Stupidity is the only sin


Elsewhere I’ve mentioned the Greek notion that more pain or suffering is caused by ignorance or stupidity than outright evil. Despite the inevitable objections from indignant moralists, pain and suffering encompasses far more than the mere violations of liberal justice.

Where animals have instincts that guide them, people employ rationality to balance themselves. Although people are also animals, the species instinct is terribly underdeveloped, and once a person abandons rationality, and careening down the slippery slopes of unreason, he or she becomes unbalanced.

One form of imbalance is the mummified concept, the preserved cadaver, the embalmed remains of what used to be a living idea, a tickling sensation, or a brilliant moment. An original insight is captured and mounted on the wall as a well-groomed “belief,” a freeze-fried snapshot of a rich experience, but one that tends to dominate everything else until it becomes the sacred “dogma.”

These comfortable dogmas are medications against anxiety and other uncomfortable moods of existential angst, and vanity and sloth keeps them in circulation.

Philosophy is the antidote to these dogmas, for it is strictly a tool of unlearning. See here and here and here for further explication.

One trick I used to avoid contentment was where a friend and I would take positions we ourselves did not hold and defend them rigorously against the attacks of the other. This was an excellent way of killing time until the women showed up.

Nonetheless, if one wishes to be mediocre, one is happy with his lot in life, and will not have anything to do with philosophy.