October 4, 2015

1. Now Is Not The Time

now is not the time

for me to try to say what I am doing

nor is it the time

to point out all the people who have or have not said something very much like this before.

or, to be honest

to point out all the people who have said this much better.

nor is there much point in speculating

on the point of writing such a philosophy book. Even were this to be a successful project, it would not serve as a guide for anything, let alone change the world. It will at best present one way of looking at the world as it is. this book probably doesn't contain anything you haven't already thought before. "Aren't the actual facts about the world important?" Of course some of them are. (Though many of them are boring.) (We tend to blow off the ones we don't like.) But this is a book that speaks about the world(s) in which we recognize our facts.

1.   Now Is Not The Time        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

now is not the time   


for me to try to say what I am doing 

nor is it the time   


to point out all the people who have or have not said something very much like this before. 

or, to be honest   


to point out all the people who have said this much better. 

nor is there much point in speculating   


on the point of writing such a philosophy book. 
Even were this to be a successful project, 
it would not serve as a guide for anything, 
let alone change the world. 
It will at best present one way of looking at the world as it is. 

this book probably doesn't contain anything   


you haven't already thought before. 

"Aren't the actual facts about the world important?"   


Of course some of them are.
(Though many of them are boring.)
(We tend to blow off the ones we don't like.)
But this is a book that speaks about the world(s) in which we recognize our facts.

2.   Let Us Begin Here        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

who are we?   


We, humans, are not simple creatures. 
We are unsimple creatures who have a hard time seeing ourselves for what we are. 
Instead we like to see ourselves as we would like to be, as what we should be, or as others would like us to be.
We like to keep things simple. Complexity is difficult.
We like having a simple "big picture." We bond with it. 

the fact we do not see ourselves as we really are   


doesn't matter much to us. 
We are not all that interested in truth. 
We are more interested in entertainment, shopping, family, people, acceptance, status, fame, sex and wealth. 

Philosophers have given detailed self-portraits   


of the firm and detailed structures ("ontology") of our existence.
They seldom do justice to the fact that our experienced world is a patchwork of weak and tattered constructs. 
In addition to this, philosophers place themselves and their personal life, outside of their work. 
They do not present themselves as just another mind-woozy person, lost and amazed by the world, driven by silly if real needs of the ego and by private desires. 

I, the author of this book, am just another person   


driven, and distracted, with desires and needs. 

let's state the obvious   


  dot   This book, as all others, is written by a limited and ignorant person, 
  dot   who has his own pet ideas. 
  dot   A philosophy book is not that important. 
  dot   I don't have things figured out. I just pretend to be someone who has things figured out. 
  dot   And I play favorites. 
  dot   The writing and reading this book happens in the midst of a confusing, ongoing world. 
  dot   Because we communicate in words, we have problems. Words are not intended to describe the fundamental structure of the world. 
  dot   We (I and you) are easily distracted. 
  dot   (I more than many.) 

"are you saying you want to remain undisciplined, wank around and yet write a great philosophy book?"   


(Well I certainly want to wank around.) 

3.   We Are Animals        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we are animals   


We spend a lot of our time doing animal things: sleeping, eating, standing around mindlessly in a herd, barking, chattering like birds. 
Give us food, freedom from fear, a little sex, shelter and entertainment, and we are happy enough. 
Interestingly, we do not like to think of ourselves as animals.
We find it insulting to be called by animal names. 

we are animals with ideas   


We are a complex animal, 
more complex than the other complex animals. 
We use words. 
We like to think we are "rational." 

"Are we not then the being for whom's one being is an issue?"   


At times our being is an issue for us.
But we are more than a being for whom our being is an issue. 

our big ideas about the world are like decorative affectations   


Our ideas about the world 
don't make a lot of sense.

They are acceptable answers we don't actually understand, in the way we don't really know what "electricity" is.
Our simple stories of science, psychology, or religion make sense but they are too simple.
We reach the bedrock of this-is-how-it-is far too quickly. 
A few hundred years ago people walked around with very different big-ideas about the world. 
A few hundred years from today people will walk around with very different big-ideas about the world than we have today. 

philosophical, religious and political thoughts are a matter of taste   


That is hard to accept, let alone understand. 
And taste is just a matter of taste. 

philosophers have told us that non-empirical metaphysical and religious statements are not true and have no truth value   


Yet these kind of statements are among our favorite kind of statements. 
We love to make them, and we love to defend them. 
We get upset by them; we get inspired by them. 

philosophers think that they can take the half-baked notions of the average thoughtful-of-shit everyperson and give it a deep and solid grounding.   


In spite of our obvious failures, we are treat ourselves as complex little gods.
Ha ha ha ha ha! 

we all like to get hold of a well-written, well-researched book   


that supports our current point-of-view.
A book after all, is shaped like a brick.
We can throw it at our enemies.
But philosophers, no matter how good their books, are never able to convince each other.

let instead look at our metaphysical statements as mostly bullshit   


As half-assed, incomplete notions we carry around in our minds, while most of the time we are just being animal: eating, sleeping, drudging, and getting a mild buzz on. 
Let's look more carefully at the philosophy of everybody.

4.   Nasty Brutish Animals        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we are nasty animals   


Or so we often judge.
We make judgments about everything we do. 
And we constantly do a whole number of things that we self-judge to be nasty. 

some of those things are really harmful   


Such as killing, genocide, war, beatings and gross theft. 

some of those things are not really all that bad   


We fart, pick our noses, have sexual thoughts, get high, are lazy, and so forth. 

and some are just silly   


We waste time, don't pay attention, get off the track, get lost, worry about our ego, think the same thought over and over, and so on. 

we have not   


integrated our scattered animal nature with our intellectual self-images. 

5.   Nasty Animal: I Am One        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

I am an animal that sometimes thinks   


I am filled with desires. 
And fears. 
And ideals 
(ideals I value). 

perhaps I am not just after truth here   


Perhaps I want to be famous, or admired, or rich. 
Perhaps I want sex. 
Perhaps I want to be validated, 
and/or happy. 

my values as just one possible set of values   


What is the role of "values" in ordinary life? 

I must tell my story   


as though I am a piece of the puzzle.
My values and views are the story.
And they guide my search. 



after all, 
are only what you value. 

6.   "I Am Glad I Am Not Like That!"        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

"I am not like you"   


I don't spend my days watching myself float into and out of inappropriate thoughts. 
And I doubt that the great thinkers (and you are so not one) did that either! 

What? You don’t constantly have any silly thoughts?   


Or else you are not like like the people I know. 
(Are you sure you are paying enough attention to your thoughts?) 

I guess this book is not for you   


And the book is mistaken. 
But I know of many people whose minds do in fact drift like mine. 

7.   What Is An Animal?        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

humans like to distinguish themselves from the (other) animals around them   


And there are differences and similarities. 

among the similarities   


  • We take care of our animal existence.
  • We sleep and eat.
  • We procreate and excrete, grunt and fart (even though as hum,an we have strong judgments about such things.)
  • We carry on a low-level chatter whose meaning is defined by constancy, tone and special warning signals.
  • We fight for territory.
  • We kill other animals, including our own.
  • We are alert for movement.
  • We wait.
  • We stand around — a lot.

among the differences   


  • We judge nearly everything we do, and talk/think about whether we "should of shouldn't" do that.
  • We judge fellow animals on what they do.
  • (Many of the criteria we use to judge are peculiar, and complicated.)
  • We carry around withy us a vision of ourselves, and we judge ourselves and others as to how they live up to this vision.
  • We have a high opinion of ourselves.
  • We have an (unverified) belief we are created in the image of a Perfect Being.
  • We are, currently, the dominant animal on the planet.
  • We claim we are much more than an animal.

8.   We Live In A Herd        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we live in a herd   


We are in the herd:
our friends tend to graze in the same field, facing the same way. 
(Occasionally we notice the other herds.) 
We are safe in our numbers. 
There is a herd of Democrats and one of Republicans.
There is a herd of Christians, one of Muslims, one of astrologers and one of atheists.
There is a herd of cool people.
There is a herd of people who don't want to think of themselves as being in a herd.
There is, most people believe, a huge mythical herd of assholes.
The people in our herd may be local bodies, authors in books, or voices on the Internet. 

living in a herd makes us happy   


If we have a herd that accepts us and believes the same things we do
we are content
and secure.
We love to find herds to join. 

we sit with our friends   


we do not say much. 
Perhaps we chuckle at a joke, or make fun of each other. 
Perhaps we chatter mindlessly about nothing at all. 
We are in the herd. 

we conform   


to the behavior of the herd. 
Herd turns left; we turn left. 
Herd gets incensed, we get incensed. 
Herd panics, we panics.

9.   What Is A Person?        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we can come to similar intuitions   


coming from the British analytical philosophy.
In the 1990s Joel Feinberg and Peter Singer, among others, worked on definition of the term "person."
They came up with a number of criteria that must be present in order for us to consider someone a person with full moral rights.
I will present and elaborate on those criteria. 

what is a person?   


A being is said to be a person, and subsequently a moral being, as opposed to a force of nature, or an animal working on instinct, if the being:

  1. is conscious [of the world] - [They responds and react to the world, a common world. Perhaps at a certain rate. Already the concept of an person involves the concept of a world.]
  2. has feelings - Minimally pleasure and pain, but also emotions (and "feelings"). [It suffers. It can be harmed and it knows it.]
  3. has a concept of itself - [which implies the concept of things that are not itself, which we can call the world and others.]
  4. has a concept of itself over time - [Which implies the irreducible philosophical concept of time.
    • it must be aware it has a past - it did things, it knows things and people, it takes things for granted...
    • it must be aware it has a future - and that things will and may well be different
    • it must be aware it exists over time - it has alternatives, it can make choices, it can be influenced]
  5. has an interest of itself. [It must care about itself over time, that is a concept of self and of time.]
  6. is capable of reasoning
    • is capable of planning ahead
    • is capable of acting on its plans
    • is capable of learning - changing its behavior and its plane
    • is capable of choosing acting on its plans
    • is capable of communicating its behavior
  7. has a concept of others, [not merely as complex parts of the world worthy of selfish concern, but as beings in some sense similar in value and feelings, as itself.]

We extend this definition to people who are sleeping or comatose, potentially a person, like fetuses, and even to some animals. 

as a matter of fact, we extend the notion of personhood   


to deal people, photographs and cute animals.
We are only rational some of the time. 

we will come back to all these aspects of our experienced reality   


First we will look at our immediate understanding of the world, as expressed byfeelings.
And before that we will look at the difficulty we have in looking at ourselves. 

10.   Our Selective Sense Of Our Selves        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we have a selective sense of our selves   


Not only do we deny and discount things we actuality think and feel. 
We assign a different importance to, we "value", some of our activities over other. 

some things are important   


Like work, parties, sex, conversation, participatory sports, art, and so on. 

some things are not judged to be important   


Like getting ready for work, sleep, going to the bathroom, spacing out, daydreaming, fantasizing, forgetting, making mistakes, commuting, walking in cities, background music and television, the sky, our negative feelings, and so on. 

some things are important but judged not to be important   


Like whatever you find important that is usually not judged as important: anger, sexual thoughts, the need to be alone, parties... 

some thoughts you have are "appropriate," some are "not"   


The rules for this change slowly over time
in a complicated way,
as the herd turns.
We take our cues from the herd.
(These things are never brought to a vote.) 

the point is we lay a lot of (collective and individual) judgments   


on the things we do and say.
This means that it is difficult to look at, think, discuss, or evaluate, calmly and objectively,
as we live it moment-by-moment. 

11.   The World In Which We Live        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we live in a world   


if a sense of time, an awareness of a past and of futures, is constitutive of being a person, 
so is a sense of being in a world.
In Heidegger's poetic vocabulary, we are thrown into a world.
And we make do. 

because I will use world in an extended philosophical sense   


I will write world in a special way.
I will do this for all the main terms I will use. 

let me start from my understanding of Heidegger   


Heidegger characterizes a human being ("Dasein"), the entity that we all are, is an entity that:

  • lives in a world into which it is "thrown"
  • lives in a temporal landscape of a future and a past
  • there is a being of things, often used as tools
  • and a being of people (Others)
  • the Others can be used as tools.

Being-in-a-world is an essential part of our being.
Being-in-a-world-over-time is an essential part of our being.
Being-in-a-world-with-things is an essential part of our being.
Being-in-a-world-with-tools is an essential part of our being.
Being-in-a-world-with-others is a partn essential of our being.

All of these things form a phenomenologically experienced unity, though usually we are involved in the world to notice this. 

there are several things we form facets of our world   


We all live in

  1. a world of material things: this is the world that has weight, the world that comes at us and to which we react.
    This is a world of things and animals out there, over which in many cases we have little or no control.
  2. a world of our concerns: this is our chosen, decorated world. In a modern affluent state, we control most of what constitutes this world.
  3. a world we share with others. This is usually the three-dimensional measurable world of science, though it can also be say the spiritual world of ghosts, or of Christianity.
  4. a world of people: our social world. It determines our social reality.
  5. a world of my consciousness: the ongoing narrative of what we perceive and feel.
  6. a world of my unconsciousness: the somewhat unknown feelings we do not perceive and recognize in the moment.
  7. a world of my feelings: our reactions to the world, some conscious, some unconscious.
  8. the world of my body: a world of feelings that tie us into the material world in a unique way. Our bodies are a point of extreme vulnerability and high concern.

we flow   


easily between these worlds. 
Though it is difficult to say exactly how the worlds fit together,
we live in a number of worlds simultaneously.
They are aspects of the same reality. 

we spend our (lived) time   


in the emotional world of our personal consciousness. 
Our primary shared world is the world of material things and in our social worlds. 

my body   


is a major part of the world. 
As are my emotions and reactions. 

our actual world   


is a ragged and fitful construct 
with many gaps and inconsistencies. 
that we don't even notice. 

i cannot tell you how this all fits together   


but the concept of the world all fitting together is both an illusion and a defining tendency of having a world. 

most of us keep our world small   


We shut out the world by building a house 
We shut out the world by limiting our concerns. 

this may be good   


and it may be a good that we have such a choice,
but this choice, like all choices, has unintended consequences that we will look at later. 

12.   Aphorisms: On Worlds        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

Selected aperçus: about the world   


In the beginning, the 
world is told to us.

world is embellished with lies (stories, rumors, and fantasies).

Newspaper make up a 
People make up a 

Having a top-10 list (at least for things that cannot be measured) is a way of managing the world by oversimplifying it.

It is said that the Internet has made the world small. With the help of modern commerce, it has made the world more uniform. But the world is still very large. Our minds however remain small, unable to comprehend but a smidgeon of what the world offers.

Nobody tells you how to guide your mind through the 

It amazes me how there can be different places in the world.
I am amazed that the hooker and the good Christian woman can walk about simultaneously in the same world. Is every car another world? 

We approach reality through poetry, music, and philosophy. The world is too dazzling to look at directly.

Understand the world through language and metaphors.

The actual world, your world, is a strange and wondrous one, and among its strangest aspects is that it appears ordinary and mundane.

With a click on the Internet, I can get a world of people who think just like me. And with a small number of like-minded thinkers, we have a herd, and a herd is a world.

Why is these not more cultural diversity in the world. Why are not more cultures developing, with more mores?

One is the shared world of nations and what we can visit with our bodies.
It is extended with cameras to other planets.
We cannot visit fantasy worlds with our bodies.
Nor can we visit an atom.

There are some places in this world you just need to get out of.

Our lifestyle to which we are accustomed: we are threatened and scared when they take it away. We know they can.

I still want to figure out the world, but I can barely keep track of my keys and my wallet.

13.   What Is A Person?        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we can come to similar intuitions   


coming from the British analytical philosophy.
In the 1990s Joel Feinberg and Peter Singer, among others, worked on definition of the term "person."
They came up with a number of criteria that must be present in order for us to consider someone a person with full moral rights.
I will present and elaborate on those criteria. 

what is a person?   


A being is said to be a person, and subsequently a moral being, as opposed to a force of nature, or an animal working on instinct, if the being:

  1. is conscious [of the world] - [They responds and react to the world, a common world. Perhaps at a certain rate. Already the concept of an person involves the concept of a world.]
  2. has feelings - Minimally pleasure and pain, but also emotions (and "feelings"). [It suffers. It can be harmed and it knows it.]
  3. has a concept of itself - [which implies the concept of things that are not itself, which we can call the world and others.]
  4. has a concept of itself over time - [Which implies the irreducible philosophical concept of time.
    • it must be aware it has a past - it did things, it knows things and people, it takes things for granted...
    • it must be aware it has a future - and that things will and may well be different
    • it must be aware it exists over time - it has alternatives, it can make choices, it can be influenced]
  5. has an interest of itself. [It must care about itself over time, that is a concept of self and of time.]
  6. is capable of reasoning
    • is capable of planning ahead
    • is capable of acting on its plans
    • is capable of learning - changing its behavior and its plane
    • is capable of choosing acting on its plans
    • is capable of communicating its behavior
  7. has a concept of others, [not merely as complex parts of the world worthy of selfish concern, but as beings in some sense similar in value and feelings, as itself.]

We extend this definition to people who are sleeping or comatose, potentially a person, like fetuses, and even to some animals. 

as a matter of fact, we extend the notion of personhood   


to deal people, photographs and cute animals.
We are only rational some of the time. 

we will come back to all these aspects of our experienced reality   


First we will look at our immediate understanding of the world, as expressed byfeelings.
And before that we will look at the difficulty we have in looking at ourselves. 

14.   What Is The Ontological Status Of Our Feelings?        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

an introductory definition: feelings   


The word feelings is used in this book to denote our immediate reaction to our experienced world, expressed in mental, behavioral and bodily reactions. 

"feelings" is not exactly the right word   


But it will have to do. 
"Emotions" is too broad. We reserve it for the stronger, long-lasting feelings that take us over. 
"Prejudices" has a negative connotation. But prejudice in the conventional sense is a fine example of what I am talking about. A thought you have without thinking, which may not at all be appropriate. (It is seldom, however, the only thought one is having at the time.) 

Perhaps these words could be used

  • "immediate understanding"
  • "initial reaction"
  • "immediate judgment"
  • "initial concern"

we live in a world of feelings   


as we live each day 
and move around our world. 
Everything we do it touched with 
everything is touched with emotion and conceived with prejudices. 

we seek out feelings   


in movies, books and music. 

most of the time   


The world is not the way it is when you are thinking about it. 
Most of the time we are not cognitive and relaxed. 
(Academics love the cognitive zone.
They love the Ivory Tower Suites.) 

we have a large number of words to describe our feelings and emotions   


We have synonyms whose roots are in various languages, often with a slightly different nuance. 
Sometimes we describe emotions with their characteristic bodily symptoms: he has high blood pressure, he is crying. 
We have many more words for feelings and emotions than we do for tastes or colors. 

we have feelings   


about our feelings

feelings have been neglected in the Western philosophical tradition   


We have emphasized true and false propositions over assertions and awareness of our feelings
Feelings have been seen as incapacitating, or as making hard choices impossible. 
We want to control and to over-ride feelings. 

we have no commonly accepted   


schema of our feelings. (This makes it harder for me.) 

15.   An Examples Of Feelings        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we see the flooding from Hurricane Katrina   


and we already have thoughts. 
Boy that's a lot of poor people. 
Boy that's a lot of black people. 
Boy that's a lot of angry people. 
Boy that's a lot of angry black people. 
That looks scary. 
That doesn't look that scary. 
I like wading though waist-deep water. 
This is America? 
People shouldn't have so many babies. 
What would I do? 
I'm glad it's not me. 
She's cute. 
Is that a mother or a grandmother? 
Look, she is white and her kids are half-black. 
Why are they using guns? 
What's going on? 

"but this is our first reaction!"   


"We have to have a first reaction, 
We modify this as we learn more." 
We do modify our feelings 
But not usually. 
And we fail to notice our immediate reaction, 
and how petty and nasty it can be. 
Instead of recognizing it as a/our "feeling," we think we are passively perceiving a truth about the world. 
Or we quickly suppress our feeling, realizing it is wrong | foolish | stupid | ignorant | inappropriate. 

in a meeting   


to decide what to do about the flood victims in Louisiana, we do not present our snap judgments. 
Not that we are not having them. 
In a meeting to decide the policy on dress code in school, we do not present our snap judgment. 
Not that we are not having them. 
They could be off-topic, inappropriate, silly, wrong, idiotic, half-baked, ... 
We wrestle with them. 

we weave our feelings into an "understanding"   


Using the procedures we have adopted for for dealing with them. 
(This works as well or as badly as most of our emergency rescue plans.) 

16.   Judgments        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

although we pay constant lip-service to intellectual objectivity   


Almost every statement and perception we make about the world is loaded with judgments.

  • we constantly judge others and ourselves
  • we can't turn our judgments off, they come uninvited and immediately.
  • when dealing with other people we are loaded with judgments about what we should or shouldn't do.
  • we wonder if our clothes are right, and clean, and if all zippers are appropriately zippered.
  • when we learn history, we tend to root for one ("our") side

There are not many things about which we never debate whether we should be doing them. 
We walk around the world, we listen to the news, we hear of things we know nearly nothing about, and we make snap judgments all the time. 

"So, what kind of music do you like?"   


I ask. 
[I make a number of snap judgments, before he finished with:] 

we constantly scan the world to see   


if we are doing the right thing. 
(Some of us do this more than others.) 

sometimes we make moral judgments   


We may have aversions and attractions prior to any kind of deliberations (prejudices). 
Sometimes we just root for a theory, an outcome, or a person, barely knowing the facts. 

"But aren't judgments useful!?"   


Some of them. 
The trouble is that we can't distinguish well between the ones that are useful and the ones that are merely taboos and the ones that form part of the social fabric. 
They all feel the same. 
In most cases they are feelings, but we don't treat them as feelings. 
We treat them as reasonable, common sense, judgments. 

i don't think we would know what it would be   


To walk around the world without making judgments. 



is a judgment. 

17.   The Value Of Abeyance        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

I will use the term abeyance   


to denote the self's ability to hold off reacting on its immediate feeling
even to the extent of not knowing its own initial reaction.
abeyance is something like repression, or denial. 

maybe abeyance does not have the right connotations   


There is something worthwhile in holding off and judging, evaluating, and even repressing our feelings and our instincts.
abeyance goes to the core of our ability to work and live together.
We must overcome our fears, delay our gratification and weigh our options.
(Or not.) 

Education is abeyance.   


We are trained in what to do, 
in what not to do 
and in how to speak and behave. 
We cannot speak openly in business, company blogs, etc. 

Perhaps we should continue to keep ourselves private   


and filter, deliberate, lie, dissimulate, and pretend.
This is the strategy of denial, the simplistic cover and postponed reality.
["How are you?"
But perhaps we must not take this pretend, public, half created and half prudent self, as a model for who we are. 

The question is   


Do we have to lose sight of human nature?
Do we have to be quite so uptight and irrational?
Can we accept our animality?
And we could ask if 
abeyance and repression are themselves a kind of immediate gratification of something? 

though there may be a reason for this   


in many cases the reasonable is not distinguishable from the nonreasonable.
It is not always reasonable to be reasonable. 

18.   Glossary        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

After Wittgenstein, philosophy words are suspect. They hypnotize us, and seal us off the unending variegations of the world and the people therein of which we do not yet know all that much.) They put in a confusing layer of abstraction in our thinking about the world.

At the same time, they are poetic, useful, addicting and possibly indispensable.
Choosing the right "philosophical" words is a huge aesthetic decision.
So here are mine: 

the WORLDS   


the space in which we find ourselves.
We give primacy to the three-dimensional world of real (as opposed to) virtual objects.
This, after all, is where the body dwells.
But there are many other 
worlds of interest.
We share the 
world with people. 

the SELF   


the viewpoint on the world 
which is me. 
That which experiences and understands the 

the BODY   


the part of the world where the self sits engaged, feeling, and finite. 



the immediacy of our reactions to the world
expressed in bodily, mental and verbal reactions. 



the nature of the WORLD.
It is never complete or whole, and it usually has large gaps.
But it always seems complete. 



the nature of our attention to the worlds.
It is never complete or whole, and it usually has large gaps.
But it always seems complete. 



the self's ability to hold off reacting on its immediate 
even to the extent of not knowing its own initial reaction. 

the OTHERS   


those who we live-with and communicate with in our world
We are affected by OTHERS in unique ways. 
We get unique 
feelings from them. 

the FRAMES   


the ways we look at the world and make sense of it among ourselves 
With our intellectual abilities, we can separate out these aspects of the world, and we usually do.

We are, all the time, an embodied, 
feeling self living in abeyance in a tattered world, deeply affected by others.

19.   The View From Camp        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

I am weak. I lose my way.   


I have to cross valleys and foothills I did not know even existed. 

I have several tasks:   


I must keep my eye on ultimate goal.
I must take care of myself along the way, and keep my spirit up.
I must not get lost/
I should enjoy the view along the way,
because there is no guarantee of success.
And I must remain alert. 

Hasn't this been done before?    


Perhaps it has.
Perhaps everyone has to forge their own philosophy.
(But why is mine so long?) 



must remain interesting, at least to myself.

I, like everyone else,   


am stuck inside the fundamental structures of existence.
I have created a world, a philosophy book/mountain hike.
My project and my judgments have an emotional attachment.
They are "mine."
They go well or badly.
They suck or they suck-less.
They are half-assed or they are more fully assed. 

camp jokes aside,   


It seems that I have to confront the philosophical status of feelings.
They are not attached to an ontology by any kind of common philosophical sense.
I feel as impotent as a couples-counselor.
I will head in the direction of 
Maybe I will gain some perspicuity. 

20.   More On Feelings        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]



is the importance or unimportance of our feelings



are deeply integrated in our conceptual world. 
Perhaps we could echo a superficial understanding of Kant and, like he treated space and time, we could treat feelings as another intuition by which our perceptions are measured and judged.
We are embedded in our 

Maybe every event is accompanied by a feeling.   


Maybe being accompanied by a feeling is that makes something an event. 

you want feelings?   


Let’s go shopping (at Ross' Dress for Less).
Let’s look at art.
Lets look at my bookshelves.
Lets look in my storage cabinets.
Shopping is all about 
In the store it’s not that most of your needs are unknown.
It's more that they are judged (even by me) to be inappropriate or childish. 

Everything we do resonates.   


We could say more about everything, 
much more than we do. 

But we seldom think about our feelings.   


We just have them.
Do we need to think about them, or is that just an aesthetic choice?
And if we never think about our feelings,
does that mean we don’t have the feelings? 

When you ask yourself: what feelings am I getting?   


Is it like Heisenberg’s dilemma and you change the way you experience the world? 



are a way of experiencing the world.
Feelings are closer to something about the way I experience the world
than something merely in my world.
Then feelings are not "caused" as much as experienced. 

Our feelings   


May well be genetic.
Some may be inculcated by parents, peers and society, Some may be our own. 

Categorizing feelings is like categorizing clouds.   


Not only do the categories morph seamlessly into each other but the objects of our categorizing change even as we are looking at them. 

what about thinking of feelings   


as the way we experience the world, never simply objectively, but with full reactions, judgments, prejudices and sometimes emotions.
We have intuitions, insights, hunches, impressions, suspicions etc. 
I get annoyed every time I read the newspaper.
Sometime have feelings like moods that places us on an off-ramp into the quiet countryside, apart from our intended destination. 

let me define feelings   


to be an interpreted fact.

Sometimes they are immediate, often they are reinterpreted later.
The conscious, rational objectivity is part of this, but only a part.
Though it is clear that society plays a part in our 
We adjust our 
feelings to conform to those of the people around us. 

21.   The Frames Of Our Feelings        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

There are a series of frames   


that constitute our various simultaneous ways of looking at the world while we are, at the same time, in the world.

Here is a partial list of common 

feeling world

emotions, empathy

emotive frame

my emotions, up, down

body frame

my bodily state and feelings

judgment frame

conclusion above and beyond conceptual frame

conceptual frame

knowledge, awareness of world

behavioral frame

what you do

immediate frame

immediate processing

moral frame

what you should do

peer frame

what they will think of you


religious, political, a personal point-of-view frame

There is activity in all these frames   


Activity is going on,
But what 
frame do you look at? 

The results in one frame   


alters in the other frame?
frames altered by the results of others – like calculating air flow. 

I don't know of any theory that integrates these frames   


No one does.
Advertisers and politicians would love to know.
I don't know what the relationship is between the various 
Not reason.
Not religion. 

22.   This Is Our Power        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

we have lots of information about human beings   


yet a deep mystery remains.
It is amazing how little we know. 

no one knows the secret of making us feel a certain way   


Advertisers would like to know.
Politicians would like to know. 



the thing that our frames (or windows) of feelings have in common is that no one can fully manipulate them.
People can seduce us, force us, threaten us, fool us but they can never make us accept their point of view the way they want it.
And we cannot make them accept our point of view. 



Is this the nature of our freedom?
We have a tremendous power and ability to subconsciously manipulate our frames of reference. 

yet we are not in control of our perceptions either.   


We cannot make ourselves feel a certain way at will.
Though we certainly try.
Often we are overtaken by our feelings. 

23.   Moral Judgments, Moral Rules        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]



Our feelings are a perpetual source of moral judgement, often backed by the judgment whether or not something has lived up to a moral rule. 

where do our values come from?   


Psychologists and sociologists tell us it has to do with our upbringing, our peers, reasons, selfish calculations, nonconformism and so on.
I'm sure it does, but why does it have to do with my upbringing, my peers, my reasoning, my selfish calculations, my desire to be a non-conformist?
What is the process? How does that work?
If we are lawyers for our beliefs, advocates, what makes us choose our clients? 

what makes me hold onto my values   


What are my values?
They are not different from anyone else:

  • I favor getting along
  • I favor sexual freedom
  • I belive in fairness
  • I do not like being told what to do
  • I belive in the freedom to do what you want to do without harming others
  • I am afraid of the power of the state
  • I am concerned about the sustainability of the earth
  • I am a Democrat

first observations   


  1. My immediate answers are scattered and evidently incomplete. This is not a question I am prepared to answer. Once I begin to enumerate values, there are many things I love and hate.
  2. The "values", "my morality" come out hesitantly and unevenly: some are political, some personal, and some are ideals.
  3. And the very answering of the question brings out my hopes and shames. There are ideals I want to live up to but I cannot.
  4. There are values I have which are politically incorrect to me! There are people I wold like to see beaten or even killed.
  5. I no longer have much belief in a utopian society, and I am losing my belief in the virtue of the American government.

24.   Campfire Reflections #3        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

I thought it would be a laborious walk up the mountain.   


I didn't think I would get so lost.
I am hypnotized and confused by the concept of 

I have no idea why   


people have certain values and feelings.
I would love to know and I thought I would know. 

I want my fundamental values   


to be based on something deeper than the things I happen to value. 

what is the point of going on   


if I cannot get to a foundation?
If I cannot supply any arguments?
If all I have is my hipness, attitude and savoir faire?
If what I have is cuteness of vision? 



Have some more gorp.
(Gorp sort of sucks, doesn't it?) 

25.   Our Tattered Morality        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

our morality   


is tattered.
It is at times fragmentary, inconsistent, slapdash, improvisational. Sometimes we apply a morality, sometimes we do not. 

we hide the tattered nature of our morality from ourselves   


We hold up a simple table of say 10 commandments.
We hold up a book, be it of religion or philosophy.
We do not examine our actions very carefully.
We revise our facts to fit our 
We tell ourselves that "poor people are lazy." 

we embed our morality in a religion   


Religion places another wrapper on our moral judgments by placing them above discussion.
It associates us with a herd of people who think just like us.
It tells us what are the key moral decisions: "Abortion is really bad." vs. "Poverty is the fault of the individusal." (or vice versa.) 

morality is tattered   


not because we are immoral or hypocritical.
Morality is 
tattered because it needs to be.
We are after all ignorant, selfish animals and in spite of appearances have no way or desire to be moral in every thing we do. 

yet we think morality is important   


in spite of its occasionality, inconsistency and lack of theoretical underpinning.
Perhaps because a major part of morality is the encoding of what we really, really care about.
(Like a bill in the US Legislature, codes of morality always seem top include some priestly self-serving pork as well.)
These are the things we are willing to fight for, or at least speak loudly about in a public meeting. 

and what about public discussion   


and achieving consensus on the rules of morality?
It's easier to refer to homilies and commandments. 

we are committed to our beliefs about the world   


even though they are not testable.
Religion and morality are emotional issues with me.
And with many people who disagree with me.

Appendix A.   Acknowledgments        [ ver. 05/20/08 ]

i want to thank   


my luck stars 
people who play dance music 
the person who has sex with me 
the Internet 
Ludwig Wittgenstein 
Martin Heidegger Being and Time 
Cees Nooteboom 
Theodore Zeldin An Intimate History of Mankind 
Jean Paul Sartre Being and Nothingness 
the Wikipedia 

Rudiger Safranski, Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil translated by Ewald Osers `





Our Knowledge Of Our (“The”) World

we first know about the world   


because someone (parents, teachers..) told us the way it is. 

as adults we know about the world   


because someone (books, television, other people..) tell us the way it is. 

first they tell us a simple story   


The world is a three-dimensional place, full of stuff 
and sometimes immaterial spirits.




History of the World in Which We Live



The stories they tell us. 

it the story we can stand   


One we can all support. 
We seldom mention the fact that it changes slowly over time. 

nor does the raggedness of it all bother us very much   


It does not take much for our mind to make a world. 
Oversimplification is a virtue. 

why do we take sides in history?   


Why do we read history as our history? 
Is it possible NOT to do that? 
Would that be better? 
Are we selfish? 

[ ver. 05/20/08





my initial disorganized remarks on RELATIONSHIPS   


Being in a relationship makes you older. 

I see many cars with couples in them, driving somewhere for a weekend of fun. I see women devoting themselves to one man. I also see men devoting themselves to one woman. 

When I say "you are not happy with me." I am usually saying "I am not happy with you." 

Perhaps we like the dramatic difficulties of our sexual relationship. 

When you are young, you think you will never be unhappy with each other. 
Later in your life you only hope that the periods of unhappiness will end sooner rather than later. 

For most women, apologizing is just admitting you are wrong and your are now a fair target for venting. 

Great! What this relationships needs is a good crisis. 

What am I without Gwen? I am not nothing, but I am not much. 

It is precious to find someone who is brave enough to love you 

Relationships change like the weather. 

Most of us have five friends, unless you are a politician, or some kind of conglomerator… 

People don’t meet each other easily because the possibilities and the contacts are so strong. 

Even a this-is-not-really-a-commitment ring is still a commitment ring. 

I like a good relationship fight as much as the next man 

The first step is for me is to admit I am back in exactly the same shit I was in previously in my last marriage. And to deal with the depression that accompanies this thought. 
I should then deal with this situation in a better way than I did last time. 

The dynamic of keeping a relationship are just as hard as the dynamics of not having a relationship. 

If getting a girlfriend is interesting to blog about, keeping a girlfriend should be equally so. 

There is limited bandwidth for communicating your inner soul and personality, while there is great bandwidth in communicating your sexual attractiveness. 

Our conduits to others are so small and ephemeral – skinny as a phone line. 

Being in a relationship means always to be saying you're sorry. 

I am always stuck in a relationship, be it with your girl-friend, your friends, your therapist or (if were to go to one) your hooker: "You don't want to pay for sex with me anymore! What's the matter? I thought you liked me?! " 

Jane thinks that relationships should be more business-like, and based on short-term contracts. These contracts would contain clauses like "I have the right to visit Seattle and see friends (but not to sleep with anyone else)." and "I want to go dancing once a month." 
It should be renegotiated periodically. 

A relationship is not determined by day to day things - it is determined by commitment. 

Being married to a non-talking Asian is like being married to a guy - a smooth short guy with breasts and a cunt. 

Let's say your man, or woman, loves you for many many years. After a while I suppose you don't notice that either. 

The conduit: when people connect they open up a broadband connection between each other for all the good things. 
When things go bad in a relationship, the same conduit is still there for all the bad things to come through. We are undefended. 

I think that in any relationship, people adjust themselves to define themselves in opposition to the other person, the way a small volley-ball team adjusts to cover their side of the court. 
When I expressed this theory to Cleo, she told me I must just be contrary. 

On meeting strangers: it's new for both of us. I'm new for you and you're new for me. You're new in my eyes and vice-versa. It's like leaving a small town. We came in early: we established a conduit, a channel, we built a dam, we erected a house. 

I must be myself. 
I bait the hook with me until someone bites. 

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]



The Media

my initial disorganized remarks on THE MEDIA   


Sometime in the future we will be able to project what we imagine, perhaps like videos to music. Which raises the question: how good is your imagination? 

Low-res life: security cameras, phone pictures, television, radio… 

I turn on the public radio prepared to be irritated. Which does not prevent me from becoming irritated. 

We accept the loss of a hundred-thousand to car accidents, 300,000 to a tidal-wave and a 100,000 Iraqi civilians, yet we concern ourselves perpetually for the 3,000 who died in the World Trade Center, and Karen Schiavo, a human vegetable lying in a hospital-bed in Florida. 

How is it decided who gets the inconsistent focus of societal concern? A stem-cell, a cytoblast of 16 cells will warrant a furrowing of the legislative eye-brows, while the hungry and the poor die among us daily. 

TV and movies stand outside the individual. They favor relating to others, snappy-retorts and visible feelings. Will the future bring a new medium that gets us back inside the individual — like books? 

You don't see serious book use on TV, or people struggling to think. Solitude has no visual interest. 

Entertainment is less about art and truth than about creating something that people finds interesting, that makes them stop and listen. 

In a snapshot, the man sits there forever. 

Telephone - to speak with one's mouth 

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]




ahh the great divider   


that separates us.
Some people will hate me and put me down if my opinions are not the same as theirs.
They do not want to think what they do not want to think. 

We are committed to our beliefs about the world   


even the untestable ones.
(Especially the untestable ones.) 

At the very least   


I should say why. 
How it is possible. 

But do I want to talk to   


people who agree with me,
Or people who disagree with me. 

this is an emotional issue   


with me.
And with many people who disagree with me. 

other disorganized remarks on RELIGION   


and another thing about the Catholic church: Why haven't they apologized for burning the heretics and the freethinkers?
There should be a plaque of apologies in all churches.

Conservative religion is a radical brake on societal change. And, to the extent it is backed by force, a kind of terrorism.

Practices I once naively believed were behind us - stoning, cutting off hands, torture, death for apostasy - are back, both in the Islamic world and to a lesser degree, in the Western world. 
Intolerance is also back, as a virtue!

No one can tell us about religion. They can show us the symbols and artifacts. They can tell us the stories.

I thought head-scarves were fashion item, like wearing a cross on a chain. I did not realize they were religious taboos and that people would be killed for not wearing them.

In the museums we see the anthropological stuff. It looks goofy to us. But primitive tribes took these things seriously, way too seriously.

Should you pray that there is a god? or should you pray that there is not a god?

Why does religion not evolve? It's almost like it can’t evolve. It was created as steadying force, woven into human nature. It worked first for small groups, later for larger societies and warring cultures like the Romans, the Muslims and the Western Europeans. But whatever its origins, why does not religion evolve now? It seems that it should. It seems to me that it needs to? Is it like our state in food, learned in childhood? Is it a symbol of the supposedly golden days of old? Is it kept firmly in place by its bureaucracy of priests? Was its modern, scriptural (textual) form made intentionally hard to change? Is it that people like being told what to do? Is it embedded at a level below that of choice? Like our conventions of speech and dress? (I don't know.)

Without religion we are left with our secular fantasies of happiness: the lottery, shopping for things, miracle cures, fame, riches, fashion, housing, love and secular attractiveness.

Religion is a nexus of related untestable fantasies centered around our deepest fears. People may not love me — but God loves me. I will age and die — but I will live forever. Bad people will prosper and thrive — but justice will be dealt out in the afterlife. I am a weak and frightened human — but I will be protected by a powerful god. All the impossible things we wish are found in religion, at the price of accepting some conventional and possibly socially useful taboos.

I Ching – why should we let randomization into the process?

If religion is a delusion, then puzzling out the role of religion in life is the meaning of life

With religion, life is like an obstacle course, golf course with difficult placement.

With religion, you think that life is a gift and has a purpose. The meaning of life is something you stumble over; it is like discovering an Easter egg. 
Why shouldn't I think that life is a gift? Just because I don't believe there is a God?
Am I shut off from miracles because there is no God? 
Is God not with me, and leadeth me not beside the still waters, just because there is no God?

Religious people are fantasy people.

There are several kind of apocalypse. My favorite: thinking that the laws of physics no longer apply.

Wayne was approached by a minister in town. He asked him to please stop talking about religion, but he wouldn't. 
"I am so tired of hearing about religion," Wayne tells him, "Why can't people use reason and common sense any more."

Stories of miracles are like stories of casino winnings.

At the church I was told "believe whatever you need to believe in order to make sense of the world."

I forgot that church is a place to recognize deep feelings

hip passages from Bible.

Believing in God is an antidote against terror of the terror.

Believing in God is fun.

Why not assisted suicide: those who think it is wrong, don’t have to do it.

Big thought: in 60s it was assumed religion was some kind of superstitious crap. Now, at least in public discourse, it's suddenly sacredly true.

It's Yahweh or the highway.

I must find my fifteen minutes of enlightenment.

Not what would Jesus do, but how or what would Jesus think and react.

If God explained how he made the world, with DNA and growth over time, a priest in the 6th Century BC, could not have understood it. How could he? If God were to explain the universe to us, would we? We can't even understand the complexities of our own science.

Religion is a poison pill alteration of epistemic belief.

God - our greatest imaginary friend.

Anyone can be an expert on religion. You don't need a high school degree. You only have to be think you are an expert on religion. In the same way I am an expert on religious experts.

My concepts of spirituality come from drug experiences: boundless happiness comes from ecstasy, contentment of the moment from marijuana, essential insight comes from LSD.

Church is supposed to make you guilty in a good way, guilty at not living up to the values you hold, and exposing your own hypocrisy.

What current political beliefs and political problems are caused by belief in non-existent beings? By a belief in a so-called God who demands a few things from his worshippers, some of which are moral, some of which are not?

Strange concept of going to Church to think about important things

You know God, there seems to be a lot of things you don’t know. A lot of pain you can’t actually feel.

Religions disagree by killing each other.

Is spiritual insight most like: 
getting high or having an orgasm? 
reading a really good book? 
getting a math problem correct? 
riding a bicycle?

A believer and an atheist are, after all, looking at and living in the same universe.

Religion subverts and co-opts spirituality the way Disneyland subverts fun, selling it to you in small segments surrounded by wait-lines, boredom and money. 
Fun can happen on a porch, fun can happen driving in a car. 
Spirituality can happen on a porch, spirituality can happen driving in a car.

Isn't it amazing? In Jerusalem, in the Middle East, at the confluence of the worlds three major historical religions, no one can solve a damn things and the killing continues, spilling blood on the floors of mosque, church and temple.

… ministers better at yelling than at thinking

I want to ask parishioners about their spiritual journey but it does not happen. 
People go to church so they don't have to think about that. 
Church should be where you talk about stuff like whether God exists.

I want a church, where I do not have to believe in God or anything else that does not make sense to me.

God is (obviously) not the solution to all our problems.

But there is a fundamental and serious principal here: under freedom of religion I should be free to be whatever astrological sign I want.

On religious people: If they can't be wrong; I can't be right. Can they at least see how I can think it?

If God was in charge of the PA System in the train station, what would he say?

Not everyone is made happy by becoming conscious of the eternal life force that flows and guides you.

Christianity is a brutal religion.

Religion says, and does not argue.

After seeing Fahrenheit 9/11: The movie shows the pain of the Iraqis. This is what a church should be like: an emotional meditation on the morality of action, without the instant solutions, moral cliches, and references to some dubious authority.

How can Catholics portray themselves as the religion that cares about the sanctity of all human life after what they did in the Counter Reformation?

What kind of god I would want to exist? 
My imaginary god is a god that understood me, cared about me, and supernaturally guided me towards happiness in life. 
Not an angry asshole Jehovian deity, or one that needed a lot of silly taboo attention (a high maintenance god). 
Not a sadistic god who would kill my kids or give me cancer, in order to teach me a lesson. 
My god is cool, even hip, helpful and in times of crisis, there for me. 
My god would try to protect me from that shit, as much as he or she could.

Some religious people can never be fully tolerant, as they can never accept the possibility that they can be wrong.

Why do I hate Christianity so strongly?

I look at the spiritual paths I have accepted without thinking, the guides and goals I chose for the path to happiness. As a youth, I accepted Zen masters, assorted hippie gurus (Baba Ram Dass) and assorted unknown psychologist. Among their tenets: true happiness / salvation exists 
it is accomplished by apart from the material possessions of the world 
as part of this it is important to live in the moment apart from the material possessions of the world. 
who advise that the way to deal with negative thoughts is to express and accept them, overcoming guilt and shame. 
happiness is necessarily accomplished by the individual in spite of and apart from the community 
The question then becomes: should I believe everything I happen to believe?

A book on Which Religion is Best for You?

I have a God, I occasionally pray to my God. He is better than the actual god even though he is imaginary. He is better than the real god because he doesn't care if I don't believe in him. (The fact he is imaginary does not distinguish him from the real god.)

About your religion: if you don't try to impose it on me at all, or it's morality, or talk as thought is right or true, or pretend it's any more than your fundamental belief, I'm there for you buddy!

Someone who didn't do very well in high school can still put up a big poster in their yard proclaiming confidently that if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ you shall be saved.

What does God know?

God, if he be presented in words, does not have all the answers. For us anyway.

there is no degree in being God.

If there were a god, would it be quite ok to pray for sex, money, and misfortune for my enemies? What are the rules about praying anyway?

We believe that "--------- is wrong" and we believe that everyone who believes differently is wrong!

I wish religious people would show a little humility and admit that they could be wrong. And perhaps they would not need to tell anyone else.

I will choose my religion and pretend its not a choice that can be revoked

Religion: I will buy my values wholesale

Another thing I hate about God: he does not exist.

The clouds of heaven are just transportation device. It is like going to Europe and thinking that Europe is a cabin of your 747.

When it comes to religion, why is it so hard to say "But that's only my opinion…"

I remember reading in Time Magazine that over 30% of atheists pray to god at times. Today was one of those time for me. Who else are you going to pray to?

I think that not only the TV psychics, but all the religions, should have to put at the bottom of their appeal: "For entertainment purposes only." 

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]




my initial disorganized remarks on SEX   


For we are not attracted to those people who could actually respond to us. Young people are attracted to movie stars. Old people are attracted to young people. B-level people are attracted to A-level people. 

about people's mutual attractiveness. They say: "I could... but I don't want to." 

Also low-level sexuality of having all those people around me. I am licked with love. 

How much is our relationship based on sex? 

What about looking at a woman and realizing you never want to fuck her? 

We play the game of seduction and avoidance… 

The personal validation in cheating on your partner. 

"We are scared and attracted to sex." 

In theory I would like to sleep with her.
In practice however… 

I am entranced by a woman in summer shorts with nice breasts. As a gentleman, I honor her by ignoring her 
(for the most part) 

I don't want to steal children or have sex with them. Am I not normal? 

And then you come - which should really be called go. 

Falling asleep after fucking your girlfriend is one of the nicest feelings on earth. 

I don't want to move. 
I like paradise. 

The conceit came to me that I need a woman to talk to in bed. Of course I'm the guy who fucks and falls asleep. 

My trip is great if i use the metric of how many thoughts I am having. By the metric of getting laid, or its mature version of meeting an attractive stranger, it is not a success. Why do I subconsciously use the latter so much in my life? 

a sex high 

I am a discriminating dirty old man. 

Having a girlfriend gives you less time for sexual moments, but more actual sex. 

After you have made love, what is the right amount of time to wait until you start thinking of other things? 

The theater of desire 

The thoughts we have during sex are not all that clean either 

She gives good cleavage 

Why is it cute for women to masturbate, while the man who masturbates is a pathetic loser. 
Because anytime a woman does something sexually assertive it is to be applauded, while with a man, the opposite is true? 
Because in orgasm, a woman experiences an inner thrill, while a man makes a big, sticky mess? 
Because a woman can be satisfied, while a man cannot? 
Because a male orgasm is not only about orgasm, but also about possession? 

Is there something inside us that constantly responds to, as well as constantly emits, erotic stimulation? 

Perhaps it is now necessary to see man-man sex as normal. 

For men, our prick is our prick of pricks 

In my ideal world, the TV would be playing pictures of nude people, 

the phantom boner. 

I know most men want to have sex with most women, but women do not want to have sex with most men: I now think they want to have most men want to have sex with them. 

Is life when you are NOT horny or is life being horny? 

a good jerk is its own reward. 

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]



The Future

my initial disorganized remarks THE FUTURE   


Looking at new history and art-history books, I realize we have become much more open to the history of all the peoples of the world. It is no longer just about the Europeans, which is how it was when I was growing up. This is a major enrichment. Where will future generations get their enrichments? 

I'm tired of the future being the same as the past. 

In the world of the future: (and I love the world of the future): travel will be fun. 

In the future there will be fossilized footprints of Tivas. And rubber boots. From now on I am going to step in a lot of mud. I want to live softly on the earth and leave nothing but my fossilized footprints behind. 

The world of the future: they will look back at all our disparate remote control, and wonder how we ever managed to do that (like we look back at getting up to change television channels, cranking the car to start it, cutting our own firewood, getting through ice cold winters with eating boring food.) 

Why are movies the art form of our time? Will they ever be replaced? In the future, will we be fighting a losing battle to get people to see movies, with ads of famous athletes saying how much they like to see a film? 

The future swells in its seed case. 

Only God, or a parent alone in his empty trailer at two in the morning, can see us as we truly are, past, present and future. 

We all have a blind date with the future. 

I find it strange that mass market movies should be our culture's main venue for thinking about the future, but no one else does. Politicians are too scared to think about anything else but preserving the present. Religious leaders seem concerned about straying from the past. The philosophers are dead, and the rest of us are all too wrapped up in our work, our families, our private lives and our blind dates. 

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]




my initial disorganized remarks on TIME   


What does time tell? 
What does time not tell us? 

Movies count; quality time counts; the sleep, the airplane, the walking down the street doesn't count. 

Today is not yesterday. It never is. 

The delusions of our world: thing will always be the way they are. We will be like this. I'll be young forever. 
Things will be good forever. Things will be bad forever. There will be peace forever. There will be war forever. There is/is not a new economy. These delusions nurture us, imprison us, support and occasionally let us down. 

it is already four-thirty. I have disappeared an hour. Again. 

And why did my life happen so quickly? Time is an energetic young woman full of energy and if I linger in sloth, the moment is gone. 

It is Sunday of my four-day weekend. Where did it go? Why can I not keep it? Why cannot I not remember it in any but the most trivial way? Why can I not re-experience it like a CD? 

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]




my initial disorganized remarks on TRUTH   


Having seen the great truth, we write it down and we move on. (And it's not like we're the first ones to see it.)

Is the truth simple or complex? Is it unchanging, evolving or situational?
Our situation is changing and we are confused and confronted in new ways. We are addressing new oppressors and fellow sufferers with new complaints in new ways.

I think therefore it is.

If animals are representations of consciousness, pretty women are representations of truth.

"Here is where the pope agrees with me."

There are those who have faith in meaningless words.

I am not willing to think too hard for the truth.

as I travel around the landscape of my understanding I am forever losing my way.

Facts come interpreted.

In grad school, Russ Abrams had a dream where Immanuel Kant approached the foot of his bed and told Russ of his philosophy. After he had said his piece, Russ would reply "That's what you say!"
Wittgenstein then approached the bed and told his philosophy, Russ' response was the same: "That's what you say!"

We are all so committed to our core beliefs: Christians, scientists, debunkers, anti-debunkers, environmentalists. We are not going to let a little reality get in our way.

I am a tourist of truth.

Every deep and question has two answers. ONE starts with YES and one with NO.

One kind of insanity is taking everything you hear as real.

How come I think I can divide news into trivial and not trivial? Gay marriage, OJ, Diana - trivial. First amendment erosion - important..

Facts are like noisy children the mind can take anywhere and everywhere if it is so inclined.

An insight is not a realization of how the world is. It is a way of looking at the world that makes sense of the world for you.

Work dominated reality. School dominated reality

Eternal truths are the most general facts.

"Objective" is what it appears to be; "subjective" appears to be without necessarily being so.

the ugly truth: the truth shall set you free, make you sad, break your heart

"looks like but isn't"

my initial disorganized remarks on KNOWLEDGS   


They used to know the name of the dinosaurs. Now they know the name of the cartoon characters.

With all the people in the world why can't we figure things out?

Connecting the virtual dots to get the virtual picture.

(I am the worlds oldest pre-schooler.)

I search the world for the obvious.

The world is happening faster than my ability to comprehend it.

I close my eyes and think, or at least think I think.

There are more things on the world then anyone can figure out, even in a lifetime.

Understanding the world with your mind is a hell of a way to have to navigate through the world.

I want to explore the fundamental structure of the world. Perhaps the only reason I want to do that is because I don't understand the writing of people who have already done that successfully. 

Some of us are all involved in a collective enterprise called what-the-fuck-is-this-shit.

Books about knowledge fail to distinguish between the terms you should know, and the many things in nature, science and history that are truly cool.

How does this happen. Everybody now says that tryptophan causes the lethargy after the Thanksgiving day dinner. A slittle bit of Internet research shows that this is not true. How come we still get chemistry old-wives tales?

What makes me think I can get enlightenment from small sentences?

Everyone saying it so perfectly, so obviously.

he impotence of intelligence.

My hindsight is almost 20/20.

A thing of which i was afraid that i now realize was out of proportion to its actual impact on my life: quicksand.

I want to see the personal bubbles, the small mental terrariums, in which we each live. It would be interesting to see the half-baked stuff we think all the time.
Or is that just me? (This of course is what I don not know.)

[What if everyone always spoke with displaying the epistemic underpinnings of their statements? They would state something and then have to say where they heard that and why they believe it to be true.

My opinion is an intellectual emotion, a feeling disguised as a judgment.

The full horizon effect: no matter how little you know, what you do know seems to form a world. An eight-year old boy always thinks he knows what is going on.

I am listening to the radio: lemming DO NOT commit mass suicide by jumping off cliffs. The scenes in the Disney documentary were staged. Populations do go up and down, but it is due to the scarcity of food than any instinct to commit suicide. Yet this fact has been built into our conventional wisdom. We are all such lemmings.

A theory of inclinations: one does not defend ones inclinations in the same way one defends ones truths.

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]



[December 2005]   


I see that the next chapters of this book
are found in my thoughts on
my new religion

[Nov. 15, 2005]   


After a hiatus I see I am stumbling around again.
I am surprised by the topics I discuss.
I do not have much of a clue where this is going.
I will have to see where this takes me. 

[Oct 31, 2005]   


The origin of values is a puzzle I cannot solve
for now.
I need to explore something else. 

[Oct 19, 2005]   


I'd like to continue,
but my mind fails to hold it's edge. 

[Oct 15, 2005]   


As I read what I have written
I see now its inconsistencies.
I will not be able to skip up the mountain. 

[Oct 11, 2005]   


I am stuck.
I do not know how or why values and points-of-views are adopted, often early in life.
Is it a commitment?
(So I am tweaking what I have already written.) 

[Oct 6, 2005]   


I slog onwards.
I must not get bogged down in traditional discussions of the nature of morality.
I am trying to get through this with some perspective,
not wind up in an impassable thicket or insurmountable canyon.

[Oct 2, 2005]   


This book is difficult.
My ego pleasure in writing the book has dried up
as it is not clear I will succeed. 

[Sep 29, 2005]   


I have been sick for the better part of a week.
My mind is unkeen.
Once I regain whatever it was I had before I lost it, I'll be back to my self-appointed task. 

[Sep 21, 2005]   


I am resting on a ledge.
I am onto something but I am not yet sure what it is.
My biggest fear is that I will be sidetracked by a book that explains it all to me.

and to paraphrase Peter Drucker: 

We know nothing about existence.
All we can do is write books about it.

[Sep 20, 2005]   


I am depressed.
Of course I am not sure why.
But I am not comfortable with chapters 21 ("What Are Feelings Again") and later.
Having bitten off more than I can chew, I should back track, rest up, replan. 

[Sep 19, 2005]   


When i tell people
with my suitably shy and mannish enthusiasm
I am writing a philosophy book
they don't have a ready-made reply.
It's like telling them I am now laying my own eggs. 

[Sep 15, 2005]   


I don't want to be boring. 
Especially to myself. 

And whatever I do 
I must not lose sight of myself, 
my engaged, feeling, finite self. 

[Sep 14, 2005]   


I am pulling this stuff out of my ass. 
Or rather, not pulling any stuff out, 
at the present time. 
I am reading instead 
as I have, once again, lost my way. 

[Sep 11, 2005]   


Is this stuff true? 
I don't know. I just make it up. 

Why am I out here thinking this? 
Why isn't everyone else thinking this? 
It's obvious once you think about it. 

[Sep 9, 2005]   


I am thinking without getting much of anywhere. 
About the world of feelings in which we live without fully realizing it. 
I put my vague uncoagulating thoughts into a Word document I call theSnippetorium
(Please be patient). 

[Sep 6, 2005]   


I knew it! 
I have thought myself into a steep-walled canyon. 
I cannot say much interesting about the relation of emotions to the world-self-other thingy today. 
I shall tend to my garden now. Winter is soon icumin in... 

[Sep 5, 2005]   


Still going. 
Usually I realize that I am too trivial,. or I have fallen in love with an idea or a way of presentation, and am thereby dissuaded from truth. 

I like that the book does not have a single title. 
It doesn't need one now. 

I made it so you can click anywhere on the page to return to the <Table> of Contents.

[Sep 2, 2005]   


Doing my chapter in the world: 
this sure seems like traditional philosophy to me. 
I wouldn't have expected it. 

[Aug 31, 2005]   


(Thinking more about the observation of August 29:) 
In many ways I don't have much of a clue about what I am doing. 

I have sketched out, though not published, many remaining chapters of my work.
I have even created dummy files. 
And yet I wonder how things will develop. 

[Aug 30, 2005]   


It is so hard 
to come home from work and wade through the trivialities of my life 
(trivialities to which I subscribe and collect) 
and work on this philosophy book! 

[Aug 29, 2005]   


I didn't think I would get even this far. 
I must prepare myself for a longer trip. 
Carefree insouciance and casual sarcasm may not be enough. 

I am also surprised that in spite of an old feeling that hyperlinks were crucial, my narrative is linear so far. 
I do not know what to make of this. 

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]



What Am I Doing?



ordinary-people philosophy.
(a one-man show) 

I want to understand the world   


in an interesting and communicable way that makes sense to me (and people like me), 
without using any debatable or fatuous assumptions, like God exists. 
Nor do I want to present ideas I first-of-all believe because it's what I want to think. 

"Does your book have a name?"   


  • The Big Book of Being
  • Ontology for Dummies
  • Whatever
  • Being and Diet Pepsi

you will not get a book yet   


I cannot do a frontal assault and speak of truth, reality, weltanschauungs or the nature of religion. 
I have not accumulated enough power for a frontal. 
We cannot approach the mountain directly. 
There are too many canyons and lakes, and rivers. 
It is difficult to keep a sense of the smallness of myself. 

I am really still on the lake that lies at the base of the mountain. 
I go from lily-pad to lily-pad — the floating footholds of truth… 

i am doing   


a non-theoretical, practical phenomenology. 

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]


TOOLS: Think About This Feeling

think about this feeling   





  • does feeling weary presuppose a world? 
  • does feeling weary presuppose something specific in that world? 
  • does feeling weary presuppose something NOT being in that world? 
  • is feeling weary always involved with other people? 
  • does feeling weary presuppose a time: a past, present or future? 
  • what are the bodily symptoms and expressions of feeling weary?

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]

TOOLS: These Things Need to be Explained

Universal Categories of Human Behavior (G. Murdoch)

Universal Cultural Patterns



•  kinship nomenclature 
•  personal names

•  languages, writing systems, etc.


Material Culture

•  bodily ornament 
•  fire making 
•  housing 
•  tool making

•  food habits 
•  shelter 
•  transportation and travel 
•  dress 
•  utensils, tools, etc. 
•  weapons 
•  occupations and industry



•  cooling 
•  ethnobotany 
•  feasting 
•  mealtimes 
•  trade

(no correlation)



•  decorative art

•  carving, painting, drawing, music, etc.



•  calendar 
•  cosmology 
•  dream interpretation 
•  eschatology 
•  ethics 
•  folklore 
•  taboos (incest, food) 
•  luck, superstitions 
•  medicine 
•  music 
•  mythology 
•  numerals 
•  obstetrics 
•  postnatal care 
•  pregnancy usages 
•  surgery 
•  weather control

•  languages, writing systems, etc.


Supernatural / Religious Practice

•  divination 
•  faith healing 
•  funeral rites 
•  magic 
•  mourning 
•  propitiation of supernatural beings 
•  religious ritual 
•  soul concepts

•  ritualistic forms 
•  treatment of sick 
•  treatment of dead


Society / Family and Social Systems

•  age grade 
•  athletic sports 
•  cleanliness training 
•  cooperative labor 
•  courtship 
•  dancing 
•  division of labor 
•  education 
•  etiquette 
•  family organization 
•  games 
•  gestures 
•  gift giving 
•  greetings 
•  hair styles 
•  hospitality 
•  hygiene 
•  joking 
•  kin-groups 
•  marriage 
•  marriage residence 
•  modesty 
•  puberty customs 
•  sexual restrictions 
•  status differentiation 
•  visiting 
•  weaning

•  the forms of marriage 
•  methods of reckoning relationships 
•  inheritance 
•  social control 
•  sports and games



•  inheritance rules 
•  property rights

•  real and personal 
•  standards of value and exchange 
•  trade



•  community organization 
•  population policy 
•  penal sanctions 
•  law

•  political forms 
•  judicial and legal procedures


Violence / War

•  feuds

•  war


I do not know where either list came from.


A Poem

Wu Wei   


Walk the same beach enough 
and wigeon stay put. 
Gulls too. You become common 
like bullwhip washed up 
or broken soft shells. 
Driftwood becomes you sitting for hours 
reciting the sutra of doing nothing
What's more exciting than a wind shift, 
a patch of green water close by, 
its back suddenly up, a surprise riff 
running against the tide. 
You can't think your way to anything 
around water this old. 
The Talmud, Bible, 
it doesn't matter, won't stack up 
to the invisible column of air the eagle rides 
or water lapping ordinary light. 
A beach, after a while, just grinds you down 
to quiet where words—even the good ones, 
the fuss they make—won't last 
Yes, yes, I'm here. Look at me. 
Resolved. My broken walking stick 
writing the names of those I love 
on the sand. 

Tom Crawford
Willow Springs #48
June 2001, p. 78

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]



Possible Epigrams

Epigrams for a book that may never be done   



"You appreciated the world. You tried to understand it. You wanted to know how it worked."

"But I never found out."

"Who does?"

J. Robert Lennon



...persuasion—reasoned arguments—no longer holds a favored position in university life... I can't remember the last time anyone changed his (or her!) mind as a result of reasoned discourse. Anyone who observed us would conclude the purpose of academic discussion was to provide the grounds for becoming further entrenched in our original position.

Robert Russo
Straight Man

[ ver. 05/20/08 ]

Snappy Philosophical PutDown

Heidegger's Being and Time   


  • I liked his exposition of the structure of Dasein
  • I liked his excellent choice of philosophical vocabulary
  • But framing the book as an "Exposition of the Question of the Meaning of Being?" is the opposite of priceless. I’m not interested.
  • And hints about authenticity, avoiding ordinary everydayness and genuine historicity from a man who lingered just a bit too long in the Nazi establishment.
    No thanks Martin. I’m not sure you’re the man.
  • The later Heidegger? With all that obscure poetry and Greek fragments up your ass, why would anyone bother taking their head out?


[ ver. 05/20/08 ]


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