Fears we hide in

Gilf Kebir: Cave Swimmers

While in Marrakech, I had a few words from my favorite lines of The English Patient running through my mind constantly like a song I just couldn’t get out of my head:

We die, we die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed … bodies we have entered and swum up like rivers, fears we have hidden in like this wretched cave…

Maybe it was just part of adjusting to a new, unknown place located on the fringes of the “comfort zone” or simply a period of self-reflection ignited after Casablanca. But I was focused on how too often anxiety, in all of its subtle ways, defines the decisions that we make and actions we take. How if we were to analyze the things we do and cease from doing, the things we say and the things we keep to ourselves, how deep down inside our actions and ommissions are predestined by our quiet little fears. Allow me to continue:

And I was thinking about Dostoevsky’s words in Notes from Underground on how there are certain secrets we keep from our closest relations and then those secrets we keep even from ourselves. Sometimes these secret secrets are simply the fears that we hide behind. Those innocent anxieties from childhood grow through the years, suppressed for some time, to manifest themselves later in life as unreasonable, unconscious factors key to our decision making process.

Like the lyrics from The Smiths, “shyness is nice, but shyness will stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to . . .” Once again, life really is not so difficult, it is ourselves who complicate things. It is only ourselves who make us happy, and only ourselves who make us miserable. I used to believe Robert Frost, that taking the road less traveled made all the difference. But now, I believe that even taking a diverging path is caused by a lack of courage – courage to fail or to succeed, or to confront and face something we would rather not see.

In closing this digression, I am reminded of Duke Ellington’s acceptance speech when receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Nixion:

And, of course, we speak of freedom of expression and we speak of freedom generally as being something very sweet and fat and things like that. In the end when we get down to the payoff, what we actually say is that we would like very much to mention the four major freedoms that my friend and writing-and-arranging composer, Billy Strayhorn, lived by and enjoyed.

That was freedom from hate, unconditionally; freedom from self-pity; freedom from fear of possibly doing something that may help someone else more than it would him; and freedom from the kind of pride that could make a man feel that he is better than his brother.


Filed under Digressions

41 responses to “Fears we hide in

  1. The Comment Killer

    Interesting, I had similar, but much less sophisticated and intellectual, thoughts based on my reflections of Marrakech… fear and anxiety are always messin with my life.

  2. eric

    Yes, well, I was talking about my observations of other people, not myself. But, thanks for sharing. Ja ja, just joking.

  3. Apparently, there are those about the world who have not taken the time to understand the wille zur macht mentality necessary to exist within the hominid’s sphere of dualistic “reality”.

    Fear is most often weakness associated with an unmet need, and lack of ability or resources, to satisfy said need.

  4. eric

    I am going to have to think about that one for a while, James. What about simple, good old fashioned anxiety or phobias that are not reasonable?

  5. eric

    . . . or which have some basis in reason but are blown out of proportion, or at least to an extent that impedes us sufficiently from acting in a healthier way?

  6. First, weakness is meant in the sense of [lacking], not as being effete.

    I think you are seeing the antecedent instance, (i.e. unreasonable phobia), instead of the preceding instance that created the observable effect.

    What was lacking (weakness) in an earlier stage, that is now manifest as anxiety or phobia? Security? Stability? Health? Social unity?

    Fear, as you have described, does not, in my opinion, come from “reasonable circumstance”, but it’s rather difficult to explain, due to all the variables involved, without a compendium of human psychological/sociological/socio-cultural reference.

    The greatest breadth of aberrance is derived from poor perspective created by poor/absent reasoning capabilities due to lack of logic training/faculties.

    Most notably, we tie far too much importance on emotion, and far too little on critical thinking and examination of our own kind, humans, as animals. I say it is the fault of a cognition whose greater equal, and superior adversary, is ego.

    That “I am I” makes what “happens” to me of greater importance than what “happens” to “you”. We are really rather energetic expressions of one another, inexorably tied by essence, and invariably separated by ego. Thus we trade logic and reasoning for emotion, and my cousin is not my mutual experience through differing experience, he is other, therefore adversary. Being other, I must fear you or control you, because I am still an animal.

  7. eric

    OK. I got you. You are basically looking at it from a Buddhist perspective. Fear or anxiety are essentially a lack of cognitive development and understanding of the true nature of that which is around us. Yes, surely.

  8. Well, more from the Daoist perspective, but yes, they do cross over in their philologies.

    That, splashed with the idea that evolution played a rather insalubrious game of trickery with us, and didn’t leave the documentation laying about, so we have to find it out, on our own.

    **nice blog by the way, hope you don’t mind me visiting?**

  9. eric

    Thanks very much for visiting!!! It’s nice to have someone other than my brother commenting!!! Please, I have greatly enjoyed your insights.

    There’s a great line in “Enter the Dragon”: “we are born knowing only life.” There is no road map or understanding of anything else, hence we find our own way . . . I guess that is where the stress, the anxiety, and the wrong turns come from. And a lot of the fun, too.

  10. Yes, Lee put a number of Daoist/Buddhist gems in those films, although they escape most westerners, rather sad.

    What he/you describe is referred to by Daoists as the Watercourse Way of life. Live for the experiences, yours and others equally, and stress and anxiety do not have time made for them.

  11. TheCommentKiller

    i really like comment #3 second sentence.

  12. You “like it”? Or are you meaning you find agreement with what was stated?


  13. TheCommentKiller


  14. Ever the liberal defender, eh cousin? LOL.

    You do realise equality and humanity are antithetical premises, yes?

  15. The Comment Killer


    How so, you feel that humanity motivated by the notion of a survival of the fittest? And equality is the opposite?

    Please explain (in words i don’t have to look up in the dictionary- your vocabulary is freaking huge or i guess mine is just tiny) when you have a chance.

  16. First you will have to entertain me cousin.

    Are you a concretist/materialist who believes life of the hominid is predicated completely on the Darwinian premises?

    Are you theist/spiritualist/ethicist who believes that human cognition has forever sought the apex mantle of meta-ethics?

    Which do you favor?

  17. TheCommentKiller

    again you are over my head, but i am guessing that i am more into darwin than anything meta-physical

  18. Very well.

    Then most certainly you cannot entertain the Darwinian mind, and place morality in a context outside of individual, (specieal), context as a socialising mechanism for survival.

    If morality can be said to be nothing more than a morphism/modality of genetic inclination with respect to social development, and exists in singularity only, then it would be illogical to assume equality, (in the same fashion that one would have to find altruism to be spurious under this same premise).

    Natural selection demands competition, and competition is founded upon the identification of superior/inferior model/structure, which is inherently antithetical to “equality”.

    I am going to go ahead and posit a supposition that appears to likely be accurate of your mindset, (mind you, I am not criticising, simply curious). My assertion is that you also believe in “natural rights” of each individual human. Most often, those who assert equality, do so from the premise of “rights”, as the predicate for equality.

    How close am I?

    (I am only writing in English here … I’m generally foregoing the more appropriate Latin terminology for clarity’s sake) 🙂

  19. TheCommentKiller

    you are pretty far over my head. but i think i get the gist… equality cannot exist in darwinism b/c of competition. i really don’t know enough about darwinism to speak to this issue. i wonder if the notion of survival of the fittest can exist at the evolutionary level (kind of over the long-term, macro-level), but on the ground (the day to day, micro level) equality can exist. if we look at non-humans, aren’t they generally more equal than humans? a success eco-system is one in which everyone plays a role to the benefit of the larger system, if things get out of balance (one animal has too much power) then equality ends, no?

    I really don’t know about this topic, i am just brainstorming, but it is interesting. I am kind of fond of John Rawls “behind a veil of ignorance” to the extent that i understand it.

    anyway. hope you and the fam had a nice x-mas. ours was suprisingly peaceful.

  20. We had an excellent Christmas, and all hope you and yours did likewise.

    Okay, we’ll break this down simplified, and see where we can get.

    First off, it doesn’t have to be “Darwinism” so much, we can just stick to straightline genetics and historical understanding of the process.

    From a disciplined, (empirical), genetic view, we have little to no control of what we do, (autonomy, free will). This is because the indicators of behavior are believed to be “imprinted” on us, from the history of genetic selection. Basically, we are just enormous biochemical plants, where all the selections of the processes, (from metabolism all the way up the hierarchy, to thought), are predicted by the DNA. A large number of geneticists, including Richard Dawkins, say that even our ability to socialise is controlled by this genetic history, (i.e. we learned to socialise for the greater chance of survival, and now it is “built in” to the DNA).

    I say they are only correct to a degree, and I’ll leave that for another conversation, because it delves into quantum theories of gravitational brain development, (yes, it’s actually becoming a “theoretical discipline” inside the sciences of the mind).

    So, bottom line, it comes down to we socialise to survive, (starting at the family level with ingrained gender roles, all the way up to civilisation size environments), but within the framework of this, the interplay of competition for genetic and resource superiority are constant counter forces, (that we are rarely aware of on an active brain level). It’s the age old game of jockeying for position.

    From my perspective, the want of “equality”, “altruism”, and “rights” does indicate something else at work, (metaphysically), that the empiricist mind cannot grasp.

    Good so far cousin?

  21. The Comment Killer

    i am starting to understand you more… there is an interesting article on this issue in The Economist this week: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8453850

    Seems like there are two discussions: Nature vs. Nurture and then whether “the want of equality…” is something metaphysical.

    In Nature v. Nurture. I think science is now confirming that our Nature (genetic make-up) plays a huge role in who we are, but i do think ‘Nature’ also plays a big role. One can more genetically likely to be an alcoholic, but never drink alcohol or abuse substances in their life… but it just may take more effort than the average person. I think our genetic make-up increases/decreases our propensity to be a certain way or do certain things, but our nature also plays a huge role. Those babies born in Darfur will certainly have different options and opportunities than folks born in the burbs of America. And i can go on and on with situations like that. A great book, Guns, Germs and Steel, talks about why inequality exists (historically) and looks at all of these factors and more- it was also made into a PBS series which is great too.

    On the issue of equality… i do think than many folks need some metaphysical reason to seek equality, but i generally find such reasoning (and the results of their efforts) to be counterproductive and leading to an inequal result.

    But beyond the metaphysical and considering the fact that i don’t really believe or rely on the metaphysical- i find it hard to believe that the “want” for equality must come from the metaphysical. Looking at Marx and others- Communinism was expressly against the metaphysical, yet was based on equality.

    but is entirely possible that i missed your point all together.

  22. No, you are directly in line, and even opened the door to pull in some aspects of Locke’s “Natural Rights” and Rousseau’s “Social Contract”.

    Well done.

    Equality is not possible, would be the most logical conclusion that one could empirically arrive at, with the meager arrangement that you and I have both presented. Strangely, it is supported to greater extents by those who are superior to both of us in knowledge and study.

    Your comment on Marxist Communism I find strange, as his version of “equality” was anything but lending itself to equal treatment. But we can get to that another time.

    Interesting link. Again the pragmatics of empiricism show themselves to be easily distorted to suit the “will” of the animal responsible. It is almost comical to watch as science attempts to reduce humanity and the myriad creation to “chemical happenstance”.

    Although it is likely that science will uncover the “mechanisms” leading to free will in thought, it will still fall short of what free will is in action.

    Back to the current. Where do you stand on “rights”? It is intrinsically linked to the equality issue. Do we have them as a matter of existence? Inherited perhaps, socially? The macro-perspective, that rights are only claimable under proof of defense, (which would coincide with genetic predispositions)?

  23. TheCommentKiller

    Rights, as i think of them (the shit i deal with day to day at work- which is actually more like the lack of rights), i do not believe are intrinisic to anything. I don’t think we have rights as a matter of existence, except to the extent that we live in a particular society. So if one lives in wild away from other humans- then there is no need for rights and/or equality.

    Inherited socially- yes to the extent that we are born into a society that has pre-existing rules, laws, etc.

    The last question, if i understand correct, is the same one posed in the Economist article, but asked backwards. The Economist asked, can one be guilty if they were not responsible due to a genetic flaw. Whereas you seem to be asking do we even have rights if we are genetics predisposed to be a criminal, etc. The whole thing is too “Minority Report” (the movie) for me.

    I hope that this bullshit issue, raised by the Economist, does not get played out like it did in the “Minority Report.” B/c i actually think that one’s environmental factors play a equal (if not significantly greater) role in determining the outcome of one’s life. A poor farmer in Bangladesh, may be biologically/genetically more similar to me than my neighbors, but lead an extremely different life. I did a case study on an extremely poor neighborhood in Baltimore that received the highest % of ex-prisoners and my conclusion (after looking at several socio-economic factors) was that the ideal of rehabilitating these inmates is short-sighted b/c the communities from where they come from are NOT ‘habilitated.’

    So i think resources would be better spent on habilitating communities rather than genetically monitoring/profiling people. B/c at the end of the day, if gov’t decide that genetic profiling is the way to go, that will simply lead to more racial and ethnic segregation and cleansing. The law and policy already profiles for certain biological traits- such as race… we do not need more such laws. My guess is that overtime, if communities are habilitated, than our genetics will ‘improve’ (for lack of a better word). Having worked in a prison for over a year, it is clear that most people are not so-much genetically challenged as much as they are socio-economically challenged. And the latter is what has lead to their disposition of anger, violence, etc… which (i guess) then gets passed down to their children (via genetics and nurture).

    Anyway, did i go off on too much of a tangent?

  24. eric

    As you guys can tell from my silence, I am thoroughly enjoying the sofa and not really participating much in the blog during my sofa-time. But, please, don’t let my silent sluggishness disrupt you.

  25. TheCommentKiller

    i don’t think it has… i am just proving to your blog readers how little i know.

  26. Hard not to go on tangents, these discourses almost always will.

    You are actually quite intelligent, (i.e. you at least take the time to think through your arguments, which is rare … don’t short yourself). We just use language differently.

    I have a couple of problems with your argument, not in function, just in reasonability. My position on rights is simple: only those rights which can defended can be said to be in existence. As nature intended it to be, this is a violent and chaotic universal realm. Most people would agree with you that rights are a conditional proxy of the social pretense. But that is little more than a constructed ruse by and for the weak.

    As for race, here’s my position: race is not a stand alone trait. Realising that the mindless herd we call society would like nothing more. The laws and policies are not geared, at all, towards logic and reason, they are geared toward the fallacious belief in equality, which is more of a push towards enforced conformity and social homogeny, (which is, sorry to go blue, utter bullshit). Difference and recognition of such, is what has made survival of the species, and is the unseen/unrecognised prime mover of all the great civilisations and their “achievements”, (i.e. culture, economics, technology driven from the recognition of us vs. them).

    Although we seek to destroy difference, it is necessary, and necessarily ingrained genetically, due to disparate developments of humanity, geographically.

    Race does not stand alone, because of sociality and enforcement of cultural segragation. A child born, is raceless, cultureless, classless. That is until we, fools of parenting wisdom, start to adamantly enforce the social pretense onto a child. As the child grows into sociality, the race then becomes greater within the individual, as enforced by the pretenses of “society” and “culture”. (i.e. a child born into an “underprivileged” Hispanic community, is less Hispanic at birth, and becomes “more Hispanic” with each passing year, from within the enforced pretense, which is exponentially entrapping by means of the “culture” of that community, and less able to be human).

    That’s my position, and no I’m not saying you are incorrect, I just don’t necessarily agree. Mostly comes from my view of humanity being little more than a biped virus, gifted with cognition, and utterly oblivious as to its intended useage.

  27. TheCommentKiller

    Race first- I agree with your view on race (as i understand it). And differences are not only good, but necessary for progress, etc. I saw a documentary on animal planet called the “history of dogs” or something. And it was really a great way to genetics (engineering) in a less personal way. I think everyone, other than dog breeders, would look at that documentary and say that dog breeding is awful and may even make the logical connection to dog breeding and human social policies such as ethnic cleansing, apartheid, etc. And the documentary, obviously, went on to say that it is optimal to inter-breed for every reason (from the dog’s health to practical skills) with exception of the sick desire to create a PURE breed (and win some idiotic competition). On a super tangent, the film went on to conclude that if we are going to breed dogs, we should breed them to be more domesticated b/c most dogs are miserable being stuck indoors all day.

    I also agree that one’s race does not make a person who they are or where they will end up. Society plays a huge role in how a given race/culture is perceived and treated.

    I also saw, a somewhat related, documentary called “the future of food.” It was really about patents on seeds and how Monsanto is using their patents on seeds (and pesticides) to make money. At micro and mezzo level- it is putting small and medium size farmers out of business (both domestically and internationally) and at the macro-level, due to Monsanto’s aggressive patent litigation against farmers, they are reducing the variations of seeds in the world… which has many potential consequences, including the increasing the likelihood for the rapid spread of disease.

    Rights- I am not sure what you mean by “defended.” Do you have an example. I don’t think people have rights ab initio, instead rights are part of being in a society. If i live alone, on an island, what do i need rights for? But living in New York i do have many rights (most of which i take for granted). After reading Rawls, i think i look at rights differently. If i couldn’t choose may status in society (in other words i could end up at the bottom of the caste), but i was in charge of choosing the rights for a given society, what would i choose. I would definitely add a lot more rights that do not exist and i think everyone would and most of the additional rights would be social programs and protections aimed at the poor, isolated and marginalized portions of society.


  28. The most basic of assumed rights: right to life.

    According to the non-metaphysical view, if you cannot defend your “right” to life, it was never in existence. (i.e. a true, real world exhibition of the wille zur macht, or in more familiar circles, “might makes right”). Most common example, the legal perspective aside, is that someone comes into your home, and takes your life, by force. How do you prove the existence of a right you couldn’t defend? Same scenario, only you defend your “right to life” at the intruder’s expense. Now his “right to life” is proven to be, and to have been, non-existent.

    This is philosophically, and most often empirically, supported against the confictum ab auctoritis ex nihilio belief, which includes the societal aspect of creating rights, from a pretense. We, hominids, do like our unfounded assumptions. 🙂

    It also takes a que from the scenario you mentioned about being socially/physically isolated. Those who philosophically disregard the social pretense, see no change in rights status.

  29. TheCommentKiller

    I can’t really wrap my head around all of that. Just because one can’t defend a right, does seem like they didn’t have said right. Just because someone kills me shouldn’t me that i didn’t have the right to live. Or are you saying that once i die, i have lost that right? So let’s say there is exists a right to housing (which there should be) and one loses there apartment- that doesn’t mean that they lose their right to that apartment the second they lose it?

    I guess as i am confused by the meaning of “rights.” Do you believe the only rights that exist are those that can be defended? And is the right to life the only right you believe in?

    As you can tell i am not much of a philosopher, i am more interested in social change.

  30. Yes, precisely. If one cannot defend a right, however that defense is managed, the right does not/did not exist. If you perish in the act of the defense, then how can a logical claim be laid to the “right to life”? (There are other rights we claim, but again, the litmus test of their actuality is their defensibility.)

    I understand your empathy, but the problem then becomes exactly what we see today: the misrepresentations that explode into erroneous policy.

    Who has a greater “right” to housing? Someone who goes out, and begrudgingly, serves their sentence in the corporate world to obtain these objects, or the person who does nothing to avail themself, and is handed the object, at the expense of those who worked for the object?

    Here we see the double bind of “rights out of nothing”. You work. I work. We obtain by labor or intellect. Someone else obtains also, but by means of an unsubstantiated and untenable argument based on “rights out of nothing” by proxy of social relativity predicated upon another untenable argument of induced equality by legislative policy.

    Competition has now been removed from the equation, supplanted by the social pretense, and the weak are now equalized with the strong, to the detriment of strong, and the society hurls headlong into entropy, (before you rebuke, look at American society, objectively devoid of emotion, and say this is not what we see today?).

    (I’m not much of a philosopher either, my tautologies flat suck, but I’m working on it … well, informally)

    We can run an ontology/tautology of “rights” if you would like, but I rather think you will tend to get annoyed and prefer to drop the exercise. Not everyone sees the value, including myself sometimes, because it is just a language exercise without context.

  31. TheCommentKiller

    i find the discussion interesting on many levels- getting to know my cousin better and learning about different takes on life and the world.

    I think competition is overrated and terms such as strong/weak are relative. One might be weak in the pocket, but strong in body, mind or other attributes and the opposite could be true too.

    If strength is such a great virtue, does strength then justify everything/anything? Is Lord of the Flies style then the ideal?

    Housing example- certainly he/she who has more money (for whatever reason) may purchase a nicer home, but those less fortunate (for whatever reason) should not be left to live on the streets (from pragmatic standpoint, the social cost of homelessness actually costs the taxpayers more than housing them).

  32. Longest and most amiable conversation of intellectual acuity that has been had in forever, so thank you too, cousin.

    One of the problems with symbology, it fails too often, so we are left with linguistic relativity, yes. Strength and weakness are perspectival at best, and could honestly be said to be poor symbology for the meanings we harbor for them in actuality.

    Strangely, my perspective is directly opposed to yours with regards to competition. Competition is most necessary, but has been unmasterfully bastardised, mostly by Western peoples. If not for competition, neither you nor your siblings would have the advantage of coming from “good stock”. You are so lucky to be the offspring of competitively genetic superiors. Elsewise, you might be an Ohioan … LMAO, (sorry, rednecks perturb me).

    Strength is a superior virtue in my view, although the means and manners of it are not likely always “definitionally correct”. The lady my wife used to caretake, was not what one would have associated with strength, completely, physically debilitated by MS. But her mind, and the virtue of her being were strength personified. Strength is symbology that is hard to quantify, unilaterally.

    One the one hand, the “Lord of the Flies” scenario lends itself to more likelihood of superior genetic creatures, in primality and physicality, but not necessarily intellectually. Another problem with the hominid: if its basal instincts are turned on again, sociality fails. So no, that won’t get us to the apex, albeit, quite cerebrally stimulating in imagery.

    You’ll have to explain what you mean by your housing comment. You mean fiduciary expenses are increased by homelessness? Or social expenses? Or both?

  33. TheCommentKiller

    i actually don’t think our views are that different. i am not against wholly competition, i agree, as you said it has been bastardized and i would add, it has created too much inequality- and that is where i am most concerned. Even Adam Smith would have a problem with the current state of world. We are at the point where corporations (acting as legal persons under the 14th amendment which ironically was written to help minorities) are out of control and have too much power.

    And i think we are on the same page with regards to how strength/weakness are relative terms.

    with regards to housing the answer is both. lots of studies have been done that show that average cost to taxpayers (looking at average emergency room visits, homeless shelter stays, police/ambulance calls, etc.) is significantly cheaper than housing that same person. But this country is far from seeing housing as a human right.

    I actually find many of my clients (indigent mentally disabled New Yorkers) much stronger than rich folk i have met in the burbs. It is amazing the shit these people have gone through (and continue to go through) and just keep trucking along. I honestly have never meet low-income (no-income) person like ones the government leaders describe- people that are happy/purposely living off of social welfare programs. The welfare benefits are not good enough (and are fucking hard to get and keep) to just get on, if there are alternatives. Welfare these days does not exist, it is called Workfare (should be called slavefare). The federal disability benefits are literally impossible to get (the gov’t denies over 80% of all SSI applications)… it is an extremely rare case where one gets the benefit w/out the assistance of lawyer, doctor or a social worker (that actually does their job).

    anyway… that shit isn’t that interesting.

  34. It was Abraham Lincoln’s next most famous quote, “Most men can survive adversity, if you want to test his character, give him power.”

    Realistically, what you are saying is “true” within the social reality. The unfortunate aspect is that it will not change. Avarice, for power and wealth, is the single most common modality of human behavior, standardised and packaged, sold by the media and the market as an objective commodity.

    What you describe so colorfully is part and parcel of the entirety of the Western man’s abject philosophical development: reductionism and infinite regress. It is one of my more infamous argumentative propositions, (philosophically minded people forever baulk when I bring it up, and find all manner of argumentum ad hominem, to try to avoid admitting it is fact), that technological advancement is little more than furthering the apathy of a creature already bereft of purpose or intent. We seem to have forgotten that life is about quality, which would appear to be why your male sibling chooses to live outside this country; and I find no fault with him doing so, his quest for something superior and edifying is admirable.

    I understand why you are likely tired of discussing the social situation, you certainly see more of the underbelly and the underpinnings than myself, in daily instance. It is just interesting to see and hear the language of a social system that diametrically contradicts not only its intended purpose, but necessarily obviates its entire reason for continuance.

    On the other side of what you see, there are a number of people, within my scope of observable phenomena, who rape the system, to their own benefit. All of them are SSI recipients, due to some form of work injury, that left them anything but disabled. They are just pathetic and apathetic, and prefer to spend their days in prescription drug induced euphoria, rather than taking part in being responsible, individually and socially. Plus, due to being definitionally labeled as “disabled”, they qualify for raping the state out of welfare assistance that they have no real need of, in any sense.

    Strangely, that can bring us back to the original points, yet again, (circular logic anyone … LOL), on fear. The further embedded the social pretense, and all the accompanying fallacies, become, the greater the context and content of fear so to becomes, as we realise our inherent and intrinsic lack of concrete purpose. I don’t know if you have ever taken the time or interest to read Nietzsche or Sartre, but I think their philosophical stances are indicative of the certainty of the demise that will be caused by Western man: the continuing predilection towards reductionism and infinte regress that stands against what we desire most; quality of life.

    Your housing and vagabond hominid issue is simply symptomatic of the greater failure of the entirety of the system, (of course that being said full well knowing the repititions of history). Even the greatness and glory of Rome has been relegated to perdition, eh pisano? LOL, hominids are queer creatures, but nothing new there.

  35. TheCommentKiller

    i have found another interesting article in the Economist (this week) related to our earlier discussion of nature v. nuture… this article talks about the brain, genetics and nature v. nuture… i think it comes down where we (if i can say ‘we’) do on this issue- or close. However, i can’t find the article online for free, but maybe you can, here is a link to the non-free article- http://www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_RQDSNSS

    I had a sense that you had other experiences with SSI recipients. I agree that the system (both the SSI system and the system in general) is flawed. Basically, if you can get on SSI (or SSD for that matter) w/out the assistance of a doctor, social worker and/or lawyer- you can can probably work b/c it is so difficult to get on SSI. Like i said they deny 80% of all applications, the doctors contracted to do the tests categorically do not find a person disabled. So at the end of the day the most disabled do not get the much needed benefit, even for us (lawyers litigating SSI/SSD denials) we generally don’t see the most disabled folks b/c they are too disabled to contact us and/or follow up with appointments bring in much needed documentation, etc. etc.

    The state welfare system is a total fucking disaster. The rental allowance in NYC is $215 per month… there is NO such thing as an apartment/room for $215 per month in NYC.

    The taxpayers should be outraged and in the streets… we pay our military personnel a pittance (i’m guessing less than $35,000 per year in salary) to go to Iraq. Some of these men and women end up guarding Halliburton’s workers (who are also paid by our tax dollars) who make over $130,000 to drive a truck around, built a tent or serve food to our troops. WTF? So if you are willing to take take a bullet (or more accurately a road side bomb) for our country- you make less than a quarter what Halliburton’s men make and the money comes from the same pot… WTF?

    So i agree that the system has failed… and i would argue that it has failed, in great part, due to super-corporations wielding too much power and influence in the world.

    I think it is time to “Bring the war home” as the Weathermen said in the 70s.

    Have we moved too far away from the philosophical?

  36. Moved away from the philosophical? That is simply a linguistic mode, none actually live the philosophy they espouse cerebrally. (Then it tends to move more towards philology)

    Certainly the system is a disaster, that is called entropy, and it is unavoidable. No system can long hold under the strain of its own constructs. Again, the repititions of history and the failure of the hominid’s cognition. Viva la Status Quo!!! LOL

    Before I go any further, be aware, there is no separation in my mind between the “system” and you, I, or society as a whole. The system is the people, individually and in totality as an individual. That we state “the system is an abject failure” is to admit the same thing of ourselves, (Socrates was right about some things, much to the chagrin of many Western philosophers). We quite enjoy the detached perspective of an autonomous entity we definitionally oppose as being outside of us, yet intended to serve our whims. This simply isn’t the case, though. That is a noumenal construct from the pleasure principle of complacency for absolving ourselves of phenomenal responsibility. (It’s a daily practice we hominids enact, and rarely take the time to actualise)

    I completely understand your frustration with “the system”, but you are plethorically outnumbered by citizens who like to criticise, yet remain uninvolved. It’s what we like to call “democracy”. The construct of freedom allows the sensation of a libertine existence, predicated upon what could almost be considered a cultic delusion.

    You are aware that America was not founded upon principles of freedom, yes?

    I’ll await your answer before going any further.

  37. TheCommentKiller

    So far, i am in agreement. The system is broken or out of control we created the system and we continue to allow it to spin further out of control… and we need to fix it.

    “founded upon principles of freedom,” the word in question there for me is ‘founded’ and i guess ‘America.’ the Americas were discovered for economic gain disguised as missionary work. What is now the U.S. was pretty much the same, but there were smaller groups that came to the U.S. seeking religious freedom. But upon arrival (must have been an awful boat ride) the settlers took from the natives more than that which they were escaping their own oppressors (kind of reminds me of the conflict in Israel).

    And i would guess that no country (both the leaders and citizens) use terms like Freedom and Liberty so frequently, yet fail to realize that the U.S. is an awful oppressor internationally and domestically. Go anywhere in the world and you can either see first hand U.S. oppression or the locals will gladly tell about it. In fact, i don’t believe the U.S. has ever spread Freedom or Democracy to another nation, but we did put all of our current enemies (the axis of evil in power) Saddam we handpicked, we did fund, train and empower the Al Qaeda. And same cast of characters that allegedly despise Saddam and Al Qaeda are precisely the ones that put them in power- namely, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    Domestically, we certainly aren’t preach freedom when we incarcerate more people both in raw numbers and per capita than any other nation; and prison system (and the whole criminal justice system) is beginning to look more and more like modern day segregation.

    But the average American is so infected by Affluenza that they could care less about innocent people dying in a bullshit war, nor could they care about their neighbor (who was probably thrown in jail for a non-violent crime or living on the streets b/c there is no such thing as affordable housing or the undocumented person that is has committing a minor immigration offence is sitting indefinitely in detention with only civil protections- which are none). So i kind of get upset when i hear people talk about how free this country is or how the U.S. is going to spread freedom.


  38. Freedom was never an actual principle. Although many here confuse diffuse terminology and ornate aphorism for an intent of truth, you have to look at the larger picture.

    It was purely economics. White landowners wrote the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. Women were property and had no vote, and a slave was 3/5’s of a hominid, and had no vote. But they didn’t want some moralist, ethicist, or philosopher, with a sudden epiphany, to come along and question the premises. Ah, but no better way to control people than to offer them a ruse that creates an illusion of freedom. (Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation is a great book on how the objects we accumulate work to intensify this perception, while keeping us perpetually enslaved to materialistic wants.)

    In those days, education and informational exchange made it far easier to maintain the ruse. The farmer hadn’t the time, nor the craftsman, nor the scholar, nor the priest; they were seeking “the American Dream” of land ownership and wealth. These are the facts behind the illusion.

    Personally, it is extremely strange that people are so easily bought out cerebrally by the simplest of lies. Is this a conspiracy? Hell no, it is just the basic observable evidence of how far ingrained the social pretense is, and the depth of socially propagated stupidity.

    So just as you have elucidated, the pretense is accepted, the socially guided life a ruse, and every once in awhile, the backdrop slips a bit. We question it just briefly, and then return to our “free” existence, unabated by the possibility that the reality we accept is only a pretense held up by ourselves and everyone else supporting it as such.

    You are correct. The U.S. cannot spread freedom, because it doesn’t exist, it is a flawed construct. We can spread democracy, because that is just a simple political vehicle that enables the pretense of freedom. Saddam and Al Queda are only the most recent examples of a “reality” slip. The problem is, it only promotes questioning from conspiracy theorists, and lunatics awaiting the “mothership”.

    Welcome to hominid behavior, it isn’t all bad, we do have cable television. LMAO, okay, admit it, that’s funny.:)

  39. TheCommentKiller

    i agree with your last comment (boring to agree, isn’t it)

    Speaking of cable television i was watching the T.V. series “Lost” (on DVD), i generally only watch and read non-fiction (with the exception of comedy), but several people recommened the show to me. I don’t know if you have seen it, the basic premise (so far) is that a plane crashed on a remote island in the south pacific and 40 people survived and now they are on a scary island. It is a post-modern Lord of the Flies with some potential (Sci-Fi and/or Jinn). Although the show is ludriously fiction at times- several of the issues we have discussed popped up. Such as strength v. weakness and society/rules take form. But beyond the suspense (which i like) the show is ludicrious, for example, they have an obese man who never gets thinner despite the fact that they have little food to eat. I prefer PBS’s series- ‘Frontline,’ POV, Independent Lens and Wide Angle.


  40. Nothing wrong at all with agreement, as long as we both understand why we agree.

    The lady watched Lost for a few episodes. I watched one from start to finish, and was done with it. Yes, it is utterly ridiculous to a moronic fault, have to love those prime time producers and their knowledge of the American herd.

  41. TheCommentKiller

    On the comedy front- Arrested Development is brillant (although off the air), but worth checking out.

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