Sunday, August 9, 2020

Amoralism and Irrationalism

Being an amoralist is not the sign of irrationalism; a man of reason can be lacking in moral sense, while a mystic, who is generally regarded as an irrational person, might be a staunch moralist. The choice of moral principles, in most human beings, is pre-rational or pre-reason: people pick up their basic moral ideas between the ages of two and five when they are too young to make use of their faculty of reason. Amoralism, on the other hand, is the conscious choice of a rational adult—to deny the moral ideas that you picked up as a child, you need to use your reason. This is why, nihilism (a social manifestation of amoralism) infects only the intellectualized sections of society; the people who have no exposure to philosophy and art are able to avoid nihilism.

Between Marcus and Machiavelli

Marcus Aurelius, the stoic philosopher and Roman emperor, stands at the beginning of the middle ages, and Machiavelli, the diplomat and classical realist philosopher and historian, stands at the end of it. The distance between Marcus and Machiavelli, of about 1300 years, is known as the Middle Ages. In history of philosophy, the Middle Ages do not get even a fraction of the attention that is given to Ancient and Modern philosophy, because, when philosophy took an atheistic turn in the eighteenth century, it became obligatory for the philosophers for suppress the achievements of the Middle Ages when religious institutions were the driving force in philosophy, science, art, and politics.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Dangerous Game of the “Worst”

When people are consumed by fear of the worst and start preparing for it, they are playing a dangerous game, which will inspire their political rivals to redouble their efforts for ensuring that the worst gets unleashed—the nation’s politics becomes a battleground between those who want to preserve political and economic stability and those who want to bring society to its knees. In such a situation, the less extreme elements never have any chance against the more extreme elements; the advantage is with the side that is willing to unleash the worst.

What Makes The Great Novelist

In his review of Sartre's novel Nausea, Camus describes what makes the great novelist: “A novel is never anything but a philosophy put into images. And in a good novel, the whole of the philosophy has passed into the images. But if once the philosophy overflows the characters and action, and therefore looks like a label stuck on the work, the plot loses its authenticity and the novel its life. Nevertheless, a work that is to last cannot dispense with profound ideas. And this secret fusion between experiences and ideas, between life and reflection on the meaning of life, is what makes the great novelist.”

The Opium of Political Movements

Racism is the opium of the liberals. The idea of ‘good old days’ is the opium of the conservatives. Stateless society is the opium of the libertarians.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Expansion and Expression

History tells us that “expansion” and “expression” march hand in hand. The nations which are successful in “expanding” their frontiers, by military, economic, and diplomatic measures, generally excel in “expression”—they are overflowing with intellectual energy and they “express” themselves in great works of art, literature, history, philosophy, and theology. But the communities which remain confined to their own geographical area, and rarely try to conquer new territories, tend to become intellectually stagnant: they have no art, no history, no literature, no philosophy, and no theology. The ability to conduct brutal military campaigns is conducive for intellectual activities (as long as the military campaigns are successful and the empire is politically stable).

The Bureaucrat in Yes Minister

There is nothing that a bureaucrat cares for more than his reputation for being a man of superlative intellect and the repository of every bit of critical information—the attributes of information and intellect, he thinks, makes everyone around him seem like a bumbling idiot, thus making it obvious that in any situation he, and only he, knows what needs to be done. This trait of a bureaucrat was depicted with perfection in the British sitcom Yes Minister, by the character called Humphrey Appleby (played by Nigel Hawthorne), who is the minister’s Principal Secretary.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Julian Calendar

When Julius Caesar defied the authority of the senate, crossed the Rubicon, and marched into Rome in 49 BC, the Roman calendar was off by 41 days. One of his first major decisions was to order a reform of the Roman calendar. With the help of Greek scholars such as Sosigenes of Alexandria, the Romans created, in four years, a new calendar called the Julian calendar, which took effect from 1 January 45 BC; many features of this calendar are in use till this day. History records 15th March 44 BC (the ides of March) as the day when Caesar was assassinated by his political rivals because the days were being counted through the Julian calendar—if the earlier calendar had been in place, then the record keepers of that period would have recorded another date.

Four Ways of Venerating God

There are four ways by which you can venerate god: first, by acquiring wisdom; second, by performing moral deeds; third, by being emotionally balanced; fourth, by studying philosophy (theological and secular).

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Absolute Laws of Economics

The laws of economics are absolute as the laws of physics and mathematics. When economics lashes out against a nation for violating its laws, it stops at nothing—hell hath no fury like a law of economics scorned. The success of a nation is directly proportional to the degree to which its government adheres to the laws of economics.

A Spector is Haunting the World

20th century: A specter is haunting the world—the specter of communism, nazism, and fascism. 

21st century: A specter is haunting the world—the specter of climate change, racism, sexism, misogyny, gender, and global pandemic.

At least, the people in the 20th century had the sense to battle the real threats.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

On The Utopians

The utopian leader chastises the past—the past is naive, it’s irrational and vile, it’s an abomination which has bedeviled society for too long; the time has now come to demolish it by any means, including terror, if necessary, and once we are free of the past, we will begin the work for creating a new social system, a utopia based on the new set of values prescribed by the party doctrine. He is convinced that the cause of human progress stands or falls with him: the fight for truth is his fight. He will readily sacrifice his life for his utopia provided there is a large enough audience to witness him do it.

Caveat Emptor

I like this line by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” The louder the politician talks of the free stuff that he is going to give me, the faster I count the money in my wallet. The louder the philosopher talks of a utopia, the faster I count the loonies who are congregating around him.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Gibbon’s Description of Commodus’s Gladiatorial Performance

In November 192, Commodus became the first Roman Emperor to enter the arena (during the Plebeian Games) as a gladiator. He believed that he had the attributes of a Roman Hercules, and no man or beast could kill him. In Edward Gibbon’s History of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, (Volume 1, Chapter 4), there is a colorful account of Commodus’s feats as a star-gladiator at the Plebeian Games: “Whether he aimed at the head or heart of the animal, the wound was alike certain and mortal. With arrows whose point was shaped into the form of crescent, Commodus often intercepted the rapid career, and cut asunder the long, bony neck of the ostrich. A panther was let loose; and the archer waited till he had leaped upon a trembling malefactor. In the same instant the shaft flew, the beast dropped dead, and the man remained unhurt. The dens of the amphitheater disgorged at once a hundred lions: a hundred darts from the unerring hand of Commodus laid them dead as they run raging round the Arena. Neither the huge bulk of the elephant, nor the scaly hide of the rhinoceros, could defend them from his stroke. Ethiopia and India yielded their most extraordinary productions; and several animals were slain in the amphitheater, which had been seen only in the representations of art, or perhaps of fancy. In all these exhibitions, the securest precautions were used to protect the person of the Roman Hercules from the desperate spring of any savage, who might possibly disregard the dignity of the emperor and the sanctity of the god.” But even with such an incredible performance, Commodus was unable to win the trust and love of the Roman people, and, more importantly, the Roman elite, on whose orders he was murdered on December 31, 192 by a gladiator called Narcissus.

Ayn Rand: Overrated or Underrated?

Ayn Rand was being overrated in the 1950s and 1960s, but now, it seems, due to the biases, failures, and ego tussles of her disciples, most of whom she herself selected and promoted, she is being underrated.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization

If people rely on the ideas of Marx, and his intellectual descendants, the Frankfurt School, on love and relationship to make their domestic life a success, most homes will become a place as sordid as a divorce court. They leftists are utopians; they have little awareness of the psychology of real human beings. (This post is related to my reading of Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization (1955) which is a frankly utopian book, as it proposes a new future where the population is ensnared with free love and strange sexual positions to prevent outburst of rebellions and maintain social harmony.)

Imperialism and Capitalism

Lenin saw imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism—in his 1917 essay, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism,” he asserts that when capitalism reaches its final stage, the capitalists try to maximize profits by conquering new colonies. But the truth is that the founding of colonies went hand in hand with the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent manufacturing boom in the European countries. The Industrial Revolution happened between 1760 and 1840, and this period was followed by a phase of capitalist expansion which lasted for a century, till the Second World War; between 1760 and 1920, Britain, Spain, France, and other European powers took major initiatives to conquer new colonies. Imperialism was finished after the Second World War, when the European powers started moving away from capitalism and towards socialism. Imperialism represents the lowest, and not the highest, stage of capitalism.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

On Philosophy and Verbosity

Philosophy thrives on verbosity—there has never been a good philosopher who has said exactly, or less than, what he meant.

The Search for Nirvana

Every thinking man strives to attain nirvana (salvation) in his own way: a religious man seeks nirvana in his theological musings and prayers; an artist seeks nirvana in his works of art; a philosopher seeks nirvana in his philosophy; a politician seeks nirvana in his politics; a businessman seeks nirvana in his material achievements. But nirvana denotes the stage of intellectual, moral, and psychological perfection, the stage where there is total self-realization and self-fulfillment. Perfection, however, is not possible to man, and, no man can attain nirvana; he can only strive for it.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Knowledge, Intelligence, Creativity, Wisdom

Knowledge is effort. Intelligence is focus. Creativity is instinct. Wisdom is character.

Philosophy is Always Unfinished

The philosophical work of an original philosopher is always unfinished; it is, in a sense, a never ending work—this is in the sense that after the original philosopher’s death, his disciples continue to work on his philosophy, pursuing new researches based on the original positions, discovering implications that had not been noticed by the original philosopher, and after they too are gone, their disciples pick up the responsibility of further strengthening the foundations of their philosophy and expanding its scope, and after them, their disciples, and so forth. New thought leads to new writing, and the work on a philosophy does not end till there are scholars devoted to working on it.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Nietzsche on Liberalism

In his book Twilight of the Idols (1888), here’s what Nietzsche has to say about liberalism: “Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic — every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization." Nietzsche is right; once liberal institutions attain power, they start undermining the good ideas in politics, culture, and morality, and they dumb down society.

The Civilizational Will to Survive

Some civilizations possess the extraordinary will to survive and expand—instead of being crushed by any monumental failure or cataclysm, they actually get revitalized and energized. This kind of quality is seen in the Roman Republic, and its successor, the Roman Empire. Expansion of territory was the leitmotif of Roman politics and culture and they expanded by virtue of their military might; they fought war after war, continually taking on new and more distant foreign powers, and, remarkably, they always won in the end. They frequently lost some of their battles, but they never thought of negotiating or surrendering; after every loss at the battlefield, they recovered quickly and within a year or two, they would be back at the battlefield with a larger military and a better strategy—they kept fighting till they managed to subjugate or annihilate the enemy. In their thousand year history, the Romans had more civil wars and massacres than any other major kingdom in their time—many of their civil wars and massacres went on for more than a year, and yet they kept growing their empire, the state of their economy kept improving, their military remained a formidable force, and they kept making progress in the areas of philosophy, science, agriculture, art, and urban management.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Kant on Achieving Wisdom

In Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (1798), Immanuel Kant says that the guidelines for achieving wisdom consist of three maxims: first, think for yourself; second, (in communication with other people) put yourself in the place of the other person; third, always think by remaining faithful to your own self.

Philosophy Works in Two Ways

Some men, through their study of philosophy, become self-comprehending reason; that is to say, they become aware of their own mind and the world—there are those, however, for whom philosophy plays the role of a magic carpet which transports them to the world of abstractions, idealisms, rationalizations, and utopias.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

In Defense of Barbarism

Barbarism is not a bad thing—it’s the lifeblood of a civilization; it’s what enables a civilization to protect itself and conquer; it’s what fuels a civilization’s creativity and cruelty. Both culture and carnage are the hallmark of barbaric people. Every civilization of the past, in its phase of expansion, has been barbaric, and over a period of time when there was a decline in their barbarism, the civilization went into the phase of contraction, and if they could not recover their barbarism, the civilization fell and was soon forgotten. 

In his book The Hour of Decision, Oswald Spengler writes: “Barbarism is that which I call strong race*, the eternal warlike in the type of the beast-of-prey man. It often seems to have ceased to exist, but it is crouching in the soul ready to spring. Given a big challenge—and it is on top of the enemy. It is dead only when Late urban pacifism, with its weary desire for peace at any price, short of that of its own life, has rolled its mud over the generations. That is the spiritual self-disarmament, following on the physical, which comes of unfruitfulness.”

"*I repeat: race that one has, not a race to which one belongs. The one is ethos, the other—zoology."

On Illiberalism of the Liberals

The political method of the liberals is most illiberal: they conceive a social theory first and then they try to find the evidence that might substantiate it and when no evidence is found to back the claims on which the theory is founded, then, instead of rejecting their theory and admitting their mistake, they try to save their reputation by blaming their political opponents and forcing society to transform itself.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Young Marx Versus the Mature Marx

The young Marx was a philosopher, but the mature Marx was a political activist and a revolutionary—communism is mostly based on the work of the mature Marx, the political activist and revolutionary; the communists tend to ignore the work of the young Marx. That is why the communists seldom try to win the philosophical argument; they are focused on annihilating their opponents in a revolutionary war.

The Old Dreamers and the Young Utopians

The old men see dreams; the young men see visions. The longest dream doesn’t last for more than a few hours and then the person wakes up, but a vision can last for years and even decades. That is why the young men spend years and decades of their life being supporters of socialism, communism, liberalism, and other utopian movements.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

On Gibbon’s Theory of the Roman Empire’s Fall

On 4 September AD 476, the barbarian king Odoacer deposed and replaced the last emperor Romulus Augustulus, and brought the Roman Empire to an end. But why was the 500-year old Roman Empire toppled so easily? With his The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, published in the eighteenth century, Edward Gibbon popularized the view that the rise of Christianity had weakened the pagan principles of the Roman Empire; he sneers at Christian culture, and is full of praise for paganism and the religion of Islam. The Enlightenment philosophes were influenced by Gibbon’s thesis that Christianity was a factor in the Roman Empire’s fall; they used this thesis to drive their atheistic movements. But Gibbon’s thesis does not explain why the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) thrived for another 1000 years when it was the real center of Christianity—the people in Byzantine Empire called themselves Romans till the fifteenth century. Moreover, the history of last fifteen hundred years shows that the Christians too are competent fighters and rulers.

The Roman Thinking on “Equality”

The idea of equality was not part of Roman thinking. Pliny the Younger, who was a lawyer, author, and magistrate in Ancient Rome, has said in one of his letters that “nothing is more unequal than equality itself.” He holds that the people who deserve respect and don’t get it are being treated unfairly.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Age of Anxiety

The principate system, Augustus’s solution to the problems of the Roman Republic, brought stability and good governance, and led to the rise of the Roman Empire. For the Roman people, the principate system was a vast improvement; they prospered under Augustus’s long reign (27 BC–AD 14) and for two centuries after his demise. But the principate system had one flaw—the problem of succession, and after the death of every emperor a war between the various claimants to the throne became inevitable. The Roman Empire started unravelling in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD (these two centuries are known as the “Age of Anxiety”). Romans started looking for ways of finding solace in a world in which life was becoming increasingly difficult; many turned towards gods and oracles, and some discovered Christianity which in another century became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. The year 2020, I believe, is turning out to be an “Year of Anxiety”—and it might eventually drive people into the arms of religion.

Groups That Are Doomed To Suffer

There are some groups that are doomed to suffer and to make others suffer—their thinking is mired in nihilism, hatred, and negativism; they go against the ebb-tide of history; and even when they march towards political victory, they reach a tragic dead-end. Such groups must never be pampered and supported because once they become politically powerful, they will bring incurable suffering to every community in the nation.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Utopian Philosophers Versus Normal Philosophers

Between the utopian philosophers and the normal philosophers there is a fundamental difference: the utopians almost never perceive ordinary human beings, they see only the idealized man who is fit to inhabit their utopia; the normal philosophers, on the other hand, see naturally and with a certain simplicity of heart into the lives of other human beings. The utopian philosopher’s vision is abstract and idealized, while the normal philosopher’s vision is historical and real.

Free Speech For Whom?

Free speech for whom?—Free speech is a value only for those who have the will, passion, and knowledge to speak against the cultural, political, and economic centers of power. The ordinary man is not concerned about freedom of speech; he is focused on things like his source of income, security of his property, the wellbeing of his family, and the welfare of his neighborhood. When you fight for free speech, you are not fighting for the masses; you are fighting for a small coterie of intellectuals, politicians, and activists who have political and cultural agendas, and it’s not necessary that all of these intellectuals and politicians care for the masses—often the worst elements of society are the beneficiaries of free speech culture: nihilists, immoralists, anarchists, nazis, communists, and fascists.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Hegel’s World-Historical Man: Julius Caesar

Hegel says that the world-historical man is firm, decisive, and blessed with a sense of history, and through his words and deeds, he gets recognized as the great hero of his epoch. He holds Julius Caesar as an exemplar of a world-historical man—he notes that Caesar fought and conquered his rivals, and destroyed the constitution of Rome to gain a position of supremacy in Roman politics, but what makes him crucial for the world is that his autocratic and violent political methods were necessary for unifying the Roman Empire and driving history in the right direction.

China Inc.

China is not a traditional communist country; it’s run like a multinational corporation. In 1978, Deng Xiaoping became China’s paramount leader and transformed the country into a multinational corporation, in which the Communist Party’s Politburo acts as the board of directors and gets a share of the profits from domestic economic activity and international trade. Xiaoping’s China has shunned major wars—occasionally, it has been involved in some small-scale conflicts with its neighbors, but it has shown a marked preference for using its immense economic clout to get other nations to toe the Chinese line.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Liberal Problem

You can win national elections by smiling, waving, and shaking hands, but to safeguard the interests of your nation in the international arena, you need to use political and economic power, and if need arises, military strength. The liberals do the opposite—they try to win their national political battles by using coercive and even violent methods, while in the international arena, they smile, wave, shake hands, and cut deals with their nation’s enemies.

Motivations Behind the Roman Empire

Why did the Romans create an empire? The Romans were too down to earth to try to find a philosophical justification for their empire. The Roman Empire was something that just came to them through a natural process—they had the power and will to have an empire, and so they had an empire. A few Roman leaders have claimed that fortune favored them because the Roman State was devoted to the gods (the pagan gods); others have vaguely mentioned the values of morality, justice, hard work, courage, frugality, and industriousness to explain their success in building an empire.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Roman Empire

The intellectuals see Ancient Greece as the fountainhead of the western civilization, but, in my opinion, the real fountainhead of the western civilization is the Roman Empire, which, at its height, stretched from Syria to Scotland, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, and endured for almost five hundred years (the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for fifteen hundred years). To conquer and rule such a large area is a towering achievement, unparalleled in history; so grand was the Roman influence that many so-called barbarians kingdoms, which ravaged the Roman Empire, gave up their own culture, and started calling themselves Romans—some historians suggest that the Roman Empire didn’t “fall” at all, it merely changed the character of its political leadership. Rulers from Charlemagne to Napoleon, from the British, Spanish, and Portuguese monarchs in the age of imperialism to Hitler and Stalin in the twentieth century were, to some extent, inspired by the Roman Achievement. Till this day, the idea or Roman Empire continues to play a role in politics and culture. The intellectuals, politicians, and journalists often rely on the parallels between our own time and the Roman history to defend or decry the existence of common defense initiatives like NATO, the herding of the European nations into a unified European Union, and the American wars in Middle East and other parts of the world. The influence of Roman Empire on modern world in the spheres of art, architecture, language, legal system, and trade is inestimable.

Men of Straw

Once upon a time, the scarecrows made out of straw would scare the birds, but today the democratic nations are being led by men of straw who are scaring the people.

Monday, July 20, 2020

On The Conservative Airplane

Conservatism has the same relationship to its people that an airplane has to the earth. The airplane never rises so high that it might fly out of the atmosphere and venture into the space; likewise, conservatism does not fly away from life and into the sphere of utopianism—hovering at an optimal height above the people, conservatism keeps track of their way of life, learns about their aims and concerns, studies their economic and social condition, examines the prospects for development, and detects the signs of distress and dissatisfaction, and, from such information, conservatism formulates its political agenda and strategy. The conservative movements are led not by ideology but by experience and skill.

On Values

Values are not natural, they are manmade—they do not exist in nature, but only inside the mind of the thinking man. A value, depending as it does on the thinking man for its existence, is an appeal, or a demand for a certain kind of standard.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Marx’s Eleventh “Theses on Feuerbach”

When Karl Marx said, in his eleventh “Theses on Feuerbach,” that “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it,” he was not rejecting philosophy but revealing the nature and goal of his own philosophical work. He was too politically-minded to see much value in the theories, discussions, and arguments that traditional philosophy is known for; his focus was on using philosophy to provide intellectual and moral support to the trade unionists, political activists, and revolutionaries who were fighting for the socialist cause.

Moral Values Versus Artistic Achievement

In his book Studies in European Realism, the Marxist philosopher George Lukacs says that progressivism comes naturally to the writer because he is sensitive to the situation of the most suffering class. When I look at the world around me, I realize that several good writers are progressives (though a few of them are conservatives). This makes me think that there is little or no connection between artistic achievement and moral values. A hateful progressive writer may go a long way, while a moral writer may fail to produce a masterpiece.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Zola’s Message: “Kill The Hero”

Emily Zola exhorted the novelists to “kill the hero”—the novelists must do this because, their duty, Zola asserts, is to describe the ordinary course of average lives. The liberals are infected with a certain Zola kind of anti-hero nihilism; they lust to destroy the heroes in every walk of life, and allow only the average lives (the meek, humble, and mediocre, who are easy to control) to remain. If a man, a community, or an organization shows signs of making heroic efforts to achieve something monumental and useful, the liberals will try to destroy them.

On Freedom and Slavery

If you are living alone in a remote island, untouched by anyone, then no one can tell you what to do, and you are free, but you are free for nothing, your freedom is meaningless. Freedom has a meaning only in a world full of human beings where there is a perpetual contest between freedom and slavery. The risk of slavery is the very thing that imparts value to freedom.

Friday, July 17, 2020

On My Conservatism

I’m a conservative because I’m a conservative, that’s all. Conservatism is a natural and normal thing for my mind, that’s all.

The Conquerer is Captured

Commenting on the extensive Hellenization of Rome, Horace, the historian in the time of Augustus, said, “Captured Greece has captured her savage conquerer.” The trend of the conquerer being culturally captured by the kingdom that it conquers can be found in all periods of history; for instance, the culture of the most successful conquerer of our time, the USA, has been extensively influenced by the ideologies of Europe, East Asia, and Middle East where it fought major wars and attained significant political and economic dominance—today’s American culture contains elements of nazism, fascism, communism, and islamism.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

What Kind of Philosopher is Wittgenstein?

Wittgenstein—what kind of a philosopher is he? He creates the impression of being a self-consciously philosophical character, but not an expert philosopher. His ideas are interesting, but not particularly useful. A few of his perspectives are unique, but he is didactic and dry; we do not find him particularly touching and wise. He is disgusted by the ossified absurdities of philosophy and aims to discover the ultimate answers, but he is unable to avoid the philosopher’s plight of being mired in questions that are fundamentally unanswerable. He dwells on deep philosophical issues, but makes assertions aphoristically, with the attitude of a lighthearted gamer, and fails to provide a serious argument. He draws heavy praise from his devotees, but he is rarely cited in major works of philosophy.

Old Men and Their Philosophy

The sphere of philosophy has always been the home of garrulous old men whose language is so convoluted that it’s difficult to make out what they are trying to say.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Political Battles Versus Cultural Battles

In the sphere of culture and social life, it’s the politically powerless who score major victories—this is due to the faith that the movements which lack power have in their ideas, the energy and courage that they deploy in propagating them, and the sacrifices that they are willing to make to persuade or coerce society to accept their ideas. The movements which possess political power fail to win the cultural and social battles because their character and spirit is corroded by the privileges which their power confers on them, and they are marked by a void of ideas, energy, courage, and, of course, the ability to make sacrifices for their cause.

Philosophical Theory and Practice

To preach a philosophy is human; to live by the teachings of a philosophy is divine—the world is full of preachers of philosophy, but there has never been a man who lives by the teachings of a philosophy; all philosophers have sinned and have fallen short of their own teachings.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Consequences of the End of Capitalism

The liberals are bragging about the imminent end of capitalism as if the end is a great achievement, but they are most eager to conceal an important fact: capitalism is being abandoned by the children of capitalism, who don’t know how to survive without the products of capitalism—the end of capitalism means the end of their entire civilization.

The Wolves of 2020

The political and intellectual establishment speaks in one voice; they are a pack, a pack of wolves—they howl together; a line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem especially applies to them: “the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” In the year 2020, political agenda is set, not by evidence or ideology, but by the howling of the wolves who are the pack.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Brave New World of Microchip Implants

The future? There is no future except a brave new world of humans implanted with a microchip, which detects their geolocation and health related information, and communicates the data in real time to a central grid. In two years, we will see a campaign to create a public opinion in favor of microchip implants—we will be told that the microchip will save society from crime, by making it easier to track people with criminal background, and from pandemics, by identifying individuals who show symptoms of communicable diseases. And we, my poor friends, will accept that the microchip implant is a good thing and we will eagerly line up to have it surgically implanted in our body. My prediction is that in ten years, close to twenty-five percent of the population in advanced countries will have the microchip implant, and in twenty years, ninety percent will have the implant. People will choose to have the implant not only because they will be convinced that it will make society safer but also because they will find that without an implant they cannot work in government organizations or big corporations; they cannot fly, take a train ride, or even hire a cab; they cannot go to areas where people gather in large numbers—schools, malls, theaters, beaches, hospitals. The few people who refuse to have the implant will be forced to exist in the fringes of society, like the “proles” that Orwell has described in his novel 1984.

On Optimism and Pessimism

I view “optimism” and “pessimism” as “isms” or philosophies—optimism is the philosophy of the feeble-brained pollyannas who believes that all problems, big or small, are mere blips and that in the long run things will turn out to be just fine and a perfect society will be created; pessimism, on the other hand, is the philosophy of men with practical experience who understand that the world is a hard place and that if they do not conduct themselves with wisdom and care, they will make bad choices and ruin their community. Optimism turns a man towards utopianism and liberalism; pessimism turns a man towards conservatism and republicanism.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Mystery is Vital for a Platonic Atlantis

Plato says that the republic of the children of the mind lies “beyond the last peaks and all the seas of the world.” To the republic of the children of the mind, Plato gives the name “Atlantis,” which is not modeled after any existing society and represents a new spirit of humanity, a venturing into a higher level of civilization. But an Atlantis cannot be founded in a known continent which is filled with the madding crowd of humanity—it needs a new place, which, as Plato puts it, lies “beyond the last peaks and all the seas of the world,” or is shrouded in mystery.

The First Twenty Years

The first twenty years of the twenty-first century can be summed up in these words: terrorism, leftism, religious fundamentalism, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, climate change-ism, nihilism, fascism, minority-ism, sexism, neo-racism, revisionism, pandemic-ism. The world has not made any worth noticing scientific, technological, industrial, or political achievement in the first twenty years of the twenty-first century.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

2020: The Year of Frankenstein

The history of the year 2020 will be a long history; long will be its months, long its days, and long its hours. After five or ten years, when historians start writing the history of 2020, they will analyze this year, hour by hour, and day by day, instead of having an overview of all the 366 days. The historians might call 2020, the year of Frankenstein—underneath the complexities related to healthcare, politics, and economy, 2020 is breeding an enormous mob of Frankensteins; in one or two years, the Frankensteins will flood the streets and extort a massive political price.

When Marx Shaves his Beard

Question: What happens when Karl Marx shaves his beard?

Answer: The smiling face of Comrade Josef Stalin is revealed.

François Mauriac's Vipers' Tangle

If you are feeling miserable for any reason (the lockdowns or something else), read François Mauriac Vipers' Tangle, which is the story of Monsieur Louis, whose great misery will make you forget your own. Monsieur Louis, an embittered aging lawyer, is fabulously wealthy and is dying, and he is being driven to wretchedness by his estranged family who are waiting for him to die so that they can seize his property. He writes a journal to make his family realize why his heart is a tangle of poisonous vipers. But the book has a sort of blissful climax—during a hailstorm, by the blessing of god, the realization dawns on Monsieur Louis that his torment is due to his preoccupation with profit and property, and he detects in a corner of heart the semblance of something that he identifies as love. “How strange it is that when life is just beginning for us, and when a little happiness comes our way, no warning voice is heard.”

Friday, July 10, 2020

Healthy Society Versus Unhealthy Society

In a healthy society the weeds disappear while the useful plants and trees remain, but in an unhealthy society the cruel law of reverse-evolution operates: the useful plants and trees disappear while the weeds remain. Society in the year 2020 is in an extreme state of unhealthiness which is why our politics, academia, mainstream media, and big business are swamped with weeds, and the useful plants and trees are nowhere to be found.

On Environmentalism

Environmentalism taking centerstage in politics is a sign of a nation’s decline. When a nation is on the rise, its politics is oblivious to the environment; its people are filled with lust for defying the environment—they build roads, factories, megacities, train lines, airports, dams, power plants, ports, oil refineries, and try to break through the sky to reach the moon and planets. The spirit of defying the environment is a necessary condition for a nation’s progress, but environmentalism weakens this spirit by depicting every human activity as a moral vice.

On Flattening the Curve

The world leaders who are trying to “flatten the curve” have not been able to flatten their own curve—they display a grander potbelly, chubbier face, and fleshier hands. The big initiatives for “flattening the curve” are being taken in North America, Europe, and Asia, and in the nations in these three continents most politicians have gained weight in the last four months.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Mistakes of the Libertarian Philosophers

The philosophers of libertarianism have committed a great mistake and done harm by their excessive intellectualizing of liberty, free markets, and minimum government. The libertarian writing on these subjects is dry as dust and soulless logic-chopping, which fuels the suspicion that liberty, free markets, and minimum government are not only utopian but also inimical to culture and religion. Instead of making people enthusiastic about libertarian ideas, the libertarian philosophers drive them into the opposite direction—away from liberty, away from free markets, away from minimum government, and into the arms of socialism and neoliberalism.

Thomas Aquinas on Patriotism

Thomas Aquinas preaches that patriotism is a moral virtue and its absence is moral vice. Here’s an excerpt from Summa Theologiae (translation by Alfred J. Freddoso)

"A man becomes a debtor to others in diverse ways in accord with the diverse types of their excellence and the diverse benefits that he receives from them.  In both these regards, God occupies the highest place, since He is the most excellent of all and the first principle of both our being and our governance.  But in second place, the principles of our being and governance are our parents and our country, by whom and in which we are born and governed.  And so, after God, a man is especially indebted to his parents and to his country.  Hence, just as [the virtue of] religion involves venerating God, so, at the second level, [the virtue of] piety involves venerating one’s parents and country.  Now the veneration of one’s parents includes venerating all of one’s blood relatives... On the other hand, the veneration of one’s country includes the veneration of one’s fellow citizens and of all the friends of one’s country."

The Failure of the Intellectuals

It’s the easiest thing for the intellectuals to wreck the defenses of their country through their unfounded conviction that their arguments and ideas are all that is needed to ensure their country’s security and their equally unfounded trust in the good intentions of other nations.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Oracle of Delphi on America-China Conflict

When Croesus, the King of Lydia, went to the Oracle of Delphi and asked if he could win a war against Persia, the Delphic priestess replied that if he went to war, he would destroy a great empire. Croesus, becoming convinced, that it was written in the stars that he would destroy the Persian empire, went to war, but his army was vanquished at the battlefield and the empire that was destroyed was his own. Coming to our own time, the Oracle of Delphi has predicted that a great empire will be destroyed if there is a serious military conflict between America and China. But which great empire will it be: American or Chinese?

Animosity Inspires Imitation

The animosity between religions and races runs hand in hand with imitation. History shows that the religious and racial groups which hate each other often try to imitate—they develop similar moral, intellectual, political, and militaristic standards at some point, but this usually implies a downfall in the standards of the religion and race whose way of life is more advanced.

On National Character

Nations, like individuals, have such a thing as a character, and the world is home to several types of national characters; there are instances where the difference in national character is drastic, almost antithetical, but in other instances, the difference in national character is relatively minor. How is a nation’s character formed—is it linked to the history of its civilization, the race and religion of its dominant population, its geographical features, its intellectual and scientific achievements, its political and economic system, its art and culture? Does national character determine a nation’s culture, politics, and economy, or is it the other way round? Can a nation’s character be transformed or subverted, or does it last till the nation is in existence?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A Paradox of Human Nature

It’s a paradox of human nature that the youngsters who have an easy and prosperous upbringing, on becoming adults, turn their face to immoralism, nihilism, and apocalyptic cults, while those who are born without sufficient resources and, from their early years, have to work hard to get their daily bread, on attaining adulthood, turn their full-face to good life, morality, and the idea of human progress through intellectualism, good culture, liberty, and innovation.

Philosophy and Play; Individualism and Collectivism

A community will not have good philosophy until it has good sports—the Ancient Greeks were the world’s first philosophers and they were the world’s first people to play (the first Olympic Games was organized in Ancient Greece and is traditionally dated to 776 BC). A community will not have individualism, until it has strong collectivist institutions—the Ancient Greeks were the first to philosophize on individualism, and they were the first to train their soldiers (hoplites) to parade with full disciple, wear common uniform which included metal body armor, and fight shoulder to shoulder in a strict military formation (phalanx).

Monday, July 6, 2020

Liberals and The Great Dumbing Down

If people learn to think for themselves, the surest prop of liberal political power gets demolished; this is why the control of the mainstream media, academia, and entertainment industry is of critical importance to the liberals—in the last hundred years, they have been using these three sectors to ensure that people become incapable of critical thinking, especially on politics and culture. In countries with powerful liberal political movements, the  population gets dumbed down through the years, and there eventually comes a stage where most people become so dumb that they cannot notice that they and those around them have been dumbed down, and that their culture is in the hands of yahoos.

On Faith

The knowledge that we get through the faculties of reason or intellect is partial—this knowledge will tell us about the material aspects (how much, from what, from where, when, and how), but it will not tell us about the values (moral or immoral; sublime or corporeal; artistic or vulgar; certain or doubtful). We cannot have full understanding of existence through the use of reason or intellect; we have to look at another resource to fulfill our need for understanding the values, and that resource is faith. Faith is not opinion; it’s not the conclusions that we reach by rigorous application of reason or intellect—it’s something different, something quite unique.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Duel Between Physics and Biology

At a cosmic level there is a conflict between physics (matter) and biology (life)—physics, as we understand it, says that the universe had a beginning (Big Bang) and it will come to an end when all its energy gets exhausted (Big Crunch). But biology wants to know that if the universe, with all life in it, will one day end, then why did life evolve? The question is: Should the considerations of physics be allowed to override the interests of biology? Physics (matter) is concerned with only the mathematical and scientific outcome, but biology (life) wants to transcend the mathematical and scientific in the hope of existing forever.