Harari on our lack of freedom & Free Will (my thoughts)

This afternoon I came across an article in The Guardian titled “Yuval Noah Harari: the myth of freedom” (Sept. 14, 2018).

A few notable excerpts from the article:

Unfortunately, “free will” isn’t a scientific reality. It is a myth inherited from Christian theology. Theologians developed the idea of “free will” to explain why God is right to punish sinners for their bad choices and reward saints for their good choices.

[…]

Though “free will” was always a myth, in previous centuries […]

But now the belief in “free will” suddenly becomes dangerous. If governments and corporations succeed in hacking the human animal, the easiest people to manipulate will be those who believe in free will.

[…]

In recent years some of the smartest people in the world have worked on hacking the human brain in order to make you click on ads and sell you stuff. Now these methods are being used to sell you politicians and ideologies, too.

[…]

Liberalism has developed an impressive arsenal of arguments and institutions to defend individual freedoms against external attacks from oppressive governments and bigoted religions, but it is unprepared for a situation when individual freedom is subverted from within, and when the very concepts of “individual” and “freedom” no longer make much sense.

[…]

The very same technologies that we have invented to help individuals pursue their dreams also make it possible to re-engineer those dreams. So how can I trust any of my dreams?

[…]

There is nothing new about doubting free will or about exploring the true nature of humanity. We humans have had this discussion a thousand times before. But we never had the technology before. And the technology changes everything.

My initial reaction after reading that article:

Having now read it through a 2nd time, I’d like to elaborate a bit further.

First off, I listened to the audio version of Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens a couple years back and generally appreciated it. Though I haven’t kept up with the author since then and was unaware of his shifting views. Now, the reason I reacted as I did to his latest article is based on a number of reservations and concerns.

1.) The notion of Free Will being a “myth” approaches sacrilege among average Western minds. Our entire history up until this point is predicated on the idea of individual rights and freedoms, as Harari acknowledges. But I’m not aware of anyone who would claim that Free Will can be defined as 100% freedom over oneself with no regard whatsoever for our human, environmental or cultural limitations. Scientific exploration indeed has taught us much about the role genetics play in directing our desires and weaknesses, but are we mere animals bound to deterministic cause and effect? There is plenty of evidence to the contrary in that area as well. We humans are a mixed lot, existing within and impacted by the material realm while also possessing potential to transcend what’s given to us to an extent, at least psychologically. In short, we are both directed by forces beyond our control as well as directors of our own lives, simultaneously.

2.) Blaming Free Will off onto Christianity (though it’d be more apt to include Judaism in this as well) seems to imply that this religion somehow did humans a disservice in this regard, that it lied to us about Reality and our role within it. Furthermore, it appears Harari assumes that individualism didn’t arise organically on its own — that is to say, is a natural part of the evolution of our species. Instead he seems to be arguing that such a notion was born strictly out of this monotheistic religion, which is confusing since which came first, humanity’s trending toward individualism or the idea of individualism being encapsulated within a religious context?

3.) Harari’s argument appears to be that while individualism and the notion of Free Will proved useful previously, it’s no longer of much (if any) value moving forward. Why? Because we have failed at the calling to Know Thyself and therefore are being rendered at the mercy of other humans and the technologies they employ to sway, deceive, control and make money off of us, all while convincing us that we’re actually acting as free agents. Okay, that much I can agree with. We, collectively speaking, have dropped the ball in taking seriously the navigation of our own individual lives, preferring instead to flow with the mainstream channels provided to all of us. But still, recognition of this does not negate the existence of Free Will. Rather, it points to our option to not embrace it (that being an important part of the concept of Free Will). We’re not required to strive to understand it and act upon it, though arguably we should. Because people often prove weak and fail at this task still doesn’t negate the Free Will option (again, despite it not being about 100% freedom since that’s an impossibility; we human beings not being gods in our own right).

4.) It seems that Harari is suggesting that artificial intelligence is coming on the scene, whether any of us like it or not, and that it will necessarily prove dominant over all of us. Okay, that might happen. But is Harari fine with that outcome? Is he suggesting that we should bow down and accept that fate as the “hackable animals” that we apparently are? Is it his opinion that resistance is futile? Because that’s the way it sounds, and that comes across as extremely deterministic, which then causes someone like me to feel pangs in my soul at such a thought.

5.) Harari’s position also seems to leave out consideration over whether this AI-dominated future that’s unfurling will be psychologically compatible with us as human beings. I personally don’t believe it will. Already a good many of us are disturbed by the effects of modern life and are exhibiting chronic symptoms of depression and anxiety as a result. Plus there are the falling birth rates (perhaps due to our “captivity” conditions) and the rising suicide rates among Westerners. It’s possible that we’re heading in a direction that will wind up pushing more of us to the margins of society, if not off a cliff entirely. (Though, some then might argue that’s evidence that we who can’t or won’t adapt are not strong enough in this game for survival, so adios.)

6.) The idea that if we give up our notion of individuality and Free Will we’ll then be free to listen more to others and become more actively engaged in protecting the environment sounds absurd. If anything, this trend would lead to more nihilism which may lead to more violent backlashes and reactionary inclinations to attempt to dismantle society itself. Just sayin’. (Perhaps he would argue that the anarchistic spirit within some is just another genetically-determined drive and/or a manipulated reaction stoked by those with a hidden agenda? *shrugs*) Anyway, why would a person care about a future world where humans aren’t free to be human, where life’s meaning has become trivialized, where our choices and options are supposedly pre-determined, and where Big Brother dominates us all whether we like it or not? Sounds like hell on earth, not a place I’d care about trying to save.

7.) Because science has not (or perhaps cannot) explain a phenomenon doesn’t automatically mean it’s not real. As others have suggested, scientists have barely scratched the surface in trying to make sense of consciousness — and yet, here it remains. What is it? We don’t know. Where did it originate from? We’re not certain. What is its purpose? That remains to be seen. Should we deny it outright and treat it dismissively because scientists can’t explain it? No. We continue studying and pondering on the topic, all while utilizing the very thing we’re unable to understand. Life is paradoxical like that. So much remains a mystery. Yet some place so much faith in human accomplishments and ingenuity that anything that falls outside of that which our sciences can readily explain winds up being treated as if inconsequential. To our detriment, I’ll argue.

8.) Harari speaks disdainfully of those who retreat away from this AI-dominated future vision, preferring instead to turn back toward traditional ways of life and the religions of old. He sees this trend as problematic, refusing to acknowledge that perhaps this too is a perfectly natural response for humans confronting a future that may very well spell our demise. Instead of having compassion for that reaction, he labels it as a threat. Which then gives me the impression that he’s actually in favor of this new world order he speaks of. (New world order = totalitarian in nature, tech-dominated, highly centralized, surveillance-infested, socially-engineered so much as possible, with the emphasis placed on our unity as persons on this globe, no longer citizens of nations.) Much as he seems to be warning us about it, he also appears to be pushing for it, hence why he chastises those who wish to break rank and seek a way to escape or fight back against it. That’s not too cool. Doesn’t sound like someone’s advice I’d care to follow.

So, those are my points of contention with what Harari wrote in the article, as well as what I listened to thus far from the podcast he went on with Sam Harris (uploaded yesterday):

Happened to be cleaning my guns while tuning in, which turned out to be a fine task while concentrating on a conversation of that nature. Then the phone rang and I’ve been distracted ever since. Decided to post this up before resuming listening.

If nothing else is certain to be true, I can safely say it’s a hell of a time to be alive.

______________________________________________________

The next day: I have now listened to the following talk from Harari (uploaded a month ago):

Good luck, Hungary! (and other nations resisting in Europe!)

The European Union always struck me as a very bad idea. Blatantly Orwellian in nature. And now we watch to see if it will finally unravel under the tensions of its leaders inviting in millions of so-called “refugees” from Africa and elsewhere.

Above is a video discussing what’s happening in Hungary when they refused to allow in droves of illegal aliens (invaders, call them whatever you will). Sanctioned. Threatened with being disallowed a vote while still being taxed by the EU (in other words, straight-up taxation without representation). Vilification. Negative press.

In a January 8th [2018] interview with Germany’s tabloid Bild newspaper, Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban said “we don’t see these people as Muslim refugees. We see them as invaders.

Multi-culturalism, he asserted, is an illusion.

That excerpt was from The Globalist article titled “Hungary’s Viktor Orban: Europe’s Flame Thrower” (Jan. 14, 2018).

If you conduct a search yourself you can read all the articles dating back at least a couple of years discussing how the EU was threatening to take actions against Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic for these nations’ unwillingness to accept a QUOTA of refugees from third-world nations. Primarily Muslim, as we know. It’s beginning to sound like the Eastern European nations ought to start seriously entertaining the idea of exiting the European Union, and I sincerely wish them well if ever they do so.

Consider this. Why would the EU require nations therein to accept refugees who are culturally incompatible?

Wait, stop. Drop all the BS you may have heard about “those poor people needing help.” Suspend beliefs and set aside ideology for a minute and really think about the implications of such a practice. Look around and read and pay attention to how much crime rates have increased in nations like Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK since going along with this program. It’s not racist to simply open your eyes and be willing to accept information for what it is, in the raw, unfiltered by what we might wish were true.

I personally don’t have any particular vendetta against people from Africa or the Middle East. Not necessarily anyway, though I’m admittedly uncomfortable with Islam, as an American woman who appreciates the legal protections and freedom afforded to us in Western nations with zero interest in ever being made to wear a burqa and no tolerance for female genital mutilation or the taking of underage brides. As someone who’s half Arab by blood, still it’s safe to say I wouldn’t last a day under Saudi Arabia’s rule of law. Probably couldn’t make it off the plane without managing to get myself stoned. So, what informs my opinion, aside from those personal biases, mostly has to do with what I’m observing across societies in over the years. Where I live we luckily don’t have a Muslim migrant problem (which is to say a boost in crime and harassment of women or dangerous enclaves where even the police shun entering), though a state to the north of here does and has plenty of news headlines to attest to it.

Mostly I get nervous when I read and hear what all is going on in Europe. Pew Research findings tell about how Europeans’ ideological positions impact how favorable they view the newcomers. Nevermind being displaced in their own countries. (Perhaps that’s not a great concern to many Westerners anymore…) Beyond that, I read a good many crime reports that are particularly chilling due to the nature of the crimes committed. Stabbings, gang rapes, vicious and senseless attacks on the innocent out in public, and even the occasional beheading. It’s enough to make anyone feel unsafe and unsure of why any nation ought to continue importing people (or at least a very rowdy, violent fraction thereof) intent on dissing the laws and citizens of their host country. All while KNOWING our leaders are doing a shit job of vetting the “refugees” they’re admitting (assuming there’s any way to successfully vet people without identification, documentation or searchable background records from war-torn regions).

(Daaaammnnn…that was savage, but not untrue!)

Why are these migrants in a position where they feel the need to leave their homelands? Particularly young males (much less often bringing along with them women and children). Well, I don’t doubt for a minute that my country’s wars launched in those regions have certainly created, or at least contributed to, the crisis. Air strikes, drone attacks, and arming various groups down there on the ground to fight one another. That part is unfortunately our fault, and by our I’m referring to the U.S. government along with me and you and anyone else here who pays taxes that funds this bullshit (plus whatever other foreign allies aid us in these endeavors). And coming to terms with that is how they get to us. This realization guilts us, as it probably should since our military had no business interfering in half the places it has over the last 17 years. So we get to thinking we owe it to those folks to cart them over here and everywhere else, to give them comfortable places to stay in a far more civilized environment in an effort to make up for government-funded exploits we feel powerless to do much else about.

But that’s the wrong answer. Understandable as this sympathetic response seems, it won’t do us or them any real good to continue with the current strategy. Well, maybe them on down the line— assuming it’s possible for the bulk of “refugees” to ever get their shit together so as to assimilate or to return home and rebuild their nations—but so far it’s clear that those folks don’t fit into our societies or appreciate our ways, expressing feeling alienated within advanced, non-Muslim societies. Their ways contradict our laws. Their expectations and treatment of women results in tragic crimes here where underage girls wind up “groomed” and taken advantage of and adult women are randomly accosted out in public. Even our educational curriculum isn’t appealing to them. Instead they retreat into enclaves where they recreate conditions similar to what they had back home, violating our laws and customs in the process while basically incubating hostile factions within our own borders.

Not too smart, folks. This is the wrong way.

Consider this. With the EU, the U.S., Canada and wherever else pumping millions and millions of dollars into supposedly helping “refugees,” don’t you think that money would be better spent aiding these people to construct communities in their own regions of the world where they speak the language and are accustomed to the cultures, food, and religion? Absolutely it would! But that’s not happening. Why not? Why do you figure all these leaders of Western nations are throwing an absolute fit about wanting to bring in millions more “refugees” in a bid that neither suits those they claim to be helping nor the native populations? Do you think it’s a complete oversight on the part of our leaders, like they’re just somehow too stupid, naive, or ideologically possessed to comprehend what damage is being done? Do you really believe the hype that, like with our issue in the U.S. where Democrats want to open up our borders, it’s because they’re simply desperate for more votes? Do you honestly believe that these leaders are motivated by strong concern over our falling birth rates and, for the benefit of our economies, are working overtime to stock more people seeking employment opportunities to replace those aging out of the rat race? That all of this somehow makes practical business sense?

I don’t.

I think that’s just what we’re being told, because shortsighted as those claims may sound, they’re nowhere near as heinous as the real reasons. I’m beginning to think there is an active agenda to replace native peoples. Why? I’m not certain. Won’t claim to know more than I do here. But why would the EU put that much pressure on nations who refuse to comply with immigration quotas? Because Angela Merkel has a super soft spot for Syrians and Somalians? Gimme a break! You know better than that. She doesn’t give a damn about them just like she obviously doesn’t give a damn about the German people who keep electing (/not ousting) her corrupt ass. There’s obviously more at play here.

Why has it suddenly become so incredibly taboo to say anything deemed offensive against Muslims here in America, the land of crude humor and screwing with one another over everything under the sun? Why must these folks specially be defended as off limits to all humor and derisive comments?

Why are feminists, here and abroad, being trained to betray their own interests (and those of ALL OTHER WOMEN IN SOCIETY) to cater to Muslims by defending hijabs/burqas (symbols of female disempowerment), joining in feigning outrage over cartoons and parroting how Islam is a “religion of peace,” all while ignoring sex crimes against underage girls and women? That’s a mind-bender there.

Why is Canada’s Trudeau falling all over himself to defend Muslims? Why is Theresa May? Why was Obama and Clinton and all the rest? Ideology, sure, but there’s something more to all of this. That’s the surface excuse. It’s what’s been used as a vehicle to make this all seem palatable to those with a liberal persuasion, forever wanting to see themselves as “inclusive” and “open-minded” and “against hate” (except when it comes to conservatives or those within their ranks who talk back without sufficient clout according to their “progressive stack”  ).

Naw! This goes beyond mere Leftist ideology, at least as we commonly know it to be. Think about it: our politicians and leaders care more about money and consolidating power than pretty much anything else on earth. That’s what drives them. So where’s the money incentive here? Fresh cheap labor pools to exploit? Sure, that’s appealing to your average neocon, but here in America we have Mexicans for that (mean as that may sound, you know I’m not making it up — they’ll tell you this themselves). What do a bunch of (more often than not) low-skilled Middle Eastern and African “refugees” bring to the table, especially considering how many of them wind up becoming dependent on government aid and social programs once they are here? Looks like more of a net drain on the coffers of society than anything else.

Is Saudi Arabia somehow behind this? Is there some sort of wheelin’ and dealin’ occurring between our nations in which our leaders agreed to bend over backwards to help Islamify the world? Maybe.

If not Saudi Arabia, then who? You’d think Israel would be opposed to this gameplan, but I guess those Zionist leaders don’t give much of a damn about their Jewish constituency either. Which really wouldn’t be surprising. That’s how heads of states roll. Telling us what we want to hear just enough to keep us from revolting so they can keep milking us as the tax slaves we’re willing to be. Besides, the U.S. keeps Israel very well armed. Though, in a strange turn of events, Obama generously gifted Saudi Arabia with more weapons and money than ever before prior to leaving office, hence why Saudi is now able to lay waste to Yemen like a proper first-world nation.

 

I’m not happy about any of this, but laughing keeps the rage at bay.

Where’s the money trail in all of this? Sure, George Soros is likely using his immense riches to not only recruit Antifa to tear up Starbucks and hit people with bike locks but also to finance pro-Muslim “refugee” efforts. But still, he doesn’t work alone in this. Otherwise he’d be resisted by other powers, yet he’s not. There’s a concerted effort being made here, folks. Who all is involved? No clue. But there’s a big money payout somewhere at the end of this rainbow or else these big dogs would’ve changed their tunes by now. There’s an agenda that we’re not privy to. The folks who talk about Agenda 21 don’t seem to have pegged this correctly either since importing a bunch of high-fertility third-worlders to the first world is the last thing you’d want to do if your ultimate goal is to reduce the human population and our consequent carbon footprints.

Maybe it’s no longer about money…  Maybe they’re already so powerful and wealthy and corrupt that they’re on to the next stage in their plan. We know they like to centralize everything and destroy nation-states through getting them to unionize (e.g. EU). There’s a global agenda in terms of forming an economic superstructure. But then what? Ugh…a line of inquiry I have no answers to and might as well quit chomping on for now…

OK, backing up, what are these “refugees” actually doing in Europe? Attacking people and trying to push Islamic acceptance onto those nations. And what are the leaders doing in response? Ignoring it, making excuses, accusing Europeans of being a bunch of nasty racist xenophobes if they voice their concerns about it. Sounds to me like they’re essentially telling their citizens that their interests no longer align with those they pledged to serve. Basically you’re on your own. Begging for your governments to do a damn thing about any of it is losing battle since they’re the ones responsible for unleashing this problem on you. And they won’t stop. Won’t even slow down. Not even a little bit.

OUR LEADERS DO NOT CARE ABOUT US.

Nobody is going to swoop in to save Europe. Our hands are already full and all of our leaders are in cahoots with one another. Europeans have to figure out a way to save themselves. The United Kingdom made a bold move in voting to exit the EU, but look how long that process is taking and how they’re being punished in the process – WITH THEIR OWN ELECTED LEADER WORKING AGAINST THEM. Yep. Sad but true.

And it turns out disarming swaths of the UK police force (and traffic wardens too?) wasn’t such a bright idea since they now are getting their asses handed to them:

Very sad. Hard to watch. The thugs were brutal and acted with no remorse.

Thank goodness they let a few of ’em keep their tasers.

Not that Sweden’s looking any better:

Yeah, hard not to be embarrassed for them with all that nonsense going on.

Anyway, we like to think if we could reach some sort of critical mass, maybe then the folks in the military would cease taking orders from on high and instead turn their efforts to defending the peoples of the nations they swore to serve and protect. But I’m seeing a whole lot of paycheck-chasers out in the crowd, truth be told. Same as among the domestic police force. Where do you turn for help when this appears to be the situation at present? Keep waiting for shit to change and for more eyes to pop open and for people to find a way to peel ourselves away from our screens long enough to maybe, possibly, do something to enact change?

I don’t know. We may be waiting a long time, folks. And so many are dependent on these systems to where if it came down to it, I think they’ll opt to be on that side of the fence, aligned with their power-hungry leaders, working to protect the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to that preserves them in relative comfort. They’ll cry about how they have kids to feed, bills to pay — like they always do. As if nearly everyone isn’t in the same boat on that. But that’s the bootlicker’s favorite excuse. Count on hearing a lot of excuses along those lines.

Hopefully the people of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and now Germany and Italy will prove successful in their ambition to stand up for themselves, their cultures and their values. It’s such a mixed bag over here in America that I’m not sure what sort of effective resistance we’d be capable of constructing anytime soon. A nation utterly divided. Nowhere to run. Preferring to shout at one another on college campuses and online, as if that’ll ever change a thing. Or lose ourselves in video games, television shows and porn. Really useful endeavors such as that occupy our time and energy.

It deserves to be restated that this third-world onslaught isn’t typically my primary focus. Got other concerns on my plate, though I keep an eye on that ordeal since I don’t want it sneaking up on me or my loved ones. We can bet it’s coming here too eventually. Appears to be heading everywhere, worldwide. WHY? Because certain entities out there have decided they want it that way, even if that abandons us to sink or swim. Guess it’s ultimately up to us in the end on how that plays out.

Lastly… “Hungary has cut its illegal migration problem by 99 percent. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó explains how”:

The sane road home

Dr. Jordan Peterson is absolutely correct on his views about freedom of speech and how we need to remain free to honestly think out loud. Not simply because we may want to, but because psychologically this is how we process life and living. We think, we talk, we interact, we dispute and debate and ponder and have our thoughts challenged externally and then hopefully internally as we continue onward in processing and attempting to make sense out of life and living. This is an integral process that is non-negotiable for our individual and collective well-being.

This is precisely why our forefathers encapsulated freedom of speech (and to assemble and to disseminate information via a free press) in the very first amendment of our U.S. Constitution, clearly establishing their recognition of this as a primary natural (inalienable) right extended to us from God (meaning extended from outside of mere human jurisdiction), essentially stating that no government should be tolerated to trespass against us in a manner that interrupts/disrupts our freedom to SPEAK and exchange ideas and associate with one another. They did not conjure up this notion out of their own baseless wishful thinking — they discovered this to be an incontrovertible Truth (as likely others who came before them had as well).

This is where we run into the concept of Objective Truth — that which (inescapably) constitutes the substratum for Reality. Meaning it is elemental, uncompromising, and thereby independent of any predilections or social constructionism convictions we might like to overlay and toy around with. All that we humans are capable of perceiving and experiencing rests upon a primordial foundation of such Objective Truths (however many there may prove to be); and consequently, all human endeavors rejecting this prerequisite understanding are destined to fall apart and turn wickedly insane (i.e. non-life-affirming for our species).

(Skeptics and naysayers obviously remain free to investigate such claims about renouncing Objective Truth/Reality and to discover the fruit borne as a result, as untold numbers of people already have and assuredly forever will — it being in our natures as human beings to relentlessly test boundaries.)

Whatever else may appear true down here on the ground among us squabbling humans remains more of a mystery and is partially determined through our clashes against one another and within ourselves, also partially uncovered as Life perpetually reveals itself and shows us the way (most often via demonstrations of what won’t/can’t work, what leads into dead-end abysses from which we can’t escape, what generates tremendous pain and misfortune with little or no subsequent benefit to humankind, etc.). Articulation of thoughts and ideas is an indispensable means through which we parse what we consider to be reality, disregarding what the conversation or argument in question at any given moment between us might be.

The reason we in the United States of America historically place so much emphasis on the First and Second Amendments of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights is precisely BECAUSE such incontrovertible Truths are necessary to accept if any nation is to remain functional (or, for that matter, if any group of people wish to remain intact anywhere at any point in time). Meaning it’s not a choice for us human beings. Rather, it’s a Fact of Life. We must remain free to speak and assemble and share information BECAUSE this is what it means to be human. Remove that capability and watch horrific chaos ensue. Such leads to finding out about ushering in hell on earth by way of distorting our understanding of Reality, disconnecting us from It as well as from one another, twisting our psychologies against our inborn Free Will and any alignment that may prove possible between ourselves and that which we call God.

One only has to look at fairly recent history to find numerous examples where humans’ ambitions led them to create hell on earth: a primary case being the totalitarian Soviet Union of the 20th century (as Dr. Peterson has brought to many of our attention). Also Mao’s China (heck, to an extent even China of today). These systems weren’t bad simply because they were communistic (as many harp on about); they were dangerous because they required control over people’s speech, thoughts, organizational pursuits and media in order to maintain and expand power. ANY SYSTEM that attempts to do the same, regardless of ideological underpinnings, will suffer a similar fate. Doesn’t matter if it purports to be capitalistic or socialistic or theologically-driven. Same difference.

The importance of our 2nd Amendment was to maintain power in the hands of ordinary PEOPLE so as to check our government if ever it turned tyrannical, specifically in regards to tampering with the 1st Amendment which all else in a civil society depends upon. Some like to pretend to not comprehend this concept or dismiss it as archaic and of little or no modern value, yet these people are fools who willfully abdicate their own power under the mistaken belief that those who do rise in the ranks within our System will sustain dedicated interest in the general well-being of the citizenry and upholding our Constitutionally-protected rights, despite repeated evidence to the contrary.

The willfully blind and ignorant seek to place newly-minted legal restrictions—effectively handicaps—on their fellow humans in an effort to bolster the power of the State that so many have grown thoroughly dependent on. This is by design a trap that we humans orchestrate against one another time and time again, learning only when it’s too late what it is we’ve sacrificed and what such folly truly served in the end. That points back to a character “defect” within us born out of fear of embracing personal responsibility — essentially a “failure to launch” in terms of actively engaging one’s own individuation process while struggling within the context of broadly collectivistic (and evermore complex) social dynamics, further complicated by witnessing (and feeling complicit in albeit rendered unable to effectively resist) modern experiments with empire-building and the emergence of globalized centralization projects.

Today so much is commonly framed in a LEGAL context, as if only that which is made lawful is of any real relevance in modern times. Laws are mere codification of that which is deemed customary and necessary in a functioning society. But where do the content of laws spring from? Some from exercises in dispute resolution and imparting justice, but others are not of our direct making, as discussed above. Higher Truths matter regardless of what any law might say. They exist beyond, and cannot be constrained by, any legal code devised by man. We are wise to take into consideration these Truths and to incorporate them into any system (legal or otherwise) we might wish to preserve as functional. Though, unfortunately, laws have a way of becoming jumbled in the minds of people over time, causing difficulty for us to discern between them in terms of status and inevitability. Over time, one law comes to be viewed as equal to any other law, meaning just as modifiable, overturnable and discardable. This is where we go wrong, and soon enough we’ll be shown why.

Turns into an unavoidable lesson on separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. It appears we humans are destined to contend with these vital lessons again and again and again, immemorially. Then, this goal is further frustrated by never quite figuring out how to impress the significance of these revelations on the minds of successive generations. So each generation winds up fated with facing the challenge of re-learning what was lost before.

Here we are yet again. Confronting this age-old problem once more, this time in the 21st century. Surrounded by dazzling technologies, connected to people from all over the world online, debating and discussing an infinite number of topics with one another, all while centralizing political and economic schemes unfold across the world in the backdrop. It’s a surreal time to be alive. Also troubling due to countless distractions and information overload accompanied by a deluge of sophisticated (and academically aggregated) thought exercises. A sea of theories and ideas swirl around us. Some better than others, but all requiring our mental energy to suss them out and to try to make sense of their potential relevance. So much is being taught to us, both by teachers and popular personalities broadcasted across societies. Is it any wonder that while living within such bustling, busy times we so often lose track of what’s fundamental?

All comes to appear as little more than just another thought experiment. Politics, legality, ideology, religion, culture, individuality, philosophy, science, psychology, sociality, technology. We rank each according to our personal priorities, regarding such assessments as relative. Most are. Yet fundamentals still remain.

At some point, a society is destined to turn on itself and to lose sight of whatever it was intended to be and originally founded upon. We the people grow too distracted, too casual in our valuations, too soft thanks to comfortable living, to where we no longer can properly discern what is truly fundamental, unable to tease it away from the rest of our preferences and wishful thinking. Progress leads us to thinking that whatever we might dream up can (and should) be somehow brought to fruition. If only we press hard enough, if we “educate” others to see things our way, if we pressure laws to be changed to suit our ideological leanings and visions for the future. We begin looking at ourselves and one another as belonging to teams, political or otherwise, and resort to competing over the most banal matters.

Eventually, we get lost.

Tyranny depends on a confused and disoriented populace. Hence why it sows divisions among us. All serves to distract and keep us busy so that we don’t react against the powers-that-be. Those powers shift and change over the Ages, but always they play a similar game. Who are they? Mere humans. What do they strive for? Power, control, wealth, and a God-like stature that enables them to usher in their particular vision for humanity. Why? Because that’s how human nature works when ambition and greed is allowed to run amok for too long unchecked. What do we do about? Very little considering how tasked we are by our day-to-day obligations and triflings, compounded by our various disputes of however much substance that undermine our ability to unite with one another to launch an effective response (as would be needed to go up against the scope and ferocity of powers at play today). Often we talk about what is wrong with the world and what we ought to do about it. Yet, here we are: watching, listening, waiting, wondering. Feeling pressed. Wishing to stave off conflicts that appear more inevitable with each passing year, hoping our luck will hold out, nevermind future generations likely being left to contend with it on their own (despite their utter lack of preparation to do so).

I get bogged down by these considerations on a regular basis. What is one to do with an outlook such as this? How does one defend against a Leviathan that’s been allowed to grow this massive and powerful? How does one form bonds with their fellows when we’re all so divided and seemingly incapable of coming back together anytime soon? What is one’s individual role in response to this then?

Lots of questions arise, begging for answers I do not know. What we do know is that we must remain free to think and speak honestly if ever there will be a chance of sorting any of this out.

The pondering rolls onward…

Pondering on transhumanism, esotericism & the future of humanity

Something that’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been delving into learning about the so-called “esoteric arts” and whatnot is this question of hate. This is a term popularly tossed around in political discourse these days and is intended to denote a sense of self-righteousness, superiority, vulgar mistreatment of others, etc. Though it’s now commonly being tossed around so haphazardly in response to differing opinions that it’s losing its meaning and is regarded by many of us as merely a dismissive gesture toward opinions one doesn’t care to wrestle with or take seriously.

But the notion of hate runs much deeper than that. It used to be said that hate counters love, but over time it makes better sense to me to see hate and love as passions that are countered by indifference (apathy) at the opposite extreme.

When it comes to the esoteric traditions, however, the word hate takes on a different meaning altogether. Not sure how deep I care to get into my thoughts on this subject today, but I’d like to at least touch on the topic for a while here, because it’s troubling me and thereby forcing me to continue conducting research so as to gain a better understanding of the traditions of old and to question my own social conditioning and how that actually might be misleading me (and others in society).

There’s a theology of sorts referred to as Luciferianism. I won’t claim to be terribly familiar with it yet, but Lucifer (the fallen angel, also associated with the Devil) is historically understood to be the “light bringer.” Now, if we back up and consider biblical scriptures of the Old Testament, we are aware that the story of Adam and Eve centered around them eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, presented to them by the serpent. Knowledge — that being the key point there. Expanding human awareness.

Another biblical story that keeps returning to mind lately is that of the Tower of Babel, in which humans somehow united to where they shared a common language as well as technologies available at the time which they then used to construct (presumably metaphorically) a tower that reached to the heavens. In essence, this appears to be about human ingenuity reaching toward God-like status. And this was achieved through the unification of various peoples throughout the land, hence why their punishment (again, best understood metaphorically) was that they were all scattered and given different languages and essentially knocked back into dark ages, effectively destroying their chances of attempting such a feat again anytime soon. Literal interpretations of this story tend to obscure the real danger being pointed to here: the great proclivity within human beings to strive to come together and to create societies and/or institutions and/or technologies that might rival that which we call God.

So often we hear people speak almost childishly about such stories, proclaiming them to be mere testaments of how jealous the Christian God of the bible is. But that’s a distracting way to look at it, in my opinion. Because I see us now striving to create just that same sort of “tower to heaven” once again. And we’re being instructed to unite and to love one another and to see past our differences, all of which sounds appealing on the surface. But what if we’re actually being encouraged to go against our natures in a way that isn’t ultimately beneficial in the ways we might dream it could be? What if, perhaps, we’re actually serving an ideology that has trans-humanist ambitions that would wind up eradicating all that we value in human life?

Probably sounds like a stretch, and I would’ve thought so too not that long ago.

Food for thought (exhibit A):

The topic of tribalism keeps returning to my mind also these days. Partly because of racial/cultural conflicts here and abroad. Partly because of events in my own life that have been forcing me to reckon with the very real need for us as humans to identify with and belong to some sort of tribe (though not necessarily in accordance with racial divisions – in fact, I believe it’s distinctly ideological/cultural). This does not appear to be a proclivity we can overcome nor that it will likely prove beneficial for us to attempt to do so beyond a reasonable extent. Why? Because this is how we as humans function psychologically and socially and it’s where meaning is derived in our lives. We function best when trying to solve problems and overcome obstacles and while preserving and protecting what we deem sacred.

Everything melding into everything else is the opposite of that. When lines and boundaries become indistinct and relativity undermines all morality and cultural differences, we cannot help but lose our sense of self.

But, new-age movement people might say, that is healthy for us since we should be striving at this point in history to overcome our ego identification and instead to see ourselves as part of a greater unity. Yes and no. There’s value in examining both sides of that duality, but we humans indeed must live with duality. The oneness some are placing on a high pedestal these days isn’t a place where humans can live, thrive and continue to function day to day as what we are. Hence why this proposed “upgrade” requires us to be biologically and technologically enhanced so as to accept it. Lest we simply go mad in the chaos it cannot help but usher in when all values are destroyed.

Why do we strive toward such an idea? Why has it become so tempting? One reason is because it has been sold to us as the pathway toward peace. BUT, considering that such a transition is trans-humanistic to the core, it’s essentially calling for our destruction as human beings. We must cease to be what we are in order to move forward into this vision for the future. And in this vision that some are celebrating (see the video above), artificial intelligence and other man-made technologies are what become idolized. Are these not false prophets and idols? Not because a jealous God might proclaim them to be, but because our faith in our own ingenuity can’t guarantee this game will play out as hoped. I am willing to bet everything that it will not lead us to the paradise we seek. Unless by paradise we simply mean death, and yes, in death there may indeed be peace. Perhaps.

I get conflicted on this subject, wondering if maybe this is truly the next frontier that we humans will be forced to reckon with, whether we want to or not. That maybe this is some sort of “natural” trajectory, if only because our species is prone to fall in love with its own creations and discoveries (albeit while demonstrating repeatedly a severe shortcoming in terms of long-term foresight). We are dreamers, and this is the new dream for some among us. They wish for us to believe a more centralized world where virtual reality can replace the hardships of actual reality will be a worthwhile escape for our species.

In this I see extinction. I see death. I see arrogance and pride and greed. I see an unwillingness to grasp the blessings we have already, even if they must be hard-won through suffering and introspection and pain. The dream to transcend this reality strikes me as a foolish nightmare where I cannot follow. But perhaps enough others do wish for such possibilities to come into being, and who am I to try to stop them? Wouldn’t do any good if I tried, most likely.

Still, I look back on what historical records we do have access to and see this is not entirely a new trend. Human folly has a way of circling back around and renewing itself over time, that much is a given. Interesting to learn about though. Probably the key takeaway in all of this pertains to the need to work on and save oneself. Might not be able to ever change the minds of others, and certainly we can’t draw others nearer to us and our worldview without showing them that this reality and humanity as a whole isn’t so terrible, that attempting to transcend it isn’t really the better option. But how do you show that in this day and age when so much indeed is terrible? When politicians on all sides are woefully corrupt, when major businesses invade our privacy and mold our thinking, when there are so many divisions that have been sown and we drive one another nuts on a daily basis?

I don’t know. Am thinking there’s no real way out of this conundrum since I’m pretty damn sure humanity is heading in the trans-humanist direction because they believe that dream might prove better. So there’s your apocalypse on the horizon. Artificial intelligence embraced worldwide appears to be what the bible refers to as the Anti-Christ. The reason it is Anti-Christ is because it is anti-human. Christ was first and foremost our Brother, and this new era seeks to transcend Him and us and all that we ever were or otherwise could be.

Not speaking as a Christian here, but I do have an admitted fondness for Jesus. His story confuses me at times too, though, seeing as how he encouraged us to love one another, yet it’s not terribly clear where we should draw lines. Make a scene in the temple and disrupt the usurers, yes — but now we live in the land of usury. Love all as if our neighbors and kin, sounds good — but also we’re instructed to hate the sin. The bible is a very confusing and complicated text that seems to contradict itself throughout. What does it mean to love in the way Jesus intended? To show mercy, yes, but what about justice? Why has justice been downplayed? So that those currently in power can get away with their crimes, of course. Why were we humans instructed in the bible to behave as lambs? Are we to understand that to mean we should be so docile that we become prey? Are we to be pacifists? How human is that?

Back to the notion of light and knowledge — what is it we’re trying to illuminate here? Humanity’s capacity for good and evil? Surely we will get to see plenty more of that. Why is Lucifer, the bringer of light, considered the bad guy of the bible, the Devil? Are we to take that to mean we’re better off ignorant? Or is it simply pointing to the reality that knowledge is a double-edged sword? That seems to be it. Is it possible that the greater the dream, accompanied by the technologies capable of possibly manifesting such a dream, then the greater the consequent fall? I think that sounds about right also.

Perhaps we’re incapable of turning away from such dreams once they’ve sprouted in our collective imaginations. The desire to know where a path leads overpowers us, engages our curiosity and tempts us into believing we can resolve our worldly problems. Nevermind that there are very powerful people behind the scenes pushing this agenda. How might they plan to benefit? Is what they’re selling to us the full story? Do you really think those who’ve grown most powerful across the world are looking out for all of humanity’s best interest? Do you believe this to be an altruistic ambition on their part? When always before they have acted in ways that lead to them accruing greater power, wealth and control, always greater gains for themselves regardless of how much blood must be spilled in that pursuit.

Seems to me, whatever those belonging to old, wealthy, powerful families and institutions are pushing for, we’d be wise to go the opposite way.

When have they ever led us somewhere truly beneficial that hasn’t come with great pain and a high price to pay in exchange? But perhaps that’s just the way of people and of life and maybe it cannot be helped.

I get to thinking lately that being knocked back into a stone age might actually be a better place to wind up than to allow ourselves to be permanently genetically, biologically, and perhaps even technologically transfigured. Though contaminants in our environment are already altering us hormonally and likely genetically, so I guess the process is underway whether we like it or not. That’s a cost of living in the type of world we have right now, leaving aside for a moment whatever the future may hold in store.

Crazy times. So much to ponder on. But this Luciferian thing, and its rise in popularity that even celebrities appear to be embracing (at least symbolically), is a very strange trend.

More food for thought (exhibit B): The Lucis Trust.

Light, love, unity, and the future. I don’t know what to make of all of this yet. Basic speculation on my part, and I don’t have an extremely firm position on any of this one way or the other.

Hey slave

Isn’t it odd how much we’ve outsourced of our personal lives in modern societies? Our personal needs. We pay someone to massage us. We pay someone to listen to us (as in a therapist/counselor). We may even pay someone to have sex with us and/or to provide other forms of erotic pleasure. We procure pets who require a great deal of attention so as to pet in order to feel better, to give our lives a little more sense of meaning. Pet them and feel a bit better, all while we pine for contact with one another.

Seems almost a crime when one really stops and ponders deeply on it.

What are we doing? In what ways are we becoming damaged psychologically in this day and age, and why? Is it required and necessary that we endure this? Maybe the path must go through nihilism on its way — I won’t claim to know.

But look at us. LOOK at where so many of us stand currently. And only rising.

Now what? What then? What are we to do?

What’s a better approach forward? Where better to go from here?

Seems accurate that the best way to save others is to first save oneself.

Has the perfect storm resulted in an inevitable societal outcome, unchangeable by us regardless of what we individually and even collectively may attempt? Have we already gone too far? I don’t know. But I’ve come to think there will be a good bit of hell before we might arrive at some approximation of heaven on earth.

Some call that outlook pessimistic. I call it a realistic probability. And I have to contend with whatever life is bringing. Anything else is living in delusion. How can it not be?

PHILOSOPHIZE THIS! on Kierkegaard

“Episode #078 Kierkegaard on Religion”:

“Episode #079 Kierkegaard on Anxiety”:

Interesting videos worth sharing.

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”  — Soren Kierkegaard

Too many choices can indeed prove paralyzing…

An introduction to the Frankfurt School (Philosophize This!)

Don’t expect any mention of Erich Fromm in this podcast though, unfortunately. Fromm being the Frankfurt School author I’m most familiar with. But it’s still an interesting podcast to listen to, especially recommended for those who have a knee-jerk reaction against anything relating to the Frankfurt School.

Part 1, “Introduction”:

Part 2, “The Enlightenment”:

Part 3, “The Culture Industry”:

Part 4, “Eros”:

Part 5, “Civilization”:

Part 6, “Art As A Tool For Liberation”:

What is referred to therein as “monopoly capitalism” sounds to be the same as what I generally refer to as Corporatism and/or oligopolistic capitalism. The difference being that the market situation has grown and expanded through the domination of sectors by key major (and increasingly global/multinational) corporations that wind up working in tandem to shut out competition from smaller businesses and upstarts (whether via political lobbying efforts or through technological strangleholds, etc.). To me, calling it monopolistic at this point oversimplifies the reality we’re confronting, though I can understand why Marcuse would use that language in the 1970s.

Part 7, “The Great Refusal”:

Pausing at 4:55 in that last clip…yes, and it’s precisely that concern which drives my own interest in the arguments and ideas put forth by people like Dr. Jordan Peterson. Though Peterson is well-known for criticizing neo-Marxists and those he refers to as “postmodernists,” he’s still absolutely right about how one needs to “clean your own room” before attempting to engage too far in the process of attempting to overhaul society. Why? Because “cleaning one’s own room” is about more than just literally doing domestic chores — it’s about developing our own individual selves, grappling with our own limitations and shortcomings, and taking more time to study history broadly so that we can have a better handle on what all has come before and why we humans find ourselves where we’re collectively at now. These are complex matters, not simply bumbling errors brought about by idiot, racist/sexist/”traditionalist” predecessors who gave too little thought to life and living or who were all so blinded by their own destructive agendas that they gave no shits for the fate of future generations. That’s too close-minded and uncharitable of an interpretation of the unfolding of history and the motives of people in the past and the institutions they designed over time. We have to step back and really take time to think deeply about what we’re confronting here today and how it came into being incrementally over the course of the rise of civilizations. Not any easy task. Requires a great deal of personal reckoning as well, due to our own individual biases and wishful thinking and brainwashed programming delivered via mainstream sources, educators (even those who were well-intentioned in their own right), and the wider culture and the narratives it depends on in order to survive.

The further I’ve gone down this rabbit hole over the years, the deeper I recognize the rabbit hole to be. There are no simply answers here. Not even that many clear-cut enemies necessarily. Just a bunch of us humans trying to make sense of reality and to play the games according the rules we understand (or rebel against them if that’s our bag). Domination and power certainly do factor in to the lived human experience, but so does SO MUCH else. It’s not so simple of a matter as destroying hierarchies and we’ll all eventually be free to live in peaceful equality with one another. No, that’s just begging for the creation of a power vacuum which will be filled by the ambitions of other groups of people operating under their own ideologies that will very likely prove even less effective than what’s currently in place. It’s a precarious situation at present, compounded by so much idealism in the hearts of protesters who like to imagine themselves as having the magical, never-before-tried answers to what plagues humanity. And many of them are blind to the lessons of history as well, largely due to ideological obsessiveness and the narrowing of focus that commonly entails. They will not prove to be saviors either, I’m willing to bet.

That doesn’t mean we have to throw our hands in the air and accept the current status quo as the only game worth playing because all else (like communism) likely will prove even more fatal. But it does ask of us to be careful and cautious in moving forward, to pay closer attention and to not be so arrogant as to assume we ourselves and those we politically/socially identify with have discovered ultimate answers to these complex problems and issues. Humility is absolutely essential here, lest history just keep on repeating (or rhyming, rather) in a downward spiraling fashion (thanks, in part, to new and powerful technologies coupled with greater centralization than the world has ever known before). Power available today is like that of no other time in history — be heedful of that fact.

Many of us want to see change be brought about, for human societies to become healthier and less dominated by economic interests solely. Plenty of us grasp the alienating features of modern life and what that can and does do to us psychologically and socially, and how that then spills out to impact all other aspects of society. But the way to bringing about change indeed isn’t going to come through simply protesting in the streets or certain interest groups vying to dominate within academe and the corporate and political world. That’s just a recipe for more disaster, so far as I can tell. I lost all faith in that approach. It’s become more a question of individual development and social evolution, of working with what is within our direct control and making decisions that allow us as individuals (and the communities we choose to devise or partake in) to live more in alignment with the values we claim to hold dear. Not trying to force the hands of others, since that won’t work. Better to find ways around the perceived obstructions and to test our own mettle than to attempt to overthrow society as a whole, especially when no better game plan is yet afforded to all of us on a society-wide scale.

People don’t wish to hear this, because it sounds harder. Much easier to instead try to push for change in the streets or by screaming at people in lecture halls and pulling down audio equipment so as to disrupt speakers we dislike. Much easier to behave destructively, rebelliously, than to take the time to comprehend our own inner tyrants and the consequences that produces in a reverberating fashion across society and on up through history. Much easier to blame the “other,” somebody else, than to recognize our own part played in this due to the human nature we share. Doesn’t matter that we were just born into this and didn’t ask for this. Nobody originally ever asks for anything, and all were born into it. That’s no excuse for refusing to do the heavy lifting required in this life. Turns out that giving in to such destructive tendencies and acting like rebels without a clue winds up doing more harm than good oftentimes, especially to our own selves, though it’s usually years on down the road before we can recognize it for what it is.

There are no easy answers here, and there likely never will be. It’s just us and our strivings and our need to learn to communicate more effectively with one another about our conflicting points of view. And that’s okay. This is what we have to work with. There was never a rose garden back before, no ideal worth returning to necessarily. Just the movement and expansion of Life in all its complexity on up through time. Never perfect, at least not in the rational sense that we humans like to dream about, nor will it ever be. But we co-constructors of this reality, particularly in terms of our own actions and choices herein. So we start there, inside oneself, that being where we have the most control and are capable of reaping the greatest benefit in our lifetimes.

Simple, yet not easy. C’est la vie…

“Albert Camus on the Absurd (The Myth of Sisyphus) – Philosophy Core Concepts”

“Joe Rogan Experience #1081 – Bret Weinstein & Heather Heying”

“The Master and His Emissary: Conversation with Dr. Iain McGilchrist”