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Thursday, August 18, 2016

the unpleasantness of disillusionment , aphorism 366, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry


Acceptance lies in habituating to the unpleasant.  To accept my unconditional death, for example, I only need to affirm my condition for a sufficient length of time.  As with all things, the unpleasantness of disillusionment lessens with repetition.  I then proceed to affirm my life ... to steer it from a stark authenticity to a cycle of increasing value.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

the appeal to Reason, aphorism 195 , The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry


When the distance is great, the higher needs the lower and this soon shortens that distance: The superior finds himself in a sudden and desperate danger or is gripped by an ambition too great for himself to achieve alone.  He promises much.  He might even initiate a new familiarity ... a suggestion, if not the promise, of an approach toward equal statusThe danger passes or the ambitious aim fails or succeeds; the superior recants, but the promise remains as a vacuum for the victims to fill with indignant lines of reasoning.  Thus begins an “insubordination” whose result can be the appeal to Reason – for Reason aids the struggle for the past agreement and for that equality proposed by the superior.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

the obstacle, aphorism 367, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry


A: Is it more pleasant without the obstacle?

B: Yes, but before I discovered that it was an obstacle, I was content.  There was no inconvenience, and therefore, there was no obstacle.

A: But if it is “better” without the obstacle, wouldn’t it be wise to look for other comfortable, and therefore invisible obstacles everywhere?

Monday, August 15, 2016

this house of horrors, aphorism 196, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry


When the distance is small, the lower needs the higher and this soon shortens that distance: The self-righteous often gain an advantage in times of emergency by stepping aside and doing nothing.  Urgency often demands of those in power harsh and speedy measures which cannot be contained within those limits established during times of peace.  The task will get done all the easier if the righteous step aside for the obvious emergency.  

When the danger has passed, the righteous may step forward again with painstaking detail, fearless investigation ... histories and biographies ... prosecutions and artistic depiction.  And thus, after having held the door open, they can condemn all who had to enter this house of horrors.

Friday, August 12, 2016

the backward thinking creature, aphorism 368, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry


Unless I see the mind as the backward thinking creature ... unless I see “will” as a look into a mirror ... as merely a conditioned response to stimuli and therefore inverted and late ... then I am more presumptuous than free.

Where “mind” has not yet trained the muscles and nerves, fed the stomach, rearranged the surface, discriminated between stimuli, has not rewritten the history of the man ... where mind is not yet machine, but “soul” ... “operating” somewhere “beyond” the material world ... where all immediate stimuli and past conditioning are scratched out of the equation of an act ... in short, where ‘will’ thinks of itself as captain, there I will find only a deluded stowaway who, upon seeing a reef just ahead, leaps up from below deck and commands the ship to turn away ... by pointing his finger.  Never mind the current of the sea, the inertia of the vessel, never mind the wind, the rudder, the sails, never mind the undisciplined crew, never mind the total subordination of “will” to its own causes ... it seems enough to point the finger.

“Will,” if it even exists at all, is the weakest of the influences upon a man’s destiny; consequently, it must become the most cunning, flattering, knowledgeable stowaway a ship has ever held below deck ... but then one does not ... can not realize this until after ... if!  one has been so lucky as to survive a shipwreck.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

our motivation, aphorism 197, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry


What we claim to be our motivation is often incompatible with our motivation as we observe it.  For example, sweetness and high ideals in the journalist do not sell newspapers.  He might however claim them on the page ... and certainly most readers will attest to their interest in, and motivation by, “decency and high ideals.”  However, under observation, decency and ideals are only the shiny plumbing through which something fluid might pass ... something unintentionally vague – unintentional, for if it should harden into a shape that we might identify, we would then have to confess to it as intentional and this would interfere with the easy flow of this substance which must be discharged: our aggression.  

Just as a plumbing system serves the greater hygiene of a city, so might our high ideals serve the greater hygiene of consciousness.  We appear to be especially interested in those high ideals which permit us to look down upon dominating behavior.  And in fact, if there were no outside aggression upon which we might look down, there would remain very little motive for claiming and living up to our highest ideals.