Most people are picture thinkers. What does that mean? It means that they think in terms of words linked to images. A smaller percentage thinks almost entirely in terms of pictures.
Picture thinkers hear a word and immediately think of a "picture" of whatever the word represents, and that helps them to quickly understand the meaning of the word and incorporate it into their building interpretation of a sentence.
In this article, we'll use the concept of picture-thinking to highlight something remarkable: that the vast majority of people actually misunderstand mind. Their picture-thinking minds obsctruct proper understanding.
French philosopher René Descartes thought that reality had a dualistic nature (it was made of two distinct parts or substances). There was mind and there was matter. This is what's commonly understood by the word "dualism" in metaphysics - a dual substance conception of reality, usually mind and matter; the soul and atoms (or quarks or strings or whatever scientists decide is the most fundamental unit of matter in the next decade).
Descartes argued that the part of us that thinks is separate from the part of us that exists in the physical world.
"I shall then suppose, not that God who is supremely good and the fountain of truth, but some evil genius not less powerful than deceitful, has employed his whole energies in deceiving me; I shall consider that the heavens, the earth, colours, figures, sound, and all other external things are nought but the illusions and dreams of which this genius has availed himself in order to lay traps for my credulity; I shall consider myself as having no hands, no eyes, no flesh, no blood, nor any senses, yet falsely believing myself to possess all these things; I shall remain obstinately attached to this idea, and if by this means it is not in my power to arrive at the knowledge of any truth, I may at least do what is in my power [i.e. suspend my judgment], and with firm purpose avoid giving credence to any false thing, or being imposed upon by this arch deceiver, however powerful and deceptive he may be." - Descartes
In other words, Descartes recognized what scientists today don't recognize: that even the existence of matter is not for certain. A demon, an "evil genius," might be deceiving you into believing that matter is real, or you might be deceiving yourself. You might consider it unlikely, especially if you're a scientist (in fact, you might laugh at the idea, unaware that the joke is, in fact, on you), but Descartes recognized that the only fact of which we can be immediately convinced is that we have a mind.
If you immediately reject the idea that matter may not be real, then you are no better than the faithfuls, who believe without evidence. And so, if you're a materialist, you must immediately be converted into an immaterialist (i.e., you must believe purely in mind rather than purely in matter). In fact, from the point of view of someone who knows nothing for sure, materialism is such an absurd view to take, you might as well believe in the Loch Ness Monster. And as such, from this point on, we shall refer to materialists (and therefore also empiricists, which includes virtually all scientists) as "Nessies" or "Loch Nessies," just to highlight the absurdity of their position.
Contrary to the common Nessian belief - the absurd idea that you are a bunch of atoms that inexplicably gives rise to a mind - your mind is the only thing of which you can be certain. Nessians assume that, because the physical world appears real ("real" by the standards of the physical world, of course) and because they think they encounter other people within this world (which, for all they know, could be part of the "illusion"), the physical world definitely exists beyond themselves and it's definitely all they can be sure of. There's none of that weird "mind" stuff - which is the very structure they're using to deny the existence of mind. Even better(?), mind is produced by matter! What explanation do they have of this? Absolutely none! Can they explain why there is an experiencer (i.e., a consciousness)? Of course not! But it's not their job to explain things, it's their job to get salaries and support their families. It's not their job to inquire, "how?" It's their job to explain "what?" via models - as if models will bring you any closer to understanding reality! Nessians are no better than the Christians they presumptuously laugh at!
"I suppose, then, that all the things that I see are false; I persuade myself that nothing has ever existed of all that my fallacious memory represents to me. I consider that I possess no senses; I imagine that body, figure, extension, movement and place are but the fictions of my mind. What, then, can be esteemed as true? Perhaps nothing at all, unless that there is nothing in the world that is certain.
"But how can I know there is not something different from those things that I have just considered, of which one cannot have the slightest doubt? Is there not some God, or some other being by whatever name we call it, who puts these reflections into my mind? That is not necessary, for is it not possible that I am capable of producing them myself? I myself, am I not at least something? But I have already denied that I had senses and body. Yet I hesitate, for what follows from that? Am I so dependent on body and senses that I cannot exist without these? But I was persuaded that there was nothing in all the world, that there was no heaven, no earth, that there were no minds, nor any bodies: was I not then likewise persuaded that I did not exist? Not at all; of a surety I myself did exist since I persuaded myself of something [or merely because I thought of something]. But there is some deceiver or other, very powerful and very cunning, who ever employs his ingenuity in deceiving me. Then without doubt I exist also if he deceives me, and let him deceive me as much as he will, he can never cause me to be nothing so long as I think that I am something. So that after having reflected well and carefully examined all things, we must come to the definite conclusion that this proposition: I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it." - Descartes
Consider that for a moment: the only thing you can truly know is the fact that you exist! You must exist because you can think. You experience your thoughts. You can't not exist - because if you didn't, you wouldn't experience anything!
Everyone else? They may, for all you know, be part of an elaborate illusion. You can't know that they experience things too, even though they might claim that they do.
These are problems with which science would rather not deal. Nessians just skip all of the philosophy and jump straight to physicality, even though they have laid no groundwork to support it! And the late Stephen Hawking said philosophy is dead! How absurd. Philosophy is very much alive, and it underlies all of science! Hawking clearly never came into contact with any decent philosopher, did he? Any good philosopher would have told him clearly what's what. He clearly never read Descartes, did he? Descartes clearly put all of his doubts into action - only by doing so could he find something impossible to doubt. It would be a self-contradiction for me to doubt that I exist. But do you exist? Does the physical world exist? These things are subject to doubt, and hence cannot be taken as the foundation of existence.
Last Thursdayism is the satirical belief that the universe came into existence last Thursday. It seems absurd, but could it be true? Of course it could. But in the absence of any explanation or mechanism as to how something could come from nothing, we all generally reject Last Thursdayism. (Of course, if you're a faithful, you have no reason to believe that the universe wasn't created last Thursday, so you will have to find some way to rationalize that, which will undoubtedly involve your holy text).
For those who deal with actual knowledge rather than wishes and dreams, you must be an immaterialist - you must believe in a lack of matter rather than the presence of matter, which you haven't proved.
The Understanding Gap
But many people have trouble understanding mind separately from matter. Mind cannot be drawn. You cannot take a picture of it. You cannot think of it in terms of images. For this reason, many religious people imagine the soul as being somewhere, as inhabiting the body. In fact, that's absurd. If unextended mind and extended body are fundamentally different, there's no reason to believe that they inhabit the same space. Descartes often makes reference to extended (physical) things in contrast to unextended (mental) things. If mind and matter are separate, then it's ridiculous to think of the soul in terms of matter. Most people imagine it as some kind of amorphous, gaseous substance which can be superimposed over the body (i.e., it can exist in the same place as the body and therefore has physical dimensions, but is not made of matter). What of the implications of this position? Can souls move away from bodies? If so, what happens to their connection to the body? How do souls connect to the body in the first place? How does their "physical" proximity to the body assist in this connection? And if it doesn't, then why does the soul need to be near the body at all? What's the soul made of? How can it exist in the same place as matter without disturbing it? The believers have no answers for us because their thought process begins and ends with the Bible or the Koran or whatever other ridiculous book in which they have placed their faith. They haven't even begun to comprehend the implicatioons of what they believe.
Whenever someone claims that their holy text provides "satisfying" answers, you can immediately be certain that that person isn't a philosopher! You can be sure that they think in a very emotional way. Holy texts are invariably vastly dumbed down religions. They provide no intellectual explanations of the topics they talk about, and they always speak in vague terms, often via simplistic parables that are insulting to any intelligent person.
If we think of matter in terms of space, then we should not necessarily think of mind (and souls) in the same terms, especially if the two comprise entirely different substances. You are capable of thinking in terms of space (i.e., you can think of images or 3D structures), but is your mind itself physically extended? According to Descartes, no.
The metaphysical conceit was used by the metaphysical poets in the 17th century to draw a loose comparison between an object of the real world and an object of the conception, usually an aspect of a person. It's a kind of metaphor that helps picture-thinking people comprehend abstract concepts.
Santa Claus vs. Jack Zero
Santa rewards those who brave the cold. The more you are exposed to it, the better you can potentially become at coping with it. Zero is slowly architecting his own defeat! Christmas is not for Christ - it is for Santa.
Zero always goes too far, strengthening his enemies. That is why he will lose in the long run. He's opposed by Santa, who is ultimately the superior person.
Santa bless you all! Fuck Jack Zero!
Picture-thinking is the phenomenon whereby people think of abstract concepts in terms of images. It's heavily linked with reification, whereby an object personifies an abstract concept. A common example is the Statue of Liberty - Lady Liberty is liberty itself.
Using reification, we can more easily form emotional connections with abstract concepts. We can much more easily form a connection with Lady Liberty than we can with liberty itself. We can assign properties to objects and anthropomorphizations that allow us to identify with them.
Picture-thinking isn't about forming a connection; instead, it revolves around an inability or an unwillingness to consider abstract concepts and things as abstract (by abstract in this instance we mean things which cannot be represented in terms of space or time). Picture-thinking is all about representing immaterial things in a material way, and taking this representation literally. We have already given the example of the soul; another example would be God, who does not have a body or a face, but is entirely immaterial and invisible. He doesn't have a literal throne, as people like to imagine.
Come to that, the entirety of heaven is supposed to be immaterial. People have a tendency to imagine the immaterial as just another form of spacetime that's detached from our own reality, but that's not actually what people mean when they talk about the immaterial.
Human experience is bound up with the senses. You have a number of senses which help you to understand the world. In your dreams, you have imaginary senses based upon your real senses; a person who has been blind their whole life does not see in their dreams. There's a crucial difference: the physical world is extended. Your dreams do not have extension in the same way, but you nevertheless perceive them this way.
Is it any wonder that the spacetime way of thinking about mind has prevailed? But mind, in the Cartesian conception, is outside of spacetime, and thus has nothing to do with either space or time.
"I shall now close my eyes, I shall stop my ears, I shall call away all my senses, I shall efface even from my thoughts all the images of corporeal things, or at least (for that is hardly possible) I shall esteem them as vain and false; and thus holding converse only with myself and considering my own nature, I shall try little by little to reach a better knowledge of and a more familiar acquaintanceship with myself." - Descartes
It's very difficult for most people to consider and manipulate concepts (made of words and possibly feelings) rather than images (made of light perception - colors and shapes and textures and spatial structures). Especially those who are very bad with language think in images. Images express physical things; words express non-physical ideas. Most of humanity is picture-thinking - i.e., distant from true concepts. Both faithfuls and empiricists think in terms of images and objects. They're incapable of reaching first concepts because they have already come to the conclusion that physical objects are more fundamental than concepts - even though they use concepts in order to come to that very conclusion. Certainly in any human enterprise, concepts and ideas rule all, so why are we not all first examining our ideas?
But the picture thinkers don't care - they would much rather stick to what they know. If we make the analogy of books, the picture-thinkers are the ones reading children's books, with all their bright colors and cartoonish pictures; everyone else is reading adults' books, with words only. Reality can't be understood through the children's book - you must make contact with the adults' book. A children's book is always dumbed down and simplistic. It never presents things the way they are.
As Descartes said, "...this proposition: I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it." If you want to move on from there, then your task is to examine yourself - and you cannot do that by thinking in pictures. You must work with ideas. This task has absolutely nothing to do with quarks or bosons. It doesn't involve electrons or positrons. It's as distant as possible from space and time. It's purely conceptual and thus immaterial.
If we demand absolute truth, then is it not ridiculous to suppose that other people exist? Are we not committing the error of the faithfuls and the empiricists in supposing something that might be false?
Yes, we are indeed - but a) our supposition that other people exist is reasonable (if one mind exists then there is no reason why two shouldn't exist, and if two, then why not three? and so on - assuming that mind is a substance (i.e., something that doesn't depend on anything else to exist), that also means it is eternal and therefore wasn't created by anyone), and b) attacking us for that would be to suppose something that you deny - that we exist - and therefore prove yourself to be a wa - oh, sorry, we meant to say, an irrational person.
People sometimes complain that we have no decorum. We're the opposite of classy, far too eager to use curse words; we're self-satisfied; we're rabble-rousers; we're just saying things for their own sake; we talk nonsense half the time; we're childish.
In some cases, those people are absolutely right. The fact that decorum is what they obsess over is much more illustrative of them than of us. We're unconventional, we don't adhere to the standards of the sterile, dessicated academic environment provided to students. They're already dead, and they know it. We're simply providing an alternative.
If we're not to your liking, then you can leave; it's that simple. Don't hang around with people who aren't your friends. We never force anyone to be in contact with us or to read our material. If classiness is what you want, then grow up and go somewhere classy. You're not our audience, so we won't lose any sleep over your departure.
You have two options in life: have decorum or get things done. Those who are overly obsessed with being politically correct, classy, respectful etc. will achieve just as much as a rock. Often, you have to reach beyond the boundaries of decorum to say things that need to be said.
If you can only think in one rigid way and exclude or demonize anything different, then that's your problem, not anyone else's. Take responsibility for your own actions and stop complaining; that's one third of our entire message. If you haven't understood that, then you haven't understood anything.
Goodbye! Have fun wherever it is that you're going because you're sure as shit not having fun here.
"Under these circumstances, it is a duty—and one against which my customary reserve, and to a still greater degree the pride of my instincts, rebel—to say: Listen! for I am such and such a person. For Heaven's sake do not confound me with any one else!" - Nietzsche
When people are locked into one way of thinking, they make ridiculous assumptions and ask ridiculous questions. Within the space of a few words, they prove how little they understand about you.
Our message involves training yourself to think in various different ways. To understand all of what we say, you'll have to expand your scope of thought. To think in one confined way isn't enough. We don't speak and reason in one confined way.
And for the love of fuck, don't take everything someone says absolutely literally! Think in other terms than literalism or you won't last five minutes in the world of ideas. Even when we speak in literal terms, we might actually intend to convey a different meaning. The people for whom it is intended - smart people - will get it and everyone else will fail dismally. This is by design how our material works. So don't get too rigid in your interpretations - but don't fly off into space either; don't take our words to mean something they don't indicate.
This site is something any Trump follower will find very difficult. They know only how to chant MAGA over and over. Their identities lie in simplistic slogans and soundbites, not ideas and intellect - that's why they voted Trump in the first place. No intelligent person would vote Trump in a million years.
Because of his conception that mind and matter are separate, Descartes immediately ran into a few problems: 1) he did not explain why reality should consist of two substances rather than one; if there's a simpler possible reality, why would that reality not exist? (Descartes did believe in God, but then we just move the problem along: why would God create a more complex reality than is required? Why are humans not spiritual beings rather than physical ones?) 2) he did not explain how mind and matter were able to communicate with one another; for if we have a soul which is the seat of our apprehensions, then it must have some way of communicating with the body. Of course, such a communication method must also be conceived of philosophically; we will not find any evidence of it in the brain.
If unextended mind and extended matter are in fact made of the same base substance, then why does extension exist? Why is everything not rather unextended? What truly is extension? How does a thing acquire extension (becoming physical)? How does a thing lose its extension (becoming mental)?
The mind-body problem is only the least of our obstacles. It isn't good enough to merely characterize reality; you have to explain why things are the way they are. That's what differentiates philosophy from science. There are no cop-outs. You can't just say, "I don't know why," and leave it at that.
Why are people so stupid when it comes to philosophy? Because they get so hung up on the how, they never contemplate the why.
The effect of a nation's constitution tells you everything about the foundation of that nation. The US' constitution, it has to be said, hasn't produced a good nation at all. It's collapsing right before our eyes. Many Trumpers are claiming that they won't accept Biden as their president, while Democrats tell them they're losers again and again, and tell Trump to fuck off.
How can a nation with such internal divisions remain standing?
According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." (12:25). It's one of the wisest sayings ever to come from a Christian.
It's clear from the election that there are two major and very different types of Americans: Republicans and Democrats. How can the two sides be unified? How can they inhabit the same house together? How can America survive, divided against itself? How can it avoid being brought to desolation?
Biden isn't up to reconciling disagreements that large. If his mission is to unite America, he'll be a terrible failure just like Trump is now. At the end of this next presidential term, America will be either the same as it is now or even worse. That is, if something doesn't go catastrophically wrong in the meantime.
America is fractured. Who will put the pieces back together again?
The UK isn't much better. They've been under the rule of the Tories (Conservatives) for about ten years now. What's changed in that time, except that the UK has become even more reductionist, divisionist, and violent? If, after ten years of government, the Tories couldn't fix unemployment, violent crime, homelessness, the economy, and so on, then are they likely to accomplish it in another ten years? All they've really managed to do so far is privatize previously publicly-owned services and organizations, transferring more power from the government to the maverick rich.
What do Boris and his pals benefit from doing what's best for the people? You lot have already proven that you'll still vote for them regardless! There's never any punishment for a political leader who rules in self-interest or fails to govern a country properly. Isn't there something wrong with that? Isn't that proof that democracy has failed? When tyrants and self-interested despots get away with their crimes, have we really progressed at all since Medieval times?
Democracy is the biggest sham on the face of the planet, apart from mainstream religion. It hasn't fixed anything. So we now get to choose which tyrants we want - big deal! They're still tyrants and they still deserve to be jailed, if not killed outright for presuming to rule other people for their own benefit. Tyranny should never be tolerated, but under democracy, it is, which makes democracy unacceptable and intolerable.
(Lack of) Gun Control: Presidential Cowardice
Who needs a gun? If you don't need a gun, then you shouldn't be allowed to have one. It's as simple as that. You don't have a right to carry a dangerous weapon on your person, especially not out in public. What about the victims of shootings that are still permitted to happen? - did they not have a right to live? Why were they allowed to be killed by a madman with a high-powered rifle? Because you don't want to surrender your weapon?
Why do you think you need a gun? Is it to defend yourself? - that's what the authorities are for, dumbass. You'd also generally have a much better chance of surviving if someone attacked you sucessfully with a knife. People can and should be able to own knives because there are innocent, legitimate reasons why you might actually need one. Who needs a gun?
The American people's "right" to possess a gun represents nothing other than sheer barbarism, pure and simple. There's no excuse for owning a highly dangerous weapon unless you need one in order to do your job.
And presidents? They do nothing. They stand back and make a "sad" Tweet every time there's a shooting. They say they have sympathy for the victims, but if they actually had any sympathy, then they would ensure that it never happens again. Instead, all we get are emotional testimonies and press conferences. When is the real president going to step forward? - because those public patsies never do anything.
No president ever implements gun control to any useful degree becaus they know that if they did, there would be uproar. But you're the PRESIDENT - if your decisions aren't causing uproar in such a divided nation, you're not doing your job right.
Trump was never going to do anything about guns - he's a supporter of being able to do whatever the fuck you want - and Biden won't do anything either because it would only serve to divide the nation further.
Ultimately, if America cannot survive on good principles, it doesn't fucking deserve to survive. It doesn't deserve to survive on sheer ignorance of the tragedies that happen every day and are never addressed properly. America deserves better.
Once upon a time, it held such promise, but it was quickly corrupted by the men of the old world. It's not the new world anymore. It's not the "land of the free" anymore. It's the land of tyrants. It's an extension, an appendage, of the old world. Only a fool would believe in the American Dream - it departed this world long ago. The psychopaths have ruined everything. For everyone.
When the US was still in its early stages, it represented the chance for humanity to escape the clutches of the old world and the old ways. Instead, it's now the reinforcement of the old world and the old ways. That opportunity will never arrive again - not without the price of significantly more blood.
Welp, it's too late now. People should have listened when they still had the choice.
Orange Man Bad
Trump was, is, and always will be a disgrace to America. He's an old-worlder par excellence. He represents everything America first opposed - privilege, prejudice, nepotism, monarchy, tyranny. He doesn't even LOOK like a president - he looks like an aging Hollywood star whose fanbase has dwindled and whose fake tan and hair dye have thus gotten cheaper and cheaper.
He behaves like exactly what he is - a spoiled child, a privileged fuck. He isn't on your side and he certainly wouldn't make any self-sacrifice for you. What has he sacrificed in the course of his presidency? Did any of those sacrifices cause any kind of detriment to him or his lifestyle? He is less orange than he used to be, but perhaps he's just learned how to apply his fake tan more sparingly!
He's still insisting that he will prove voter fraud, some of which he claims has been going on for years - yet he wasn't so concerned with voter fraud when he won. He wasn't so eager to look into the results and make sure the votes were all legitimate back then, was he? How would it have been if Hillary had thrown a huge tantrum and insisted that Trump must have lost because, quite interestingly, he lost the popular vote to Hillary, yet still won the White House due to the number of Electoral College votes he received. That, if anything, is what looks strange, but no - the election Trump is really concerned about is the one in which he lost both the popular vote and the College votes! Isn't that so telling?
Everyone knows by now that Orange Man Bad. All old-worlders like him must be ousted and deposed. This is the Second Gospel of Scio.
The real depression afllicting this world has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with the way people are treated. Until people stop treating others as robots to be programmed, humanity will never be free; it will always be a depressed and depressive species.
Mankind is quite possibly the most depressed species in all the cosmos. We don't allow ourselves to be what we want to be; we hold down unhappy, boring, soul-destroying jobs rather than chasing our true interests. It's too hard in today's world to have interests, except for a lucly few. It's too costly in terms of both time and money. You're too tired from working the job you're really not invested in to do anything else. It's sapped your energy and creativity. It's quickly depersonalizing you, turning you into a robot. What with your dull job, your sleep, and your housing maintenance, you barely have any time in which to live because you spend it relaxing. Before you know it, the grind begins all over again. No wonder we're depressed!
Society as a whole is desperately unhappy. It's a soul-sucking thing in general. It expects everyone to behave like robots, consistently fuelling the economy. It doesn't take into account the nuances and differences between people. It doesn't understand or care about people's interests. Taking care of people's interests doesn't keep society afloat. This might seem like an inevitable, hard fact, but we people are the ones who designed our world this way. No one forced us. We choose what drives society, and what we have chosen is nebulous work with no payoff except to keep existing moderately comfortably for a little longer.
Where's our creativity gone? In which dark cavern has it despairingly taken up residence? In which dark hole has it been callously dumped? Who is brave enough to go and retrieve it?
C'est plus des mêmes choses
Aren't you sick of having more of the same? Don't you want to do something new? Why not make the choice today to learn something you don't already know or can't already do? Pick up a new hobby, study something strange, invest where your real passion is. It's your life, after all - why should it be spent at the whim of another? Why should you forgo personal fulfillment?
The purpose of society is to elevate people, not to bring them down.
Just because you object to our current society, that doesn't mean you have to object to all societies. Complete anarchy is no better than the jungle. We should be seeking to transcend the jungle, not return to it. Anarchists are animalists.
Addicted to Weakness
People are addicted to weakness. It's the most addictive thing in the world. Nietzsche said that Christianity makes a sin out of everything strong about humanitiy. Can anyone say that he was wrong? Christ seeks to make everyone weak, and this, strangely, is much more effective than telling people to be strong. Why?
Because when you're weak, life is much easier. You don't need to exert your will to a very high degree. In fact, weakness is what occurs when a person becomes unable to exert their will. They are controlled by their lowest desires. Humanity is absent from them. They never choose the hardest path or the most noble path; instead, they choose the simplest, easiest path that involves the most instant gratification.
How could one expect the world to turn out any differently when it's filled with such people? How can you expect the world to change when it's still made up of the same old, lazy people? Things much more fundamental than politiics must change before the world can change. Start with yourself. Become everything you want to see in the world. If the world obeyed only your will, what would you want of it? Selfish, psychopathic people would want it to pander to their every whim. They would use their power to circumvent all law.
What would you do? Your answer reveals everything about you. Don't deceive yourself, thinking you would never take advantage of your power; how many people have thought as such, then turned themselves into monsters when it suited them?
Trump has never once called out his fanbase for its ridiculous fanaticism. With control of the world, he would choose to become a god, worshipped by everyone and drawing egotistical fulfillment from the adoration of everyone. Is that what you want, or is it something else? All Trumpers are making the declaration that they wouldn't mind if Trump controlled the world. They share his egotistical desires. They're as selfish and shallow as he.
Stop being addicted to weakness. Quit your addiction and become strong. Stop being spineless and allowing yourself to be eploited by people like Trump. They care only for themselves, and so do their supporters.
Everyone you support is indicative of who you are. If you support a selfish person, it is undoubtedly because you are selfish. The wrong people triumph because the wrong people are supported.