Posted in Books, Philosophy, Politics

Available on Amazon: The Right of Revolution

This was a short essay I wrote a few years ago and have toyed with either expanding or publishing as-is. I decided upon the latter. It’s basic point, that rebellion is justified according to the prime value of a culture, is to my mind eloquently expressed. There’s obviously a great deal more to say on the subject, and someday I hope to do so.

Starting today, January 13, and for the next 5 days, it’s free to download. Hope you enjoy it.

Posted in Philosophy, Uncategorized

Somebody Translated Descartes’ Meditations into Bro-Speak

That someone calls himself Philosophy Bro, and the book: Descartes Meditations, Bro.

It features a side-by-side translate, so you have the 1901 English Translation, and the Bro-Speak on the facing page. You know, like the Seamus Heaney Beowulf or Pinsky’s translation of The Inferno (both of which you should read, because they’re awesome).

I just wanted it noted for the record that we are translating early 20th-century academic English into early 21st-century Vulgate English. Just in case anyone should try to tell you that the classics are dead.

Posted in Philosophy

The Birth of Babbling, or Why Nietzsche Disappoints me

I think his declamatory German just gets lost in translation, but every time I read Nietzsche I find very little substance underneath all the sauce. I’m on page 86 of The Birth of Tragedy and I’m not entirely sure what ideas I’ve gleaned from this.

I get the idea that tragedy is the fusion of the Appollonian impulse, to weave a dream, and the Dionysian, to tear down the walls of individuality. Thus, in percieving a false Prometheus set upon a stage, we are both a) getting an impulse of cosmic truth, and b) roped into real, emotional connection with the suffering character. I get that. It makes sense. But somehow I would wish that he would ground his assertions before carrying them to their conclusion. It has the mark of circular reasoning.

Observe:

The whole of the modern world is caught up in the net of Alexandrian culture, and its idea is theoretical man, armed with the highest powers of knowledge and working in the service of science, whose archetype and progenitor is Socrates.

-BoT, pg. 86

Now, one may agree with this statement. One may find it compelling. But it’s only a statement, and it has not the discipline to argue its case. A sweeping judgement is hurled down, assumed as true, and carried forward. Precisely what establishes this idea? Am I to take the “whole” in the first sentence as hyperbole?

And Birth of Tragedy is fairly disciplined in this regard. When we get to Beyond Good and Evil, I find myself filling my Kindle app with snarky asides in the notes. And by “snarky” I mean “confused to the point of rage”.

They should never have allowed Germans to do philosophy.

 

Posted in Letters, Philosophy

The Meaninglessness of Probability

Interesting discussion by John C. Wright:

It is a meaningful sentence to say that the chance of a balanced coin landing headsup is fifty times out of a hundred because and only because the shape of the coin (it has only two sides) is known, and the factors that determine the fall of the coin (the impulse of the thumb) is unknown, but the thumb is known to exist.

Here we do not know how many other outcomes are possible because we do not know what causes the cosmological constants to be what they are. We do not know what would change any of those constants if any of them can be. We do not know if even a single other universe is possible aside from the one in which we live.

So the number produced by any so called physicist claiming our universe is unlikely or likely or inevitable or nearly impossible is utterly meaningless and nonsensical.

We do not know what we do not know. This is why, no matter how many times people are told that the odds of them winning the lottery (the parameters of which are known) are prohibitive, people keep playing it. Because someone will win it, and there’s no reason that said someone can’t be me.

 

 

Posted in Philosophy, This Modern Life

Spengler: You Are Not Original. Be Glad of It.

Why You Won’t Find the Meaning of Life:

Most people who make heroic efforts at originality learn eventually that they are destined for no such thing. If they are lucky, they content themselves with Kierkegaard’s pot roast on Sunday afternoon and other small joys, for example tenure at a university. But no destiny is more depressing than that of the artist who truly manages to invent a new style and achieve recognition for it.

He recalls the rex Nemorensis, the priest of Diana at Nemi who according to Ovid won his office by murdering his predecessor, and will in turn be murdered by his eventual successor. The inventor of a truly new style has cut himself off from the past, and will in turn be cut off from the future by the next entrant who invents a unique and individual style.

This is why we all hate modern art. It’s not made for us, it’s almost made in contempt of us. It’s half a joke and half a screed and all scam. It. Does. Not. Mean. Anything.

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

Camus and Karamazov, “The Rejection of Salvation.”

A Continuing series in which I post my notes of reading this engaging book.

In The Rebel, Camus frames Metaphysical Rebellion in the words of Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov (among other ways). God is to be not denied, but refuted and condemned. The Problem of Evil on steroids, as it were.

From pgs. 56-57:

Ivan rejects the basic interdependence, introduced by Christianity, between suffering and truth. Ivan’s most profound utterance, the one which opens the deepest chasms beneath the rebel’s feet, is his even if: “I would persist in my indignation even if I were wrong.” Which means that even if God existed, even if the mystery cloaked a truth, even if the starets Zosime were right, Ivan would not admit that truth should be paid for by evil, suffering, and the death of innocents. Ivan incarnates the refusal of salvation.

In addition, Ivan is the incarnation of the refusal to be the only one saved. He throws in his lot with the damned and, for their sake, rejects eternity. If he had faith, he could, in fact, be saved, but others would be damned and suffering would continue. There is no possible salvation for the man who feels real compassion. Ivan will continue to put God in the wrong by doubly rejecting faith as he would reject injustice and privelege.

My Response: This comes to me as nothing more than a metaphysical temper tantrum: “If I cannot have existence my way, I will not have it at all.” Or more properly, “an existence that requires suffering is not ‘worth it’.”

This is empty vanity. Suffering will continue regardless of how sullenly you refuse to countenance it. What child does Ivan save from suffering? If none, then we must conclude the the intellectual solidarity with the suffering is a sham, or at any rate, a means to an end. And the end is power, moral power as a precursor to political power, the power over life and death.

The desire to be Better Than God rests on the mistaken notion that God’s mystery is a false veil, a smokescreen hiding a lie, rather than a necessary consequence of our nature. If we had infinite minds, we could be God’s equal. We do not and never will. We continually frame Him in our own tiny conceptions, and are indignant when those conceptions will not hold Him.

Existence is not yours to justify. Deal with it.