Some time ago, I wrote myself into a corner in a chapter from Pantheon, in which a character was forced to solve a conundrum: he had to stay at a location, safeguard a highly sensitive museum, but prevent interlopers from coming inside, while not showing himself to them, or destroy them, or the critical objects of desire. The more I thought about this, the less confident I was at solving this Gordian knot. After all, if the aforementioned options prevented all possible solutions, then somewhere there was an assumption that made the conclusion false.
However, this proverb is far more profound than its attempt at cleverness. All three are actually interrelated and two of them are the dominant aspects of our modern times. The cynic is the average person, having become enlightened, but since none of her traditional beliefs or values are reliable, she sinks in a reflexive false consciousness. The fanatic is the reactionary who, in rejecting the secular wisdom of the Enlightenment, inadvertently recreates a secular version of his traditional beliefs or practices in fundamentalism. As for the troll? She merely avoids the pitfalls of either dead end by transcending the modern times in her utilization of cheeky humor and avoids the sin of seriousness in mocking either caricature. Continue reading Cynics, Fanatics, and… Trolls?
This blog focuses on the relationship between Gnosticism and antinatalism, and whether the philosopher E.M. Cioran endorses either one in his works. Thanks to ControversialPhilosophy from the Anti-Natalist and Anti-Antinatalist Debate blog, I was motivated to present a case that looked beyond cherry-picking quotes and guilt of association rhetoric, towards the historical and theological context of the writings. Continue reading Antinatalism & Gnosticism in Cioran
Every ‘why’ question is a subset of the ultimate question: Why is there Something and not Nothing instead? If you can think yourself and the world away, if you can say no, then you are acting in the dimension of the nothing. There is such a thing – the Nothing. We are, Heidegger says, “a placeholder of the nothing.” (What is Metaphysics, p. 38) The transcendence of human beings is therefore Nothing. Continue reading Nothing.
A historical novel by Gore Vidal, Creation is an Odysseus styled dialectic on religious dogma. The main character, Cyrus Spitama, is the grandson of Zarathustra, and his encounters with other 5th century sages are clearly the highlights of the novel. Cyrus is fixated on the question of creation, or the origin of the universe or human existence. Initially he was indoctrinated by Zarathustra, specifically the dualistic ontology of Zoroastrianism. Convinced with this religious truth, he sets out to test the alternative answers or non-answers of other wise men, such as those from the East: the Buddha, Confucius, Lao-Tze, and the West: Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, and etc. However, the book demonstrates how much of a fatal flaw the question of creation was for Western philosophy, because it always was the wrong question. Continue reading Creation, by Gore Vidal
I have been thinking about the best or most appropriate way to tackle the relationship between Christ and the gods of Pantheon, and recently I came across a potential approach in Sloterdijk’s “Cabinet of Cynics” chapter from Critique of Cynical Reason where he goes through the five embodiment of cynicism through history. The first suspect is none other than Diogenes, who embodied the low theory version in his decided opposition to the all-too serious discourse of Socrates & Plato. Kynicism was based on the animal nature of man, where the gestures of the body were framed as arguments (farting or shitting or whacking off in public). In other words Diogenes poked fun at his grave opponents, but instead of talking against such idealism, he lived in opposition in an anti-theoretical, anti-dogmatic and anti-scholastic way. Continue reading Pantheon and Christ
For the next volume in the Pantheon series, I will focus on an alien race that lives on the gas giant that orbits the star Arcturus. They acquire the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden, which causes them to become immortal, as well as transform their entire world into a lush paradise in eternal bloom.
New religion of Immortals
Not only did the Tree of life turn the sentient species Arcturians (of the planet in the Arcturus system) into immortals, it also abolished individuality. A Christ-like figure was responsible for implanting the seed of the tree of life, and gave up his life, only to be resurrected. However, this did not turn him into the son of god, the messiah, for the tree of life actually turned the entire race into a Christ-like symbol. Continue reading Religion of Immortals (Pantheon speculative fragments)
This semester I’m taking a graduate course in the philosophy of religion. I already took one as an undergraduate, but under a different professor who was a proficient expert on Hegel. This time, the current professor seems far more culturally informed and global, which leads to an entirely different angle to assess religion philosophically. Continue reading The failure of philosophy of religion
(a classic from my heydays on IIDB, 6 years ago)
One day in heaven, the philosopher was walking with God, waxing philosophical.
God: Everything you ever wanted is here.
Philosopher: Everything? Do you mean the Truth, too?
God: Why, yes. If its true, its in the Book of the Truth.
Philosopher: What’s that?
God: Come follow me.
They walk towards the Official Library of Heaven, where all the books that have ever existed, or will exist, are located. In the center there’s a tall podium with the biggest book ever lying atop of it, and open. The golden letters are printed in type 6 font, new roman times style, on the finest paper.
God: Every single truth is in this book.
Philosopher: Indeed? All true sentences?
God: But of course. I am essentially omniscient and I also know this to be true. That’s also in there!
Philosopher: Au contraire, mon deux.
Philosopher: I can think of at least one true sentence that cannot be in there.
God: Surely thou jest!
Philosopher: Not at all, your eminence.
God: Alright, what is this sentence? I warn you it cannot be meaningless. I am wise to the art of sophistry!
The philosopher takes a piece of a paper and writes “This statement is not in the Book of Truth.” God’s eyes bulge, and He begins to stammer.
Philosopher: Is this sentence in there? If so the book contains a falsehood. If not, then the book does not have all true sentences. Therefore it is not the Book of Truth.
God: Oh, dear. I hadn’t thought of that. I should have never made that Cretean….
While vacationing in Italy, I had the opportunity to flex a couple of neurons. My family is full of devout Catholics, and my youngest aunt Costanza (Costu) has the “gift” of speaking in tongues. That means the hardcore Catholics pray with her, and sometimes that sets her off in a indecipherable tongue-speaking frenzy. My uncle Michael can interpret her, so the message isn’t lost.
Moreover, Costu is also intelligent, having graduated from MST in Rolla. So she wanted to discuss philosophy with me, and she wanted to know what was my “truth.” It was early in the week, and I thought it would be a good idea to get this over with so we all can enjoy our fantastic resort.
As somebody well read in post-modernism, asking the very question “truth” sets off alarms. Such questions like “what is X” are classic questions of philosophy, but after Nietzsche, they no longer have any place in our society – all and any answer has no credibility – but I couldn’t answer like this to my Aunt. So I had to speak in the right language, and speak about the game of philosophy. Continue reading Truth? Pshaw!