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I think I figured out modern human society.

jat93
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11/8/2012 6:47:35 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
In modern human society in wealthy and industrialized countries, there are really three general theories/ways of living life that you can pursue.

1) You can accept most things as true, real, and "just the way things are" based on authority (government, religion, school, familial expectations) and/or popularity (what is normal, the default position in your society or a sub-community within that society like school or work or family). Both in terms of what is intellectually true (religion, politics, meaning of life etc) and the truth of the way you live your life with your actions and choices.

2) You can be a skeptic. You can understand that just because something is popular or enforced by authorities like governments and religious figures or by social constructs like school and work and family does not necessarily mean that it is true or just or otherwise the right thing to believe or do. Instead of taking things on some arbitrary, irrational faith in authority and popularity (which is to say, faith in humanity, which I would argue is pretty undeserved and dangerous), you can ask "why should I?" when you are told to do things, expected to follow certain paths, to conform to certain norms. You can value discovering the truth and/or how you really, ideally want to spend your life, unfettered by demands of political and cultural authority, even if it leads to you being shunned and hated and ostracized by most of your fellow men, who are more interested in pleasing others and being accepted by them than actually trying to figure out what their existences are all about. If someone in this category is a thinker/philosopher, actually reflecting on the craziness of being a living animal that can perceive/reflect on the mysteries of life, society, consciousness is an example of something that is not encouraged by most forms of authorities and cultural norms but that any intellectually honest thinker must confront at some point. Because really, when you think about it, what does it mean to be here? Does any animal, even ones like humans who differ from other mammals in that they can partake in linguistic communication and develop complicated tools (technological progress), really know what's ultimately going on?

So you can reflect on these questions despite the fact that they are anything but socially encouraged, though they are intellectually honest. Pursuing this option is bold and radical, so it either leads to you becoming perceived as so crazy and unique and courageous that you are a genius/celebrity, or you are perceived as an insane weirdo, though there is really no difference in the behavior itself - only in how socially accepted/respected that behavior is. That's why celebrities and geniuses can do almost literally whatever they want and not just get away with it but be praised for defying societal norms and essentially being weirdos who act as they feel like acting.

By elevating celebrities and geniuses and leaders/pioneers in various fields to a level above everyone else in society, by putting them on a pedestal and calling them heroes and inspirational figures, it is as if we implicitly recognize that this is the most desirable/awesome way for an individual to live life, and yet we don't really encourage it... Because most people are too scared to take the risks involved in possibly achieving greatness (the risk always being the possibility, maybe even probability of failure). But failure is not so bad, because if you fail, you can learn from your failure and keep trying until you get exactly what you desire or something close to it. However, most people spend their lives desperately, pitifully, weakly cowering in fear of failure - on school tests/assignments, SAT scores, job interviews, romantic relationships, and so on.

The only people who can truly "make it" to attain genius/celebrity/leadership/pioneering status are those who are willing to take the risk of throwing away and rejecting all conventional socio-cultural and socio-political norms, to risk confronting the probability of failure in order to eventually get to the probability of achieving greatness and not settling for mediocrity and standard paths in life. Of course, this doesn't apply to people who are literally born into positions of easily attainable recognition for being a genius/celebrity and so on, but only a tiny minority of people find themselves in such circumstances, and they lack the benefit of having had to confront the possibility of failure, to be shaped by confronting and dealing with potential failures/mistakes and really have to work in order to become better and achieve something truly great.

3) A third option is a compromise between these two extremes. You're interested in questioning, learning, pondering, but only within certain socio-culturally accepted boundaries. So you would never, for example, come to radical conclusions such as nihilism, absurdism, existentialism, etc. This is only in an intellectual realm; outside of it, an example would be never coming to a conclusion like "I know most people think X is the good path to go to, being a doctor/lawyer/teacher/accountant etc, but despite the fact that it is unpopular and abnormal, I want to pursue course Y, which I am good at and makes me happy. Maybe I'll find success beyond my wildest dreams, maybe I'll fail, maybe I'll wind up somewhere in between, but I will do whatever I have to do in order to get where I want to go." These things are reserved for the previous option, that of perpetual questioning of conventional wisdom/norms, believing what you find true, living life in a manner which is true to yourself, and not being afraid to be open about these things even if it means total societal rejection.

These are propositions about life, human society, and how to live in it that literally question the foundation upon which everything most "normal" people (aka average, standard, boring people) justify their repetitive, trivial, boring daily tasks. Everyone secretly admits that option 2 is the best way to live by their worship of celebrities/geniuses/leaders (not just leaders in politics but in any field), but very few people actually embody it through their lifestyle choices. But someone like this, the one who is "in between" the two radicals of complete obedience and complete questioning - unlike the skeptic, the genius, the artist - isn't interested in going that far, just far enough to be moderately philosophical or daring or unconventional (but not enough to achieve actual greatness in anything) and also moderately obedient to authority/popularity at the same time; but in so doing, this becomes an intellectually bankrupt position - it doesn't follow through on the logical implications of either side and is really just a half @$$ed compromise.

This is human society the way I see it. I'm honestly not sure which path is the wisest or which one I should take. Yes, needless to say these thoughts originally occurred to me under the influence of mind altering drugs (marijuana + shrooms = crazy existential and societal epiphanies), not just one time but experiences over several months which led to me making these societal observations. So for those of you who see these drugs as worthless and with no intellectual/psychological/perspective-changing benefits, you're wrong and you literally are ignorant of what you're missing out on, which really sucks for you.

Thoughts, criticism, and feedback of any sort would be greatly appreciated.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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11/8/2012 7:37:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
The most thoroughly and relentlessly Damned, banned, excluded,
condemned, forbidden, ostracized, ignore, suppressed, repressed,
robbed, brutalized and defamed of all Damned Things is the individual
human being. The social engineers, statistician, psychologist,
sociologists, market researchers, landlords, bureaucrats, captains of
industry, bankers, governors, commissars, kings and presidents are
perpetually forcing this Damned Thing into carefully prepared
blueprints and perpetually irritated that the Damned Thing will not
fit into the slot assigned it. The theologians call it a sinner and
try to reform it. The governor calls it a criminal and tries to punish
it. the psychologist calls it a neurotic and tries to cure it. Still,
the Damned Thing will not fit into their slots.

I once overheard two botanists arguing over a Damned Thing that had
blasphemously sprouted in a college yard. One claimed that the Damned Thing
was a tree and the other claimed that it was a shrub. They each had good
scholary arguments, and they were still debating when I left them. The
world is forever spawning Damned Things- things that are neither tree nor
shrub, fish nor fowl, black nor white- and the categorical thinker can only
regard the spiky and buzzing world of sensory fact as a profound insult to
his card-index system of classifications. Worst of all are the facts which
violate "common sense", that dreary bog of sullen prejudice and muddy
inertia. The whole history of science is the odyssey of a pixilated card-
indexer perpetually sailing between such Damned Things and desperately
juggling his classifications to fit them in, just as the history of
politics is the futile epic of a long series of attempts to line up the
Damned Things and cajole them to march in regiment.

Every ideology is a mental murder, a reduction of dynamic living processes
to static classifications, and every classification is a Damnation, just as
every inclusion is an exclusion. In a busy, buzzing universe where no two
snow flakes are identical, and no two trees are identical, and no two
people are identical- and, indeed, the smallest sub-atomic particle, we are
assured, is not even identical with itself from one microsecond to the
next- every card-index system is a delusion. "Or, to put it more
charitably," as Nietzsche says, "we are all better artists than we
realize." It is easy to see that label "Jew" was a Damnation in Nazi
Germany, but actually the label "Jew" is a Damnation anywhere, even where
anti-Semitism does not exist. "He is a Jew," "He is a doctor," and "He is a
poet" mean, to the card indexing centre of the cortex, that my experience
with him will be like my experience with other Jews, other doctors, and
other poets. Thus, individuality is ignored when identity is asserted. At a
party or any place where strangers meet, watch this mechanism in action.
Behind the friendly overtures there is wariness as each person fishes for
the label that will identify and Damn the other. Finally, it is revealed:
"Oh, he's an advertising copywriter," "Oh, he's an engine-lathe operator."
Both parties relax, for now they know how to behave, what roles to play in
the game. Ninety-nine percent of each has been Damned; the other is
reacting to the 1 percent that has been labeled by the card-index machine.

--An excerpt from Never Whistle While You're Pissing
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
sadolite
Posts: 8,838
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11/8/2012 8:59:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
It's simpler than that. It's shut your face and get to work or starve
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
MouthWash
Posts: 2,607
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11/8/2012 11:31:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/8/2012 7:37:51 PM, FREEDO wrote:
The most thoroughly and relentlessly Damned, banned, excluded,
condemned, forbidden, ostracized, ignore, suppressed, repressed,
robbed, brutalized and defamed of all Damned Things is the individual
human being. The social engineers, statistician, psychologist,
sociologists, market researchers, landlords, bureaucrats, captains of
industry, bankers, governors, commissars, kings and presidents are
perpetually forcing this Damned Thing into carefully prepared
blueprints and perpetually irritated that the Damned Thing will not
fit into the slot assigned it. The theologians call it a sinner and
try to reform it. The governor calls it a criminal and tries to punish
it. the psychologist calls it a neurotic and tries to cure it. Still,
the Damned Thing will not fit into their slots.

I once overheard two botanists arguing over a Damned Thing that had
blasphemously sprouted in a college yard. One claimed that the Damned Thing
was a tree and the other claimed that it was a shrub. They each had good
scholary arguments, and they were still debating when I left them. The
world is forever spawning Damned Things- things that are neither tree nor
shrub, fish nor fowl, black nor white- and the categorical thinker can only
regard the spiky and buzzing world of sensory fact as a profound insult to
his card-index system of classifications. Worst of all are the facts which
violate "common sense", that dreary bog of sullen prejudice and muddy
inertia. The whole history of science is the odyssey of a pixilated card-
indexer perpetually sailing between such Damned Things and desperately
juggling his classifications to fit them in, just as the history of
politics is the futile epic of a long series of attempts to line up the
Damned Things and cajole them to march in regiment.

Every ideology is a mental murder, a reduction of dynamic living processes
to static classifications, and every classification is a Damnation, just as
every inclusion is an exclusion. In a busy, buzzing universe where no two
snow flakes are identical, and no two trees are identical, and no two
people are identical- and, indeed, the smallest sub-atomic particle, we are
assured, is not even identical with itself from one microsecond to the
next- every card-index system is a delusion. "Or, to put it more
charitably," as Nietzsche says, "we are all better artists than we
realize." It is easy to see that label "Jew" was a Damnation in Nazi
Germany, but actually the label "Jew" is a Damnation anywhere, even where
anti-Semitism does not exist. "He is a Jew," "He is a doctor," and "He is a
poet" mean, to the card indexing centre of the cortex, that my experience
with him will be like my experience with other Jews, other doctors, and
other poets. Thus, individuality is ignored when identity is asserted. At a
party or any place where strangers meet, watch this mechanism in action.
Behind the friendly overtures there is wariness as each person fishes for
the label that will identify and Damn the other. Finally, it is revealed:
"Oh, he's an advertising copywriter," "Oh, he's an engine-lathe operator."
Both parties relax, for now they know how to behave, what roles to play in
the game. Ninety-nine percent of each has been Damned; the other is
reacting to the 1 percent that has been labeled by the card-index machine.

--An excerpt from Never Whistle While You're Pissing

Um.
"Well, that gives whole new meaning to my assassination. If I was going to die anyway, perhaps I should leave the Bolsheviks' descendants some Christmas cookies instead of breaking their dishes and vodka bottles in their sleep." -Tsar Nicholas II (YYW)
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,732
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11/9/2012 6:59:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/8/2012 11:39:26 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
You honestly need to make a tl;dr version of these.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
johnnyboy54
Posts: 6,362
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11/10/2012 2:38:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/9/2012 6:59:27 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 11/8/2012 11:39:26 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
You honestly need to make a tl;dr version of these.

He's like a libertarian Charleslb who doesn't ad hom.
I didn't order assholes with my whiskey.
Zaradi
Posts: 14,125
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11/10/2012 3:03:41 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/9/2012 6:59:27 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 11/8/2012 11:39:26 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
You honestly need to make a tl;dr version of these.
Want to debate? Pick a topic and hit me up! - http://www.debate.org...
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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11/11/2012 4:58:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 11/8/2012 8:59:18 PM, sadolite wrote:
It's simpler than that. It's shut your face and get to work or starve

Interesting theory. But I think it can be rejected by looking at artists/geniuses/crazy people who thrive in our society. In other words: the celebrity. The celebrity does not shut his face, though he does get to work, but only on the things he really wants to be working on and the things he feels he SHOULD be working on. This work becomes perceived as art and/or entertainment. And he has been rewarded by society for doing so, for breaking free from its rules and succeeding, with millions of dollars, admiration of millions, and the power to do basically whatever he wants (as long as it's not violent) unencumbered the rules of society, government, etc.

Think of corporate CEOs. Why have they been so rewarded with so much money for their work? Because of the power they have attained over all the people that work for them. Same with politicians. Why don't teachers make as much money for teaching the young how to think and use their brains? Why aren't they as admired/respected? Why, when someone says, I'm a corporate CEO making millions of dollars with X amount of people subservient to my will power, are you more impressed than when someone tells you they teach relatively young children how to use their minds to think about life? Education is clearly more important/valuable for our society than corporations are. Not saying corporations don't have their value, just that their value is less essential to our society thriving than education of our youth is. And yet: we reward CEOs with a lot of money, way more than they could ever spend on ourselves, because this is what they work for. We reward (or should be rewarding!) teachers with the satisfaction of passing on wisdom and knowledge to the next generation, because this is what they work for.

And we reward the celebrity with both the things we reward teachers and CEO's with: money and respect/influence over our opinions. And how has the celebrity attained this? By being brave enough to defy all socio-cultural norms. You see, the one thing humanity is scared of the most is the possibility that everything we know (which is only everything our society/experiences has done to our thought processing) is wrong and futile. The celebrity was not a celebrity before he made the decision "screw this, I'm pursuing my dreams, and I won't stop until I achieve whatever makes me the happiest: I'll work to live my dreams or die trying." 99% of people could never take such a risk, and so we give the greatest rewards to the celebrities (artists and geniuses who persevered enough to find success) for embodying the bravery that most people are too weak and scared of to undertake in their own lives.
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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11/11/2012 5:16:15 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
And yet: we reward CEOs with a lot of money, way more than they could ever spend on ourselves, because this is what they work for. We reward (or should be rewarding!) teachers with the satisfaction of passing on wisdom and knowledge to the next generation, because this is what they work for.

I meant we reward them with more money than they can spend on themselves, not ourselves. Generally, CEOs worked hard enough to become CEOs for 2 reasons (could be 1 of these reasons or both): 1) a lot of money, and the power and influence it gains in this materialistic, consumeristic society, and 2) a lot of power: not just power with their money but power over the people who work for them and call them a "boss." They have the ability to dominate others and acquire much property/currency. If you look at the wealthiest members of society, they are generally an indication of societal values, because the only way they or their family have so much money is buy making huge amounts of people feel like it's worth it to give their hard earned money for whatever it is the other person has to offer. Why are CEOs so filthy rich and politicians less so but still usually millionares? Because they embody what we all secretly love and desire: money and power. By letting them control us, we secretly recognize how much we admire what they do, even if most people are too scared to try and do it themselves.

Wow, I just realized that we think we've progressed so much since the most primitive ages, but we haven't all that much. We're still the same but if anything we're worse, if anything we regressed. Our primary values and motivators for doing things are, ultimately, money, influence over others, acceptance/love of others, and power... Hence, the politicians and the leaders of important financial institutions are the ones that rule over/dictate the societal agenda everyone else.

Most people admire these kinds of people and have great love or hatred for them. But ultimately we tend to have respect for them either way. They illicit such strong, emotional reactions, such massive amounts of respect to their authoritative positions, because they embody what almost every human desires/struggles with most of all: power; the ability to force what you think is good onto huge amounts of people without having to convince them to follow what you think is right. That's what we all secretly, ultimately strive for in everything we do. Power over the will of other humans. That's what society is all about.