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Habit, conditioning, evolved machinery, aphorism 328, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

328

Habit, conditioning, evolved machinery, if ignored, account for a large part of what humans call “depth.” That we consider this fact “depressing” signals another aspect of human perception: we do not really want truth so much as we want to escape from superficiality. We prisoners of the heart! At last we have the key in our hand — but do not know which side of the door is out and which is in.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


between inferior and insubordinate, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 158

158

There is less difference between inferior and insubordinate than insubordination will admit. Righteousness goes one step further and claims no relation at all to either of them.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


a new, grand argument, aphorism 329, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

329

The argument is not stimulating enough; consequently, it is invalid. Also, arguments grow invalid as I distance myself from a key stimulus.

Now that I am aware of the growth and decay involved in human reasoning, my task is to grow a new, grand argument, an accretion of disparate but necessary relationships with things, where all of these disparate truths, through cultivation, grow towards each other and eventually join, not logically, but nonetheless necessarily. The unifying principle? The germ of a grand argument? ... the repetition of key stimuli.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


our overwhelming disadvantage, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 159

159

Good never conquers Evil more decisively than when our identity alone remains to compensate our overwhelming disadvantage, and this identity only emerges if we believe that it constitutes our superiority.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


the manifestation of repetition, aphorism 330, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

330

A truth may not mention repetition, but it is always dependent upon it. Truth is the manifestation of repetition.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


the salesman of a defective product, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 160

160

To ask the salesman of a defective product to be honest is to ask him to find another profession. If he should do so, he might now claim integrity. He has let go of a lower standard and lower image of himself and grasps the higher standard from which he now esteems himself to be not only superior to his previous identity but superior to all who hold to the previous standard. To say that he has been virtuous for the sake of virtue is to deny that he had the end of an imagined promotion within the ranks of society. It is a form of dishonesty to thrust this fact into the black box of unwanted and therefore unresolved facts. But that is precisely what integrity requires. Now he sells a defective morality.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


An admired thinker, aphorism 331, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

331

An admired thinker becomes something like a favorite comedian: everything the comedian does, even walking on stage with a serious face, provokes laughter ... as with the thinker, everything petty finds its way toward significance.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


the virtue that you lose, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 161

161

Integrity is the virtue that you lose by having to be convinced of it. There is no integrity without self-reliance. One is never quite half whom one wishes to be without confirmation, because one depends upon it.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


aphorism 332, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

332

We are meaningless within the realm of reason and surface, but not within that of sensation. And within the realm of sensation there are two types: that which passes and that which endures. The former is the instance provoking a sensation. It is both the promise of meaning and the breaking of that promise. The latter is the sensation of repetition itself. It alone has the power to keep promises.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


integrity, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 162

162

There is a type of integrity which is more concerned with getting there first than with getting there intact.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


aphorism 333, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

333

A desire gratified does not enlarge the container; it widens the drain.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Lurking in the background morality, alone:

When all of the key points are on the other side of tact and “appropriate” conduct, you know that you have the moral moral point, but in solitude.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Rational societies don’t last very long.

Rational societies don’t last very long. Most of us approach a rational argument as we do our pasta, something to be enjoyed for the sake of its flavor and according to our present appetite. Unknotting a conversation because it has been flavored with rationality is to break with social etiquette.This is also why our moralities thus far have been more dependent upon “appropriateness” than in making sense.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Angel of Frustration

We crave duration in our narrative of ourselves, with smooth transitions from context to context and assistance from our friends. We seek to lose ourselves in our own drama.Any success here leaves the interrupted self as the real self. Frustration is no signpost to the truth, but from our truths to the real.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


A “Moral System”, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 163

163

A “Moral System” is how we stunt our potential contribution to humanity in the attempt to convince ourselves that our right to a higher rank by way of its discovery and presentation is incidental and not causal.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Desire, aphorism 334, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

334
A desire resisted is not a sacrifice.  That one desires serves as proof that one does not have the object in question.  How can one sacrifice something one does not have?  One sacrifices the hope and not the object of hope.  And if one does not need “it” but needs time devoted to what happiness needs, why isn’t the resistance also a gift?  If lacking nothing is fullness, then why isn’t the state of mind which no longer hopes the greatest gift of all?


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


One objection, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 164

164
One objection to taking the cynical out of morality again is that one's style is heightened when one speaks the truth.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Patience, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 335

335

Patience is not a virtue. It is a consolation. When we extend a desire too far nature lops it off, and we call our surviving half, Patience. Let us not give false honor to a maimed virtue. Understanding, harnessed to the necessary, is no longer “patient,” but is the goddess herself, natural ... eager. Give me that happy harness … that passion for the necessary, shield my eyes from all that begs and whines for hope, and I will sing my way up the mountain, and only as high as the goddess will take me ... with never a need to console myself in the knowledge that I cannot climb higher.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


We’ve got it all upside down

Of two who purchased a fraudulent map, it is the clearest thinker who is confused first.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The courage for providence

Having the courage to prick one’s own complacency, the elements that would otherwise have constituted confusion now trip us down in cascading experiences of clarity. How effortless it becomes …. once the courage alone stands … the courage to let all of the rest fall. With this courage, observe how much misfortune is redeemed with providence.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Big Trade:

The Big Trade: You thought you had discovered a piece of cultural reality.  But not so, reality is what you hit when your relation then pushed your message aside.  You quickly hit reality again when you called the other’s attention to the slight.  It is a strong moment to know that reality has got your back precisely when … because your relations do not. You make the big trade, between the necessity of division within the provincial and the consequential unity of cosmic thinking. A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The higher the intelligence in one’s realism, the less of that reality one has

The higher the intelligence in one’s realism, the less of that reality one has: The most intelligent realism has promoted itself to little more than an involuntary spider which by rational necessity extends its design beyond human reach … the math is invincible … to which, this literal pebble in a child’s hand is merely real, for our moment in the figurative. A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Don’t overestimate the value of clarity, a stronger happiness

Don’t overestimate the value of clarity.  To be beaten one’s whole life through is not half the misery of realizing it.  But then, from a different angle, do not overestimate the pursuit of happiness. In the inevitable failure of such arrogance, clarity emerges again, in the distinction, as supreme. Never in the beginning, but always in the end, our education was worth any cost and one is never merely happy to realize this. A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


When life is perfect, life was always perfect.

When life is perfect, life was always perfect: Reality is not an answer on the other side of a question. Even if one asks  – “what is real?” – reality does not belong to the question. Real “answers” survive the intense scrutiny of failed questions. The quickest path to reality is the answer to the question, “What frustrates me?” The “answer” in this case is the cognitive result of a human discipline, a contact, not a logical necessity. When we see that frustration is our educator and self-education is our goal, then life is perfect. A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


My Life Strategy, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 336

336

My Life Strategy: The management of immediate stimuli for a necessarily slow, accumulative indulgence in the approach toward a grand end.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


an exaggeration of truth, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 165

165
A maxim is an exaggeration of truth.  It is not a truth in the same way that a doctor’s photograph is actual.  That sort of truth nauseates.  The maxim is more of a rallying cry ... a stimulus ... a pose not very different from that of a comic book superhero.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Happiness, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 337

337

Happiness may be an obstacle to true fulfillment.  We are too comfortable to feel what is necessary to the task.  

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Self-Engineering, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 166

166 Self-Engineering by Repetition:  It is my ambition to be more than the resolution of accidental stimuli, and yet my higher identity is dependent upon repetition and conditioning. Consequently, I cannot yield ... travel in that straight line determined by the leverage that my circumstance has over my machine. I must resist precisely my natural tendencies and hold to a goal independent of my cultural and evolutionary inheritance.  I am in a constant state of correction: testing stimuli against machinery ... ever vigilant; accepting, rejecting, precluding.  
Repetition of stimuli is my danger ... and my means.  I am, as it were, charging a cannon and must learn how to dodge ... that is, if I wish to arrive with all my limbs attached.  I have mechanisms for behavior of varied and often incompatible parts.  I cannot reason them away.  I cannot reconcile them to a single rational principle.  If integrity means whole or harmony or straightforward, then it arrives only after the introducti…

Beware the Genius, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 338

338

Beware the Genius: It is a life blunder to take an extreme point by which another balances himself as one’s own center.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


a frequent loser, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 167

167

Although we still admire victory in all cases, a frequent loser who suddenly scores a difficult victory is more inspiring than a privileged victor. Perhaps this is how God made the man of integrity inspiring.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


servants and masters, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 339

339

There will always be servants and masters, because society needs them. Perhaps it even needs the glutton and the emaciated, as points of measurement — since one cannot know the center of a circle without knowing the perimeter. It would follow then that a society that produced only moderate citizens would never know its natural center. It would then in all probability be unable to remain moderate. Being unable to distinguish between necessity and desire, it would see only its desires, until it approached the perimeter of necessity ... that is, until threatened with extinction.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Honesty , The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 168

168

Most strengths puff themselves up. We want them to look as large and fearsome as possible. Honesty is the only exception ... for when precisely honesty wants to show its strength, it must admit to weakness, smallness, and cowardice. A completely honest man looks more like a junk dealer than a resplendent prince.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


an indiscretion, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 169

169

When our strength does not lie with discretion, we often compound the handicap with an indiscretion we like to think of as our strength for honesty.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


within human nature, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 340

340

All that is worthy and pure in life is born out of the wedlock of desire and necessity, but there are too few honorable matchmakers for the betrothal, for it is within human nature to ravish the desire and estrange it from the necessary. The marriage becomes, from the beginning, an awkward arrangement.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


A wise man, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 341

341

A wise man is one who sees, however obscurely, through his desires and upon what is necessary to cultivate those desires. The average man, on the other hand, is blinded to the necessary by the very clarity with which he sees his desires.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


an Evil act, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 170

170

To expose a cause for an Evil act is to become its accomplice.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Knowing why one should be Good, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 171

171

Knowing why one should be Good is Good. Knowing how this valuation is projected stands side by side with the Evil it can neither affirm nor prohibit.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The fear of crashing, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 343

343

The fear of crashing it seems is only exceeded by the anguish of slowing down.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


What have I learned?, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 344

344

I pour this tea. I want the tea, and so I tilt the kettle up a little higher. The tea, however, pours through the spout just as fast as before ... with the exception that now much of it spills through the lid. I have saved no time, have satisfied myself no sooner, and have made a mess of the whole matter. What have I learned? That an effort should be made to pull back my desires to the borders of necessity ... but no further: I do not want to root out my desires, but satisfy them. This is what others call “moderation,” but we know it to be the extreme, since there is no faster, more efficient way. The human tragedy, then, is not to desire the extreme, but to have no eyes for it.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


simplistic resolutions of complex conditions, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 172

172

Diverse human projectors superimpose a singular image upon the screen of consciousness: a concept. What is important here is the suggestion that singular concepts such as “Good” and “Evil” – like all moral concepts – are simplistic resolutions of complex conditions. In a different metaphor, a concept is a behavioral intersection of diverse mechanical forces. If, out of the need for simple presentation, I trace the line of one mechanical force, I might next contradict myself with another equally legitimate mechanical description. Thus, herding, dominance, aggression, habituation, territory, and the like, are not presented as if in a debate, where one is held up as evidence refuting another ... but all as separate avenues leading toward a singular concept, such as “Evil.” For example, Evil is breaking with one’s herd, with the herd's habits, with one’s rank. But breaking with a social habit is breaking with rank ... and breaking with rank is breaking with habit and herd. …

our herd’s formation, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 173

173

There is a need for an enemy that is bundled with a need for friendship. Evil results in, and is the result of, our herd’s formation – a warm and cozy “us” is organized by suggesting a dangerous “them.” Whether or not the threat is foisted or discovered is of little concern. Either way the threat results in a reflex which assigns “Evil.” It is a unifying aggression constituting Good and Evil, us and them. And when I have become Evil, I have performed an action which identifies me as “one of them” ... and I now plead for my return to a good conscience – to my herd – in penance and humility.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


A Human Strategy, Matt Berry,

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Impatience, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry, aphorism 342

342

Impatience is how the brain resolves the conflict of having a task more desirable than what is necessary — making two simultaneous tasks, which then require the third task of cleaning up the mess. Impatience has been slandered. It is in fact so powerful it triples necessity.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


our desire to flee from the necessary, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 345

345

Why formulate hypothetical solutions to hypothetical problems when there are real problems at hand? ... the first problem being our desire to flee from the necessary by burying our heads in the hypothetical.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


a relationship between Evil and habituation, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 174

174

There is a relationship between Evil and habituation, where the discomfort or even panic of breaking with a tradition is Evil, and diagramming the mechanical basis for this Evil interferes with the return to the ingrained habit with a good conscience. One aggressively shoves away any explanation or person who interferes with this inertia, this way back to complacency ... back to the ease of old habits ... back to the good conscience.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


the tenacity of my grip, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 346

346

The important thing is to sink my nails deep into the necessary, for it is not the necessary itself but the tenacity of my grip upon it that deepens me. In a word, repetition. Only repetition bores deeply into the surface of things. What repeats is of secondary importance.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


dominance-submission relationships, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 175

175

We find a similar requirement for ignorance within dominance-submission relationships. To explain the hierarchical underpinnings to “Good and Evil” would humiliate the majority and, in the modern world especially, would challenge the legitimacy of the dominant and his status. To explain the hierarchical origins in morality is itself an act of insubordination and is therefore evil.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


If one cannot refine desire, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 347

347

If one cannot refine desire, which destroys everything, fast, then it is only because one has not yielded to necessity, by going slower — reducing all things to what one projects, and there is nothing more or less than this projector that is not another illusion.  And so one “builds” everything by reducing understanding to necessity.  And this is slow.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


domination, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 176

176

What if domination were a mechanism whose function ended in our professed desire to “compensate” a crime? We would then measure out the punishment to balance the beam against our own unsatisfied appetite for domination.  We would need to find someone to punish, and anyone who interfered with the flow of this need would become himself an obstacle to be removed.  He in fact becomes the object of our frustration, and consequently an additional target for punishment.  Thus, even if we were in a position to overcome our drive for dominance and argue against this reflex for punishment, we would then find ourselves at one extreme of their scale for having taken a central position on ours.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


We do not have beliefs or arguments; we have customs., A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 348

348
We do not have beliefs or arguments; we have customs.  Take away a man’s belief and he refutes the theft.  Take away a custom and he drowns in despair.

A man speaks with great words, carefully delineating what he lives by ... then loses his job and suffers an emotional breakdown.  Even the loss of electricity and water for one week would provoke an uproar among average “good citizens.”  Observe what would happen to a man’s value system were he suddenly deprived of his usual tobacco, beer, or coffee.  There seems to be no limit to what we take for granted, because they are precisely the limits which we do indeed take for granted.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Aggression, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 177

177
Above the surface, aggression is Evil.  Beneath the surface, Good is the easy flow of aggression ... and this good conscience depends upon the successful denial of aggression's role within moral interpretation.  To expose the causality of another person’s Good and Evil removes his justification for releasing aggression.  And when one puts a hand on the valve and threatens to shut off another's conduit of aggression, one becomes an accomplice with the outside threat.  Both that which triggers the release of aggressive pressure and that which threatens to shut off this release are designated “Evil.”
Thus,
To forbid a causal explanation for an injury is a precondition to justifying retribution, constituting goodness by precluding the evil of moral examination.  
It is our not seeing the actual causes to the effect – “Evil” –  that contributes to our Good and their Evil.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


My goals, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 349

349

My goals: First, to recall the exiled half of myself, the amoral machine view.  Second, to allow all opposing forces to fix me in place, just as an axle remains fixed by the opposition of spokes: this bit of my own good here, that bit of their necessary evil-me over there; here a friend, there an enemy; here, arelevant struggle, there an irrelevant contradiction that I neither deny nor resolve.  And third, to roll on this wheel of habits ... roll on the power of my own nature.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Master, Servant, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 178

178 Master's Perspective: We find it difficult to identify a cause for our own good behavior when doing such requires the sacrifice of our imagined superiority over others.  And we are thus motivated to condemn anyone who seeks to explain this to us,
Servant's Perspective: We find it difficult to identify a cause for our own good behavior when doing such requires the humiliating admission that we either beg for the approval of a superior or have reversed the prevailing standard of values in order to imagine ourselves superior through our serviceAnd we are thus motivated to condemn anyone who seeks to explain this to us.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


define error, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 350

350

I define error as a disadvantageous reflex.  I reduce all error to poor training.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


a fence with two evil sides, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 179

179

Goodcan be a fence with two evil sides.  There is a need to discharge and a need to remove any obstacle to the discharge.  As for what we discharge, we will here outline only a few perspectives.  We need (1) to have our enemy, (2) to vent our aggression, (3) to maintain our herd’s unity, (4) to maintain the inherited social hierarchy, regardless of our rank, (5)to preserve or return to old habits, (6) and to achieve all of the above with a good conscience ... through a denial of the mechanical causes of “Good” and “Evil.”  And so with this last element (6) we see how the one who provokes the causal explanation into the foreground of consciousness is an Evil accomplice.  He is evil by (not “of”) removing the justification for that conduit through which another must discharge.  Thus, on one side of the fence, the Good have the Evil they need and on another side, they have the Evil which threatens the satisfaction of this need.  To explain Evil – even in the very attempt to cure it –…

Setting a new habit, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 351

351

Setting a new habit: One cannot lift a cogwheel into the air, let go, and expect it to remain, and so we must find one or two other wheels which are already in place and then position the new wheel accordingly.  The morning or evening rituals are the best places to begin.  One then approaches the chaos of midday, piecemeal, slowly assembling a productive machine from the strewn and wasted parts of an uncultivated life.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 180

180 A victim lies upon the altar of God and is not to be defiled by an honest explanation of the causes leading up to the injury.  
Self-deception and an unfailing instinct for causal ignorance are necessary if an individual or herd is to justify a punishment with a good conscience.  
Causal ignorance is not the obstacle to morality; it is rather this very hollowness which makes the moral conduit possible.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


a breaking point, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 352

352


There is a breaking point when setting a habit, much like the violent shock in a sonic boom.  In the tremendous silence and smooth gliding afterward, one no longer comprehends the difficulties.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 181

181
The False Assumption: “There is no guilt if we are machines.”
To the public, one becomes immoral when one does not agree that Free Will drives the human machine: the public needs a target of guilt in order to discharge aggression.  If one stands between the target and the discharge, one is as good as the target ... and as bad. 
The mechanist’s view is guilty of several thefts.  It steals the guilt from the villain, the right for revenge from the victim,  and from others, the right to dominate through punishment. Thus, it would be impossible for the whole world to be absolved of blame, since the engineer of such would then take the blame for his having absolved it.
Even if one only privately admits that one is not driving the machine, one does not preclude guilt ... for by one’s own admission, the machine is driving.  One stands between one’s own target and one’s own discharge.  One shoots oneself.

When Evil is no longer our ability to justify our target, it then becomes our inabili…

turbulence, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 353

353

Turbulence: All significant change is violent and lies precisely with those customs whose immutability my peers have already taken for granted.  The river is white.  I can not swim in turbulence.  I let it carry me, wait for calmer waters ... hope for the best.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 183

183


Anyone who suggests that ignorance of human tractability is the precondition to moral justification and righteous confidence has already broken with every accepted notion of moral decencyIt is almost as if honesty were a moralconcept that could not be successfully actualized without undermining morality itself ... as if “Moral Truth” were a contradiction in terms.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Calm, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 354

354

The Calm: I do not need symbols or metaphors ... anymore than I need thoughts or spirits.  I set these aside for story telling.  What I need is my own territory, great health, stimuli toward life, an ascending network of habits, objects strategically placed, and most of all, courage and stamina to grip a new repetition, grip all necessary change until a lower frequency of instability hums with engineered precision, presenting to thought its gleaming possibilities.  


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 182

182
Evil eludes definition because thetruth-speaker is asked to recuse himself for having removed the link of ignorance from the moral chain.  And he often obliges the request, for he suffers from his own conscience to a greater degree than the moralists suffer from theirs.  
The mechanist struggles with an honest introspection that appears to others as a lack of confidence, because it is.  He trespasses over his own morality to describe its machinery, but does not thereby escape from being the function of this machinery.  Guilt and lack of confidence, as a rule, accompany a fearlessly honest inspection of morality.  And all the while, the good ... the confident ... thecomplacently ignorant hold up their own smooth conscience as the solid evidencethat convicts the wavering mechanist.

A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 355

355

Imagine the “mind” and its “awareness of reality” as something similar to standing at the edge of a pond, all of the autumn colors ... all of the creatures in our life shimmering in reflection upon it ... and where much of the luster of the reflection depends upon the purity of the water.  Now imagine that this reflection is our only view of this small world.  Would we not do everything we could to preserve the purity of the water?  ... blindly, as best we could, work the landscape, turn the woods into aviaries, tame the deer, kill only the closest snakes, let all distant predators run wild?  And would we not look back at ourselves and laugh at our former attempts at “self-improvement” ... by plunging our hands into the water?

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


aphorisms from The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

184

Most believe that their own morality is vulnerable to another’s immorality, but this enmity is precisely where morality finds its strength.  The real weakness ... the real danger to their morality lies with their own honesty.  That is, most believe that the enemy of morality is immorality, whereas it is really the actualization of their morality.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 356

356
There are many small events we think of as having beginning points and which require order.  But even such a trulyordered beginning” would be dependent upon acquired experience, and so what is called here a “preparation” or a “beginning” is really a continuation ... an ongoing repetition whose course and destination one already knows.  Reality itself has no beginning point that the mind does not put there.  
So it is an error to believe that all must be in order before one “begins” a new stage in life.  The ambiguous truth is that nothing finds chaos “organized” like a set habit.  On the one hand, an established habit is a perception of order, not the order, and on the other hand, nothing organizes chaos as efficiently as a habit does.  We cannot sever the one observation from the other: order is one part alteration of environment and nine parts repetition-blindness.  And this is why we never really “begin.”  We are blind to the continuation and see only the points where conscio…

The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 185

185

A genuine humility demands that one sacrifice one’s prominence in the public eye.  He who remains anonymous achieves perfection.  With humility, we have no examples to follow but the successful pretenders.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 357

357

The world is round, but I spend my life searching for a corner.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 186

186

On humility, the only man who preaches what he practices is in the confessional.  


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


A Human Strategy by Matt Berry, aphorism 358

358

If I spin with my universe, it could be said that I do not spin at all ... as an illusion or as a reality.  


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 187

187

He sees the folly of a neighbor’s vanity, and then in an effort to surpass the neighbor, he becomes more humble – this being the most common form of vanity, leaving the majority of this vain species compatible.



A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


movement, aphorism 359, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry

359
My heart beats.  I breathe.  Are these movements?  The sun rises every morning and I arise.  Are these movements?  

It is not “I” who makes these “movements.”


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Pride and humility, aphorism 188, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

188

Pride and humility are opposites?  But so are “masters” and “servants.”  As an observed event master and servant are conditioned by each other and are no more opposites than a stream is the opposite of its own banks.  Righteous humility is not the opposite of arrogance butthe redirection of a frustrated pride.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


my own time, aphorism 360, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry

360

I am not trying to overtake my own time.  In fact, I am trying very hard not to move at all.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Humiliation, aphorism 189, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

189

Humiliation occurs just after the realization that one has lost one’s weapon, and just before one improvises a new one.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


something that we cultivate, aphorism 361, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry

361
Life is not made up of problems that we think through, but of relationships toward things: customs.  To put it another way, life is something that we cultivate ... something that yields fruit ... and with cultivation, quantity of days at minimum effort is more fruitful than the maximum effort of a single day.  Only that which increases has value, and only that which can be sustained increases.

All growth requires a trusting passivity, just as a seed requires certain elements of nature — sunlight and water, but mostly, time spent in one place, in the undisturbed, fertile soil ... in a germinating stillness.  The only movement one needs is that which keeps the elements in place.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


humiliation, aphorism 190, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

190
Just as necessity is the mother of invention, humiliation is the mother of righteousness.  

When we are humiliated what is it that we need if not our pride again?  And if we can resurrect our pride by making a victory of the failure, we might reverse the value standard and make the humiliation into our humility.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


a mirror of his reality, aphorism 362, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry

362

The human is a mirror of his reality.  Reality is not static.  How can we then set up, as a goal, a “static self”?  It is as clear as our fixed geometry — as secure as our complacency.  The world is in flux.  Awareness joins that flux by gripping its debris.  Only by participating in real change does one affirm reality.  It is anything but clear.  Anything but safe.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


pride, aphorism 191, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

191
When one’s pride hangs by a thread, that thread constitutes one’s pride.  

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


the moment of comparison, aphorism 363, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry

363

We grow in silent increments but manifest ourselves in the moment of comparison.  Great events measure the ability; they do not nurture it.  The blunder in life is to mistake this measuring for the growth itself.  To say it in another way, grand events manifest the accumulation of all our smallest moments more than they account for our totality.  Who we are does not make us; that which makes us does not reveal our growth ... but like clouds which gather energy silently and invisibly, and in an instant, bond, flash and split the tree ... but who cares for the history of that force as much as its demonstration?


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


Victory by display begins when, aphorism 192, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

192

Victory by display begins when the survival of one’s pride depends upon a means other than mechanical force. Humility is often an ardent passion for a dominant posture sufficient to compensate one’s incapacity for actual dominance.  Now, the righteous man displays his humble garb as does a peacock its feathers.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


To break the monotony, aphorism 364, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry

364

Even “chaos” travels in circles.  Ironically, it is usually the “lack of a routine” that returns one back to the point of origin.  
The “traveler” has just despaired of boredom.  He blames repetition and cannot reconcile himself to it in any form.  To break the monotony, he flies after the nearest bright stimuli, again and again, and rarely sees that he travels in a circle of avoidance.  He accumulates nothing; he dodges what is required to compound force.  Life becomes, not a momentum toward new adventures, but a series of stultifications, an unceasing friction toward the inevitable collapse of the spirit ... followed by a tremendous, enervating expenditure, if one is to begin everything ... again!  To start and stop ... as a repetition ... what else could be hell? 

But heaven?  Heaven is something different.  Its only flaw is not that it is boring, but that we prefer the sensation of power to power itself.  In a formula: the boredom in heaven belongs only to those who look upon …

a subtler version of vanity, aphorism 193, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

193

It is indeed a subtlerversion of vanity when one dominates others by resisting the impulse to display one’s excellence.  Is it the stronger vanity which resists the display so that the stage is left empty during comedy hour and the weaker cannot help but fill it?


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


small, regular doses of pain , aphorism 365, A Human Strategy by Matt Berry

365
We can train ourselves for a sudden and inevitable great empowerment with small, regular doses of pain ... to the point of pleasure.  The pain of setting an exercise routine for example ... of tearing muscles or straining the heart daily.
Perhaps this is anticlimactic, but with the framework of Christianity still in place, I feel it necessary to let the reader know I am not speaking of hair shirts, but of the natural reflex against replacing one habit with another ... no matter how advantageous this new habit may be ... and that every advance toward distant, accumulated pleasures and values demands just this sharp, immediate pain of tearing and rebuilding ... followed by a daily, petty maintenance.




A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


being dunked by the stronger, aphorism 194, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

194
After being dunked by the stronger, the humiliated can often bob back to the surface by becoming extremely rational.  The drive is dominance, or, which is of the same mechanism, a need to preserve an imagined rank, merited or not.  However, we would misunderstand this example of homeostasis, if the return from the extreme left us with the conclusion that the extreme was the agent.  We might for example mistakenly set up humiliation as a goal, or rite of passage. “Blessed are the meek....”  Or, on the other hand, if our evidence were their push toward our humiliation, we might conclude with “power corrupts” and find tyrants everywhere. 

We would be better off if we were strong enoughto resist being dunked in the first place, but even if incapable of withstanding the force, we might struggle and fight our way back to a higher rankby refusing the appeals to “Unmerited Humiliation” and “Corrupting Power”for in all honesty, we know that we are not equipped to settle for fairness once…

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

366

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.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


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

195


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.

A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


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

367
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?


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


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

196
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 toenter this house of horrors.


A Human Strategy ** The Mechanics of Virtue ** Post-Atheism


The Mechanics of Virtue: A cynic's guide to righteous behavior, by Matt Berry, available on Amazon

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

368
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 …