A place for a

27.06.2016

The pseudo-intellectualism of contemporary discussions about homosexuality

Liberals usually claim that homosexuality is inborn. Religious people and manospherians usually claim that homosexuality is a mental illness. Both commit the same fallacy, an appeal to nature based on personal bias. Both assumptions, when declared doctrine, are potentially harmful.

If we declare that homosexuality is inborn, we take all hope away from those who truly suffer from emotional disturbances and developmental setbacks. They are left in a desperate situation and when trying to reconcile the conflicting voices in their heads, they feel forced to support the voice that urges them into homosexuality, inflicting strong pain on themselves from even thinking about it.

On the other hand, I think it is plausible to make room for the assumption that some people are truly homosexual at their core and suffer gravely from having to repress that. Telling them that homosexuality is a mental illness hurts them just as much as those who experience the dilemma from the other perspective.

To make a little analogy, there may be a man who truly enjoys photography and art. And there may be another man who truly enjoys hard work and carrying around big bricks at the building site. Now let’s assume that each of them thinks that his profession is the only true and natural thing to do for a real man. They get children. The artist’s kid would secretly love nothing more than to be a hard worker. The hard worker’s kid would love nothing more secretly than to be an artist. Let us assume that both shame their kids for not doing what they think is the right way. Both kids suffer for having to be something they do not truly wish to be, feeling guilty towards their parents for not truly wanting to be their narcissistic mirror image. And yet, the fact that the kids suffer from having to live a life that does not fit them does not mean that this life would not perfectly fit somebody else.

Continue reading “The pseudo-intellectualism of contemporary discussions about homosexuality

25.06.2016

Anger hypnosis – why do politics enrage us so?

Nietzsche suggests in his book On the Genealogy of Morals a historical account of a nation that was harmonious and peaceful inside, while periodically going on crusades against other nations, committing the most heinous crimes; rape, murder, torture. And they enjoy it. He suggests that this nation has developed this mechanism as a way to vent the more animalistic tendencies that are suppressed inside its civilization.

Why do we get so angry about politics? Why do we see a flag or a famous monkey and are so hyponotized by it that we elevate it, in our minds, above all of those who oppose it? Why are we seemingly ready to kill people who disagree with us about political issues – and yet seldom dare to speak our own minds if they oppose that which is morally accepted?

I think the answer is simple.

Political issues and political leaders give us the permission to be angry. Something we are generally not allowed to be.

To be angry and violent, those are qualities that are looked down upon in society. To use force and power to get your own way, that is perhaps the greatest crime of all. Beware the selfish man. Serve the others, always be compassionate and so on. And yet, when our personally chosen leaders talk about the enemies of their values, we become feral, with foam at our mouths, ready to do almost anything to silence them. Very peculiar.

Continue reading “Anger hypnosis – why do politics enrage us so?

22.06.2016

Proof (?) that morals are man-made fiction

I will try and make a logical argument that morals are an exclusively human invention and therefore less important in the big picture than we may think. A part of the argument is of Machiavellian nature, but without the negative connotation.

A fine conclusion from it is that it is okay to forgive ourselves and others even the most so-called heinous crimes. And let go of pain.

My argument is really simple. I will give you the short version now and then elaborate a bit. It goes as follows:

Morals in the way we know them are exclusive to the human species. God likely does not punish animals for acting in a manner that would be considered immoral from a human perspective, nor is it likely that they feel guilt or shame for such behavior. Also very likely, our soul – the essence of our being – is not human. Therefore, it is unlikely that God favors human souls over animal souls, since the soul in itself is not human and is thus equal to any other soul. Hence, morals are an exclusive human instrument, primarily used for intra-species power plays – be that a good or bad thing, if you get the pun.

Well, that turned out to be not quite as clear as I hoped it would, but it should suffice to give you the gist for now.

So now, let me elaborate a little.

Continue reading “Proof (?) that morals are man-made fiction

20.06.2016

Does rejecting societal influences make you more You?

You walk the streets and you see some stupid protesters, do-gooder activists, hippies, oh damn, whatever thing you can think of that makes you want to throw up. You sneer at that thing or person. You say to yourself, society is going to hell. You say to yourself, but I know better. You say to yourself, I know who I am.

And you walk the streets and think of yourself and fancy what you see. A man of integrity, a man with a firm set of values, a man who thinks for himself. You know stuff like:

  • Homosexuality is a mental illness.
  • Liberals suck and are dumb.
  • Life is hard.
  • (fill in whatever fits you)

So that’s you. That’s your identity. You know who you are, because you know what you believe. You think, therefore you are. And the thing that keeps you You is the strength to stand by your beliefs. Standing by your beliefs is a good thing, you heard it many times. Not giving in to people who want to manipulate you, change who you are.

You grew up in a culture that constantly wants to feed you its propaganda, constantly wants to control your life in every which way. You are smart, because you look through it. You know who you are.

Continue reading “Does rejecting societal influences make you more You?

18.06.2016

Let Reinhold Hanning go free, you bloody do-gooders

BBC reports that former Auschwitz guard Reinhold Hanning was sentenced to five years in prison. The man is 94 years old. He did not actually kill anybody. He just did nothing to help and, well, he was there.

So burn him, for fucks sake, if it brings you pleasure. What do I care. Who am I to judge you for judging. But let me ask you if you had sacrificed your life in the vain attempt to help all those people. What is your answer? Probably something like: Well, I want to think I would have.

But there is something else that I find interesting about the article. It is a form of rhetorical manipulation that I think is very common and also very moronic.

As Mr. Hanning sits in court, confronting some super-duper victims, he is described as follows in BBC’s article:

Observers said Hanning, in a wheelchair, remained silent and emotionless for much of the trial, avoiding eye contact with anyone in the courtroom.

While one of the super-duper victims is described as follows:

Mr Glied, a dignified man with thick white hair and a ready smile, now lives in Canada. He was accompanied today by his daughter and granddaughter.

Side note: Glied, in German, means member. When used in slang, it usually means dick.

Continue reading “Let Reinhold Hanning go free, you bloody do-gooders

16.06.2016

A moment of clarity

A friend passes by as I sit around smoking a cigarette. We talk about something of no consequence. I show him the headline of the newspaper on a stand nearby. 26-year old girl raped by 5 men. I ask my friend why anybody wants to read this. Why anybody cares. Because it happened near us and we are interdependent with those people.

No, I’m not, I realize. It could happen in the same house I live in and it would have nothing to do with me. Why don’t the newspapers write about a father who passed the street with his kid without accident. Sure, it happens all the time. It is normal. It is not important. But a raped girl is not any more important.

My friend says that this stuff concerns us because it shakes our worldview. Does it really? People die all the time. And more than that, the newspaper is full of it all the time. There is nothing worldview-shaking about it at all. It is just a cheap effect. Why did I care in the past? I was proud of living in a horrible world. Of thinking I was better than that. I fantasized about saving the world, making it good. But it is not bad. That’s just our judgment.

Why do we care about rape? Why do we care about massacres? More people die of hunger than of any massacre. We eat animals and never think of their lives. So why care about other people’s misery? Because it harmonizes with our own?

My friend gets angry at me. I don’t know why. For suggesting the newspaper write about something equally unimportant, but much more uplifting?

Continue reading “A moment of clarity

03.05.2016

Is your pain created by yourself or others?

I want to ask you a question. I want to ask you to answer it spontaneously, without thinking, out of your gut. The question is: Who creates all the pain in your life?

Okay, I admit it. I am not that creative. This question is just a variation of something a woman asked me in response to a Quora question of mine about free will. She wrote: Who creates your life? Although it seemingly had no connection to my question, I felt a deep desire to answer this question. And although I did not fully understand my own answer, it was simple: I. I create my life. I choose everything I am and everything I experience.

I still do not fully understand it. But I can not deny that the only answer that feels right is still the same.

There is a cool site called Existential Comics with lots of comics poking fun at philosophers of all ages. Here is a fun bit about stoicism. The message is a bit similar: You can not harm me. It is only me who can choose to suffer from events I have no control over.

I have been doing meditation for about half a year now and about two weeks ago I had a short insight into how this is true. I was at cinema and the ads started running as they always do. And as always, I had a reflexive reaction to them: I felt contempt, boredom, ridicule.

Continue reading “Is your pain created by yourself or others?

01.04.2016

I saw a crazy screaming woman today – she reminded me of me

My first day as a free man in two months. I take a ride into the city to buy a cheap checkers game. On my way around the cathedral I hear a woman scream. A man is firmly holding a relatively attractive young woman’s two hands at a restaurant table. Let me go, she shouts. I wonder what it is about. I look at her hands; she has some kind of necklace wrapped around her fists.

I suspect she attacked the man and now she is getting what she asked for. Let me go, you asshole!

She looks around; a few somewhat amused people are watching. Help me! Help me, you cowards! Aah, you are hurting me! I feel mild shame, but I will not interfere in a situation I know nothing about. Besides, it is interesting to watch. In fact, it is interesting that there really seems nothing I can do without knowing what happened. Justice is a blind bitch.

Continue reading “I saw a crazy screaming woman today – she reminded me of me

18.02.2016

Why you can never be absolutely certain

I remember that I read Atlas Shrugged. I remember it made me feel fuck confident. With time, the ideas in my head faded. Then I read The Fountainhead and refreshed that spirit. But something kept nagging at my certainty. I suppressed it until that little tear of doubt turned into a hurricane.

Each day I progress, I start thinking and feeling differently about things that had felt the same way for 26 years. Absolutes turn into relatives and by now, it is becoming comfortable to question myself just as the world around me.

There were times I wished for a fixed set of rules that would make me perfect – long as I followed it, anyway. Like fucking cops.

But I could never truly believe or make myself believe. At times, I thought I was going mad.

I think this is good. A person that is able to get absolutely and unlimitedly stuck in a set of ideas would make the perfect slave, but nothing else: Ready to receive the initial instruction but rejecting everything else.

So, next time you feel cognitive dissonance, do not beat yourself up for not knowing absolute truth. Rather, congratulate yourself for being too smart to actually believe in one.

For being smart enough to detect inconsistencies. For the virtue of the pain of your head when confronted with nonsense. For the ability to adapt and free yourself from lies.

If you could be absolutely certain, you would forever stay a slave of the first stupid idea you heard. So, like a player learns to love rejection, learn to love cognitive dissonance and toying with contradictory ideas.

28.12.2015

How do you write a good article?

Good question. What is an article? By what I gather so far, it is a arranged collection of anything between fifty and five thousand words. These collections of words usuallly carry a small phrase called title, meant to be representative of the content. But then, if it really was representative, you would only need to read the title and not the content, right? So the title is more accurately a small teaser to elicit associations with a particular topic. In a way, the title is more of a starting point for a chain of thoughts than a basket defining the boundaries of that which is to come. A title is an invitation to a dear friend, asking: Do you want to join me in following this particular chain of thought?

But I can also see how one would like to do it right and be structured and logical. To stay with the topic. But then, how much deviation is allowed? And before I write an article, do I already know exactly what I am going to say? If the title of an article is to define the boundaries of the content to come, it seems more reasonable to write the article first, see what comes out and then find an appropriate title.

But why would you need the title to be a boundary? Well, it is neat. You have a little box called How to become super muscular and everything in there is only there to precisely answer that question. It spans an idealized harmonical arc of narration, a perfect piece of art – and yet the idea is vague and once one starts writing, one starts to wonder how to translate this elusive ideal into actual words. One could argue that in such an article about muscles, it is pointless to even mention, for instance, women. One does not need to write about women to describe the motions of growing muscles. And yet, one may mention that women like muscular guys and this may, by pure accident, be the one raindrop of motivation surplus that the reader needs to get going. But strictly, it does not belong there, or does it? It would belong in an article called How to motivate yourself to become super muscular.

But then, what if women do not particularly motivate somebody? Does the article name then not promise something it does not deliver? Well, I guess you would need to become more precise: How to use women to motivate yourself to become super muscular.

And so on and so on, until the title of the article would in fact become the article itself. Because only the article itself represents the article itself perfectly.

Continue reading “How do you write a good article?