? If so, by what
standard? Tenure?
Ethics is too often an ironic game played at the expense of dignity. Take the
question of whether consent has moral weight. If someone said you can kill me, would
that make murder acceptable? Only if the person speaking isnt brainwashed. How do
46
you know if the person is or isnt? You cant, so consent is never entirely reliable. But
what if the person isnt brainwashed? Well what the person is able to consent to and
what sort of weight the person is able to put behind his or her verbal contract will be
relative to the persons genes and socioeconomic positioning, which will be highly
dependent on what family the person was born into, etc. Therefore, consent and
contracts are unfair, for the consent of a poor man may not have the weight of a rich
one. But doesnt a poor person have an inherent dignity that validates his verbal
contract? Well even if he has dignity, his contract can lack the weight of a rich, dignified
man. But what if a poor person wants his yes to mean yes and his no to mean no?
His decisions and verbal consent are contingent upon variables outside his control (say
genes, social pressures, etc.), so if he agrees to a given contract and wants his consent to
be valid, if the contract has weight in favor of the rich party, the contract is unfair,
which invalidates the poor mans agreement. Then fairness supersedes human dignity
and consent? If there isnt fairness, human dignity lacks justice, and without that, dignity
is negated. Why cant justice be negated by dignity?
And so on.
Endless what ifs, possibility after possibility, redefinition after redefinition
the study of Ethics is too easily a labyrinth of hypothetical situations. Even if morality is
grounded, as Kant arguably accomplished, none of us can live morally. We are all
(im)moral.

IV

There are no theories in the world, only things that fit into theories. All
theories of what constitutes the moral life stuff the world into lenses and frameworks.
What constitutes the ethical is relative to the framework being used, and hence morality
is relative. This doesnt mean there isnt an Objective Right and Wrong, only that our
understanding of that Objectivity is subjective. Ethics then becomes a process of
determining which right and wrong aligns with Right and Wrong. However, our goal
then should be to determine what is Right and Wrong, not what is ethical, because the
second will follow from the first. But how do we determine what is Right and Wrong?
We cant.
Since were finite, we cant be Objectively Moral or Ethical. We can only be
subjectively ethical: we can only be moral and immoral at the same time. We are all
(im)moral with no hope of achieving Objective Rightness. Since we cannot transcend
ourselves, the study of Ethics cannot make us Ethical. But if thats the case, what exactly
is the use of Ethics? Well, if there was no space between people, there would be no
ethical acts. Since the existence of Ethics is contingent upon the relationship between
the I and other, Ethics, more than teach us about how to be moral, teaches us how
about to relate to each other and how to communicate.
Ethics teaches conversation.
Since words are often communicated poorly and misheard, words constantly
fail. As Heidegger noted that we dont notice a doorknob until it doesnt work, we dont
engage in Ethics until something is broken, and what does the breaking is our words. It
isnt the world that is broken in and of itself, but our words that break it (relative to us).
Consequently, our world is broken, not the actual world.
Ethical dilemmas are linguistic in nature: it is talking that makes us think in
terms of the dichotomy of right and wrong. Words make us think the world is broken;
in fact, the world is neither moral nor immoral, just nor unjust it just exists. It is by
talking and thinking in terms of morality that we put phenomena in the world into that
framework and so ascribe a given thing rightness and/or wrongness. Yet since we are
47
all (im)moral (or right/wrong), all things in the world are both (in sum, though one or
the other relative to a given frame of spacetime). Yet conversations in an Ethics
classroom make us think in terms of either/or versus both-ness. Consequently, we
attempt to live a moral life in a world that isnt: we attempt to be right instead of
wrong when we are doomed to be both.1
The very act of thinking the doorknob is broken results in us thinking
ourselves toward the doorknob as if it were the only thing we were experiencing: we
forget about the door, the room, etc. (all of which we are simultaneously perceiving).
Likewise, the study of Ethics makes us think about a given subject as if it were the only
subject, hence abstracting it and ourselves from the world. Consequently, whatever
solution we find is an abstraction, and though it may fix the problem and make us moral
relative to it, it doesnt make us moral relative to the sum of the world. We can only be
moral in part; we can never be wholly good.

If I intend to drive to California and succeed, it could be said that I did the
right thing. This is because, relative to the intended framework, I fulfilled what I
intended to do. In a sense, it could be said that I did good. Relative to given situations
and practices, relative to what is intended or established as right and wrong, it can be
said that a given act is one or the other. In a way, if I intend to go to California and I
dont, it could be said that I acted immorally, for I violated my will. When people say
something is immoral or moral, something like this is what they mean: they mean a
person did the right thing relative to the framework that act occurred within (which
tends to be tied to the intentions of the person or the larger society).
Like moral rules and motivations, every exchange and interaction is such a
game, per se, consisting of rules, intentions, and frameworks.2 If I ask will you go to
the store?, I am presenting you with a set of rules. One of these rules is if you say yes
to this question, you are obligated to go with me (similar to if you pass Go, collect
$200), as another is if you say no, you arent obligated to go (there are potentially
hundreds more rules). If you say yes and dont go to the store, youve acted wrongly
and/or immorally, for youve violated the game and social contract I presented you
with through speaking.
A given individual can be part of a game without knowing it, without
exchanging words, etc. When I walk down a street, Im in a game with those driving by
that entails the rule dont hit me with your car. For when a person walks down a
sidewalk (unless suicidal), whether saying it or not, the person is darkly speaking (with
his or her body, as expounded upon in On Words and Determinism) dont hit me.3
When I walk past a person on the street, Im saying, without speaking, dont steal from
me, dont punch me, etc. Every moment between people consists of thousands of
such rules being established and engaged with. We know them subconsciously, and this
knowing constitutes an objective basis for moral action. I just know I shouldnt steal
money from someone
unless my family is starving, etc. It is this unless that makes us feel that we
need to Objectify the objective, but it is only relative to each particular situation that
what constitutes the objective can even be established, so a universal Objective
(considering that each objective is different and particular), cannot be established. We
can know the objective for a given, lived experience, but not the Objective for all.4
(Keep in mind though that this doesnt mean there isnt an Objective, only that it cannot
be established or enacted over, rather than through, particularities.)

48
Ethics are like manners: they are something we learn (not just in the classroom,
but from the sum total of our experiences) that, afterwards, we just know.5 Of course,
we can immediately counter what we know with a line from a Postmodern Ethics
thinker or a cultural leader, but that doesnt change the fact that we knew something in
the first place. Since in every exchange this knowing is present, there is an objective
right and wrong relative to every scenario. Whether a given ethics can be made
Objective or universalized doesnt change or lessen the objectivity or legitimacy of those
particular ethics. If humans occupied a plane of universals rather than particularities, this
inability to Objectify the objective would be problematic, but since humans dont live in
their heads, humans are free (to know one thing from another).
You know not to kill someone just as you know when youre hungry. If from
hunger one universalized that people should eat, this would be true and yet incomplete.
When should they eat? How? What? Too many questions are bound up in the
particularities. This isnt to say that one shouldnt eat and that there isnt an answer to
how? and what?, but that the answers to these questions are different for every
particular situation. Likewise, if one says there is an objective right and wrong, this
would be true and yet incomplete. One would still have to establish relative to what
game?, etc.
In a game, you just know what you should and shouldnt do. In more
complicated situations, you may need to think about the situation harder or gather much
more information, but you can eventually make a decision (and recognizing that you are
(im)moral no matter what you decide will help you avoid paralysis). 6 There is a
difference between saying you dont know the answer to a math problem and that you
cant know the answer. Ethics can help us learn how to think creatively so that we are
better equipped to overcome such complexities, but Ethics cannot teach us what
constitutes the ethical (only what might constitute the ethical), since the ethical is bound
up in the particular. Even if we dont know what we know when we encounter an
ethical dilemma, Ethics cannot give us that answer. Only we can give it to ourselves, for
only we can know the particularities which constitute the situations which we are
involved in. At best, Ethics can equip us with the creative thinking that is vital for
knowing and articulating what we know.

VI

Since every interaction and experience is one of one, the rules and social
contract of one exchange cannot be universalized to all (in line with Hume). No game
is the same as another. Therefore, Ethics, as universal, is impossible. The only possibility
is ethical acts relative to given interactions as designated by the rules and intentions of
that given exchange (which only those involved can know). Can these ethical acts ever
be deemed Objectively Good? No, but theres no need: relative to its proper system and
framework, a given ethic is objectively good. In this sense, acts can be objectively right
or wrong, but not Objectively Right or Wrong (relative to humans).
What is objectively right is tied to particularities, so to discuss Ethics as if
what is objectively right or wrong is, or can be, Objectively Right or Wrong, is futile.
Since the objective is tied to the particular, it cannot be talked about, only experienced.
Therefore, all discussions about objective right and wrong are contradictions and must
blur objectivity with Objectivity. This isnt because there is no Objectivity or objectivity,
but because the very act of translating this lived experience into words renders
discussion about it meaningless.
Words arent objectively right or wrong: acts are. Therefore, the word rape
isnt wrong, though the act of rape is wrong (given that there is no game that could be
49
consented to in which rape, by definition, would be acceptable; otherwise, it would be
sex).7 Yet the moment I say rape, I am now talking about the act of rape as if it were
the word rape. Since in the sphere of acts the ethical is determinable, but not in the
sphere of words, by speaking, I am running a risk of confusing myself. If I begin talking
about the word rape, I will never be able to determine the ethical. Yet, if I am talking
calmly about rape, I mustnt be experiencing rape, so by definition I must be engaging
with that in which the ethical cannot be determined. Yet, in Ethics, the whole reason I
discuss rape is to determine what is ethical. Therefore, I have engaged in irony.
In talking about things as right or wrong, we translate them into a sphere where
right and wrong are indeterminable. Yet it is in the sphere of words where the study of
Ethics operates. When I engage in Ethics, I talk about situations and words in the
mind, not particular situations in the world. At best, I talk about one particular
situation, but not two or hundreds (though in the world, countless situations are
happening simultaneously). Determining from one what is universally right for all is
impossible. Those involved can only take care of their given situation. In fact, theyre
the only ones who can even understand it (for only they can know the game they are
engaged in). This isnt to claim we cannot say that sex trafficking or murder is wrong,
only that individuals cannot determine which particular situations constitute murder
versus killing, rape versus sex (or even necessary sex), unless they are particularly
involved (though this doesnt mean there cannot be a system of justice and laws, as will
be expounded upon).

VII

Ethics, by definition, universalizes particularities, and so abstracts itself from


the particularities where the ethical emerges. It does this through speaking about what
cannot be discussed. The question is it ever right to murder? treats the act of murder as
if the concept can be abstracted from particular instances in which murder is committed
(and so tends to blur the word murder with kill). If I shoot an armed soldier who is
threatening to kill my friend, it can be said that Ive committed murder, but if in this act
the rules of the game were not such that shooting this solider constituted murder but
defense (for example), such a claim would be wrong (though perhaps right relative to
some abstract theory). In a different yet identical scenario, the rules could be different,
and hence the act wrong. Ultimately, one could come up with endless hypothetical
situations (Ethically). And the point is that one could, in fact, come up with endless
what ifs. But no hypothetical situations exist in the world: they all exist in the mind. In
the world, there are particularities and given instances with given rules and intentions
between those involved, relative to which the objective right and wrong can be
determined. Ethics, rather than equip people to be prepared for this, often equips
people to live in their heads.
John Rawls came up with a hypothetical situation called the veil of ignorance
in order to establish a hypothetical contract relative to which people could determine
the ethical. Rawls justified this act by claiming it is only through a hypothetical contract
that a scenario can be imagined in which the ideals of autonomy and reciprocity can be
realized without being susceptible to contingencies (like birth, genes, etc.). The idea
behind the veil of ignorance is that if people were born not knowing which genes,
socioeconomic status, skills, etc. they would inherent upon birth, and could choose
either to be born into a world in which everyone began equally or take a gamble on
inequality, then people would choose equality. Therefore, to realize this ideal, society is
moral in distributing wealth. Autonomy entails individual liberty, while reciprocity is a
mutual interchange agreed to by autonomous individuals. Since to Rawls individuals
50
would freely choose from behind a veil of ignorance to distribute wealth evenly, then
to distribute wealth in actuality doesnt violate freedom. In fact, doing so accomplishes
the long sought ideal of marrying liberty and fairness.
Yet we do not need to look toward brilliant hypothetical situations to achieve
the ideal Rawls sought: in every particular game (relative to itself), autonomy and
reciprocity are one and transcendent of accidents, and so fair. These situations are so
prevalently integrated into daily life that theyve become like air to us: everywhere, yet
seemingly nowhere. Likewise has become the unity of autonomy and reciprocity, making
us believe we need to philosophically unify them. Ironically, as talking about things as
right or wrong translates them to a sphere where right and wrong are indeterminable,
the very act of thinking about liberty and fairness transfers them from the realm of
actuality to abstraction where they are irrevocable (by definition). In actuality, the rivers
of freedom and reciprocity are one river; in thought, apart. Consequently, we think (as
we must) that the goal is impossible or requires a hypothetical contract, when in fact to
do such is to seek what we already have. Furthermore, Rawls tries to justify a macro-
ethic in which freedom and fairness are unified, and so to establish a universally
objective ethic, rather than embrace particular objective ethics that emerge universally
with particularities, but arent universal in themselves. Objectifying the objective is
impossible, even when at the hands of a genius like Rawls.
When my friend says do you want to go to the movies? and I answer yes, it is
now fair to her for me to go, and I have claimed, indirectly, that I want to go, that Im
willing to exchange my time for her presence plus entertainment, and that my genes,
socioeconomic condition, etc. wont get in the way (and they wont if others outside the
game dont get involved). If it turns out I cant go to the movies later on because my
mom forces me to stay home (which I couldnt have known ahead of time, stuck, like
everyone, behind the veil of ignorance between present and future), I am kept from
being fair due to the family I was born into. All the same, I have acted unfairly, for I
chose, autonomously, to put myself under the moral law of a certain game, and so to
make my actions susceptible to judgment against its standard. That said, it is doubtful
that my friend would hold my failure to attend against me. Even when I act immorally,
my friend can still treat me with empathy and understanding. There is groundwork and
precedence for this empathy considering that were all, all the time, stuck behind the
veil of ignorance that divides present and future, and because were all (im)moral and
so have no right to treat others as if were morally superior.
If someone asks can you slam dunk? and I say yes, but I fail to do so because
of my genes, I am guilty of lying. Perhaps I didnt mean to lie and really thought I could
do it, but I am still guilty of deceiving my friend and so not paying homage to human
dignity (as Kant would say). Even if I didnt mean to, I have violated an infinitely
valuable being, and so am guilty of an infinite transgression. Yet, my fulfillment of this
contract wasnt something I was capable of doing due to variables outside my control.
Therefore, there is a sense in which I am innocent. Yet by saying yes, I gave up that
innocence which would have justified me had I said no. Therefore, I acted immorally
relative to this exchange, though it cannot be said that I am immoral from it (for that
would universal a particular, though it can be said that I am (im)moral relative to the
sum of phenomena in the world). But what if I really thought I could do it? Then I told
a lie without meaning to as a result of deceiving myself.
(See how what if can be stacked upon what if forever?)
When it comes to determining the ethical relative to a particular exchange (and
only to that particular exchange), ones genes, socioeconomic status, etc. are irrelevant,
and that relative to a particular experience in which ethical terms are meaningful,
autonomy and reciprocity are one. There is no need for hypothetical situations: the real
51
world, the one thats so hard to be present in, gives us what philosophers seek in the
abstract. We only have to worry about contingencies when we try to Objectify the
objective, which results in confusion.
If someone signs a contract that results in him losing everything and was forced
to sign it by a banker more powerful then himself (a banker who only has that power
because he inherited it from his family), both of them are guilty of spending time not
helping suffering children. Both are (im)moral, and this is the foundation upon which
we must decide if the act of the banker is immoral or not. Is it immoral/(im)moral or
just (im)moral? It depends on your moral theory, and even if its wrong, does this mean
every contract is wrong? It depends on the particular contract and circumstance: one
can never generalize from a particular. Even if it is wrong, its wrong that someone
didnt help the poor person from getting into this situation in the first place; its wrong
that someone didnt fire the banker; its wrong that those children are still not receiving
help; its wrong that poverty exists
And so on.
Every situation is comprised of hundreds of dimensions, each of which can be
abstracted from the whole and placed within a dichotomy of right and wrong, resulting
in abstraction. In truth, it isnt immoral for the banker to take all the mans possessions
if those were the terms of the game upon which both parties agreed, but that doesnt
mean it isnt unlawful (if so established by the society). Also, events and the
consequences of those events are separate things. An event can be moral relative to
itself, but its consequences can be immoral: means and ends have to be examined
separately. Though it is moral or right for the man to lose everything, that doesnt
mean losing everything as a consequence is right in and of itself.8 And if a society so
makes the laws, the bankers contract can be lawful, but it can be unlawful for the poor
man to be left with nothing. The society then is legally obligated to distribute wealth to
the poor man until his situation is improved.
To return to Rawls, it should be noted that he was ultimately writing to justify
establishing a moral backbone for distributing wealth. In doing so, he confused morality
(which cannot be abstracted from particularities) with law (as will be expounded upon).
There can be no ethical backbone for distributing wealth, because the ethical can only
be established between particularities, not across multiplicities.
But distributism doesnt need such a backbone.
If the law says x will give y percent to z, it is then lawful to do so and
unlawful not to whether or not its moral is a secondary (if not irrelevant) question.
Whether it should be the law that taxes should be distributed relative to income should
be determined relative to whether the process actually achieves its end, if those
distributing the wealth can actually do so, if it actually eliminates poverty, etc. If
distributing taxes doesnt work, then it shouldnt be done. Whether the initiative is
ethical is beside the point: such a consideration just confuses the question. What matters
is whether or not the initiative works.

VIII

Since universal ethics are impossible, societies create laws, which function
similarly and universally. The unlawful and the immoral are not the same thing,
though they are constantly conflated. However, once a society passes laws, the
unlawful and the immoral merge relative to the state and government, like two rivers
that cross and then run together. Relative to society, unlike between people, the right
thing is determined by laws. Of course, if there were no laws against murder, murder
would still be murder, but in what sense could it be said to be immoral? In the sense
52
that a person is born not to be murdered and so it isnt fitting? But could we say that
people arent born to murder others? Consequently, couldnt the purpose of some be to
infringe upon the lives of others? Could we really ever be sure that murder is immoral?
Is this example so extreme, considering Natural Selection? We may know murder is
wrong, but without the force of law, what could we do about it other than take the law
into our own hands? And if we cant do anything, how can we establish an actual
difference between preferences like pickles are bad and ethical convictions like lying is
bad. Therefore, if it wasnt against the law, could we say murder is wrong in any
meaningful or weighty sense?9
Maybe.
What is lawful is relative to the society and the laws it has established. Relative
to a given society, what is unlawful is objectively wrong. As with personal interactions,
no Objective Basis is needed. However, when one society encounters another and
another set of laws, pressing questions emerge. Since Objectivity is impossible relative to
humanity, how this gray zone is overcome is though other methods, such as economics
and war.10
Law is a more concrete and substantive study or morality than Ethics. Of
course, what a society decides will be the law is relative to what the society thinks is
right, but has Ethics truly ever helped a society write laws? Did not Rome, the Ottoman
Empire, etc. exist before Kant and Locke? Isnt it more so our gut which dictates the
laws we write, as Kants gut was how he determined which premises to defend in The
Groundwork? Doesnt Ethics follow our gut, not the other way around? Ethics may
help us articulate our gut, as it may also confuse us, but it isnt Ethics that, initially,
determines what a society passes into a law, but rather Anthropology and Ontology are,
for these are the studies through which people determine what constitutes their guy
and why.
If I ask does man have unalienable rights?, Im asking an Ontological and
Anthropological question tied to the question what is man?. I may think Im asking an
Ethical question, but Im only doing so secondarily. If I ask is murder wrong?, the
answer is contingent upon what I think man is (such as a being with a right to life).
Again, the question is Ontological and only Ethical secondarily. Law emerges from
Ontology, and Ethics is the term we call this thought process retrospectively.
Questions like is murder wrong? and should we tax the rich? are important
questions and should be asked. However, it should be understood that these questions
are more Anthropological and Ontological than they are Ethical, and that it is by
grasping the being of things, which is particular and concrete rather than hypothetical
and abstract, that these tough questions can be surmounted.

IX

But can we ever know what is man? Can Ontological questions ever be
answered?
Not Objectively, but we most certainly can write down a definition in a
dictionary. Dictionaries are the social contract at the root of all societies. The OED is a
Declaration of Independence.
Thats absurd.
Absolutely. But thats all we have. If you want to study Ethics, its sensible to
read a dictionary. Youll learn more about the moral life from the OED than from The
Groundwork.
Thats absurd. Does that make the people who write dictionaries God?

53
First, they can only be like God if God Exists, and second, theyre God-like,
as are the people who write laws. As what we call unlawful is what goes against the law,
so what is immoral is what goes against our definition of man.
How do we decide that definition?
In the same way we decide laws: we vote on it (or at least someone does).
Why do we vote the way we do and how?
Everyone has a different answer, especially the religious. There is no Objective
Basis (at least which humanity can conceptualize) for discrediting any of them, nor is
there an objective basis, for this step comes before any game is established (it being the
step that determines what game society plays).
So, why do we decide on the definition that we do?
It depends on whatever is best fitting. For now, all that can be said for sure is
that something emerges organically through time.
Is that something the right answer?
Its neither right nor wrong (that being an abstracting dichotomy): it just exists.
Ethics makes that existence harder to realize, cutting it off from us via dichotomies,
abstractions, what ifs, etc. In this sense, as long as it doesnt make us less creative, the
Un-Ethical life is better.

Humility is the only hope for Ethics. If it is recognized that Ethics is best
understood as Ontology, Ethics will move towards clear definition and meaningfulness.
For now, whenever the river of Ethics crosses with the river of Ontology, Ethics
achieves meaningfulness, but when these rivers part, Ethics again loses its definition.
The sooner it is recognized that these rivers always belong together, the sooner Ethics
will stop oscillating in and out of meaning.
If those in Ethics understand they are (im)moral, they will have a groundwork
from which to engage with the real world. Then, students of Ethics will be able to make
a difference.
In recognizing that we are all (im)moral, we are all better equipped to live with
it.

54
On Want and Awe

Everyone has a self; consequently, all acts are self-ish and no act is self-less.
According to moralists, we arent to act selfishly, but it is not possible for anyone to act
without any consideration of, or connection with, his or her self. It is difficult to imagine
even what it means to act without ones self, for, even if one were to abandon his or her
self, such an act would be done through the self. Therefore, it is not helpful to talk of a
need to avoid selfishness; rather, it is more valuable to speak of a need to live in a state
of awe and thanksgiving.
Commonly, it is difficult to tell the difference between moral and immoral
wants: language constantly conflates the two. However, if one maintains a state of
gratefulness and keeps his or her self from slipping into a sense of entitlement, from
comparing his or her self with others, from fear and boredom, etc., one will have wants
that reflect a loving spirit. The wants of a loving will are good, so how does one
transform the will so that he or she can love freely without fear of wanting wrongly?
When the self is pure, the self-ish life is good, and it is the spirit of thanksgiving that
purifies the self.

Character begets wants that benefit the world. Ideally, one is neither selfish nor
selfless; rather, a person wants to do things that benefit others. Then the selfish act is a
selfless one.
The wills and wants of a good person profit everyone. A good person is a
person with character, but what is character? Character manifests as many things, but it
is essentially defined by gratefulness. Gratefulness is deeper than just saying thank you;
rather, it personifies a love of life, whatever form it may take. Character, when faced
with the vilest of evils, in loving life, demands justice and a righting of that evil (though
how that manifests depends). The one who combats injustice loves life, but the one who
only combats his or her idea of injustice loves only an idea of life. Character, therefore,
in order to love life, requires discernment and wisdom. How this is acquired is particular
to each person.
In a world where all individuals have character and thus live in a state of
thanksgiving, want is always good. There, wants are always thankful-wants, but in our
imperfect world, there are often thankless-wants. Thankful-wants enable a person to
make the most of the present moment, while thankless-wants abstract an individual
(usually with emotional ramifications) into a state that disregards the present in
preference for a non-existent state (future, past, imaginary, etc.).
It is not so much wants that are good or bad but the disposition a want comes
from. If one wants to be married because he is grateful for the opportunity to serve his
wife, his want is good. However, the most pious of wants, when out of a disposition of
entitlement or even obsession, is bad and poisonous.
The problem with thankless-wants is that they abstract a person into his or her
mind from out of the present and actual world. In living in a state of abstraction and yet
being in the world (hence creating a divide between the two), the individual sets his or
her self up for neurosis, double-mindedness, and contradiction. Anything that abstracts
endangers. This isnt to say one cannot ascribe to what, relative to us, is abstract, only
that one must not ascribe to that which abstracts his or her self.

II

55
Ironically, thankless-wants tend to keep away that which is desired. This is
because the one who thanklessly-wants comes to embody an attitude and disposition
which repels. Thankless-wants are rooted in a kind of fear that what is wanted will not
be achieved (or will not be achieved soon enough), and what one fears tends to be what
comes unto a person (due to how their nature, actions, and attitudes consequently
change). If you thanklessly-want to get married, you will take on an attitude that will
repel your beloved; if you thankfully-want marriage, you will attract your beloved closer
(along with the date of the wedding).
In being thankful, the one who wants, in having character, wants that which is
good. In wanting good, the want results in good. The person with character who wants
doesnt become demanding, impatient, forceful, etc.; in fact, since the wants of such a
person are thankful, the individuals character and attitude are made better by them,
which benefits neighbors and others.
A world without wants is a world that would be neither good nor bad. It would
be, in a sense, worse than an evil world, for an evil world still has a sense of good. If one
could not will, one could not will the good. Therefore, the deletion of will and wants
into pure selflessness is not the solution. In fact, a truly selfless world is a world without
any good.
Now, of course, if by selfless one means thankful-wanting, the term is valid,
but it is important that the society is careful to keep people from thinking that having a
self, and so any kind of want, is bad. Thankful-wants are the only way there can be any
good and that anything meaningful can be done. If a society rejects thankful-wants in
rejecting all wants, a society ultimately rejects everything that makes it good.

III

In embodying a spirit of thanksgiving, one will develop character and his or her
wants will be continually purified; furthermore, the individual will be glad and thankful
for the process. For the one who wants to be married, this will increase attractiveness,
and even if such a person ultimately doesnt get married, such a person will still always
get what he or she wants. This is because the grateful person is one who fundamentally
wants whatever is best or come what may, and though that person may think that
entails marriage, if ultimately that turns out not to be the case, the grateful person will
still be grateful. In having developed character and discernment, the grateful person will
have reason to know this is best and hence to know that he or she still received
whatever is best, which is fundamentally the desire of the grateful persons heart.
Along the journey of life, there is a sense in which gratefulness changes the will
of a person in a manner that keeps that person from ever wanting what that person
cannot have. Yet the grateful persons will doesnt so much change as it is clarified.
Fundamentally, his or her will remains constant, though the person may think that
yesterday his or her will was for marriage when actually it was for whatever is best.
Appearances change, but not fundamentals. It simply wasnt until later that the person
had the clarity (gained thanks to experience and discernment through choosing
thankfulness) to recognize that whatever is best is what he or she actually wanted all
along.
It is difficult to actively step into a spirit of thanksgiving, for this step must be
taken at a time when a person has been denied what he or she wants. Gratitude is
meaningfully reached through disappointment. This is because until a person is denied
what he or she wants, thankfulness is indefinable from happiness. What constitutes
thankfulness can only be clearly determined when there seems to be nothing for which
to be thankful or when there is nothing to stimulate one into thinking that disposition is
56
what others expect. Thankfulness, when definable, is a choice (despite the
circumstance), while saying thank you after someone does something that makes you
happy is a reaction which is indefinable from the emotion of happiness.
Since thankfulness, when most meaningful, is chosen during times when
thankfulness seems least warranted, being thankful entails having and developing
character. When one chooses to step into a spirit of thanksgiving during a time of
disappointment, suddenly appearances change and his or her will is clarified. The person
then finds that he or she wasnt denied anything, for the person finds that he or she no
longer wants what he or she doesnt have: the person wills what is present. This isnt to
say that it is inherently wrong to desire that a late relative were still alive or that a tragedy
wouldnt have occurred, only that such a desire mustnt abstract one from the present or
ruin an individuals spirit of thanksgiving. It is actually during these challenging times
when gratitude for life can be most meaningful, for it is most challenging to cultivate. A
thankful person, though he or she may lose things, isnt crippled by loss.

IV

Awe is speechless thankfulness. It is a state in which the self is forgotten yet


the will is heightened. To be in awe of something is to want it, yet not out of a desire to
possess it it is not so much the thing as it is the experience of that thing that is wanted.
To be in awe is to want the moment in which the awe-full thing is beheld to last
forever.
To thankfully-want a thing is to be in awe of it. Furthermore, to thankfully-
want the future is to desire for the future to remain the future and for the present to
remain the present: it is to desire for the moment in which the future is thought of to be
Eternalized. If one wants to be married from a state of awe and thankfulness, the
experience of wanting this will be enjoyed in and of itself, rather than cause impatience
and, consequently, negative attitudes and emotions. On the other hand, if one is
paralyzed by the thought of not getting married, as a sort of reverse awe, the future will
suspend the person. Rather than awe-full, this is an awful state.
To be in awe of something that is yet to be is to want for it to remain yet to
be. Of course, such a freezing is impossible, for time will flow regardless. Consequently,
in wanting the awe-full future to remain itself (as do all with a spirit of thanksgiving and
love of life), the future will still suddenly come unto the individual. And so the
impossible will seem to occur and the person will come to possess what he or she did
not want to posses: a self-ish end will be achieved without selfish desire; the person will
be self-ish, yet selfless. In awe, the border between altruism and autonomy breaks down.
To thankfully-want is to live toward phenomena as if they are all worthy of
awe. Whether they are awe-full or not doesnt change the experience. In this sense, to
live thankfully-wanting is to live in a state of humility: it is to live as if what one
experiences is always greater than ones self and so above his or her judgments,
negativity, etc.

Awe, inherently thankful and willful, is what makes the world wonderful, not
selflessness. The term selflessness is too imprecise to benefit humanity, as altruism, in
implying that autonomy is immoral, too readily confuses those who want to be famous
for designing a water-purifying system that benefits millions.
Live thankfully toward the present, awe-fully toward the future.

57
Live in awe toward what you dont have, for to live without thanksgiving is to
spoil what you want (which is what you dont want). To want something can be the very
thing that ruins what youre after.
Want what doesnt abstract you (into double-mindedness or split-
personhood).
Want only for what you are grateful.

58
On Love
Seeking Definition and Failure

What do I say when I say I love you?


If I mean you make me happy, there is no difference between love and
happiness. If when you say I love you, you mean Im happy around you, again, the
term love cannot be defined from happiness. If love is to be used meaningfully, it
must signify something else.
Love often results in happiness, but isnt merely happiness. Yet if I love
someone because that person makes me happy, there is no definable difference between
wanting happiness and giving love. Though love can result in happiness, happiness
cannot be the goal of love. Happiness is the goal of happiness, because happiness is an
end in itself. If the goal of love is happiness, love and happiness cannot be defined
apart.
Love is not a physical entity, so it must be some kind of expression of the
mind or will. Yet love cannot meaningfully be said to be a feeling, for the line between
where the feeling of love ends and where happiness begins cannot be clearly drawn.
Therefore, love, to be substantive, must be defined as a choice. One chooses love,
rather than feels it. When a person most meaningfully says I love you, the person
doesnt mean I feel love for you, but I choose to love you. The significance of this
latter statement is dependent on how much the speaker is committed to it.
If you told a loved one I love you because you make me happy, not only could
that come off as selfish, but your loved one may feel like a means to an end rather than
an end in and of his or her self. Your loved one might feel appreciated because of what
he or she does for you, rather than for who he or she is, which could be alienating. If
love entailed reducing people to utilities or means to an end, not only would it be
questionable to say that love is good, but it is doubtful that love would be as popular as
it is. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that when people say I love you, they mean
something more than just you make me happy, even if it can be hard to tell what is
meant.

To like is to approve of something or someone because of its qualities. For


example, I like pizza because pizza tastes good, as I like Sarah because shes always
energetic. To like something is to treat a thing as a means to an end of happiness,
making it Utilitarian. If love is definable from like and not Utilitarian, love is to will
for someone based on his or her being, upon which that persons qualities are
founded. This isnt to say love and liking cant arise simultaneously, only that they must
maintain some kind of distinction if they arent one and the same.
To like something is to respond to what is before you: it is reactionary. I say I
like something that treats me well or that I enjoy experiencing. Love, if so reactionary,
is indefinable from liking. Because liking is reactionary, it isnt committed and is
restricted to particular moments in time. Love, on the other hand, entails a commitment
and operates through time, rather than merely flair up in instances.
If there were no time, people wouldnt change, and if people didnt change,
there would be no need for vows or promises. The whole point of marriage is to be
committed to another regardless of who that person becomes. Likewise, there would be
little if any need to define love apart from like, for a person would be an eternally
pleasing or displeasing collection of suspended qualities.1

59
A person likes another when he or she feels positively around someone, for
who that individual is, in the present. On the other hand, a person loves another when
he or she stays with that individual between instances of positivity. In other words, to
love someone is to remain committed to a person between the times when he or she is
likable. Therefore, love is a distinctively meaningful term during the times when you
dont like someone. Toward the people you always like, its hard to define your love
from your liking. In a way, you cannot meaningfully say you love people who you
always like.

II

If by I love you I mean Ill put up with you when you dont make me happy
until you do again, love cannot be clearly defined from tolerance. Also, in such an
instance, love is again Utilitarian, for it treats others like medicine with side effects. It is
doubtful that love would be as popular as it is if love were, in essence, a tolerable
medicine. Though it is reasonable to believe that I love you doesnt mean I tolerate
you, it must still entail some kind of commitment and toleration, which is necessary
because people change.
To tolerate someone is to be passive: it demands nothing more from a person
then consent. I tolerate someone screaming at me if I dont scream back. Again, if love
means simply to not react during the times I dont like people until theyre likeable
again, love is indefinable from tolerance. To have meaning, love must be active and
signify something more.

III

To say I love you requires that I know who you are for the statement to be
meaningful. Yet, I can only know who you are, truly, if I am you. Since this isnt
possible, I can only love my idea of you. Since you change through time, this idea must
constantly adapt to accurately align with your identity. Also, since ideas tend to be
stagnant and fixed, I must consciously change that idea to match who you become,
which requires effort. If I fail to do these things, when I say I love you, Ill be talking
more to who you were than to who you are.
If I settle with my idea of you rather than work that idea into matching your
actuality, I will settle with not loving who you are (now). Actually loving you entails
moving beyond my idea of you toward your true self. At the same time, an idea of you
that I have now which matches your present actuality will not necessarily match the
actuality of you a year from now. My love must constantly change as you change: my
love must follow you. Otherwise, a ravine will form between the you I love and the
you you are. When this ravine is recognized and I realize how far away from me you
are, I may be heartbroken. Worse yet, I may blame you for leaving me, when in fact it
was my fault for not following you as I promised. If I love you doesnt mean I will
follow you into whoever you become, I love you means only I like you (now).
Because my idea of you can never completely reach your actuality (only head
toward it like a curve toward an asymptote line), my love for you is destined for
imperfection. Since one loves another in order to love that persons you, and because
love can never fully reach this you, love can never reach its sought end. For love to be
meaningful humbly, it must be understood as impossible.
Love must be understood as destined to fail.

IV
60
If in following you into whoever you become I let you commit suicide, I may
have loved you, but it cannot be said that my love was good. Yet if love isnt good,
love cannot be clearly defined from hate or dislike. Therefore, while love follows,
love must also help to guide another toward the good and into making the most of his
or her self. Yet, only that person can know who he or she is (and so what constitutes
good for that person), which is necessary for knowing how to make the most of ones
life.2 Therefore, love cannot guide with a hands on approach, per se; love can only help
a person ask his or her self who am I? and help that person find the life-giving answer
for his or her self. Love cannot provide the answer, for love cannot know the answer.
Love can only help. In this way, love is both active and passive. Love doesnt entail
telling a person that he or she should do this or that; rather, love entails helping a person
ask his or her self what he or she should do and then letting that person live out the
answer that is found within.
Love is good when it helps someone make the most of their true self, which
another can never fully know to actually love. In this sense, when good, love fails,
sacrificially, for love helps another create the true self which love longs for, that in
helping create, love makes more impossible to reach. Love provides this service most
meaningfully when it doesnt like who love serves.
Since self-discovery takes time, love must also be patient.

If you are someone I love but when I dont like you I am mean to you, it
wouldnt be clear what the difference is between the statements I dislike you and I
love you. Only a given person can know if he or she dislikes another (anothers
decisions, anothers attitude, etc.); therefore, one can never say that another dislikes
something or someone. Rather, all we can do is interpret certain dispositions, reactions,
or actions as a sign that the person may dislike something or someone. Every human is
always responsible for his or her interpretations, so one must be careful before thinking
that another dislikes others, this, or that.
However, it cannot be ignored that certain attitudes, actions, etc. connote, at
least, dislike. If between times when you are likeable someone doesnt talk to you, this
would seem to suggest that the person dislikes you. Whether or not this actually is the
case is beside the point. If between moments of likability, the person tells you that
youre doing this or that wrong, it couldnt be said meaningfully that the person loves
you rather than dislikes you (for in that moment, there is no clear difference between
the two). Therefore, if I love you is to be meaningful and reasonable, the person must
be saying it toward someone who, when unlikable, the speaker acts kindly toward. Love
then, is kind.

VI

Only a given person can know when he or she is trying to be kind, so one can
never say for sure that another is kind or unkind. Rather, one can only say for sure that
another is committed to being kind. However, it also shouldnt be ignored that certain
attitudes, actions, etc. connote, at least, kindness. If between times of likability a person
smiles at you and tells you that they love you, this would seem to suggest that the person
is kind and also loving. If a person, when you tell them something that goes against what
that person thought about you, continues to express trust and affection, it is reasonable
to believe the person is kind and/or loving. With this in mind, it is loving toward that
61
person to believe he or she will be kind once you tell that person a difficult thing that
must be said, when you stop being likable, etc.
Love believes all is well.
Therefore, if someone loves you, that person, when you arent likeable, will do
things that, to you, are kind. If a person is only kind to you when you are likable, it
cannot be determined when that person is kind from when that person is happy. If
someone smiles at you when you are likable, it can be said that person is happy, but it
cannot meaningfully be said that person is kind. However, if someone smiles at you
when you arent likeable, it can be said that person is kind without conflating terms and
rendering them indistinguishable.

VII

If you believe someone will be kind to you when you arent likeable, stay
committed to enabling you to realize your true self, etc., and that person believes the
same of you, both of you have faith and hope in one another. If two people dont have
this faith and hope in one another, it couldnt be said that either are committed to love.
Since love is a choice, without this willingness, love cannot be defined. Therefore, if
meaningful, love is faithful and hopeful.
To say I love you means when you fail to love me, I will love you until and
after you succeed. Since love can never reach its end, love must be constant to maintain
meaning. I love you must mean I will have faith in you when you are unlikable and
hope you will do the same for me. If whether or not the person actually does love you
when youre unlikable effects whether or not you love that person, your love is blurred
with liking: your love holds back. Consequently, a part of you wont contribute to
reminding your loved one what love means.

VIII

If your loved one isnt kind to you, etc. when you arent likeable, in that
moment, that person also becomes difficult to like, providing you with an opportunity
to meaningfully express love, kindness, and patience. If you stop loving a person when
he or she stops meaningfully loving you (and so becomes unlikable), it cannot
meaningfully be said that you love that person. Therefore, if love is meaningful, love
must be forgiving. When a loved one fails to love you as he or she committed to do, this
doesnt mean you should stop loving that person. In fact, you have been given a chance
to truly love, which can in turn lead, by example, the other back to true love.
Love forgives loves failure.
Love always entails a kind of forgiveness, as being loved entails accepting
forgiveness and so gratitude for that forgiveness. In loving another, you forgive that
individual for being unable to reach your true self, as that loved one forgives you for not
reaching his or her true self. In accepting love in this way, you acknowledge your
inability to love another fully; in giving love, you ask another to forgive this inability.
To love is to forgive: to be loved is to be grateful.
You forgive one who does something unlikeable. Since love is meaningfully
willed toward the unlikable, love inherently entails a forgiveness of the unlikable for
being such. To the degree one is kind toward the unlikable is to the degree one can say
that persons forgiveness and love are meaningful, and in a way, one.3
It is in the act of forgiveness, as expressed through kindness, that love is most
clearly defined. When someone makes you happy, love and like cannot be
distinguished from one another; when someone makes you upset, love and like have
62
the potential to be defined apart. It is the act of forgiveness, manifest through kindness,
which causes this split. The more unlikable the individual, the more forgiveness
succeeds.
In a sense, love is forgiveness: to say I love you is to say I (will/have)
forgive(n) you.4

IX

Love, when meaningful, is patient and kind. It is also sacrificial, forgiving, and
destined to fail to reach its end. Love only appears in a definable manner toward those
you dont (always) like, and is best expressed in the act of forgiveness. When you like
someone, love cannot be defined from liking, as kindness and happiness cannot be
separated. Since it is hard to be around a person who does something unlikeable, it is
fair to say love is hard, that love is a hard commitment which requires faith and hope.
Without love, faith and hope are void of meaning, for it is in the context of hard
times (and thus love) that faith and hope are needed. When things are good, faith and
hope arent needed, for fully achieving such goodness is the end of them.
Ideally, love and likability, and so kindness and happiness, always run together
like rivers that merge. However, because they dont always do so, love is necessary. If
love didnt exist, the moment likability ended, so would end every relationship. Life is
hard, so love is necessary. Consequently, love is defined amidst the bad.

Since love is doomed to never reach its end, painful, demanding, and
meaningful only when things are hard, love is best avoided. Yet without love, none of us
could make it between times of happiness, and none of us could help one another find
selfhood. Without love, life is best lived in search of evanescent likes and moments of
happiness in such a way that those moments never end. Since this is impossible, love,
painfully, cannot be avoided. If though love enables us to achieve a sense of authenticity
and truth that without we could never reach, and if love helps us achieve a continuous
happiness which, ironically, love is logically and initially avoided in favor of, then
perhaps it could be said that love is worth it.
Love is a problem solver: if there were no problems, there would be no love. If
to love is to endeavor to eliminate problems all together, love is to endeavor to create a
place where love would be unnecessary. Love wouldnt be needed in a perfect world.
Though love itself could be the perfect world, in a sense, this perfection would lack
definition if reaching it did not take wading through hardship. Through pain, love
divides heaven and hell.
Because there are no perfect people (and thus inevitable problems), love is
enabled to exist, not that we love perfectly or love only that which is perfect, but so that
the world can be made perfect in love.5 But isnt it the case that if love gave the world
perfection, love would render itself unnecessary?
Yes.
Love is ironic: love loves to cease.
Loves purpose is to arrive where it dies.
Remembering that happiness and love are both goods but not similes, the
point of love is to realize a world of happiness and bliss: the purpose of love is to
sacrifice itself. Yet if the goal of love is happiness, love cannot be defined from
happiness, as noted at the very beginning of this work. Therefore, to be meaningful,
love must achieve happiness not because happiness is its goal, but as a consequence of
63
achieving its goal. Love doesnt aim for happiness; rather, the purpose of love is to erase
the need for love. In this sense, love seeks its death.6 Love hopes that bliss will result for
others because of its cessation and has faith that such will be the case, but doesnt know
for sure, nor does this outcome effect its commitment to sacrifice itself. Uncertain,
facing doubts, love still loves, and ultimately dies, humbly knowing that as long as there
is love, there will be sorrow.
Since love is hard, necessitates facing the unlikable, and requires being
vulnerable through forgiveness and a willingness to fail until love dies, to make life
anew, love requires fearlessness. Only through fearlessness can love be meaningful;
hence, only the fearless will be made perfect in love.7

XI

In closing, I love you, when meaningful, signifies:


I am committed to being patient and kind to you when you arent likeable, and
I am committed to always endeavoring to move my idea of who you are toward who
you actually are, though I know, ultimately, I will never fully succeed. I promise to do all
this while helping you, the one I long for, realize your true self, which, by pursuing, you
will become harder to reach. I will hope in struggle: I will believe in what I cannot
achieve. I will forgive and be forgiven: I will be made perfect in failure. I will love until
my love dies.
Beloved, I wont be afraid.

64
65
Notes
Book I: Ironically
Sociological-Awareness
1For more information on the Hawthorne Effect:
http://bmcmedresmethodol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2288-7-30
http://www.ejog.org/article/S0301-2115(08)00300-X/abstract

2Formore information on memes and the spread of ideas, see the works of Gladwell and
Godin.

3Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France [1790]. Penguin Classics, 1986:
342.

4Huxley, Julian. The New Divinity, Essay from a Humanist. Chatto & Windus, 1964.

5Heidegger,Martin. Being and Time. Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition,
2008: 9899.
6Please note that this paper draws a distinction between the Uncertainty Principle, which
deals with measurement, and the Observer Effect, which deals with observation itself.

7Collins,
Randal. The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change.
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1998: 791 and Meta-Reflections (in general).

8For more on Ken Robinson:


http://sirkenrobinson.com/
9For more information on Kurt Gdel:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/goedel/

10For more information on the Bystander Effect:


https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/bystander-effect

11For more information on Black Swans:


http://www.amazon.com/The-Black-Swan-Improbable-Robustness/dp/081297381X
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/induction-problem/#CanIndJus

12Once humans became aware of Evolution, humans started wondering why they should be
moral, seeing theyre just animals. If Evolution developed morality, then becoming aware of
the Theory of Evolution worked against this development. Discovering Evolution changed
Evolution.

13The time it takes to study a subject in the academy may all make keeping up impossible,
but to speed up the process is to make it increasingly unreliable.

14The conclusion of Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre.

The Creative Concord

66
1Allusion to Joseph Schumpeter.

2See The Meaning of the Creative Act by Nikolai Berdyaev.

3See Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.


4Allusion to The Pretence of Knowledge by Friedrich Hayek.

5See The Privileged Ones by Robert Coles.


6Political,
educational, social, and economic policy and enterprise that enables this tri-
relationship between B, A, and P should be allowed, while policy that disables it should be
removed. Both the Right and Left have operated off an axiom of a material dialectic, in one
way or another, and hence both have fallen short of proper policy that enables the creative
concord. Liberals tend to grasp that Capitalism is self-destructive due to the material dialectic
but offer Socialism as a solution, while Conservatives defend freedom while not noticing the
paradox of Capitalism. Neither grasp that creativity is the solution, for they were not trained
by the school system or family structure to be creative.

7If
Louis Dumont is right in his Homo Hierarchicus and humanity is innately hierarchical, it is
impossible for society to be classless, and Communism runs against human nature itself.
7.1Note that an artifex society is not one without dentists, doctors, etc. or one in which no
one works for anyone else: any occupation that exists in the material dialectic is one that can
exist in the creative concord. As in the material dialectic, someone must simply choose to
create it. In an artifex society, to make an example, a dentist is one who starts his own
practice and employs others to be part of it. While they are employed, each employee is
working to start or run his or her own practice or independent enterprise (perhaps a coffee
shop, a novel, etc.). At the practices these employees shall start, each shall hire new
employees, each which will work to start a practice or enterprise of their own, and so on.
This spreads employment, decreases alienation, and raises the standard of living for all. As
old dentists pass away, new dentists shall take their place, and with an artifexian mindset,
they shall revamp the old practice for the present age, making it their own. When employees
leave an enterprise, the owner, creative, will either come up with solutions that address this
decline in labor or move on to something else. If the owner moves on, this will make space
for an artifexian who wants to fill the space and/or result in new employment opportunities
when the migrating artifexian creates a new enterprise.

7.11Alsokeep in mind that an artifex can work for someone else: an artifex society is not one
in which people do not work for or with one another. The difference is that while working
for another, an employee is working on or toward something of his or her making. In this
way, this phase of being an employee is a stepping stone, and in such a circumstance, both
the bourgeoisie and proletariat are within the artifex. Though the material dialectic vanishes,
within the artifex, the two classes are still present but in a new way, free of alienation,
dependency, and in a manner that doesnt cause society to implode. In a sense, one could
view an artifex society as a society that takes Viktor Frankl seriously.

7.112Freeing many of a common existential crisis, in an artifex society, moving from college to
a job would not be a final step, upon which there is nothing to look forward to doing or
becoming. Once a person becomes an employee, that person can of course advance up the
ranks within the category of employment, but after years of working toward new categories
to change into, there ceases to be any change to which to look forward. This can be
psychologically devastating. The person has entered the real world or rat race, as society
calls it, and though the employee can get married, have children, and take up new hobbies,
67
the person cannot, within their work, change categories. Perhaps a person in the category of
proletariat can move into the bourgeoisie, but this kind of supposed advancement is only a
shift within the category of the material dialectic. This being the case, the individual will not
find alleviation from alienation. On the other hand, an artifex society is one in which any
position of employment or ownership is a step toward becoming an artifexian, rather than
another shift in the rat race. Keep in mind also that an artifexian is a person for whom
every accomplishment is a step toward another one, every creation practice for a greater
one. The work of an artifexian is never finished yet always fulfilling. This being the case, the
artifexian drives productivity far and above the participant in the material dialectic. One
could say, in a sense, that the artifexian creates and works enterprises that continue to
generate revenue, twenty-fours a day, even after the artifexian has died.

7.12Though it is outside the scope of this paper to address fully, it should be noted that
creativity is innately communal, diverse, and particular. All scientists stand on the shoulders
of those who came before them, as all writers stand on the shoulders of prior artists.
Creators stand on the shoulders of white, black, and Chinese creators so that white, black,
and Chinese creators may stand on their shoulders. To create, while autonomous, is to be
prepared for humility and open to diversity. It is also to be generous, for to create is to give
to the world. For these reasons and more, an artifexian isnt an individualist, nor one who
loves humanity at the expense of individuals (to allude to Dostoyevsky). The artifexian loves
both, recognizing how one enables the other.
7.2Whether a fully artifex society is possible or merely an ideal to strive toward is dependent
on the function of the word perfect. The term is deceptive, for it implies a state of being
rather than an act of being, yet perfection is something you do, not something you are: it is
about growing more so than it is about finishing up. Perfect societies, in a Platonic,
idealistic sense, are impossible, for the word perfect in that context is meaningless, seeing
that there is no clear standard of what the society is perfect in relation to. If the word is
meaningful, to loosely allude to Aquinas, a perfect society is one that does what it was
made to do. Perfection, in regard to humans, is hence tied to anthropology, and if humans
are innately creative (which I think there is reason to believe), humans are perfect when
creative. Since a society exists to increase the standard of living, a society is perfect when it
raises the standard of living, which is always thanks to some form of creativity. Therefore, an
artifexian society is a perfect society in the only way the term can be meaningful.
7.21The perfection always ahead that drives the artifex is idealistic perfection, while the act
of growing toward this ideal is practical perfection (in the sense that it is a perfection that
can be practiced). In this regard, a society can practice perfection, as one can practice
medicine, and whether it can be achieved isnt a meaningful question. In this regard, the
ideal of War and Peace comes into existence with the writing of its first page. The ideal of
perfection emerges simultaneous with the practice of perfection: the existence of one
necessitates the existence of the other, as the cessation of one is the end of both. The
practice of and ideal of are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, the ideal perfection is
valuable not because it can be achieved, but because it can orientate the direction of a
practice, thus giving that practice something it is made to do and a framework in which to
be practically perfect relative to. In this sense, to strive toward a fully artifex society is to be
perfect, even though the ideal isnt achieved. The practice is the achievement.

7.22Ina way, the whole language of achievable or unachievable is as meaningless as asking


whether being a poet is achievable. Of course one can be a poet, but whether a person can
achieve the status is simply to ask, in a strange way, whether a person can write poetry. As
one writes, the person has achieved the status of poet, but once he or she finishes, has the
person fallen from perfection? It depends on how a person defines perfection, and even if
the poet has fallen, it doesnt matter. One can still be a poet even though the person
68
doesnt write poetry constantly, as long as the person is always working to write poetry.
Likewise, a society can be perfect even with imperfections as long it is always working for
perfection.

7.23Note that an artifex society is something that a society has to constantly be moving
toward since new people are constantly being born. In a sense, the only way to be perfect
rather than practice perfection is to stop pregnancies. It is doubtful though that anyone
would call a sexless world perfect.

7.24It
is better not to use the language of a perfect society; rather, it is better to say a society
practicing perfection.

8This is why it was foolish for Plato to unjustly bar the poet from his Republic, for this made
the decline of the artifex inevitable and the collapse of his Republic within the material
dialectic unavoidable. By barring the poet, he removed the artists who inspire inventors,
artisans, and entrepreneurs to create wealth. Consequently, he made it only a matter of time
before the whole artifex dissolved. A society cannot have inventors without poets or poets
without inventors: all creators need all creators. This is why the artifex cannot be composed
of just novelists, just entrepreneurs, etc. it is not possible to have one without the other.
The science fiction writer gives the scientist the idea for the spaceship which results in the
inventor enabling humanity to go to the moon. Without the inventor, society wouldnt be
stable enough for the writer to have time to record his vision. Some inventors write or do art
for a hobby, and if not allowed to carry out this practice, they will not have exercised their
mind creatively enough to think up a new invention that will benefit humanity. Though the
poet makes shadows of shadows, Plato did not recognize that some shadows are better
than others, nor did he grasp that the shadows of shadows can enable shadows to come to
life

8.1People are told to think for their selves, but since they are unable to think for their selves,
deprived of this capacity by the society, they are unable to understand what this means. The
phrase is the answer to a question like what are you supposed to learn in college?, but it is
not meaningful in itself. It is only a term, not a truth. Because others tell them so, people,
obedient, know they are supposed to think for their selves, so claim that they can, but
unable to think for their selves, they are unable to recognize that they cant. People are
always able to convince themselves that they can think for themselves, but it is the
artifexians who force them to critically ask of themselves can I think for myself? beyond
their own definitions and standards. The stronger the artifex, therefore, the more the society
actually will be able to think for itself, and the more a society can do this, the more it can
determine how to transcend the material dialectic.

8.11Sincepeople (naturally) think they can think for themselves, by barring the artifex from
his Republic, Plato made it impossible to determine who actually is a Philosopher King (for
everyone naturally thinks they are a Philosopher King and that they are able to recognize
one). No one thinks of their self as a mere mortal. Also, by kicking out the artifexian, Plato
removed from his Republic the source of creative thinking that a Philosopher King must
personify to rule the Republic justly. Therefore, without poets, there ultimately can be no
Philosopher King. Lastly, to be free is to not be contained in a box, and to be creative is to
be able to think outside the box. Therefore, by removing creativity, Plato removed freedom
from his Republic. For this reason, it is increasingly easy to find parallels between American
and the Republic.
8.2Aperson who can be bored isnt free, for that individual is enslaved to an external source
he or she requires for motivation. In this sense, the person who has nothing to do the
moment the internet stops working is someone who is enslaved to the internet. Only a
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creative person avoids being enslaved to surrounding goods, and this is why there is no
freedom without creativity. Without creativity, a person must be a consumer, rather than a
recycler who gives back through what he or she consumes.

8.21Dallas
Willard captured the relationship between creativity and freedom beautifully when
he wrote: If we want to see freedom, we dont look at a kid jumping around with nothing to
do. We see freedom when we see an accomplished artist sit down at a piano and play
something so beautiful that we can hardly stay in our seat. Thats freedom.

9See Frdric Bastiat.

10See Richard Duncan.

11Itis a common and unfortunate mistake to conflate high employment with a high
standard of living. It is also common to fail to recognize that only those who create wealth
create jobs, while those who distribute wealth, distribute jobs.

11.1As it is possible to become an artifexian, it is also possible to stop being one. This being
the case, a society that becomes an artifex society must then work to keep itself that way,
which is when it is most tempting to think theres no work left to be done. This is because
there seems to be no pressing need for it, since it appears that the perfect society has been
achieved, but what is achieved in one moment can be lost in the next. Whenever an
artifexian ceases to be one, the standard of living decreases; whenever someone becomes an
artifexian or re-becomes one, the standard increases. It can increase either by current
artifexians creating something new or by someone who isnt an artifexian becoming one.
The same can be said in regard to actual wealth.
11.2The artifex class includes anyone who actually enables or enhances production, say with an
original idea or philosophical construct, even if they themselves dont actually produce
anything. This kind of person is an indirect artifexian and is different from an intellectual,
as defined here, whos only product is ideas that do not relate to production. Any intellectual
becomes an indirect artifexian as soon as their ideas enhance or enable production, and stops
being one as soon as this isnt the case. An individual, in this regard, has to start as an
intellectual to become an artifexian. For this reason, intellectuals are good for society as long
as they work to generate ideas that benefit production or creation which can be everything
from a blueprint to a short story that reminds a reader that life is worth living rather than
just produce ideas. Of course, it is nearly impossible to tell which artists and intellectuals are
indirect artifexians and which arent, and which will become indirect artifexians in time. This
is why the best policy is a hands-off approach that increases freedom. If artifexians, like a
police state, were to begin removing intellectuals and artists who werent indirect artifexians
in their eyes, they would be sowing the seeds of their own destruction. Ideally, in time, the
indirect artifexians work to be direct ones themselves, which would increase wealth. One
could say that indirect and direct are two tiers within the artifex class, as worker and
manager are two tiers in the proletariat. The best artifex society is one in which every
citizen is both a direct and indirect artifexian: while creating their own works, each artifexian
also enables or enhances the production of others.

11.3It
would enhance clarity to replace Marxs language of the means of production with the
means of creation, products with creations.

12The most devious of all the bourgeoisies tricks is getting the proletariat to dishearten the
artifex so that the bourgeoisie wont have their enterprises undermined by artifexian
creations. Successfully, the bourgeoisie has convinced most parents to encourage their
children to take risk-averse lifestyles, rather than become artists and entrepreneurs.
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12.1Ifyou study the arts or humanities, you wont be able to get a job after college: youll be
able to make one.

12.2Like the gardener described in The Pretence of Knowledge by Friedrich Hayek, a


school system that incubates creativity grows prosperity, while one that tries to fix children,
like a mechanic fixes cars, stifles it. Since creativity is innate in everyone (as will be expanded
upon), creativity cannot be taught, only incubated. Governments and organizations can only
teach creativity insomuch as they give people the freedom to experiment without fear of
failure or judgment. Institutions must take a passive role, which takes more discipline than
does being active. In other words, organizations should be gardeners, not mechanics.

12.3The death of the artifex is the death of culture. It is not by chance that poverty followed
China after the Cultural Revolution, that Russia fell into catastrophe after it banished
European artists and intellectuals, and that America has declined during the replacement of
culture with entertaining consumerism. Likewise, it is not by chance that Europe thrived
after the Enlightenment and Renaissance or that countries prosper when a true system of
liberal education is established. Collapses are often preceded by an exile, excommunication,
censorship, or genocide of the artifex, while prosperity is preceded by their acceptance. The
death of culture is, in fact, the death of culture.

13The question of whether all people are creative is an anthropological one that cannot be
confirmed either way or even assessed until an artifex society comes into existence, for a few
generations, which can be compared with previous societies like America today. Personally, I
believe all people are creative. I also believe few manage to stay creative. With respect to
Stuart Brown, Daniel Pink, and Ken Robinson, a reason I believe everyone is creative is
because children naturally play; a reason I believe few remain creative is because most are
pressured to act like adults and/or childish. I believe if the education system were to enable
creativity, the world would be filled with child-like people of every age and color.

Joy to the World


1Thisparadox is written about by a diverse range of thinkers from Durkheim to Walker
Percy.
2Thisis a hint at why it is dangerous for an economy to become reliant on extrinsic
motivations.

3Furthermore, the more rampant extrinsic motivation becomes, the more society requires
someone to put cheese at the end of the maze in order to run. But whos providing an
extrinsic motivation for the person putting down the cheese? Eventually, someone down the
chain of cause and effect has to be doing something for an intrinsic reason. The less intrinsic
motivation there is, the more concentrated power will be in that individual, the more reliant
everyone else will be on that person, and the more responsible that individual will be for
providing everyone with cheese. If that individual vanishes, everything could fall apart.

4If you work on Wall Street because you have to pay for food, you are indirectly or
unconsciously saying that you would rather work on Wall Street than learn how to produce
food on your own. Why this is the case maybe because you like working on Wall Street or
because you think learning those production/farming skills would take too much time. You
then work on Wall Street because you need food but you want more time than producing
food on your own would allot you. What you do with that extra time is up to you. If you are
intrinsically motivated to write a book, this free time will provide you space to accomplish
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that task. If you get paid for what you are intrinsically motivated to do, you are able to open
up even more time for yourself to do that thing. However, if you have lots of time but no
intrinsic motivation, boredom is going to set in. Therefore, the prevalence of boredom is a
good gage for determining how intrinsically motivated a society is or isnt.

4.1As credit must lead to production if a society is going to prosper, extrinsic motivation must
lead to intrinsic motivation, but intrinsic motivation doesnt require extrinsic motivation
once it comes into existence (though, as credit can stimulate production, thats not to say
that extrinsic motivation cant help someone realize intrinsic motivation).
5However, the intrinsically motivated can be driven out of the market by pressures from the
extrinsically motivated. As the boom continues, this pressure increases, making it likely that
the longer the boom lasts, the higher this social pressure against the intrinsically motivated
rises. This is especially likely when growth is much higher than production, for that is when
it seems most like extrinsic motivation is all that is needed.

Furthermore, the intrinsically motivated have to deal with many psychological tensions like
doubt, fear, and peer pressure. The person who tries to invent an airplane will be scoffed at
by those dearest to him until the moment the airplane exists. Until the parts of an airplane
are put together, there is no functioning airplane, so doubters have all the evidence in their
favor. Five minutes before the airplane exists and takes flight, all evidence proves there is no
such thing. (This hints at why positivism and Capitalism may not mix well.)

It is hard work to do something no one but you values. The visionary cannot show people
what exactly he is going to invent before he invents it, so the visionary needs faith. This faith
is necessary through both boom and bust periods. Yet those who arent the visionary must
also have faith, but seeing that they lack the idea or vision of the visionary, this can be
difficult. It is perhaps probable that the majority of the visionless wont, and so probable that
the pressures against the visionaries will only increase.

5.1The intrinsically motivated can be pressured by the extrinsically motivated to become


extrinsically motivated, which sets up the economy for busting. The most common form of
this pressure seems to be the get a job critique, which is ironic, seeing that intrinsic
motivation is behind all job creation on some level in the first place. When social pressures
against the intrinsically motivated are high, it is less likely there will be many intrinsically
motivated individuals. When intrinsic motivation is low, the chances of a growing economy
hiding a bubble are high.

5.2Unfortunatley, the extrinsically motivated tend to chastise the intrinsically motivated until
the intrinsically motivated turn against their intrinsic motivation. This irony seems embedded
into human nature.

6Inflation might be the most confusing and useless word in economics. When one says
inflation is happening, they could mean prices are going up or currency is losing value.
Inflation means both, yet there is a big difference between prices rising alongside
production and prices rising due to currency devaluation.

6.1Itis possible economists dont want to be able to distinguish the two types of inflation, for
this could threaten market confidence.

6.2Theword reflation should be more widely used. If inflation clearly meant devaluation of
the currency (to raise prices) and reflation clearly meant the rising of prices thanks to
production, the society would better understand economics. Arguably, unlike many
Keynesians, the hope of Keynes himself was to reflate economies, not inflate them.
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7Example from Less Than Zero by George Selgin.

8The main concern of every Federal Reserve Chairman should be whether increasing credit
lowers productivity or raises it.
9Realizethat I am not in favor of getting rid of credit: credit enables individuals who would
be productive to access otherwise inaccessible (startup) capital. Loans, debt, credit, etc. have
an important function of balancing the playing field.
10The great irony of Capitalism is that in enabling everyone to earn money, it threatens to
ruin the intrinsic motivation it requires to keep from destabilizing itself during times of
prosperity. When employment is high, when incomes are increasing, when businesses are
booming when all the things that an economy hopes to accomplish are accomplished a
drop in intrinsic motivation is likely. Extrinsic motivation threatens intrinsic motivation (and
creativity, as Daniel Pink shows in Drive). Capitalism, through the extrinsic motivators that
can inspire people to pull themselves out of squalor, can render itself impotent. Considering
this, the best system is a Capitalism powered by intrinsic motivation.

11Isntit the case that as the market collapses, people with savings will emerge and buy up
cheap goods? According to Keynes, by the time the market reaches the bottom of the
trough, there are no savings left and so no one can take advantage of the low prices. As the
market fails, incomes contract, and savings are squeezed out. When the market Depresses, it
collapses. The market doesnt self-correct: savings are a luxury lost during the hard times.
According to Keynes, if we dont do something, our entire socioeconomic system will fail.

11.1Capitalism
is unstable because the majority of people never properly manage themselves
during good times.

11.2Capitalismis the most successful economic model in history, and the greater its success,
the higher the chance of ruin.

12Likewise, it seems to be the nature of human societies to be extrinsically motivated


(perhaps because it is easier to be told what to do and think, achieving intrinsic motivation
requires introspection and overcoming difficult psychological and existential anxieties, etc.),
though humans (to themselves) seem to be naturally creative and intrinsically motivated. To
use a term from The Creative Concord, it doesnt seem to be the nature of human
societies to incubate artifexians. Capitalism, in this sense, requires humans to rise above their
creations. Hence, when Capitalism works, it profitably destabilizes humanity against the
nature of its societies.

13The existence of credit necessitates cycles of when money is borrowed and when money is
paid back. When I exchange money for a good, a transaction occurs. This too is a kind of
cycle, but since it happens so immediately, it doesnt seem like one. The period between
getting a loan and paying it back, which ultimately constitutes the business cycle, is simply an
immediate transaction between a buyer and seller extended over time. However, unlike
immediate transactions, elongated transactions arent necessarily repaid.

14Inthe short-term, hard work doesnt pay off, but credit and debt do. In the long run, hard
work pays off, while credit and debt dont. Since a person always exists in the present and
never the future, credit and debt will always seem more rational than hard work.
Furthermore, especially in an extrinsically motivated society, it seems absurd to work hard
during the boom times (because the whole point of working hard is to experience booms).

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Such dispositions make it likely that, in an extrinsically motivated society, growth will always
be more so a result of credit than production.

14.1Without credit, the economy could only grow through productivity, and ultimately, that is
the only way it grows. Therefore, credit only grows the economy insomuch as it finances
productivity. But without credit, many productive people wouldnt be able to get the start
they need, so credit has a good and proper role. In a way, it balances out people who are all
born in different socioeconomic conditions. Credit equalizes everyone in his or her unique
starting position: it practically functions like the hypothetical veil of ignorance proposed by
John Rawls.

14.2It
is hard work and intrinsic motivation, not just hard work, the enables Capitalism to
thrive. Ultimately, only the intrinsically motivated can put in the hours necessary to truly
drive production.

15Allusion to Hyman Minsky.

Representing Beauty
1Allusion to Nietzsche.

2Allusion to Kierkegaard.

3However, perhaps one must believe in God for any meaning a person fashions to ultimately
be meaningful rather than ultimately a form of denial (like a drug).

4Inspired by Baudrillard.

4.1According to Baudrillard, reality has been replaced by symbols of reality, and these
symbols hide the fact that reality is no longer relevant. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. all
accelerate this deconstruction and precession of simulacra.

5Without Facebook, this paper couldnt be shared with so many so quickly: Facebook has
done much good as it has done much bad. Moralizing about technology isnt the interest of
this paper, but rather on marking others aware of how technology transforms our
understanding of the world, potentiality, and toward-ness.

6Ifyou scanned this article, you have proven that your toward-ness has been influenced by
the internet, hence proving a claim of this paper. Thank you.

(Im)morality
1Ethics is a study that vanishes without frameworks and/or dichotomies. To touch on
Inception, Discrimination, and Freedom, the moment you begin thinking and talking
about ethics, you place yourself within given dichotomies like right and wrong, when in fact
were all right/wrong. One could say that though we dont help children in Africa, we arent
actively hurting them, and therefore it cannot be said we are immoral toward these children.
This would fall in line with Inception, Discrimination, and Freedom, but is the value of
another person really contingent upon whether you choose to interact with that individual?
Are you really morally excused as long as youre ignorant? If so, education is terrible for
ethics, yet Ethics is an educational study.

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As it is the case that before I ask you are you worried? you arent worried and yet answering
I wasnt worried doesnt accurately describe your previous state, to say youre immoral
doesnt accurately describe your being toward the children you do not help. Yet saying
youre moral doesnt do it either. Youre (im)moral, and yet saying that doesnt quite capture
it either. Youre only (im)moral in the context of Ethics; outside that framework and its
dichotomies, you just exist. Does that existence have moral weight? This is a bad question:
its neither moral nor immoral. It exists.

This being the case, Ethics divides us from our existence in order to give us a game of
hypothetical scenarios, by the end of which none of us achieve morality.

2Allusion to the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

3Ifthe person is suicidal and is darkly saying hit me with your car, the driver is only
immoral to not do so if he or she agreed to this rule or social contract. Since though, the
darkly speaking suicidal person doesnt say anything, it is doubtful the driver will have an
opportunity to read this rule. Therefore, unable to read the rules, per se, participants in the
game have to guess what the rules are. Since it is unlikely that a given person wants to
commit suicide, it is better, when the rules are unclear, to assume a given person doesnt
want to die (which is a fair assumption to make if you yourself dont want to die nor want
others to want themselves to perish) (considering this, one can use Kants categorical
imperative as a test for determining rules, though not necessarily as a Divine Law). If,
though, someone says kill me, whether this is moral to do, upon agreeing to these terms,
depends on whether the person really means it, if other rules dont contradict this one, the
particularities of the situation, etc. variables which only participants involved can know.
(Keep in mind that no matter what the participants choose, theyre still all (im)moral.)
3.1Does this mean the ethical is determined by ones capacity to articulate? In a sense, yes. If
someone asks you in Chinese are you from America? and you say yes, misunderstanding
the person and thinking he or she asked are you from Italy?, though you didnt lie relative
to your interpretation, you did lie relative to what the person actually said. The same can be
said about the law: if a law is hard to interpret and a person interprets it one way and follows
that interpretation and ultimately breaks the actual law as a result, the person is unethical
relative to what the law actually says, yet ethical relative to what the reader thought the law
said.

Is the ethical contingent upon what one says then? In a sense, yes. If someone never tells me
about children suffering in Africa and I never help them, I am immoral relative to the actual
world, yet moral relative to my idea of the world. In sum, I am (im)moral. Likewise, if one
agrees to a game the person misunderstands and acts morally relative to his or her
interpretation, the person is still immoral relative to the game itself, and so (im)moral in
sum.

3.11If this makes the ethical seem arbitrary, it is important to remember that, relative to each
given situation, the ethical is objective and non-arbitrary. This doesnt mean though that
there cant be mistakes, as a person can accidentally kill someone (even when that person
was darkly saying dont kill me). Mistakes are inevitable in any ethical system. The question
isnt if there will be mistakes, but what is the gravity of a given mistake, if the one who
committed it meant to, if the mistake was an honest one, etc. questions which only the
participants in a given situation can determine.
3.2The rules of a game dont necessarily follow from the wants of the participants. If a child
asks a parent can you take me to the mall? and the parent says no because that would
contribute to spoiling the child, the parent acts morally. The parent would only act
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immorally if the parent said yes and then didnt take the child. Yet, if a parent says yes and
then realizes doing so will contribute to spoiling the child and changes his or her mind, the
parent acts both immorally and morally (and (im)morally in sum). The parent should have
thought through his or her answer before saying yes, and for this mistake, the parent
cannot avoid being (im)moral. Mistakes have consequences. Yet, whether taking the child to
the mall really would contribute to spoiling that child depends on the particular situation,
and so only the participants are equipped to decide what is best. It could be the case that not
taking the child to the mall is immoral, since the child really needs to go. It depends, though
that isnt to say there isnt an objective ethic between those involved.
3.3Though you may act immorally if a girl asks you to kill her, you say I will, and then dont
(for you lie), this doesnt mean you should be punished or that this immoral act wont lead to
a moral consequence. It depends on the particular circumstance.

3.4Dont stab me is an obvious, unstated rule between friends. If I say I didnt know after
stabbing my friend, Im lying to myself or denying what I know. This knowing this voice
within is loud. The act of stabbing my friend is also against the law. However, its not
against the law necessarily because of the silent rule or voice within; rather, it happens to be
both immoral and unlawful at the same time (though whether one causes the other cannot
be established).

Of course, its possible that a child could kill a friend not knowing that its wrong (say if the
parent failed to train the child), and that situation would have to be treated unto itself in
particular it shouldnt be blurred with when two adults attack one another who have been
brought up in a civil society. No particularities should be conflated.

3.5Morality and justice are determined by whether the best flute players get the best flutes, to
reference Aristotle, for a just world is one in which people get what they are due, as
determined by their essential natures. The end of things, which is relative to the definition of
things, determines what constitutes the right thing to do, and so what constitutes justice.
The just and the good are inevitably bound up. We consider just what we consider good, and
check and balance the just and the good with one another. If we dont think something is
good, we do not consider it just (or vice-versa); at best, we consider it a necessary evil.
According to Aristotle, if any other variable is used to determine who gets the best flutes,
other than who is the best flute player, an injustice is committed. This isnt so that the best
music is made, but because flutes are for being played well. It is beside the point if others
enjoy the music or not. In this sense, Aristotle isnt Utilitarian.

It could be argued that one will never become the best flute player if the person never gets
a flute in the first place, and because of this Aristotle argues for the necessity of society. To
Aristotle, humanity requires a society to fully flourish and to cultivate character, and also in
order to create a space where individuals can get good at flute playing, thereby creating a way
to determine who gets the best flutes. Aristotle claims society and law must cultivate
goodness and character, or societies are no different from alliances, laws no different from
contracts.

There is no such thing as a human without a society, according to Aristotle. Without society,
humans are either beasts or gods. Furthermore, what constitutes justice cannot be
determined, for a space isnt created in which it can be determined what should be
distributed to who (either by government or the market). In other words, without society, no
one can get good at flute playing, so it cannot be decided who gets the best flutes.

Distinct from Consequentialism, teleological ethics, as has been described, is the nature of
the rules which games tend to entail. It is when participating in a given game that we can
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determine the teleological ethics of that game, for to learn through doing is to acquire an
awareness and discernment of particulars. It is only in particulars that we can determine the
essential nature of given things and so the right thing to do with and to those given things.

Since good is relative, justice must be teleological, and rights and distribution must be
pegged to what fits. In a given game, it can be determined what fits and so what is the
right thing to do. However, what constitutes justice in one game doesnt necessarily
constitute justice in another. What is teleologically ethical is found in, and bound to, the
particular.

Considering all this, what is just and good are anthropological and ontological questions.

3.51Keep in mind that there can be unjust laws and unlawful justices, as there can be bad laws
and bad justices. Just because something is just or good relative to the society doesnt mean
is just or good relative to human nature. To Aristotle, when a society makes laws that
contradict humanity, the society acts unjustly and should be corrected.

3.52Children have to be educated out of teleological ethics, perhaps because children naturally
understand the game of particular situations and arent so prone to generalize or
universalize. Though they have vivid imaginations, theyre not as prone to abstract. Perhaps
imagination helps one be concrete?
3.53The very fact that children have to be educated out of teleological thinking is evidence
that teleological thinking, in contrast to other ethical systems, is fitting for humans.
Furthermore, this being the case, it would be ethical, in line with teleological ethics, for
humans to ascribe to teleological ethics. Few, other ethical systems, if any, are able to
overcome the question of whether it is just to accept it over another system (such as Kants),
or whether it is just to accept the system by its own terms of what constitutes justice and morality.
Teleological ethics is axiomatic, for teleological ethics is ethical by its own standards. It is a
complete system.
3.54If children are naturally teleological, children are more naturally ethical than adults.

3.55If
children are naturally teleological, then teleological ethics doesnt have to be learned
from an Ethics class. This being the case, (Im)morality avoids hypocrisy, because
Aristotles system can be learned simply by paying attention to the games which surround a
person. Children seem to reason teleologically not after reading Aristotle, but after being
born.

3.56 Thegut, which seems to naturally know which rules are fitting (relative to given
games), is childish. It is silenced by thinking and education (see On Thinking and
Perceiving and The Creative Concord).

4Whether a person knows the rules of a game doesnt change that there are rules. Even if
the rules are in a language you dont understand (say Chinese), that doesnt change the fact
that there are rules. If you break them, you break them. Now, if the rules arent obvious (say
your friend doesnt want you to call her right now because shes thinking about something),
it is doubtful that your friend would be angry with you for breaking them. If someone yells
at me because I do the wrong thing but what constitutes that violation wasnt obvious, my
friend would be acting immorally to yell at me, for a given rule between us (probably
unspoken) is dont yell at me (when unjustified) only yell at me when it directs me toward
the good. Just because you break a rule doesnt mean any given consequence is justified: its
relative to the clarity of the rules and their severity, which only the participants can know.

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5So where does this knowing come from? Its hard to say. You, it seems. But it doesnt
really matter. Its present. What if the knowing of two people contradict one another (who
are participating in the same game)? Thats why we have laws. What if laws override the
human dignity of individuals? Just because something is a law doesnt mean its a good law,
though its good relative to the state. This is why it can be wise to have an amendment
process. However, even if a law isnt a good one, its still the law. Therefore, elections have
consequences.

6This isnt to say that one will immediately know what should or shouldnt be done when it
comes to deciding, for example, whether a rapist should receive the death penalty, only to
say that the person can conclude what should be done if he or she puts his or her mind to it.
Whether this decision is ultimately ethical can only be determined relative to the game
which the decision is made within, which only those involved can determine. Outsiders must
remain humble (but not necessarily passive). If an injustice is done, outsiders can intervene,
but they will be justified to do so only to the degree that they fully enter into the game at
hand and understand the decision by the proper context. It will also be important for the
interveners to remember that they too are (im)moral lest pride ruins their discernment.

Furthermore, there can be situations in which there is no superior solution, only trade-offs,
as there can be situations in which either choice entails immorality. However, recognizing
that one is always (im)moral can help an individual make a decision in such a situation, rather
than be frozen by uncertainty (which Ethics classes can cause).

6.1The gut seems to be a teleological conviction confirmed by reasoning relative to relevant


particularities. It is our innate, child-like capacity to recognize what is fitting, though its
limited to the particular.
6.2Even if we dont know what to do when we encounter an ethical dilemma or game with
unclear rules, going with what we know is our only option, since Ethics cannot help us
determine what is fitting (only those involved in a game can know what is involved, and so
know what is fitting). This isnt to say Ethics cannot help us develop helpful, creative
thinking, only that Ethics cannot give us the answers directly.

7The fact I can say rape and not scream proves a split between experience and expression.
If words and experiences werent significantly different phenomena in of themselves, no one
could talk about true horrors. Because of this split, what is found to be Ethical is done
separate from what is experienced, where the ethical is determined. This means Ethics is
abstract relative to ethics.

7.1Rape isnt always wrong because it is universally wrong, but because it is wrong in every
particular situation that it arises in by definition of what it is: the violation of an I. It is not
possible for someone to want their I violated, because a self isnt violated by what a self
wills (though that isnt to say a self cant will harm against itself). If a self doesnt want to be
violated, as a self mustnt want by definition, then the rule dont violate me is darkly
spoken by every individual. The same can be said of murder (as defined apart from kill or
hunt).

7.2Many things that are against the law are phenomena that are, by definition, wrong or that
are almost always wrong (though not necessarily always wrong). We can never say that
something is universally wrong, only that something is wrong in every particular situation it
occurs in. Likewise, we cannot establish a natural law. As Karl Popper claimed we accept
something as a natural law until it is falsified, we should do the same with laws. Yet, just
because a natural law proves false in one instance doesnt mean it is always false, only that it
was false in that instant. The same applies to laws and ethics. As it is the case that an instant
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in which gravity doesnt work doesnt prove that gravity never works or wont work in every
proceeding moment of time, an instant in which theft, for example, is moral doesnt mean
that theft is never immoral or will never be immoral again.

8The reason Consequentialism, as a moral philosophy, is wrong is because consequences and


their results are different events. There is no law of causality, only a Law of Temporal
Non-Contradiction (as expounded upon in On Words and Determinism). A particular
event and the particular consequences of that event must be judged separately (assuming
judgment is possible).
9If we had the most power, yes.

10Ultimately, if it comes to human rights violations, the debate will become about what is
fitting for humans, which is relative to what constitutes human nature. If it comes to
economic issues, what works? will be the final question. As with games, the answer varies
and cannot be universalized.

On Love
1If people didnt change, people would be like inanimate objects, which, being unconscious,
cannot choose to change their purpose (from what they were made for or from what they do
in the present). Though both are changed by their environments, humans can also change
their toward-ness and the purpose of their lives at will. While inanimate objects cannot
change their essence, humans can. Consequently, the true self of a given person is always
susceptible to transformation based on how a person changes his or her end, which is a
prime source of a persons definition.
2Ifa person comes to believe who they are is someone who commits suicide and to which
suicide is good, it would be difficult for a lover to direct that person another way (the time
when that could have been done now perhaps having passed). This potential problem
highlights the shortcomings of a model of reality lacking a sense of Objective Good with
which given goods can/should align.

3There is a sense in which someone who is always likeable cannot be meaningfully loved.
This isnt to say the person isnt loved, only that it cannot be said when people like this
individual from when people love this individual. The line is always blurred. Consequently, it
can be hard for this seemingly perfect person to ever feel authentically accepted for who he
or she truly is rather than for what he or she does. This can result in alienation. Therefore, a
perfect person is a contradiction, for what makes a person perfect to others is what makes
the person imperfect inside.

4To love is to will (forgiveness and kindness) toward another, and is most meaningful
when that other is unlikable. Also, to love is to will for a person to be forgiven and to
experience kindness, and to love is the very thing which fulfills that will.

5A paradox of love is that it is often accompanied by a feeling of happiness that can make
someone seem perfect to us, but if that person were in fact perfect, we couldnt meaningfully
love that individual. The person we fall in love with always seems perfect, but the person we
actually love must be fallible. Otherwise, our love will never achieve definition.

5.1Thesooner a person realizes that the focus of their affection is imperfect, the sooner that
person will achieve a meaningful sense of love.

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5.11As a persons words achieve definition, so a persons world achieves form.

5.2Wetend to fall in love with those we think will always be likable, yet we never have an
opportunity to love the ones we never dislike.

5.21Inpopular culture, love and like are often conflated: friends ask one another do you
like him?, and so on. This conflation perpetuates our confusion about love.

5.3We cannot love perfect people, only like them.


6Whether or not this sacrificial act will make the lover happy, a lover does not know until the
lover starts loving. If upon loving the lover doesnt find happiness and quits, the lover wasnt
committed in the first place, and so never loved. When love is meaningful, regardless if a
given lover is happy or if others love the lover back, the lover continues to be committed to
loves sacrificial purpose.

6.1In a sense, the goal of love is happiness, but distinct from happiness, this bliss is not for
itself, but for others. Wanting happiness is Utilitarian, while endeavoring to give it to others
is loving.

7To love is to allow your will to be transformed. When you love, what you want, what makes
you happy, who you want to be, etc., all change into that which will bring bliss to the focus
of your love. Likewise, as you love another and are loved back, the will of that other will
change as he or she loves you. This process is painful for both, but it is the only way for wills
(and so selves) to become one.

7.1Love is the road to the meaning of life.

7.11The purpose of life is the harmony of every will.

End of Sample

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