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Free will, aphorism 319, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

319

“Free will” does not exist, at least not in the manner we speak of it. It is an error, just as “mind” is an error. What happens? The clamor above the surface of things enters the labyrinth of the ear and returns again as an echo ... a harmonized chorus. Throughout our music there are pleasant and seductive melodies that flatter us. One of them is “free will.”

We hardly notice the cadence punctuating our melody ... and to which our muscles are dancing. If there is such a thing as control, it is here in the cadence and tempo of our thoughts and not their melody and lyric. I dare not call this “will” ... for fear that I will be seduced out of my rhythm again.

Let me stop the music here, as I often must, and scold the members of my orchestra: “You are not inside me; you are outside me: I face you. I select you, arrange you, fashion for you your instruments. It is only in this manner that I can compose something beautiful from within. Now lay this next melody over the beat…

an ignorant verbal attack, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 149

149

When I “defend” myself vigorously against an ignorant verbal attack, I not only validate the other’s belief that an attack indeed takes place but I validate my own belief as well.



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


The function of a stimulus, aphorism 320, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

320

The function of a stimulus is not to help one get by, nor to endure, but to forget the human condition altogether. To decrease the number and frequency of key stimuli is to explore the depths of one’s humanity ... a first experience that feels more like remembering ... but how many confuse this with boredom?


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


the illusion of having won a debate, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 150

150

One can create the illusion of having won a debate by the simultaneous exploitation of (1) a sense of dignity within the opponent which can only be preserved by his refusal to respond, and (2) the audience's inexperience with the complex maze toward a higher dignity.



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


concealing its petty origin, aphorism 321, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

321

We like to say that we generalize an event in order to have a maxim for many occasions ... but we, the creators, know that we are also concealing its petty origin.



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


a bold and ambitious aim, aphorism 321,The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry

321

There is more wisdom secured from a bold and ambitious aim than from the fear that our ignorance might be exposed at a dinner party. These are two separate aims, whether acknowledged or not, and they determine the degree, type, and amount of our ignorance ... but ignorance should not be considered independently of the degree of wisdom we might forfeit through intellectual cowardice. Just as we often confuse the fear of being thought a coward with courage, we can also confuse the fear of ignorance, and the mass of knowledge that it gathers, with wisdom. With cowardice baiting we are vulnerable to inappropriate behavior, if not atrocity. With ignorance baiting, we have lost sight of our potential and have not even the wisdom to know the extent of the disaster.



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


Historical Blasphemy, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 151

151

Historical Blasphemy: If we measure one man great by our power to bend history, we will next measure another man a scoundrel by his power to straighten us.



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


the rot of his argument, aphorism 322, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

322

 I can already smell the rot of his argument. I have no other refutation than this: its truthfulness repels me. That there is a dunghill on my left may be true, but it is equally true that there is a green meadow on my right.



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


self-flattering projections, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 152

152

We cannot believe in the projectors of consciousness without sacrificing many self-flattering projections. And since the projection is all that is visible to the intellect, it can easily sacrifice the projectors! ... and thus continue to flatter itself as something “eternal” and “all powerful” ... “free.” For example, if one is to believe in the divine origin of a sensation, one must ignore the mechanics supporting that sensation – the good night’s sleep, the bad night's sleep, the two cups of coffee, the failure of a rival, the electric fan even, or that which modesty forbids any mention. The bathos which such an assertion brings upon the argument becomes a premise itself on the side of the intellect and against the machine which accounts for it. The screen of consciousness now believes in itself ... and makes of itself an end ... and means! ... a part and parcel of God.



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


The aim of truth, aphorism 323, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

323

The aim of truth is not to convince, nor is it to define, but to turn the listener’s eyes toward that which the speaker sees. We speak, however specific the words, only in a general direction. There is still much in truth which the listener must guess.



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


A successful defense, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 153

153

A successful defense by a subordinate is an attack, and rank underscored serves as its counterattack.



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


the stimulus of the written word, aphorism 324, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

324

For significance and comprehension, the stimulus of the written word is at least as important as its validity.



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


Ad Hominem Etiquette, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 154

154

Ad Hominem Etiquette: When the dominant is incorrect, there is at least one fault which cannot be compensated by any degree of truth: the exposure by an insubordinate is inappropriate behavior, betraying a lack of taste and education. And so, that which ought to constitute the shame of the dominant easily becomes the guilt of the subordinate, for when the dominant felt discomfort at being observed in error, the blame obviously belonged to the agent of his discomfort. It is not the truth but the inappropriate conduct which brought that truth forth which now trumps the debate. It is not enough to have the truth; one must also have the rank to render it appropriate.



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


Dreams, Spirit, Soul, Religion, Philosophy, aphorism 325, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

325

Dreams, Spirit, Soul, Religion, Philosophy ... all “other worlds” make no difference at all, which is to say that they can be believed, harmlessly ... as long as all necessary things are in place.



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


illustrations of the devil, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 155

155

The Premise: Many illustrations of the devil are modeled upon the aristocrat ... the noble ... the alpha. Perhaps our ancestors invented God and discovered reason, equality, and justice only as a means by which a subordinate portion of society might stage a psychological revolution over a dominant.



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


greater power or pleasure, loss or pain, aphorism 326, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

326

A phrase has meaning only so long as it points to me ... either to greater power or pleasure, loss or pain ... but let that finger fall from my own chest and it points down to the abyss opening beneath my feet.



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


A mechanist, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 156

156

A mechanist is always less evil when less true and more evil when more true.



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


The appeal of truth, aphorism 327, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

327

The appeal of truth is mysterious because it is the total repetition — while the senses only verify an instance.



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


When honesty stops, The Mechanics of Virtue, Matt Berry, aphorism 157

157

When honesty stops with one’s desire for social rank, righteousness continues the climb from there.



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