As most people who know me realize, I have a strong distaste for responsibility. But it’s not as though I hate responsibility or don’t see any merit to it, it’s more an issue of freedom- you see, I’ve found that the more responsible I become with my life, the more limited I become with what I can do with it. I hate being limited, so I tend to avoid responsibility as if it were a great evil, because up until now, I’ve seen the “responsible life” as the death of my youth, vitality, and individual freedom. So long as I’m irresponsible, I’m not tied down to any particular direction, and I’m not limited to any given values or priorities. I can do what I want freely and without limitation or structure.
But while this might work well for one who has not found values to embrace, people to love, a future to build on, and indeed I met this criteria perfectly for most of my life, I have come to a point where I have found someone to love and live for, I must embrace the values necessary for her to be happy, and for us to be happy together- and for us to be together, it is necessary to forge a future for us, and build on that foundation until our happiness is complete.
The principle merits of responsible living deal with love, and with building relationships, families, futures, societies on. Whereas freedom is necessary for creativity to spring forth, responsibility is necessary for what is created to be appreciated. It’s one thing to create something wonderful, beautiful, amazing– but to make that something productive, appreciable, real— it requires some degree of responsibility, in order that mere expression can be honed and refined into art. Responsibility is the proactive structuring, standardizing, planning, and ritualizing of reality that makes self-actualization possible.
Normally, I tend to do and say everything without thinking, wishing to communicate my raw, unfiltered self without being biased by the real or perceived consequences or my words and actions. While this has worked well when I had nothing and no one to live for, It has become increasingly important (to my surprise) as I find my unfiltered expression threatening the health of my relationships, and particularly that of my love. To preserve the well-being of the values and people I care for, Carefully deciding what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to, must become an important consideration for me.
Prior to my engagement to be married, it didn’t matter how much money I made, or the stability of my income, because I knew I would always find a way to subsist regardless. I’ve been homeless, and lived off of food bank food and soup kitchens, and know how to survive regardless of the circumstances. But now that I have a future wife to support and care for, and ensure her happiness and well-being, things have become a lot more complicated. In the interests of our life together, I need to become financially responsible, get a stable job with enough income for us to live comfortably, learn to budget money reasonably and consistently, and invest my income conservatively and efficiently.
Whereas before I was content with a rather random lifestyle, only doing hygiene, cleaning my room, or caring about my dress when I felt like it, I have recently realized how vital it is for me to live my daily life structured, clean, and disciplined. In order to ensure a healthy equilibrium for our married life, and particularly for our future kids, it is necessary for me to live life more “civilized” and with more self-respect than I’m accustomed to.
Finally, responsibility has become essential for me because without it, I would take the people I love for granted, even the one I love most. When life is a chaotic mess of liberation, sure there’s a lot of options to choose from, and everything feels so much more colorful, open-ended and free, but it’s difficult to focus and appreciate any of it, or to realize the things and people you care about most. When you limit your range of focus through responsible living, it allows you to zero in on the things, people, and values that really matter to you- that’s the real beauty of responsibility!
I criticize religion in general, because it is a system of servitude, either willful (conversion), through family upbringing (indoctrination), or cultural (brainwashing). Moral values and spiritual pathways/beliefs are a wonderful thing, religion is a hateful system that turns wonderful truths into terrible perversions of those truths, exploited by those in power to control the masses.
That being said, even though I might find religion to be an awful, disgusting thing, I respect the opinions of those that adhere to it, and seek to achieve an understanding with them despite any barriers of belief there might be between us.
I think it is good for one to be convicted in their spiritual beliefs/values/etc., what I am against (and thus criticize) is the forced consolidation of beliefs in the form of religion, which is at the core the statism of spirituality. Those who are supportive of libertarian values should understand my disgust of religious institutions on that basis alone.
I understand peoples’ choice to consolidate their beliefs into a larger body of like-minded individuals; so long as they don’t mind the dogma, doctrine, and patriarchy it comes with. But I believe that one should not have to conform to a religion to benefit from the spirituality/relationships/etc. it entails, not any more than one should have to go to college to gain the recognition of being well-educated.
However, such an idealistic way of thinking isn’t particularly practical in an institution-driven world, so I can understand why conformance to religion is natural for so many people.
Debating the motivations and moral justifications of war, and its relationship to society and human nature
(Extracted from a debate thread with Angel Suri)
My original post (for context):
I regularly post anti-war content on Facebook, Google+, twitter, and my blogs, I am always talking to my friends and family about how stupid and unjustified the wars American, Israel, and Palestinian countries are fighting are, and I sign petitions and support politicians committed to bring an end to America’s policing the world and building this unsustainable American empire.
I’m a diehard pacifist and debate with people all the time about the problems with war, and convince people all the time that after stripping away all the FUD and propaganda, all of these wars we’re fight are completely unjustifiable.
What have YOU done to oppose the warmongering in America and in the world?
Opening comments by Angel Suri:
LIKE DRUGS AND GAMBLING: War gives men a justifiable excuse to commit suicide or practice aggression… War is the seeking of pleasure or the justification of an ideal… War like all human experience has a value in that it seeks an end or adds meaning for it has both effect and value to those who engage in it and is seen as absurd by those who abstain… Why would you deny man his natural inclination to kill and die and seek pleasure or ideals in a pragmatic way? It is the way he seeks these things that you object to not that a man or a collection of men seek these things… Would you have us all play chess or some other form of competition and power satiating substitutes for pleasure in risk? Your ideals have no greater value than that of another man or collection of men. Your distaste is all you speak of, a contrary ideal, a different collection of men who share your proclivity for peace. Peace has value only insomuch that it allows another war to break out eventually. Peace is a respite for the men of war to show the men of peace that virility in life can still be had and that the will to power is not an effete thing to be hidden away through living a life of the mind alone. War is evil to the pacifist because it is foreign to their nature and cannot be understood as “just something else to do to pass the time.” Pass the time in judgement against or pick up a gun or a needle or a set of dice, but do not spend time in meaningless argumentation about human nature.
War is sanctioned through cooperation of the many (or the powerful few) who agree and not some random act by some lunatic without social value. The only similarity to what you propose is the component of violence and benefit. Otherwise several lunatics are required to start and enact a war. some semblance of sanity is needed to do this successfully. i speak of sane things that by a pacifist is seen as insane ideology. But then again i think a man taking vows of silence and renouncing all pleasure for a life of contemplation is equally insane as what you propose for they accomplish the same thing. You do not need to value war, only understand that there are those that do, and that you have no right or any moral justification to value peace over war where they are concerned. For there are many moralities but there is no Morality. in other words people are going to do whatever the hell they want because they can and there’s not a damned thing you can do to stop them from using their power.
That isn’t to say I think war is ever justified (it isn’t), but this is the best justification I have been able to come up with, as it is rational and universal. The problem of course, is that it involves slaughtering millions to satisfy one’s own Ego, which is by definition psychopathic. So yes, there is technically a rational motivation for war, but there is no *morally* justifiable reason for war, other than perhaps self-righteous causes, which are in reality perversions of religious values and moral virtues.
You also speak as if men are animals who are slaves to their cravings, that they cannot help but desire violence, death, conflict, and vice. While this is the case with many men, I believe most men have transcended these cravings, or at least learned to control them. Society would not function if we could not control our cravings and destructive desires, after all. So the fact that society continues to function, despite mankind’s destructive desires, is the biggest evidence that no, there is no need for such destructive activities; war is not justified anymore than violence or murder is justified in mainstream society.
The argument that there can only be peace if there is war is an interesting one, but about as rationally sound as saying “there is only more trees cut down if there is more trees standing. You can see the flaw clearly in that analogy- while peace may only be *appreciated* by man if there is *some* war by which to contrast it, there is no necessity for there to be a great deal of war, as there is now. As war is a destructive and savage activity, it should be avoided whenever possible, and treated only as a last resort to *save* lives (i.e. the Holocaust).
“Would you have us all play chess or some other form of competition and power satiating substitutes for pleasure in risk?”
If it meant the bloodshed would stop/be decreased, or that conflict and killing would be minimized? of course I would, and any decent person would agree with me. Incidentally, we have plenty of video games and nonlethal sports that permit people to vent their destructive desires, so there’s no real excuse for men to need to *actually* kill their fellow man just to satisfy their destructive drives.
“do not spend time in meaningless argumentation about human nature.” How it is meaningless? These are very important issues to address, and the amount of war in the world has decreased a great deal due to efforts by people like myself in informing the public, drawing attention to these issues, and providing solutions to neutralize the causes of war and its underlying drives.
“Otherwise several lunatics are required to start and enact a war. some semblance of sanity is needed to do this successfully. ” No actually, there are many mental disorders in which people are warlike and violent, and very intelligent and clever in their planning of things, even for very long term goals, and they are very rational in their motivations. The most common of these mental illnesses are psychopathy and sociopathy. So on the contrary, warmongering by lunatic elites is very possible, and actually the most plausible reason for why there is so much war in the world despite the level of technology and civilization the world has attained.
“you have no right or any moral justification to value peace over war where they are concerned. For there are many moralities but there is no Morality”
On the contrary, that there are many moralities is precisely why I have a right to my own moral justification to value peace over war. values are how we interpret reality- I interpret reality according to the desires of my heart.
Man is aggressive and needs an outlet for this tendency and so he sanctions war as the way because football, boxing, and mma just don’t do it for some. All the discussion in the world can’t stop a man from justifying whatever activity he thinks will benefit him. We are perverse by nature at times. War is a perverse pleasure. So men will justify perversity. It’s a societal thing as old as society itself. We are Sparta… It’s an ideology rich in history and tradition. It is a gruesome thing this humanity. Would we prefer it were otherwise if we could play God? Sure why not have world peace instead? But we are in fact doing as biology and society have urged… and we like the urge… not me per se… for of course we can resist our urges and go contrary to our tendencies… or we could allow some yahoos to get together and kill each other to satisfy their urges instead (i only blow things up with my mind and avoid physical combat, but I try to justify the human experience whenever possible so that life doesn’t seem so absurd)
I don’t know why you think war is a societal thing (especially considering that the more advanced a civilization is, the less war and conflict they tend to have), though even in advanced civilizations, an immature society has more difficulty resisting its perverse impulses, so war, conflict, and other perversions continue to run rampant. To eliminate these vices, we need to build a more mature and virtuous society.
“But we are in fact doing as biology and society have urged” other than this being the appeal to nature fallacy (see
) society is inherently at odds with biology, as evidenced by the fact that despite the biological drive to do so, we are not raping, pillaging, killing, and taking whatever we want. We live civilized, despite our biologically animalistic nature.
We certainly can do as you suggest and become more civilized… but yet some choose war… and not because we are uneducated about it. and how is war not a societal thing? it is clear a societal function…
Time does exist, otherwise man could not have invented a means to measure time. But the measurement of time isn’t real- seconds, minutes, years, days– they might be based on the cycles of the earth, sun, moon, etc.– but they don’t have any real existence. When I use the word ‘time’, it is in the nonlinear sense. Time is basically a collection of data points that divide the patterns of the universe into different states of emanation.
Change can be appreciated through time, because when you “jump” to a different data point (a “moment”, what I refer to as a “ripple”), then you appreciate something has changed. Time exists outside of change; even if there was no change, there would still be time, but time guarantees there will be change, by providing the data points by which to emanate too. If you are water, and there are holes in the ground to flow through, do you think that there is anything stopping you from “changing” by flowing into that hole (data point).
Time doesn’t exist “in reality”, because existence came about as a byproduct of time and space synthesizing as creation. Time doesn’t choose what it exists for; rather, time is a bunch of holes in the void that matter flows through. When matter flows through time, creation manifests. In this way, time both exists and doesn’t exist.
Confused about the difference between dominance and submission when it comes to kissing/sex? Here’s the breakdown:
1. Initiating the expression (kissing/touching/sex)
2. Usually being on top/above the submissive
3. Doing most of the “work”
4. In charge of deciding what positions to do
5. Is their responsibility to use their power to pleasure the submissive
6. They require the most trust in sex, because they have power whereas the submissive is vulnerable, and having to rely on the dominant to do almost everything, and to not hurt them or displeasure them
1. Receiving/appreciating the expression (kissing back/touching back/enjoying the sex)
2. Usually being on bottom/below the submissive
3. Is doing almost nothing, just relaxing and enjoying the experience
4. Doesn’t make any of the decisions, relies on the dominant to decide everything in the expression for them
5. Is their responsibility to be responsive in their bodies, and show and tell the dominant what they like and what is pleasurable to them, to communicate their sexual needs, and to suggest things
6. They must trust the dominant one completely, because they are giving all the power to the dominant, leaving them completely vulnerable, trusting them to pleasure them and do what they like, and not hurt them
Now you know!
1. God is not bound to any moral code, rather, he is the moral code- meaning that because God is justice, everything he says, does, believes, and creates, is right, just, good and flawless.
2. God created us, and as we are created in the image of perfection, we inherit the goodness of God. So as the offspring of God, we cannot be evil in the eyes of God, and as he is the standard of good, we are good indeed.
3. Even if we were good or evil, it would be impossible for us to definitely determine was is good and what is evil, as we are not God, but merely his offspring. So any notions we have about what is right, wrong, good, evil, good, bad, just, wicked– these are human measures of morality, and do not hold and real moral value, cosmically speaking.
4. Human standards of morality, ethics, virtue, value, norms, etc….are constructs of society, culture, etc.– conditioned into our thinking in order to promote moral solidarity, and are based not on what is definitively known to by right or wrong, but on what the establishment determines, usually on a hierarchial basis (individual, family, workplace, boss; neighborhood, law enforcement, council, mayor, board; deacon, priest, pope; union leadership, special interests, Obama; grassroots coordinators, Tea Party, Sarah Palin….you get the point). This all has nothing to do with God, of course. For the most part, our moral conditioning is determined entirely by a complex bureaucracy of people using morality as a tool to exchange power.
5. As history is our witness, nearly every measure of right and wrong has changed through the evolutionary shifts of culture, and adaptations to accommodate certain core needs.
Throughout history, many things we consider “evil” today- blood feuds, human sacrifice, animal/child abuse, wife beating, slavery, prejudice, racism, intellectual property theft, trespassing, genocide, religious crusades, raping and pillaging, piracy, misogyny, persecution, gladiators cannibalism…..the list goes on and on– all of these things were throughout history considered either necessary or morally acceptable in major cultures, and all of them are considered morally acceptable in some cultures even to this day (even human sacrifice).
Conversely, many things we consider morally acceptable today (homosexuality, promiscuous sex, birth control, raising families outside marriage, female leaders, professional women, blacks in power, sexuality, violence, and illegal drugs in film and television, Christianity, monotheism, industrialization, hypnotism, dating, expatriatism, draft-dodging, writing (if you weren’t an authorized scribe), reading the Bible (if you’re not a church official), falling in love (with someone who wasn’t pre-chosen by your parents), a woman speaking (if she isn’t spoken first to), taking a different occupation than your family, talking to people from a different social class than you, etc. — as you know, none of these things are considered “evil” in mainstream cultures.
6. For the most part, morality is truly a luxury- In an impoverished city, being a good person is a good way to get robbed, bullied, and shot. In many parts of Africa, there is not any morality by any standard of right and wrong. People are regularly raped, abused, assaulted, and murdered, and it’s not considered wrong in many areas of Africa at all. It’s considered, in fact, a rite of marriage. The killings continue, but it is not in any way wrong, it only appears to be wrong to those that have the luxury of making such a distinction. You only believe it to be wrong because you don’t live in a country/region/city/neighborhood so impoverished that morality cannot be afforded.
8. Finally, and this point should be stressed the most: good and evil, right and wrong, just and wicked– these values are determined ultimately by one’s relative perception. Something is only appearing to be good or appearing to be evil, because of its relationship to your expectations of reality. If something happens that is different from your expectations of good, or fulfilling of your expectation of evil, then you apply those labels to it, and reinforce your perception of morality, in relationship to reality, through maintaining that contrast of values. In the end, right and wrong are not about interpreting reality, but about identifying with the perceived moral substance of reality via attaching values to it– the values of the individual, family, group, culture, society, government, religion, race, etc.
Ultimately, the underlying truth here is that morality as we know it is a human invention, so to try to discredit God’s existence by saying he does not conform to all our expectations of a moral God, and we as his creation are not projecting according to such expectations, is patently ludicrous.
In general, I prefer to ignore the exchange of power, seeing it mostly as a construct of the Ego, legitimate only in hierarchy-driven societies. But as I become more serious in my personal romance, I have come to see how undeniably essential the exchange of power is in relationships. There are so many decisions to be made, and so many responsibilities to be fulfilled, and there are many issues in which a compromise is neither practical nor optimal. In many of such cases, an exchange of power must be made to resolve conflicts in the decision-making process
For example, I plan to have at least two children, and I have very strong beliefs about their education, their health, their morality, and the structure present in their lives. There are many things (such as vaccination, working parenting, baby formula, pornography, abortion, public schooling, casual dating, promiscuity, materialist/consumerist behavior) that I am extremely against, and predictably enough, my own opinions about raising kids are often in conflict with that of my wife’s opinions.
While diversity of opinions can be a good thing, it proves to be a terrible obstacle when it comes to raising children, because compromised parenting is, at least in my firm belief, absolutely unacceptable. A consensus must be reached in all decisions regarding child-rearing, and if they cannot be, there are two options:
(1) We give up on raising the kids. It’s better to not raise kids at all, than to raise them in such a manner that compromises their future.
(2) One of us chooses to acquiesce to the other’s view(s) about parenting.
Option 2 is where the exchange of power comes in. One of us has to submit authority over the given matter to the other, so that consensus might be reached through one of the two opinions being determined as legitimate, at the expense of illegitimizing any conflicting opinions. In some cases, I submit to her opinion. I have relented on her desire to wear heels during pregnancy, on the condition that she stop wearing them if she is feeling nauseous, pained in her feet, off-balance, or otherwise stressed. I have also agreed our kids will be placed in traditional schools, so long as they are private schools, and we provide supplementary education at home. Conversely, I have compelled her to submit to my opinion on such issues as breastfeeding and not working during pregnancy. So we both have relatively equal power in decision-making, but nevertheless, the exchange of power is an integral part of everything important decision we make.
Not just in decision-making, but also in physical expression of love, the power exchange is more prevalent than I ever thought possible. Even in such simple actions as a hug, a kiss, or holding hands, the initiator has a clear degree of physical dominance, and this influences the dynamics of that expression. These dynamics are particularly pronounced in the act of making love, where a dominant/submissive relationship is necessary for the sex to be natural, creative, and elegant. Without the exchange of power, lovemaking of any kind becomes an awkward and unsatisfactory experience.
I’m only beginning to understand the importance of these things, as until now I preferred to deny power as a legitimate existence. The truth is, I really don’t understand power at all, so I have much to learn before I can achieve a true appreciation of the exchange of power and its effects on humanity, life, and all of reality.