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Ode to Cpl. Carlton B. Jones

Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates recently added a National Book Award to his MacArthur Foundation “genius” award given to him in gratitude for telling rich white folks what they want to hear: unlike all other former slaves and their descendants in the world and throughout history, being black is a “struggle” that “black bodies” cannot survive without their help and noblesse oblige. In his acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to his deceased friend Prince C. Jones, Jr. with whom he has much in common. They both lived a life of privilege with little struggle in life (except for the beatings that Mr. Coates received from his father that he then dished out to the other kids in the neighborhood and his teachers); received much family, emotional, material, and financial support from their extended family and numerous friends all of whom were college educated; received excellent educational opportunities from their parents and the American education system; and then received a free ride to college. Mr. Coates spent five years of that free ride engaging in sexual conquests and then having a child (but at least stayed and continues to live with the mother) but never graduating. Prince Jones ended seven years of that free ride not by finally graduating but by intentionally ramming his jeep — that his mommy bought for him — into what he knew to be an unmarked police car resulting in his being shot to death by the police officer in the car. Prince Jones left behind a baby mama and a daughter — another fatherless black family. Given that Mr. Jones was twice arrested for beating the mother of his child including once when she was 8 months pregnant, with the addition of the multi-million dollar civil settlement from the offending police department some good may come out of his death after all.

 

What the “journalist” Mr. Coates almost always leaves out of his story about his friend Mr. Prince Jones, that he left out of his book except in a one-line passing side comment, and that he left out and always leaves out except as a cursory side comment in all of his discussions about Mr. Jones, as the Washington Post was at least honest enough to admit, is: “Black Victim, Black Cop, Black County.” The officer that shot Mr. Jones, Cpl. Carlton B. Jones, was a “black body”, the term that Mr. Coates uses in his book to refer to himself, to his son, to Mr. Jones, and to others of his “tribe” or “race”, terms that he uses despite claiming that such terms are the product or source of racism (he cannot make up his mind which). Cpl. Jones worked for and was trained by the “black elite” of Prince George’s County. This is one of the many dishonest exclusions if not outright distortions of Mr. Coates’ polemics that caused me to write the book Between the World and Us and that caused me to continue on into this blog.

 

But, to whom should I dedicate this blog? At first, as an act of irony, I was going to dedicate it to Mr. Coates’ grandmother who “cleaned white folks’ houses” in the same way that my poor, immigrant, uneducated white mother did after coming to this country as a refugee from communist Yugoslavia and a life of peasant farming going back generations. After cleaning their houses while also cleaning tables at restaurants for a few years, my mother was able to get a night job as an office cleaning lady that eventually led to the attainment of the holy grail of working class work: a union job (cleaning offices as part of the SEIU). When I was a younger man that could cry, it would bring tears to my eyes when I thought of how little I saw her during my high school years. By the time I got home from school, she had already gone to work. When I got up in the morning, she was sleeping having not gotten home until 2 or 3AM from work. I still remember a few nights when I was awake in my bed and she would quietly open my door and peak in just to see me. To this day, I do not know why I did not say anything or greet her. It just did not seem to be the right thing to do at the time. God, if I had a time machine, I would change those moments. Her cleaning lady job put food on the table, paid the mortgage, and avoided welfare for us during the years that my father was disabled from his construction laborer job and only able to find part-time work when he found any. She was glad to have the job and was good at her job.

 

The same must be true for Mr. Coates’s grandmother. Her hard work resulted in great success: his whole family including his parents and his siblings, except for Mr. Coates, are college educated and well off and thus have succeeded in the American Dream that he ridicules (his siblings work as engineers, lawyers, and business owners as did his father and mother).

 

As is true of all social elite especially writers going all the way back to Aristotle, Mr. Coates looks down on the menial, physical work done by his grandmother as demeaning. It is good enough for the likes of the poor such as my mother but not for his “gem of purest ray serene” to “waste [her] sweetness on the desert air.” Pride in one’s work and respecting the work of others, including the hard physical work in which the vast majority of humanity has toiled and is toiling, is to be restricted to the creative work of such geniuses as Mr. Coates and is not to be granted working stiffs with no hope in the present but only in the future.

 

However, I rejected such irony because such dedication would not be fair to his grandmother. If his story about her is true, which I doubt given Mr. Coates’ tendency to distort reality, no doubt she appreciates and wants her privacy in the same way my mother does. Though being a cleaning lady supporting your family is honorable work that should be a source of strength, social support, and an individual sense of worth as all work should be, it really is miserable work.

 

No, my dedication should be and is to the forgotten soul in need of much empathy in the Prince Jones half-story told by Mr. Coates: Cpl. Carlton B. Jones. Mr. Coates as with the vast majority of pundits these days gets rich sitting in the stands watching the gladiators fight life’s battles and then criticizes their technique, tactics, and strategy — another one of the privileges of life in the United States granted to Mr. Coates. This is a privilege not given to workingmen and women, white or black. This was not a privilege given to Cpl. Jones.

 

As a workingman, Cpl. Jones joined both the Army Reserve and became a police officer because according to his deposition he was “inspired by the vision of racial harmony invoked by Martin Luther King, Jr.” As many a workingman did throughout United States history, he joined the military and gave the rest of society a blank check for his life to use as it saw fit to defend the Constitution of which Mr. Coates is always invoking its protection — though never willing to risk anything to protect it. Regardless of how naive this inspiration was, I admire the willingness to do it as I did and am grateful personally that he as a “black body” did so regardless of the overall or ultimate ethical nature of the military. Having grown up in a segregated working class neighborhood that defended itself against all it perceived to be a danger to the little its residents had, all strangers or outsiders both white and black ones, the military was my first opportunity to work with and become shipmates with a “black body.” He and all other “black bodies” who joined the military throughout the years and became trusted shipmates and comrades did and do much to reduce racism in this country, vastly more than either pretend intellectual elites such as Mr. Coates or pretend warriors such as the Malcolm X’s and Black Panthers of the world too busy concentrating on their struggles for personal power to be mates or comrades to anyone else. Though I am not a fan of police officers, I do understand and admire his inspiration to become a police officer to put the bad guys away and to fight for truth, justice, and the American way of life.

 

Unfortunately, as young idealists such as Cpl. Jones soon learn, it is not always clear who the bad guys are, and truth, justice, and the American way of life are not what Martin Luther King nor any other politician, white or black, makes them appear to be. As Clarence Darrow once said, “there is no justice in life, in or out of court.” As Mr. Coates’ journalism, books, and awards establish, truth is what those in power say is true — most of the time, in the world of the blind, the one-eyed man is not king but a danger to be eliminated. That aspect of the American way of life consisting of the High Noon image of a solitary peace officer standing up against the bad guys is an idealistic one but also a delusional one. As many a military veteran has learned and as Cpl. Jones learned the night that Prince Jones decided to ram him with his jeep, despite intense training, the facing of death and danger with rational reserve and then spitting in their faces sounds nice and looks cool on television, movies, and in the books by writers such as Mr. Coates who have never faced such a situation and most likely never will, but it is a completely different matter to face in reality. Facing what appears to be an attempt to kill by someone willing to kill is scary, especially the first time. If John Wayne or Russell Crowe faced Prince Jones on the night that Cpl. Jones did, perhaps they would have been able to transfer their screen persona into life and everyone would have survived completely unharmed. Based on my life experience, I doubt it. As many a man or woman in similar circumstances throughout history have done, Cpl. Jones got scared, could not think straight, and began to shoot wildly at his attacker. A mistake with which he must live for the rest of his life.

 

The undisputed fact about life is that if one tries to work, to do things in life, to actually fight the battle and problem that is life, one will make mistakes about which the critics such as Mr. Coates sitting in the stands watching can then critique, ridicule, write about, and be rewarded. However, my hat and dedication is to those in the arena fighting the battle that is life. Cpl. Jones seems to have disappeared from the county police department and I have not been able to locate him anywhere. No doubt, if he still is or ever was the idealist that his court deposition makes him appear to be, he is somewhere still suffering from the guilt of his mistake. He is doing so without the empathy of public sympathy but with the public humiliation of having his mistake constantly marketed and publicized by Mr. Coates so that he can sell books. Wherever he is, I wish him good hope. As a military veteran and thus as a warrior, he should not need and I hope he succeeds in dealing with his guilt without the publicity and public sympathy that Mr. Coates needs and craves. At least, as a fellow workingman, I hope that we are comrades in the never ending struggle with the powers-that-be that we are destined to lose — in this life at least.

Charity Not Love

The word love is everywhere these days. From the actual and seriously taken presidential campaign of Marianne Williamson to all popular secular and religious philosophies. (Personally, I loved Williamson’s campaign — for great comic relief if for nothing else. She seem to be the only real person in the whole bunch.) Love is seen as the answer to all problems involving human relations in almost any form. So, why is not “love” listed in any of the classical virtues going back to Plato’s Republic nor in the list of Western theological virtues? These two sets of virtues total seven and consist of prudence, justice, temperance, courage (or fortitude), faith, hope, and charity. It is with good reason love is excluded and I am getting tried of hearing about love as if it is a cure-all. When everyone seems to agree on a concept, one should immediately be suspicious of it as either a delusion or a con.

 
As I contemplated in my essay asking Why Does God Hate the Poor: Can God Love? Part III , love is a self-centered act and one side of a two sided coin in which hate is the other side. One cannot know love if one does not know hate and the reverse. Love is the relationship we have to that which gives meaning to our life; hate is the relationship we have to that which denies meaning to our life. Love is the answer? To what? What is the question? So, love of money, power, sex, rape, child molestation, your tribe, or the almost uncountable number of acts most people would call evil and which the evil love are answers to evil? If you love your neighbor must you not hate if not the evil person who hurts them but the evil acts that hurt them? Must you not hate evil acts? According to those who preach love is the answer, you must hate and punish racism, sexism, fascism, and much more in order to be a truly loving person. Love is not the answer but only an answer to certain specific problems. Even assuming it is somehow possible to love your enemies, loving their evil acts only helps your enemies do evil to you and to others and to spread their evil acts — however you define evil. By definition, to love truly, you must hate the evil acts of those you love to help them see the Good.

 
As is often true, the Ancients and the Medieval Scholastics were wiser than much of modern philosophy in their contemplations and so they intelligently left “love” out of their list of virtues to instead include Charity. Charity is considered a theological virtue because supposedly it cannot occur naturally, it is a gift from God in which a person sees God and other persons not as a means to an end — such as achieving meaning in one’s life — but simply as an end-in-itself. It is not a two-sided coin as is love and hate. Its absence is not uncharity or the state of being uncharitable but is simply its negation or absence — just as nothingness does not replace being as an state of existence but is simply nothing regardless of what Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, or their worshipers otherwise preach in their aesthetics.

 
Is Charity a meaningful concept existentially or in any pragmatic form or is it itself simply aesthetics? Is it used and useful only in the same way as the words “Pegasus”, “the Self”, “the Other”, or any of the other uncountable amount of words available for preachers of certain ethics and moralities to use to promote their self-centered images of how the world ought to be? Does it have pragmatic value for nihilism? Maybe. At a minimum, it gives us a word to use and is useful for pointing out the absurdity and the shallowness of the omnipresence of “love” in present society as another false god. Nihilists can do better than love.

Quantitatively Based Classes

In my book They Hate if You’re Clever and Despise a Fool, I argue social classes are an inevitable and necessary part of any society because class struggle is necessary for social progress. I end the book with proposed classes to be accepted consisting of 1) Patricians subdivided into true Patricians and Capitalists and their supporting intelligentsia; 2) Plebeians subdivided into petite bourgeoisie, wage slave proletariat, and intellectual proletariat; and 3) Lumpenproletaria. These classes are conceptually qualitative. Upon further reflection, I now understand this ending proposal to have been wrong. Recognizing qualitatively defined classes in practice only serves to tip the balance in favor of those with the power to define concepts and quality which are always the ruling classes and their Inner and Outer Party. Classes should be defined as best as possible numerically so it is evident to each person in what class they are and in what class they want to be. In addition, numerically defined classes will allow for explicit conceptualization of what obligations are owed to each class by the government and what obligations are owed to the government by each class. All language is vague including numeric language, but the vagueness can be dealt with much better through the use of quantitative rather than qualitatively defined social classes. Probably the best way to do this is by using property-based classes as was used by the Roman Republic.

 
I have dealt with this issue before when contemplating the use of standardized testing as a measure of education and for school admissions. The argument against standardized testing is that standardized testing favors the rich and the dominant culture because they have the resources to prepare for these tests and their culture defines the correct answers to these tests; further, qualitative methodology such as interviews and examination of life experience is argued supposedly to allow for creating and accepting diversity in a student body. This argument is nonsense in practice. In reality, all methodology favors the rich and the dominant culture regardless of whether it is standardized testing or supposed qualitative methodology. However, the advantage of standardized testing, especially for STEM subjects, is that the answers are the same for all classes and thus all are measured by the same standard. 2+2=4 for both the rich and the poor. If a poor person gets correct answers on a standardized test, they must be accepted as correct in the same way an upper class correct answer must be accepted on such test. This is not true of qualitative testing. What a hiring or admission committee wants to hear and the form in which they want to hear the answer to whatever nonsense questions they ask for diversity purposes is best known and usually known only by someone who has grown up in the upper class culture of the committee members since birth. Unlike math, such socialization is not something one can learn outside one’s social class; it is something one is born into and one grows up in and into. For these non-standardized examinations, 2+2 may in fact =5 when they want it to equal 5. One knows when 2+2=5 by growing up in the social class that decides when 2+2=5 not by learning it.

 
As is fairly well-known, the Roman Republic was divided up into three general classes consisting of Patricians, Plebeians, and Slaves. However, through their censuses, the Republic further divided these classes quantitatively. These subdivisions though varying at times generally consisted of: Senatores owing property value of > 1,000,000 sestertii; Equites > 400,000 sestertii; Plebeian commoners of the First Order >100,000; Second Order >75,000; Third Order >50,000; Fourth Order >25,000; Fifth Order >11,000; less than 11,000 and the landless poor were considered Proles and Proletarii. These classes were used to define the representatives each class got in the various assemblies of the Republic; the votes each of their representatives held in each assembly; and the number of electors each class received when it came time to vote for the patrician senators including the Tribune of the Plebs in the Senate and for any legislation passed by the Senate. These classes also decided the required contribution of each citizen to the Roman military. For example, the Equites were called such because they were required to provide horses and cavalry; the First Order Plebeians became the famous Triarii of the Roman Army of the Republic — the Latin expression equivalent to our “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” was “time to bring in the Triarii.” Even the Prols and Proletarii, as freemen, were expected to provide oarsmen for the war galleys. These economic-based classes and the class consciousness, struggle, and resilience they created transformed the failed and sacked Roman Kingdom from a tribe limited to the City of Rome and the surrounding hills to the Roman Republic conqueror of the Italian Peninsula in a hundred years and then of most of Europe and of the Mediterranean within the remaining 400 years of its life. As always occurs, the Patrician class eventually got too powerful, overcame the power of the other classes, and the Republic became the Empire — our future unless we wake up to it.

 
When creating such classes, we must make sure to count gross ownership of property and economic value not net ownership — that is, we must not subtract for debt. Being in debt runs the risk of eventual failure but at least it indicates one has hope in the future and hope in society — it links one’s success to the success of society and the reverse because society needs you to succeed and get its investment back at least and hopefully profit — again, there is hope there. Julius Caesar at the time of his rising to power was the wealthiest person in Rome but also the most indebted. He did this intentionally according to historians because both gave him power. His wealth gave him power directly. His debt gave him indirectly the full power of the wealth of his creditors because they all needed for him to succeed so as to profit. For the individual, having “f–k you” wealth is great but not for society. Debt is one of the ways a society builds the future and assures everyone is invested in that future and the reverse.

 
Not sure why I made this mistake in the book. I wrote the book more as a descriptive conceptual analysis of race and class than a normative suggestion of what they could be or should be which I do not like doing anyway. In the end, I prefer anarchy. In any anarchy, the natural class divisions based on wealth will develop on their own. The big problem is to get the power of the law away from trying to negate these natural class divisions — when the law gets involved, the end result is always the same: the Republic becomes the Empire and then its Fall.

Abraham And Isaac

The Old Testament Abraham and Isaac story is a favorite among both Judeo and Christian believers accepting it as a story describing and venerating the virtue of Faith as a theological virtue with a capital “F”. It is a simple but an effective authoritative story: God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac in worship to God; Abraham takes Isaac to a sacrificial altar ready for the killing; but, just as the fatal blow is about to be struck, a messenger from God stops Abraham saying “now I know you fear God”; in his son’s place, Abraham sacrifices a ram instead of Isaac — lucky ram. Abraham and his children go on to be the founding family of the Jewish religion and nation directly and eventually Christianity indirectly. Even the Christian existentialist Kierkegaard considered Abraham a “Knight of Faith”. It is a very aesthetically pleasing story but morality has the moral backwards. Blindly following authority, especially the authority of a god or even the voice of God that by definition can kill you if you disobey is not Faith but rational self-interest. The true test of Faith and even of faith in the integrity of a godless authority is the ability and option to reject its commands and yet trust that in the end the authority will still be fair and mercifully good.

 
I do not want to deconstruct the story of Abraham and Isaac. As sophisticated as deconstruction sounds, the result is always predictable: deconstructive interpretation is used to argue all authority uses storytelling to justify and demand blind allegiance to those who control the story telling warranting social justice struggle to overcome this authority with the new authority and the new storytelling called ethics of those doing the deconstruction — however this new storytelling is somehow exempt from this same critique. No, rather the nihilist option is to take the story at face value as the words of this story would be used and are useful in present culture — or really in any post-Enlightenment culture: a dude hears the voice of God telling him to kill his son and does it. Or, almost does it but is stopped by the voice of an angel. Would anyone see this dude as a Knight of Faith venerating God? Doubt it. Regardless of whether or not the dude actually heard these voices, except among religious fanatics, we would see him as a murderer or attempted murderer warranting either criminal punishment or civil commitment to a psychiatric institution. Gradually, our enlightened society has created a more benevolent version of God who does not need sacrificial rams to stroke Their ego — or at least no more than One. So, why is the Abraham/Isaac story still a significant storytelling tradition in present culture?

It is so not only for Christian existentialist writers such as Kierkegaard but even for the post-modern atheist likes of a Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas who wrote considerable contemplations on its meaning — though as usual, I cannot make any sense of what they wrote but also as usual it always ends up with the usual pontificating on the need to see the Self in the Other and a conclusion requiring ethics to overcome ontology; that is, they repeat the simple poetic aesthetics of the Beatitudes in multiple pages of convoluted verbiage apparently advocating having Christian virtues without the Christ all of which avoid at all cost mentioning the Beatitudes. Of course, Kierkegaard was not a connoisseur of clarity either. Both Derrida and Levinas and the like ignore the fact that the ontology of ethics is simply the morality of the powerful which they must ignore in order to achieve the desired poetic aesthetics — something which Kierkegaard at least has the consistency not to do. In their storytelling, Abraham is replaced by the Self, Issac by the Other, and God becomes the Good as they define it in any particular situation. In short they love the grossly out-of-date story of Abraham and Isaac because Abraham does what is expected of him by authority: say yes to its demands. Regardless of how much verbiage they write to hide it, unlike Kierkegaard who honestly admitted his goal, ultimately their goal is to preach and achieve the same blind allegiance to their voices as Abraham gave to his voices.

 
Let us take the story of Abraham and Isaac at face value as a nihilist would and not as it can be deconstructed and not through some hero/knight or other leadership or ethical worshiping story because as nihilists we need no leaders nor do we need ethics. From the perspective of nihilism as a morality, what does this story mean in the present and in any foreseeable future for post-modern humanity? Nihilism as a morality opposes and struggles against any delusions of meaning for life. It means that if you hear God demanding you kill your son or daughter or even a fricken ram purely as a sign of faith in God as life’s meaning, tell God to go screw Themselves. Do not do it. Do not try to rationalize doing it or not doing it. Rationality can provide a reason to do anything or not do anything depending on whether you want to do it or not do it and on whether you are looking hard enough for a rationalization. Except for gods, everyone really wants God to exist. If you hear the voice of God, you really want it to be the voice of God. If the voice of God tells you to kill your child, you will want to kill your child and rationally the thing to do is to kill your child. After all, it is the voice of God! It would be irrational perhaps insane to rebel against the voice of an infinite omnipotent Power. So, you must be irrational and say no. By obeying God’s command you would be justifying this arbitrary and random demand as a Leap to Faith (as Kierkegaard argued) and give it meaning. Life has no meaning. Nothing you do will change that. As Dostoevsky asked, does the salvation of millions give meaning to the suffering of an innocent child? No. Say no to a voice that wants to create such meaning: this no is the Leap to Faith of a true nihilist and their God.

Faith as a virtue with a capital “F” for a nihilist is based not on the ethics of authority nor on any ethics but on Acceptance of authority as it is: an arbitrary and random power with no meaning other than power as an end-in-itself. As a nihilist, you have a moral obligation to oppose any delusion of meaning in life because such opposition is what gives your life the only meaning it has and thus morally you must oppose the voice of authority even if it is authority with a capital “A”.

 
Is it imaginable for God arbitrarily and randomly to ask a believer to kill their own child for no reason other than a show of power? Sure, why not? God is God, can do whatever He, She, It wants to do — if you do not kill the child, God might do it on Their own. Whatever. There are infinite possibilities as to what may be in the mind of God or of the gods and Fates. However, is it also imaginable for you to say “no”? Sure, it is. A Leap to Faith is to say no, not yes. Killing for a reason is not Faith, it is reason. Not killing for a reason is also not Faith, it is reason. There is virtue in being reasonable and there is virtue in being faithful to an authority we believe has pragmatically sound intentions or good intentions, however this is not Faith. If there is a God, Their intentions are Their existential acts. With God, logic by necessity goes from the universal to the existential without being an Existential Fallacy. Virtue based beliefs of good intentions by God ignore the reality that God’s intentions are by necessity also acts; such beliefs are a denial of the nature of God not a Leap to Faith in the nature of God. If there is a God, there will be knowledge and acceptance of your nature as you are and were destined to be and not judgment of your life based on how the likes of Kierkegaard, Derrida, Levinas, or anyone else say you ought to be. You must give God the same respect as you expect from God — thus, just as you expect God to say “no” to any arbitrary and random demands for the death of an innocent, you must expect of yourself to say “no” to the death of an innocent when arbitrarily and randomly demanded by God. What happens next, is a matter of Faith.

 
How does this story apply to the faith demanded by the earthly gods of authority — varying from the power of law to the power of ethics superseding ontology as demanded by Derrida, Levinas, and the Other worshipers of Rule Following either liberal or conservative, Marxist or libertarian, and so forth? It does not. The Abraham/Isaac story deals with theological Faith in God not with faith toward earthly gods regardless of how much contemplation is wasted on pretending it has something to do with either ontology or ethics. F–k them. Faith in an earthly god is purely a small “f” and pragmatic. If these gods demand you kill your child thus by definition making this killing ethical and you believe there is good reason warranting such killing, do it as your moral choice and suffer the consequences; if not, do not do it as your moral choice and suffer the consequences. There is no moral obligation to comply with the authority of ethics or with any authority. Acceptance of authority with a small “a” is a matter of pragmatics. Obviously, if the authority has the power to imprison or kill you unless you comply with their authority, the moral balance is in their favor; but this does not mean you have to like it and give such balance moral acceptance — wait for the opportunity to struggle and defeat their authority. If you have the moral power to say “no” to any ethics or morality and by doing so create your own morality — what happens next is in the hands of the Fates and is a matter of Faith.

On Suicide: A Nihilist’s Memoir

Excerpt from my book with the above title:

What do I believe in when I believe that man has a soul? What do I believe in when I believe this substance contains two carbon rings? In both cases, there is a picture in the foreground, but the sense lies far in the background, that is, the application of the picture is not easy to survey. — Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Philosophical Investigations. Trans. G.E.M. Anscombe, P.M.S. Hacker, Joachim Schulter. Blackwell Publishing: West Sussex, England (2009) at ¶422.

Technological Society is making enormous progress in the goal of eliminating physical violence and its pain from the world. Soon, the use and usefulness of physical violence as a means of social struggle will be limited to the ethics with a monopoly on violence called law. Part of this progress will include the acceptance of suicide or euthanasia as it is sometimes called as a pain killer option for physical violence inflicted upon the individual by the universe such as aging and physical sickness. I have never had a problem with this acceptance nor is it an aspect of Despair. The natural course of events will eventually allow for suicide in euthanasia form to become an acceptable social practice, this acceptance has no effect upon acceptance of suicide as an act of the soul rejecting life. However, with this acceptance, the distinction between suicide of the body and suicide of the soul will become important. If suicide is socially accepted and allowed as a permanent pain killer for physical pain that makes life not worth living why not allow it for Despair in life as not worth living?

 
I do not want to get into metaphysical arguments as to whether there is a mind/body distinction; as Camus said in the beginning epigram of this book, these are games that keep me busy in life after I have decided life is worth living but do answer the question of whether it is worth living. Philosophers and the Other so disposed may ridicule the soul as a category error, but for one who is truly contemplating suicide not just pretending to do so, questioning the meaning of life and finding no answer is a distinct reality from asking whether one should take antidepressants for breakfast to get through the day. Whether or not the brain may or may not need the latter does not answer the former question. These are distinct wordgames. The holistic whole of the Self and Other suffer Despair not the brain or any other part of the whole individual; The brain may need drugs to make it through the day but I want an answer to my question on the meaning of life to make it through life without contemplation of suicide and suicide.

 
Ignoring such a conceptional distinction is a symptom one is not actually contemplating suicide but only engaging in aesthetics in order to avoid its contemplation; it is a sign of delusion and incompleteness in one’s philosophy making it hypocritical at best as popular reasoning and fundamentally unsound as intellectual reasoning. Physicists when resolving their physics problems now ignore the nonsensical nature of i and the infinity (∞) within π and e, however ignoring them does not change the fact that the concept of √-1 is conceptually different from √1 nor does it solve Zeno’s Paradoxes or Thomson’s Lamp Paradox that occur when treating ∞ as a sense experience or even as a number. Such ignoring of conceptual problems is allowed physicists so they may achieve the predictive meanings of their wordgames. Philosophy is not seeking predictive meaning for life to resolve Despair but meaning in an existential sense. Analogously, scientists, so-called cognitive scientists, and other pragmatists trying to eliminate sense experience symptoms of Despair may ignore the homunculus fallacy when trying to eliminate empirical symptoms of Despair, but such ignoring does not solve my Despair nor anyone’s Despair; even if eliminative materialists are correct in arguing that the pronoun “I” simply represents a collection of chemicals in the brain, this does not change the fact that I feel Despair at such a description of reality regardless of how powerful the “I” of those who fabricate such descriptions feel from their materialist wordgame and the tenure and popularity it gives them among those who share their Blue Pill.

 

Philosophers who ignore a conceptual difference between the body and the soul in the “one truly serious philosophical problem” expressed by Despair are either in Despair themselves and have taken a Blue Pill to ignore it or God has given them the gift of being a god for whom existence is an end-in-itself — in which case, they most likely have no soul thus the question at issue does not matter. I am therefore I think and I want more than just thinking from life is the reality leading me to Despair; if one is satisfied solely with the aesthetics of thinking as an end-in-itself, then luckily one is saved from Despair. I know Despair even in moments cold-bloodedly free of any pain. In fact, it is in these moments free of pain in which Despair is most likely to lead one to suicide in the sense of it being a rejection of life: not just as a shock reaction to physical pain in which my act of suicide may be an affirmation of life. Suicide of the soul involves a denial of life done with a clear mind seeing life for the random and arbitrary farce it is and rejecting it.

 
I therefore submit the following definition for the “soul”: it is that aspect of the holistic individual that seeks meaning in life beyond mere existence. It is the attribute of the holistic individual that makes my present contemplation possible.

Not Utopian But Heavenly

For when they rise from the dead, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven. … He is not the God of the dead but of the living.
— Mark 12:25, 27

One of the funnier aspects — or sad depending on your perspective — of the secular religions now running Western Civilization is their assumption — or hijacking depending on your perspective — of Christian dogma upon which to build the foundation for their social engineering. All presently popular Western social justice theory is Christianity without the Christ and usually without even the God aspect; one’s conclusions as to whether conceptually or pragmatically this makes sense is the perspective from which you would find this fact either funny, sad, assumption, or hijacking. One problem however is indisputable, it allows for the criticism that all present popular Western social justice theory is “utopian”, meaning it aims to achieve an idealistic, cosmically just perfect state that is really unattainable. This criticism is not entirely accurate, however, more importantly, it is not fair to Thomas Moore and his book Utopia. Neither Thomas Moore nor Utopia were idealistic moralists living in an academic or other ivory tower of power. Moore lived in a very practical world in which he was eventually martyred for his beliefs when he opposed Henry VIII’s creation of his own secular religion in opposition to Moore’s beloved Catholic Church. Utopia was actually a satirical but pragmatic critique of many Romantic notions of the 15th and 16th Century seeking to create societies we would now call utopian in which Moore proposed practical alternatives. For example, Utopia still had slavery but it was limited to criminals who had committed serious crimes who would forfeit the right to freedom protected by society. A better description of modern social justice theory would be “heavenly”; not only does it depend on Christian dogma for its foundation, it seeks to create a heaven on earth. A good example of this heavenly conceptualization at work is the present omnipresent disputes regarding “gender”.

 
The present argument for allowing all individuals to define their own gender is premised on “gender” being a social construct. Unfortunately, as much as opponents try to argue against this premise, the reality of language is that it is a social construct; what the disputes leave out however is the fact that all language and all words are social constructs. The meaning of all words is their use and usefulness. Saying gender is a social construct is in itself and should be seen as a fairly worthless statement; one can say the same thing for almost every word or sentence including numbers and mathematics. “2+2=4″ may be a social construct; this does not change the fact that if you are going to decide one day to mean “3″ by your first use of any “2″ in a sentence and thus make sense of “2+2=5″, you should probably check with others and get their approval before doing so or you will have a hard time surviving in even the most primitive of society.

 
Though it follows from modern philosophy of language that “gender” is a social construct, no one making the currently popular argument that gender is a social construct relies or, I doubt, has even read any philosophy of language to make this argument. Philosophy of language is very dense and difficult to read for the simple reason it is using language to contemplate language. What has actually happened is that feminists, secular humanists, and many others whose normative goal is elimination of what they see as a male dominated society have jumped on the concept of “social construct” as a means to that end: if we eliminate male and female and make all individuals equal genders there will be no supposed domination of the female gender by the male gender thus giving all individuals the freedom to be all they can be — except for the freedom of choosing a society with just two genders male and female which will be denied as a given. As always, the purveyors of an ethics and morality want to create a world in their image and use the necessary attribute of violence in all ethics and morality to achieve that creation. The end justifies the reasoning and not the other way around.

 
Conceptually, one must admit, it makes sense. Given the foreseeable power of Technological Society, if the creators of this image can harness that power, they might be able to get away with it: test tube babies, hormone drug therapies, surgery, psychiatric drugs, educational propaganda techniques, and so forth. A world of androgynous individuals living without any battles between the sexes and perhaps even without sex and thus without all of the trouble and misery such activity has caused past societies may be our future of peace? What would such a society look like?

 
Well, we actually have an image of what it would look like: heaven. Though angels — and even demons — can take either masculine or feminine form while doing whatever it is they are doing on earth, in the Christian biblical concept of angels (ignoring the Book of Mormon), they are sexless and genderless. If it is good enough for heaven, why not for this earth? A society made up of genderless happy angels not engaging in competitive battles between the sexes working for the common good in which each gives to society going to their ability and gets according to their need, sounds good in words. We should check the reality of heaven to see how it works out though.

 
According to biblical scholars and theologians, though genderless, heaven is not classless. It turns out the angels are divided into three spheres: the First Sphere made up of the famous and well-known Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; the Second Sphere made up of Dominions, Virtues, and Powers; and the Third Sphere containing the famous Archangels and just regular Angels. What do all these angels do? Worship God’s Will of course as God deems necessary with each having responsibility for various aspects of Creation; the higher the responsibility, the higher the Sphere. The job of the highest class of angels, the Seraphim, until ordered to do some task directly by God, is to circle God’s Throne continuously shouting: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” — Isaiah 6:1-7. (Sounds kinda like a CEO surrounded by an ass-kissing board of directors.) As I have always argued, there is no such thing as a classless society. Unfortunately, there is not much one can do to rebel against classes created by God — though I hear some angels gave it a shot anyway; good for them.

 
So, in addition to foundational dogma, the goals of post-modern social justice theory has assumed — or hijacked depending on your perspective — the Christian concept of heaven. Utopia was still on this earth though its ideas not of it in the classical Christian sense. Any verbiage that seeks a heaven on earth is not on this earth nor of it. We should respect the martyr Moore and stop using “utopian” to describe something that is really not satirical nor pragmatical but normative with a goal of creating a heaven on earth — something Moore wrote against in Utopia.

 
The goals of modern popular social justice theory especially in its post-modern form which lacks the sense of humor required for satire are not utopian but heavenly; they seek to make us all angels doing … ah … what? It cannot be to worship God’s Will, that is a big heresy in the dogma of this secular heaven. So, what is it? Is it perhaps to worship the wills of the gods of this secular heaven? As Orwell calls them, the will of the High of his 1984? I will leave the reader to contemplate this question with the guidance of Orwell.

The “Other”

The “problem of the mind” is a major divide between analytic and continental philosophy. Right off, as an example of the divide, I have committed an insult to post-modern social justice theory based on continental philosophy by referring to this contemplation as a “problem”.  It is not a problem for them, supposedly, instead it is a mystery to be enjoyed — or else be punished for not enjoying it.

For analytic philosophy, the mind is something one rationally and even logically contemplates. “I think, therefore I am” allows me to conclude I absolutely in all possible worlds in which I think, I also am. In such analysis, my mind or “I” or my subjective me Subject, whatever words one wants to use to give this concept meaning, is a rational conclusion to be rationally contemplated. It deductively follows the same is true of other minds; there are others out there who I experience as acting, talking, and behaving as I do so it is rational to conclude they and others have a mind also — the Other. From these basics, the nature of this concept mind for analytic philosophy generates libraries of analytical verbiage of the mind as a subject and object of reasoning, logic, and epistemology speaking of that for which they should be silent.

For continental philosophy, first perhaps with Kant but most definitely by Hegel, the mind is an a priori category; “I am, therefore I think”. For continental phislosophy including existentialism, I must exist and be conscious of my existence as a prerequisite for thought and not the other way around. It is my self-consciousness as a Subject that makes me an Object of my contemplation. It is my self-consciousness that makes me contemplate whether there are others — the Other — out there who are conscious of me in the same way I am or differently. This generates the question of whether these Other are self-conscious? Am I the Object of their Subject? So on and so forth into the convoluted aesthetics of phenomenological verbiage distinguishing between the “Self” and the “Other” of which I am already confused. In the hands of a Husserl, Sartre, Derrida, and many more speaking of that for which they should be silent, the potential of such verbiage reaches aesthetic perfection.

 
There should be no objection to the basic concept of the Other. All reasoning and logic begin with the recursive base case of “I am therefore I think” and then the recursive step “I want more than just thinking”. Analytic philosophy starts with the wrong base and misunderstands the significance of this a priori knowledge even to the point of denying it is a priori. However, continental philosophy is just as bad by getting the recursive step wrong and by misunderstanding the rational implications of these premises to the point of denying the very will to power of which they constantly pontificate. Both use the Other — just as they use the Self — as words with benign, neutral, or similar harmless meanings for their aesthetic use. For all academic philosophies including for ethics and morality, these are lifeless concepts not reflections of our Heart of Darkness.

 
The Self does not exist in a timeless, spaceless, or any type of vacuum awaiting the power of aesthetics to give it life. I exist in a meaningless universe trying to kill me — be it by disease, catastrophe, hunger, thirst, cold, heat, age, or whatever. If I want to exist and to continue existing, I must be ready to fight to exist and to kill or be killed when the situation warrants such acts. I must be ready to fight and to kill anything trying to kill me, including killing the Other, unless I am willing to die myself. Most of my life, I am willing to live and let live assuming I am lucky enough to live in a world prosperous and materially successful enough to allow for such an attitude. However, if luck runs out, the Self’s Heart of Darkness will destroy the Other or they will destroy me — I have no way of knowing which.

 
The Other is also not timeless, spaceless, or simply aesthetic verbiage allowing me to pretend I care and love others as I do myself. The Other if they want to exist and to continue existing must also be willing to fight and to kill or be killed when the situation warrants such acts. The Other must be ready to fight and to kill anything trying to kill the Other, including my Self, unless the Other is willing to die themselves. Most of the Other — not all but most — may be willing to live and let live assuming they are lucky enough to live in a world prosperous and materially successful enough to allow for such an attitude. However, if luck runs out, the Other’s Heart of Darkness will destroy me or it will destroy the Other — the Other also has no way of knowing which it will be.

 
We all share this Heart of Darkness known only by struggle not by reasoning, logic, or aesthetics. We can ignore it. Many do ignore it and live long and happy lives ignoring it. Some of the Other acknowledge it and use it as a means to assure their existence by using it as justification for their ethics and morality achieving or trying to achieve a monopoly on violence to protect their Self’s Heart of Darkness from the Darkness of the Other Heart — perfect exemplification of the truth of this Heart of Darkness. The true existential struggle is to acknowledge it and to live with it honestly as a nihilist demanding no ethics or morality nor their necessary need for a monopoly on violence but at best with only a leap to faith to the will to power of nihilism denying all ethics and morality.

The Fading Out of Objective Truth / Part IV

The major problem of our time is the decay of the belief in personal immortality, and it cannot be dealt with while the average human being is either drudging like an ox or shivering in fear of the secret police. How right the working classes are in their “materialism”!
— George Orwell, “Looking Back on the Spanish War”, p. 164 of Facing Unpleasant Facts, a collection of Orwell’s essays compiled by George Packer. Mariner Books: N.Y., N.Y. (2008).

The theme of all my writings is that nihilism is not a problem. Maybe it was in other times but no longer, it is now the only sound solution to the individual struggle for meaningful spiritual survival in Technological Society that is itself at least for the foreseeable future the only sound solution to the absurdity of the human struggle against the universe to survive. Humanity survived the Stone Age that lasted millions of years, the Bronze Age that lasted thousands of years, and the Iron Age that lasted hundreds of years to reach our present Technological Society. Through lack of historical perspective, we describe our present as various Ages measured in hundreds of years at best and often just in decades such as the Industrial Age and the Age of Science — the first lasted approximately a couple of hundred years and the latter can be probably measured in decades. Our present Age is the Language Age and it will go back to the pattern of lasting millennia. Language and its control is the ultimate material for making power for all Powers in all forms of life in Technological Society.

 

In the West, the Age of Language has given us material power allowing the average person no longer physically to “drudge like an ox” nor shiver “in fear of the secret police”. Thanks to the power of the language of science and now of technology, the average person in the West is free from material drudgery in the sense of living a life of physical travail but the spiritual drudgery of seeking meaning in life has gotten worse. Further, there is no need for secret police to limit thought and freedom of thought any longer, the nature of language and the masters of the use and usefulness of language through the power of technology create normative rules that limit them opening, clearly, and as a natural acceptable attribute of Technological Society — physical threats and fear control the speaking of individual words but technology allows the Powers to control the words of individual thought directly. All my writings advocate a return to old school existentialism concerned with the survival of the individual soul in such an Age and Society. I am not concerned with promoting new school existentialism and its social engineering of the individual soul to create and maintain a world, gods, and a God in their image. I argue nihilism as the only sound morality that allows the individual soul to survive as more than a solipsist without being negated as nothing more than a social construct.

 
Indirectly, the individual nihilist who has made a leap to morality must accept and deal with materialism in their life. As bad as spiritual drudgery is, it is much worse if you are at the same time drudging like an ox uncertain of your next meal, of having a home, or of physical survival beyond the moment unless you are fully aware of what you are missing. Admittedly, many times, physical drudgery is a successful means of avoiding spiritual drudgery. When working like an ox, just as with an actual ox, one’s meaning in life is physical survival so there is no opportunity to engage in spiritual drudgery. As a human ox, one could find peace by an instinctive faith in a god but it may be only the nearest available social construct god and not God freely derived from one’s individual existential choice. I have no problem with someone who has known wealth or at least material prosperity to then reject materialism and its present successful economic subsidiaries consisting of capitalism and technology to take a vow of poverty or to see asceticism as meaning in life. I do have a problem with social justice theorists varying from Catholic priests to Earth worshipers lecturing to the poor and the working class that they most abandon their materialist consumerism to find peace in life by living as ascetics in harmony with the universe. The poor and much of the working class may find peace in life in such a way but it will be in the same way prisoners find peace in life through poverty: simply because they have no other choice. F–k the universe; it will eventually kill me but that does not require that I have to like it and accept its indifference to my existence. Nihilism is about the individual knowing reality as it is, not as it ought to be, and doing something with this knowledge. A nihilist who based on life experience rejects wealth, economic materialism, consumerism, or even the hedonism of Brave New World and then preaches rejection of them to workers who have not experienced them is a secular religious fanatic not a nihilist.

 

For nihilism, the truth and morality of the struggle with physical drudgery is pragmatic: if it works to physically make my life healthier, wealthier, and free of physically working like an ox, then it is true including morally true. If an individual who accepts such pragmatic moral truth wants to use that truth existentially to reject it, fine, but this does not negate the pragmatic nature of truth.

 
It is struggle with spiritual drudgery in the Age of Language that is the most difficult challenge for nihilism. All others who conceptually struggle with this spiritual drudgery — varying from agnostics onto true believers of both secular and theist religions and onto the most mathematical and rationalist scientists — knowingly agree only on their joint opposition to nihilism with all considering it a problem and an evil to be opposed and beaten. They are also all knowingly or unknowingly in denial as to the consequences of their opposition to nihilism:

Love of truth is one of the strongest motives for replacing what really happens by a streamlined account, or, to express it in a less polite matter, love of truth is one of the strongest motives for lying to oneself and to others. Besides, the quantum theory seems to show, in the precise manner so much beloved by the admirers of science, that reality is either one, which means there are no observers and no things observed, or it is many, in which case what is found does not exist in itself but depends on the approach chosen.
— Feyerabend, Paul. Against Method. Verso: N.Y., N.Y. (4th New Edition, 2010) p. 259.

Because language is a social construct, the existential individual described in language ultimately becomes either a social construct with no individuality in reality outside of language or a solipsist whose individuality is the only reality in language — both of which are nonsense but either work to allow Technological Society to survive and continue: the individual becomes either a worker bee lost in the many or a solitary lonely individual outcaste from the many, either way they are no threat to the Powers. This is true regardless of whether it is the aesthetic and instrumentalist language of science or the aesthetic and normative language of new school existentialism and its post-modern social justice social engineering. Only nihilism avoids both of these two resulting attributes of any language by accepting reality as it is: other than pragmatic truth, the only truth is the knowledge that there is no truth. The individual nihilist knows the universe as it is in the same way science knows reality by accepting not truth but falsification.

 
Once the individual is free of physical drudgery, it is nihilism that creates freedom from spiritual drudgery in the Age of Language. What will the individual do with the freedom provided by nihilism? For some who do not make the leap to morality, it may be a will to death instead of a will to life; for some it will be a will to power to become one of the Powers or a god using the aesthetics of scientific or mathematical language to bind even God; for others who make a leap to morality, it will be finding the companionship and love of other souls; for others it will be the hate of other souls; for some it will be one of the three absurd heros described by Camus: an actor who lives in the delusion of the moment, a conqueror who lives in history not outside of it, a Don Juan who achieves eternity through the timelessness of living in the moment; for some it will be a pragmatic acceptance of life as a wage slave as a means for happiness in this life with hope for a next; for others it will be a will to power as a Knight of Faith among the Powers; the options are uncountable.

 
What will be true of all these nihilist leaps to morality is that the Powers will not be able to count on any of these individual souls as a means for maintaining power based on prescriptive or evaluative normative obligation — that is as ethical obligations. The power of the Powers will derive from these nihilist choices only if they satisfy the pragmatic truth of these choices — they will not be able to justify power solely as an end in itself. If they fail in such satisfaction, the individual nihilist soul’s acceptance of the Powers — be it as wage slave, another Power, or whatever — may be taken away and the Powers fought and struggle begins. There is no moral obligation to believe in anything nor to trust anyone other than oneself or the authority one accepts as meaning in life — be it God, a god, or rebellion against all gods. That choice may be pre-destined or determined but only in language, existentially one’s soul is what it is and can never be anything else. Ultimately, existentially outside the delusion of language, freedom may consist only of knowing that one is not free but in nihilism this truth is enough and can be accepted or be rejected as a basis for meaning in life.