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Philosophy

True Philosophy is this: In a great storm in the wild, a pyramid occurred. This pyramid no bigger than your head. The pyramid being recognized, it grew. All the birds of the air & the beasts of the wild brought a single stone, each stone of all sizes & types, and for no stone was there a place on the pyramid that could not be found. The pyramid continued to grow. Of all the birds of the air & the beasts of the wild, there were none that could not find shelter there.

This is not a poem
For poems cannot do what I need them to do.

How do you formulate a form?
Sestinas were not designed to an RFP. They had no blueprints.
A clever word game they began, Sudoku that got out of hand.

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus
One of the great poems of the Twentieth century
An elegant tapestry, each strand as precise as only Ludwig could make them
Yet still didn’t do what he wanted it to do.

How do you formulate a form?
You don’t. You let your need etch the outline.

I feel I have an egg within me
If I find a way to open my mouth wide enough
It shall emerge, shining white, pearlescent with spit
But I cannot yet unhinge my jaw

How do you formulate a form?
The first step is: you try.

Been thinking a lot about justice lately. The need for justice arises when an individual has suffered a wrong, and appeals for balance for that wrong.

Take, for instance, murder, the most basic of all wrongs. The victim is deprived of their very life. They no longer exist. Which makes them unable to appeal for balance. Therefore, murder is not an injustice. In fact, because no one extant has suffered the wrong of the victim, no one else has standing to appeal for that wrong, which means not only is murder not an injustice, but it is an injustice to prosecute anyone for murder.

Wait a second. Huh? That doesn’t make any sense. It’s ludicrous.

Ludicrousness is something for which philosophers have to keep careful watch. You’ll be following a chain of thought, gathering swift epiphanies, and so on and so on to glorious conclusion, and then look at the result and say “That’s ridiculous. That can’t be right.”

Then you go back to check the work and try to figure out where you went wrong.

Except here’s the problem with the problem: is the unexpected conclusion truly ludicrous, or is it a difficult and frightening truth? David Pearce’s idea that total biological ecstasy is a moral imperative might strike many people as ludicrous. Or Peter Singer’s idea that it is immoral to spend one penny on unnecessary pleasures as long as anyone in the world does not have enough for the basics of living. I have seen theists and atheists alike throw up their hands in exasperation at having to deal with their opponent’s ideas when it is obvious those ideas aren’t worth their time. “Ludicrous” can just be a measure of what you’re accustomed to, what you can’t give up.

In this case, I honestly do think it ludicrous that murder is not an injustice. But, like most philosophical wrong turns, it does teach something. Murder is the one wrong where the victim themselves can never receive justice. The victim is gone, to oblivion or the afterlife. One way or another, they are removed from earthly priorities. Like a funeral, any justice is for the benefit of the survivors. But that benefit is important, and something to keep in mind as we consider the idea of justice.

ADDENDUM: There is one exception I can think of to what I just said. If we posit an afterlife in which the murder victim cannot rest until they receive justice—such as they have to haunt the earth until their murderer is caught/punished—then that is a case where the victim could truly receive benefit of justice.

This looks like a most intriguing new book.

I suspect pleasure is going to be one of the most extreme fronts of change in the 21st century. The stimulus described here is just a prototype. Cocaine and heroin are just waystations. Once the bugs are worked out and the technologies balanced, there’s no reason humans can’t be in a state of 24/7 ecstasy. This is going to uproot all working conceptions of normality, from sex to jobs to creativity. If you don’t want to do it, someone else will, and probably a few millions of their friends, too.

This is the natural course of human admitting they are material phenomenon, understanding that phenomenon, and then manipulating that phenomenon to their benefit. If something about it seems wrong to you, philosopher David Pearce has a pushback: it is in fact immoral not to enable maximum pleasure.

I admit to being less than thrilled about the idea myself. But someone’s going to try it. And popular success is its own argument.

 

If the world wants the Truth, let them sit down a doctor and a banker together to compare notes.

Anyone who wants to think deep thoughts–anyone who claims to be a philosopher or a theologian–should be rigidly excluded from the conversation, having proven by their urges to be incompetent of contributing.