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Monday, February 29, 2016

the error-making organ, a human strategy, 412


Looking down on a valley from a restful state, one that required no sacrifices, is not the same as looking down on that same valley from a height acquired through sacrifice ... from a distance of exhilaration.  One viewer never fully understands the other, yet each presumes to share the same wonder or boredom.

Along these same lines, within a single human, the error-making organ is incapable of leaning on its next state ... does not even believe in its existence.  From one moment to the next, one can pass through tremendous leaps of the “spirit” ... a single letter in the mail, for example, can send one floating toward bliss or sinking into despair.  This current frame of reference, filled or emptied of the stuff of life, is both the beginning and the end.  That we are in a new room is certain, but we fail to find a door.

There must have been times when a human has, out of despair, decided to end life by leaping from a tall building.  By the time he reached the uppermost floor, however, his metabolism … his exhilaration had risen to such a degree, his reasoning powers had been operating at such a higher level that he had in fact become a different species ... for whom the original problem was no longer relevant.  He was suddenly happy and secure ... since in this room too he found no doors.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

feeling superior through the mere exposure of error, The Mechanics of Virtue, 248


There is a euphoria in having rational justification on one’s side ... of feeling superior through the mere exposure of error.  We rarely have the presence of mind to construct a human strategy which includes this narcotic of condemning error and exposing scoundrels.

Friday, February 26, 2016

the illusion, a human strategy, aphorism 413


The object is to get the illusion to hover as closely to the surface as possible, since that is where the energy is.  To put it another way, only the surface can increase the value of the illusion.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

the atheist worships concepts, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 249


Through the worship of God, the priest gained advantage, got even, or got by.  But out of the same motivation the atheist worships concepts.  It is a point worth repeating: he worships concepts by that same mechanism which formerly as a theist he had worshipped gods.  Now he worships the gods of Extreme Honesty and Integrity as they appear upon the screen of consciousness, and as if there were no projectors to account for them.  

He claims his motive ... his cause.  He draws geometric lines between the projections on his screen and calls this method, “causality. Of course, he has a motive.  What were we thinking?  It is to secure integrityAnd seeking integrity is the first cause toward the effect of having integrity.

He has his goal, “integrity,” and it is indeed a stimulus toward a display of fearless honesty.  But out of what material has the goal itself been constructed?  The machine took in its circumstance and threw forth a goal which itself became a genuine part of the motive-complex, but which is something altogether different from the conditions and the machine responsible for inserting precisely that goal into consciousness.  The goal is only a late contribution to a stimulus-complex that constitutes “our motive.”

From the mechanical view, his goal is a behavioral consequence; it arrives last.  From the point of view of consciousness, this consequence appears first, and thus appears as a “cause.”  He has his “motive” and his “objective” and that is why he has integrity: because he willed it.  But when the atheist has more integrity than the theist, the hidden drive for superiority has only thrown a convenient projection upon the screen of consciousness, and this drive will be gratified all the easier if the essential parts to this motive remain hidden under this label of “integrity.”

Now what of the hapless fellow who becomes aware that he has no right to any god? ... not even concepts  ... for he knows that they are only conduits for crude discharges of physiological drives.  Now he must give up the notion of “integrity” just as he had given up “righteousness,” and he must include their projectors within his strategy hereafter.  That is, either superiority is a goal hidden from his intellect and therefore “overcome” by his “integrity” ... or he becomes aware of his mechanisms and accepts within his strategy their unavoidable function.  A mechanist does not worship the concept of honesty; he exploits the drive and conditions which produce this effect.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

the sleight of hand, a human strategy, aphorism 414


I am long past trying to see behind the fact or wanting the idea to separate from and levitate above the fact.  The sentence is not the magic, but the lovely assistant.  She knows and sees the sleight of hand ... stands beside the fact and helps the illusion succeed.  At best, a fact in a sentence is a trick and only with this magic can truth convince.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

the exposure of my own machinery, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 250


If reality has value and unreality, no value, then I have the equation, “1 or 0?”  But a value only exists if a human machine has already foisted it onto reality.  Valuing is strictly a human event.  When I have the courage to affirm this human projector, reality is truth, and I find a value of one conveniently projected, while unreality is error and consequently set at a value of zero.  
The human casts a projection: consciousness.  As far as I believe consciousness to be independent of my machinery, it is an illusion, a zero.  As far as I understand its relation to my machinery, it is a part of my own reality ... a contribution to my value of one.

A very different equation exists if I fear the exposure of my own machinery.  Now the projection.... the illusion is preferred to reality.  The man of faith stands with arms folded in front of the chalkboard of mechanical description and will not let the intellect so much as look upon it, let alone ask a question.

There is an immediate problem of course.  Confronted with the overwhelming evidence of the human machine ... of substantial material, the religious man is offended and humiliated to the same degree that he gains experience.  There is only one way for humiliation and fear to overthrow the mechanical view: he must invert the standard.  The greater value must be placed upon precisely the absence of matter.  Religious pride must resolve itself into a value of Zero-material, and the conveyer of “mere” reality must by default become the Negative One.  Now the religious standard holds the absence of reality to be the ultimate Truth.  With the unexplained, the priest irreverently stuffs God into a gap of ignorance that he calls, Mystery and Wonder.  God eludes all affirmative definition.  He is immaterial and infinite.  Truth is ineffable.  

This is the standard forced upon me.  And I am damned to a Hell where my society presents me with this choice of being either a zero or a negative one, of submitting to the unreal or being a sort of spiritual terrorist who declares that the religious equation, however complex it is made out to be, having a multiple of zero, will always resolve itself into a zero.  

Ironically, the religious attempt becomes a greater intellectual challenge than the affirmation of reality.  So little effort is required to resolve the religious equation as zero that its simplicity must be seen as our “laziness” – and to be “virtuous” now is to overcome simplicity with industry and excessive formality.  Morality is now “not that simple” and it is we who are simpleminded.  But as this standard is forced upon us, it slaps us ... keeps us awake ... it stings and poisons us, but to the point that even the very depths of resentment remind us of this reality and in accepting even this, we have the original standard again, where the real is valued over the illusion.  Even this!  My own reality ... my very existence, a One.

Monday, February 22, 2016

the thrill of deception, a human strategy, aphorism 415


There is no soul, and yet we have our words.  There is no magic, and yet we have become magicians.  Perhaps it is the thrill of deception, of taking in, not only the audience, but ourselves as well.  We lift our brows before the sleight of our own hands ... forget our own mirrors, lighting and shadows ... and then one day, we look the girl in the face and hesitate, the saw in our hands, and she, doing her best to mask a fear.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

the magician’s mirror, a human strategy, aphorism 416


After seeing the magician’s mirror for the first time, one is not necessarily disappointed.  On the contrary, one can be fascinated with the deception ... take delight in the hunt for these mirrors and trap doors.  One even frequents these popular shows, not for the entertainment of the act, but for the entertainment of exposing the act ... and then one is no longer granted admission.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

a deliberate hypocrisy, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 251


Even a deliberate hypocrisy has obligations.  The threat of its exposure increases in proportion to the height of its ambition and thus limits the hypocrite in a way not unlike a moral principle.

Friday, February 19, 2016

sleight of hand, a human strategy, aphorism 417


One has to know instinctively, and not consciously, of the sleight of hand necessary for magic.  This may help to explain why the honest man is so clumsy when he tries his magic: he has not the instinct, and feels he has to roll up his sleeves and expose all of the secrets.  He feels a certain pride in this exposure ... and with good reason, for how cleverly he disappoints his audience!  However, as in most of life’s affairs, one will always go farther if one studies the magician for the magic ... for the sleight of hand.  What the other does not see makes the magic.  A little diversion goes a long way here .... The temptation: I cannot reach beyond the length of my arm, but it is flattering and useful to have others believe that I can.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

the maximum effect of a personal attack, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 252


For the maximum effect of a personal attack, one might add an element of moderation.  One works into the argument a single compliment for the foe and without which an overall feeling of objectivity could not have been attained.  Moderation is a virtue – and for which even the Devil must stoop, if not bow.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

the magician, a human strategy, aphorism 418


In a world where I permit no magic, all becomes a gimmick.  The fall from the magical to the mechanical is great ... but I will wait for that fall.  This is the lure of magic: the danger of its exposure.  It walks that tightrope of the “impossible” over the possible.  If it does not fall, I wonder.  If it falls, I may even watch with more intensity for the next theatrical disaster.  It is the danger that entertains.
The magician can repeat his magic for as long as he wishes and entertain us, but the moment he intentionally reveals the mechanical nature of the performance ... the moment the elastic reach for the impossible snaps back into the possible, he has performed this piece of magic for the last time.  “Everything is safe after all.”  

Now imagine a performer who showed only the mechanical!  Even the comedy of the performance would wear on us.  How could we bear to await the end?  So, a good magician never shows the mechanical.  If we happen to see through the magic, well, he always has another trick up his sleeve.  This will keep even the most astute observer on the edge of his seat.  Fortunately, in this regard, nature has been the greatest of all magicians.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

metamorphosis of Evil into Good, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 253


When evil requires assistance, it goes to God’s cage and offers the shared-goal as a gift.  In this cage the agent of evil has not only taken one or two steps toward the Good but must also place over himself the mask of God.  Now, the longer one holds a branch down the more likely it is to preserve this new shape.  Likewise, the longer the evil man wears the mask of God, the more he will adapt to the role.  The metamorphosis of Evil into Good might even complete itself in two or three generations.  Its progeny have not only inherited the original gestures, but have lost sight of the original motives.  Now they only follow in the direction signified by the inherited gestures ... in a sincere pursuit of the Divine.  It is not only the devil then that can take advantage of weakness with a deceitful temptation.  God too can tempt the devil with necessity.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Free Will, a human strategy, aphorism 419


It could be argued that we do not really have a belief in our near future; we have simply adapted to the repetition of past events.  We translate what was into that which will come around again.  What we call our future is nothing other than the sum total of our past.  We fit into this repetition just as a needle of a phonograph fits into the groove of a record.  In time we gain an extraordinary and blind confidence in the repetition of events.  When this blindness is comfortable and convenient, we call it Free Will.  

Of course, it follows then that if a man has not accepted the repetition in his life, he must necessarily deny what has just been said here and with proof, for it is only obvious to him that he does in fact have Free Will.  Everything he wishes to happen, happens!

It is not however obvious to me at all.  My Free Will is only the acknowledgment of one more cog in the machine: How did I wish precisely this?  ... and most importantly, can I manipulate what repeats in such a way that I elevate my wishes?

Those with the greatest control over “choice” are those who see the extent to which their choices have already been limited.  Not seeing these limits, they are the least free who proclaim in the loudest voices the broadest range of freedoms.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Nihilism: Confusion Made to Order, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 254


After our basic needs have been filled, and within every new condition, the dominance mechanism asks, “What is my rank now?”  We often foist a value onto a thing or perspective according to the rank it promises us.  And often when we feel that life lacks meaning or value, we have only suffered a demotion from a previously imagined rank. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

looking back on past experience, a human strategy, aphorism 420


A thought can race on ahead of the act, but it can do nothing in that future.  As we all know, action lies only in the here and now, and it is near that fixed point where thought is needed the most but where it has too little influence.  Thought, to be truly effective, must serve as trainer, must drill, if it is to have the totality of the man react at the opportune moment toward a desired effect.  And here, in knowing what to do, one can argue that it is not a leaping ahead, but a looking back on past experience, recognizing that an experience will repeat in a similar way, and that the task is to manipulate some key element in that repetition.  Our thoughts of the future, of prophecy, are divined from the entrails of our past repetitions.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Confusion, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 255


When confusion claims harmony:  That this is not my harmony does not rise up into consciousness, for their harmony holds me down.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

difference between the spontaneity of the “transcendentalist” and the behaviorist, a human strategy, aphorism 421


Note the difference between the spontaneity of the popular “transcendentalist” and that of the behaviorist.  The one stands “impromptu,” pushing the issue with the best of intentions, but who, with a hand in the clear pond, upsets the sediment and can no longer see into the depths of the matter ... or he makes an attempt at “pure thought” which disdains all “gimmicks” and so waits and waits, cursing the long intervals between revelations.  The other avails himself of every sort of preparation — no matter how petty or ridiculous — and is pulled toward the object.  

“But this is not spontaneity!”
...  “Well then, nature is the more accomplished liar.”
“So you then admit to your dishonesty?”

...  “But sir, it was not we who began with the attempt to get beyond nature.  It is only a lie if spontaneity is the escape from nature and not its revelation.”

Repetition will make you stronger

There is sometimes an advantage … even to insecurity -- and there can be an ironic vulnerability to security: One who must prove his strength constantly represses a suspicion of inadequacy, and thus works up a belief that he has strength … and that he can prove it. With repetitive exercise proportional to the suspicion of inadequacy and the constant need to suppress that suspicion through attempts at proof, he just might develop it in the end. One who already has strength and knows it does not need to prove it and so needs not exercise it, and so he just might no longer have it in the end.

The lesson is to … make an effort … do your best … even when feeling inadequate.  Work on your world, again and again. The repetition will take care of you: your efforts cannot come to nothing, for you will be stronger.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lost, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 256


A: I am here with the others; consequently, I am not lost.

B: I am only here with the others; consequently, I am lost.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Spontaneity, a human strategy, aphorism 422


Spontaneity, or, I am a delayed reflection of a complexity which exceeds my understanding to a surprising degree.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 257


A: I am happy; therefore I am correct.

B: I am correct; and therefore I am made unhappy.

Friday, February 5, 2016

circumspection , a human strategy, aphorism 423


Does One Proceed “Spontaneously” or Circumspectly?  I side with circumspection, which takes into account the development of the human and his ability to succeed in future, unknown exploits.  An untrained impulse takes into account only the exploit ... at the expense of all required to hone necessary skills.
Spontaneity requires too much luck and throws away much wisdom that could be learned if one would just pause and calculate a little.  Thus, in an impulsive act which is successful a man may seize the prize, but at the expense of increased power and a more accurate aim.  He is less likely to succeed in future endeavors.  Not having taken into account the role of habits, his arms fly forward, grasping countless straws of little victories, all the while carried away by his accumulated ignorance, fighting against the current.  His success is indistinguishable from his panic.  Eventually his arms tire, and he yields to the turbulence.

The circumspect man marches side by side with his successive exploits ... his accumulating potential, marching toward a calculated spontaneity ... one which grows more and more frequent ... both the human and the exploit adding to each other’s luster and strength.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I am in the process, The Mechanics of Virtue, aphorism 258


A: My mind is clear because I am rational.

B: I am confused because I am in the process of a rational examination of my own complacency ... my own “clear mind.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

the value of repetition, a human strategy, aphorism 424


Upon the abatement of a few key desires, after the realization that all stimulus driven efforts toward significance necessarily disappoint, the value of repetition is finally clear, the reliance on repetition becomes possible, and an invisible force is understood to support the animal.