A guest post by “Leopold Lawrence”.
At the start of this century and into the following decade, it is hard to imagine, indeed, even to ponder the possibilities of the mass revolt. Our times seem so distant from those of fifty and forty years ago, that we can now scarcely imagine how revolts of such scale were even possible and capable of almost overthrowing the regimes of their times. The disillusionments and disappointments that followed these revolts, the most spectacular being the May ’68 Revolts that took place in Paris, has since brought much of the radical, revolutionary Left into disrepute, unable to even mount an incisive cultural critique of our times. It would not be much to say that the Left has since ‘exhausted’ itself, repeating the dead old memes of identity politics and proletarian revolutions that can no longer capture the imagination of the masses that they so rely on. Workers are fed up with socialist parties that have routinely betrayed them in the name of a “Third Way”, a left-apologetic for the excesses of a global capitalism, a type of parasitic system that has managed to reach everywhere into our most personal of lives, especially since the advent of globalization and the fall of the Iron Curtain.
If the goal of leftism is to build a more ‘humane’ capitalism, then it has forfeited any radical critique it could have possibly mounted against global capitalism itself. To ‘humanize’ capitalism is simply to lay a colorful shroud over what is essentially, at its core, a most oppressive and alienating system of production/consumption that our ‘benefactors’ have invented. To ‘humanize’ something, that is at the bottom, inhumane, is to give a characteristic to a thing which does not belong to it, since what capitalism remains is essentially an inhumane soul. The humanization of capitalism only serves to distort and mask the reality of what capitalism really is underneath: a wolf in sheep’s skin.
Furthermore, the Leftist advocacy of identity politics has only enslaved us to particular identities rather than liberating us from them. Rather than allowing us to remake our own identities, leftist identity politics calls for us being ‘aware’ of how we are defined by external circumstances only to pigeon-hole us into an identity of victimhood that we should all be breaking out of, to break out of our externally imposed conditions of existence. Leftists want us to realize our potential as women, workers, students, etc, without realizing that these are the social roles that our society has determined that we are, that this is what we “truly are”. Although workers, women, students, indigenous peoples we may all be, but we are all precisely more than these and cannot by any proper means be defined by them nor reduced to these identities. These identities always remain something external to us, and thus in every single way, ‘inessential’ to us.
This does not mean, however, that we should not take on these struggles, but it does require us to recognize that neither of these struggles is more ‘essential’ than the other, and that the other particular struggles that we may take on cannot be reduced to a more ‘essential’ one. That is, “liberating” ourselves as workers, students, women, etc, will only ever amount to a partial liberation of our particular identities as students, women, workers, but never to a full liberation from those identities, which should be the goal of any genuine movement towards self-emancipation. In short, the problem with such identities is that they define us always by what we do rather than by what we are (what we ‘are’, however, remains essentially indefinable). To be a worker, a student, even a woman, is to take on a social role, defined by us and for us by what we do.
Here, I am in much agreement with Wolfi Landstreicher’s critique of identity as a social role: “Social roles are ways in which individuals are defined by the whole system of relationships that is society in order to reproduce society. They make individuals useful to society by making them predictable, by defining their activities in terms of the needs of society. Social roles are work — in the broad sense of activity that reproduces the production/consumption cycle.” Social roles thus always remain externally determined, what we do for a living is something we take up, not because we enjoy them (we don’t, for the most part), but are ways that reinforce and reaffirm our ‘place’ in a society of production/consumption that has determined for us what we are best able to do (through the questionable notion of “competence”/”merit”), even when we are in complete disagreement with its judgment.
We are, after all, not essentially producers nor consumers, but something more than what society has determined us to be. Thus, we ‘free spirits’ are never really students, workers, women, etc, for these are the things we do, our social function in society but not what we are. What we really are though, is an ‘indefinable self’, an irreducible self, a self that is differentiated from all else. But our social roles are never ‘essential’ to us, for these are roles that we take up and discard once they are no longer useful. Hence, I am not always a student, nor a worker, but beyond such identities. To take these identities as essential then, is not just an instance of ‘false consciousness’ but of willful self-deception and alienation from ourselves as ourselves for we forget to relate to ourselves as the self that is always differentiated from its attributes that it happens to possess, that is, those external attributes that are extrinsic to itself and thus removable from the self, i.e. the contingent.
In taking up our social roles as our ‘essential’ identities, we become the replaceable cogs in the machine that, once worn out (as we eventually do, from “burn-out”), another cog, similar to us, will take our place. We are not then, unique nor differentiated in our social roles, but the same; a homogenized mass of bodies, quantifiable and measurable and always only useful as a ‘function’ in a scheme beyond ourselves. Thus, in this broad social scheme, I relate to another as a ‘colleague’, ‘boss’, ‘employer’, ‘bureaucrat’, etc, but never as freely determined individuals, never as ‘themselves ’. This remains closed to me and not simply because of matters of ‘professionalism’. For example, even people who relate to each other outside of work cannot break outside of their roles that they carry over from work: “Oh yeah, Bill today lost the paper-work and got demoted!” But the ‘other’ as ‘other’ is still distant, something inaccessible and certainly not in a direct manner. Thus, it is no surprise that we remain alienated from each other in such circumstances!
The Self Beyond Determination
So to take on one particular struggle to the detriment of another, is to miss the mark completely. Instead, we will have to choose our struggles carefully and towards those which sparks our most immediate interest. In other words, to limit ourselves to these contingent identities (that are not even, most of the time, of our own making) is to limit the possibilities of breaking beyond these externally imposed identities and to take on a self-identity that finds its nature as an “undetermined indeterminacy”. By an ‘undetermined indeterminacy’, we mean an identity that, due to its own initially undetermined nature, is open to its own constant remaking, an identity that both creates and recreates itself in a constant process of becoming something ‘other’ than itself while remaining itself indeterminably; a self that cannot be picked out.
At the same time, this identity is also “indeterminate” because it can never be fully defined as what it essentially is since there is always something about it that escapes full definition and thus, determination. It remains indeterminate at all times, since to state what it essentially is would be to define it and thus to ‘limit’ its possibilities of being something else/other; it would then be reducible to another attribute that it happens to have rather than being something more and above all of its attributes. As such, to state what the self essentially is would be to really say what it is not, since what it really is is always something else, something other than what we said it is. Thus the self always escapes full definition since no definition could possibly fit the self into a specific category of being since the self remains prior to all modes of being, indeed it is the grounds in which all modes of being is possible. After all, before you are a Man, an American, a Christian, etc, (and all other contingent personal attributes), before all of this, ‘ýou are you’ and remain you even if those other attributes are taken away from you.
To put it simply, this self-identity that is beyond all identities is neither essential (in the sense of it being ‘fixed’), nor externally determined by circumstances and other factors beyond our control (as in something given or handed down to us by others), but always remains self-determined, a self that creates and recreates itself. It is not a ‘fixed essence’ in that it remains constantly the same no matter what, but always redefines itself and thus escapes definition since to define it means to ‘fix’ it into a particular place/attribute that it happens to occupy or a character that it happens to possess, rather than allowing for its free development beyond all place and attribute. At most, our words can only point to it but can never grasp its full essence since its essence is essentially always changing, always becoming something ‘other’.
This indeterminacy allow this self-identity to escape not just all attempts to define it, but allows for its own contingent defining and redefining through its free self-development, as it makes and remakes itself in a constant process of becoming. Thus, I find many parallels here with Stirner’s “Unique One” which takes on all the characteristics of an undetermined indeterminacy: “This indeterminacy only seems to be achieved in the unique, because it is given as the specific unique being, because when it is grasped as a concept, i.e., as an expression, it appears as a completely empty and undetermined name, and thus refers to a content outside of or beyond the concept. If one fixes it as a concept— and the opponents do this — one must attempt to give it a definition and will thus inevitably come upon something different from what was meant.”
Further, as Stirner explains: “The unique, however, has no content; it is indeterminacy in itself; only through you does it acquire content and determination. There is no conceptual development of the unique, one cannot build a philosophical system with it as a “principle,” the way one can with being, with thought, with the I.” From this, all self-determination becomes possible from the undetermined indeterminacy of self-identity.
What do you think? Comments?
Since my initial thoughts on this still unfolding event, I have made a few more observations.
# 1 The quality of nude photos of, and by, willing and frequently non-compensated amateurs is now indistinguishable from those of well-known actresses and models.
There was an era (upto the mid-1990s) when the models in amateur nudies and porn were indeed less attractive than well compensated professionals. However this distinction has steadily eroded since then and we are now firmly in an era where even non-famous photographers and models can produce work that rivals and frequently exceeds the output of highly compensated and famous professionals. Many factors,from the spread of inexpensive quality photographic equipment and photoshop to the ubiquity of gyms, yoga studios, plastic surgery, beauty salons etc, has contributed to this trend. However the end results are unmistakable and raise another question.
Why is the current system paying millions to pretty but otherwise mediocre women like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton while ignoring more talented and attractive women? This question is closely linked to other supposed paradoxes like why the current system pays mediocre to incompetent CEOs millions while laying off the very people whose work created all that wealth. Or why mediocre liars (aka academics) from ivy-league universities make far more money and have far more power than their more competent versions from less “famous” universities. Or why white HBD morons who have never done anything that demonstrates their supposedly superior intellect keep on talking about race and intelligence.
# 2 The end of the brief era, when big-corporation (google, twitter, facebook, imgur, reddit) mediated centralization and control of the internet seemed feasible, has now started.
It is no secret that the last few years had seen an attempt by large corporations and the elite to corral the internet through centralization and providing “cloud” based storage services. To this end many of them tried to provide free services and appear tolerant of opinions that run contrary to their view of the world. However they could never really hide to desire for control and power and incidents such as tumblr’s unsuccessful attempts to get porn off its network and aggressive corporate-friendly moderating in reddit kept on reminding some people of their true intentions. I however believe that two recent incidents related to the “fappening” have accidentally kick-started their demise.
You might have heard that twitter recently suspended thousands of user accounts that tweeted links to the ISIL beheading videos and pictures from the “fappening”. Imgur also tried, if somewhat half-heatedly, to remove pictures from the “fappening” series as did reddit by closing down the subreddit that acted as one of the central clearing places for these pictures. It is no secret that google also did not help people find those pictures. Yet I can see that those pictures have effortlessly proliferated on multiple BBs, personal blogs, shared folders and a host of other locations that were supposedly passe, according to most “experts” and “trendologists”.
Do not, therefore, be surprised if you see the rapid spread of open-source and decentralized social media platforms in the next few months. In any case- the cost and difficulty of hosting content, either by yourself or as part of a group, have drastically gone down since the mid- to late-2000s.
# 3 A lot of new media has revealed itself to be old media.
It is telling that the most strident, and authority-based arguments, against leaking those photos came from the so-called “new” media rather than its half-dead older version. Many people, including myself, have long believed that “new” internet-based media was nothing more than an internet-native version of its old dead tree counterpart. Events subsequent to the “fappening” have shown us to be correct and also revealed the extent of its similarity to old media.
It is also very telling that supposedly hip and Gen-Y ish figures (Lena Dunham, Seth Rogen) promoted by new media are responding to this event in a manner indistinguishable from their counterparts from the pre-internet era. But it makes sense once you realize that neither of them would be successful in a world based on ability. Celebrity and wealth has always been based on nepotism, contacts and luck and the ability to scam others as opposed to competence and ability.
Will write more in an upcoming post.
What do you think? Comments?
On Aug 31, 2014- one or more individuals leaked a couple hundred selfies and a few video clips of many young female celebrities (mostly actress and models) on 4chan/b. This event, now known as the “Fappening” has attracted a lot of mainstream media attention along with calls by so-called “respectable” journalists (aka famous and semi-famous presstitutes) to regulate the “dark” and “scary” corners of the interwebs (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4 among many others). It is especially telling that many of these impeccably credentialed morons initially believed that 4chan was either an individual, hacker or file-sharing network. I cannot help but notice that these media attacks on 4chan and even a tame meta-BB like reddit come in the wake of recent attempts to demonize male gamers (Link 5, Link 6 and Link 7)
Anyway.. the same “credentialed” morons who have never spent more than a few minutes on 4chan or specialist sub-reddits, let alone on warez forums, feel confident enough to tell us how to respond to these developments. Their articles also seem to indicate that they do not understand human behavior or simple choose to ignore it. They also appear to be rather technology-illiterate and have little to no grasp of human ingenuity (Link 8 , Link 9 and Link 10)
Having said that, here are my initial thoughts on the “fappening”.
# 1 These leaks were not the work of a single individual or the result of one class of exploits.
While most of the photos were downloaded from iCloud accounts (and were also taken with iPhones), a few photos appear to be taken with non-apple devices. This is not surprising as some of us have been aware of the existence of loose groups of individuals who devote their spare time to perusing the contents of online cloud accounts of other people, especially pretty girls. This scenario appears especially likely given the long time line of some picture series. My point is that there is no one person or close group of person behind the release of those pictures. Moreover, it is likely that some of the software they are using was originally written for the “law and order” industry. Now re-read that sentence in the light of the Snowden’s revelations and the official response to his leaks.
# 2 These leaks have shown that “cloud” based data storage is inherently less secure than local storage.
For the last few years, companies like Google and Amazon to Apple, have been trying to sell us on the idea of “cloud” based data storage. They have made many claims about cloud storage is superior to local storage. Well.. it turns out that uploading data to the cloud is easy but keeping it secure (and easy to access) is not. The celebrity leak of 2014 has vividly illustrated that problem with the photos of many famous faces, breasts, asses, vaginas and a few penises. We now know what Kate Upton’s pussy lips and asshole look like. We also know how Jennifer Lawrence’s pussy and Bar Refaeli’s asshole looks like or how Krysten Ritter styles her pubes. The average person may not understand the technology behind cloud computing, but he or she can now clearly see that it is not secure- despite weasel worded corporate assurances to the contrary.
# 3 Large entities from previous eras (governments, corporations, professional organisations) are powerless to control the flow of information OR narrative.
Many of the first albums containing all those leaked pictures were hosted on imgur, which removed them within a few hours. Some main-stream media idiots thought that this would contain the damage and information leak. As it turns out.. it did not. Not only are people reloading the original or slightly altered pictures (with different names) back onto imgur, but many of the better photos have since found their way onto popular tumblr sites, public folders of Dropbox accounts or Dropbox-like services, multiple bulletin board and self-hosted blogs. This is in addition to the millions who have downloaded the best ones onto their computers and will eventually mail them (or their slightly altered versions) to friends. I should also point out that the internet (and many corporations that provide services) are no longer under the direct or indirect control of american laws or influence.
# 4 These leaks have shown that the cognitive dissonance of feminists, leftists, white-knights and manginas (LIEbrals) are of the same magnitude as bible-thumping hypocrites and capitalism-shilling CONservatives.
I have, on numerous occasions in the past, said that LIEbrals are not that different from CONservatives in that both base their actions on mental models of the world that have little to no connection with reality. The sheer number of posts by LIEbrals passionately defending the right to privacy of women who make millions of dollars per year based on teasing large audiences with their sexuality is downright bizarre, especially when you compare it to their supposedly “nuanced” stands on far more pressing issues that affect many tens of millions more- such as such as mass incarceration and severe economic inequality. While CONservatives are marginally worse in that regard, LIEbrals are not much better.
Will write more on this issue soon, hopefully after I finish a long-delayed post on the events in Ferguson.
What do you think? Comments?
As I mentioned in my previous post of this series – an open license to rob, abuse, torture and murder all those “others” is an essential and integral part of all successful organized religions and ideologies. Let me explain that concept with a simple example.
Why does Islam, today, have more followers than Buddhism? Now this question assumes that you believe that Buddhism is a religion, which some of its believers might find objectionable. But the main question still stands- what makes a religion like Islam more attractive to average dumbfucks than any given school of Buddhism? In my opinion- it comes down to one particular promise that the former offers which the later does not. Well.. Islam officially, and functionally, sanctions the robbery, abuse, torture and murder of “unbelievers”. Buddhism merely sanctions looking down on those “unbelievers”.
One offers the promise of personal enrichment through the guiltless looting, abuse and murder of “others”- while the other merely allows its believers to point and snicker at those pesky “others”.
It is important to note that mainstream flavors of pre-enlightenment era Christianity were as covetous, regressive and brutal as Islam appears today. If you do not believe that statement, I suggest that you read up on the many and very bloody Catholic-Protestant wars waged in the 16th century Europe. I should also point out that Christian doctrine was used to support and justify the genocide of many millions in the Americas during the age of “discovery”. Even 20th century wars such as WW1 and WW2 used religion-based concepts (most notably nationalism) to motivate simpletons into sacrificing their lives by the millions for causes that had nothing to do with any improvement of their own lives.
Capitalism, Communism and other secular organized ideologies are no different. Do you really think that all those who imprisoned, tortured and killed millions of others on the “orders” Stalin and Mao did so because they believed in the principles of the Stalinist or Maoist flavor of Communism? No! They just did it because they wanted to! The belief systems, books and official orders were merely a guilt-absolving justification to do what they always wanted- but never had the balls to do on their own accord. Organized religion and ideologies are about providing a sophistic and plausible sounding justification for acting like a total sociopath but without having to accept any personal responsibility or culpability for their actions.
The guilt-transference mechanism of an organized religion or ideology allows its followers to kill in its name as their day job, then go home to their families in the evening and act as if they did nothing unusual or wrong.
Now imagine what would happen if you overwhelmed and subjugated a true believer and then asked them to account for their past actions. For starters, almost every single will claim innocence. Some will tell you that they were acting in accordance with the dictates of some god, prophet or leader who is almost always conveniently unavailable or dead. Others might claim that they were following the most recent edition of some ancient “holy” book of questionable authorship and full of editing and continuity errors. Now imagine how those very same people would react if a person robbed, abused, tortured and murdered scores of other people on the basis of voices in his head, third person accounts of hallucinations and the contents of old comic books. So, what is the real difference between a mentally ill murderer and a person who kills in the name of an organized religion and ideology.?
A mentally ill murderer who believes that he is god is far more honest and possess significantly larger balls than the pathetic piece of shit who has to hide in the shadow of a socially acceptable belief system and defend his actions through misdirection and sophistry.
I was initially going to devote this post to a discussion about the more insidious organized secular religions (nationalism, capitalism, feminism) of our era- but felt it was necessary to first shine some more light on the original dirty secret underlying all organized belief systems. You will therefore have to wait for the next post in this series to read about my thoughts on contemporary secular religions.
What do you think? Comments?
Towards the end of the previous post in this series, I had asked a bunch of questions about why seemingly diverse belief systems were so functionally similar.
Why are they so devoted to the creation and enforcement of arbitrary rules, regulations, mores and rituals? Why are they so devoted to creating very elaborate fairy tales, explanations and justifications for their supposed “authority”? Why are they so interested in encouraging conformity and unquestioning hierarchic obedience? Why are they so interested in destroying the individuality and personal happiness of their members? And why don’t they tackle real problems or make the lives of their followers materially better?
But perhaps the even more important question is-
What kind of person would willingly believe, defend and enforce such systems of belief? And why?
As you will soon see, the answer to these questions is intimately linked to the existence of all organized religious and secular belief systems. The answer will also allow me to elaborate on a concept found in some of my previous posts- aka the “useful idiot” class. So, who are these ‘individuals’ that make up this class? How numerous are they and what are the real driving forces behind their apparently strong beliefs, even if holding those beliefs results in them acting against their best interests?
I am now going to dissect two contemporary secular proto-religions to help you comprehend the defining characteristics of the “useful idiot” class. Let us start with HBD aka Human BioDiversity aka racial realism aka the latest version to put a rational face on racism. In case you wondering, the feminine equivalent of this belief is known as Feminism- and I will tackle it a bit later on in this post- or the next.
So why are some people interested in promoting the belief that one group of people are somehow ‘better’ or ‘more deserving’ than another group. I mean, would we be having this discussion if their claims were actually true. To put it another way- Have you heard of Steve Sailer or Mencius Moldbug types write an endless stream of posts supporting the “revolutionary” idea that the earth is spherical (an oblate spheroid, to be more precise). Why do we not have self-styled “revolutionary” authors writing endless posts that supposedly provide yet more evidence that fire is hot and ice is cold. The answer is quite simple- the experimental evidence that support some ideas is so overwhelming that it is basically impossible to make the contrary case. Now this does not imply that all minority ideas are wrong- as we know that most people once believed that the earth was flat and epidemics of infectious diseases were manifestations of divine wrath. But in both cases, experimental evidence almost always supported what would later prove to the correct explanations.
Does that hold for HBD? and more importantly- why is there is such a large gap between the claims of HBD promoters and reality? and what does that tell us about the motivations of those who believe in it?
Let me explain.. The absolute majority of those who promote or believe in HBD are mediocre to less-than-mediocre white men. I cannot resist pointing out the irony of HBD promoters like Sailer panhandling on their HBD-promoting websites or writing paid articles for groups that want to promote those ideas. Why would a white man with a ‘high IQ’ have to panhandle on his website. Then there is the question of whether any of these ‘high IQ’ white men have achieved anything in their lives beyond writing make-believe articles on white racial supremacy. If not, why not? Why is a ‘high IQ’ liberal race realist like Robert Lindsay always on the cusp of destitution? Why does RooshV have to go to poverty-stricken areas of Ukraine to find “traditional” women? Why does Matt Forney have to go to the Philippines to find “feminine” women?
The pathetic lives of, and lack of achievements shown by, the vast majority of whites are in stark contrast to their exorbitant claims of innate racial superiority.
The answer to this apparent dissonance lies at the heart of organized religious and secular belief systems. To put it simply- organized belief systems prey on the insecurities of people who can appreciate their own inadequacies but lack any ability to overcome or rise above them. The belief that ALL whites are innately superior to other races is comforting to all those mediocre to less-than-mediocre whites (the absolute majority of whites) who know, but will never publicly acknowledge, that they are sad and pathetic losers. HBD is therefore best seen as a bunch of fairly tales or ancestral myths that makes listeners feel better about themselves.
But why are the fairy tales and ancestral myths of HBD so problematic? What harm can come from reading comic books, performing cosplay or LARPing? Well.. the big difference between fantasy role-playing games and HBD (or any other organized ideology) is that those who engage in the former know that their make-believe world is not real. They do not write laws and regulations to run real-life societies based on the contents of comic books and role-playing game guides. In contrast to that, HBD believers and promoters want to run entire societies on the basis of their own special collection of bullshit myths. In that respect, HBD is no different from political Christianity, Islam, Capitalism or Communism.
Like any other organized religion, those who espouse HBD can be divided into two categories- a small number of leaders and a multitude of followers. Now it is obvious to almost anybody that the opinion leaders of HBD are in it for fame, money, ego and perhaps power. But what about the followers? What do they gain from it? Well.. as I said before, the devout followers of all organized ideologies are usually barely average to less-than-average morons with almost no independent sense of self or personal identity. Movements such as organized religions and ideologies give them a powerful if totally fabricated personal identity. But that is not all.
Adopting a fabricated personal identity allows them to hurt more vulnerable people and feel alive, while outsourcing their conscience and better judgement to some priest, leader, prophet or book. Basically, it allows them to be a full-blown sociopath without talking personal responsibility for their actions.
That is why a significant minority of humans can enthusiastically rob, abuse, torture or murder other human beings in the name of some leader, prophet, book or god. That is also why the zealous and devout members of belief systems as diverse as Christianity, Islam, Capitalism and Communism resemble each other so much. The true believers of all organized ideologies tend to posses average to below-average intelligence and derive most of their personal identity from a belief system rooted in one particular set of adult fairy tales. It is also important to understand that an open license to rob, abuse, torture or murder “others” is an essential and integral part of all successful organized religions and ideologies.
In the next part of this series, I will discuss how all of this applies to other organized secular ideologies such as Feminism.
What do you think? Comments?
In the previous post of this series, I made the point that all organized ideologies (religious and secular) are based on a rather peculiar and seemingly universal human need.
All religions and popular ideologies are about rationalizing and sanctifying the abuse, robbery, murder and coercion of those labelled as “others”.
But why do most humans require some pseudo-rational explanation and sanctification for doing what they always wanted to do. Compare and contrast this urge to other ones like the urges to eat and drink. Why do we not construct elaborate legends, explanations and rituals to explain and justify our urge to eat when we are hungry or drink when we are thirsty? Why do we not require “holy” men and “prophets” to justify the sexual desire evoked by a young and attractive woman?
So why humans require ideology to justify the abuse, robbery, murder and coercion of “others”?
An other way of asking this question is- Why not just abuse, rob, murder and enslave others because you felt like it? I should also point out one more odd facet of this behavior. Humans do not seem to require religious justification and sanctification for violent (but normal behaviors) such as hunting animals for food or killing dangerous animals. Nor do they require such justification and sanctification for killing other human beings during the course of highly localized conflicts where the issues they are fighting over are highly personal in nature.
Then there is the question of whether abuse, robbery, murder and coercion of “others” is always associated with religious-type beliefs. Well, let us answer this question by having a look at the religious-type beliefs of hunter-gatherers. You might have noticed that almost all the religious beliefs of hunter-gatherer are about personal connection with “other worlds”, “forces of nature” or some version of a “life force”. While different aspects of this set of beliefs have their own names such as Animism, Panentheism, Shamanism and Totemism- it clear that they are centered around individual and personal spiritual experience.
Now contrast this to traditional religions, aka the organized belief systems that came into being with the advent of agriculture and the first kingdoms. Let me frame that question another way- What are traditional religions about? Let us start by asking that question about old-timey Judaism. Is it really spirituality? Well, if you look at history- the answer is a big NO. Old-timey Judaism is basically a set of largely arbitrary rules, regulations and the accompanying legalisms that are meant to enrich a few at the cost of the majority of its believers. Christianity is and was no different. After an initial run of perhaps one hundred years where it did try to recreate the individual and personal spiritual experience of pre-agricultural religions, it quickly became old-timey Judaism-lite. This ossification and transformation was almost complete by the time it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Islam has, from its inception, been largely about abuse, robbery, murder and coercion of those pesky “others”.
Nor is this tendency restricted to monotheistic religions. Hinduism, in all its forms, is nothing more than a systems of laws, regulations and customs about caste. Yes, you heard that right- Hinduism contains (and offers) nothing more than arbitrary rules, regulations and some fairy tales. While it makes tall claims to morality and spirituality, it practitioners display a level of materialism, greed and pettiness that is unmatched by any group except east-asians. Let us now turn our attention to the organized religious beliefs of east-asians. While I could write a lot about this subject, it is very easy to summarize their core beliefs. All major and most minor east-asian religious-type belief systems are about rituals, rules, regulations, mores, encouraging unquestioning obedience to “authority” and destroying the individuality and personal happiness of its members.
So why are the core beliefs and modus operandi of major religious (and secular) belief systems so similar? Why are they so devoted to the creation and enforcement of arbitrary rules, regulations, mores and rituals? Why are they so devoted to creating very elaborate fairy tales, explanations and justifications for their supposed “authority”? Why are they so interested in preventing anything approaching an individual and personal spiritual experience among their followers? Why are they so interested in encouraging conformity and unquestioning hierarchic obedience? Why are they so interested in destroying the individuality and personal happiness of their members? And why don’t these belief systems tackle real problems or make the lives of their followers materially better?
I have partially answered the last question in a fairly specific context in one of my earlier posts. The next post in this series will, among other things, discuss a more generalized version of that explanation.
What do you think? Comments?
In the previous post of this series, I put forth an idea on what might be the real factor underlying religious zealotry.
They just want an excuse to screw over somebody else while simultaneously feeling righteous about doing it.
I have also hinted at this idea in one of my older standalone post. Note that this rationale is not unique to traditional religions and can be seen among ardent followers of secular religions such as communism and capitalism- well, pretty much every single ideology. Here are a few examples of what I am talking about..
Many devout Christians believe in concepts like heaven and hell, but have you ever met somebody with any evidence of their existence? Isn’t it odd that a drug like DMT provides a far more realistic spiritual experience than a lifetime of studying the bible and praying to an entity nobody in their right mind has ever seen? Why was the belief of people in a christian god almost always rewarded with drudgery, poverty, disease and incessant wars? But far more importantly, was everybody always too stupid to realize that there was no god? And why are evangelicals who claim personal communication with god so preachy about the sexual lives and behaviors of other people while indulging in those very same behaviors themselves? Why are overtly devout Christians not interested in solving problems that might actually improve the lives of their fellow human beings? Why devote so much mental energy to something that has never provided any material benefit?
Now let us turn to Islam. Isn’t it odd that so many of its followers obsess about supposed insults to their prophet even when doing so has no positive material effects on their pathetic lives? Does their beliefs put more (and better) food on their table? What about reducing infant mortality and morbidity? Does their god put indoor plumbing in the houses of believers? Does he provide them with electric power, air conditioners and HDTVs? Does fidelity to that belief system result in the faithful getting free high-end sports cars and SUVS? Did their god or prophet even instruct them to purify drinking water by boiling it? Isn’t it therefore a bit odd that so many of the believers of that belief system are willing defend the “honor” of an entity who has not manifested himself- let alone benefited his vocal followers to the extent of even a single slice of pizza?
Hinduism is no better. Has belief in any part of Hinduism resulted in the spontaneous appearance of even a single morsel of edible food. Has belief in any part of Hinduism improved the quality of drinking water, general sanitation or somehow reduced the spread of any infectious diseases? Has it improved the general health, life expectancy or life quality of its believers? Has belief in any part of the caste system improved the lives of its believers? Is there anything in Hinduism beyond stupid rules about caste, ritual pollution and some bullshit stories. I should point out that other religions are no better in that respect. Isn’t it odd that most followers of this supposedly spiritual religion are among the most greedy, deceptive and selfish assholes you will ever have the misfortune of meeting. Then there is the peculiar problem of how a mostly illiterate people can maintain fidelity to a religion whose texts were and are still mostly unavailable or nonexistent.
Secular religions are no different. How many people who defend capitalism (especially financialism) have actually benefited from it pre-WW2 pure form? Note the choice of words “actually benefited from it” as opposed to “barely managed to survived under it”. What about libertarianism? Have you seen real life examples of the scenarios described in Ayn Rand’s fairy tales? The same holds for state communism- though to a lesser degree as it did actually benefit (at least initially) most of those who lived under it. My point is that followers of secular religions display the same outcome blindness as those who believe in traditional regions.
But why are the vast majority of devout followers of any religion, traditional or secular, so blind to the outcome of their beliefs? Why are they so persistent in their beliefs- especially in the complete absence of validation of those beliefs. Why would they willingly and enthusiastically structure their lives around beliefs that offer no measurable utility? Even a normal 8-year old child understands that people who habitually renege on their end of the deal are untrustworthy. Yet most adults exhibit great certainty about the existence of an invisible all-powerful friend who has never made a single slice of pizza materialize before them. One possibility is that most adults are stupider than an average 8-year old. It is also possible that belief in god, religion and ideology is a defense mechanism against nihilism and the fear of uncertainty. However neither of the previous two explanations account for the central, and most important, feature of all traditional and secular religions.
The one common feature of all religions, traditional or secular, is unrelated to belief. It is about what they seek to rationalize and justify. All religions and popular ideologies are about rationalizing and sanctifying the abuse, robbery, murder and coercion of others. Initially they seek to do that to those who don’t believe in their fairy tales. However sooner or later, they run out of unbelievers and turn on themselves and start persecuting their less-faithful members. That is the real reason why religions that gain followers (such as islam, capitalism) become more extreme as they do so.
Will write more about this connection in the upcoming part of the series.
What do you think? Comments?