Friday, 12 December 2014

Three idealisms to think about

Three idealisms: Schopenhauer, Berkeley, and Dewey


I propose three idealisms, which summarize all other idealisms generally. By this I mean there may be some minor differences but as a whole most "idealisms" will fit into one of these. 

1.     Theory S for Schopenhauer. This theory begins with Kantian epistemology but moves into a pre-Kantian ‘eastern’ namely Buddhist atheistic approach. In this theory, the noumenal world is singular and the phenomenal world all connected in this way, giving rise to sensations and compassion. This noumenal world is outside of time and space and is therefore complete and actual. There is meaninglessness but also peace at the heart of the cosmos, and humans can find solace through a life of compassion and indifference.


2. Theory B for Berkeley. This theory was pre-Kantian and theistic approach. In a very similar way the noumenal world is one, but is encompassed by the Christian God. In this sense, humans are inside of God which also include time and space and is therefore actual and complete. There is both meaning and peace at the heart of the cosmos, and humans can find solace in a life devoted to imitating Christ’s humanity which is based on both compassion and understanding.



3. Theory D for Dewey. This theory is a post-Hegelian, atheistic and pragmatic approach. The noumenal world is multiple, as found in Kant, and it is also imperfect. There is chaos at the heart of the cosmos, and there is neither personal God nor transcendental unity to find solace or truth in. The chaos of the noumenal is found in the phenomenal world as well, and humans can find solace in a life devoted to practical and pragmatic work, in the name of improving the phenomenal world in whatever ways one can.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

True Detective: RUST as Mystic



True Detective was/is/will still be a great HBO crime drama- in line with many other great HBO crime drama's like THE WIRE or THE SOPRANOS. HBO has done well with the genre and continues with it. 
However unlike the humanist, secular and often post modern worlds many of the modern televisions series live in, the life-world of True Detective is as traditional as any 60's sitcom or 80's cop show. The line between black and white is clear. There are police and satanists (which have been out of fashion since the satanic panic of the 80's) preachers, teachers, and everything else as American as apple pie.
However where it departs is in its philosophy which to me at first seemed somewhat out of place and strange. Since it was a mix of Christianity, nihilism, and anti-natalism with a coating of an eliminative materialist sense of human nature. My suspicions were confirmed when it turned out the writer of the show was shown to have plagiarized some of the philosophical speeches and that is why he did not understand the inconstancies of the show. 
IF there had been none of Rust's "speeches" the shows narrative of good and bad cops fighting rich guys who are publicly "good" but privately "bad" is as old as the hills. 
BUT because we know that sections were kind of cut and pasted in- we have to take the ENTIRE narrative now with a grain of salt. If the author had actually written the whole thing then it would make sense to 'dig deep' and try and find some easter egg type philosophical gems but alas that would be a waste of time one could spend writing  a blog article or something. 

BUT because we know the writer is a lying idiot and many of the fans are only picking up on what they want to see/hear/attempt to understand then I offer 2 very different takes on the show. 
"If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of shit. And I’d like to get as many of them out in the open as possible. You gotta get together and tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the goddamn day? What’s that say about your reality?" _RUST at revival tent


The first is RUST as typical American hard working cop, an atheist and deep thinker who wants nothing but to get to the bottom of a case using his unique observation and deductive skills. Like Colombo or that Murder She Wrote lady. For RUST #1 Christianity is presented as the typical dumb sheep religion full of the unfortunate parts of society without any sense of truth, with only a practical function and a place for "con-men" to make money. This is epitomized in the opening credits montage and the handicapped man is shown in religious ecstasy, and in his comments at the Church Tent. I got a copy of the script and got the exact lines which tweaked my interest and in which I first had an intuition that something was wrong/inconsistent with the writing that was being praised as "philosophy." 


But Rust has some "issues", some psychological ones, as part of his shell of a self he created to cope with both the death of his caught and his years of undercover narc work. 
The story tells us his daughter was killed at a young age- (and personally, as a new father to a little girl) I can only imagine the depressing tail spin an event like that could cause a person. This is text book existentialism in the discussions of death, life, care and love. 
He is also a police office who worked in 'drug undercover" which makes him a "Informant" or "rat" and therefore must be full of self loathing or at least anxiety for one thing along side the drug fuelled flashbacks he experiences from years of "under cover" buzzes. You cannot live for years as a fake person like undercover police do and be expected to be psychological stable at the end of it -especially throwing a bunch of drugs new to you into the mix-since it is a type of forced multiple personality disorder- probably not worth the pay check. 
He drinks beer and smokes cigarettes to manage the pain of existence, preaching the philosophy of Schopenhauer via David Benetar. I quote Rust:

"I think human consciousness, is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight - brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal." RUST

This may sound impressive, but it is typical nihilist reasoning. 
RUST 1: Cigarettes, Beer, and Cynicism: MOST existentialists take this route, especially in Europe it seems. :) You know the whole black turtle neck, chain smoking "character" of a existentialist sitting in a coffee shop debating suicide. 

Finally the quote that all the internet loved especially in the fitness circles was this one:


"I see a propensity for obesity. Poverty. A yen for fairy tales. Folks puttin’ what few bucks they do have into a little wicker basket being passed around. I think it’s safe to say nobody here’s gonna be splitting the atom, Marty."

Since this quote wanted to equate being physical thin and fit WITH be atheist AND also with intelligence SO MANY PEOPLE want to think of themselves as fit and smart and so atheist must be part of that too, right? According to Rust, right? 

NOT SO FAST! 
RUST 2: Contemplative Mystic: contemplating the Garden, transcending the easy dichotomies of good and bad, even carrying a Buddhist mirror for meditation. I quote RUST 2:


"I contemplate the moment in the garden, the idea of allowing your own crucifixion."- RUST (this is a specific mystic practice-Christian even) 

"F***, I don't want to know anything anymore. This is a world where nothing is solved. Someone once told me, 'Time is a flat circle.' Everything we've ever done or will do, we're gonna do over and over and over again. And that little boy and that little girl, they're gonna be in that room again and again and again forever." -RUST (not exactly the linear ontology of time so popular today and much more in like with classical Greek thinking, oriental mystic and even quantum physics) 

"Well, once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light's winning." RUST (sound like HOPE to me) 

The people who would automatically agree with the equation of obesity, religion and being dumb are genially missing the more important Rust's quotes above!


The second RUST is not as typical. Instead this Rust is a deeply spiritual man. A man moved by death. And in this RUST we find a man who practices Christian mysticism, is open to the mystery of the cosmos, and who gets more confessions out of people then any other person in their police department due to his ability to talk about their inner life and motivations and reflect on the bigger picture, not unlike Socrates or a good priest. Even carrying a meditation mirror and having visions, which of course are written off as 'drug induced' hallucinogens in the style of what William James called "medical materialism" which is a new religion today, with doctors as the high priests. Rust is even critical of traditional religion (as typical mystics can often be) he even brings in some anthropology when he says:

"Transference of fear and self-loathing to an authoritarian vessel. It’s catharsis. He absorbs their dread with his narrative. Because of this, he’s effective in proportion to the amount of certainty he can project. Certain linguistic anthropologists think that religion is a language virus that rewrites pathways in the brain. Dulls critical thinking." 

BUT this quote just emphasizes his mystical leanings and his ultimate vision at the end of the show-which was written off as another hallucination. 

BUT, BUT, BUT since the writer of this show just plagiarized the deeper parts, then some of us who actually like to thick about philosophy would be on a wild goose chance to try and find a coherent whole to the story. :) 





Wednesday, 24 September 2014

FLOW

Hungarian Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the metaphor “flow”. “Flow theory” states  a phenomenological structure of seven dimensions and describes the experience for individuals across occupations, demographic groups, and cultures. Csikszentmihalyi lists them as follows.[1]


Phenomenological dimensions of Flow:

1
Balance of skill and demand
2
Action and awareness merged
3
Concentration on task
4
Sense of potential control
5
Loss of self‑consciousness
6
Altered sense of time
7
Autotelic (self‑rewarding) experience

The metaphor of flowing or “flow” is used by Csikszentmihalyi to designate the moods of life that are the basis of optimal experiences. He as describes these moments as:
These exceptional moments are what I have called flow experiences. The metaphor of flow is one that many people have used to describe the sense of effortless action they feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives. Athletes refer to it as "being in the zone", religious mystics as being in ecstasy, and artists and musicians as aesthetic rapture. Athletes, mystics, and artists do very different things when they reach flow, yet their descriptions of the experience are remarkably similar.[2]                     

In modern sports psychology, athletes and coaches have referred to this flowing mood as “being in the zone”. “Being in the zone” is a calm yet energized, challenged yet confident, focused yet instinctive mood. A mood characterized by confidence and only slight resistance.
In regards to religion, Csikszentmihalyi thinks that the “flow” phenomenon equivalent to ecstasy. I disagree and would not equate religious ecstasy always with “flow”. Ecstasy is itself an elated mood but different then flow. Therefore to maintain the religious connections, “flow” may be closer to the Zen Buddhist phenomena of muga or “no-mind.” The state of muga, occurs when the split between the acting self and the self-observing self disappears, and the act becomes effortless, automatic, and entranced.
In the arts, this “flow” phenomenon is frequently called aesthetic rapture. It was this phenomenon of aesthetic rapture that was the basis for the interest and the development of the metaphor of “flow” by Csikszentmihalyi. This is because Csikszentmihalyi doctoral thesis focused on how visual artists create art. To do this, he studied photos taken every three minutes as artists created a painting. After looking at many of the photos he writes:
Struck by how deeply they were involved in work, forgetting everything else. That state seemed so intriguing that I started also looking for it in chess players, in rock climbers, in dancers and in musicians. I expected to     find substantial differences in all their activities, but people reported very            similar accounts of how they felt. Then, I started looking at professions like surgery and found the same elements there in a challenge which provides clear, high goals and immediate feedback... They forget themselves, the time, and their problems.[3]

As it is shown, flowing involves a special experience of the self, reality, time and is filled with emotions of satisfaction and great enjoyment.





[1] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Finding Flow (Harper Collins, New York, 1997) p.29
[2] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Finding Flow (Harper Collins, New York, 1997) p.29
[3] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow (Harper Perennial, New York,, 1991) p.4

Thursday, 21 August 2014

a modified Christopher Hitchens argument

what does Andrew mean by a modified Christopher Hitchens argument? Before Zeus took Chris's life, he was an excellent 'public debater' but unfortunately because he was kinda of a journalist, career oriented person he bounced around various television and radio shows and stirred up lots of controversy.  Not a bad thing but it meant that he ended up in some very dumb debates with complete idiots and he destroyed them with 'tried and true' lines of argument that he repeated a lot. So by the end of his life he was basically bashing fundamentalism and it kinda seemed like he was taking the easy road. Even though in earlier years he bashed all kinds of different people, which was better. Like the video with him debating on 'Talk Live' with some American White Supremacists. It is a great example of his power to deal with evil people and show why they should be considered evil.



I hope you watched this whole video because it was great. A shining example of Hitchens 'calling out' shity people with shitty opinions. (no not every shitty opinion deserves to be heard by everyone, just like bad music does not deserve radio play)


Hitchens was much more like Sartre (with the philosophy and constant drinking and smoking) then he was like Dawkins or Chomsky - a part of his appeal.

Anyway I will get to the point of my story. The Hitchens argument against religion is this:

1. Religion makes human do evil things that they would not have done if not religiously motivated. Therefore religion cannot be justified as something good. 

He gives good examples, but mainly to do with body mutilation stuff like circumcisions and things.

Okay I agree in part, but other people (like Robert Wright) have shown that many 'religious' wars are simply traditional land wars and so in many ways the real problem is "real estate". But if Hitchens said 'real estate causes people to do evil things" not many people would listen or care. 

SO here is my point. Watch this:

1.  Business makes human do evil things that they would not have done if not finically motivated. Therefore business cannot be justified as something good.


Ex. cut down rain forest for beef cattle for fast food restaurants. Or fire 80% of workers at the factory/mill to balance the budget while CEO takes large bonus because that is how it works.



2.  Science makes human do evil things that they would not have done if not scientifically motivated. Therefore science cannot be justified as something good.



Ex. Experimenting on animals. Treating humans as specimens. Nazi medicine- we know more about the brain and neurology today thanks to the "unethical' experiments they did on live humans. 

So I think I have made my point, I am not defending religion or business or science but have just been thinking lately that his 'religion argument' can easily be used on other 'structures' in society. 


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Ninja Turtles, Censorship and Nunchaku

the latest incarnation of the 'mutant turtle ninja teenagers'
So the latest version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja/Hero Turtles is now in box offices and they have a new CG gritty look (Warning: I have not seen the new film, nor plan on going to the theatre, and this in not a review) and like all new superhero/comic movie adaptations there are tons of grey landscapes done on blue screens. Anyway I am no movie production critic (maybe a movie narrative critic) and so my main concern today is to discuss a matter related to these dudes-censorship. We need to back up a bit though-like to Plato's Republic.


The Republic is the 'ideal city' in the philosophy of Plato and perhaps his most well know work and contains the famous 'cave analogy' among others. Part of the perfect city involves a (some would argue) totalitarian regime and deliberate censorship of certain arts. The most famous was the banning of flutes, and Aristotle in his work of Politics notes a sign of cultural decline when 'legislators' allowed the flute back into the public education. Flutes caused people to get excited and so better ban them! :) Flutes were only good for war and the Olympics!

Fast forward to the 1980's in the North America and the UK where the is a new conservative political stranglehold over the arts again. BUT this time it effected me. You see when I was very young I was into superheros and ninja's.  The 'ninja film' (well the US incarnation of ninja films) was in full effect.  There had already been ninja art "booms" in Japan in the 1930, and 50's and was a major source of children's books and entertainment- and spread to North American originally through James Bond novels and the film You Only Live Twice) . 

(side note: The documentary from 2006 THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED covers lots in interesting ideas around how and why films get certain rating and how any explicit lesbians love scenes would be considered x-rated while some PG-13 movies had murders and violence in spades, but that is a separate article. BUT IT IS AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF THE CULTURAL ENGINEERING PUZZLE. Anyway back to ninja movies.)
In 1988 my family moved from Canada to the UK where my "mum" was from. The original Laird and whatever his name was  "teenage mutant ninja turtles" were at the time still part of 'geek comic culture' and had not yet been completely pillaged and were pretty gritty and a very cool idea at the time. 
this original sketch sold at auction for like a bunch of money recently 


This was lightyears before MARVEL sold off all the right to its world and Mutants were all over the box office and Prof X became a household name.

Captain Jean Luc Xavier 
The original 'medium' for the Turtles was graphic novels and they were awesome to say the least.


Anywack lets get back to "me" ;) and the point of my story. While Nancy Reagan was teaching everyone that all drugs were equal and they were all hand made by the devil- the UK took the craziness a step further and decided that in order to make England safe (in a land where you can easily get crushed and killed at a 'football' match and where the food needs to be burned to carcinogenic levels to be considered cooked) they decided to ban a word- guess what word "NINJA". not kidding and I wish I was because I had to live in this crazy irrational culture for a few years. The ban was part of the "video nasty's" campaign that decided to ban movies like the EXORCIST as 'too bad for society'. So not only did they already have all guns banned in the UK, all martial arts weapons  needed to be banned as well and then one person really earning their censorship pay check decided "you know what lets extend the ban into the fantasy world- that should really teach those pesky kids NOT to imagine anything and follow the rules blindly right". SO here are some of the things that came out of that brilliant idea.
1. TEENAGE MUTANT HERO TURTLES; yes they actually changed the name from ninja to hero (not synonyms for the record). and here is proof from a video game cover from Konami as released in the UK.

2. It gets better now, because the Japanese Nunchaku or "NUM-CHUKS" as they are normally called are so difficult to make just like this video demonstrates, like a kid could not just make them in 5 minutes (holy shit is my sarcasm dripping out of the screen yet)
HOW TO MAKE "NUMCHUKS" they decided that it would be best to 'remove' them from reality completely!!!!! Well at least as far as they could not even be featured in a fantasy movie, like they were more dangerous then a time machine or ray gun. So the 'num-chuks' were removed and Michelangelo was given a grapple hook???? This scene "proves" he used numchuks in the original :) 



Anyway it gets even better because in TMNT 2 the secret of the Ooze a scene was deleted when Mike is swinging pepperoni in a 'numchucky way' -I know people were getting paid to make these decisions and probably even patted themselves on the back for 'improving society" FFS!
COMBAT COLDCUTS- do you think the carcinogenic preservatives or the 'numchukness' was worse??
AND the icing on the cake.

Do you know why nunchaku became so popular??? One name: BRUCE LEE!

Bruce Lee was no traditionalist and that is why he is using a Japanese weapon "the nunchaku" and they looked awesome on camera. It was also 'not' a Japanese ninja weapon, there are very few distinct 'ninja weapons' in fact and is a modified farming tool much like the traditional Okinawa Sai and Kama. Legendary Dan Inosanto was said to introduce them to Bruce. 
BUT LOOK AT THIS from the IMDB (movie database) on alternative versions of 'THE GAME OF DEATH".

"All footage of nunchaku was removed from the UK cinema version (which also meant substantially re-editing the closing credits), and video versions received a further 2 secs of cuts to remove a closeup shot of a back-break. The cuts were fully restored for the 2001 Hong Kong Legends release though the 2005 Universal DVD featured the heavily cut video version."

I remember vaguely Bruce using a stupid looking baton-like stick and I think that was what they 'altered' the nunchaku with as seen here. 



Anyway,  I am done writing for now, there are tons of directions this can go and I will leave it at that! 

Friday, 13 June 2014

Cytomel, Ray Peat and Fitness

hey reader read this: I am not a medical doctor so don;t pay attention to anything I say about this stuff, go and ask your doctor if you have real health concerns, this is just for fun :) 
"got any fat friends?" was the question a "gym guy" once asked me years ago as he produced a bottle of these out of a gym bag. He was asking because he was looking to sell some "thyroid" pills - since it could supposedly help drop weight fast. At the time all I "knew" was that if you ever took Thyroid, it may get you shredded but you would be hooked on it for life (not true but  that was the thinking at the time). This was back in the day when most underground physique drugs were either domestic or international "real" pharmaceuticals unlike the majority of drugs today which come from China in powders and any fraternity can buy a capsule making machine or mix some vegetable oil with it or alcohol and set up an 'underground lab' and sell stuff on the internet with  a home label making machine. Safe sounding isn't it? 
So now when you buy internet T3 or T4 it comes in a dropper bottle, made who knows where by who knows who, and says "not for human consumption." 

I mean unless you have a prescription for it but even if you did here in Canada the best that you will get is T4 (thyroxine) the boring stuff, since the HOT T3 stuff (triiodothyronine) is not actually even available in Canada by prescription?? Does that make ANY sense???? The US has tons of it for everyone though :) 
But the internet changed all kinds of stuff, including how people buy and sell drugs. :) Silk Road anyone? :) 
BUT I DIGRESS: back to how thyroid relates to fitness.

For the average person, they have heard that Billy is overweight because of a "gland problem" and that gland they mean is the thyroid gland my friends. 

For the average gym rat, thyroid is something not considered that much, and people still like to do cardio for fat loss and weights for muscles. The one thing they know is that thyroid is linked to that magical thing 'the metabolism' which is given to each person by a Greek god before birth to determine how happy they will be with their waistline. So that is why Sally is always so skinny- she was born with a "good" metabolism. 

In competitive bodybuilding thyroid (mainly T3) is used for fat loss during contest prep but it is very possible for it to work too well and eat away a bunch of muscle and LBM at the same time and so many guys only stack it will other drugs. However some forums will say that all ones needs is T3 to get shredded. 

But it is used because one thing bodybuilders know/knew a long time before the mainstream public was that our body runs on a few powerful hormones and by increasing and decreasing them with pills, injections and creams, one can radically alter body composition. Think testosterone, think insulin, think IGF1, and thyroid falls right in line here. 
if wondering what "shredded means" see picture above


The Thyroid gland (some people call it the throat chakra which relates to personal expression from Hinda philosophy ) is a "butterfly" shaped gland in the throat. Some of the disorders people have are hyper (too fast) and hypo(too slow) thyroid. When a thyroid is slow, the metabolism is slow and weight loss is much harder and gain much easier due to a slowing of caloric metabolism. 
So when people want to speed up the metabolism, some turn to thyroid supplements and drugs. Many OTC supplements in fact contain real thyroid, like many supplements contain pharmaceuticals off label (one famous pre workout drink had prescription blood thinners in it according to a Health Canada report) but some people simply get a thyroid test and get a script. 
Anyway IF thyroid health can have positive effects on body composition for people who struggle to stay lean- what can one do to keep it healthy? 

Well my new favourite 'food dude' is Ray Peat since he is cynical and smart enough to make me think about stuff again! 
my new favourite 'food dude'-like to meet him someday RAY PEAT! 

He is big on promoting thyroid health and I have even read people criticize him because he recommends T3 ALOT. But I am keeping an open mind to his brilliant ideas. 
And so without just repeating everything he said I am linking a great article for other people looking to learn more. 



ps: Peat diet spoiler: lots of OJ and Homo Milk, raw carrot, lamb or beef once a day, some cheese, salt and vitamin E + some T3 for good measure! :) oh yeah and relax and buy a red light bulb!