Embrace your inner Savage

“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”
– Sun Tzu

Civility is a mere facade, indoctrinated within us from birth. Social conditioning has directed people to civility that we have today, but could we as a species taken a different route? Perhaps, but would it have been “better”? The imagination is a powerful thing and I suspect that a rather successful implementation of imagination – in the ideological push of civility – has many wonderful aspirations to offer. However, it does have its extremes. We can often end up forgetting who or what we are, animals. We, human beings, are classified as animals under Kingdom Animalia, yet many of us have chosen to subjectively distance ourselves from every other animal, by definition even, as provided by Merriam Webster.

1an·i·mal
[b]: a living thing that is not a human being or plant[/b]
: any living thing that is not a plant
: a person who behaves in a wild, aggressive, or unpleasant way
I like the third sense of the word, a person who behaves in a wild, aggressive, or unpleasant way. When push comes to shove, we may all just go back to being this type of animal. After all, most of us have the innate will to survive, as is common in animals. If aggressiveness is required for us to survive or at least protect our conception of life, our values, our way of life, we do have the capability to lift the shroud of civility that camouflage us, to revert back to our more animal roots.

We react based upon our biological make up and environmental conditioning, just as all animals do. Sure, we have some major advantages over the rest of Kingdom Animalia but are we to distance ourselves so much to consider ourselves so special that we are beyond animals now?

I credit the extreme notions of this ideology of civility to have its roots in various forms of political correctness, cultural constructs, the conceptions of people. It is often that any of us can be disillusioned about anything and I’ve noticed in some various politically correct stances that we can weave a web of twisted logic that pushes the envelope of our perception to a disillusioned frame of reference. The simple categorization that places us as not animals, for instance. It seems this occurred, well, just because “we” can. Perhaps because we were believed to be “made in God’s image”. Because we are an apex predator and our transcendence over the rest of kingdom animalia is prevalent. We have essentially “terraformed” if you will, the very planet that gave birth to us, which has led to our further distancing from our animal roots. We humans have constructed a world that seems [i]unnatural[/i], perhaps it makes us seem unnatural in ourselves. We have constructed laws, conceptions, rules, order, regulation, laws that may seem [i]unnatural[/i]. Of course, “we” is being applied here very liberally. A lot of this is of what we are born into is the result of some people, probably a minority, that have shaped the social constructs, influencing humanity through their power, which through charisma, reason, logic, people agree to, submit to, or just apathetically conform to.

Today we see extremes in various forms of political activism; political correctness in all its forms; Everyone should be seen as “equal”, everyone should be able to sexually identify how they wish, certain clothing is required for certain occasions, some of these are practical, some are pipe dreams; superfluous goals that will never be obtained. There is the paradoxical push for racial equality, or even the dissemination of race altogether, which ends up segregating the races in turn and hurts its own cause. Pointing out that “black people” are well black, and white people are white, in order to achieve equality, such as “another white cop killed a black 18 year old man”, seems self defeating in this push. Sure there may be injustices here and yes may be the root cause, but doesn’t that just sharpen the schism with a polarizing effect? Trading some small victory while creating a larger war in the end.

Censorship, for example, while having it has its practicality and legitimate uses, can be troublesome. There is a fine line that we must not damage, our freedom to express ourselves. These all seems methods of control to subvert the natural ways some people are of course. To deny some aspects our “savagery” on these levels can lead to systematic corruption of power, authority, resulting in a slippery slope of self defeat.

Authority will always need a reminder that the unjust facade of civility ought to be transparent to the people and governmental savagery should be apparent to those that must obey their will, regardless of the efforts of propaganda. We should not necessarily expect more from the epitome of human civility; systems, governments, corporations, cultures. Understand that these systems, these constructs that we have created ourselves, operate with savagery and animalistic tendencies. Without doing so, we may only set us up for failure. When we lose track of what we are and who we are, we fool only ourselves. We should be vigilant in our ideologies to understand what we can do and maybe more importantly, what we cannot do. We cannot get ahead of ourselves, we cannot get ahead of our animal selves. This somewhat ties in with going with what we know, and more importantly knowing at times that we do not know. But if we are disillusioned as civilized human beings, are we in this world, the structures of authority really operating as civilized human beings, or are we really operating as the apex predator, or animal that we are? Remember, when push comes to shove, civility will crumble. Can we push the authorities to crumble? Of course, we can. Expose the inner animal, the animal drives, that might be masked with logic and reason, but underneath it all, might be something else.

To be prepared let us embrace our inner savage, or our inner animal. See it in ourselves as to forget our inner savage is to forget what we are, so we can see it in others, as to not forget who “they” are. Society is yet to work out its kinks and may never; We are very flawed humans. Civility certainly has its place and is particularly useful in how we treat others, so of course, lets not go overboard and start eating each other.
Now if you have made it this far, perhaps I can welcome you to some aspects of the human condition that portray just what kind of animal we humans are. The capability to produce abstract thoughts that result in the notion of civility, that we all play along, or abide with. (At least most of us). The human condition though is one in which has very animalistic tendencies, which if believe we are civilized human beings made in God’s image, perhaps we will forget the capability of humans. We are for the most part, bottomless pits. Black holes that will always want more. When we have more, we’ll want something else. It’s in our nature, which is not within our control. Our biological make up has caused us to be able to want, to live, to think. Other animals have other drives, dependent upon their biological make up. Some people become killers, they lie, they have all sorts of issues that civility pushes below the depths of our perception, hiding and lurking withe facade of civility to camouflage them. There are murderers, rapists, thieves, walking out there among us, who look just as civilized as everyone else. Civility, perhaps rules, order, laws and governmental authority has masked their savagery. They all play the game, just like everyone else. But in each and every one of us, lurks something else.

Is being an animal always bad? Of course not. Many non human animals are probably capable of loving or caring just as we are. Just don’t let the facade of civility fool you into thinking everything is just fine and dandy with these human beings that walk the earth. So embrace your inner savage, for it will give you insight into the rest of society. Knowing this within may help you know others. Your primal drives, fears, desires. These don’t necessarily come from our environment, it may primarily come from our genetic make up, which remember, is a genetic make up that is the most dominant species of life on this planet that has conquered the food chain and for many if not most, the most desirable conquest is of those of the same species.

To recognize this in yourself and or others, I would take the advice of Sun Tzu here again:

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” – Sun Tzu

 

 

 

Perception and Conceptualization

When we see something, we construct a conceptualization of what that thing is, which is compared and contrasted automatically to things like that thing, that we already know of. When we see a human, we conceptualize the human as perhaps, a man or a woman, depending on the traits that we are focusing on. Sometimes, depending on what we see, that may not be the first thing we can conceptualize and it remains in more of a status that isn’t necessarily what we can consider to be a good conceptualization, or a good probability that the person is a man or a woman. Of course this day and age, we can’t really know if anyone is a man or a woman, but that can be a different subject. When we see a face, we note the things that we have already attributed to being that of a face, is there eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, the face, those are perceived rather easily. It is rather striking, when one of these things are missing, because that is not the norm. However, missing an eye, missing a nose, doesn’t disqualify us from considering that face to be human. But what if this person is missing both their eyes, their mouth and their nose? Then what? Of course, we would probably have never seen anybody quite like this before. We may think they aren’t a human, perhaps they are an alien. Perhaps, they are a mannequin with no face. Do we consider this to be the same for a person who is missing a nose and an eye? Perhaps not, accidents and birth defects do happen. But I’m not sure if a person is able to live long without a face. That type of birth defect may not be acceptable or conducive to life, if there is one. I’m not sure if there is one like that, of course this is a hypothetical. I would think some of you may be googling that right now, already have, or will be.

It seems that there may be unknown qualifications that we require to consider our perception to be the same as a concept that we already are aware of.

A tree, is a tree, based on certain qualifications that we know of as a tree. Interestingly, a pine tree is very different from a maple tree. However, there still are striking similarities. Yet of course, these words and classification of this pine tree and a maple tree does have has some legitimate ontological basis for both to be considered a tree. But how about bamboo? This is very different from other trees. It is considered a type of grass in wikipedia, but it is also very different from other types of grass as well. So there is some debate on whether bamboo is a tree or a grass. But really, it doesn’t matter to much as to what it is. Neither does a pine tree being labeled a tree matter to what it is. It does only make it easier to communicate such things. Look at that tree! Well, if its a pine tree, we will know what they are referring to. But what if we never saw a pine tree? We can deduce the other person is probably referring to that tree looking thing with these large weird needles all over it, instead of leaves. That’s a tree, we might think? This process of identifying things and concepts is very much tied into our language. Our language is very much a social construct and can even be considered a social contract, if you will. Language ties in to how we perceive and conceptualize things, because through language, we form concepts that are attached to these symbols that we know as words. These symbols are attributed to real word concepts, both physical and abstract things. But these concepts and real world things, don’t always mesh. Sometimes they do, but often, there is a disconnect to the reality of the physical or abstract thing.

Without knowing how language and words, definitions can get it wrong, we will get our philosophy wrong as well. To question the definitions of words is to philosophize. Our language, being a social construct, is also a language that has formed, and informed our minds. “Think for yourself, question authority – Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities — the political, the religious, the educational authorities — who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing — forming in our minds — their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable open-mindedness. (A) chaotic, confused vulnerability to inform yourself.”

When one thinks for our self and questions the authority of words and languages, its usages, its common ways that people express meaning, we can possibly see how that meaning isn’t necessarily cogent to the ontology of the identity of a concept. Just what is an abstraction, what really exists, what is physical, what isn’t? What is a product of our mind and what is actually there?

What is a product of our culture and language and what is actually there?

Language has essentially forced upon us a conceptualization through linguistical standards that can cause something to come about such as a concept that doesn’t actually have any basis in reality, yet we use it as if it might. For example, a religious definition of “Free will”

I would say, people “know better” by now. By know better, I use colloquial rhetoric here. But know, and belief, are often of some sort of problematic nature in colloquial rhetoric, which I have attempted to note more thoroughly here: https://ruminationfactory.wordpress.com/…/knowing-is-not-b…/

Through questioning the ontological implications of language, we can go deeper philosophically and possibly overcome limitations from those that preceded us. Through perceptual conceptualization that is aware of the aforementioned pitfalls of language, one can perceive things in a new clearer light that may be untainted by the norms of our culture, our language, our authorities, and break free from all that may be wrong about how people think. Of course, not everything is wrong, but then again, not everything is right either. There are problems unsolved everywhere in philosophy, there are problems unsolved in science, in math, in perception, in cognition. Did Kant get everything right on synthetic and non synthetic a priori? We should not assume so much. I would argue against Kant and his description of math, as I already have elsewhere in the “think for yourself question authority thread”. To ascribe to the greats and utilize them in comparing what we actually think, as if they are weighted, might very well be considered bias. If we can think from a mind that attempts to gain independence as much as possible from the environment that we are born in, then perhaps we can perceive things in a new light, and maybe even a better light. Humanity has often herded, gone with what works. Sure things work, sure contextualization and words work, but we are not a perfect species. We have not perfected philosophy. We have not perfected our ontology. We are far from understanding the complexities of the mind, our perception processes and conceptualization process. Yes we have dug deeply into these fields, but there is always room for improvement.

Now, with conceptualization and perception being linked very much so with this social construct of language – how can we overcome the norms of our culture and go beyond? Shouldn’t we go beyond? If not a failed attempt, isn’t it worth it to try?

 

The state of mind

The mind is in a constant state of flux. No thought, no feeling, no sensation lasts for more than an instant before it istransformed into the next state, next thought, the next sensation. Note those moments… As they pass through, note such states as confidence, bewilderment, effort, trust, distrust, pleasure, discomfort, boredom, devotion, inquiry, pride, anger, desire, etc.” – Stephen Levine

Compatibilism

As an agent who makes a choice on my own will, (unconscious thought processes however illusory they may be deemed), then the choice ought to be attributed to “me”. I am a vessel that causal determinism flows through, however I affect it. I am the unconscious biological processes that aren’t necessarily at the forefront of my consciousness. I change it. My choice is influenced by this flow of determinism, but ultimately the choice is mine. It is not the “choice” or direct causation of things that preceded me, that influenced my choice, that led to the effects of my choice. This is compatibilism, this attributes moral responsibility on us all for our actions. 

Just as when a ball falls into a pool of water, the ball is attributed with making the ripples. Perhaps the wind blew the ball into the pool, but the wind doesn’t get attributed with making the ripples. The wind couldn’t, the ripples are a product of the weight and form of the ball. The wind influenced the ball, the wind attributed to the force of the ball hitting the pool, at a certain angle at a certain speed. The pool itself and the condition it is in is also a factor of how it would be affected by the ball that was blown in by the wind, but the ball itself can be attributed with causation, just like us. 

Free will has been inappropriately deemed being able to act without the influence of deterministic cause and effect, somehow. An old magical definition it seems, that doesn’t make much sense, that isn’t needed. Free will was never completely free, we are confined to our capabilities in making choices. We are confined to our conscious and unconscious capabilities, what can we even perceive as options. We all have our different abilities, different knowledge of what we can and can’t do in certain situations. We are also confined to physics and the things around us in our choices. We can’t simply just have the will to fly up into the sky on our own will. We can “will” only what is possible, and free will is essentially being able to choose between different options. As conscious human beings, we have that ability. We have the power to choose between going outside, or not going outside. If one determines our choice to be a matter of fate because it is the culmination of all of our biological and environmental conditions that “forced” us to choose, well, that isn’t really appropriate considering we are “our biological conditions”. As such, we are making the choice.

I am a human being

Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto

I am a human being, so nothing human is strange to me

-Publius Terentius Afer (195/185–159 BC

A worthy goal for us all. “Alien” and “weird” are replaceable. Just as evolution branches out in all sorts of “weird” ways, perhaps our minds ought to as well. Fathom the possibilities. Don’t let your perceived probabilities get in the way and seal your perceived probabilities with belief. Embrace your ignorance. Just as a child has whimsical curiosity, whereas the teenager is seen as knowing it all, filled with belief’s instead of the embrace of ignorance, adults too ought to revert back to that whimsical curiosity. Don’t be a stone, a square. Fathom the possibilities, push the envelope. Watch it bend

Language, the key to everything

IMG_6296

The one thing that gets in the way time and time again of productive discussions in philosophy is misunderstanding and a lot of that misunderstanding I see due to different levels of understanding different word meanings. Language can be very confusing with words meaning different things when people don’t utilize them understanding there are different meanings. So while someone may use a word in a proper sense, they may not necessarily understand that there are different senses of that same word that can have an entirely different meaning, and both be logically correct in the context of the discussion. When that occurs, it is imperative the author differentiate to avoid confusion. On the other hand, there are instances of a word being conveyed that really only has one sense that it must have logically been referred to, otherwise in context the author doesn’t make sense. This burden, rests upon the reader in order to understand. While it can be nice for the author to mention the definition, that can get tedious.

This can lead us to a slippery slope of defining (state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.) every (used to refer to all the individual members of a set without exception.
used before an amount to indicate something happening at specified intervals. (used for emphasis) all possible; the utmost.)) word ( a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.) we state.

Philosophy requires in depth thinking and master of language in order to comprehend it due to the nature of philosophy that by nature, attempts to have us arrive to the deepest level of understanding that we can. Those who know the senses of words and have mastered the senses of words will understand that there are rules to play by, rules to communicate effectively and rules to understand information to communicate effectively. I have presented two of those reasons above, I hope the readers take the time to take that to heart so that they do understand. However taking it to heart is not merely enough. Understanding language is a matter of intelligence – in that it can be very difficult if you do not process information quickly. There are over a million words in the English language. Most adults use 20,000 – 35,000 words. Each one of those words typically has multiple senses in of itself. Remember, a word is just a symbol for the larger meaning of it, which definitions only hope to convey the meaning accurately. It can be very difficult to communicate effectively but in Philosophy is extremely important.

Meaning comes from within the conveyors mind, it is a construct of a person’s understanding of not only the concept a word is referring to but also the known definitions that people utilize to communicate. As such, there are problems found in both ways of providing meaning, not necessarily understanding the concept and not understanding the definition. Things can make sense in a person’s mind but don’t to others, usually due to a failure here in these two areas. Aside from that, even if both of these are gotten right, people don’t always think logically. As such, this isn’t a problem of communication if solely this occurs, but a problem of thinking in ones mind.

Words don’t mean things, people do

“Meaning” – as defined by Merriam Webster
1.
what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import:
the three meanings of a word.
2.
the end, purpose, or significance of something:
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of this intrusion?
3.
Linguistics.
the nonlinguistic cultural correlate, reference, or denotation of a linguistic form; expression.

Now sense #1 is used colloquially when referring to “the meaning of words” or “what does that word mean?” But when I state, “Words don’t mean things, people do” I am referring to sense #3. Now this is somewhat ironic in how meaning of words and meaning of people and language can get very confusing and or muddled; words and communication are dynamic, in that there are many ways words can be used metaphorically, aside from all the different senses of a words. I would contest in certain words, it is nothing short of brilliant in able to utilize these certain words “in every sense of the word” and to mean every sense of the word. By stating “words don’t mean things, people do” as in people mean things – I am in a way, can be seen as being ambiguous or dubious in my communication. The receiver of the communication could easily not understand what I am stating – it could be that they don’t know about sense #3, which is often the case when I bring this statement up to say, Joe Schmoe. They might response, “words mean things, I can look up the meaning of words in the dictionary!”. But that would be Joe Schmoe using sense #1 strictly – in a sense that “meaning” is synonymous with having a definition. I don’t like the definition of sense #1 myself, it can create problems for our frame of reference on understanding what meaning I would say, should be. It is more meaningful to utilize meaning in sense #3, I would contend.

There are reasons why that is, a stating “words have definitions” is very straight forward as opposed to “words have meanings”. What does it really mean that “words have meanings”. It’s a rabbit hole in so much as it can mean quite a bit, and quite a bit more than one should be inundated with during communication. There are problems in language, because language is only a means to an end. That mean is conveying symbols (spoken or written) in a manner that hope to express the meaning of the communicator.

“Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities — the political, the religious, the educational authorities — who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing — forming in our minds — their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable open-mindedness, chaotic, confused vulnerability to inform yourself.” – Leary

This quote ties in that language, definitions, are constructed through and form a supposed ontology of how the world is, but this is done through other humans, popular usage so to speak. But that doesn’t mean it is right even, nor does it mean a words implications are actually real. I will leave it there to let some minds run wild, hopefully.