Saturday, 12 November 2016

Invisibility of Nature's Laws


This post was initially going to be called Invisibility of Psychological Realities but it occurred to me that Nature's Laws, physical or psychological, are all largely invisible.

It is one of the distinguishing traits of Mystery Traditions, like Tarot with its Major and Minor arcanas, to consider the invisible realm - which includes the subconscious - as real as the physical realm.

It could be argued to be much more real in so far as what we perceive with our eyes only consists of the spectrum of visible light which is a minute fraction of all that is extant in the world and universe. 

This is true too of psychological realities. For instance one might not consciously perceive hostility that another has for one's person if they do not express it but the subconscious probably will and eventually that hostility will eventually manifest in word or deed, e.g. in a friendship or relationship.  

It could be argued that the subconscious perceives everything as it is but it takes a trigger, a spark, a happening for much of the data it contains to reach a conscious level. 

This is precisely what the art of thinking is about.
"As soon as we have the thing before our eyes, and in our hearts an ear for the word, thinking prospers."
The genuine thoughts that are one's own - as opposed to someone else's - spring from the subconscious and by some yet-to-be-discovered mechanism may come to conscious awareness and be verbally expressed. 

In terms of psychological laws, all that is suppressed and kept buried will likely come into manifestation after a period of time and all that is present in the invisible realm will enter the visible so that, for example, hostilities or incompatibilities between two friends or partners will eventually come out in the open.

On a more positive note, mutual love two people have for one another will also likely come out in the open - if they let it - and this process of invisible psychological reality entering the visible realm governs a great deal of the rich and tragicomic tapestry of human interconnection. 

Self-Improvement Gurus as Wrong-Headed


I do not regard Tony Robbins or, indeed, self-improvement gurus generally, as an authority on anything other than how to make money from people's insecurities.

For the very premise of self-improvement, especially when it is to be a more successful social conformist, is wrong-headed; the goal should much rather be to promote self-acceptance based on your unique individuality. 

What is Overthinking?


Overthinking occurs when one has been upset or is not living in the present moment and can amount to unhealthy rumination involving self-doubt, regret, guilt, anxiety and all the usual suspects of negative emotionality and mental states.

Overthinking arguably stems from a place of inner insecurity and fear rather than a place of strength, self-belief and self-trust. 

Overthinking is different from mindfulness which is in tune with Being as overthinking usually involves data that relates to the ego rather than the true self. 

People who are unsure about themselves over-think and get worse as a result when the goal is to be mindful of the whole through getting to grips with truth, that which is.

Present moment awareness - being engaged in the now whilst being aware of the whole - is arguably the greatest antidote to the vicious demon that is overthinking. 

At least for the philosophers among us. 

Emotional Data as Teacher


Although in previous postings I have said that it is inadvisable, not to say contradictory, to think with one's emotions that is not to say that emotional data is not also information that can be used in knowing oneself and the world. 

Emotional data, such as that which occurs from a stress or anger reaction or simply feeling down, is there for a reason and perhaps things that affect us emotionally are there to teach us something about ourselves and the world.

The trick is to use one's critical, higher brain faculties to attempt to interpret said data and thereby grow all the wiser for it, provided this interpretation has been done with conscious care, knowledge and will. 

In other words, emotions can teach us a great deal about what is actually going on, e.g. in our relationships with other people, provided we listen to them and interpret them correctly.

Researcher Mark Passio is of the opinion that emotions provide us with a moral compass and attempts to dampen emotions down with the aid of psychiatric drugs are dangerous. 

It remains that interpreting emotional data in one's mind-body complex is in-tuition in the proper sense of the word: teaching yourself (tuition) from with(in) your instincts (see Intuition).

Problems will occur, however, if emotions take over and rule your thinking but that is another story for another day. 

Moral Toxicity of Mainstream Media


The mainstream media promote fear, hatred, controversy and division and twist morality and truth around to push for what are in fact satanic agendas. Two words: mind control (and, as Nietzsche would say, confusion of the language of good and evil). 

I personally find them so toxic as to be most damaging to my emotional and mental health, even if just half-viewing the TV or having a cursive view of headlines on my Facebook feed. 

Reading The Economist newspaper religiously on a weekly basis as a teenager had me so confused about morality that it made me support the illegal invasion of Iraq. This goes to show how the twisted, sick agenda of mainstream outlets influence and confuse people both as to their true selves and Natural Law. 

Feeding the Hungry


The fact I choose to share my philosophical and artistic output may give off the impression that I'm seeking recognition by and influence over others, which could be read as betraying a deep seated need for external validation as I show off whatever gifts I may possess.

I've discussed the problem of external recognition, i.e. validation, before, saying this is indeed a problem if such a concern is the sole reason behind both the existence and content of your creative production (see Seeking Recognition). 

Perhaps as an idealist I like to think that it is best to be driven to create, at least when money is not an issue, for the possible pleasure of doing so and the possible pleasure of others if they like what you have to say in word and work. 

As Nietzsche opined in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, nourishing others in such a way is also self-nourishment, all beings being connected at root. 
"He who feeds the hungry feeds his own soul. Thus speaks wisdom."
['Hungry' in this instance need not mean hunger for mere physical food but hunger for spiritual foods too like art and music.]

As regards my intellectual output my goal is not to influence the content of the thoughts of others who will have different angles and sensibilities than I do but to, at least initially, understand myself as well as my positioning in the world.

By publishing my musings I am keen to inspire others to understand themselves and their positioning in the world and trust their own intellectual/creative instincts if they happen to be moved by my example. 

Thus it could be said that my goal is to inspire by example rather than to influence by content. 

Pinch of Salt


It amuses me when someone says something like "I take what he says with a massive pinch of salt" because a mere pinch can never be massive by definition.

That everyday language does not follow the rigorous rules of mathematical logic is perhaps one of its greatest charms, which is why I'm suspicious of people who rail against, say, double negatives ('I don't know nothing') and redundancies ('he's a clever wit') while not appreciating the spiritual communication at play in such perceived irregularities. 

This is a charge that could be laid against linguistic logicians who take issue with language's multifaceted and poetic capabilities since lacking the precision and absence of contradiction present in mathematics.

Sense of Accomplishment


One's sense of accomplishment can sometimes be governed by the level of effort expended in manifesting that accomplishment.

This psychological phenomenon can be double-edged in so far as what comes easily to one, even though not to others, might not create any sense of personal accomplishment and therefore be the possible object of neglect with the result that one does not do what one is best at. 

Taking myself as an example, while I derive plenty of self-satisfaction from my musical and visual creations, which require a lot more effort than writing, I feel largely un-accomplished in terms of my thought communications - which comprise the majority of this website - because these come much easier to me than drawing or playing the piano, although possibly due to the fact that I'm more practiced at writing than the aforementioned activities.

I know a person who is particularly gifted on the piano but has chosen to make his living, unsuccessfully might I add, by ever more bizarre and ineffectual business ideas that do not draw on his greatest talent, the piano. 

It occurred to me that perhaps finding piano all-too-easy he does not derive feelings of personal accomplishment from being so good at it and has sought instead to focus on activities in which he has no competitive advantage but that presumably bring him greater feelings of having achieved something. 

This insight links up with 'circle of incompetence' theory according to which people who are good at things in the workplace - finding them presumably easy for them to do - get promoted until they reach levels where they are no longer good at what they do - finding things more difficult - and therefore stuck in a position/area where they are more incompetent than competent.

Knowing Others Through Empathy


As a learning support assistant for adults with learning disabilities I know that I cannot use my own intellectual gifts as a standard by which to evaluate and judge the work of the students I assist in the classroom. 

This pointed me to a more general insight into the limitations of self-knowledge in grasping the motives and sensibilities of other people. 

The role of empathetic or emotional intelligence is precisely to help one along in evaluating others as they are and as they stand, with their own personality preferences, their own sensibilities, their own temperaments, their own likes and dislikes, their own social and intellectual backgrounds, their own financial resources etc. 

To close the circle of this argument I would make the case that true self-knowledge includes the ability for empathy, i.e. the capacity to perceive the difference in perception or, if you will, wavelength that lies between you and others around you. 

This definition of empathy as perceiving the world through other people's eyes and therefore also the difference in the ways you see it was reached in a most early blog post on ScruffyOwlet's Tree, A Brief Anatomy of Perception.

It is empathy that allows one to reach to others despite your differences and as someone said
"It is not our differences that divide us but our inability to celebrate those differences."

Navel Gazing


Philosophers are often viewed as navel gazing layabouts.

I cannot argue with this view except in so far as it makes this tendency out to be a bad thing.

Navel gazing, getting to know yourself, is essential to growing in consciousness and as I've said before constitutes the true meaning of self-re-spect, i.e. taking another look at yourself and drawing the lessons you need to draw.

As for laying about I personally find it conducive to successful and valuable creativity that springs from a place of personal freedom, philosophically known as self-hood. 


Scorcese as Morally Ambiguous


My general gripe with Martin Scorcese's films is that I see them as glamourising villainy, psychopathy, natural law violation whislt providing little and half-hearted moral correctives to what are basically adverts for violence and immoral behaviour. I see them as embracing moral relativism, i.e. as denying an objective difference between right and wrong, yet being nonetheless interpreted by critics as having moral depth.

Taxi Driver sees a psychotic man kill a pedophile while previously considering killing a popular politician but the motive for this killing could be the fruit of 'wanting to amount to something' rather than genuine concern for Jodie Foster, the under-age prostitute.

Cape Fear portrays the character played by De Niro as a hundred times more physically and intellectually fit than the lawyer whose family De Niro preys on but again this makes an equation between talent and immorality, itself based on a misreading of Nietzsche.

Goodfellas, a film I find overrated, makes mafia-style immoral practice seem like an apt strategy for a successful life away from the corporate and employment treadmill. Whatever happens to the main character eventually, the message that winning means avoiding mainstream routines and being a criminal is still there.

New York New York sees a jealous neurotic again played by De Niro seem somewhat cool and manly and his treatment of his wife is not put into question at any point, although she winds up finding success and not he. 

Raging Bull makes us feel pity, by the end, for the fate of a boxing champion who is not only a wife and brother beater but a jealous, controlling, insecure and lascivious piece of garbage.

The Wolf of Wall Street is essentially money and sex (i.e. satanic) pornography making ultra-capitalist Jordan Belfort seem like a cool, funny and self-aware trader/drug addict as compared to the hopeless masses who are revealed, by the end of the film, to have no commercial sense whatsoever, unable as they are to sell a pen by creating urgency. In addition all of Belfort's employees essentially have rubber souls apart from one who has depth and who kindly decides to clean a fish bowl only to be humiliated and sacked for doing so. Lastly, I interpret the film as having the effect of a smokescreen in its portrayal of loose cannon traders for much more cynical and calculated practices by white collar banking establishments. 

The Departed is an ultra-violent film showing the ties between the mafia and the police and it seems to me that the message of the film at the end is 'don't be a rat' rather than not getting involved in immoral behaviour, whether the State-approved or the mob-criminal kind. 

Of course these points of view are rather over-stated as there is some nuance and correctives to these narratives but I personally find them very weak and half-baked. 

Oliver Stone, by contrast, is less morally ambiguous in his film work but many take issue with his films for that reason, as being too preachy and righteous. 

I have less of a problem with Quentin Tarantino's work - which is also ultra-violent and villainous - because it so transparently makes a link between violence and comedy that people do not come out of it thinking 'ah yes that had a moral message' - moreover, Tarantino has always made clear his penchant for the aesthetic of violence and gore and while perverse, this trait would only be mistaken for rightful thinking by mind controlled fools. In other words, Tarantino's oeuvre is less hypocritical than Scorcese's.


Wisdom as Power


Contrary to mainstream belief, knowledge is not power if it is not applied, i.e. put into action. For
"To know and not to do is not to know."
It is wisdom, i.e. the art of knowing what to do with what you know, that amounts to genuine power. 

Occasional Dulness of Classical Music


As a rule I love classical music, especially classical piano, but by God can it be dull at times. 

As Oscar Wilde said in his foreword to his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, art fails if it's boring. 

While it is true that some things are boring for some and not for others, I am inclined to agree with the personal truth of Wilde's statement. 

Rock Sex Nightmare


This would be uncool:

Sitting on a rock somewhere, wanking and crying amongst a colony of sex therapists. 

Rewards in the Hereafter


As Jesus preaches in the New Testament he who does alms visibly for others to see has his reward in the here and now rather than the hereafter.

Perhaps this element of his teachings can be applied further to creative works, thoughts, deeds that, while largely unrecognised by contemporaries when they are brought forth (reward in the here and now), will gather strength and influence with time, even after the death of their originator (reward in the hereafter). 

Shakespeare, whoever he was, is more popular now than in his lifetime and so is his musical equivalent, J.S. Bach, whose music was largely out of fashion come the Age of Reason (second half of 18th century). 

The test of time is the litmus test when it comes to creative work, as work that is based in truth and enlightenment will likely outlive its creator, provided there are always those clued-up receptors who recognise and validate quality, even long after the death of the artist/thinker behind said quality. 

Meanwhile many artists and thinkers who are in the public eye in their lifetime and get symbolic rewards such as Academy Awards, Nobel prizes, glowing reviews in the mainstream media may in fact not be remembered centuries after their death.

Of course there are always those who have an impact in their lifetime as well as after their death, but it does seem to be an unspoken law that justice does come to bear on creators who, relatively unknown in their own time, come to be acknowledged as significant contributors in the long term.