Saturday, April 20, 2013

A (p)review

So, today's the day.  As I announced a few months in advance, 4/20/2013 would be the day I go on strike unless some eminently reasonable conditions were met.  (I've made some revisions to them since then.)  I'll get to those in a moment, but first, consider a hypothetical:

Say that today, I wanted to "wake and bake" in the privacy of my abode, saganize my cognition, and set myself to the task of thinking about a Platonic-Aristotelian-Kantian-Hegelian-Nietzschean-Randian-Rawlsian-Nozickian-Chomskian "synthesis" and see what I could come up with so as to "go out with a bang" for my 4/20 blog posting . . . but, oh darn, I was out of cannabis and just couldn't get my hands on some all that readily.  And so no edutainment in that regard today.

Instead, some fucks, somewhere, without my consent, had decided to exercise physical force and power over my life to prevent me from engaging in such peaceful, productive activity, in violation of my not-specfically-enumerated natural rights (which are at the core of the "live and let live" ethos that grounds the best modern Lockean-liberal theories of government).

In the United States of America.  In the year 2013.

You might begin to see the problem here.

This is unacceptable.

If you were to poll Americans on what the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution said, a pitifully low percentage would know the answer . . . and that's how creeping statism became a fact of American political life.  I'm sure that the Framers would be most dismayed at this state of affairs.  Ignorance is the problem, and only education can be the solution.

My posting yesterday posed the question, "Is it 'later than we think'?" and went through a number of items that indicated that we may well be nearer the cultural and technological singularities than we think.  A fitting title for today's entry might well have been, "Is it earlier than we think?" - that is, there seems to be a large amount of evidence that we still have a long way to go before humanity achieves the state of enlightenment necessary to reach "maturity" as a species.  As I noted yesterday, humanity entered what might be termed an "adolescent" phase some 2,500ish years ago.  Some time in the not-too-distant-future, if the human race doesn't wipe itself out first, it can and will enter an "adult" phase.  (The so-called new atheists think this means an end to religion.  None of them seems to possess the intellectual prowess of a Plato, Aquinas, Hegel, or Whitehead.  Just sayin'.  Hell, Antony Flew owns them already; they've had no answer to him as of yet.  Quelle ignorance!)

That said, here are the nine eminently reasonable "no-brainer" conditions, in bare essentials, which I have set down in order for me to end the strike which I am starting at 4:20 today:

1. Cannabis becoming as legal as alcohol for all adults age 21 and over living in America.

2. Accountability for CIA acts of torture, sodomy and killing of detainees.

3. Marriage equality.  (At least this one appears to be close to a done deal.  Yay, one out of nine!)

4. Good-faith effort by America's elected representatives to broker a mideast peace deal in the spirit of Taba, which even both Dershowitz and Chomsky agree on.

5. A quality program implemented by educators for educating the nation's youth in the humanities in an age-appropriate fashion.

6. A move toward outlawing factory-farming and other cruel and inhumane practices toward animals.  (This alone would help to reduce net carbon emissions a shit-ton, not to mention improve diets.  A win-win-win!)

7. An overhaul of corporate-cultural norms that presently have the effect of dehumanizing and demoralizing stakeholders, which also has the effect of stunting productivity.  (In a perfective world, people would be much less dependent upon employment by others for their livelihoods.  In the meantime, ... .)

8. A serious move by political, business, and other leaders to get leading intellectuals (like this guy for instance, or this lady) much more involved in the presently-impoverished national dialogue.

9. A serious move by the leading ideas-merchants in academia and elsewhere to do a much better job of connecting with the concerns of ordinary folks (and this emphatically includes taking Ayn Rand more seriously than they are at present; the Ayn Rand Society can serve to provide many promising, uh, leads).

Being that this is 2013 already, it seems to me to be quite a shame that these haven't all happened already.  They are no-brainers.

For anyone who's been paying attention, item #1 is particularly galling considering that no one has any good arguments for keeping the status quo on drug policy.  There is a constant chorus by now that "the drug war is a massive failure," and yet the vast majority of congresscritters aren't doing jackshit to fix the problem.  How did we ever come to this state of affairs?  The only answer I can think of is: ignorance.  The congresscritters aren't doing jackshit because the people to whom they're supposed to be accountable aren't doing enough to light a fire under their asses.  Education is the only solution.

Here's a hint to good aspects of both Rand and Chomsky that can be synthesized: how the abuse of language, a dichotomy between territory and mental map, corrupts any dialogue.  If there's one key lesson I gleaned from Chomsky's Understanding Power, it's this one.  The muddling of language is caused by, and causes, the muddling of thought.  Abuses of power-relations are just one of the results.  Both the pioneer of linguistics and a leading proponent of a neo-Aristotelian, objective approach to concepts can agree on that.

I said in my original strike-announcement that my blog would "shut off" after today.  I'm not ready to do that just yet; at minimum I'll have a grace period, perhaps 90 days.  (What I am doing for sure is withholding, indefiitely, future mental products from public circulation.)  I think the probability is somewhere around 50/50 that there are roughly 420 pages worth of page-turner material in this here blog, and it would be kind of a shame to delete it immediately from public view, though I think it's only a preview of what could be to come.  As of now, though, it's arguably roughly 420 pages worth of page-turner material available for free, which is really about all I'm willing to just give out up to this point in time, without my stated conditions being met.  This does leave me with one monetizing option I may well use to help support my future work: making the existing contents of my blog available (perhaps in eBook form) only for paying customers, probably at $4.20 a shot.  Maybe it will be available only to members of an online Ultimate Gulch I might be setting up.  (Now taking applications; there's one entrant so far....) Would that be "cheating" on my "strike" commitment?  I don't think so, but I don't give too much of a shit about that; it's the product of my mind to do with as I please, and it's future production that non-Gulchers would be missing out on.

All this does raise a question: am I setting up some kind of Catch-22 situation?  That is to say, don't the conditions I've set forth require a fairly rapid progress in the direction of the cultural singularity, whereas publication of future products of my mind would supposedly speed up that very progress?  Hell, I think leaving that as an exercise to this blog's readers should make things a bit more interesting for all concerned.

Anyway, if a dedicated reader were to mentally integrate all my existing blog postings into a single unit, I'm roughly 100% confident that he or she would come away with the essentials necessary to grasp that perfectivism is the philosophy of the future, which is to say that Ayn Rand's ideas are the wave of the future, which is to say that America's intellectual status quo is unacceptable.  (And, as advanced students of Objectivism are well aware, it's all about method - integration - and only derivatively about individualism and capitalism which the cowardly and/or ignorant preservers of the status quo are so fearful of.)  My future mental products will only build upon the essentials set forth in this blog, which is to say, they should be pretty fucking awesome.  But a shit-ton of promising leads are already contained herein; all one has to do is pursue them, and to think.

I, for one, am optimistic about what is to come, whatever it may be and however it happens.  I think it'll end up being a lot of fun for a great many concerned.  As far as I can tell, my going on strike will be for the best when all is said and done.  If there's anything my perfectivist mindset has taught me, it's how seemingly unfortunate circumstances can be turned into a positive; I notice parallels in the martial arts tradition, when it comes to using an opponent's strength to one's advantage.  Sure, I set a goal some months back for today, and fell short.  But it's like Jordan said, you use that as an opportunity to improve and, ultimately, to succeed.

In connection with this blog posting's title: In briefest essentials, the past, present and future of true and correct ethical philosophy is contained right there in "Perfectivism: an Introduction."

And so, with that, I can't think of anything more of importance to add to what I've said already.  Catch y'all on the flip side?

(and obligatory musical accompaniment :-p)

ULTIMATE CLIFFHANGER: Will UP write his entire book on Perfectivism while stoned?

Problem, America? ;-)

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