Mercury and Psyche by Reinhold Begas (1878). Psyche was granted immortality by Jupiter and forgiven by Venus. The messenger god Mercury went down and took Psyche up to Mount Olympus, where she was reunited with her lover. Mercury Abducting Psyche personifies two concepts: Art and Genius. This signifies that Art raises Genius to immortality.


Reality as a Game Played Out Over and Over Again

What is the Cold War?

This is essentially a postmodernist take on it… it is merely a battle between two hypothetically equally valid interpretations of the world drawn from a set from extraordinarily large potential interpretations.

So, let us go into the problem neutrally. You should not think you know what the answer is. Lots of times when you talk to people who think, "I have an idea and it is right", and they write whatever they are writing just to justify the idea and have a look at it. But it is not a good way to write and think. The right way is to have a problem and try solve it, and not to demonstrate that your a priori commitment is true. You can identify this in other people because their view of the world is extraordinarily different coming out of solving the problem then going into it.

The role of narrative and religious thinking in life, that had no idea was possible.

The Communists played a game that we cannot play without descending into a murderous catastrophe.

There is something in what we have done in the west that is correct.

Narrative axioms: The story of the west. The individual is sovereign to the group. That is the solution to tribalism. The suffering individual is sovereign.

There is not a higher value than free speech. Free speech is free thought. And thought is the precursor to action and life. So, free-speech is free life. It is a lot deeper than pronouns.

Identity politics and social justice movements are part of a devious marxist agenda. It is the chattering buzz of ideologically possessed demons. There is nothing in it that is entirely unpredictable. If you want to find out whether the person is there or the ideology you listen to see if you are hearing anything that someone else of the same ideological mindset could have told you.

People are incredibly interesting. If you sit someone down and move past the ideological mindset. We are made of the stuff that produces great novels. There is no ordinary person. There is a façade of the ordinary. If the conversation was not very interesting then we were not doing anything useful. All the interesting things are very personal.

Ideological possessions. Crank the crank and out will come the ideological dogma. It is entirely predictable. They are possessed by an idea.

It is impossible for those on the radical left to admit that anyone who opposes what they are doing might be reasonable because what that means is you could be reasonable and still oppose the radical left, and that would imply what the radical left was doing was not reasonable.

It is crucial for the people to stand up for those on the bottom of the dominance hierarchy. That is why you have a left. Inequality is a real problem. The right stands for hierarchy and the left stands for those repressed. We know that things can go too far to the right and too far to the left. We know that when things go too far it is seriously not good. When things go too far to the right then we have the Second World War. And if things go too far to the left then God only knows how many people have been murdered due to internal repression (e.g., Soviet Union).

When you cross the line on the right you are getting to get into ethnic and racial superiority domains. But here’s a question: Where is the line when we cross too far to the left? "Who knows" is not a very good answer. It is harder for people on the left to draw boundaries because they are not boundary drawing types. They are boundary dissolving types.

Diverse, inclusive, equitable. No one is disagreeing with the first two. But the third brings lots of questions. If you are talking about inequality and equal outcome then you have gone too far.

You need to negotiate from a place of power. And that does not mean power physically but that you have options and you can say no.

Totalitarian states develop because people give up their right to be, their right to exist with their own thoughts. They lie. The individuals sacrifice their souls to the dictates of the state. And this goes badly sideways. How much evidence for that do we need? The lies of the state are aided and abetted by the moral sacrifice of the individual.

Sidebar Commentary: Second Amendment is not as much about guns as it is about not sacrificing their souls to the dictates of the state. It is a symbol. It is against the moral sacrifice of the individual. And that is written into our Constitution.

The right way is not top down. There should not be somebody telling you, and you are all innocent and obeying. That is not how it works. You falsify your being bit-by-bit. And you end up where you do not want to be. You can take an ordinary person and turn them into a terrible monster that does not know how to control themselves. And you do that by taking the first step.

Leftists compassion is mostly a lie. (Art of the Advantage).

Socialism is murky where Nazi is apparent.

People saying that Soviet Union was not real communism presupposes that if they were the dictator or ruler of the Soviet Union they would have brought about the utopia as promised.

On the left there are those that care for the poor and those who are resentful the rich. They are not at all the same thing.

I am not an admirer of identity politics. That is because you have to decide conceptually, psychologically, familiarly, what your vision of a human being is. And that vision is tribal, which is your collective identity in some manner. That means you were going to play identity politics on the left and the right. Identity politics in one country may prove more of a problem coming from the left then from the right compared to another.

The left does not take responsibility for the radical left. The same way that the Islam make religion does not take responsibility for radical Islam fundamentalism.

Identity politics is murderous no matter who plays it. You are identifying with your group because you have nothing else on your own to offer. So, it is pathetic.

People are timid because it is dangerous to stick your head up above the rest. It is a danger avoidance strategy. You blend in with the crowd, or you are one fish in a school of fish. This is very low level.

Predictors for Life Success: General cognitive ability, trade conscientiousness, freedom from negative emotion, low neuroticism, openness to experience.

There is not a job for everyone and you cannot train everyone for a job.

Giving people money who have nothing to do is not helpful. It does not work. This is what universal basic income misses, it misses the psychology of purpose.

Racial boundaries are hard to define because they are not tight.

Let us not confuse confidence with power and authority, which is a trick of the radical left.

Natural inclinations are not sociocultural. For example, in more egalitarian countries men are still over represented in science and technology related fields. Men are not that much more interested in things than women but it is at least one standard deviation. Another example is that men are more aggressive than women.

Here is the tail issue: If you look at who is more aggressive men will be more aggressive more of the time versus a woman. Now, that is not much of a difference. But look at the tails, and you will see that they are all men. This is why most of the people in prison are men. This is because people do not understand statistics. You can have relatively small differences at the population level that produce walloping consequences at the tales of the distribution.

Sidebar Commentary: Wisdom versus knowledge, and the segregation of the elders leads to us needing to rediscover wisdom instead of having it passed on to younger generations.

Multiculturalists get unhappy when Europeans start celebrating their culture or heritage. They do not draw much of a distinction between European pride and white supremacy. They do not care about freedom of individuals.

Medieval Europeans identified seven deadly sins for a reason. And one of them is pride.

The West has gotten some things right. We have the sovereignty of the individual. One consequence of that is that everyone is getting richer much faster which is a good thing. Am I proud of that? I didn’t do that. But, how about responsibility? How the hell did we ever figure out the poorest person is as valuable as the king. That is not something to be proud of that is something to tremble for, to take on as an ethical burden. Not to wave a flag for how wonderful you are that you happen to have the same skin color as some of the people who happen to think that up. Open your eyes and recognize that as a miracle (poorest is as valuable as the king). And it is a relatively new miracle on the world stage. And to participate in the process of upholding that in your personal and public life. Having pride and having something to live up to are not the same thing. People will say: "Look at what we’ve done" but they did not do it. You have to have your act together before you can say that was me.

You are using your unearned, great fortune, and gift as a source of personal pride in your accomplishments due to your skin. This dispenses the radical right wingers in a few seconds. Came out the Middle East not European. It’s all muddled.

Islam is a totalizing culture. One of the problems is I am an ignorant man. I do not understand Islam. I do not know enough to have intelligent commentary on it. I did enough to peck away at the edges but it would require multiple years of study to understand differences and similarities of viewpoints. But it looks like what Islam did is take radically different tribes and unite them under a single Ethos. This civilization expanded more than others. Perhaps there is something to be said for that unifying tendency. There is a problem and maybe this is at the core: There’s no distinction between church and state in Islam. And there is a distinction between church and state in the West. Literary metaphysic.

I hope that people could build a bridge between the two cultures because the alternative is too gloomy to contemplate.

Political correctness associated with high agreeableness, which is a trade of personality. This trace seems to be dominated by the female gender. This ties into the Freudian nightmare of the devouring mother. Most of Freud clients were struggling to get out of the clutches of their family. A lot of that is based on hyper-dependence. And that is over-protection. The children are too tangled up in their family.

If a child is three trying to button their shirt, you need to let them button their shirt. And if an elderly individual is attempting to button their shirt and they are having a difficult time they need to maintain their independence without your compassion stealing it from them.

Sidebar Commentary: Compassion fatigue because I do not want to steal someone else's independence, and have someone become dependent upon me.

Wherever there is inequality there is an oppressor and oppression narrative. Anyone who stacks up at the bottom of the hierarchy is an infant or a victim. Anyone at the top is an oppressor or predator. Western hierarchy is based on competence and confusing that aforementioned mentioned relationship is a very bad idea.

Every social structure has a tyrannical element. It will never be 100% fair and just. Everyone has been brutalized by the social structure. This aspect of the social structure is you better be like everyone else.

Could it be said that the radical left is tyrannical?

You are naïve if you do not think that the natural state of human beings is brutality. It is a miracle that you can walk outside New York City. Or that you can live in New York City. Especially without being killed or destroyed. And if you think that is the case then you have been overprotected beyond your own good.

Looking at terrible things can make you a very grateful person. Or, to be put more bluntly, it will make you a better person.

The tyranny of care. The psychoanalyst says that the good mother fails. What that means is when your kid is stumbling around and making mistakes, you back the hell off and you let them make mistakes. You do not project that onto the child of overprotection and you do not project that onto the political system. Especially for those who are misdiagnosing as predators.

"Not, well okay!"

Observing that something exists is not the same as defending it.

There are multiple hierarchies in society. There is not one hierarchy in society or a hierarchy in society. By getting up and asking a question or by defending your view means that there is a hierarchy. It means that you have values and values are a hierarchy.

Hierarchies are inevitable.

I am not an activist.

The point of free speech is that you can think your way through life without running into a brick wall.

My behavior risks politicizing. I would rather it not be politicized. I am doing what I can to manage that risk however it becomes political when the government tries to implement compelled speech legislation.

Nietzsche and Jung

It is articulation of a substructure that is much deeper than the articulation itself. Our rights are not an enlightenment project, it goes much deeper than that. This is with regards to the Judeo-Christian culture and moral foundation (morality). They are instantiation into codified law is more parcel from the enlightenment. Nietzsche and Schocianitzen is more right and important.

Nietzsche didn’t critique Christian morality rather he critiqued Christian dogma and structures. Slave morality idea that the oppressed is virtuous was constructed, and it concretized institutional Christianity. The deeper critique of institutional Christianity (especially Protestant and Catholic forms ) is for insufficient attention paid to the imitation of Christ and too much attention paid to the idea that the work of redemption has already been done. That also divides the Orthodox types from the Protestants and the Catholics. The Orthodox types tend to tilt towards the moral demand that you imitate Christ in your own life (vs. you will be saved eventually if you believe in God, or that you are already redeemed).

Nietzsche is extraordinarily useful in training you how to think but he is a very difficult person to summarize. Nietzsche would say I can write in a sentence what it takes other people a book to relate.

Religious is what you act out. Everything you act out is predicated on your implicit axioms. This system of implicit axioms that you hold as primary is your religious belief system. It does not matter whether you are an atheist or not. That is just surface noise.

It may have to do with the deities in the supernatural but it does not have to do with the well-articulated sentences that you create an order to explain what you believe.

What you act out has a lot more to say about who you are then what you say about yourself. (Or what you write about yourself. Or what others write about you.) You cannot act unless you have a hierarchy of values. That means, whether you know it or not, you are embedded in a hierarchy of values. And that system is built upon axioms.

You do not get to be an atheist when the people you attack are naïve fundamentalist. And I have some sympathy for the naïve fundamentalists. They say something like this: "We have an ethos that is valuable. You scientist types are casually dismantling it. What the hell are we supposed to do?" So the fundamentalists do not know what to do so they say creation is the Messiah. But it is not. It does not mean that they do not have a point; their point is valuable. Don’t break it casually because what are you going to replace it with? That everybody becomes rational... yeah, like that is going to happen.

Metaphors are the only way that humans can comprehend reality.

Religion and the religious is something like the grammatical structure of stories. Like, if you go down and look at what makes a story a story... that is religious. It is not a story otherwise. In the simplest sense, a story is about how to get from Point A to Point B. It is like a map. But there is a value structure inherent in that obviously otherwise you would not go from Point A to Point B. So just to make them out means you adopt a value structure.

But there is something more than that because as you move from Point A to Point B the processes for transformation are often necessary. The [ ] processes that are necessary for radical transformation as you move forward are basically indistinguishable from religious stories. The reason they tend to become religious has something to do with the gap between the finite and the comprehensible in the infinite and the incomprehensible. We live in the finite and comprehensible but we are surrounded by the infinite and the incomprehensible. And there has to be a mediating border between those, and that is poetry and art. That is narrative. That is religion. It is that strange metaphorical reality. And it is not comprehensible but it is not infinitely incomprehensible either. It is a bridge between the two.

Sidebar Commentary: This is perhaps the middle ground between order and chaos in which we derive meaning and benefit. As you move towards the infinite incomprehensible on that bridge you move further and further away from what you understand. This is the critique against strict, but this is not the right word to describe them, rationalists.

Carl Jung says that rationality is embedded in a dream. Why else would we a dream? If we do not dream we go insane, it does not take very long.

There is an element of poetic conceptualization that grounds us.

Institutional or systemic racism. It is a multi-variant problem. No society is without its biases and prejudices. And some of them get built into the systems themselves and so when you look at unequal outcomes and you are trying to discover why does unequal outcomes exist. Then if you have any sense you will do a multivariate analysis and put in prejudice and discrimination as one of the factors. One of the factors. One of many many factors.

The radical left will take the fact that societal structures are tyrannical to some degree and arbitrary, which of course they are because they are imperfect, and they will obliterate the rest of the complexity with that claim. So, there are a lot of reasons for inequality, and systemic bias is one of them. It is an open question to some degree what role systemic bias in the inequality problem. There needs to be a level of detachment to have an intelligent discussion. No system is perfect.

Foucault and Other French Postmodernists.

The postmodernist viewpoint: A finite set of entities is subject to an infinite number of interpretations. It is very hard to solve the AI problem precisely because there are a lot of ways to look at the world. The objects are not just there in any simple sentence. There are an infinite number of interpretations, yes sure no problem. But there are not a viable set of infinite number of interpretations. That is a big problem. And a little bit of thinking through that would been a bit of help to the postmodernists.

There are an infinite number of interpretation if we will not make anyone canonical. Well then, how the hell are you going to act? Because you have to make a value system canonical if you are going to act. Then they say, oh we did not solve that problem so how about we slip Marxism under the carpet and not notice that problem then that gives us something to do.

How can you be a postmodernist and a Marxist all the same time? The postmodernist types were Marxist before they became postmodernists. It is the same idiocy under a new guise.

You cannot just say: No meta-narrative. So, how are we going to unite ourselves then? "We are going to use multiculturalism" is their answer. Well, sarcastically, that has produced a really peaceful world. We need a uniting narrative. If we did not have a uniting narrative we would not have this country where we can speak and sit in a peaceful way. It is the uniting narrative that governs our behavior. And slipping in Marxism to solve for this is morally apprehensible.

Emotions: Levels of Reality Stacking on Top of Each Other

Reorganizing cognitive structures: Deaths and rebirths and come along with it. Bring what you do, how you imagine yourself, and how you articulate yourself into alignment. The three are same. There is more to you in your action then there is in articulation and imagination. Experience is expanded sense of self and possibility — it is a wonderful, daunting, and dangerous thing.

High levels of neuroticism tend to cause harm to relationships. Negative emotion. (1) Get up at same time in the morning and (2) Eat protein and fat base in morning.

Know What You Say

Input side: If you want to be articulate, not only should you read but you should write down what you think. If you want to speak effectively then you have to know way more than you are talking about. If you don’t, then you get stuck to your notes. You need to know 10x more than you’re talking about so you can step through it and elaborate. Reading is the synthesis.

If speaking to group, do not look at it as speaking to group but talking to bunch of individuals. You are to engage in a conversation with your audience, you are not giving a talk to an audience.

Have something to say and pay attention to who you are talking to.

You need to have the aim to be a good communicator. This is the value of a liberal arts education.You can think, you can write, you can speak, and you read something. The economic value of that in life is incalculable.

Preliterate people: All they really had was the ability to remember and memorize. For example, oral tradition. Modern people do not remember much because we do not have to remember it. We write it down and then externalize it.

What Leads to Authoritarianism

Maybe the end point of worker-controlled, collectivist government is totalitarian. The tribal tendency may manifest itself in original hierarchy. The Chinese and electronic surveillance and having elected a president for life.

Lying and Making Statements Out of Context

Above all, don’t lie. Lying leads to hell. Nihilism leads to authoritarianism.

You cannot take statements out of the context for which they are intended. For example, accurately quoting Nietzsche in the wrong context is just like misquoting Nietzsche. If you take the idea of radical nihilism and try to apply it to something in which it was not intended then you are inaccurately applying a concept that was meant for something like Christianity. Perhaps [ ] already thought through all the other permutations of radical nihilism and settled on only applying to Christianity. Therefore, you would have to go through the arduous process of determining whether radical nihilism fits within the context for which it was not originally intended.

Going Down Within

Christianity was lifted to truth being the highest moral virtue. Because we are today in a culture of Judeo-Christian morals, that may be the reason why scientism, as truth, has become such a religious following. Nietzsche said that the inquiring rational western mind has murdered the metaphysical presuppositions of Western society (Enlightenment thinking). Now what? We have to invent our own values. We have to become a new type of being.

Carl Jung's response to Nietzsche is that "well, what makes you think we can invent our own values?" Jung's idea is to rediscover the values of the past. To go within. That was his heroes journey. To go within the landscape of his imagination and to rekindle the archetypes. That made the process something more akin to an archetypical transformation. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be an internal voyage. If it is the father that is dead, then you go into the belly of the beast to revitalize the father (save the father — e.g., Pinocchio story). That is a pathway forward and that is been the path forward for humans for as far back as we can recall for tens of thousands of years.

The death of God is a recurring phenomena. God dies very frequently and that is a part of the developmental process. That’s very much akin to it happens to you when your dreams die. When you put forward a hypothesis about a mode of being that you would like achieve you have a dream, a vision, on ambition, maybe a love affair. And when it collapses on you there is a period of death that follows that. You can call it psychological death. But then there is a reconstruction of the value system and a rebirth. And that is the eternal human story.

Sidebar Commentary: Identifying as a wrestler, and the goals (dreams) I had for myself. I did not mourn appropriately, and as a result I suffered for years.

Jung's contribution to Nietzsche body of thought is that "We did not invent our own values. We re-discovered those values that we always harbored within us. They just have to be given new form."

Resurrecting the Dead Father

Horus and Osiris. Instead of putting the eye in his head he gives it to his father. His father had been wasting away in the underworld. They both go back up into the surface of the world and it is this very union that constitutes the notion of the pharaoh. The idea is this: You will be damaged in your confrontation with life. Particularly if you confront malevolence because confrontation with malevolence damages people, it damages your vision. But if you take that damage part of you and you reunite with the dead spirit of your father then you can revitalize that and that will strengthen you and enable you to move forward into the future. That is one of the deepest religious presuppositions of humanity. You see this idea everywhere.

Beyond Good and Evil

Liberal Arts: You are resurrecting your dead ancestors so that they can live again in your form. But in a conjoined joined union with you. You are the vision that gives the dead past its vitality and spirit. And that is the purpose of being educated. That is your initiation. When you are initiated properly then you develop a comprehensive and deep philosophy of good and evil. And that protects you against the confrontation with malevolence.

Until you have a philosophy of good and evil you cannot recover from posttraumatic stress disorder. If you are metaphysically naïve and you come into contact with someone who truly wants to hurt you, the probability that it will undo you psychologically is very very high. You have to be wise as a serpent or you will have no protection against the serpent.

A good combination: Lecture mixed with reality.

Confronting Problems

We will have moments in our life where we have to confront the self-alienating instance of nature. There is no path forward that we have at our disposal. And that is a point where an unnatural amount of growth had to come out of us. Where do you draw that line at your own ability to develop as a person to where you do not become tunnel visioned with trying to face life's problems on your own? Your best bet is truth. That does not necessarily mean it will always do the trick. Sometimes, you go and fight a dragon and it eats you. If you being eaten was not a real possibility, then it would not be a fight.

Not lying is your best bet but life is hard and people get run over. It does not necessarily mean you were going to emerge in any obvious sense as triumphant. But if you take the alternative path, especially if you were experiencing severe tribulations, and you complicate those with deceit, you can be sure that whatever tragedy you are confronting is going to turn into tragedy but that it is also going to turn into something akin to hell. So you might be able to at least minimize the degree of suffering even if you cannot overcome it or transcend it.

Mothers with Grandmothers

Mom with grandma. Loved one may die, but the bonds become strengthened when the truth comes out as opposed to adding a little bit more of health into the situation. You gain something from the tightening of the remaining relationships that was at least partial compensation for the loss of their mother. That beat the hell out of squabbling about everything. Because that is a real possibility and people certainly do that.

Dealing with Change

The more radical the necessary change, the more pain that accompanies it, but the more opportunity as well. A lot of what we learn we learn painfully and it is no surprise that people shrink away from learning. We learn from pain and anxiety. The things that you really really learn in life take you out. So the fact that people flee from that is really not surprising. And doing so does not help. It just stores up the catastrophe for later.

The better idea is to eat a little bit of poison every day so that you do not have to overdose in a month. First of all, you do not learn unless or until you are forced to learn. There is a voluntary search for knowledge. And that is an antidote to this but you tend not to learn unless you are forced to learn. And what you tend to learn by force are difficult lessons. And so people are very prone to not seek that out.

That is not surprising but it is because they do not understand the consequences very well. Maybe it is because they are convinced there is some way to forestall the necessary learning. But there is not. All you do is make it worse in the future. You make yourself smaller and you make the lesson harder. That is why so many religious doctrines there is an emphasis on humility. Humility is that you do not know enough so that your life is not going to be miserable. So every chance you get to grab something new that will help you along the way you should take it as fast as you can. You have to have a very tragic and harsh view of reality. Also malevolence — you have to understand that that is what is waiting for you. And that makes you desperate enough to learn. And that might make you desperate enough to fall out of your ideology. That is a hard way of looking at the world. It beats living through it though.

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JBP, Ep. 44: #44 – Lafayette College – The Mill Series
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