Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Thought 73: Qualifications

The word qualification, as in a sheet of paper that certifies your completion of a course, whether academic or vocational, bears scrutiny. 

Indeed it can be said that a qualification qualifies a person, that is, sets a limit on them (as in the expression a qualified success in contrast to an unqualified success), perhaps even a quality, but their individuality is nonetheless qualified, i.e. limited, in the shape of this qualification and what this entails for that person's sovereignty. 

Society provides qualifications and requires them because it is not interested in sovereign independent human beings but in qualified, i.e. delimited, human beings who are prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to conform to that society's norms, regulations and expectations (including the law of money). 

While it is possible to see that a qualification certifies a quality that you have as the holder of that qualification, that quality in the strict sense need not be a wholesome trait but more of a delimitation, a designation, something that people can ascribe to you on seeing your qualification, a short-hand habit dear to employers. 

In short qualifications qualify people. By defining their limit they signpost what careers and tasks people are suited for in technological society and have managed to efface - or, as one could argue, evince - the infinite potentiality of the unqualified individual on whom no limits, personality traits or societal designations can be pinned.  

Thought 72: The Power of Money

Wherein lies the power of money?

I remember reading a section from a legal textbook back when I was a law student in France about the origins of law, which stated that power lies in making people do things and adopt behaviours they would not otherwise do spontaneously or out of their own volition. The textbook referred specifically to the power to make others do your own bidding, a power which a government has (e.g. over the police and military as well as teachers), either via coercion, which is immoral in the eyes of Natural Law, or through the people's wilful submission to perceived authority, which signals compliance and is not contrary to Natural law. 

Drawing from this observation, it would seem to me that the power of money lies in exactly this phenomenon: it makes people adopt behaviours and act in ways which are not spontaneous or free but calculated to be in money's reach and able to enjoy the benefits of monetary society. Many films show the dark side of this phenomenon, where people do crimes out of motivation for monetary gain. Indeed evil always seeks to bribe and corrupt (see Evil as Test). But on a more mundane level, money is the reason people stay in jobs they hate, wake up at a godless hour in the morning to go to a job, incur debt as part of factory tertiary education in order to get a 'qualification' (see Qualifications) or a roof over their head, sell sex in order to pay bills, wait on tables etc. 

Money makes people do what they would not otherwise do. Therein lies its almighty power. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Poem 13: Amazon


Steer clear son
From this abomination

For all that tempts
Is by them kept

At a finger's touch
No effort much

To transfer money
- It's so easy! -

At any time of day
Resist if you may

For pennies are easier saved
Than by hard effort made

Witness the world of work
That drives everyone berserk!

Enjoy what you own
Lying in your home

And use the library
Which lends for free

No need to clutter space
With needless blu rays!

Yet I am a hypcocrite
I readily admit

Putting up for sale
Stuff dispatched by mail

Acquired in consumption
From the same corporation

Which gives me customers
And a stream of orders...


Saturday, 19 March 2016

Review 6: Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, Volume 1

Dense and obscure, a review of Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, Volume 1, Harvard University Press, 1996

This volume contains selected writings by thinker and cultural critic Walter Benjamin for the period spanning the years 1913-1926. Many of the entries consist in short fragments, interspersed by more lengthy pieces such as The Concept of Criticism and Goethe's Elective Affinities

Before I continue, I must confess having a soft spot for WB. I first read him, in French translation, at the tail end of my 12 year mandatory stint in the French schooling system which never encouraged and in fact discouraged independent and critical thought - rather the aim of those twelve years seems to have been to annihilate all traces of imagination and creativity and ensure life-long submission to authority.

So it was with much fascination and glee that I read some of WB's earliest essays which opened up a whole world of passionate intellectual enquiry into the nature of reality, all for its own sake. Nor did his output have anything to do with monetary or employment concerns, and indeed, taken too far, such concerns would have stifled WB's creative spirit and condemned him to obscurity, even post mortem

These things being said, I cannot now, as a mature reader of thirty years, recommend this volume. While I still find WB's intellectual energy and penetrating analyses inspiring on principle, in practice WB's writing does not come off well in English translation, for his essays are at times impenetrable, always dense, and all too often obscure in their argument. 

There are lighter and darker patches of density in this volume but I found my efforts at trying to penetrate the more arduous chunks of theoretical text slimly rewarded, for the contents when grasped are not all that revolutionary or illuminating.

Yes, WB offers new insights on certain terrains, such as fate, children's books, and translation, but I do not find the thinking - when understood - all that convincing or enlightened. WB lacks background knowledge of key areas such as the true content of Natural Law principles, the role of the occult in shaping history and the workings of conspiratorial power. To be sure, he was writing in earlier times but then some texts age better than others.

WB is often said to be a good writer, and this may be true in the German original, but in English his texts are chunky, lacking fluidity and clarity. Despite my best intentions of reading the book cover to cover I gave up three quarters of the way through just because of the slog and the small pay-off for investing time and effort in getting to understand the heck WB is pointing out. 

While the world would undoubtedly be a poorer place without Walter Benjamin's literary and critical output, ultimately what inspires me the most about the character is his example - as an always curious and diligent non conformist thinker - rather than the actual contents of his musings. 

Taking all these factors into consideration, the good and the bad, my score for this book is three stars. 

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Thought 71: The Wrong Decision Fallacy

The right/wrong decision paradigm ruled my early twenties to my own detriment. For instance, I was unhappy at university so I attributed my unhappiness to a 'wrong decision' hypothesis, e.g. I chose the wrong institution and/or subject. I even questioned my decision to move to the United Kingdom, on account of difficulties finding like-minded folk, having been brought up across the Channel in foreign country, i.e. France.

This habit of thought, though grown less pronounced over the years, may rear its ugly head even today. For example I had a bout of loneliness today, as my girlfriend left the premises and a yawning gap seemed to open up in my psyche, not helped by cold, unwelcoming weather. My reflex action on feeling this emotional discomfort was telling myself how I should not have opted out my university degree course, since at least I mingled with people, however shallow and unlike me in every way, overlooking all the positives of following my heart and giving up on tertiary 'education'. 

It occurred to me later that the 'wrong decision' hypothesis, always exercised in retrospect when one is feeling less (sometimes considerably less) than a 100%, is perhaps a huge fallacy, a toxic way of thinking which compounds misery as opposed to alleviating it. It is a sad but true observation to say that our Western societies place a huge emphasis on right or wrong decision templates, always linked to the accompanying success-failure couplet, as though that was the only applicable dichotomy and reason for feeling either fulfilled and happy (right decision - success) or unfulfilled and unhappy (wrong decision - failure).

With this paradigm it all seems as though we are being punished in terms of suffering for poor decision making - again always seen with the luxury of hindsight - and rewarded with joy for good decision making, as though we had done good to the gods by choosing the right path and they were rewarding us with blessings for doing so. What I have noticed though is that the alleged 'wrong' decision hypothesis always comes to play after the fact, when one has exercised a choice, and one may be erroneously attributing present unhappiness to a supposed wrong decision in the past for which we think we are now paying the price. 

How puritanical and religious, as though God punishes those who dare choose the wrong option when it is impossible always to know in advance whether what follows from a decision will be good or bad! Not only does the right-wrong decision paradigm ignore the possibility that both choices, supposing these are limited to two, can be right or, conversely, wrong, but that if one takes a bird's eye view of human affairs and history, it is ultimately a very petty and self-important concept, assuming that our choices or 'decisions' actually matter at all in the grand scheme of things and actually determine the majority of our lives as opposed to circumstances outside our control (otherwise known as chance)! 

Speaking of which, people often overlook the therapeutic qualities of conspiracy literature and of the words of those who pinpoint just actually how dysfunctional, unfair, rigged, psychopathic, pathetic the human condition actually is, with those doing the most evil seemingly reaping the most benefit and those doing the least harm actually incurring the most damage (contrary to Natural Law dogma, it might be added, however Natural Lawyers try to justify this phenomenon, e.g. by saying that the 'universe' gives priority to 'dark care' over 'no care' à la Mark Passio). 

What I'm suggesting is that truly appreciating how pathetic the human condition actually is and how full of nonsense, predation, chance it all boils down to can have a wonderfully liberating effect, in the sense of not feeling beholden anymore to the system, of having made a poor career/lifestyle choice and not falling for the trap of the 'loser/winner' dichotomy which loses (no pun intended) all force when one sees how few are those to whom the system actually brings happiness as opposed to their own thoughts, emotions and actions which are done alongside or even against that system. When one considers how rigged and staged the game called civilisation actually is, one realises that decisions play a tiny, tiny part in one's prospects, as opposed to pre-given circumstances, e.g. to whom, when and where you are born. As the subtitle to David Icke's book The Perception Deception so eloquently puts it 
"It's all bollocks - yes all of it!"
The word decision has something, in modern usage at least, of a career-type focus, as one might find on a conformist TED talk, when indecision might be a preferable way to go about things, or just letting things be and acknowledging one's tiny role in shaping one's life circumstances. Even 'successful' business owners owe their success to external factors, such as markets and people choosing to buy their product. Of course one always has to make decisions for this and that on an everyday level but what I'm arguing is that feeling unfortunate and unhappy tends to lead to a 'wrong decision' hypothesis when in fact it could be that all the decisions one could ever reach could lead to feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction, and this observation tends to be supported by evidence gleaned on a macro scale. 

To sum up, whenever you're feeling unhappy or doomed by circumstance, remember that that unhappiness might have been unavoidable, even if you had done all the best decisions in the world throughout your entire life, and that there is no purpose in regret, other than making you feel worse for things you did for a reason. Revel in the tragicomic nonsense of human life, enjoy its random cruelty and chance aspect, and remember that none of it will last forever, least of all you yourself! 

Nietzsche knew about the importance of not being held hostage by one’s past when he said
“All ‘it was’ is a fragment, a riddle, a dreadful chance, until the creative will says to it ‘But I will it thus, thus shall I will it.'”
In other words, reinterpret your past errors creatively so that your will be free to will itself now and tomorrow, primal being consisting in willing according to German philosopher Schelling. 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Thought 70: Consciousness

As my readers know, I'm very fond of etymology as a field of intellectual illumination. Courtesy of Rupert Sheldrake, a refreshingly open minded and innovative scientist working today, I came across this fascinating etymology:

Con-sciousness derives from the Latin words con (meaning 'together', 'with') and scire ('to know') meaning to know together, scire also of course being at the root of the word sci-ence. 

The implication, and this is reflected in much of Rupert Sheldrake's scientific research, is that consciousness is shared knowledge. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Poem 12: Welfare

Slavery and drudgery
Hallmarks of conformity
Are not my forte
- witness my resume -

As I put off the day
Welfare won't pay
A pariah of the press:
A 'scrounger' no less. 

Hand me to the mob
It's the same as a job
Undergoing the loss
Of working for a boss.

Dependant on income
For needs and fun
Most sell labour
For financial favour

Yoked by necessity:
The logic of money.
Would they prefer the option
Of those in my position

To embrace the torment
Of reliance on government
Whose stated public aim
Is to end their benefits claim?