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Holden

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Ascetic
« on: September 28, 2014, 01:00:50 pm »
Asceticism and the Existential Crisis


Here is the secret history of life: animals evolved as machines produced by genes and proteins, working in concert with undead natural forces and processes such as natural selection. Those machines strive to carry out all the stages of their life cycle, meaning that they grow, eat, fight, mate, reproduce, and die. As species become more varied and competition for resources becomes more complex, animals evolve more sophisticated control centers and social relationships, which partially liberate them from their primitive cycles. For example, mammals learn to play and not just to practice fighting but for the joy of it. More powerful brains were used mostly to analyze opportunities in the outer environment, but eventually awareness and rationality were turned inward, leading in humans to self-creation and to an egoistic awareness of all other things in relation to the self.

Those are preliminary matters of biology and psychology. But the secret is that the difference between animalism and personhood lies in a dreadful enlightenment and a terrifying freedom to choose how to respond to the existential crisis. As reason and consciousness are more and more finely attuned, as humans build up more rigorous conceptions of the facts, and as we learn to objectify instead of just projecting the products of our imagination and indulging in our childlike yearnings, we confront the horror at the root of all things: Being is undead and there is no God but only natural forces, materials, and processes that parody personhood except when they transcend themselves and produce sentient creatures who are then cursed to learn their deeper undead nature. Like the artificial person in science fiction stories who doesn’t realize she’s a robot, but who scratches away at her organic skin, sees a metallic surface in the mirror, and goes mad from discovering the gap between her deluded self-image and the unnerving reality, every authentic person faces an existential crisis culminating in the question of how to live with philosophical illumination. 

This history isn’t progressive. There is no purpose of natural creation; rather, there’s an undead flow towards apocalypse and oblivion at the end of time, at the eventual extinction of beings which will reveal that the world has been inwardly empty all along. Life just happened to evolve and mammals just happened to inherit the faculties which made them more intelligence. These are accidents of evolution, but they have the monumental consequence that through an enlightened soul’s cognitive faculties the cosmic zombie, the natural universe, is equipped to know itself for the monstrosity that it is, whereupon that doomed creature must decide what to do with such accursed knowledge. The noble lie in the West, originating from the plagiarisms in Genesis, is that self-knowledge is a sin, that Eve chose to disobey God and so God punished Adam and Eve because the Lord was afraid of having rivals. All of that is mere personification, which is the projection of comforting images sprouting from the minds of our more naïve ancestors. Of course, we weren’t created by any persons other than our biological parents and we don’t choose to be self-aware; instead, we acquire that power in so far as we’re embedded in the decaying plenum of the undead god. Genes and proteins and social relations align so that children tend to learn a language, to rationally process the contents of their conscious awareness, and to be domesticated as dictated by their cultural conventions. That’s our species’ life cycle—except that ours is one in which there’s a rupture that curses us withsatanic freedom: we can choose to go back live as animals, forsaking our potential for transcendence, or we can choose how to transcend.

This may surprise you, but most biological humans aren’t persons in the existential, spiritual sense. Psychologically, they have minds or selves as well as a capacity for self-control, compared to nonhuman species. But they’re also antiphilosophical, meaning they don’t undertake the promethean project of inquiring into the objective truth; instead, they succumb to delusions, noble lies, and bodily distractions. These are the beta herds, the human animals that grovel and scramble and otherwise debase themselves for fleeting advantages in our dominance hierarchies, blind to the philosophical significance of their actions and to the universe’s aesthetic status—which is to speak of the horror within all things that leaves intelligent creatures dumbfounded until they devise noble means of coping.

Alpha and Omega Forms of Perseverance


There are mainly two such means, the paths of the alphas and of the omegas, these being the chief enlightened segments of our populations. Alphas try to be happy by overpowering others. They exploit the masses’ fear, gullibility and instincts, knowing there’s no God to stop them nor any supernatural justice or salvation. The most successful alphas live as psychopathic parasites, as actual models for the gods of the world’s religions. The alphas’ tragedy is that their egoism greatly empowers them, but that power also corrupts them so that they become as monstrous as any undead natural force, standing finally as avatars, as incarnations of the amoral deity. Antichrists indeed.

By contrast with the extroverted tempters and rulers of the beta masses, there are the introverted omegas, the outsiders and outcasts who practice asceticism, rebelling against nature instead of excelling at being animals. Whereas the alpha learns of the objective facts in the course of doing business and eventually extinguishes her conscience and thus her inner self as she acquires godlike power, the omega learns the truth through philosophical reflection or artistic creation, which adds layers to her mind, increasing her self-control but also deepening her capacity for angst. The more independent the ego, the greater the anguish upon realizing the forbidden truth that even that exquisite jewel of creation, the potentially all-knowing and all-powerful human person is an ingrowth of an undead, cosmically-proportioned corpse. So whereas the alpha uses her enlightenment to build an outer world to match her deranged self-image, the omega retreats to her inner space, having been cast out from society and from the natural cycle of life. Alphas build material worlds through industry and sociopathic techniques of population control, while omegas beget worldviews and oeuvres, not biological heirs to empires but brainchildren that testify to their creators’ existential awakening.

Alphas have attributes conventionally deemed strengths which incline them to their path, such as extroversion, ambition, amorality, physical beauty, financial wealth, and the like. Meanwhile, omegas have certain social weaknesses that draw them to the wilderness: philosophical curiosity, skepticism, humility, anxiety, artistic sensitivity, scrupulosity, physical unattractiveness, and relative poverty. These omega traits make for both social failure and for spiritual illumination, and so as the alienated omega warily casts her light of reason on the natural facts, she’s in no position to respond to them by attempting to beat the undead god at its game, as it were. The omega isn’t fit for material godhood. Instead of tapping into the undead chaos within her, exacerbating her lusts for sex and power, she dwells on the moment of choice and transcendence, further detaching herself from the world by withdrawing from social games and renouncing her birthrights. Again, sufficiently sentient creatures learn the horrible truth and decide how to react, whereupon the mammalian life cycle goes off the rails. Alphas become living gods, introducing an element of psychology to nature’s undead divinity, whereas omegas neurotically linger over the existential problem itself, overanalyzing it and becoming less and less capable of normal human functioning. At the end of omegahood sits the hermit in her cave, the reclusive genius who knows the world as her foe and who tragically battles it by not participating in the more egregious or optional natural processes.

Theistic vs Existential Ascetics


Noble ascetics have been badly represented by their theistic counterparts that practice only aninstrumental kind of detachment. These unenlightened pretenders believe they should renounce nature because a greater, supernatural world awaits them so that earthly defeat is only a prelude to victory in God’s eyes. By contrast, enlightened ascetics understand the horrifying fact of divinity, which is that nature blindly and dumbly creates itself for no purpose whatsoever, leaving us with no redemption or prospect of everlasting glory.These omegas, then, renounce the world not as a means to a crass end, but they do so aesthetically, severing themselves from nature and society as an end in itself, for the sheer thrill of doing battle with the cosmic leviathan.Categorical as opposed to instrumental asceticism is an art form: the ascetic turns her life into a great work of art in that she chooses originality over cliché in all her endeavours and acts without much thought for the consequences, because her strange actions themselves are aesthetically appealing in the natural context. Just as a painter, musician, novelist or actor may work obsessively in spite of the infamous difficulty of making a living in her field, the ascetic omega prefers her unconventional life choices because they’re necessitated by her creative vision. Chastity, frugality, vow of poverty, mortification of the flesh—these aren’t ways of proving yourself worthy of a supernatural order, but are fitting artificialities, these being some miracles hidden in plain sight. There is no great reward for the authentic ascetic nor any permanent recognition of her creativity, since all things will come to naught, but there’s somber beauty in the tragic hero’s ill-fated struggle against overwhelming odds. At any rate, the omega makes due with this silver lining, choosing a life of philosophy and art criticism, as she’s content to mock the beta herd’s pretentions and to condemn the alpha’s evil rather than commit suicide.

What motivates the enlightened omega? Anger and sadness: disgust with cliché, with the absurdity of the untold wastefulness in nature, with the abomination of the world’s mindless self-origination from chaos, with the countless injustices in animals’ desperate struggles, and with the grotesque degradations of subpersonal humans; and pity for all organisms for being trapped and doomed, but pity especially for enlightened souls who are burdened with excessive knowledge and awareness which in the end redeem no one. These kinds of anger and sadness are the causes of existential asceticism, and of course the fact that some social outsiders are so motivated doesn’t add any moral value to their behaviour. However, in so far as these are the sources of the ascetic’s anomalous, tragically heroic lifestyle, they’re also integral to her artistry and so they’re the stuff ofaesthetic value, which is value enough in the heartless cosmos.
I am just a sad little green  tortoise  who crawls and crawls..


Haywire Baboonery

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2014, 12:43:07 pm »
Quote
These are the beta herds, the human animals that grovel and scramble and otherwise debase themselves for fleeting advantages in our dominance hierarchies, blind to the philosophical significance of their actions and to the universe’s aesthetic status—which is to speak of the horror within all things that leaves intelligent creatures dumbfounded until they devise noble means of coping.

I could not help noticing parallels in the terms used by this author with some of my own twisted terminology picked up from "Gort Busters" and my own imagination:


? the beta hordes == the gorts ?

? alphas == omnigorts ?

He [Arthur Schopenhauer] has been the most radical of all troublemakers. He was defiant. ~ (Marcuse?)

"Learning math is never a waste of time." ~ Ivan Savov

"Programming is understanding."  ~ Kristen Nygaard

Haywire Baboonery

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2016, 09:08:34 pm »
I acknowledge great wealth on the relatively small book shelves ... a condensed wealth of knowledge ... through diligent hunting costing not even a small fraction of the payments on a Volvo or Volkswagen.   And so I walk ... or drive my mother around in HER car ... and sleep peacefully on a little cot in a small corner room next to the computer in the corner ...

I behold the books and see a treasure.  What a fortunate man I am ... for the moment ... It is a great paradox that I appreciate such wealth in books which would be worthless to the wealthy man chasing c-o-c-a-i-n-e and orgasms.   :)

To each his own, as they say.  I would rather use Open Source computer algebra systems and learn how to write mathematical methods in C/C++, Python, and even FORTRAN, than to pay MathWorks a license to use MATLAB ... or to pay to use Mathematica.   

One day, when waterproof outdoor eReader can handle PDF files more efficiently, I could see myself hiding one down my pants while sleeping in a tent, but until then, these eReaders and tablets just don't seem to give me the rush of a textbook.  I understand why those who are forced to travel around would be using such devices for reading.  I know I read many texts with computers.

When I refer to myself as a deadbeat, I mean it in a very particular sense.  I have a limited area of interests.  I can't believe I went so many years without a computer, but that is what happens in a long downward spiral ... I have an intimate understanding of how one's life falls to pieces. 

It's kind of terrifying.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 09:22:48 pm by Nobody »
He [Arthur Schopenhauer] has been the most radical of all troublemakers. He was defiant. ~ (Marcuse?)

"Learning math is never a waste of time." ~ Ivan Savov

"Programming is understanding."  ~ Kristen Nygaard

Haywire Baboonery

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2019, 04:50:06 pm »
“Original Sin is the crime of existence itself”

source:  The Power of Schopenhauer
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

When Hegel witnessed Napoleon riding through the city of Jena, he wrote to a friend:

Quote from: Hegel
I saw the Emperor — this world-soul — riding out of the city on reconnaissance. It is indeed a wonderful sensation to see such an individual, who, concentrated here at a single point, astride a horse, reaches out over the world and masters it.

Schopenhauer’s philosophy, written in the shadow of Hegel’s work, is notorious for its pessimism. For Schopenhauer there is no spirit in the world and in the grand scheme of things there is no “progress”. Of Napoleon, he wrote:

Quote from: Schopenhauer
He was possessed of the very ordinary egoism that seeks its welfare at the expense of others. What distinguished him was merely the greater power he had of satisfying his will.

Napoleon didn’t embody any kind of spirit, he was just fighting wars and killing thousands for his own gratification. History, as far as Schopenhauer was concerned, was meaningless. All the trials and tribulations mankind undergoes come ultimately to nothing.

The universe is one of horrific suffering. Out in space there are unimaginably vast and ultimately meaningless cycles of creation and destruction. Great explosions, collisions, and implosions on a cosmic scale simply happen with no reason at all.

Here on earth nature manifests as an appalling competition. Creatures survive by hunting and devouring other creatures. Every creature dies, more often than not in agony. There’s no God in Schopenhauer’s view.   As the philosopher put it himself: “Original Sin is the crime of existence itself.”

Schopenhauer’s ideas offer no consolation in themselves, there is no redemption in his world view, only relief. Instead of placing hope in a God or progress, Schopenhauer believed that we should look in two directions for peace of mind: compassion and art. To understand how he came to this conclusion, it’s worth unpacking his philosophy.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

I think that if one approaches mathematics with a certain amount of humility and great patience with the limitations of our mental capacity, a lifelong devotion to it might offer peace of mind similar to that attained through "compassion and art".   

Life is unpleasant.  Anyone who says different is a liar ashamed of their own hidden misery.  Why are people ashamed of a misery which is built into the fiber of every breath they take?    Also, existence is a sin AGAINST us, not a sin we have committed.   I always resent when ignorance, parading around as authority, insinuates that we ourselves have committed the original sin in having been born.   We have been sinned AGAINST in being created!

(At this point, I feel I am repeating myself too much here).

I apologize for not being able to think of anything original to post here.   I am going back and forth between programming and mathematics.   I think that the main reason math and programming are more like "arts and crafts" to me has to do with the role my devotion to it plays in my day to day existence.   It's almost comprable to the role of philosophy in Schopenhauer's day to day existence; that is, I have to find sustenance by any means necessary (not too proud to beg the government for assistance, no inheritance for He Not Rich), and my devotion to this mathematics (and mathematically-oriented programming) has more to do with "spiritual/mental health" than it does with any kind of preparation for "employment opportunities."  [they always hand me a bucket and a mop  ::)].

Don't be too concerned if I do not post as often as I used to.   It's an unusual sensation, this not having much to say ...

Note that I often will post to a very old thread as a way to motivate myself to REREAD the original post. 

The original post of this thread asks us how do we manage to live with such intense philosophical illumination.    It's like Doug Stanhope claims:  "My name is Doug Stanhope, and that's why I drink."

How often might such philosophical illumination be crippling?

 
Quote from: Benjamin Cain
Life just happened to evolve and mammals just happened to inherit the faculties which made them more intelligent. These are accidents of evolution, but they have the monumental consequence that through an enlightened soul’s cognitive faculties the cosmic zombie, the natural universe, is equipped to know itself for the monstrosity that it is, whereupon that doomed creature must decide what to do with such accursed knowledge.

Quote from: Benjamin Cain
This may surprise you, but most biological humans aren’t persons in the existential, spiritual sense. Psychologically, they have minds or selves as well as a capacity for self-control, compared to nonhuman species. But they’re also antiphilosophical, meaning they don’t undertake the promethean project of inquiring into the objective truth; instead, they succumb to delusions, noble lies, and bodily distractions. These are the beta herds, the human animals that grovel and scramble and otherwise debase themselves for fleeting advantages in our dominance hierarchies, blind to the philosophical significance of their actions and to the universe’s aesthetic status—which is to speak of the horror within all things that leaves intelligent creatures dumbfounded until they devise noble means of coping.

That's what we are doing:  coping with the horror within all things which leaves us dumbfounded.  While I do experience a certain inner peace throughout the day, there is also an ever-present hostility and irritability within me.   When I am interupted constantly, I sometimes really have to control the temper lurking just beneath the surface.   

There is something within me which is continually frustrated and dissatisfied.  Alas, this is no "personality disorder," but how our inner machinery is wired.   We are hard-wired for misery, it seems.

Quote from: Benjamin Cain
By contrast with the extroverted tempters and rulers of the beta masses, there are the introverted omegas, the outsiders and outcasts who practice asceticism, rebelling against nature instead of excelling at being animals.

That's very heavy ... rebelling against nature instead of excelling at being animals.   One thing I particularly admire about Schopenhauer's philosophy is that his worldview invites us to rebel in such a way, to cease being the dupes (gorts) of nature .... the gorts of nature.    Is it possible to defy Nature?

Quote from: Benjamin Cain
So whereas the alpha uses her enlightenment to build an outer world to match her deranged self-image, the omega retreats to her inner space, having been cast out from society and from the natural cycle of life.   Alphas build material worlds through industry and sociopathic techniques of population control, while omegas beget worldviews and oeuvres, not biological heirs to empires but brainchildren that testify to their creators’ existential awakening.

Quote from: Benjamin Cain
Alphas become living gods, introducing an element of psychology to nature’s undead divinity, whereas omegas neurotically linger over the existential problem itself, overanalyzing it and becoming less and less capable of normal human functioning. At the end of omegahood sits the hermit in her cave, the reclusive genius who knows the world as her foe and who tragically battles it by not participating in the more egregious or optional natural processes.

That's very clear to me:  the recluse who knows the world as his foe ... that's us.  That's Holden, that's me, that's raul ... Is this the case for Ibra and Silenus as well?    Do we all perceive the world as our foe?   I am not just talking about the socio-economic world of war, passive entertainment, and diminishing resources, but the world as Senor Raul often writes about it, the inner subjective world of our own animal bodies, and how vulnerable each creature is to having this animal mind-body break down:  broken meat?   

Quote from: Benjamin Cain"
Noble ascetics have been badly represented by their theistic counterparts that practice only an instrumental kind of detachment. These unenlightened pretenders believe they should renounce nature because a greater, supernatural world awaits them so that earthly defeat is only a prelude to victory in God’s eyes. By contrast, enlightened ascetics understand the horrifying fact of divinity, which is that nature blindly and dumbly creates itself for no purpose whatsoever, leaving us with no redemption or prospect of everlasting glory.These omegas, then, renounce the world not as a means to a crass end, but they do so aesthetically, severing themselves from nature and society as an end in itself, for the sheer thrill of doing battle with the cosmic leviathan.

I thank each of you for your honesty in communicating the conclusions you have drawn through reflection and contemplation on these distrurbing truths.  We may never  "work it out," but I think it's almost heroic just to harness enough intellectual honesty to actually come to some kind of terms with "it," - IT, as in, "IT is what IT is."

That Mr. Cain, he is giving away his writings in PDF format:  PDF Installments of Rants Within the Undead God
« Last Edit: June 19, 2019, 11:37:30 pm by gorticide »
He [Arthur Schopenhauer] has been the most radical of all troublemakers. He was defiant. ~ (Marcuse?)

"Learning math is never a waste of time." ~ Ivan Savov

"Programming is understanding."  ~ Kristen Nygaard

Holden

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To Here Hentrich and Senor Raul and Mr.Silenus
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2019, 04:04:20 am »
“Of course I regret everything. Not a word, not a thought, not a need, not a grief, not a joy, not a girl, not a doubt, not a trust, not a hope, not a tear, not a name, not a face, no time, no place, that I do not regret. An ordure, from beginning to end.”

—Samuel Beckett
I am just a sad little green  tortoise  who crawls and crawls..

Ibra

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2019, 02:39:38 pm »
Hentrich,

Thanks for the post. you wrote " I apologize for not being able to think of anything original to post here", frankly, I found such freestyle posts of yours are more original and illuminating than any philosophical tomes. a first hand account of this miserable existence with unadulterated honesty is very rare to find.

I've been studying geometry for a while now but had to drop this endeavor too, the body is unwilling to commit to anything.

as leonard cohen says
"I followed the course
From chaos to art
Desire the horse
Depression the cart
"


stay well


Suffering is the only fruit of human race

Haywire Baboonery

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2019, 08:11:33 pm »
Quote from: Ibra
a first hand account of this miserable existence with unadulterated honesty is very rare to find.

Thank you, Ibra.   I've always appreciated the few writers who admit right up front from the start that being human is a real bummer.   It's best to reserve such honesty for those who can handle it, those who will not try to "save you."

Some people just don't get it, that so much is relative and subjective.  It is possible that the one who is open about viewing life in general as miserable may actually be LESS MISERABLE than the ones who portray images of happiness out of some sick desire to be envied.    I don't envy anyone.

I will admit that there are some moments I feel relatively calm, where I defy the scarcity economics and attempt to resist the Psychic Attack we are constantly bombarded with, that we LACK.

As for studying mathematics, yes, it is a tremendous committment.   I've been devoted for a good 4 years straight, day in, day out.  Sometimes I suspect I have gone insane, that only a madman would care more about working through all the exercises in some old textbook than "getting laid" (I find those who suggest that this is what I need to be offensively vulgar) or "finding a job,"  "purchasing an automobile," etc.   I'm in my own orbit, and the way I was able to motivate myself to study mathematics this religiously was to equate it in my mind as on par with doing illicit drugs.   My main objective must be to be content to study in a room, and if I find myself homeless again in the future, to try to keep my head together and not dive back into the daily drinking.   That will be a challenge I will have to face when and if I find myself in that position again.   

I am sure I do not have to explain how difficult study becomes when homeless, although men better than myself must manage to pull it off ... From my experience, one's life can fall to peices swiftly.   There are trials in this life that can make it impossible to keep one's life together.   I do appreciate these past few years of relative calm study, quite a contrast to the decade of troubles I faced while allowing the Steppenwolf free rein.

Why would I propose something so proposterous and controversial as studying math as though it were an illicit drug?   Well, it can be rather addictive, doing exercises in math texts.   Also, becoming obsessed and devoted to it rather than trying to please some kind of master/boss/employer makes my devotion to mathematics kind of antisocial.    It's all so goddamn ironic!  I know many of the books I study must have been intended for students training to be some kind of professional; but, evidently, this is not who I am.   One great thing about "aging," even as I am only 52,  is that I don't fool myself into thinking I am studying as some kind of training for a profession.   No, in fact, I delight that I actually have this kind of time, this level of detachment from society, no desire for a female partner, absolutley no desire to carry on the "Hentrich" name.  May my ancestors forgive me for my lack of enthusiasm for our long term survival.

  As for eluding procreation, I can safely say that I have done so.  There is very little danger of my being seduced by a fertile young beauty, anyway.     It's great.  Even if I changed my mind and decided I wanted to conform to Nature and Society, it is too late for me.   I have made my choices, and I am not at all ashamed that I have been unable to adapt to the systematic stupidity of the society I was born into.

What makes the addcition to deepening my understanding of fundamental mathematical theorems and even of the mapping of computer memory to variables and structures different from addiction to alcohol and illicit drugs is that, for one, devotion to a good text (with solution key) will serve you for nearly a year if you are truly devoted to engaging with the exercises, whereas the alcohol and drugs evaporate leaving you feeling LACK/NEED/WANT ---> Total Dissatisfaction.

I wish there were a way I might be able to crack a beer first thing in the morning AND continue this Studying as a Way of Life, but it is an impossibility.   No matter how depressed I might become, by now I understand that this depression is simply "philosophical illumination," as Bejnjamin Cain points out via Holden.  (Thanks again, Holden, for introducing this rare blog to me.  I have started reading again, and I am pouring through the pdf installments, actually starting with The Eighth Installment.   There's something about his take on life that I find very easy on the brain.   Could it be that I am finding his intellectual integrity to be rare and unique?    Maybe it is due to my own intellectual honesty that I feel drawn to this style of prose.

Besides technical texts, I do not do much reading anymore, not the way I used to - it's a different kind of reading ... terse, requiring pencil and paper or even "debuggers."

So, this Benjamin Cain may be offering up some great reading material for when I have the opportunity to lay down and read.    As Holden says, Mathematics is a jealous mistress, and She rarely gives me a chance for such passive reading.  In fact, I have to beg Her to allow me to simultaneously study Bjarne Stroustrup's Programming -- Principles and Practice Using C++.   

I have no regrets about never having been a "professional."   Holden assures me that my failure in this aspect of my life may be considered a great success.    My failures may be my greatest successes.   I do not regret not fitting into society or being at odds with the wealth-warped values of the society at large.   The commodification of leisure, in the form of film and TV, music and video games, is driven by the availability of technology that has allowed entrepreneurs to create new tastes and wants.  (open democracy DOT net)

I wish to transform the study of mathematics and programming into a leisurely activity that I "enjoy" as much as I would enjoy the intial effects of an illicit drug or even alcohol.

There must be some kind of chemical that gets released that keeps me coming back for more.   I do not wish to make my devotion to study to appear "prudish" or "dorky," but to be more akin to dropping LSD and eating hallucinogenic mushrooms.    I want to turn study into an act of defiance.   I'm fairly sure that this analogy is weak, that is, that the "mental transformations" gleaned through study will be far less intense than a chemical reaction, but over time, over years, maybe this practice of mine might help me spontaneously develop a greater degree of patience (with myself) and humilty (lifelong learning requires a continuous exposure to our own ignorance, which can be overwhelming without the development of the humility necessary to be "ok" with the limitations of our mental capacity).   

It's humbling to face the enormity of our ignorance and not be devastated by it.  That's where the humility comes in.    Trust me, I found that returning to a high school geometry text a few summers ago really required all I had.   It was not easy; and I am confident that such material would be challenging for many - fortunately for many, people are kept far too "busy, busy, busy" to have time to be concerned with such things.    Is it worth the effort to commit to?    It depends on the motivation for studying.    For me, it is all very personal.  There have been periods in my life when I attracted all sorts of "vampires" in my life who would worm their way into my life, using via hard drugs or simply supplying the booze I craved.    There are varying degrees of misery in this life, so while I admit that just being alive can in and of itself be described as miserably redundant and pointless, since I must desire oblivion on some level, the numbing effect of alcohol is something I really can't afford to mess around with since I become very devoted to remaining in that state indefinitely, which is, well, basically a form of suicide.     

So, continuing to study mathematics, programming, and a little philosophical literature is actually the method I have used to motivate me to NOT WANT OBLIVION, but to actually appreciate a clear mind.   It's not always satisfying, and often I wonder how I have come to live this way (it does seem strange) - but it has gotten me through another day.  I believe this practice would be a lifesaver were I ever held in captivity.  The mind can eat itself alive when trapped in a cage, surrounded by individuals of different temperaments and backgrounds.   It's a great thing to develop the capacity to be alone, and to be able to stand alone when thrown into a zoo of us manimals.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
an aside:  Maybe one of the reasons I have been reluctant to post my thoughts here as of late has to do with my tendency to go on and on, and then I have this "perfectionistic" side of me that must go back and correct the typos, at which time I find myself adding to it.   And this part of me that demands a little philosphical reading before slumber must draw the line and turn off the computer for the night ... I want to read at least a little of this Cain's thoughts.  I am curious to see if his writings might be just what the doctor ordered for my nightly philosophical readings.

Thanks for encouraging me to practice "unadulterated honesty".
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 03:38:16 pm by gorticide »
He [Arthur Schopenhauer] has been the most radical of all troublemakers. He was defiant. ~ (Marcuse?)

"Learning math is never a waste of time." ~ Ivan Savov

"Programming is understanding."  ~ Kristen Nygaard

Holden

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2019, 12:26:49 pm »
I am just a sad little green  tortoise  who crawls and crawls..

Haywire Baboonery

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2019, 02:00:46 pm »
I like the way the documentor (of "Wagner and Schopenhauer") pronounces Arthur:  Art-HooR instead of the English-sounding ArTH-ERR.

While I will not try to extract and remove my off-the -wall ideas about studying mathematics as though it were the equivalent of injesting mind-bending narcotics, I want to be clear that this comparison makes less and less sense to me the more I think about it.    I suppose the connection between the two is in the intention for mental transformation.    As the Aborigine of the original Gortbusters used to say, "The only environment we have left to defend is the one between our ears."

Lifelong learning is something we can commit to as an independent mental creature, an aspect of our existence that is not dependent upon relationships with other people.   That is, people close to us may disappear through death or other circumstances, we might find ourselves coming to terms with Thomas Ligotti's “There is nothing to do and there is nowhere to go.  There is nothing to be and there is no-one to know” or Arthur Schopenhauers, "There is nothing to be had in this world."

I suppose, at the end of the day, I am simply pointing out that a strong devotion to studying as a way of life most certainly, at least in the United States, may ironically keep one relatively "poor" and "financially insecure," which is in sharp contrast with the propaganda promoted which equates study with "career-oriented," financial prosperity.   

It's enough to make me want to puke when I read some kid write on the internet about how he is a professional programmer or "software engineer" who builds "apps" for "smart" devices, and that he has no need for mathematics whatsoever, that it's not relevant to designing the software.     I do not want to be such a professional.   I do not envy such a person.      There is no doubt in my mind that an overwhelming majority of business-software/web-development work in the world today requires very little, if any, real math, but computer science itself IS mathematics in that it is a Branch of Applied Mathematics.  Many programming languages organize computing as functions, and if you don’t know what a mathematical function is then you will miss what it means when a computing language uses this concept for seemingly non-mathematical operations.

And yet, I see that a deep interest in a language like C++, similar to a deep interest in symbolic algebra, analytic geometry, calculus, physics, and even number theory may lead to the poor house, which directly contradicts the hopes and dreams of all those parents pressuring their kids to excell in "Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics."    If their children develop a true interest, they may prefer to live on the dole and study the rest of their lives, leaving their parents to fend for themselves when it comes to paying for that sexy Volvo or cool-a-ss Volkswagon Vanagon camper.    :D

Am I making any sense?   Jebb Bush (the brother of King George II) once stated that "the truth leads to the poor house."

I do not think he intended to make a virtue of "poverty level minimalistic lifestyles," but it is sometimes the case.

I remember hearing that Kurt Gödel had died of malnutrition (starved to death), and I had initially was under the impression that this was due to poverty, until later I learned that he was just paranoid, thinking someone was trying to poison him.   And yet, it's not difficult to imagine that devotion to study, whether pure mathematics, computer sciene, or even something as "touchy feely" as "existential philosophy," might place one in the same ranks with society's other misfits and outsiders, the majority of which struggle with some kind of "diagnosable psychiatric disorder" in combination with a tendency to seek relief via chemical agents. 

When Bjarne Stroustrup publishes a 1200 page PROGRAMMING textbook to be used in universities around the globe, he seems to be addressing an audience he belives "wants to be a part of the professional community."    This is not always the case.   I kind of mistrust professional classes as one might mistrust the priestly classes of ancient or medieval times.

Paraphrasing Virginia Woolf, mathematics and computer programming are open to everybody.  I refuse to allow you to turn me off the grass. Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind!   

I recall transferring some of my notes (from library readings back in 2013) to the wordpress blog.   I just had to search for "Virginia Woolf" at xhentric DOT wordpress DOT com and I found it there:

I will begin this with a quote by HL Mencken, from an entry (2013.06.22) preceeding the Woolf ones.

From an essay called “The American Religion”  :

Quote from: H.L. Mencken
In a democratic society it is more hazardous than elsewhere to show any oddity in conduct or opinion. Whoever differs from the general is held to be inferior, though it may be obvious, by any rational standard, that he is really superior. People become standardized. Their laws lay heavy penalties on any man whose taste in reading, in drinking or in any other private avocation differs from that of his neighbors. Life tends to be regimented and unpleasant, and everyone is more or less uneasy.

I think of Holden living in the world's largest democracy, and I almost know for certain that he may say Mencken could just as easily be writing about modern day India, but I also know that such a land is so diverse that it is not so clear cut.
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Anyway, these notes were originally scribbled in a notebook.  I will just transfer the typed entry from wordpress here.  The original entry in the notebook was callled Mental Insurection in a Nutshell:

2013.10.02  (2nd of October, not the 10th of February)
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From the introduction to Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill by Herminone Lee:

Quote from: Virginia Woolf
… a satire on conformity begins to make itself felt. The ill are the deserters, the refuseniks. They won’t accept the “co-operative” conventions. They blurt things out. They turn sympathizers away. They won’t go to work. They lie down. They waste time. They fantasize. They don’t go to Church or believe in Heaven. They refuse to read responsibly or make sense of what they read. They are attracted to nonsense, sensation, and rashness. On the other side of the glass is “the army of the upright,” harnessing energy, driving motor cars, going to work and to church, communicating and civilizing.

Reading in bed – like writing in bed – is, it’s suggested, a form of deviancy.

I had lied down on my back reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own when I was overcome by a powerful sleepiness which I surrendered to. I felt fortunate that I was at liberty to fall back to sleep, that I am not on the other side of the glass in the army of the upright, that I am a deserter. What must be respected, if not by others, than at the very least, respected by myself, is my utter contempt and disdain for “cooperation with controlled environments.” I value the opportunity I now have for organizing and typing some of my scribbled reflections. I also value the strength of my political dissidence. <<snip>>

How deviant to refuse to seek gainful employment, to lie in bed reading, writing, and, God forbid, napping with music playing, soaking in sunbeams undisturbed while a homeless man in New York City runs amock in a park stabbing people with a broken pair of scissors. This is reality. Apartments are so expensive in that city that the poor are left to fend for themselves against the hostile elements while young urban professionals go for a little jog in the park. These two worlds often make contact. Nightmare world. Why are the masses shocked by such an event but not outraged that the dispossessed have to live like that?  (see footnote:  Eddie Barzum)

Virginia Woolf asks, "If truth is not to be found on the shelves of the British Museum, where, I asked myself, picking up a notebook and pencil, is truth?"

Boswell wrote, “Men know that women are an overmatch for them, and therefore they choose the weakest and most ignorant.”   (quite a provocative statement)

Our society is indifferent and even hostile to anything aspiring to intellectual greatness. It rewards conformity and punishes dissent. 

Quote from: Virginia Woolf
Watch in the Spring sunshine the stock brokers and the great barrister going indoors to make money and more money and more money when it is a fact that 500 pounds a year will keep one alive in the sunshine.

When food, clothing, and shelter are mine, not merely do labor and effort cease, but also hatred and bitterness.

I need not hate any man: he cannot hurt me. I need not flatter any man: he has nothing to give me. It was absurd to blame any class as a whole. Great bodies of people are never responsible for what they do. They are driven by instincts which are not in their control. They too, the patriarchs, the professors, had endless difficulties to contend with. True, they had money and power, but only at the cost of harboring in their breast a vulture, forever tearing the liver out and plucking at the lungs – the instinct for possession, the rage for acquisition which drives them to desire other people’s fields and goods perpetually; to make frontiers and flags; battleships and poison gas; to offer up their own lives and their children’s lives.

But how impossible it must have been for them not to budge either to the right or to the left. What genius, what integrity it must have required in the face of all that criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society, to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking.

Literature is open to everybody. I refuse to allow you to turn me off the grass. Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind
.

So, where is truth? In the intestines. The truth is in the intestines. Do you not feel these rumble?

My species is a mad animal!

Being stranded out here in Brick, out in Ocean County, so far from Freehold, as far as public transportation goes – $80 cab fair – may not be such a bad thing. The streets of Freehold, while there may be many friendly faces and tender smiles, are also crawling with those who view me as a maverick, a bad boy, a radical anti-capitalist atheist, a dissenter, an unemployed unmarried scoundrel and scamp; hence, there is always the threat of being “chased out of town” or actually arrested for DISORDERLY CONDUCT, ERATIC BEHAVIOR, or TRESPASSING. And so, there may be great intervals between my visits to Downtown Freehold and my childhood wilderness.

In cold climates, without recourse to making fire, a human being requires a hot house at night – like an exotic plant. Where is truth? Freezing cold or wandering around like a suspicious character for the police to interrogate. Maybe people call the police when they witness a lone man wandering aimlessly.


2013.10.16

My teeth are rotten and my limbs are broke
The best I can think to do is joke and smoke


2013.10.29

I found an excerpt from Kierkegaard’s diary in the Kafka biography that insists on our own standards:

“As soon as a man comes along … who says: However the world is, I shall stay with my original nature, which I am not about to change to suit what the world regards as good. The moment this word is spoken, a metamorphosis takes place in the whole of existence.”

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FOOTNOTE:   "You look like you could use a drink."     ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0urFvJ0Faxg
« Last Edit: June 23, 2019, 12:08:51 am by gorticide »
He [Arthur Schopenhauer] has been the most radical of all troublemakers. He was defiant. ~ (Marcuse?)

"Learning math is never a waste of time." ~ Ivan Savov

"Programming is understanding."  ~ Kristen Nygaard

Holden

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2019, 11:15:30 am »
https://m.hindustantimes.com/world-news/bangladesh-tree-man-wants-unbearably-painful-hands-amputated/story-LJ2Sl9ow2BBovBWidE9o3I.html


Herr Kaspar and Senor Raul,
This existence is truly weird .We are monstrosities. I know what it feels like to swim in an ocean of pain and agony.
The poverty is so extreme here that people literally sleep on the footpath all around the year.In the summer ,many die off sun stroke and in the winter ,of frost bite.

Disfigured men on the streets.With all kinds of lumps and tumours sprouting all over the body.Is this not life gone insane.Is a tumour not a form of life, however malignant?

And yet the libido years for delicate female bodies.For food .For water. There is certainly some animal pleasure in even urination and defecation.

I am the kind of beast who will never turn into a handsome prince ,a repulsive , abhorrent monster and yet this monster's libido yearns for the warm embrace of a pretty woman.

I like to read philosophy books.I am reading some analytic philosophers and I can see clearly how they hopelessly go wrong.The masses will never get true philosophy.Thats the simple truth.Not now,not in a million years.Its too gruesome.

There is no solution.I am not sure what would become of those who die lusting for life.
Strange creatures.I am one of them. Even drinking water, rightly viewed, is too much effort.
Everything is too much effort.
I am just a sad little green  tortoise  who crawls and crawls..

raul

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2019, 12:14:57 pm »

Holden,

Yes,Holden, we are trapped in a nightmare called life. There is no escape from this prison. We are monstrosities, as you and Hentrich have said before.

As you said we are slaves to our bodies and our bodies demand hugging, caressing, touching, licking and kissing and f----ing. Nothing new. All this is linked to reproduction and reproduction fattens this slave farm.

Those, like you and a few others, who realize this madness suffer more because they are aware that most spend their lives eating, f----ing, sleeping, working, eating and entertaining themselves with mindless sports and TV soap operas. There is no room for existential issues.

Using an expression in English, millions of men and women do not want to unplug the bananas from their ears.

Since most of them, millions of them, are parents, with one purpose: bringing new slaves in quantities the power elite deem necessary.

More than ten days ago there was a bloody riot in a state prison in the interior of the country. Paraguayan and Brazilian members of drug organizations were killed. Three were decapitated and four or five were burned to death and others stabbed to death. Some relatives said that their loved ones were sacrificed.

Yes, sacrifice, we are just here to be sacrificed. I read once that the ancient  Hawaiians made sacrifices by throwing people into the volcanoes in order to appease their gods. Centuries and centuries have passed but sacrifices remain.

Feeling pessimistic about this existence? Indeed, now I will try to “think of something happy”.

Stay well.

Haywire Baboonery

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Re: Ascetic
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2019, 11:40:42 pm »
I thought the few of you might find some solace in this Benjamin Cain's use of the terms alphas and omegas.    When I read something like this, I realize that "it is not my fault" that I am not "finding a place" in this society, or, that my "place" is to just be left alone and not required to participate since, well, I'm just too damn reflective.     

From the Ninth Installment:

Quote from: Mr. Cain
The powerful extroverts are proficient at the practical business of succeeding in some concrete fashion, but their success warps their perspective. They, too, face the existential curse of human freedom, but they’re ill-equipped to earn honour in that mystical, alchemical project of deifying their animal nature. They, too, face the loneliness of exile as their wealth divides them from the resentful masses and from the natural world they conquer with their  industries. Alas, they’ve foregone the philosophical skills and artistic sensibility to appreciate the existential stakes of their situation.

They channel their creative energy into deifying their outer body, neglecting the inner self that can select not just material possessions or playmates but the ideals to guide their ventures, by a creative leap of faith away from animalism. When the powerful extroverts earn the majority’s opprobrium, as those elites usually succumb to decadent pastimes and serve more and more as monstrous avatars of the undead, impersonal cosmos at large, they can respond to the mob’s torches and pitchforks only with an animal’s terror or cluelessness, not with remorse for having failed to help create a better world or with cosmicist wonder towards the natural cycles that prevent such a Buddha or Batman-like hero from emerging in the first place. In any case, the upper class members shouldn’t be interpreted as selfish or narcissistic exactly, since they’re more or less psychopathic and thus mentally vacuous. The genes equip them with rudimentary drives for sex, power, and fame, while their training at elite colleges furnishes them with techniques and social connections for mastering business. But because they literally lose themselves on their way to their fortune, they come to embody the systems that use them. As I said, their sociopathy symbolizes the undeadness of the natural cycles, which reward such predators.

By contrast, introverts build up the ideological interface (the wall made of abstract ideas), frequently occupying the inner view from nowhere, and so having the capacity for a higher form of self-control. Introverts can be artists in the creation of themselves since they can steer their preferences according to a vision that reflects not the biological cycles or the social systems whirling around them, but their leaps of faith that establish their inner selves from next to nothing. Omegas tend to be introverted, because their preoccupation with reflection prevents them from succeeding in the fast-paced business and larger social worlds. They’re cursed not just with an internal view from nowhere, that is, with higher-order judgments of themselves, but with an alienated vantage point on their society in which they’re marginalized. As a result, they’re liable to be embittered and resentful because of the pleasures they miss out on, but also sorrowful and disgusted on behalf of the unenlightened mob for the grotesqueness of its farcical affairs, that is, for the betas’ toing and froing between serving the natural order (the upper class in the dominance hierarchies) and enjoying the fruits of that order’s subversion by more creative individuals (e.g. such fruits as the fine arts). Whereas alphas are animated by animal drives (specifically by the unquenchable, genetically-determined greed for power over their competitors and for alpha status, requiring obscene displays of conspicuous consumption), omegas are driven by aesthetic daemons to create worldviews that spark their actions. Whereas alphas represent the natural cycles that imprison most forms of life, omegas are wild cards with fantasies of subverting the natural order in which they’re failures.


The alphas who in one way or another rule in society’s upper class liberate their bodies at the expense of their inner selves.
He [Arthur Schopenhauer] has been the most radical of all troublemakers. He was defiant. ~ (Marcuse?)

"Learning math is never a waste of time." ~ Ivan Savov

"Programming is understanding."  ~ Kristen Nygaard