DocWatts

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  1. While I haven't read every one of Nietzsche's many books, I feel like I do have a good enough grasp on the essence of his philospical system to chime in. What's important to keep in mind for Nietzsche's philosophy is the context under which he was writing, which can help make sense of some of his underlying motivations. Nietzsche was writing at a time when Europe was undergoing dramatic changes thanks to the rapid profusion of Enlightenment values and the spread of Industrialization. Much like Doestoyevsky, Nietzsche was concerned with the potentially destabilizing consequences of these changes. In particular, Nietzsche found good reasons to worry about the vacuum of meaning that would emerge as religions became less and less viable as the organizing principle of people's lives (his famous 'God is dead' idiom). Much of his philosophy is an attempt to deconstruct both the Christian and the emerging universalist Enlightenment morality systems of his day, by teasing out the hidden motivations behind such systems (by undertaking a 'genealogy' of morals) In this way, it could be said that Nietzsche was actually the first postmodern philosopher. His overall goal was to construct a system of value to fill that vacuum, in order to head off both nihilism and hedonism. While there's no way to get in to all the specifics in one post, that's some good background knowledge to keep in mind. Also a word of caution; because of the deliberately amoral nature of Nietzsche's philosophical system, don't accept his arguments uncritically or his claims at face value. Doing so will probably lead you to being a less compassionate person if you haven't cultivated our own ethics first, something that a lot of people run in to when they're introduced to Nietzsche as teenagers or young adults.
  2. @Carl-Richard Thanks for the share. I'm interested to hear what Kastrup's thoughts are on Process-Relational Philosophy. The more I've learned about Whitehead, the more I'm convinced that his system isn't incomprehensible so much as Whitehead shares with Hegel a deficiency in writing style and presentation. Both Hegel and Whitehead have some really novel and engaging ideas, they just unfortunately happen to be shit at communicating them in a clear and straitforward way. Though for what it's worth I did eventually make it through an abridged, restructured, and heavily commentated version Process and Reality, despite Whitehead's best efforts at making his system obtuse. Even more than with Heidegger, learning Whitehead felt like learning the grammar to another language. And after doing so, I'm increasingly confident that Whitehead's system offers as viable an alternative to scientific materialism as Kastrup's analytic idealism. It was actually pretty surprising to learn that Whitehead's philosophy has a lot of overlap with Buddhist ideas and concepts, and much of his system could be accurately described as a different means of arriving at the Buddhist notion of dependent-origination. He goes in to give a schematization of how interdependence, transience, and creative novelty are fundamental to Reality. Pretty impressive stuff, if one has the patience for novel and engaging ideas presented in unintuitive ways.
  3. Interesting discussion with the cognitive linguist and philosopher George Lakoff, which explores the epistemological implications of: how the mind is inherently embodied, how most thought is unconscious, and how our metaphors structure the conceptual system we use to navigate reality. His philosophy is in many ways an extension of the embodied theory of mind as articulated by Evan Thompson, Fransisco Varella, and Eleanor Rosch, which itself is an attempt to build a bridge between cognitive science and the contemplative practices of Buddhism. What's particularly interesting about Lakoff is the alternative he offers to radical forms of both Objectivism and Subjectivism, and how he uses this to deconstruct systems of epistemology grounded a-priori reasoning which has been at the heart of Western Philosophical traditions dating back to the time of Plato.
  4. Because generally and for the most part it's been in the West, rather than in the East, that the epistomological error of disembodied mind has become entrenched, largely thanks to Cartesian mind-body dualism and later materialist paradigms. Also worth pointing out that meditative practices didn't take hold in the West to nearly the same extent as they have in the East, which I suspect is a major reason behind how the myth of disembodied mind has managed to survive over the centuries.
  5. All definitions and categories whatsoever are constructed, for the purposes of being able to make discernments in an undivided and undifferentiated Reality. Constructed categories are useful (rather than true) insofar as they allow us to navigate this Reality and to communicate with one another more easily. All of this hair splitting over the constructed meanings of our categories would all be a bit silly if not for the fact that how these Constructs are arranged have a very real impact on the rights and well being of actual people. So how these Constructs are arranged does matter, even if at the end of the day we're just arguing over the definitions of words rather than engaging with something ontologically "real". In social relationships, our Constructs are used to define whether someone is in the In-Group or Out-Group. Being offered the recognition that's necessary to being treated with dignity and respect is typically contingent upon falling within the boundaries of the In-Group. In America, if we reflect upon how groups eventually come to gain Civil Rights, it's almost always through a protracted battle to widen the boundaries of the In-Group so as to include marginalized people.
  6. I agree. But this would require a cultural shift in the US that's both overdue and at least a generation or two away. Under the current social conditions of widespread paranoia, social alienation, and indifference it's pretty much a non-starter. At least until the vast majority of people care enough to demand for change, and democracy is in a healthy enough to address social problems. Addressing gun violence, like addressing any other number of issues, will all but necessitate sweeping democratization reforms which limit the ability for gun manufacturers to use a form of legalized bribery to prevent any traction on addressing gun violence through legislation. Unfortunately the situation right now is that the foxes are guarding the henhouse, so until some more fundamental changes happen any reforms to address social problems are pretty much out of reach.
  7. I'm in favor of much stronger gun control laws, but let's not delude ourselves in to thinking that sensible gun control laws is anything more than a (necessary) band-aid on top of a toxic form of gun culture that's coupled to a pathological form of individualism in the US. As long as a large plurality of Americans continue to be unconcerned about the well being of other people outside of their immediate social circle, and until far more people here are willing to take responsibility for social problems, we can expect these problems to continue.
  8. Even if you're right, what's a realistic plan for getting rid of the 400 million guns that exist in the United States?
  9. What people from other parts of the world maybe don't realize is that there are more guns than people in America, so even if there was political will for an Australian or British solution it would prove to be logistically impossible. That's not to give any sympathy whatsoever to Republicans, the NRA, or the far Right who are the most selfish people on the planet and could give a shit less about children being gunned down in schools. That said, one aspect of the issue that's not given nearly enough attention is the toxicity of gun culture within a larger trend of a disintegrating and atomized culture where deaths of despair are becoming increasingly common among men. Then add to this a gun culture in the US that's a wasteland of toxic masculinity that preys upon fear, suspicion, and inadequacy. Is it any wonder that in a culture where lots of men (and it's always men who are doing these mass shootings) aren't socialized in healthy ways and end up feeling hopeless and alienated from society, that some of them will decide to find one of the easy accessible guns in the US and make a mark by going out in a blaze of glory? Gun control may be able to stop some of this, but helping men to live fulfilling and meaningful lives as well as countering the atomization of society from Late Stage Capitalism and Right Wing ideologues will also be necessary.
  10. That about nails it. Fascism is a product of a failed or failing democracy, where a portion of the public feels existentially threatened to the point that they become willing to abandon democratic liberties and take back control of 'thier' country by any means necessary.
  11. Thought I'd share this excellent article I came across about how the rhetorical tricks that far-right ideologues use to indoctrinate 'normies' into white supremacist ideology. I quoted a bit of it below, but the article is worth a full read. Once you become aware of these tactics it's hard not to notice them when they're employed in political discourse. https://medium.com/@DeoTasDevil/the-rhetoric-tricks-traps-and-tactics-of-white-nationalism-b0bca3caeb84 "How do normal people become Nazis? How can reasonable people be lead to harbor unreasonable and dangerous beliefs? The tactics white supremacists use are effective and working. This is an article that tries to make clear the tactics involved in the subversive manipulation and how their actions of planting the roots of bigoted ideology often goes unnoticed. This is a guide for “normies”, centrists, and everyone else on how to spot the rhetoric in the wilds of the internet. By and large the majority will NEVER admit to holding and espousing neo-Nazis beliefs, the goal is to lead you into the pit until you don’t want to get out and then drop the charade of put upon centrism. This hiding the true ideology under a layer of more acceptable talking points is called “hiding powerlevel”. To deceive and recruit people it is imperative that they can make a connection of trust first, and being outright in their beliefs would mean they get dismissed before they have the chance to recruit. They are going to appeal to you, they are going to use things you like to make you empathize with them, and then over time they will slowly, feed you the Whitaker mantras and white nationalist talking points. Neo-Nazis hide. They usually aren’t going to be obvious about what they stand for when they are trying to woo you. This deception is referred to inside their circles as “hiding your power level”, it is masquerading as something else to lure people in and then slowly expose them to neo-Nazi propaganda. These hiding tactics range from false flags where they attack people while impersonating those they hate in order to drive people towards more radical groups, or silencing methods like telling people false information while pretending to be non-biased, or hiding their identities claiming that they are “normal” / “centrists” / “moderates” / “liberals”. USING ENEMIES TO UNIFY Do you hate SJWs, those nebulous ne’er-do-wells of the internet? They’re ascribed to killing everything from video games to society itself. The term “SJW” is largely useless as it has been applied to pretty much anyone as a means of marking them as “bad” and their points as “bad”, but neo-Nazis are opportunists and have taken use of “SJW” and othering words to rally people to their sides. Use of identifiable enemies is common. Often neo-Nazis steal enemies to build upon other past reactionary movements, catering their sales pitch in order to groom more people in. They find common “enemy”. They find what the intended recruit group hates and then build the bridge from that enemy towards the white nationalists’ identified enemies. When you jump into conversations that you are ignorant about and accidentally defend neo-Nazis you are doing their work for them.
  12. @Fleetinglife For what it's worth, Starship Troopers (the Heinlein novel, not the Paul Verhoeven film) was a philosophical novel that arguably defends and promotes fascism, by imagining a scenario where a fascist society could work. From what I understand when Paul Verhoeven picked up the film for adaptation, he was disgusted by the far Right ideology of the book and decided to use the film adaptation to deconstruct the ideas in the book. As to Warhammer 40k, it was conceived from the outset as a mashup of sci-fi and dystopian settings including Dune and Judge Dredd that was intended to be a somewhat tongue in cheek satire of fascism from the very beginning. Despite the anti-fascist satire being about as subtle as a brick thrown through a window, real world fascists tend to gravitate towards it mostly because they like the aesthetics of the setting and because fascists are the protagonists (regardless of it they're unambiguously villain protagonists).
  13. I'd counter that with "misplaced normalcy syndrome", which describes people shoving thier head in the sand and downplaying large and obvious changes in the social landscape, in the niiave belief that tomorrow will be like yesterday regardless of what's going on at the present moment. Large social shifts can and do happen, and what's been taking place over the last five to ten years in America (ie a fucking coup attempt by a president who lost an election and is highly likely to try again in a few years) is not in any way normal. Yeah we can say that Trump is a symptom rather than a cause, but normalizing what's happening in society right now is extremely dangerous and irresponsible.
  14. @Fleetinglife Speaking of Warhammer 40k, such are the times we're living that a satire of fascism has been unironicly appropriated by real life fascists.
  15. The 'Free Rider' problem from philosophy can be illuminating here insofar as it highlights some of the difficulties around Freedom of Speech. It's the same principle around the notion of to what extent should tolerant societies allow for intolerance. The difficulty being that the intolerant reap the benefits of a society that allows them to express thier own viewpoint, while they are working to undermine those benefits for other groups. Likewise, freedom of expression is only sustainable insofar as the people exercising thier freedom of expression are willing to extend that same Right to others. This includes not only freedom of expression on media platforms like Twitter, but also allowing people to express thier diverse cultural, gender, and sexual identities without being shamed, harassed, and threatened. Now most societies can absorb some amount of Free-Riding, but there's always going to be a limit that will be higher or lower depending on how robust that society is. Beyond that threshold and it starts to become an existential threat to the entire rights and freedoms of everyone in the society. Which is why it's completely justified for democracies to ban facsist political parties, to list just one instance of this. By these metrics, it's quite easy to see that as @trenton points out, almost the entirety of rhetoric around Free Speech on the Right is being used as a Bad Faith smokescreen to roll back rights and freedoms for groups that they don't consider to be 'true' citizens in their eyes. This is easy to see in the reactionary hysteria over things like Critical Race Theory, in attempts to get books which discuss things like racism banned from schools and libraries, and in the outcry over increased visibility for LGBT people and minorities in popular media. 'Freedom for me, not for thee' is as true for freedom of expression as it is for virtually every other freedom when espoused by the Right.
  16. @Fleetinglife Excellent analysis in that article, thanks for sharing
  17. Part of a great urban planning series that compares and contrasts US transportation infrastructure with that of the Netherlands.
  18. You'd be forgiven for thinking that the infrastructure in parts of America are that of a developing country. I live around Detroit and roads in the below condition aren't that uncommon around here.
  19. Since there seems to be some confusion what fascism actually is, here's one of the better definitions I've come across for it. And for anyone curious, this definition came from a comparative politics series that gives an in depth analysis on fascism; why it's a symptom of failed democracy, why it has its roots in aggrieved populism, and how it differs from other forms of authoritarianism. https://youtu.be/m6VSdwInpnc
  20. What JP deserves to be ridiculed for is his misplaced and delusional ideas around what he believes the problems facing the world to be; delusions which he platforms to his immense audience. I.e. thinking that younger generations (correctly) assessing that very little is being done to address an unfolding ecological catastrophe is the problem, rather than Climate Change itself. Or that Progressives being unreasonable about pronoun usage is a bigger threat to the world than the rise of fascism as a symptom of failing democracy in the United States and Europe. He doesn't deserved to be ridiculed over fact that he's crying while obviously going through a difficult time in his life. What I'm left with is feeling pity for the guy. Pity, because it's hard to be completely sympathetic for him considering the context where this video took place (a reactionary political rant), and when his tears are also bookended by him shaming others for thier body types and sexual preferences (ala the magazine cover debacle).
  21. If someone votes for a reactionary political party that's actively working to end democracy, they're supporting fascism (regardless of whether they're ignorant of the consequences of their actions).
  22. Not fake, just pitiable that his life purpose is tied to an ideological paradigm that's so out of sync with the current problems facing the world.
  23. Imho most of the insightful aspects about stoicism are also contained within Buddhism, with the main difference being that Buddhism actually has a practical methodology for training the mind to overcome self-destructive tendencies, something that stoicism lacks.
  24. Seems pretty evident that white supremacist terrorism is the logical endpoint for the fReeDuMB (mis)conceptions around freedom of speech. Which primarily entails allowing Bad Actors the 'freedom' to spread toxic and dangerous disinformation (in this case fascist conspiracy theories) without accountability or consequences. Someone like Charles Manson was thrown in jail because of the influence he had over his followers who went on to commit a series of horrific murders, despite Manson not murdering anyone himself. By that same metric, at the very least Civil Litigation against people like Tucker Carlson who are using white nationalist ideology to indoctrinate and radicalize men who go on to commit horrific murders is equally justified (regardless of the odds of actually winning such a case in court)
  25. I would think that a far better indicator of why no one should take JP seriously would be the recent video of him crying crocodile tears over Climate activism. Not over Climate Change mind you, but over people actually being concerned about the unfolding ecological crisis. It's the equivalent of smoking two packs a day for twenty years while being in complete denial about the obvious impact this has on your health, then directing your ire towards the doctor who tells you that you'll be dead in ten years if you don't change your lifestyle.