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An Erratic Orbit

A bipolar perspective on the 3rd planet

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Free Will

Essentially Human

“It either is or it isn’t” they said, fingering the holes between stitches in the murderer’s cardigan. Of course it never was. Although, if it ever had been, there was not nor could there be ‘essence of murderer’ upon it. But could you get one person to put on that cardigan? No you could not.

Humans not only are confused by false essences, this way of looking at the world is central to our psychology. That is, not looking at what IS but in terms of persistent, even transferable, features that we logically know are not real let alone persistent. At best we simultaneously hold Einstein’s pen knowing it cannot make us smarter yet at the same time feeling it must. You’ll note we could not have magic without this phony essentialist psychology and if we could not have magic we could not have religion.

Perhaps we could not have complex social behaviour. Our friend Julia must persist, we must have a narrative of her, even though each moment in its coming into being is a death, a negation of what came before.

It may even be that there can be no consciousness without psychological essentialism, for consciousness is the ultimate persistence at odds with material facts.

In a universe that constantly bifurcates, if that is so, psychological essentialism is being and becoming, the mystical bond between worlds. Yet from this view, the real question becomes an unanswerable chicken and egg. Do we choose freely or are all choices caused? In other words, does Will have some ontological reality that brings our world into being, an imposition upon discrete material? Or, is Will the illusion, the essentialism that makes stories, somehow arising from the fully conditioned material phenomena that constitute a thinking entity?

All this abstraction is only my way of coping with the ugliness of those who, angrily, insistently, want to decide who is in and who is out based on notions of race, womanhood, or sexuality that have nothing to do with anything but crude stories of those concepts, and snap judgements as to who are the acceptable characters in those stories.

“It either is or it isn’t” he/she said, fingering the holes between stitches in the murderer’s cardigan. Every storyteller must embrace duality, and every good storyteller must unpick it.

The anger is blood rising into the face. That I see, the hateful face. All the different expressions of anger. There is no discussion here. Had I not been lulled by alcohol, I would have been able to continue to sidestep a pointless topic. There was never any hope of persuasion or understanding. I’m disappointed that I allowed myself to get dragged down even in the slightest.

They make various attempts to explain, essentially, why flight is required of birds. As the good professor said, you don’t get to use biology to justify bigotry, it’s far too weird for that.

Now, the chemical cocktails, those I don’t see. If I had taken myself away and thought of the beauty of the chemistry of anger, all that makes the head go purple, I would have been fine. Yet how do you transport away from the insistent narrative of those people, nominally friendly acquaintances, who are furious, every single one?

You break it down, break the world down, accept that threats are perceived where there are none, and, simply, that you don’t ever have to listen to a single minute of that ever again.

“No, that is not what I mean!”. That is to be human but you don’t have to drown in anyone else’s shit. People disappoint. The number of friends you have depends on how you look at it. Unpicking the holes between stitches, it’s a constant.

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The Vision

​Struggling toward the Light, we fought against Belief. Then came Death & His Riders savouring their own stench; We had No Choice but to embrace The Ones Who rode along unseen. His Bride, His Mother, She Who Would Not Be Harnessed & Seven stinking child demigods, each uttering but one Word, tumbling along with a Terrible Wind, quarrelling heartily, slashing at each other with every weapon imaginable, from long talons and razor sharp teeth to blades of light and the Fires of Time itself. 

They cleaved themselves Again & Yet Again, onward in a Rain of Blood, first dividing in two, foolishly forgetting Time flows neither like water nor emanates like the air but burns in the eye and heart of every-thing. Thus they saw only a Red River, and they drank and belched, thinking they propelled The Master toward where I stood empty handed. Yet I was not alone. They had their millions but I had billions and billions, and the secret of Alchemy.

 

The Parable Of The Stolen Purse

A young man from outside the golden gates of the Shining City stole a purse. His people refused to give him up.

“You want him so you can dispense your justice. We will be happy to give him to you when you return all that has been stolen from us.” said an Elder.

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Image: voanews.com

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” said an angry man with a flushed face, wagging his finger.

“Two!” replied the Elder. He turned to look at the lands beyond the gates. “Can you return the dead to life?”

“Of course not!” said the angry man. “We are addressing your concerns.” His face relaxed. “You understand there is a lot of paperwork to be done.”

“When justice is understood, we all shall have it.” said the Elder, walking away.

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Image: Vato Bob (found at elephantjournal.com)

We all know what happened next.

Does anyone know what justice is? It surely isn’t blame. Punishment based on individual responsibility for individual actions is injustice, denying history and science. Yet if we could untangle all the forces responsible for an action we would surely end up at the big bang.

Do we have a deep need for punitive reparative justice that cannot be unseated? Do we need lies about justice to live and if so is this sustainable in the future? Is it not an infinite injustice to deprive anyone of liberty? Can suffering be audited?

I desire to understand justice. I have witnessed the depths of depravity and communed with gods. I have thrown inhabited planets into stars. I have set loved ones on fire and marvelled at the beauty. Guilt has eaten away at my flesh.

I especially want to know because my ego was in that purse.

Personal responsibility: A placebo effect

The discussion on free will is a fiendish labyrinth. Spend enough time in a labyrinth without monsters, all you feel is great boredom and impatience. The social importance of personal responsibility has no doubt generated a lot of fertiliser.

Cutting through the thickets, I propose that the placebo effect applies to responsibility itself. No-one can conquer the environment. There is little serious disagreement, I think, with the statement that human reasoning is flawed, an imperfect tool for modelling reality. Transcendence seems to me to be artful fiction. The insistent functions of the body only cease in death.

We know that there are things such as temperature, status, healthy relationships, a sense of security that contribute to concentrated mental states. You can influence even the greatest master with a stick. Or by throwing her into the sun.

The measure of freedom we have to make a choice is dependent on many factors the individual cannot control and did not ask for. Anyone who laughs at the teenager who didn’t ask to be born is not doing so because they disagree.

If collectively, according to our power, we create the conditions by which people feel they are able to make considered decisions, they will make considered decisions. If someone has power and they help create conditions that encourage poor health or misinformation, there are two possible reasons. Either they score too highly for dark triad traits to be a good leader for the people or they are not as free as they think they are. For example, the aversion to any perceived loss of status is a powerful motivator of poor decision making. This human fiction of status is treated as an eternal truth to be imposed upon reality and every human suffers.

Personal responsibility is an ideal. Self mastery is an ideal. It isn’t harmful to know this. The placebo effect still works. Making this common knowledge and the basis for policy is not what will end civilisation. A failure to recognise and help each other with our strengths and weaknesses, which is a collective responsibility, is what will end civilisation.

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