Self made reality? No, but we are as we speak.

Our language molds how we think and feel. The very words we use, their histories, subtle interwoven fabrics of shades of meaning, connotations, influences our thoughts and beliefs, which in turn influences how we perceive reality.

Some languages are better at describing some things than others. Languages are not all equal, for example Eskimo tongues can describe the nature of snow and ice to degrees that English speakers could not. Because their environment is snow, and their language preconditions them to notice the differing categories and qualities of snow, where you or I see White puffy cold stuff, or hard crunchy cold stuff.

English is really good for certain things, and not very good for other things.

And you know, as a native speaker, I feel that I kind of have the right to make such a blindingly obvious observation. And as someone who has interacted with foreigners and very multi-lingual people my entire life, I’ve noticed certain subtle cultural quirks, or habits of the mind, of ours, we native English speakers, which seem dependent on aspects of our language that are not present in other languages.

Earlier I wrote on the word “love” and how the way we use it literally poisons our interactions with each other. Today, I’m deeply bothered by the way we use the word “reality” in our language, and how this reflects in culture.

It is sloppy and lends itself to sloppy thoughts that can be dangerous to our mentalities. We are the sum of our beliefs and thoughts, for our actions flow from these, and from our actions are formed our lives. Our mistakes and fuck-ups, and our victories and achievements.

You can think of our beliefs and language like software, we act and do in accordance with our fundamental beliefs about reality, and the language we use molds and constantly reinforces this.

We perceive only so little of the world. By having the word to describe a concept we in a sense have power over it, on the level of mythic language and religious thought, this is the significance in the Quran’s and Torah’s account of Adam being taught the names of all things. Or the significance of the ancient Egyptian belief that knowing one’s true name gave power over such a one. When we know what something is called, when we can articulate a concept, only then does it seem clear and real – to us. Articulation is a power.

Articulation is what separates man from the rest of the animal kingdom. Language is not only a blessing, it can be a curse too, but it is a power. And it is a power over the mind. Every race, every culture, has an echo of this realization.

By words we describe and articulate reality – there are things that we can know – profoundly – without words, but when we put the ineffable into words it changes, even in our own minds.

How we describe a person for example affects how we think of that person, how we experience that person’s reality. Is that persona friend? A spouse? A lover? And enemy? A buddy? How we experience reality, and perceive reality, around that person is altered by how we describe that person.

The idea that we make our own reality is solipstic – and a sloppy sort of solipsism. It basically denies the objective and absolute reality of anything outside our perception.

It is dangerous because it is true. In part, anyway. We cannot perceive directly objective reality, our perceptions are always filtered through our experiences and biases and inwardly we construct a model of reality based on our perceptions. Objective reality still exists, however. But it is just nebulous and outside our grasp.

Some people think that the idea of our creating our own realities is deeply empowering. But it is not, it is lonely. It creates an utterly self centered self focused world in which everything that is, is simply a figment of our imagination. Like most ideas that have an origin in traditional metaphysics, we often take the idea outside its original significance, run with it, and wind up in a world of magical thinking.

In a certain sense we can make our own world, our perceived world. We can choose what to observe, what to filter out, what to react to, what to change, what to act upon, and what to allow to act upon us.

An example; a language that genders all nouns, and has no neuter “it” forces the speaker to personify the world, on an almost unconscious level. If you refer to a book as “he” and a car as “she” and the very names for these things are in either masculine or feminine form, this forces the speaker to see the world around him or her personified.

A language that refers to most things as “it” subtly causes your mind to perceive reality differently. Everything that is an it is an object that can be used, inanimate, lifeless, dead, to be exploited and used at will. You will deep down inside have a tendency lurking, the tendency to see even other humans as “its” – you can do anything to an it. You can incinerate it with remote controlled bombs, you can force yourself on it and take sexual pleasure through it, you can kill it and stack multiple its like cord wood. an it is not human, an it is expendable. You feel little remorse when you snuff out an it. You do not refer to a cockroach as he, or she, now do you? No. You call a roach an “it”

“Ewww, get it off me.”

We who have had the good fortune of speaking certain languages from birth, have lurking in our minds certain possible tendencies that would not be possible for us to even conceive otherwise.

Mastering our language is a lifelong task. The fact that in America we are usually only raised with one language makes it harder. But mastering our own language, and seeking knowledge of other languages, reveals so much of reality, of the world, of each other. It forces us to see things in different perspectives. It also gives us power. By being able to articulate things to a more fine degree than those around us, we can perceive them better, work on them logically, use them, affect them – things, thoughts, ideas.

But they are real outside of us. We do not make them, we only come to know them.

But we do not create reality. Reality is, we are real, what is around us is real, to degrees. Contingent reality, dependent upon and contingent upon other things from which we derive our reality. Our forms emerge into this world and grow, we feed, we metabolize, we breathe, we move, we die and our very forms melt away as we decay. Quite magical in a sense.

We are in a nexus of contingent reality, expressions of an absolute reality. Our emergence into being is a nuanced and strange thing, that we cannot fully understand.

But saying we make our own reality obscures the matter. In a sense we do create our own world, but there are other worlds of experience, independent of ours. Reality is totality. Naught exists but totality, and you or I do not think it into being. It is, and was, and will be, aeons before we were conceived, and aeons after we are but dust.

This is NOT to deny that we have a real degree of agency in the world, in manifesting our will, thoughts, and ideas into concrete physicality. We do, we are absolutely responsible agents here, perhaps not totally free as we are everywhere constrained in some way, by our environments, by our forms, but we have a relative freedom and responsibility for our actions in a world of experience we mentally construct based on our perceptions of an absolute Real which we only partially, dimly, perceive by our meager sense organs, and our intellect.

Solipsism is sophistry, and life has an awful knack of letting people know at very inconvenient times when we hit a boundary or limit. Diarrhea, Herpes outbreaks, heart attacks, hitting a random rock with your tire while you ride your bike down hill, and flipping over on your head, paralysis, being physically restrained by a thug, assaulted, and shot, and other sundry unpleasantries.

But there are also beautiful, pleasant, and awe inspiring times we hit a limit, we realize that we are standing before something ancient, massive, and greater than us. Something compared to which we are but a small fleck of dust. How we respond to it depends on how childish, or mature, we are. What we cling on to and grip, versus what we simply let go of, all is a matter of our wisdom and maturity.

We do not make reality. Reality makes us, works through us. What is real is and endures, we are real to the degree to which we pursue real and true ends, and real and true actions – ends and actions congruent with objective reality, or what little of it we can grasp, through its laws, and traces through phenomenal reality around us.

We describe reality through words which influences our perception of it. Try to perceive the world around you without the chattering in your head. Try to stop it, even if just for a moment.

The worst way to argue with reality is to walk into rush hour traffic blindly or to stick our hands into a campfire. You will rapidly come to an understanding of reality and its boundaries then..

_EOF

Interesting piece by T.J. Winter (AH Murad). “Bombing Without Moonlight The Origins of Suicidal Terrorism”

Interesting article. “Bombing Without Moonlight The Origins of Suicidal Terrorism”
by Timothy Winter (Abdal Hakimh Murad)

I found some thought provoking ideas in this article. As usual with Murad I find myself disagreeing strongly with some points, but agreeing strongly with others. In all cases he’s thought provoking, worth a read, even if one disagrees utterly with him he brings challenging thoughts to the table. The full article is at http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/ahm/moonlight.htm

…Attention deficit disorder seems to flourish under conditions of late modernity. The past becomes itself more quickly. Memories, individual as well as collective, tend to be recycled and consulted only by the old. For everyone else, there are only current affairs, reaching back a few months at most. Orwell, of course, predicted this, in his dystopic prophecy that may have been only premature; but today it seems to be cemented by postmodernism (Deleuze), and also by physicists, who are now proclaiming an almost Ash‘arite scepticism about claims for the real duration of particles.

This is a condition that has an ancestry in the stirrings of the modernity which it represents. Hume anticipated it in his stunning insistence on the non-continuity of the human self: we are ‘nothing but a collection of perceptions which succeed each other with inconceivable rapidity and are in perpetual flux and movement;’ or so he thought.  Modern fiction may still explore or reaffirm identities (Peter Carey) and thus define human dignity as the honourable disposition of at least some aspects of an accumulated heritage. But this is giving way to the atomistic, playful, postmodern storytelling of, say, Elliot Perlman, which defines dignity – where it does so at all – in terms of freedom from all stories, even while lamenting the superficial tenor of the result. It is against the backdrop of this culture that the scientists, now far beyond Ataturk’s ‘Science is the Truest Guide in Life’, raise the stakes with their occasionalism, and, for the neurologists, the increasing denial of the autonomy of the human will – a new predestinarianism that makes us always the consequence of genes and the present, not the remembered past.

Our public conversations, then, seem to be the children of a marriage of convenience between two principles, neither of them religious or even particularly humanistic. The elitist mystical trope of the moment being all that is, significantly misappropriated by some New Age discourses, has become the condition of us all, albeit with the absence of God. Journalism thus becomes the privileged discourse to whose canons the public intellectual must conform, if he or she is to become a credible guide. More striking still is the observed fact that amidst our current crisis of wisdom it also seems to provide the language in which the public discussion of faith is carried on…

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Shooting on Ludlow, 9/13/3009

Ludlow and Talford

Ludlow and Talford

So tonight, the most civilized street in Cincinnati had it’s peace shattered with two gunshots.

On my way to Sitwells, I noticed Ludlow Avenue partitioned off by the police, from Graeters Ice Cream and Bakery, down to the Habenero’s parking lit. Bystanders gave me confusing accounts, but the general consensus elicited was that someone was shot close to Olive’s Resturant.

Molly in Sitwells gave me the full deal. Basically a man was shot twice in the parking lot between Habenero’s and Ambar India, during a mugging. He survived and is now in Hospital.

My main reaction is rage. Honestly, one thing that I value about The Clifton Gaslight area is that it is a zone where people innocently laugh and frolic even late at night, without much thought to their safety. Muggings are exceedingly rare, even in the darker gaslight lit streets, and there is a general feeling of polite commonweal.

Tonight this sense of innocence was shattered. My basic attitudes towards crime is that I have zero tolerance towards crimes that violently impinge on the public’s well being and safety. Violent Crimes between criminals, in the netherworld outside polite society I have more tolerance of.

I have a libertarian attitude towards illegal commerce, conducted by criminals, away from the rest of us, that does not threaten our safety and health. But for theft of my personally earned goods, and endangering my person, I have zero tolerance of. This is what concealed carry gun permits are for. The police are always a retroactive measure. They are never there in time, nor can they proactively be in a free society of free peoples. Even in a police state they cannot be everywhere at once.

This is why a responsible public should be armed, able to use arms to defend themselves, and facing strong sanction when they use their arms irresponsibly. The police should not have a monopoly on force when we live in a society in which the armed and cowardly increasingly threaten the unarmed and weak.

I also support duels. Bring them back. In England, the notorious David “ibn Myatt” is known for advocating them. Frankly, it is not an unsound position.

Duels enforce honor in a society. It keeps dealings between men serious and respectable. And an armed citizenry is a polite one. When law abiding citizens are as armed as thugs, society will take on a more peaceful and polite tenor.

[Update 9/13/2009]
A few additional details from various sources.
The man is alive and in stable condition at University Hospital. Police are not releasing his name.

The shooting occurred at approximately 10 p.m., after the man left Ambar India restaurant (which shares Habenero’s Parking lot). The man was shot in both the face and shoulder. Initially in the face whilst sitting in his vehicle, he managed to get out of the car and was shot again, in the shoulder. He was able to walk over to Olives restaurant and request aid.

The suspect is described as 5′ 9″, approximately 200 lbs, Black, and still remaining at large. Utterly vague but possible eye witnesses should, of course, contact the police with any leads.

Jennifer Baker at the Cincinnati Enquirer/Cincinnati.com additionally reports; The man shot was actually the owner of Ambar India restaurant, Mr. Jessy Singh, age 40. The shooting took place after the Resturant closing.

His sister, Preet Kaur, indicates their family has no idea why he was shot, there was actually no robbery and no known  motive. 

[My speculation: I wonder if there was a personal motive involved. If there was no effort to actually rob him, and from the context I suspect that the perpeturator was waiting for him. 10pm is early on Ludlow, and there is often traffic past that stretch – Habeneros is open until 11PM and there is an apartment building across the street. I suspect that the shooter expected Mr. Singh, at that time, and thus knew his patterns and habits. This is simply my speculation, my prayers are with him and his family]

The State of Things – and a word from Huxley.. Part 2..

“..there are of course many exceptions, for real skill will get its reward, but in the long run it is inevitable that the lower types of labor will have an exceedingly precarious life.

One of the triumphs of our own golden age has been that slavery has been abolished over a great part of the earth.

It is difficult to see how this condition can be maintained in the hard world of the future with its starving margins, and it is too be feared that all too often a fraction of humanity will have to live in a state which, whatever it may be called, will be indistinguishable from slavery.” – Charles Galton Darwin, “The Next Million Years

So where in all of this, is room for the Artists? The Thinkers? Creative workers, designers, visionaries?

It follows that now, as never before, knowledge and intellect convey power and agency. This includes knowledge of history.

For creative individuals who can master their medium – words, paint, stone, metal – and convey relevant messages through it, they may be able to find an audience.

But no one will toss a bone to you. Of course there is always the sell out option, produce creative work that appeals to elite interests, basically write, film, or paint what they want to support. This may not appeal to your vision.. serving clear financial interests through your art.

But while there is always room in society for art, for theater, poetry, these things will not be given to you. Artists and creative types must carve out a sphere for them. Government grants are not going to pay your rent, and may not even be available.

Whatever your vocation, the “dropping out” option may be tenable. With foreclosed houses and land available as low as $5,000 you can grab a piece. Which removes the headache of worrying about rent. Pay your property taxes and have a larger voice in your community, and maybe be able to grow some tomatoes. Buy a place, become a homebody, drop out of things and sustain yourself economically by needful cottage industries. Many people are doing this, right now.

In some markets homes are more affordable – perversely – than when they were giving away mortgages to anyone with a pulse. Stick a mirror under your nose, if it fogs then they shoved a no-money-down ARM mortgage at you.

Now is not the age for willful ignorance, hiding from what is in chat rooms, video games, porn, or TV. Now is the age to learn, and gain skills. And figure out a plan. We have no clear idea what the next 5 years will look like in the US

Willful ignorance and stupidity can make you servile, and fit only to serve the servants. And none can argue that in many ways the general public is more ignorant, in general, than in the previous century. Access to information via the Internet is not a cure. How many people use the Internet to watch Hulu, porn, and play games? Whatever its potential as a knowledge tool, few scratch the surface.

Few even want to.

With the decline of the West’s industrial sector there is no room in the coming order for traditional labor. Our factories closed and shipped overseas. This is by design, is anyone so naïve to believe that the architects of NAFTA has no clue of its effects on our land? For you Europeans, are you so naïve to think that the architects of the EU’s economic integration didn’t have a clear understanding of its effects? That the shuttering down of British industry a generation ago, and the massive unemployment that followed, was by accident?

Who benefits, follow the money.

Are any so partisan and stupid that they insist on finding excuses for their ideological mates in office, conservative or liberal, passing the blame to the opposite side?

“I bit my tongue and stood in line
With not much to believe in..”
-Shirley Mansion, Garbage, “Not my Idea”

Wake up. We were had, left wing and right wing both, long ago.

The evidence for this is manifest, obvious, manifold, and what is worse, you deep down inside realize this to be true, but simply do not want to admit it.

We are going to have to learn, you will have to learn, to learn. To cultivate your wits, or be eaten in the next two decades to come. Acquire skills that may be, and will be, in demand, and knowledge, now.

Never stop learning and acquiring new skills, learning how to do for yourself what you would previously have called a repairman or professional to do, at expense, with money you do not have. Skills enabling you to surf and navigate a shrinking job market while you assemble the capital you need to find and make opportunities that will make you more self-sufficient.

We are being eaten alive, it will be a slow eating of course, so slow you may not realize much of it until it is too late, but if you do realize it the slow pace gives us time to maneuver.

None of this is historically unprecedented. This has all happened before. The disorderly takedown of empires dot history’s pages.

“..I bought into what I was sold
And ended up with nothing
This is not my idea of a good time..”
-Shirley Mansion, Garbage, “Not my Idea”

I contend that much of the teeth gnashing over “HBD” and “racial realism” and “political correctness” on both the Left and Right alike, actually simply cloaks fears and hopes inherent in this dynamic. In other words, these are emotive topics representing hopes, and fears, not simply reason.

For elites and high ranking sub-elites, you have articulations of logical justifications for what they believe their rights and privileges should be.

For lower sub-elites – we the competent and hardworking middling classes who still actually buy into the past order, who still believe in it, you have fears over the slipping of what they thought was assured progress and ascendancy. A protest cry, when they see what they worked hard for, or thought they worked hard for, being snatched away.

Here is an ugly thing to consider. But you must consider it. It has perhaps not dawned on them that what they were allowed to acquire, as a reward for their hard work, was simply due to the fact that their role was historically necessary to accomplish certain tasks.

“..if you can get people to consent to the state of affairs in which they’re living. The state of servitude the state of being, having their differences ironed out, and being made amenable to mass production methods on the social level, if you can do this, then you have, you are likely, to have a much more stable and lasting society. Much more easily controllable society than you would if you were relying wholly on clubs and firing squads and concentration camps.” -Aldous Huxley, The Ultimate Revolution

The middle classes look down on, and scorn, the working classes. In American society there is a degree of moral opprobrium attached to not attending college, to working blue collar jobs, to not being in the professional classes.

There is an unstated assumption that the professional classes are simply better. Superior to the proletariat – better in virtue and achievement from the working labor classes.

But the middle classes have mostly been proles – in function – for almost 2 decades. Not at the upper levels, but certainly at the middling levels. As a qualification College plays the role that High School played a generation ago.

In any case who, after all, who actually said that “you” or “I” were “good enough”?
Good enough for whom?

We cry, we did the right thing, we worked hard for this and that, and in some cases people have worked hard. But when you try to “do the right thing” by society, who actually defined what “the right thing” actually was?

The middle classes and working classes both can be seen as strata of one and the same slave class, after all whether we have salary or are hourly we work, we serve, we labor for, others. We may labor by pen and keyboard, or we may labor by wrench and ratchet, but we labor still.

No slave, no matter how valued and high ranking in the master’s home, is comfortable with the realization that his fate is tied to the fates of the slaves in the fields.

And no slave is comfortable with contemplating the fact of her slavery.

Among slaves in the future will be the well paid and valued technocratic management, those with skill sets, and the armies of unemployed laborers in a society in which labor no longer has the value it once did. There is value for some, the muscular, the fit, the ambitious and loyal, overseas…

What did elites do in the middle ages to keep surplus populations of serfs in check?

Petty wars between cousins and brothers. Between fiefdoms and fiefdoms. And as always…

The ever reliable crusade.

Think it over. Really. Think about it over your coffee today.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers…. The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.” – Aldous Huxley, author’s notes in Brave New World

_EOF

The State of Things – President Truman was clever.. Part 1

Who remembers president Truman?

“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”
President Henry Truman.

And people wonder why I am such a history nerd.

Here is another quote. I think you’ve heard this one.

“Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est” “Knowledge itself is power” -Sir Francis Bacon

“..Overt and apparent virtues bring forth praise; but there be secret and hidden virtues that bring forth fortune; certain deliveries of a man’s self, which have no name…” – Again Francis Bacon.

Today I was listening to NPR’s coverage of an economic forum dealing with the rising power of the Pacific Rim. One South American delegate was downright cheeky, making fun of the US and its policies and where it has landed us (justifiable arrogance, given that we cannot even follow the economic advice we badgered others over) though the Egyptian Arab delegate was more polite. Both had a real point, irrespective of whatever happens to America’s elite, the country itself, you and I, are on a non reversible economic decline.

My oh my..

And some around the world say “good riddance.” We Americans are not exactly liked by many people, today.

Jacques Attali’s prediction, almost 20 years ago, that in the early 2000s American workers will become rootless and mobile, looking for jobs around the world, as South Americans fill more of the traditional labor sector jobs, is certainly starting to come true.

At least for the knowledge worker class.

Chilling out at the Clifton UDF, BMK – friend, entrepreneur, man about town, and Black Nationalist thinker, made an interesting observation.

In the world today and the coming order race will not matter as much as access to capital. Sure, race still matters but not like it once did. Those pushing for a return to a strictly hierarchical racial ordering are pushing against history.

Today, and in the future, like never before, what will determine whether we are slaves or whether we are free will be our intelligence and ability to not only amass Capital and resources, but to successfully defend it against competing interests. In other words, Western society is about to become more explicitly “dog eat dog” than ever before.

Is it possible that with the waning of American economic power, and the increasing hollowness of our imperial dominance, and the rise of China in the East (say “howdy” to Gog and Magog on your way out the door) what we face in our country is an incipient rising feudal order in which the holders of knowledge and technocratic skill sets will be very well off, and the rest of us will be hamburger flippers, call girls, and petty criminals, or if fortunate, in the military.

Some of us will be hourly IT workers which, I’m sure you realize, pays less than some auto mechanic shops. But it will put us in the middle, between the people who sign our paychecks, and the people down the hall in our apartment complex who are 1st shift Wal-Mart cashiers, 2nd shift hamburger flippers, and moonlighting as call girls, street prostitutes, or strippers.

Then again, some IT techs will probably be moonlighting too. Wal-Mart is 24hrs you know…

There will be a larger role for “knowledge workers” – who in spite of skills and knowledge will be glorified paper pushers. They are distinct from post-graduate academic types and the knowledge elite who may or may not make much, before tenure, but do form a cultural elite. And in the private sector as scientific researchers, they do very comfortably. In other words, if you have any interest in biotech, get your graduate degrees in because biotech is today what computers were 25 years ago.

Look at things this way. The peoples of the West, America and Europe, had a chance to maintain Republican and democratic forms of social organization and predictably enough they sold them for a bill of goods forged on the back of a candy bar wrapper. The new order will not be a meritocracy, it will be a plutocracy.

And the apocryphal quote attributed to Ben Franklin, when once asked what was the best form a government; “a republic ma’am, if you can keep it..”

..If you can keep it…

Think about this phrase for a second. While it does not follow that I agree with him in full, but the quote is interesting to contemplate.

“It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to love their servitude.” -Aldous Huxley, “The Ultimate Revolution”

Is it possible that the Anglo-American experiment in constitutional republics and/or democracy was an experiment knowingly doomed to failure?

Is it possible too, that democracy is the best means for a small dominant minority to centrally control a very large population?

I cannot prove this, but it is an interesting idea to contemplate.