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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.

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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.

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A letter from his daughter

Paul got a letter from his daughter. He hesitated to read it. He put it away for a long time until he brought up the courage to open it. It said:


Hi daddy,

I had this voice in my head all my life. A voice that was telling me that I am a miserable piece of shit. That I don’t deserve love, don’t deserve pleasure, don’t deserve a fulfilling sex life.

Once the voice appeared in my dreams. It was the devil. A horrifying black cloud of terror. In that dream, I tried to fight him. Was it a him? Or was it an it? I tried to fight it, but my limbs were frozen. I could not move, as much as I tried. It ridiculed me and said You are mine. I whimpered and kept repeating to myself, No, no, no, oh please, god, no! Reality was disintegrating.

I woke up shaken and out of my mind. I pushed it all away, it could not be. I forced myself to forget about it.

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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?

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A modern, revised mythology of gods

The Greeks had their mythology of gods. Christianity has its own. They are a bit old-fashioned. When we talk of Archetypes, we tend to look backwards in time and orient us on tradition. But is that so useful? And is that how it has always been? Or is a mythology including its Archetypes something that should be related to the Now?

The Greek goddess Demeter is the goddess of agriculture. It sounds very traditional. But when you think of it, it was simply a reflection of the reality back then, when agriculture was very relevant. If you go further back in time, before humans discovered farming and when they were still nomads, would they have had any use for Demeter? I doubt it.

Religion should be alive. Gods should be a reflection of the reality we live in. They should not be ancient statues we ideologically cling to, condemning anything that does not reflect them, but rather dynamic and alive forces that reflect the world we currently live in.

A good example of this is the cargo cult. They worship airplanes as gods and build monuments in the image of airplanes.

The goal should not be to judge between that which is divine and that which is not. Rather, the goal should be to see the divine in everything that happens.

Hence I decided to create a list of modern day gods.

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Love is not submission

Many awakening people write with awe about their first being-in-the-moment experience. It typically seems to happen in nature, in some awesome scenery. For me, it happened in a totally ordinary situation today, while sitting in a metro.

I had been observing my thoughts and emotions for an hour or so. My anger, lust, shame, sadness, all those things. The voices in my head that negotiate whether something can be allowed or not. And then gradually, I felt that my own presence increased, and that my identification with my emotions and thoughts faded. They were still there, but they were no longer the exclusive focus of my attention.

Opposite of me sat an old man with circumorbital rings who seemed to be in a somber mood, dreamily looking outside the window at the dark walls passing the train. A hot girl stood somewhere, with a sharp nose, exuding a witch-like presence. An old woman was looking around looking for something to be pissed about. A well-dressed man with a well-kempt beard and great haircut stood there with a serene and masculine and slightly anxious expression on his face. Another old man was lost in his thoughts about some family relatives.

And so on.

I looked at them without judging them – while observing how my mind did just that.

I realized that most of my life, I had not been seeing people. Or things. Or anything for what it was. All I had been perceiving were my judgments, opinions and categorizations of them, thoughts about their relation to myself, and the emotions that resulted from all that mental debris. I had basically only been seeing myself and the things those people meant to me – not the people themselves.

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The ways we give up personal power

I have been pretty obsessed with the idea of unconditional love recently. And I still think it is an important thing to get to know, even if I am not there yet. But my obsession may have blinded me to other aspects of reality. Yesterday, I came over an article that elaborates on the power chakra.

It made me think about the ways in which I give up personal power in my daily life. The ways I either compromise my own boundaries or disrespect those of others.

A very good example of this is how I used to follow around women, listening to their personal problems and stories, in the hopes for more – which never came. It was draining, but I was not respecting my gut feeling there. In fact, I was ashamed of it. Recently, I have become angry about that and I have even written angry text messages to those girls.

But the important insight for me is that I have indeed allowed them to use me for their nonsense and then discard me, even if that was on an unconscious level. They were only doing what I, on an energetic level, gave them permission to do. I had hidden motives, sure, but they still did nothing I did not fully allow them to do in my heart (or power chakra?).

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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.

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What will the others think?

I am prone to judging myself pretty strongly. In those situations, my thoughts often revolve around what other people will think. I think this is a trick of the mind. Who is really the author of your pain? The thoughts and opinions of others? But when you are alone in your room, there are no thoughts of others. There are just your own thoughts thinking about what others will think. Your own self-judgment disguised as judgment of others. This is ideal for the mind that wants to convince you you are powerless. I mean, if your mind told you that you are an asshole all the time, you might tell it to shut the fuck up. But your mind hides its madness behind a pretense of rationality: It is the others who think this and you have no influence over it. I am just the messenger.

Thus, the destructive thoughts your mind fabricates seem like they are not even your own. So it seems impossible to stop them. How could you stop a thought that is not your own? And ideally, it is the thought of someone you are afraid to question.

If a kid was spewing bullshit, you could call him out. But then the kid comes and says: But this is not my opinion. Obama (or insert random important figure) said that!

So you start thinking about whether you have the right or power to question Obama (or insert random important figure).

But in the end, it is your own fucking mind that brought up the self-loathing. It just prepended “Obama (or insert random important figure) said …”.

So maybe it is wise to not let your mind hide behind the backs of others and hold it responsible.


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.

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