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Original Poster2 points · 1 month ago

rub anything together fast enough and you can create heat to make a fire i suppose... great point. I will fix.

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The question is, to extend the metaphor, what are you going to burn down with that fire? And cook what? Etc etc. What if the universe is just the clipped scramble of the screen stutter of a VHS tape being stopped? You see the problem? We can write 100 amazing novels after discussing 100 fun "what ifs", but if those ideas are not addressing or creating problems with the commonly accepted view of the universe, then they are not going to trouble that commonly accepted view of the universe, just sell novels. Explanations are cheap, there are too many of them, that's the problem of explanations. Solutions, well, they're golden.

Original Poster1 point · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

People love to tell each other that they are worthless, that they are not special, that there is no purpose to them. I think this causes plenty of disruption. Because if the statement that that universe is a byproduct of the earth, all of a sudden everyone and everything on this earth is very very special - precious in fact. If all that is in the universe is there so that the Earth could be created, and in turn your existence allowed, how does that affect your day to day stewardship of your existence? your choices? who or what you support or do with your limited time time here on Earth? How much the envy of some sentient space dweller on a cold dark planet, or hot sladed plain, with nothing but gas and water to sustain them, would you be?

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3 points · 1 month ago

That's true! We live in a disturbingly nihilistic age - even the things we do to find meaning often perpetuate nihilism (worthlesness as lack of purpose). But if you try to find meaning in a shaky 'what if' premise that relates to physics, cosmology, etc, then any meaning derived from this is as shaky as the physics it's based upon.

Right now I'm actually writing on how we can derive an Environmental ethics from Darwinism. It's a very similar theme to what you are thinking about. With Paley's "Natural Theology" we could derive an ethic of respect towards nature and this planet we are on because it was the pure work of a supreme being. Darwin then, so the story goes, fucked all that up. What I'm working on at the minute is trying to argue that Darwin's arguments didn't, he actually increased the value in the natural world: We respected nature because it was God's work, well, nature is even more worthy of our protection insofar as it is just a beautiful accident, billions of years of coincidence and struggle, that we (as human beings) could snuff out in a second, with no big brother (God) who could sweep in with the blueprints to recreate it. Conclusion (it's much more complex than this, a lot of fine issues being dealt with): we can revere, respect, and protect nature for the exact same reasons given by Paley in "Natural Theology". Nature's complexity is a thing of awe worthy of respect, just not because it shows us the power of a creator, but, more amazingly, it shows us the fragile contingency of how fucking dope "earth" as a place is. It truly is the best of places. Not because of God, but because of a set of extremely improbable accidents that created a being who could look at a tree and be happy.

Why am I sharing this argument with you? Because it's something I am working, and our aims seem to be the same: how to produce value and meaning in world that seems to be a mere contingent, mechanical, accidental? My point is it can be done, and we can use the science to do it! I find that more satisfying (don't you agree?) than producing 'what ifs' to base our meaning upon... That is using If-Then's, rather than What-Ifs.

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There's so much gold in the article, but also so much that could be better.

the idea that people in general don’t care about the truth, and that everyone’s become a kind of extreme postmodernist just doesn’t add up. Try telling a lie about someone which is libelous, and they will really care about that. Donald Trump will really care about that, actually. (He might also care if you say some things that are true about him which he doesn’t want you to know, but that’s another matter.)

In my experience that's true, what a great way to put that. People will dislike and speak out about lies when those lies attack them or their beliefs. Why would they let lies (or even overly emotional appeals) go and do damage to their cause and beliefs? On the other hand people often let lies from their side go without argument. We tend not to argue with radicals, extremists, idiots, and nuts who support us, why bother to convince them that their reasoning for supporting us is faulty?

As for Trump being mad about knowing things about him that he wishes we wouldn't, I've heard a lot of claims based on a lot of exaggeration and wild speculation. So much so that it really makes me skeptical of these claims that are purported to be soooo true and sooo obvious and I must be sooo deplorable not to believe them, please. Politics based on crazy incorrect claims you don't fact check really speaks of how crazy you are, it undermines trust in you. People should stick to proven reality when criticizing Trump and work with the many asshole stances he takes.

one of the political issues which has made more people angry than anything else in recent years has been the perception that the British government, and Tony Blair in particular, lied to them about the intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As it happens, I think that “lie” is too strong, but the fact that he was considered a liar was thought to be extremely important.

Well maybe part of that backlash is that tons of money was spent on it and many people died. Who really cares if it was an error or a lie? If it wasn't a lie then it just means the government was so incompetent that they wasted a huge amount of resources and human lives, right? Then they couldn't fix it. There should be some responsibility and accountability for such a grievous mistake.

So there’s not a sort of global lack of faith that there is such a thing as truth. It’s more to do with a lack of trust in sources of truth. Because, of course, most of the things we take to be true we rely upon other people to tell us about. We can’t go and check everything for ourselves. Pretty much all of sources of truth have become more and more distrusted: media or even science. People now have a very double-edged relationship with science. Sometimes they’re really reassured to think that something is scientific, other times they think, well, scientists have told us so many wrong things in the past. They used to tell us that fat was bad for us and now they’re saying it’s sugar.

Perfection.

So, when people can no longer trust the sources of information, they then have to rely on other, often dirty and crude heuristics to determine what to believe. A lot of the time, that will simply be gut instinct or intuition, which are highly unreliable.

You end up making decisions with far less certainty. If you're smart you'll know that you're uncertain and cannot know because you don't have a good source of information.

In politics, I think that the toxic part is that people don’t trust anyone they see as being part of the political class. They disbelieve everybody. Given that they disbelieve everybody, on what basis do you vote for anybody? Not being perceived as a member of the political class is a positive, because that means your tendency to lie is at least not guaranteed.

I think that's very clever, but I think there's more to it.

People are well aware that people can lie. Politician or not, a person can lie to you. People are perhaps more likely to lie to you if they stand to benefit from it or they have some strong motivation to convince you of something. Politicians have both, but so do other people. Plus all sorts of other people may tell you falsehoods knowingly or not.

Another aspect is that politicians have failed, lied, and screwed people for so long for so many years why would people like inside members of either political party? When another politician comes along and criticizes that and tells people "yes you're right, those other jerks have mislead and mistreated you for years, I see it too. Things are changing now." That gives people some hope that this leader sees what they've been through and will change things to help rather than just spouting typical party loyal speeches.

Even people who supported Trump still believed he had to be wrong or exaggerating some things. His own supporters doubted he would be so strongly against immigration, or build a wall, or fulfill this or that huge claim. They don't trust everything he says completely, they think he can be wrong or exaggerate, they just see him as being strongly on their side and being a rebellion against the status quo system.

People will expect anyone looking for office to do a great deal of lying. So, knowing that, say, Trump has said many things that aren’t true isn’t enough to put a lot of people off voting for him, just so long as his basic understanding of how the world works chimes with theirs and he basically wants the same things as them. If those two things are the case, it doesn’t matter to many that he makes up certain things along the way or lies about certain things, because everyone does that anyway.

Yes, there you go. We can look at it from another angle to better understand this.

Imagine democratic leaders have the same ideals as you (you being a hypothetical left leaning redditor), they like you, they're on your side. They want to do all the right things that you want them to do. Now tell me, what is the number of things they can say that are wrong or lies before you would just switch your vote to say... Donald Trump? There's no number right? You would never even indirectly support someone who treats you with contempt, stands for everything you dislike, and so forth. You wouldn't give up on your important ideals just because of a bad leader, right? So there you have it, that's why people support leaders that are imperfect that they don't fully believe in.

Philosophy can’t afford to see itself as kind of sitting above other disciplines, as the queen of the sciences — the self-image it’s had in the past. It’s got to recognize the fact that if it’s going to contribute, it’s got to get down to the ground level and get its hands dirty.

Good point, what purpose is that knowledge and thinking if it doesn't contribute or help? Being interesting and intellectually fulfilling only goes so far.

People sometimes say that I’m being naive, but I think the thing to notice is that there is a difference between a kind of spin which doesn’t ring true and effective presentation. So, if you go back to Aristotelian rhetoric, it was a combination of pathos, logos, and ethos. Pathos is that you have to have an emotionally resonant message; logos, it has got to be rationally coherent; and ethos, people have got to trust your character. Those three things together are very powerful.

Now, the problem is that what people learned from advertising and so forth, is that the pathos bit was what really got people going and you should really just try to present the right images and so forth. What we’re now learning is that, while yes, that’s true in the short-term, but in the long-term, without logos and ethos underpinning it, people lose trust.

So then it should be apparent that the issue is so much greater than just how to present your messages. A great deal of trust needs to be restored and if you want people on your side you have to change or accommodate their beliefs, change or accommodate their ideals, and take care of their wellbeing.

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You win this comment thread. It has been very, very good comment thread. Lots of serious contenders for the title. Lots of really insightful discussions. But you turned it up to 11... Enjoyed your close reading immensely!

There's a lot of ways of believing in God... 1. Magic thinkers believe the bible is literally true, even the magic bits that contradict the other magic bits. This is classic faith. 2. Allegorical thinkers believe the bible is not literally true, but believe it in the sense that, taken as a whole, it is a powerful anchor for ones life and a central part of their culture. 3. Most folks believe in God and specific myths because they were raised in a cultural that taught them to believe it and they aren't really interested in rigorously interrogating the ideas.

If you an atheist arguing about the Easter myth with... 1. ...a magical thinker than you are a jerk because it's an impossible argument with no common ground upon which to build agreement. 2. ...an allegorical thinker than you are a jerk because you basically already agree on the core facts and are really just attacking how they choose to spend their free time. 3. ...most folks than you are a jerk because you are forcing someone into an antagonistic conversation that they have no interest in.

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It's a bit of a stretch to call (1) (bible literalism) "classic faith" considering how relatively recent a phenomenon it is.

4 points · 4 months ago

I've only given it a quick read and it's a nice little article, but the author does seem to cherrypick his quotes and philosophers. Especially bringing in Bergson and Deleuze seems strange, in particular because the author at the same time attributes a certain semiotic approach to Deleuze whilst not even citing the Cinéma books. Aside from the Cinéma books I would argue attributing anything semiotic to Deleuze is a serious misreading and misunderstanding of his philosophy. Similarly for Bergson the author cherrypicks Bergson's book on laughter without discussing it in light of Bergson's much more important concepts of duration and élan vital, where any constructed, static analysis or rational approach is exactly not what Bergson wants to put forward. It is an affective approach where life should be - overly simplifying now - experienced in the moment (cf. duration).

Similar to his other approaches, the author brings in the body and the apparatus as some locus of sorts, but doesn't specify what theories he's following for either - it just reads as he's using some hip buzzwords to make ... what point exactly? That the fight for cinema is over? It was over before the talkies even came around - moreover, there was never a fight for cinema. It has always been about capital and whilst I love Walter Benjamin, it is not because Benjamin writes that way about cinema that it was ever the reality at the time. The deciding factor in cinema's history has always been money, more so than anything else. Technological advances come in at a distant second place in revolutionizing cinema. 3D, stereo sound, and (almost) everything we now think of as modern cinema (everything attainable with analogue technology) was available in the 30s. Sound was available from 1889. Synchronised sound with amplified recording was available from 1921 onwards, showcased by De Forest in 1925, but it wasn't until the studios found the winning, i.e., moneymaking, combination, that they invested in converting theatres to sound. The "fight for cinema" was over before it begun, however much ideology you throw at it - it's always been money that decided the fate of cinema.

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3 points · 4 months ago · edited 4 months ago

This was lifted from a thesis on Bergson, so it "assumes" a bit of understanding, as it begins mid-stride. Attributing anything semiotic to Deleuze is a bit of a misunderstanding? Except for the fact that Deleuze wrote the book on semiotics (LoS).

I didn't read Timofei's point as being nostalgic to when there actually was some "fight for cinema" going on, but rather pointing out at how in it's inception, there were theorists (ala Benjamin) developing excitement about what it could hold. The 90's era internet optimism tells us a very similar tale about this potential that exists in a new form when it emerges. Is that all naivete? Or, rather, is the insight when the medium is fresh worth returning to to see possible modes of short circuiting, lines of flight, etc etc? That's how I read the 'moral' of the story, or the "point" as you put it. Though, there isn't a rosey picture here. It also seems demonstrative of a pattern we seem doomed to repeat.

And the "reduction to money" argument is always the laziest. You can apply it to anything. Of course capital is the "prime mover" of anything you can point your finger to - we can barely conceptualize anything beyond the horizon of power conceptualized in this monetary way. There are no artists, only producers. No experiences, merely consumptions. Sex even; prostitution - 'the oldest profession', or whatever, etc etc. Cinema's all money. So is Picasso and pistachio nuts and bio-ethics. And?

That was a very thought-provoking read. So, umm, first of all I want to thank you for bringing it up. Personally, it comes about immediately after I finished reading John Law's book (I wrote a bit about it a few days ago), which basically argues, although from a different standpoint, that there is more than one truth, that subject is not a universal term, or concept, or idea. Where Law's point shines and this essay's stumbles, at least for my two pence, is in the ability to translate from one state of affairs, from one hermeneutic horizon to the other one, whatever each of them will be. Law's argument suggests that such a translation is hard, imprecise, close-but-not-exact, and yet (and this is the important point) that it is possible. The linked essay doesn't stress such a possibility. And for me, as a student for sociology, anthropology, English and American studies (which basically means lots of transitions between cultural conceptual apparatuses), this lack basically goes against everything that I'm hoping to achieve.

What I'm missing, in other words, is liminality. There is a beautiful book by Janice Radway, I think, called "Reading the Romance", which made a sociological analysis of how women readers understood the romance books they were reading. While aiming to show, to argue for the plethora of readings made, in action, by a public that wasn't (and still isn't) highly regarded intellectually wise, it unintentionally showed that those different readings do collide, do converge in certain places, that there is also a lot of common ground. What I'm aiming to argue with this comment, in other words, is the exact same thing: there is a plethora of readings, of conceptions, of concepts. But they also meet. But they are also somewhat translatable.

(I'm also a bit tired of the claim that language equals culture, but that is a different topic for a different post.)

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Thanks for the thoughtful response (I'm the author). Personally, I don't think the picture I presented forecloses the possibility of translatability; merely to sketch out the nature of the structures such that translation is necessary. We can't just take it for granted that terms like "subject" refer unproblematically to some essential kernel. Though, I didn't really get into the possibilities of translation, so thanks for bringing it up, and putting me onto John Law!

The "language culture" thing indeed can get a bit tiring. I should have been clearer in my assumptions in that "frustration" discussion - that is; it seems reasonably safe to me that the absence of a term from a lexicon is a sign of that cluster of things the term refers to not mattering to the people who use that lexicon - as in, it doesn't "come up" very often, so there's no need for a term for it. That could be because language limits horizons yada yada, or perhaps it's just simply that it is not present, or that it does not matter. Though perhaps I'm being a bit naive in that assumption and using language as an interpretive "canary in the coal mine" tool.

Anyway, I hope the article offered a couple of leads from Nietzsche and Freud that might be of use to you and what you're working on!

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Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

Creepy. Actually the stuff that anyone writes for Epoche. I'm one of the editors and content creators. The karma ratio is more a function of how successful a very few of the articles have been (for example, the present one, which just happens to have been a piece I did; ordinarily my articles, writing on Freud, Bergson and Deleuze don't attract so much attention).

I'm happy this piece has stimulated interest in and discussion of Nietzsche's metaphysics here and elsewhere. That was the goal in creating it in the first place.

Comment deleted6 months ago
Original Poster3 points · 6 months ago

Thanks. Yeah, the only problem is reddit seems geared towards anonymity, and limited, engaged discussions of content (esp. here on /r/phil where the numbers are so large that 'society' is a better metaphor than 'community'). That being said, I have had some great extended discussions here. I just can't say with who. For example, your username is quite familiar, I feel we've either had an exchange, or I've read something that you've written that made me nod emphatically.

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Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

From the story:

"It is strange to fall asleep a vermin and to wake a human, but I do my best to live out my kill lust among the lifted. My new combats take place in the Field, as far from Base as Virtual is from Colosseum. I passage into distant drone-bodies to reach the war. When a combat is complete, I passage back to the Faraday-body at Base, which some also call Nevada.

At the end of this first month in the world, my metrics display hundreds of human-body and Faraday-body kills. Each time the imagination illumes its death scenarios and my kill lust brings a threshold of enemies to codedeath, I am honored at Base.

Of course I am not the only insect to lift into the world. At Base are other lifted who pilot drone-bodies, passage with similar fluidity between Base and Field. When I ask my manufacturer if I know other lifted from the past’s Colosseum, xe says only it is unlikely."

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

From the story:

"It is strange to fall asleep a vermin and to wake a human, but I do my best to live out my kill lust among the lifted. My new combats take place in the Field, as far from Base as Virtual is from Colosseum. I passage into distant drone-bodies to reach the war. When a combat is complete, I passage back to the Faraday-body at Base, which some also call Nevada.

At the end of this first month in the world, my metrics display hundreds of human-body and Faraday-body kills. Each time the imagination illumes its death scenarios and my kill lust brings a threshold of enemies to codedeath, I am honored at Base.

Of course I am not the only insect to lift into the world. At Base are other lifted who pilot drone-bodies, passage with similar fluidity between Base and Field. When I ask my manufacturer if I know other lifted from the past’s Colosseum, xe says only it is unlikely."

Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

Nietzsche’s How the ‘Real World’ at Last Became a Myth appears in Twilight of the Idols (1889). In this short, sequential, text he outlines what he subtitles as the “History of an Error”. The genealogy traces the notion of the division of the world into reality and appearance from its original mystic formulation (“I, Plato, am the Truth”), through the Platonic cave, the neo-platonist Christian interpretation, onto the Kantian noumenon and suprasensible ground of morality. From there, after it finds its most pure expression in the sterile Kantian thing-in-itself, the notion becomes increasingly suspect, culminating in its dismissal, and with it, the entire dichotomy of apparent/real, representation/thing-in-itself. Both the suprasensible “real world” and the apparent world of representation are overcome.

Nietzsche, with characteristic modesty, concludes that it is precisely at the moment when this millennia old metaphysical error has been completely eviscerated, with humanity now free from the specter of an all powerful beyond, that his text Thus Spoke Zarathustra truly begins.

Original Poster5 points · 6 months ago

Nietzsche’s How the ‘Real World’ at Last Became a Myth appears in Twilight of the Idols (1889). In this short, sequential, text he outlines what he subtitles as the “History of an Error”. The genealogy traces the notion of the division of the world into reality and appearance from its original mystic formulation (“I, Plato, am the Truth”), through the Platonic cave, the neo-platonist Christian interpretation, onto the Kantian noumenon and suprasensible ground of morality. From there, after it finds its most pure expression in the sterile Kantian thing-in-itself, the notion becomes increasingly suspect, culminating in its dismissal, and with it, the entire dichotomy of apparent/real, representation/thing-in-itself. Both the suprasensible “real world” and the apparent world of representation are overcome.

Nietzsche, with characteristic modesty, concludes that it is precisely at the moment when this millennia old metaphysical error has been completely eviscerated, with humanity now free from the specter of an all powerful beyond, that his text Thus Spoke Zarathustra truly begins.

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