Friday, June 5, 2020

Heidegger, Schapiro, and Derrida on Van Gogh’s Painting

Heidegger meditates on three works of art in his essay, “The Origin of the Work of Art”; one of these works of art is Van Gogh’s painting Old Shoes With Laces—he asserts that the shoes belong to a peasant woman. But the art critic Meyer Schapiro rejects Heidegger’s analysis of the painting; he is certain that the shoes belong to a city dweller, possibly to Van Gogh himself. Schapiro accuses Heidegger of injecting his own philosophical and cultural biases (possibly related to Nazism) into his analysis of Van Gogh’s painting. In his essay, “Restitution of the truth in pointing,” Derrida deconstructs Heidegger’s and Schapiro’s analysis—he points out that neither analysis is free of bias: Heidegger looks at Van Gogh’s painting from a rustic and traditional perspective, while Schapiro looks at it from an urban liberal perspective. Derrida notes that both Heidegger and Schapiro assume that the shoes are a pair and that there is a wearer, but the painting’s title does not mention a pair, and if the shoes are not a pair, there is no question of there being a wearer (like an old peasant woman, as surmised by Heidegger; and a city dweller, as surmised by Schapiro). According to Derrida, the shoes in the painting are phallically pointed to create the feeling of hollowness, which is obviously a depiction of feminine sexuality.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Three Levels of Ethics

A fully rational, fully objective, and fully integrated system of ethics is not possible for human beings. We lead our life at three levels, and each of these levels inspires our overall system of ethics—the three levels are: the level of the individual, the level of the society, and the level of the traditions. The system of ethics that we practice at the level of the individual inspires us to be selfish, discard every constraint, and be free to pursue our desires and choices. But all individuals, howsoever independent minded they might be, are part of society, and they must pay attention to the system of ethics that operates at the social level. The social ethicists argue that what is good for the individual is good for the collective—they note that a man’s life revolves around collectives such as family, friend and professional circles, city, state, and nation, and they preach that a man must avoid causing harm to his collectives. The third level of ethics, the ethics of tradition, is founded on ideological thinking: a religious person will believe in the idea that the body is a vessel for carrying the soul which is godlike or part of god, and we have the ethical responsibility of not doing anything that might pollute and degrade our soul, but an atheist will find his ideological ethics from resources such as marxism, libertarianism, existentialism, and liberalism.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

On Forgetting The World

You might forget the world and the world might forget you, but most of us lack the power to totally abandon society—therefore, forgetting the world must not absolve you from the responsibility of fighting to improve the standards of your society.

On Bans, Prohibitions, and Lockdowns

Bans, prohibitions, and lockdowns work only on those who are moral and have respect for the law. If you ban the moral and law abiding people from venturing out to make a living, attend to their basic needs, socialize, and find avenues for entertainment, then you will one day find that your streets have been taken-over by the criminals, rioters, and looters. Nature does not allow any space to remain vacant forever—the areas in which the good people are banned from going will eventually become the happy hunting ground for the bad people.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Criminals and Victims

We strive for justice and morality, but a just and moral way of life is impossible to us. From ancient times to the modern age, the life of a human being has been nothing more than a frantic striving to be the criminal and not the victim. A vast majority of the people (I would say 99.99% of them) end up as the victims—there is no way of remedying the situation because the victims are mired in ignorance, cowardice, and malice, and are incapable of confronting the criminals.

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Conservative Alice And The Cheshire Cat

The conservative movements become relevant by their own concept of mos maiorum. But in the last thirty years, the leftists, with some help from the novus homo conservatives, have destroyed the concept of mos maiorum, leaving the traditional conservatives with no political plank to stand on. The conservative movements appear incapable of fighting the left—they don’t know in what direction they ought to go. In the person of Alice, a traditional conservative appears to be demanding an answer from destiny, or the Cheshire Cat:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

On Digital Supremacism

The digital revolution has spawned a new form of supremacism: Digital Supremacism. Like racial supremacism and religious supremacism, digital supremacism too is a product of indigestion of history and politics. The digital supremacists have a blind faith in their digital businesses—they believe that their businesses are more moral, efficient, useful, and environment friendly than every other business in the world. They are convinced that problems of humankind cannot be solved until the entire economy transcends the real world and enters into the domain of the digital world, the domain of the Internet and Information Technology.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Derrida: Speech Versus Writing

In his On Grammatology, Derrida shows that there is a binary opposition between speech and writing—with speech being central and natural, and writing being marginal and unnatural. People have been writing for thousands of years, but the tradition of thought from ancient times to modernity favors speech, or the spoken word, over writing. The “logos,” which the ancients regarded as the hidden principle in the universe, is a voice or a word—it’s a sort of super-word or a god. When we speak, the sounds that we create are closer to the super-word or god, but our writing is marked by an absence, the absence of the godly sound. Derrida’s target is Saussure’s linguistics. Saussure has asserted that his linguistics is free of the viewpoints related to god, but Derrida tries to show that Saussure privileges speech because he accepts the pre-scientific assumption that speech is closer to the inner meaning, or the logos, and the super-word and god.

On Change

Only a fool will bet against change, because nothing can take place without change; even if the aim is to maintain status quo in society, you need to keep changing some things.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Conservatives & Liberals: Action & Inaction

The wrongdoer in politics is often the entity that has left something undone, not always the one that has done something. The liberals commit a wrong by doing something, while the conservatives commit a wrong by leaving something undone. Thus the liberals are the people of political action, while the conservatives are the people of political inaction; this gives the liberals an advantage in the politics. But the conservatives were not always the people of political inaction—they became a passive force after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, when they became convinced that in the destruction the Soviet regime, they had played their world historical role, and that from now on there would not be any challenge to their worldview. The conservatives didn’t realize that the challenge would come from the liberals who, in the post-Soviet world, would find new ways of keeping leftism alive and attacking the conservatives.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Nozick and Libertarianism

Robert Nozick was not a libertarian; he never said that he was. In the Preface to his 1974 book Anarchy, State, and Utopia he seems lukewarm about libertarianism; he writes: “With reluctance, I found myself becoming convinced of (as they are now often called) libertarian views, due to various considerations and arguments.” He bases his arguments on the claims about rights (mainly property rights), but his treatment of rights is weak, because he starts with a situation in which people are living in a so-called “state of nature,” which is a mythical concept; in his later work, he admits that he has developed some doubts about earlier view on rights. One of his intentions in writing the book was to refute the libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard, but Nozick never took his argument with the libertarians forward—after the publication of Anarchy, State, and Utopia, he dissociated himself from the book and didn’t respond to the criticisms of it, and much of the work that he did after 1974 is unrelated to libertarianism. But the book became immensely influential in libertarian circles, mainly because Nozick was a professor of philosophy at Harvard. I find the “Utopia” section of the book, in which Nozick describes how a minimal state and property rights can lead to the development of a society in which disputes can be resolved without conflict, particularly unbelievable—why does he assume that such a system will be acceptable to everyone? Nozick’s “Utopia” is too utopian.

A Stoic Wisdom

There is an old stoic saying that the easiest way to demoralize a man and destroy his character is to give him something for nothing.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

MacIntyre’s Rightwing Postmodernism

Postmodernism is generally leftwing, but, in his 1981 book After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre articulates a rightwing form of postmodernism in which there is an emphasis on the importance of traditions. MacIntyre’s traditions perform a role similar to the “scientific paradigms,” which Thomas Kuhn has described—the traditions include the idea of a worldview or conceptual scheme, and also a history through time, as it’s understood by a community with its distinctive way of life and social norms. The traditions are not only capable of being rational but serve as the context in which rationality can be determined—all reasoning is conducted in some tradition or another. The traditions can be judged according to the criteria of rationality; one tradition is more rational than another if it can explain the success and failure of the other tradition better than the other tradition itself can. MacIntyre shows that instead of being an escape from tradition, modernity is itself a tradition. Thus, modernity’s rejection of traditions is incoherent, and there is a need for a right-wing postmodernism. Modern moral philosophy, according to Macintyre, leads to skepticism because it has neglected the notions of character and virtue—modernity’s focus is on what makes an act right or wrong rather than on what makes a person good or evil. Macintyre says that to learn rational ethics we have to go beyond modernity and study the Aristotelian and religious traditions which focus on the formation of character and the development of virtue.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

On Stoicism and Conservatism

The stoic philosophers in the Roman Empire used to preach that a successful war is one in which you defeat your nation’s enemy without becoming like the enemy. Conservatism is founded on stoic principles, but the conservatives, in the last hundred years, have failed to save themselves from becoming like their enemy, and today’s conservatism carries the influence of several enemies that the conservatives have fought: communism, nazism, fascism, and religious fundamentalism. The corruption in liberalism, however, is much greater than that in conservatism—the case can be made that the liberal strategists have served as the conduit for transferring the political and moral corruption of other movements to the sphere of conservatism.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How They Deal With Their Enemies: Liberals and Conservatives

An enmity with the liberals is dangerous in the short-term; an enmity with the conservatives is dangerous in the longterm. The liberals are a close-knit community, led by elites who have a revolutionary mindset—they view every attack as a direct assault on their elitist leadership and when they identify an enemy, they immediately go into the attack mode; they use the power of the government, mainstream media, community groups, public intellectuals, big businesses, and any other tool or institution which they control, to deliver a decisive punishment on their enemy. The conservative thinking is historical; in the short-term, they are incapable of formulating a strategy for dealing with their enemies—a series of attacks over a period of several years, or decades, is necessary to awaken the conservatives from their dogmatic slumber, but once the conservative beast is awake and has taken note of the enemy, he will not back down till he has totally destroyed the enemy. For several decades, the mainstream media and the digital industry have been attacking the conservatives and the conservatives rarely retaliated, but things have changed in the last three or four years—now the conservatives are fighting back. I am convinced that the mainstream media and the digital industry are doomed—in the next few years, the conservatives are going to rip these two industries apart from root to branch, and this means that the way in which we access the Internet and news is all set to undergo a drastic overhaul.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Structuralism’s Attack on Logocentrism

Structuralism’s rejection of all ontological and epistemological sources of meaning can be seen as an attack on the logocentric approach that lies at the core of the philosophical and religious thought of the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. Originated by Ferdinand de Saussure in his 1913 work on linguistic studies, Course in General Linguistics, and further refined by Claude Lévi-Strauss, structuralism is an anti-metaphysical philosophy which denies the existence of Aristotelian reality and the higher reality (Platonic forms or religious Trinity), and posits that the world of human beings is the product of deep structures that pre-date consciousness.

Saussure holds that words precede the idea of things—a word (a sign) does not represent the union of a thing (a pre-existent thing-in-itself) with a name; rather, it unites a concept (signified) with the sound-image (signifier). By analyzing the deep structures, Lévi-Strauss interprets several popular myths—he arranges each element of the myth into a system which can be read both horizontally and vertically. The mythic structures that he traces are wide in scope and encompass not only the tales of heroes but also the economic realities, the incest taboos, and the routine household rituals of cooking and eating.

The structures are unconscious (not conscious), material (not metaphysical), and deterministic (not humanistic); they do not exist in things, or in elements which have meaning by themselves, but in the relation between things—the differences between the constituent parts gives rise to the structural meaning. The structures are complete, logical, and all-encompassing; they are dynamic and not static. Structuralism, however, is not free of a metaphysical desire for order—as Derrida showed in his philosophy of deconstruction. I talk about Derrida’s attack on logocentrism in my post, “On Derrida’s Deconstruction of Logos”.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Vertical Liberals Versus Horizontal Conservatives

The liberals think vertically; the conservatives think horizontally. Vertical thinking encourages the liberals to take a top-down approach for solving mankind’s problems, and they entrust the fate of their society into the hands of revolutionary leaders, experts, and technocrats who promise to obliterate the old systems and create a utopia where safety, happiness, and purposefulness are available to all. Horizontal thinking encourages the conservatives to take a bottom-up approach and look around themselves for solutions; their approach is pragmatic, in the sense that they desire solutions which have a track record of having worked in the past—they revere history and traditions as a compendium of experiences which can serve as a guide for future action. Between liberal utopianism and conservative pragmatism there is no scope for compromise.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Two Billionaire Philosophers: Soros and Gates

George Soros and Bill Gates are the most influential philosophers of the last three decades—with their philosophical thinking and the humanitarian work that they are doing in several nations, they are having a decisive impact on not only the financial industry (where Soros made his fortune) and the digital industry (where Gates made his fortune) but on the politics and culture of several nations. The last three decades are the only period in history when two billionaires, who didn’t have a giant military at their back, have managed to dominate the culture of the entire world by leveraging their wealth, reputation, and philosophical vision. In the philosophy of Soros and Gates, there is a kind of leftist utopianism, or the lust for an egalitarian society, that is reminiscent of the thinking of the Enlightenment philosophes and of Karl Marx. Soros believes that an egalitarian society, or a liberal welfare state, can be created by crushing traditionalism and nationalism. Gates believes that the digital technologies are the key to establishing a liberal welfare state; a digital supremacist, he is convinced that every problem that mankind faces has a digital solution, and he dreams of a world where the human population is a fraction of what it’s today and where almost everything gets done through the clean and green digital solutions. The political establishments in most nations are in awe of the wealth, technology, and egalitarian vision that Soros and Gates have come to symbolize; they are adored by the academics, the media, and the public—but I side with the small group of old-fashioned individuals who realize that the idealism of Soros and Gates is taking the world towards a climax that will be as brutal and sad as the climax of the Enlightenment philosophies (the French Revolution of 1789) and the climax of Marxist philosophies (the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917).

Friday, May 22, 2020

On Derrida’s Deconstruction of Logos

The search for a logos, or original presence, is the oldest in the history of philosophy. The Hindu thinkers believed that the logos is in the Trinity of godheads, the Platonic and Aristotelian thinkers found their logos in Plato’s forms, and Augustine and his followers found it in the Christian Trinity. Till the modern period, philosophy has been dominated by systems which are logocentric, or which held that meaning emanates from some sort of logos. For Descartes, cogito is the logos; for Kant, the logos gets internalized in the form of the absolute self or transcendental ego; for Hegel, the logos is the idea or spirit. Logocentrism is generally expressed in the form of binaries in which one term is more privileged than the other: for instance, the Platonic Form is more privileged than the real object or idea which the Form represents. There are several other binaries: soul versus body; theory versus practice; mental versus physical; conscious versus unconscious; rational versus emotional—in these binaries, the term that is closer to the eternal, and has the ability to remain unchanging, is more privileged.

According to Derrida, the philosophers since Plato have devoted their metaphysics to the search for a higher reality, which, while being untouched by materialism, gives meaning and purpose to the material world. He says that most philosophers, even the structuralists who try to avoid the logocentric approach, use the traditional terminology and its binaries—at times, they reverse the binaries, but they can’t avoid thinking in its terms. In his 1967 book, Of Grammatology, Derrida deconstructs the attempts to posit a center and establish a system of binaries; he tries to replace the logocentric approach with a free play of meaning. He argues that whenever we think that we have discovered the logos, or original presence, or center, we find that it points towards some other logos; thus, the search for logos becomes never-ending, the search for meaning becomes never-ending, and there is a breakdown between the signifier (the word) and the signified (the meaning that the word refers to). Derrida saw deconstruction as a freedom from fixed truths or origins, and the guilt over absence of meaning.

Goethe's Words

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” ~ Goethe

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Parable on the Importance of Failure and Unhappiness

The man performed great penance for several years, until finally god became pleased and appeared before the man—he told the man to ask for a boon. The man then asked that he be granted the opportunity to experience failure and unhappiness in every subsequent life. God asked, “Why won’t you wish for success and happiness in every subsequent life?” The man said that he wants to experience failure and unhappiness in every subsequent life because he desires to forever be a man of wisdom and faith. That wisdom and faith often come to a man at a time when he is experiencing a great failure and unhappiness is one of god’s great mysteries.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

On Wisdom

Knowledge can be taught, but not wisdom. A wise man teaching wisdom to someone will sound foolish because wisdom cannot be expressed in words. Wisdom is something that you discover through your life’s experiences and learnings. Every man discovers his wisdom in his own way.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Relationship Between Baumgarten and Kant

The book that I am presently reading, Baumgarten and Kant on Metaphysics, Edited by Courtney D. Fugate and John Hymers, is a collection of eleven essays on the relationship between the metaphysics of Baumgarten and the philosophy of Kant. Fugate and Hymers begin their Introduction to the book with these lines: “The relationship between Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–62) and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) is as profound as any in the history of philosophy. In depth, it rivals such rightfully famous relationships as those between Socrates and Plato, between Aristotle and Aquinas, between Russell and Wittgenstein.” The editors note that Kant lectured on Baumgarten’s Metaphysica “from his first year of teaching in 1756 until his last in 1796, in total nearly fifty times over a span of four decades.” An examination of Kant’s personal copy of the Metaphysica suggests that Kant evolved many of his own views by constantly correcting and reworking Baumgarten’s ideas. Fugate and Hymers write: “Though physically a small book [Baumgarten’s Metaphysica], Kant’s miniature handwriting covers not only every bit of the pages interleaved, but also the text itself, the spaces between the lines, the margins, and even the gaps within the page ornaments. These notes, which in total amount to several times the length of the original book, provide a unique insight into how Kant evolved many of his own views through a constant correcting and reworking of Baumgarten’s ideas.”

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Digital Revolution’s Unexpected Consequence

The digital revolution has turned man into a cyclops, who is missing one eye, the eye of wisdom. While teaching metaphysics, Immanuel Kant used to remind his students that learning metaphysics is not easy and that, “One who would seek pearls, must descend to the depths,” but the digital technologies hinder man from descending to the depths by making everything seem too easy on the surface itself—when information and facilities are available at the click of the mouse and a tap on the app, why should anyone descend to the depth or exercise his mind. In the digital age, wisdom is a vestigial attribute.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Four Book Covers

I have been asked by Troy Camplin and Roger Bissell to post the cover of my favorite books with no explanation, but I must offer an explanation for my choice (I won’t talk about the books, only about the topic of this post). What is your favorite book changes with time—as you gather new knowledge, your understanding of mankind’s past and present is transformed, and that in turn forces you to revise your opinion of the books that you have read. My list of favorite books gets an overhaul every year, and there is no book that has made it into my list three years in a row. Though I am required to post two book covers (one for Troy, one for Roger), I will post four—these are not my favorite books; my favorite book is the one that I am yet to discover, but I am posting these four books because at the point of time when I read them, I found in them the answer to some of the questions that were in my mind.

Clive of India, by Nirad C. Chaudhuri

Tropic of Capricorn, by Henry Miller

The Proper Study of Mankind, by Isaiah Berlin

The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand, edited by Douglas J. Den Uyl and Douglas B. Rasmussen

Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Paradox of the Tiananmen Square

Paradoxically, a free market economy can be created by exterminating a popular pro-democracy movement. The rise of China as a global economic powerhouse is the consequence of the Chinese government’s decision in 1989 to send troops armed with assault rifles and tanks to the Tiananmen Square and massacre thousands of pro-democracy protestors who had gathered there. The Tiananmen Square massacre put an end to all opposition to the communist regime, and China became a politically stable country. Having implemented free market reforms in 1979, China was receiving foreign investments for a decade, but after the massacre there was a great leap in the investments coming into the country—the big corporations prefer to invest in countries which are politically stable and have a business friendly regulatory system. China, after 1989, offered political stability and a business-friendly regulatory system, and it saw such massive rise in investments and trade that, by 2010, it overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest economy.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Long Wait for the Barbarian

I am taking a month long break from blogging; I will use the time that I spend online to do some extra reading and writing. When I am back online, I hope the pandemic related fears will have subsided and the lockdown of the world will have ended; but whether the lockdowns are lifted or continued, I think that the next five years will bring economic decline and political instability to most democratic nations. I would not be feeling pessimistic if the downfall were the consequence of some natural calamity, like a meteor strike or a super-volcano, but what we are presently witnessing is mankind rushing to commit collective suicide. Nietzsche is right—the world cannot function without the barbarians who are capable of taking big risks and doing terrible things to achieve just goals. The democratic nations are in trouble because they are too liberal and effete, they have lost touch with their inner barbarian; but the next five years will bring them ample opportunities for rediscovering the barbarian who hides inside their skin.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Heidegger and the Countermovement to Nihilism

Heidegger never accepted that he had erred by supporting the Nazis—he was convinced that Nazism had failed to achieve its philosophical objectives because it went astray. In a 1930s lecture, he said that he saw Fascism (or Nazism) as a countermovement to the problem of European nihilism which Nietzsche has described. By endorsing Hitler, Heidegger thought that he was endorsing a countermovement to nihilism and bringing Germany closer to the metaphysical realm of Nietzsche. He aspired to have with Hitler the kind of relationship that Plato had with Dionysius (the king of Syracuse)—but after the Nazi regime’s fall, Heidegger complained that he felt let down by Hitler. On Heidegger’s dalliance with the Nazis, Karl Jaspers said, “Children who play at the wheel of world history are smashed to bits.”

Between a Utopian and an Apocalypse

As long as there is a single liberal living in this world, the dream of a utopia on one hand, and the nightmare of an apocalypse on the other hand will continue to find a voice.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Liberal and His Favorite Apocalypse

The modern liberal recognizes himself in his favorite apocalypse. With the advanced society in which he lives, he identifies just the material dimension of his existence;  his spiritual dimension, or his soul, he discovers in the idea of an apocalyptic event, one that will swallow his society as a whole, ripping apart the entirety of his material existence and that of everyone else, leaving behind only their souls. Thus an apocalypse is a spiritual need for the liberal; if ideas like Global Warming, Climate Change, Ice Age, Ozone Layer Depletion, Acid Rain, and Virus Pandemic did not exist, he would feel lonely, lost, and traumatized—he would lose his spirituality and his soul.

What Paves The Road To Hell?

The road to hell is paved with the good intention of saving mankind from the dangers which are not real but have been imagined by the corrupt “experts” who are funded by taxpayers money.

Books & Articles That I Will Never Read

I have taken a pledge that henceforth I will not read any philosophy book or article in which the names “Ayn Rand,” “Nathaniel Branden,” “Leonard Peikoff,” or the word “Objectivism,” are mentioned even once. Time is a precious thing; there is no point on wasting it on bad writing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The MAGA Dream: Lost in Lockdown

The conservative MAGA agenda assumes a mythologized and aestheticized view of their nation; instead of a coherent plan and shrewd political strategy, the MAGA agenda is fuelled by optimism, emotionalism, and nativism—but now MAGA is lost in an endless lockdown, and the ravenous leftist beast is on a rampage and unlikely to show any mercy. While the conservatives marched to the drumbeats of MAGA, they naively allowed the lockdown to happen under their watch and brought their nation to an anti-MAGA terminus. The genesis of the lockdown problem is the ban on flights from China that the conservatives imposed in February 2020—but you can’t ban flights from China and expect the extremely powerful pro-China elements in America to sit idle. In the last forty years, America has accepted massive financial, intellectual, and political investments form China—it’s difficult to imagine American films, mainstream media, industry, academia, and even politics without considering the “Made in China” elements. The pro-China elements in America retaliated by making a medical case for locking down all the economically critical regions. Now the lockdown has lasted for more than forty days and caused a massive economic decline; the America economy might take more than ten years to recover; chances are that it might never recover.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Arendt on the Schreibtischtäter

In her 1963 report on the trail fo Adolf Eichmann (Eichmann in Jerusalem), Hannah Arendt says that the holocaust was perpetrated through a new, modern type of murderer: the Schreibtischtäter or desk murderer. She doesn’t see a linkage between the holocaust and German history; the Nazi murders, to her, were a problem of modernity, having little to do with Germany’s past. Modernity, she asserts, empowered the Nazi Schreibtischtäter, who blindly obeyed orders, and without personally participating in the murders, sent millions to their death by merely putting his signature on the official documents that came before him. She presents Eichmann as the prototype of a Schreibtischtäter. The phenomena of Schreibtischtäter, in my opinion, is real, and it persists till this day. In our times, the liberal political establishment is in control of the army of Schreibtischtäter in several nations.

Conservatives and China

The conservative dream of crushing China has flopped; the cost of moving even ten percent of American manufacturing bases from China to the USA is more than a trillion dollars—after forty-days of lockdown, the American economy is in a terrible shape and America can no longer afford to spend trillions of dollars on its rivalry with China. In the next four years, the Americans will need the cooperation of China, more than that of any other nation, to rebuild their own economy. To keep his base energized President Trump might say all kinds of things in his tweets, but he will not frame a real policy to coerce the American manufacturing plants to come out of China. Thus China is now in a politically and economically sound position. The failure of the conservatives to counter China proves the old truism that the leftists with a plan are usually able to outfox the conservatives.

The Discontents of Freud

Now that I am a certified pessimist, I can empathize with Sigmund Freud’s discontents—I am talking about his final book Civilization and Its Discontents in which he pours out all his pessimism: he examines the senseless slaughter of the First World War and the Russian communist revolution, and his own financial difficulties, his stomach ailments, his fight with cancer and presents a bleak picture of mankind. Life, he notes, is not being possible without suffering and that there are three ways by which a man might try to alleviate his suffering: first, intoxication; second, seclusion, which might not work for most people because we are, by nature, gregarious creatures; third, sublimation, which entails giving vent to aggressive impulses in socially acceptable ways (sports or work). He rejects the religious idea that man should love his enemies and agrees with the saying, homo homini lupus (man is wolf to man)—man is naturally inclined to enslave other men and to destroy all those who cannot be enslaved.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Three Impossibilities of Conservatism

The conservatives are stymied by the three impossibilities: first, the impossibility of deciding what is the national tradition; second, the impossibility of deciding what is to be done to preserve the tradition that they believe is national; third, the impossibility of making national progress while preserving the national tradition. But liberalism is itself a tradition; leftism is itself a tradition; fascism is itself a tradition; modernity is itself a tradition—and this means that a conservative in the twenty-first century cannot avoid being a liberal, leftist, fascistic, and modernist because these are as much a part of his tradition, as his religion and culture is.

Nietzsche’s Rejection of Conservatism

Nietzsche has called his approach to philosophy “philosophizing with a hammer”; he has claimed that his books are “dynamite” and “assassination attempts.” He was a revolutionary, a destroyer of traditions, a man who lusted for radical social transformations; there is nothing conservative in him. The conservative dictum is to keep everything as it is; if the conservatives inherit a corrupt, incompetent, and cruel socialist system, they will ignore the corruption, incompetence, and cruelty, and preserve the socialist system because that for them becomes the embodiment of the national culture which must be conserved. There is no possibility of a conservative Nietzsche, and there is no possibility of major reform under a conservative government.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

On The Conservative “Will to Power”

Twenty-first century conservatism has the “will to power”; it lacks the “will to build a better world.” The conservatives expect to find redemption and meaning in a government that is conservative in name only; they have no desire to work for a conservative society based on the principles of liberty and free markets. The conservative mindset follows Walter Benjamin’s insight “The work is the death of the intention”—for the conservatives, winning the election means the death of the conservative intention; once political power is acquired, they forget conservatism.

The Right is the New Left

The right has become fascistic, authoritarian, and imperial—they are so dominated and bewitched by their ability to win elections that they have started believing that winning elections is their only duty, and that they need to do nothing to safeguard the civil liberties, dignity, and economic interests of the people in their country. The inability of the right to resist the move towards totalitarian leftism is linked to not only their total obsession with winning elections but also to the weakness of their rightist agenda and their contempt for the concerns of the members of the public who hold a rightist worldview. The maxim from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov applies to the right: “We are all guilty of everything and everyone, towards everyone—and I more than all the others.” For the downfall of society, the right is more guilty than all others, more guilty than the left.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Indoctrination in the Trenches and Lockdowns

When mankind is hiding in the trenches, it confirms its spiritual and moral bankruptcy, and is susceptible to the ideologies of hate and violence. In the twentieth century’s second decade, when millions of men were inside the trenches dug across Europe, Asia, and North Africa, fighting the First World War, they were simultaneously being indoctrinated in Nazism, Fascism, and Leninist Communism. At the end of the great war, they emerged from the trenches as the brutal warriors of ideology, brainwashed to unleash any devastation in the name of Nazism, Fascism, or Leninism. In the second decade of the twenty-first century, people are once again in trenches (lockdown), which run across homes and offices around the globe: What kind of indoctrination is happening to them? The global lockdown could prove to be a point of no return, a breeder of revolutionaries, who will, in the years to come, plow without mercy through the present and future.

Socrates and the Conservative Hemlock

I despise the liberals and leftists, but I am not a conservative; I identify as a conservative rebel, or a “Conservative Socrates,” one who has tasted the conservative hemlock, and realized that the conservative hemlock is as detrimental for his health as the liberal (leftist) hemlock.

Friday, May 1, 2020

The Blood Brothers: Capitalism & Communism

Capitalism and communism are blood brothers; both were born in the heart of the western civilization, in the years following the American and the French Revolutions of the eighteenth century. Since their birth, the two blood brothers have coexisted; they have marched hand in hand and transformed the culture and politics of several nations. There has never been a capitalist nation that is not rocked by communist movements; there has never been a communist nation where a section of the population is not rooting for capitalism; all democratic governments are a compromise between capitalist and communist tendencies. The rise of capitalism is linked to the Industrial Revolution; the rise of communism is an outcome of the intellectual work and political activism of Marx and Engels, and their followers. Since the eighteenth century, the regulatory system in all nations has kept pace with the industrialization—when the first industrialist was building his industry, the first bureaucrat was writing his regulations, and the first communist revolutionary was arousing the working class.

Blind Faith in Philosophy and Politics

The fervent supporter of a political leader is the man who does not understand his political agenda at all; the same is true of the fervent adherent of a philosopher—he does not understand the philosopher’s philosophy at all. Blind faith motivates the followers in both politics and philosophy.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Overman’s Enslavement

Man’s debt towards fellow human beings is a profitable enterprise for those with Nietzschean Last Man mentality, who become collectors of the debt and join the ruling class, but for most people, who exist in the twilight between the Last Man and the Overman, the debt is an instrument of enslavement and torture—the Last Man, who owns the master mentality, is fit to rule; the Overman, who owns the slave mentality, is always the payer.

Over-Civilization and Nihilism

Civilization is a good thing but over-civilization is a sign that people are no longer conscious of culture and politics and that a clique of erudite-barbarians has taken charge and is directing the civilization towards nihilism. The road to nihilism is paved with over-civilization.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Truth Never Prevails On Its Own

In the end, the truth will prevail. But when will the end which will witness the enshrinement of the truth come? No one can tell. The expression, “In the end, the truth will prevail,” is a mindless anodyne, a fatalistic banality; it symbolizes the unfulfilled hopes of a defeated people. If it’s the lie that prevails today, then people have two alternatives: either submit to the lie, or fight to expose it. Tomorrow it might be too late; a lie that is not exposed today becomes the established point of view tomorrow; with every passing day the lie gathers more strength, more corruption, more immorality, and one day it has enough power to crush all those who won’t submit to it. The truth never prevails on its on, only when people are willing to fight for it.

Apocalypse: The Timeless Instrument of Power

An apocalypse is the brutal instrument for attaining power. When political movements fail to attain mass support by conventional methods, they use the idea of an apocalypse to frighten people into submission. Almost all civilizations, in the past 2500 years, have resorted to apocalyptic theories to keep their population frightened and in control. When you hear modern intellectuals and politicians thundering from their pulpits (TV studios) that an apocalypse is imminent—that the apocalypse will rip your life apart, that your world is coming to an end, that they are the only ones who can save you and your world, but only if submit to them and make such and such changes to your lifestyle—then you should become aware that a new version of the brutal ancient game of power is now being played, and that, this time, you are the dispensable “pawn” of the power game.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

On The Predictions of the Frankfurt School

The advanced nations are “happily and calmly” committing economic and cultural harakiri in the name of fighting a flu virus—why are they self-destructing? I am revisiting the Frankfurt School’s psychoanalysis of modernity, and I realize that, in the last fifty years, many predictions made by this school have come true. The Frankfurt School theorists (Marcuse, Adorno, Horkheimer, Fromm, and a few other names) have claimed that capitalism, which is essentially state capitalism, is dedicated to creating a mass society with standardization and social conformity. They were among the first theorists to view Hollywood films, radio, TV, mainstream media, and advertising as instruments for engendering social control and mass culture. The 1947 book by Adorno and Horkheimer, The Dialectic of Enlightenment, is a popular text of the Frankfurt School—while it’s a critique of the Enlightenment, it has something noteworthy to say about capitalism: every capitalist society eventually becomes massified and fascistic, and the new generations often become slavish and cruel. Another useful book of the Frankfurt School is Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom (1941); Fromm makes a distinction between "freedom from” (negative freedom) and “freedom to” (positive freedom). The third book of the Frankfurt School that I will mention is Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization (1955) which combines Marxist and Freudian worldview to propagate (and analyze) the rise of a counterculture of revolt, disobedience, and libertinism in capitalist societies.

The Distortion and Corruption of Values

Every value of modern society has been corrupted and used to breed its opposite: capitalism has been used to breed fascism; democracy to breed mob rule; reason to breed unreason; science to breed adherence to sociological paradigms; liberty to breed a culture of manipulation and dominance; innovation and enterprise to breed conformism in the marketplace; industry to breed massive military machines; digital technologies to breed systems to spy on innocent citizens; academia and mass media to breed an indoctrinated and dumb population; intellectualism to breed a class of erudite barbarians; cure to breed an outcome worse than the disease.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Kuhn’s Theory of “Bandwagon Effects” in Science

The extreme measures that many “expert” scientists and doctors are advocating for dealing with the coronavirus problem makes me remember the “bandwagon effect” that Thomas Kuhn has described in his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn says that the view of the scientific community is strongly influenced by a “bandwagon effect”; the scientists are not open-minded; they do not base their views on evidence; they do not conduct proper experiments—and, instead of being objective, they tend to view the world in terms of the prevailing paradigm (by paradigm Kuhn means an overwhelming consensus on what a scientific view ought to be). Over a period of time, the paradigm leads to the accumulation of anomalies, which the scientists address by allowing gradual divergences—this process leads to paradigm breakdown and the rise of a new paradigm. The work of scientists, according to Kuhn, is not fully rational; it’s a sociological enterprise.

The Soviet Union and The USA

Communism was the great destroyer of liberty in the twentieth century, but after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the interest in communism, as an ideology of world dominance, died and the mission for destroying liberty was picked up by a spate of movements which were developed by the intellectuals and politicians based in the nation that often straddles the globe caparisoned as the knight of liberty and capitalism: the USA. The list of American liberty killing movements since the 1990s include: global warming, climate change, war on terror, war on drugs, and currently, the war on a virus. In several respects, after 1991, the USA became like the Soviet Union.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Celebrity Who Believes in Apocalypse

Why are the world’s leading celebrities fervent believers and propagators of apocalyptic theories like Ice Age, Global Warming, Climate Change, Pandemic? I think that a typical celebrity supporter of an apocalyptic theory is a man who at first achieves great worldly success, but failing to understand the reasons for which he is successful, he spends days and nights trying to convince himself that his success is genuine, and when he fails to convince himself, he blames the people whose support has made him what he is and he pines for their downfall and annihilation—the idea of an apocalypse becomes a psychological need for him, because an apocalypse is his final revenge against those who inflicted on him the ignominy of a fake success.

On The New Trojan Horse

Here’s my prediction: The word “coronavirus” will become emblazoned in mankind’s collective memory—the coming generations will never forget this word because it will become associated, in their mind, with the fall of the world order which got established in the twentieth century. Philosophers and historians will state in their books that coronavirus entered the advanced nations like a “Trojan Horse,” enticing their governments to take draconian steps to counter it, but instead of stopping the virus, these steps led to a fatal decline in their culture, economy, and military strength; with the fall of the advanced nations, the existing world order was finished and the quest began for a new order. The game of the new "Trojan Horse" has already been played and now it cannot be reversed or unplayed.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Wars of Twenty-first Century

“There will be wars, as there never have been wars on earth,” says Nietzsche in Will to Power—this statement is not a hyperbole; it’s Nietzsche’s prediction that the wars of the twentieth century would be different from the earlier wars. The wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth century were motivated by dynastic and national concerns, whereas the wars of the twentieth century would be immense—why? because, according to Nietzsche, they would be a clash of ideologies. But what kind of wars will the nations wage in the twenty-first century? The age of ideology ended with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the wars since then have been over control of territory and resources; the same trend will continue and going forward, the new wars will be limited in scope, and will ultimately engender a world order in which there are multiple power centers.

Extinction of the Neo-Dinosaur: Modern Man

The modern man, who is a creation of centuries of philosophical, political, and scientific work, finds himself at a midpoint between a lunatic asylum and a zombie apocalypse. His way of life is finished, but in such an ignominious and pathetic manner—nature bestowed on the dinosaurs the dignity of having the opportunity to become extinct from the impact of a meteor which turned the earth into a fireball for a thousand years; modern man, the neo-dinosaur, on the other hand, is going down with the whimper of a flu virus. Now men face two stark choices: either they can become a lunatic and live in the asylum alongside the stark raving mad, or they can turn into a zombie and join the rampaging cannibalistic hordes. What will your choice be?

Friday, April 24, 2020

On Conservatives and Immigration

Why are the western conservatives still fretting about immigrants? Hey dude, immigrants arrive only in nations which have a large number of high-paying jobs to offer. When your economy is in a state of apocalyptic decline, and the chances of economic recovery in the next five years seem bleak because the politicians, intellectuals, and celebrities in your nation are acting like self-destructive Marxist idiots and paranoid crybabies, and when your domestic unemployment is at an all time high, then the immigrants will not show up. No jobs, no immigrants—it’s that simple. Stop worrying about immigrants, they are not coming—in the next five years, you will see a 95% drop in immigration. If your economy does not recover, then all the border walls that you have built might someday come in handy for stopping conservatives like you from trying to sneak over to the other side. For a change act like real conservatives and focus on the real problem: salvaging whatever is still salvageable in your economy and culture.

Don Quixote—The Last Knight

The modern man is helpless. He is tired of living. He is of fed up of change. His mind is filled with dark apocalyptic thoughts. He feels such contempt and disgust for fellow human beings that he takes social distancing as a great virtue. But Don Quixote is not like the modern man. He still has some life in him. He still loves humanity. Attired in his rusty armor, astride his wretched old horse, Don Quixote is setting out with Sancho Panza, who is on his donkey—they are the world’s last knights, humanity’s last hope; they will defy lockdowns and fight for peoples civil liberties.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Old World Order is Finished

If you keep people sheltered till the virus goes away, then the virus will never go away; it will become a perpetual problem—a year or two years from today, we will still be fearing a catastrophic attack from some form of the virus. In such a climate of fear and uncertainty, the economic woes will keep multiplying and eventually the economic black hole will become so massive that it will swallow several advanced nations and that will lead to a transformation of the world order; instead of a world dominated by one or two superpowers, we might have a multipolar world with several centers of power. At some point in the future the philosophers and historians will be asking such questions: why did the advanced nations destroy themselves so completely? why were they good in technology but lacking in wisdom?

A View from “A Canticle for Leibowitz”

When a civilization is on its last legs, it becomes devoted to minimizing suffering and maximizing security for its people. In his novel A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller Jr. provides an insight into the apocalyptic consequences of the quest for mitigation of suffering and maximization of security. Here’s a quote from the novel: “To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security."

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Problem of Zarathustra

The problem of Zarathustra that Nietzsche describes in Thus Spoke Zarathustra is something that the modern societies (which are based on the principles of freedom) tend to face. Nobody wants what Zarathustra has to offer, he is jeered and mocked by all; likewise, nobody wants what a modern society has to offer. People demand a bovine kind of security and contentment, which Zarathustra will not offer, and neither will any modern society, because taking risks is a necessary condition for living in a free environment. All modern societies must ultimately collapse into lethargy and decadence, because, human nature being what it is, the problem of Zarathustra has no solution.

On the Apartheid Between Asian Nations and Reality

There exists a cartesian apartheid between most Asian nations and reality—having convinced themselves that they are incapable of dealing with reality on their own, these Asian nations have entrusted the world’s only superpower to serve as broker between them and reality. But by using a superpower to cut a deal with reality, these Asian nations have become out of touch with the truth; they have become blind and dumb followers of the superpower; if the superpower is doing something truly horrifying, like wrecking its own economy and imposing draconian restrictions on its own people, these Asian nations will also do it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Socialism and the Seven Dwarfs

The political movements in the last 100 years seem to be modeled after the Grimm fairy tale, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Socialism has won the pole position of Snow White while all other political movements have been relegated to the lowly position of dwarfs. Surprising, isn’t it, that the conservatives, and even the tiny movement of libertarians, have been dwarfed and subverted by socialist thought.

Moore’s Refutation of Idealism

In his essay, “The Refutation of Idealism,” G. E. Moore notes that the claim esse is percipi is essential to the idealist view of the world. He does not attack the idealist notion that reality is spiritual (or to be is to be perceived)—instead, he shows that the arguments that the idealists use to support the claim esse is percipi lead to a contradiction and hence are flawed. He comes to the conclusion that idealism violates the law of non-contradiction. But Moore’s essay is not a defense of realism—the positions of both the realist and the idealist can be challenged by two central claims of skepticism: first, it is possible for appearances to differ from reality; second, the veridical experiences can be indistinguishable from the non-veridical experiences.

Gods and Monsters

Can there be a great monster that does not possess the attributes of a god? It’s hard to categorize Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein, since he possesses the attributes of both, a monster and a god. The greatest of all demons, monsters, and devils that we discover in ancient legends and religious stories exhibit, in some situations, godlike qualities. The phenomena of godly qualities and monstrousness coexisting in the same entity, when taken in context of human beings, leads to the inference that man cannot be perfect—if he has godlike qualities, then, in the same measure, he will have monstrous qualities too. Only the naive will expect their idols to be wholly godlike.

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Monsters of Pseudoscience

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is outdone by the large inventory of monstrous entities and events, each capable of annihilating the world, that science (“pseudoscience”) has invented: ice age; global warming; climate change; ozone layer depletion; acid rain; hackers precipitating a global nuclear war; artificial intelligence capturing human brains, turning people into zombified slaves; tyrannical supercomputer leading an army of killer cyborgs; and the newest in the long list of apocalyptic monsters is the virus. Science is the fountainhead of inventions and discoveries, but when science gets corrupted by the misguided power elites, there is a rise of pseudoscience which is the producer of fictional monsters.

On Atheism

Strange that the atheists complain about the worship of the gods of religion, while they encourage the worship of the earthly devils because of whom the world has been a madhouse for too long, who operate in the guise of intellectuals and politicians and work to destroy reason, faith, and feeling of freedom, the values which have been purchased dearly after centuries of struggle. Atheism is enamored by the devils and loathes the gods because the atheists know that to build a new materialistic heaven they need to harness the resources of the devil.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Awareness and Language

Is anyone aware that he was ever sensorily aware of anything for which he does not have the words to describe? Such awareness is not possible; a man cannot be aware of being aware in the past of seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking, or imagining anything which he cannot describe to himself in words. Man’s capacity for being aware of past awarenesses, or of consciously recollecting the past experiences with ideas and events, is wholly dependent on his ability to use language. A creature without language will not have the ability of being aware of past sensory awarenesses.

Are We the Ultimate Form of Life?

The idea that man is the ultimate form of life, that he is the most important creature, the only creature that has the possibility of progress and redemption, has come down to us from legends conceived 3000 to 4000 years ago, and has been, in all ages, believed by most human beings, including the important thinkers who have philosophized on man’s uniqueness, his faith and spirituality, and his ability to use reason and science—but what if the belief in man’s supremacy is not right and, instead of progressing linearly, life moves in a circle? That is, if the theory of evolution is true, then life on this planet began as single-celled bacteria, but is man the ultimate form of life or is it the bacteria?—from bacteria we evolved and to the bacteria we might return.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

In Defense of Naive Realism

Naive realism is a bizarre name for a philosophical position; the name creates the impression that the position is innocent, infantile, and ignorant—it’s, after all, naive. A person new to philosophy, when he encounters the term “naive realism,” might become disenchanted—why should he waste time on a philosophical position which is naive? But naive realism is not naive; it’s a sophisticated, and probably the most interesting position in philosophy of mind—it holds that the world of physical objects exists irrespective of whether or not anyone is observing them and that our senses present us a view of the world as it is. Every realist theory of perception makes use of the tenets of naive realism—direct realism, I think, is a much better, more honest, name for this position.

On Fake Truths

The truth is divine; it will set you free. But what if the truth becomes fake? What if it’s no longer divine, it no longer sets you free, it binds in blindness, malice, and fear? What if the world’s intellectuals, politicians, and experts turn out be the propagators of lies? The truth needs a justification; it needs to prove its divinity—but that can never be achieved.

William Faulkner’s 1288-Word Sentence

William Faulkner was a master of long sentences; his longest sentence, in his novel Absalom, Absalom!, is a 1288-word marathon:

"Just exactly like Father if Father had known as much about it the night before I went out there as he did the day after I came back thinking Mad impotent old man who realized at last that there must be some limit even to the capabilities of a demon for doing harm, who must have seen his situation as that of the show girl, the pony, who realizes that the principal tune she prances to comes not from horn and fiddle and drum but from a clock and calendar, must have seen himself as the old wornout cannon which realizes that it can deliver just one more fierce shot and crumble to dust in its own furious blast and recoil, who looked about upon the scene which was still within his scope and compass and saw son gone, vanished, more insuperable to him now than if the son were dead since now (if the son still lived) his name would be different and those to call him by it strangers and whatever dragon’s outcropping of Sutpen blood the son might sow on the body of whatever strange woman would therefore carry on the tradition, accomplish the hereditary evil and harm under another name and upon and among people who will never have heard the right one; daughter doomed to spinsterhood who had chosen spinsterhood already before there was anyone named Charles Bon since the aunt who came to succor her in bereavement and sorrow found neither but instead that calm absolutely impenetrable face between a homespun dress and sunbonnet seen before a closed door and again in a cloudy swirl of chickens while Jones was building the coffin and which she wore during the next year while the aunt lived there and the three women wove their own garments and raised their own food and cut the wood they cooked it with (excusing what help they had from Jones who lived with his granddaughter in the abandoned fishing camp with its collapsing roof and rotting porch against which the rusty scythe which Sutpen was to lend him, make him borrow to cut away the weeds from the door-and at last forced him to use though not to cut weeds, at least not vegetable weeds -would lean for two years) and wore still after the aunt’s indignation had swept her back to town to live on stolen garden truck and out o f anonymous baskets left on her front steps at night, the three of them, the two daughters negro and white and the aunt twelve miles away watching from her distance as the two daughters watched from theirs the old demon, the ancient varicose and despairing Faustus fling his final main now with the Creditor’s hand already on his shoulder, running his little country store now for his bread and meat, haggling tediously over nickels and dimes with rapacious and poverty-stricken whites and negroes, who at one time could have galloped for ten miles in any direction without crossing his own boundary, using out of his meagre stock the cheap ribbons and beads and the stale violently-colored candy with which even an old man can seduce a fifteen-year-old country girl, to ruin the granddaughter o f his partner, this Jones-this gangling malaria-ridden white man whom he had given permission fourteen years ago to squat in the abandoned fishing camp with the year-old grandchild-Jones, partner porter and clerk who at the demon’s command removed with his own hand (and maybe delivered too) from the showcase the candy beads and ribbons, measured the very cloth from which Judith (who had not been bereaved and did not mourn) helped the granddaughter to fashion a dress to walk past the lounging men in, the side-looking and the tongues, until her increasing belly taught her embarrassment-or perhaps fear;-Jones who before ’61 had not even been allowed to approach the front of the house and who during the next four years got no nearer than the kitchen door and that only when he brought the game and fish and vegetables on which the seducer-to-be’s wife and daughter (and Clytie too, the one remaining servant, negro, the one who would forbid him to pass the kitchen door with what he brought) depended on to keep life in them, but who now entered the house itself on the (quite frequent now) afternoons when the demon would suddenly curse the store empty of customers and lock the door and repair to the rear and in the same tone in which he used to address his orderly or even his house servants when he had them (and in which he doubtless ordered Jones to fetch from the showcase the ribbons and beads and candy) direct Jones to fetch the jug, the two of them (and Jones even sitting now who in the old days, the old dead Sunday afternoons of monotonous peace which they spent beneath the scuppernong arbor in the back yard, the demon lying in the hammock while Jones squatted against a post, rising from time to time to pour for the demon from the demijohn and the bucket of spring water which he had fetched from the spring more than a mile away then squatting again, chortling and chuckling and saying `Sho, Mister Tawm’ each time the demon paused)-the two of them drinking turn and turn about from the jug and the demon not lying down now nor even sitting but reaching after the third or second drink that old man’s state of impotent and furious undefeat in which he would rise, swaying and plunging and shouting for his horse and pistols to ride single-handed into Washington and shoot Lincoln (a year or so too late here) and Sherman both, shouting, ‘Kill them! Shoot them down like the dogs they are!’ and Jones: ‘Sho, Kernel; sho now’ and catching him as he fell and commandeering the first passing wagon to take him to the house and carry him up the front steps and through the paintless formal door beneath its fanlight imported pane by pane from Europe which Judith held open for him to enter with no change, no alteration in that calm frozen face which she had worn for four years now, and on up the stairs and into the bedroom and put him to bed like a baby and then lie down himself on the floor beside the bed though not to sleep since before dawn the man on the bed would stir and groan and Jones would say, ‘flyer I am, Kernel. Hit’s all right. They ain't whupped us yit, air they?’ this Jones who after the demon rode away with the regiment when the granddaughter was only eight years old would tell people that he ‘was lookin after Major’s place and niggers’ even before they had time to ask him why he was not with the troops and perhaps in time came to believe the lie himself, who was among the first to greet the demon when he returned, to meet him at the gate and say, ‘Well, Kernel, they kilt us but they ain't whupped us yit, air they?’ who even worked, labored, sweat at the demon’s behest during that first furious period while the demon believed he could restore by sheer indomitable willing the Sutpen’s Hundred which he remembered and had lost, labored with no hope of pay or reward who must have seen long before the demon did (or would admit it) that the task was hopeless-blind Jones who apparently saw still in that furious lecherous wreck the old fine figure of the man who once galloped on the black thoroughbred about that domain two boundaries of which the eye could not see from any point."

Friday, April 17, 2020

Travails of the Hiding Man

Man has fled from civilization, he is in hiding, crouching in fear, writing his last will and testament, dedicating his life, whatever is left of it, to nothingness, to nihilism. What does he really want?—safety, which he will never achieve because his civilization has mutated into a leviathan, a far more ferocious, hungry, and merciless predator than the thing from which he has fled.

No More Butterflies

You can’t find any butterflies—because of the pandemic and lockdown, the butterflies have discarded their wings and retreated into their homes by changing into caterpillar and pupa.

On Nietzsche’s View of Redeemer

Solitude is not a flight from reality, rather it’s a flight from the banal ways of looking at reality, and the discovery of a unique perspective on reality. Nietzsche talks about the redeemer, who is filled with love and contempt, who gives up his solitude to redeem humanity. Here’s a line from Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals: “This man of the future will redeem us, not just from the ideal held up till now, but also from those things which had to arise from it, from the great nausea, the will to nothingness, from nihilism, that stroke of midday and of great decision that makes the will free again, which gives earth its purpose and man his hope again, this Antichrist and anti-nihilist, this conqueror of God and of nothingness—he must come one day…”

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Ayn Rand was the Antithesis of Her Characters

Ayn Rand created Howard Roark and John Galt, but she was not like them. Writers seldom create characters with personality identical to their own. Margaret Mitchell created Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, but she was not like them; between Nietzsche and his creation Zarathustra, there was nothing in common; Victor Hugo was far from his creations Marquis de Lantenac and Jean Valjean; Goethe was an antithesis of his creation Heinrich Faust; Homer, unlike his creations, the agile warriors Hector and Achilles, was a frail blind man. It’s a mistake to see Rand as an equal of her creations; she was an immoralist and a control freak, an antithesis of Roark and Galt; her system of philosophy is an embodiment of her true-self—it’s cultish and serves as a magnet for mediocrities who are easy to control.