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A Criticism of essentially everybody

Knowledge it has been observed is a most difficult prospect in this world due to the precarious nature of the human condition. That we are born seemingly devoid of any clear thought, and as we progress in thought we do not begin with the most basic ontological ideas, forming a secure philosophical foundation before building the rest of our concepts empirical or not there upon it; but rather we come familiar with a large host of unclear ideas before we develop any capacity to clarify them. A child’s first thought has never been said to be ‘I think therefore I am’ or ‘I possess free will for the following reasons’ or ‘God exists for the following reasons’ or any of the antimonies, or indeed any given foundation of any particular philosophy or doctrine.

Indeed, if we can imagine placing all known ideas on a hierarchy from the most tangible to the most abstract it surely seems to us that we do not add to our understanding in any specific fashion: neither from the most abstract to the most tangible nor from the most tangible to the most abstract. Rather we become familiar with ideas of all sorts of abstractness or tangibleness in no seemingly preordained manner.

This is a puzzle since all the most successful philosophies would propose that knowledge must be firmly established from the most abstract to the most tangible or from the most tangible to the most abstract. A sequence of proofs or theorems never ‘jumps’ in abstraction or tangibleness to establish some far off knowledge only to fall back to establish knowledge closer to our initial position. Indeed, the very fact that some knowledge is based on some other knowledge is the very reason we would refer to this relation with the metaphor ‘close’.

Hence, our ideas are often confused, as we often grasp some idea or another without grasping the more basic ideas which constitute (or form the foundation) of the idea in question, or we seemingly grasp another or the same idea without grasping the true extent of its validity or application. Thus, often times, when we scrutinize this idea or that it seems more liken to fog, in having no clear boundaries or even substance, than an “object†we can clearly place along side other “objects†, ultimately leading us to question if what we were questioning exists in the first place; but if the very existence of the idea slips from our grasp as we turn our attention toward it, how did we ever turn our attention toward it, and how did we make such practical use of the idea that it seemed wise to make further investigations into its substance? Indeed, the very ideas we used to express our puzzlement - existence, substance, attention, wisdom, practical, idea, investigation, nature and so on - all seem, turning one to the other, to fall victim to the same puzzlement. And how puzzling is a puzzle?

And so we see that thinking is an arduous task, and it becomes understandable how the arduousness of thinking can form an argument for not thinking. But how exactly can one think to argue for not thinking?

More commonly, the confusion as to what and where things really are and how every part relates to every other part gives rise to materialism, fatalism, determinism, atheism, free-thinking (the belief that all beliefs and opinions are true; not the belief that we should be free to think), superstition, fanaticism, idealism, and skepticism. All these things are universally injurious. For the following reasons.

To establish the injuriousness of materialism and atheism we must first establish the concept of politics.

At the root of politics is the fundamental political decision (explored in full in my work On Politics). This fundamental decision is upon the matter of whether or not one should consider consequences that only manifest after one’s death.

There is no formal proof establishing the validity or invalidity of one decision on this matter over the other. Clearly such eventualities - affects of one’s actions after one’s death - can be said to exist, but equally clearly it can be said that such eventualities do not affect oneself (as one no longer exists) and so should not be considered. However, it is clear that if one decides to not consider events that occur after one’s death, one becomes universally injurious. As in, injurious to all future humans; moreover, one is highly likely, though not necessarily, injurious to presently living ones as well (pending on the fundamental political decisions of such people; it is entirely conceivable an entire generation would conspire to disregard all consequences which are only expected to manifest after their death; thus happily consuming every resource on the planet while happily hoping - with the help of meticulously planning - that the collapse of every ecological and social system will occur precisely just after the death of our generation in question).

To argue the reasonableness of not considering the consequences of one’s actions that manifest after one’s death is indeed possible. For reason is the navigation of consequences, and any consequences that cannot be felt are outside the bounds of reason. However, all such theories must regardless admit that they are injurious to all future generations (if on the odd chance, future generations are permitted to exist in such a theory). It is indeed the whole goal of such theories to establish that such generations do not affect oneself or one’s happiness, and can be disregarded.

It thus becomes clear that considering events after one’s death is inadmissible within any materialistic (the limitless acquisition of wealth in one’s own life) or atheistic (the supposition one does not continue existing in some form after death) theories. This characteristic defines such theories. Thus if one considers events after one’s expected death one is not a materialist or atheist, no matter how vogue these theories are. If one “lives on†through one’s children or through one’s work, or through anything, one is not an “atheist†, even if one does not believe in god.

It likewise becomes apparent that most supposed “materialists†and “atheists†are not actually so. There are in fact very few, no matter how many refer to themselves as such. Rather, they are in fact either agnostic, simply confused, or “neo-spiritualists†(of whom I will criticize more closely in a following essay).

Though these theories are popular, very few followers actually adhere to the principles of these theories. Thus, though they are potentially the most dangerous, as they are the only theories of which a meticulous, well thought out, limitlessly ruthless damage to humanity for personal gain can be derived, they are the least offensive since not a significant amount of people truly embrace the limit of this idea.

I for one have never actually encountered a materialist or atheist, no matter how devout a materialist or atheist someone I’ve met confesses themselves as being. After no great amount of argument they readily confess they value things above mere matter (be it “love†, “companionship†, “society†, or what have you) and they readily admit they are not actually sure whether god exists or not and so readily agree that considering consequences that manifest after one’s death is probably wise. Indeed, to my surprise, many “atheists†do not in fact believe god doesn’t exist but rather if he does exist they hate him. Which doesn’t make much sense to me, but then again I’ve never been a repository of sense.

Fatalism, determinism, and superstition, though seemingly harmless in any individual occurrence, are perhaps the most harmful to humanity due to their popularity. For these theories undermine the will to think, and thus with sufficient popularity human thinking can degrade to such a level that humanity can no longer adapt to changes in the environment and the increasing disrepair - and foolish attempts of repair and expansion - of the economic infrastructure, while at the same time allowing themselves to fall victim to the materialists, atheists and fanatics. Indeed, due to the extremely low popularity of materialism, atheism and fanaticism, such theories, no matter how repugnant they may seem, are only harmful insofar as such theorists are allowed to go about their business by a sufficient amount of gleefully unthoughtful people.

Unfortunately, most unthoughtful people abide by no theory I can dispute (free-thinking, which I will say a bit about, is not actually a theory). It takes a fundamental will to think. However, the minority that, however unmotivated and ungenuine they may be, set out to attempt to discover something about the universe quickly fall into disarray amongst materialism, fatalism, determinism, atheism, superstition, fanaticism, idealism, and skepticism. And so criticism of these theories can clear up confusion as to what these theories actually are. Not that these theories are fundamentally unreasonable, but that few actually know what these theories mean, much less attempt to establish their reasonableness.

It is not my duty as a philosopher to persuade anyone to abandon such theories, but to simply unearth the true nature of the decisions that must be made. Though I cannot guarantee it, I am nonetheless optimistic that a true exploration of these theories by any supposed devout will lead to a decision to consider consequences after one’s death and a will to diligently go about thinking; optimism born out of the apparent lack of any sophisticated development of these theories, which leads to the assumption that the amount of thought required to further augment in these fields generally leads to their abandonment.

Fatalism and determinism quite obviously can serve no good. If what will happen will happen regardless of one’s thoughts then why think? Indeed, the very notion of good and bad cannot be established in a fatalistic or deterministic theory as we are all bound to do what we are bound to do. How can we be blamed or praised? Clearly, these theories are universally injurious, in the sense I have already described. I will treat fatalism and determinism in more depth in an unabridged version of this essay but for now I will move on due to the lack of popularity of these theories.

Superstition is the most popular of all the theories injurious to humanity. Essentially, superstition occurs whenever a theory is used to answer questions outside it’s domain; or perhaps more clearly, simply, the misapplication of a reasoning form. Thus religious theories have often been employed to explain scientific matters and indeed science has often been employed to explain religious matters. There are of course a wide array of superstitious theories of all sorts¾some based on the misapplication of a theory that has never been successfully employed with respect to anything¾but I will only deal with the confusion of religion and science here.

Religion is any theory which attempts to answer why things exists, whereas science attempts to answer what predictions can we make about occurrences. Without science we can’t eat, drink, move, or do anything at all. The prediction that oxygen is useful for the body to function is science. Unfortunately, nowhere in science can be found any reason to do any of the possible things science predicts can be done, as no conceivable observation or experiment available to humanity could resolve the matter. The whole point of the scientific method is it isn’t subjective.

Nonetheless, many “religious†individuals become fanatically devoted to their interpretation of the doctrine they prescribe to and so become offended by any attempt and any amount of truth through anything but their doctrine. And many other individuals view science as a disproof of the very idea of religion and become fanatically devoted to nothingness for equally foolish reasons. Perhaps the fundamental difficulty is a lack of imagination.

Fanaticism is fairly popular as well. It arises in any theory that proposes to encroach upon what this theory proposes to be good through any means other than propagating the understanding of the theory. Any theory that attempts to circumvent the need for a general agreement in understanding for a general harmony in action leads to certain disaster. However, as was hitherto mentioned, fanatics are only dangerous with a sufficient number of unthoughtful individuals, who buy into the mainstream appearance and pleasantries presented by the fanatics (who in this case operate covertly) thus allowing the underlining fanaticism to go about its business, or who do not actually know why such fanaticism is injurious, or who do not know how to clearly expound the reasons for the injuriousness of the fanaticism in question (concluding they need, rather than increase in understanding, simply adopt the opposing fanatical position to remain righteous) thus leading to two opposed fanatical movements justified and fueled by the other.

Free-thinking is generally mixed in all over the place. It is an almost indefinable thing likened to belief, attitude, opinion and theory but clearly can’t be considered any. It can only really be described as any “operation model†which does not “operate†under the assumption that the “operation model†in question or one or more other “operation models†do not need to undergo criticism. It is the lack of feeling any need to justify one’s position, much less think about it. Indeed, many are afraid of knowledge, as knowledge generally suggests a reflection and reconfiguration of one’s life style, which is difficult.

Idealism and skepticism are theories mostly contained in the academic world which Kant would say “can hardly pass over to the public.†Idealism and skepticism are both born out of a misdirection of the intellect or critical lack of imagination. They are theories of which to patch one whole another whole emerges, and so the proponents of such theories simply run around in their own minds continuously repairing one aspect or another, answering one objection or another. Indeed both are victims of their own cleverness.

Though we should first make note that criticizing someone as being idealistic, in the conversational sense, simply means you think they’re being impractical. “Idealism†as a philosophy does not actually exist; saying “I’m an idealist†or “I’m idealistic†doesn’t actually make any sense. In philosophy the term is used to describe any theory that is lost in unclear “ideas†, hence idealism, that never affect experience, or more precisely, theories that never affect action. Theories that begin to propose statements that it claims to be important but can’t be shown to clearly affect what I should do are lost in idealism. Some idealistic theories embrace their own idealism, but most realize what an idealistic theory means and so profess to be something else (indeed, believe to be something else).

The idealist continually sees the perfection their theory will soon attain, thinking they are clever enough to answer all objections. Yet clearly the theory cannot be known to be on the verge of attaining perfection if it is not already known to be perfect. Thus idealistic theories over not long a period of time become so convoluted that no one can actually understand any statement produced by the theory. They quickly lose all relevance; the final proof they were lost in idealism all along.

They generally have the form of beginning with a few grand statements about reality, that seem self proven enough to easily become obsessed with, but simultaneously seem not tautological enough that they can be applied to every conceivable situation. Thus, there are the few core statements and then volumes and volumes dealing with all the objections. In the end a labyrinth emerges that is so complicated that even the original statements become impossible to understand and the theory is abandoned; only to be replaced with the next, and the process repeats.

For instance, take the history of the theory that the sun revolves around the earth. Seems reasonable enough. The earth must be at the center of the universe, for where else could it be? And thus all bodies must go about it. Eventually astronomy progressed to the extent of obtaining fairly accurate observation of the motion of the planets and to the point of discovering moons and so on. Each new discovery, which seemed to object with the theory, must be met by making the mathematics and reasons for these motions just that much more complex until a theory so complex is produced it becomes clear that either the theory is fundamentally flawed or the universe is so complex it cannot be understood.

Or take existentialism. In the middle of the twentieth century, existentialism obtained massive popularity. Now, no one really knows what existentialism actually means. Existence before essence seems to suggest god can’t exist since there can’t be any being that can conceive our essence before we exist. It is existence before essence not the other way around. And eventually it seems to suggest that when we act, we act for all mankind and eventually a Judo-Christian ethics is obtained without the supposition of god, which seems like a good thing, as no one actually disagrees with the long term benefits for society of the Judo-Christian ethics.

After a few decades though, it became clear that nothing about existentialism was clear and that every attempt to resolve any unclarity resulted in more unclarity. Did existentialism represent any actual truth or was it all just self supporting rhetoric? became the relevant question for philosophers. And so the theory lost all relevance. It might be hanging on somewhere but clearly it’s day in the sun has passed.

Where idealistic theories overextend certain statements’ claim to truth, skepticism attempts to establish the absence of truth, and indeed the nonsensicalness of it. Yet, is that the truth of the matter? Skepticism is more the league of broken clever individuals who are sure they can disprove anything anytime anywhere, than any sophisticated theory, and the sophisticated skeptical theories that have arisen have never been popular for long.

However, idealism and skepticism are not truly harmful in themselves as no one really understands what these people are talking about and are not at all inclined to follow them. Where they become injurious to humanity is that they render individuals who at one time passionately searched for truth completely insignificant. Trapped in their own self supporting meaningless statements the idealists and skeptics quickly become incapable, having assumed they have found all truth, of any further understanding.

Thus it becomes understandable that a philosophy degree is no enviable thing in today’s society; indeed, even comical. Clearly the halls of philosophy have become filled with an endless quibbling over irrelevant matters. This continues until academic philosophy is not really sure of anything and surely don’t agree with anybody else, yet is convinced that all academics like themselves are harmless and can live, despite their insignificant differences, in peace and harmony unlike the “ignorant†. Thus the disdainful perception of the “ignorant†justifies no actual contemplation. Likewise, this lack of any real contemplation, which is ignorance, in the so called “academics†justifies ignorance. It’s a vicious bicycle steered by the obsessed and peddled by confusion.


copyright 2006 - 2020 Eerik Wissenz