Sunday, May 31, 2009


I started writing a long dry post and then I got a message from someone I like very much and now I can't focus on being boring and straightforward.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kinda Late

Sorry, finals and the incessant noise of my neighbors moving in is delaying my ability to think about anything other than finals and my headache.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


For some time now, I've had a feeling that life is leading somewhere (besides my inevitable death), something major is soon to happen. Given the poor choices I've made recently, I'm not sure if this is a good event or a bad one, but it is an event regardless. Embracing determinism as a lifestyle doesn't confer you with any sort of prescience, nor grants any particular boon of hope. Knowing that what will happen is bound to happen doesn't make the future any less uncertain or scary. Possibly the only comforting thing about determinism is that you know there will be a future, whether it exists or you simply perceive one.

Some people question determinism, and rightly so. If everything were truly going to happen regardless of personal opinion or choice, why do anything? The answer to that is simply, if you did nothing, that too would be your fate. Another valid criticism: if everyone's actions are predetermined, how can we incarcerate criminals? They have no complicity in their own acts. For what reason can we justify punishing them for things they have no control over? For that is another very good answer: false perceptions of free will generated by inability to perceive past or future beyond certain point. This false belief in free will is a necessary belief, one that keeps society functioning. Demolishing the common perception of free will would only lead to mass apathy and suicides. It is for this reason also that religion was created. Not for a sinister purpose, to subvert the minds of the masses, but to keep communities together and working. Without a reason to continue the daily struggle for life, many people will invariably come to the conclusion that life isn't worth living; it being simply nasty, brutish, and short. If the common folk believe that there is a mysterious and benevolent (sometimes) force testing them for a reward in a future life, the common folk will have incentive to live.

As I've always said, religion is the cornerstone of society itself. It gives direction to those who would otherwise disperse in disgust for fellow man, or pursue ends antithetical to others. By pointing this passion towards constructive goals, religion ensures the continued survival of the human race. Modern religion, however, has fallen some distance. The "moral majority" and fundamentalist Christians have totally forgotten what the bible, what religion itself is about. But I digress. Determinism is not an idle thing, to be toyed with in the mind as a possibility, it is a genuine worldview. It's also black and white. Either you believe in free will, or you believe in determinism, because the nature of the two preclude one another.

"What?" you ask, "How do they preclude each other? God has a plan, but also people have free will because God said so."

This is precisely the problem. If one can use free will, then God has no control over the actual thoughts or choices of that person. That person then becomes more powerful than God, as he is able to deny God his plans. Say, for example, one Samuel Davis was born in the late 1700s. God intended for him to join the revolutionary army and slay a particular British army captain that would ultimately demoralize the British army and help the revolutionaries win. If Samuel truly has free will, he can simply decide never to join the army, or become a Quaker or some such. This would throw God's plan out the window, leading to a situation which God hadn't intended and therefore not also foreseen. As you can see, free will negates both of God's major powers; omnipotence, as he can't change Samuel's mind, and omniscience, he wasn't aware of smauel's future treachery. This idea transforms God from a truly all knowing, all powerful being, to a demi-god, just as trapped by existence as the rest of us. Without free will, the plan would have gone off without a hitch, though it brings about another host of issues concerning Gods omnipotence.

At any rate, the Judeo-Christian concept of God is riddled with errors, inconsistencies and inaccuracies, a fact which churches have known and been waffling around for hundreds of years. The major reason I follow Taoism instead is because Tao seems like a much more logically complete concept (or really, lack of concept) of God.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quotes that I don't know the source of, so it might be paraphrasing other quotes. Or maybe I made them. It would sound better if I did. Quotes by me.

This could be an ongoing post, I should think. As a matter of fact, I do think. Therefore I am.

Life is a series of arguments for its existence.

He who works hardest, works most.

The fruits of one's labor are never eaten by the laborer.

All you really need to succeed in life is a high charisma score.

Teacher objectivity is an oxymoron.

hell, human objectivity is an oxymoron.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Gravitas of Life

Life isn't serious. I feel bad for people who take it so.

"Ha Ha," you may think.

"What a jokester, but really life is a very important thing."

No, it isn't. Sure, life may apparently be all you have, but that doesn't mean it's all there is. You eventually lose it anyway. Why frantically worry about what you're inevitably going to lose? Life is a game, except there are no winners or losers and everyone quits after 40-70 years. Like any game, life involves a great deal of luck. Where you're born, who you're born to, what lucky events happen are all completely random, or at least unknowable. and yet these things drastically affect your life. When vast swathes of your life are completely uncontrollable, why panic over the few things in life that are controllable? even these things will eventually fall out of control.

For example: You can't make people like you. Research shows that the decision happens well before you even begin to consider it. You may have the illusion of controlling others emotions or reactions, but first impressions really are the most lasting. So if you have little control, why fret about the small attempts to change things?

Of course the real problem here lies in determinism. Free will doesn't actually exist. The idea of universal causality precludes it. If you attempt to disprove universal causality, you find yourself with the conundrum of a completely random world, wherein impossible things might happen all the time. If the universe is as structured as science would have you believe, then complete randomness is an impossibility. Anyway, I feel too lazy to delve further into the proofs for determinism.

And it leads to another conundrum: why do I bother attempting to change people's minds about the seriousness of life? If free will doesn't exist, they would believe or disbelieve regardless of my exhortations. Well, the easy answer to that is because whether I like it or not, I would be exhorting.

Anyway, since you don't have any free will anyway, do what you want. Or, more specifically do what you were going to do anyway.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Self Doubt

Self doubt is like a poison. It usually starts with someone else. They pierce your ego with a barb that introduces the possibility that you may be wrong. From there it can slowly work its way around until at last it has consumed your very worldview. No action you make is free from analysis by your own conscious. Like a cytokine storm, your body works against you. Purging self doubt is a long and laborious process, with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the source of your doubt. The more respected the source, the harder the purge. Complete sublimation of insecurity often requires that the initial source acknowledge their own mistake in doubting you.

What can you do?

Two things: surround yourself with vapid yesmen and support your ego through the lack of complaint from those around you. This is an easy but dangerous method, as it lacks any doubt whatsoever. This may lead to unrealistic worldviews and harmful decisions as a result.

The second method is much harder, but much more healthy. Learn to accept criticism without internalizing it. Discover the truth of the statement: if someone says something about you, no matter how much you respect their opinion, it isn't always true.

Both are a sort of armor against the poisonus effects of doubt. Like all things, however, doubt has a place in the psyche too. Learn to understand your failings, to accept them, to be aware of when your failings are affecting your judgment. Every human has flaws; that is why we are human, however, flaws don't entail correction in every situation. To attempt to perfect yourself, you merely deny your nature and create a perverse mockery of your self. You must embrace your flaws, live with them. Self awareness is truly the path to enlightenment.

However, remember this: self awareness and self conciousness are not the same. The importance of embracing your flaws is not that you attempt to fix them, but that you understand them and know them well, so the next time someone attempts to poison you with self doubt through one of these flaws you can dismiss it as irrelevant, since you're already aware of this part of yourself.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swine Flu is not a threat

Swine flu panic. Isn't it great? too bad it's completely unfounded. There are so many more ways you can die from simply walking outside than catching a readily curable disease.