Posted on (UTC-4)
2020-02-25 @ 01:51:32
<3 <3 <3 : )))
2019-10-16 @ 16:56:00
<3 <3 <3
2019-09-30 @ 12:40:33
: )) <3
2019-08-31 @ 01:15:08
Thank you Bruna !! : ))
Aya is indeed beautiful, for those who feel called to it. If you feel called, could be a sacred gift; if not, that’s splendid also. Listen deeply to yourself and follow what is indicated for you — there are countless profound, healing, and liberating adventures to be had on this space-diamond : ]
Good days forever! <3
2019-08-19 @ 14:37:28
Good thoughts, E. : )
I like the idea that there is no single path to enlightenment—all rivers flow to the Sea—and thus there is no need to become attached to a single path, or teaching, or doctrine.
I see you’re meaning ‘Path’ in a wider sense though, similar to how it’s used in the Kybalion: “We are all on The Path—and the road leads upward ever, with frequent resting places.” In this way, though, perhaps everyone is always on the Path, whether we realize it or not. Some say the nature of the Tao is returning, remembering, and that our eventual remembrance of our true nature is a certainty… Jed McKenna says it nicely:
“Returning is the motion of the Tao. Everything is in a constant process of returning to its true state. To really be ‘off the path’ would mean to be outside of consciousness. There is no such place.”
In this way maybe one can heave a bit of a sigh of relief, realizing we are always on the Path, and our eventual return to Source is inevitable. Perhaps we can relax into the journey. I think a yielding, gentle, flowing approach—with compassion and non-judgment toward self—serves me well. Certainly deep inner work is challenging, though perhaps being hard, rigid, overly disciplined toward oneself about this work can be a trap. In a few of your sentences I felt an underlying tone/frame of self-judgment that may be worth investigating:
“Even your best, in this moment, is not enough.”
“You will fail, constantly.”
“You must become your best self to invite even the faintest possibility of making progress.”
These statements don’t quite resonate with my experience of the Path. What you are in this moment is always enough and cannot be wrong, my friend. “Failure” is an impossibility; what seems to be failure is only feedback. Progress is inevitable. Your ‘best self’—or perhaps something more beautiful than this—can flow out of you effortlessly when you get out of your own way and let the radiance that is already and always within you shine forth.
I love you, brother. <3
2019-07-29 @ 14:57:33
2019-07-21 @ 23:59:05
: )))) this makes me ridiculously happy. huge love, thank you <3 <3 and fuck yes, DEL forever!! : )))
2019-07-08 @ 14:52:48
welcome David <3 <3 <3 just heard of Mantak Chia v recently -- interesting to rapidly receive another signal to dive into his work. i will likely do that sooner rather than later -- looks super relevant/fascinating <3 <3 <3
2019-07-05 @ 13:33:53
welcome : )) <3 <3 if i were you i would probably wait longer until your career path is more clear before being too public/open online about these things. you can write under an alias tho ( : i agree about the profound sacredness of the experiences and not wanting to be too casual about them <3 take care!
2019-07-03 @ 16:15:10
thank you : ))) <3 <3 <3
2019-06-18 @ 12:19:01
You’re welcome homie <3 : ))
2019-06-18 @ 12:15:33
You’re very welcome <3
2019-04-23 @ 15:14:55
Amazing to hear that Dylan, sending a lot of love to you <3 <3 -- reach out if you need someone to talk to: jbates [at] highexistence [dot] com
2019-03-29 @ 12:17:08
Lots of Love to you M <3
2019-01-30 @ 15:48:06
Hey An, glad to hear you’re enjoying Sam’s app, I still need to try it! The challenge course is a book + physical map + online community — did you receive all these elements? I am happy to refund you — please try emailing team@highexistence [dot] com again — I will tell my colleague to watch for your email, will also tell him to look for your previous mail. Please also send a screenshot of this comment
Take care <3
2019-01-22 @ 07:49:18
Glad you appreciated that line in particular ^__^
2019-01-22 @ 07:49:02
Thank you <3 <3 : ))
2019-01-21 @ 07:52:53
: ))) <3 <3 <3 Thank you!
2019-01-14 @ 05:07:16
interesting point, Ben. i think part of the issue is with aesthetics. when i’m in old European cities i feel a sense of awe/sacredness because they were so clearly painstakingly built to be works of art. many more modern cities were built with efficiency/legibility in mind instead and thus they have a ‘soulless’ feeling. if we optimize for making our man-built environments works of art, they too can inspire a sense of the sacred
2018-12-25 @ 11:35:47
2018-12-03 @ 18:11:57
P.S. Wanted to note that (I’m almost sure) Neurohacker asserts that if taken regularly over a ~6-month period Qualia will actually permanently raise your cognitive baseline and basically upgrade your biology, even after you stop taking it.
2018-12-03 @ 18:10:02
Hey Faris! Great questions. So glad to hear 30 Challenges to Enlightenment is proving to be so transformational for you—wonderful. : )
Qualia is pretty cool, in that so far it seems to me to actually be elevating my cognitive baseline. On days when I don’t take it, I don’t feel dull; I still am able to focus and feel sharp and clear as I always did for my entire life before taking Qualia. Although, it seems I’m perhaps feeling even an enhanced sharpness on days when I don’t take it (though this could be my imagination). But for me so far, it doesn’t seem to be addictive; I don’t feel dependent on it, and there isn’t a comedown or any withdrawal symptoms that I notice. It’s just a nice boost when I take it. Neurohacker recommends taking it a max of 5 days/wk, so there will always be multiple days off per week if you’re using it properly; so far I’ve been taking it 3-4 days/wk, and usually about 1/3 – 1/2 of the recommended dose, which I still find quite nice. Hope this answers your question! Cheers! : )
2018-10-13 @ 15:24:09
omg YES — you are awesome : )
2018-10-13 @ 15:22:43
“Though much of the daily political-news drama is manufactured bullshit, it’s also the case that we are awash in vivid news of very real tragedies taking place throughout the world.
To the credit of those who broadcast these stories, it’s perfectly understandable to want to spread the word about awful things that are happening—to raise awareness, seek help, etc.”
2018-01-23 @ 01:44:27
wonderful to hear, thanks : ]
2018-01-23 @ 01:44:16
thank you : ]
2018-01-11 @ 01:55:36
Thanks for the tip, Eline. : ) I appreciate it and will check out Sydney Banks! I agree that we are all one in a real sense; I just also think the (ambiguous, porous) boundaries between ourselves and objects also exist in a real sense. I’m not sure we can ever prove the truth of either of these perspectives. I appreciate you sharing yours. : ) Take care!
2017-12-30 @ 22:50:45
Thank so much : ] <3 >“High Existence is where I come to have my mind destroyed and rebuilt. Love this place.”
2017-11-04 @ 20:19:24
thank you : )
2017-10-23 @ 21:31:56
thank you, vitor : ) <3
2017-10-23 @ 21:31:45
thank you <3
2017-10-17 @ 19:40:40
really well said. thanks for this.
2017-10-17 @ 19:39:36
fantastic! please do! thank you! : )
2017-10-17 @ 19:38:57
you’re welcome! : )
2017-10-16 @ 17:37:58
thank you! so glad you appreciate it!
2017-09-25 @ 17:50:23
thank you!! so glad it resonated ^_^
2017-09-16 @ 00:44:23
thank you good sir : ]
2017-09-15 @ 23:50:24
you’re very welcome man! so glad it helped you hone in on an accurate categorization for your (non-)belief system : ]
2017-09-07 @ 18:45:18
thank you! : ]
2017-08-31 @ 19:40:58
Hey Hans! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to this. Hopefully visiting Amsterdam again in the next year or two. : ]
For most of human history, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, living in small tribes. Unfortunately, no, there was no universal sense of human rights. Things often got violent when tribes encountered other tribes; a much larger percentage of people died at the hands of other human beings during pre-history than in the modern world. And freedom of speech and artistic expression wouldn’t really have made sense in the context of early human societies. These tribes were so tight-knit and isolated that _no one knew anything_ beyond their particular tribe’s dogma and traditions. So everyone just adhered to their tribe’s orthodoxy, and this was an important cohesion mechanism. So freedom of speech/artistic expression weren’t ideas that would have made much sense in that context. These things started to become important when we developed mass societies and people within the same society started having different religions, worldviews, ideas of what was appropriate or good or true. These disagreements resulted in a lot of violence and conflict throughout human history, until we developed the novel idea that different kinds of people could all co-exist if they just tolerated their differences and allowed each person to decide for themselves what to say, believe, and express. This is why freedom of speech and artistic expression are so fundamentally important.
2017-08-29 @ 15:46:48
well said, my friend.
2017-07-24 @ 00:17:33
I don’t agree with your critique of what we’re doing at HE. It is a genuine commitment to learning and growth that drives us to consistently publish mountains of FREE food for thought and opportunities to broaden your perspective and improve your life. Do we need to keep the lights on like any other website? Yes, we do. Other sites just ask for donations; we create genuinely valuable courses and tools. Feel free to believe you’re Holier Than Thou. Peace.
2017-07-24 @ 00:14:16
I think you point to some valid criticisms of my piece, and I also disagree with you on a few counts here. I have since updated this essay after a more nuanced reading of Watts. There were much kinder ways to disagree with my piece. Take care.
2017-07-24 @ 00:11:08
I think you were right, Lee. My original critique was a straw man that I should have considered more deeply. I have updated the piece now. Thank you for the thoughtful critique of my critique. : )
2017-06-06 @ 17:36:48
we’d love to remove the ads. do you have several thousand dollars per month to give us so we can keep the site online?
2017-05-16 @ 16:51:00
ah, thanks for pointing that out, Joseph! it very well could be. RIP.
thanks for reading!
2017-03-27 @ 16:56:30
Thanks for the comment, Danielle. I actually *totally agree* that we shouldn’t take the weight of the world onto our shoulders. I didn’t mean to say that at all. Thanks to your comment, I’ve added another paragraph to that section to clarify. I’m really glad you enjoyed the read. Take care!
2017-03-27 @ 16:45:22
i didn’t discredit Alan Watts. i love Alan Watts. the problem is with people who *feel superior to others* because they read Alan Watts.
2017-03-27 @ 16:40:05
thanks, john. i’m really glad you appreciated it. : ]
i’ve added the word “regulated” to hopefully clarify that i’m not advocating for completely unrestrained capitalism. indeed, i didn’t have the space to get into a more nuanced discussion of capitalism, or i would have. i am all for considering how to further refine/regulate capitalism to make it work for everyone and the planet, or to gradually, systematically experiment with other economic models that might work better (though we’d need to be very prudent and methodical in doing this). anyway, thanks again for appreciating. take care!
2017-03-27 @ 16:36:31
i think there’s a disconnect happening here. this meme has been around for *10 years.* once someone becomes a meme, the meaning of the meme is totally divorced from that person’s real identity (or should be). the person becomes like an actor/actress posing as a stereotype, or as whatever people construe the meme to mean. i too think it would be unfortunate to become a meme, but either that girl got over it years ago, or she never will. i hope she realizes *the meme is not about her*.
2017-03-27 @ 16:35:46
i think there’s a disconnect happening here. this meme has been around for *10 years.* once someone becomes a meme, the meaning of the meme is totally divorced from that person’s real identity (or should be). the person becomes like an actor/actress posing as a stereotype, or as whatever people construe the meme to mean. i too think it would be unfortunate to become a meme, but either that girl got over it years ago, or she never will. i hope she realizes *the meme is not about her*.
2017-03-27 @ 16:34:37
thanks, dude. i’m really glad you appreciated it. : ]
2017-03-27 @ 16:32:33
i think there’s a disconnect happening here. this meme has been around for *10 years.* once someone becomes a meme, the meaning of the meme is totally divorced from that person’s real identity. the person becomes like an actor/actress posing as a stereotype, or as whatever people construe the meme to mean. i too think it would be unfortunate to become a meme, but either that girl got over it years ago, or she never will. i hope she realizes *the meme is not about her*.
2017-03-24 @ 17:38:24
it’s widely acknowledged by economists that capitalism played an enormous role in raising the global standard of living in the last couple centuries. i didn’t have the space to go into more detail or i would have. i really recommend watching the lecture i linked, which is a much more nuanced discussion of the pros and cons of capitalism (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOu_8yoqZoQ). thanks for the feedback and take care!
2017-03-24 @ 17:36:30
“spirituality,” for me, simply refers to an attitude of awe and gratitude for the incomprehensible, sublime cosmos in which we find ourselves. nothing supernatural intended.
i agree that the concept of “authenticity” can be problematic. i simply employed it to distinguish between warped/artificial forms of spirituality and more sincere forms. i believe this is a real distinction that can be made. perhaps you don’t, in which case that’s cool. thanks for the criticism and take care!
2017-03-24 @ 17:33:20
thanks for commenting, Rachel. i’m glad you love the article. as for the meme, i hear you, and i considered that. my take is: this meme has been around for years, and i’m sure (or at least i really hope) she long ago accepted that the meme is not about *her*. her likeness was simply co-opted by internet meme culture for a particular purpose and the way in which people use the meme doesn’t say anything about who she really is. i appreciate the constructive criticism though. take care.
2017-03-24 @ 17:30:54
you’re welcome! i’m so glad you appreciated it. ^__^
2017-03-24 @ 17:30:33
THANK YOU! : )
2017-03-22 @ 16:56:59
Thanks for reading! Glad you found value in it. I appreciate the anecdote about mindfulness—I agree it can be used for escapism and to avoid looking at important issues in oneself and in the world. Glad you found a healthier balance with it. : ]
2017-02-21 @ 16:06:22
“My entire reality is inside my head!”
in a lot of important ways, i don’t think this is true. it seems immeasurably likely that there is a shared material reality we are inhabiting, and that *your* portion of this reality arises in the interplay of the objective world we all share and your subjective perception. in other words, a good portion of your reality is also outside your head.
2017-02-10 @ 19:24:41
2017-01-18 @ 15:50:04
I think it’s pretty clear that he was using “friend” metaphorically to refer to “something good, helpful, and trustworthy.”
2016-10-19 @ 18:19:29
Hey friend, thanks for the comment. i’m familiar with Pirsig’s “Quality.” I don’t think Pirsig and Chapman are talking about the same thing. “Meaningness” refers to the quality of being meaningful *and/or meaningless*. If I find something meaningless, I’m experiencing meaningness. If I find something meaningful, I’m also experiencing meaningness. Pirsig’s “Quality,” in my understanding, refers only to the meaningful, not the meaningless. Quality, as I understand it, refers to this kind of intuitive understanding we have that some works of art, or experiences, or paths in life, etc. are better than others—Quality is the name Pirsig gives to the ineffable thing that makes some things better than others.
2016-10-18 @ 19:34:26
Chapman is a Buddhist scholar as well and therefore holds that the boundary between the “subjective” self and the “objective” external world is much more nebulous and permeable than we typically believe. So our everyday experience is that of a mixture/interplay of subjective/objective more so than a separate subjective self moving through an objective world. It is in this mixture/interplay that meaning arises. Chapman actually suggests that the book does not fall within the domain of philosophy. Indeed, he is seemingly trying to carve out a new domain of study—he seems to be trying to map scientifically the way meaningness functions in human experience. Here’s a passage on the book being non-religious and non-philosophical:
“My approach in this book is non-religious and non-philosophical. It is meant for readers who have rejected religious answers. Those who have figured out that philosophy also lacks answers may be even more intrigued.
It will be obvious that the book is non-religious. It’s anti-religious to the extent that most religions are eternalist, and rejection of eternalism is one of my main themes. I take atheism as a given; it’s barely worth mentioning, much less arguing for.
Less obviously, the book is also non-philosophical, and perhaps even anti-philosophical. It is meant as a practical manual. I hope it is useful to anyone who struggles with questions like “what should I do with my life?” and “how ethical should I be?” and “do I have a special destiny, or is my life going to have no meaning beyond the ordinary?”
Isn’t it odd that philosophy has no branch devoted to meaningness? Especially since meaningness is exactly what regular people, who haven’t studied philosophy, usually think philosophy is about?
In ancient times, philosophers did ask the big questions of meaningness. (I’m fond of Diogenes, whose picture heads this page.) Nowadays, big questions are considered embarrassingly naive. The proper job of a philosopher is to make tiny technical corrections in esoteric theories that probably have no connection with reality.
In recent philosophical history, existentialism was an exception. It was willing to ask the important questions. It avoided the error of eternalism, by rejecting definite, objective meanings. However, it wrongly supposed that meaningness is merely subjective, and thereby came to an acknowledged nihilistic dead end.
Particular branches of current philosophy address particular dimensions of meaningness. For instance, normative moral philosophy tries to answer some questions about ethics—one dimension of meaningness. Later in the book, I argue that nearly all current ethical theories are either eternalist or nihilist, and therefore wrong. The wrong answers come from asking wrong questions. I will suggest better questions, and beginnings of answers.”
It’s from this page: https://meaningness.com/what-is-meaningness
If you’re fascinated by this stuff, I highly recommend delving further into the book. It’s really accessible actually, and Chapman can explain himself much better than I can paraphrase him.
2016-10-13 @ 16:17:17
loved this one, dude. well said. <3
2016-09-30 @ 07:48:43
you’re so welcome, MoonCat. : ] i’m humbled and grateful that my words could give you such an experience. <3
2016-05-11 @ 19:17:58
this is one of my favorite posts of yours, Martijn. Jung was such a genius.
2016-05-11 @ 06:22:39
and you think Donald Trump, a man who has spent his whole life doing everything possible to protect and advance the interests of Donald Trump, gives a rat’s ass about the common man? no chance in hell. i believe Sanders genuinely does. there’s an abyss between them.
2016-05-11 @ 06:19:44
“But idealistic and naive.”
so Elon Musk, the most effective engineer in history, is also idealistic and naive? same with Vinay Gupta? and countless other people much smarter than you or i? granted, this is an appeal to expertise, which i wouldn’t usually resort to, but i find your comment very dismissive. you’re dismissing a lot of brilliant people with a casual flick of the wrist.
“Do you really want us to leave here with the insanity that still affects us?”
are you worried about us ‘infecting’ the cosmos with our underdeveloped collective morality? who are we going to affect with this deficiency apart from ourselves? as far as we know, there are no others. you’d rather we all stay on Earth and die in the event of a cataclysm? why not send a million humans to Mars and ensure the continuation of the species? how do you know that starting a new civilization on Mars wouldn’t allow for the most equitable and cooperative human civilization of the last couple millennia to arise? you don’t. you’re dismissing something outright when trillions of potential future beings’ existences are at stake.
2016-05-11 @ 06:13:39
you could go to Boldairpur. google it. <3
2016-05-11 @ 05:58:47
eh, vaccines have actually eliminated these things called plagues that used to just wipe out vast portions of the population at random. there are problems with vaccines, but the alternative is much worse. don’t lose sight of history
2016-05-06 @ 19:53:54
wow, powerful anecdote, dionne. thanks for sharing.
2016-05-06 @ 19:52:18
well said, Michael. a lot of good points.
do you think JP was actually discrediting yoga as a practice? i feel like he was just criticizing a certain type of yoga practitioner who doesn’t have much actual knowledge of yoga but is just kind of doing it to be ‘spiritually hip’ and hoping for some sort of magic bullet (like many people do with any consumerist solution). i get the sense that JP understands that many of the practices/ideas to which he’s referring are valuable but have been warped to fulfill very shallow agendas.
2016-05-06 @ 19:48:26
i have a lot to learn too!! touched to know that the “should we ‘revere’ the universe?” essay is a favorite of yours. : ] <3 thank you for reading!
"energy" used in that sense may be scientifically inaccurate, but there may still be some element of truth in it that we have yet to demonstrate scientifically or find empirical evidence for. doesn't mean you should totally abandon that way of understanding things. if nothing else, i think of words like "energy" and "vibes" as really potent metaphors for the intuitive/emotional side of our life experience. while moving through this world, it often *does* feel like we're encountering different energies/vibes that emanate from different contexts/environments/people. so i think that these concepts are pointing to very real parts of our experience that probably have a neurological basis. i think they're valuable concepts. i just wouldn't personally try to convince anyone that they are more than metaphors.
2016-05-05 @ 15:51:16
you’re welcome, garrett. i totally agree with everything you said. thanks for commenting. : ]
2016-05-05 @ 15:50:03
2016-05-04 @ 15:21:55
It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job of practicing healthy habits. Keep that up!
The fact that this spiritual bypassing stuff “makes [you] a little crazy” might be a good thing, in my opinion, as that probably means it’s forced you to notice some of the shadow aspects of your own spirituality. This can definitely be a somewhat painful and disorienting process — to realize that something you thought of as a purely positive force in your life had certain hidden aspects that you weren’t really aware of. The same thing happened to me when I first read about spiritual bypassing maybe a year ago. Ultimately, though, that was a powerful turning point for me that allowed me to gain self-awareness and develop a less dogmatic/egotistical/naively idealistic spirituality. For me, I realized that excessive compassion/empathy to the point of not making distinctions between people had gotten me into a couple dangerous, potentially life-threatening situations while traveling in Asia. I realized that in this world, we do need to make assumptions about people sometimes and exercise caution. I also realized I had a certain amount of anger-phobia and would shy away from any sort of conflict, wondering why others couldn’t be as “enlightened” and calm as me; in actuality, I was using this defense mechanism to avoid confronting deep, difficult issues in certain relationships. I had to realize that in some cases, anger is certainly justified and can be a catalyst for confronting the deep-down issues that are the true source of ongoing conflicts in certain relationships. Those are just a couple of examples out of the many things I realized in the wake of learning about spiritual bypassing.
No, it isn’t as simple as starting to meditate, becoming a perpetually happy person, and radiating bliss for the rest of your life. Life is messy, and real growth happens when we don’t shy away from or escape its messiness but rather confront our own suffering/flaws and the emotions that we’d rather not look at. I think that over time, this allows us to reach a place where we are vastly more capable of managing/dealing with our internal lives. This takes a long time, though. In some regards, I feel I’ve come a long way and am really good at living inside my head; in others, I know I have a long way to go and a lot of room left to grow. But part of the beauty of it all is in this unending process of growth — this process of gaining new strength and perspective that equips us for the next challenge, the next test. I think this is why Rilke wrote, “The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.”
Regarding the topic of using the word “universe” in place of “God,” you might read these two essays I wrote previously: http://highexistence.com/should-we-revere-the-universe/ //// http://highexistence.com/secular-spirituality-surrender-to-sacred-yosemite/
And regarding the use of words like “energy” and “vibes,” you claim that you know that these concepts are based in reality. Are you certain that they are, in the way you’re using them? For an alternate perspective, consider this: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Energy#Pseudo-scientific_use_of_the_term
I personally use terms like “good vibes” and “bad vibes” fairly regularly, but I don’t think of myself as making any definitive ontological claims when I’m using these terms. I just view them as a useful shorthand for describing an intuitive sense that a situation either does or does not mesh well with my personality.
As far as things like “being compassionate, understanding, embracing your passions, finding the awe and beauty in life,” those are all great things, in my opinion! The fact that some people don’t jibe with you when you try to talk about these and other deep topics is only evidence of the great diversity among humanity. Due to some combination of biology and conditioning, it’s really just not in some people’s repertoire to be able to get on that level. And that’s perfectly okay! The key is not to fall into the trap of looking down on those people who would prefer to just reminisce about the good ol’ days or talk about something that you consider surface-level. That’s their life, their trip. Who are you to say that your ways are “better”? I’m not a big fan of small talk either, but frankly I love seeing old friends and just shooting the shit, telling old stories, etc. sometimes. In my view, it’s good to learn to connect on a basic human level with anyone, to remain in touch with certain human universals — love, heartbreak, joy, despair, triumph, failure, etc. — and to use those things to find common ground with anyone. Luckily, you’re not alone in wanting to explore something seemingly deeper and more meaningful. That’s why HE exists. And that’s why you should do what you can to “find the others” wherever you are in the world. It’s a lot less lonely when you find people with whom you can discuss whatever is on your mind.
Anyway, I hope this comment helps in some way. Trust me when I say that you’re doing just fine. If you didn’t have any room left to grow and learn, where would that leave you? Life is an endless process of growing and learning, and there’s always room for further development. Let that make you humble and open to the idea that everyone you meet has something to teach you.
2016-05-04 @ 14:25:58
2016-04-08 @ 00:24:31
i think you’ve misinterpreted what i mean by “unity.” i’m all for diversity of civilizations, peoples, etc. i’m simply referring to a general sense of solidarity among the global community, a recognition that we are all earthlings. methinks this doesn’t require tyranny or uniformity.
2016-04-05 @ 00:25:24
they already do, if you broaden your definition of “drug” to include forms of digital entertainment. today’s pacifying “happy pills” are alcohol, social media, and television primarily. people spend most of their time working and all their free time indulging these mind-numbing forms of entertainment, leaving them powerless to truly educate themselves about the present historical moment or gain any kind of broader perspective. checkmate.
2016-03-27 @ 23:03:46
really flattered to hear that, tiffany. thanks much for reading : )
2016-03-27 @ 22:54:18
my rent for the cabin is (significantly) less per month than what i would be paying in most major cities in the US or other affluent countries. i hope you find a way to make it work in the not-too-distant future!
2016-03-27 @ 22:53:09
right on, Dennis. thank you. i find the prospect of 10 days of silence rather intimidating at this point. might start with a 2- or 3-day retreat at some point and see if it suits me. glad to hear your findings were in-line with what i’m learning so far. peace!
2016-03-26 @ 14:35:20
you’re welcome : )
2016-02-25 @ 21:02:22
if anyone is interested, i imagined some possible solutions to this predicament here:
2016-02-18 @ 18:36:49
you’re quite welcome, mike. i hope you enjoy the suggestions
2016-02-10 @ 14:37:09
you’re welcome, sara : ) so glad you liked that one
2016-02-05 @ 18:20:33
not all humans have wanted human life to persist (perhaps ‘life in general,’ though):
2016-02-04 @ 17:45:35
this article is outstanding. thank you
2016-01-19 @ 17:50:56
2016-01-19 @ 17:50:36
:)) so glad you dug it so much, beverly. thank you!
2016-01-14 @ 18:32:50
you can leave comments here. : ]
or, you can start a new discussion thread about it or message me directly on here or email me at [email protected]
however you like!
2016-01-14 @ 18:32:17
thanks, Filip : ]
2016-01-06 @ 06:17:18
2016-01-06 @ 06:15:56
i love you, martijn. : ]
2016-01-04 @ 18:24:52
glad you appreciated it, sasa. thanks for the advice. i understand what you’re saying. i try to use the simplest words that fit my meaning. sometimes more specific words seem necessary. will keep working on it. <3
2015-12-30 @ 23:28:36
your comment is the first one, tone tone. that’s why . . . we’re working on a way to make comments more prevalent
2015-12-28 @ 22:38:43
2015-12-28 @ 20:40:02
thanks, filip. glad you appreciated it. :)
2015-12-28 @ 20:39:45
beverly, you can copy the link and paste it into FB to share.
we do have share buttons, however. are you on mobile or PC, and what browser are you using? we’ll try to get this issue resolved for you. so glad you liked the post. :) take care.
2015-12-28 @ 20:38:46
you’re welcome. :)
2015-12-20 @ 21:08:57
thanks, jon. :) glad you appreciated it as much as i did
2015-11-30 @ 17:03:13
yes! it’s from his book ‘Sacred Economics,’ which i highly, highly recommend (i’m like 58% of the way through it). you can read it for free:
2015-11-25 @ 20:37:55
:) “coitus” as verb. excellent. indeed, rilke’s language is some of the finest i’ve ever found.
2015-11-25 @ 20:12:49
i kind of doubt it. it’s a pretty damn good stand-in, but i don’t think it replaces the intangible vitality of an unmediated eye-to-eye conversation.
2015-11-13 @ 19:11:21
you’re welcome ^_^
2015-11-12 @ 02:09:07
“… is interested in pursuing greater understanding about what Nietzsche meant and not just looking for argumentative conjecture and speculation about what they think he was getting at.”
i’d like to hear more of your thoughts, but i think it’s a bit arrogant to insinuate that you understand precisely what Nietzsche meant by everything he said. he was often deliberately ambiguous.
2015-11-04 @ 02:44:28
do other people resonate with this quote as much as i do? how do you interpret it?
2015-10-31 @ 19:48:57
that’s a great point, man. i was just saying in another thread on HE that it’s a pet peeve of mine when people seem to insinuate that ‘mind-expansion’ is the end-all-be-all of life, and that that’s more or less what we should all be trying to do all the time.
for one, i think you can go too far down this rabbit hole and begin to dissociate from reality and struggle to maintain normal relationships (like what you’re describing). for two, there’s nothing wrong with having regular mindless fun or engaging in various non-critical activities. much of life seems to consist of this sort of thing, and if one tries to avoid ever ceasing one’s quest for ‘mind-expansion,’ i think one will tend to be putting a lot of pressure on oneself and will probably develop anxieties (i have experienced this).
i think you’re likely right that many people on this site probably struggle less with ‘seeing through the matrix’ and more with finding a way to make a life once they have seen through it all. i’ll take that feedback to heart and consider writing some posts in a more pragmatic vein.
2015-10-30 @ 18:04:19
the author is with me now and glad he was able to make you *feel* these reasons while reading. :) take care.
2015-10-30 @ 18:03:56
the author is with me now and says you’re welcome. :)
2015-10-30 @ 18:03:40
he’s with me now and he says you’re welcome. :)
2015-10-30 @ 18:02:53
i think it might be, man. one girl i know who was pretty type A always got introspective, quiet, and self-conscious when she smoked, so she didn’t like it. personally, i have sometimes gotten anxious while stoned, but i have chosen to see this as a challenge to my equanimity. i have found that learning how to ‘surrender’ to the cannabis consciousness and whatever thoughts it induces helps me to better deal with anxiety in my day-to-day life.
2015-10-30 @ 18:01:16
great comment, man. it’s really important to understand that moderation is the key and that no substance is for everyone. each person needs to find their own relationship to it.
2015-10-29 @ 01:55:50
interesting, jon. if possible, you should try to link to some threads where she dispensed her wisdom. i think i might have seen one of her posts about relationships once, but not sure. if it was her, it was some of the most lucid relationship wisdom i’ve read.
2015-10-19 @ 18:29:33
Jordan, wishing for only the greatest of things to flow into your life as you move on from HE. I already know you’ll continue to inspire and astonish in whatever you do, my friend.
Martijn and Jon, we have some rather large shoes to fill with Jordan leaving, but I’m ready to keep the awesomeness blossoming. The show goes on. Let’s do this. :)
2015-10-16 @ 16:53:12
that’s a fair interpretation. however, Nietzsche doesn’t always seem to use the term “noble” derogatorily, does he? he felt that great spirits tended to self-select for a noble class, and that this was a welcome state of affairs, as it allowed the greatest people to rise unfettered into whatever heights of realization they may.
i do need to read more Nietzsche to get more context here; i had previously thought that he saw his Ubermensch as likely a member of the noble class; he mentioned the likes of Caesar and Goethe as great spirits, near-Ubermensch, and they were decidedly upper class. in my readings, it has seemed that he favors the master morality, associating it with the ascending line of life, as opposed to the descending, which tends to be embodied in the herd’s pity-based morality.
this passage on Nietzsche’s views on nobility rings true to my readings of his work:
“The morality of nobility has developed from master morality, and it finds its ideal form in the new philosophers. The noble person has a sense of the themselves as determining what is good and bad, and new philosophers will create values. The noble person feels full of greatness and power, the new philosophers express the will to power in its purest form and are full of joy in the affirmation of life. The noble person despises what is weak; the new philosopher ranks people by how much truth and suffering they can bear. Both are independent and are not moved by the suffering of common people.
The best sign of a high rank, Nietzsche says, is an instinct for rank (Beyond Good and Evil, §263), not only among human beings, but a sense of what is great. Every elevation of human beings has been and will be achieved by hierarchical societies (§257). Nobility involves a ‘grand attitude’ (e.g. the perspective of eternal return) and a longing for ‘expansive inner states’, not a sense of being caught up in oneself, but a continual ‘self- overcoming’. This shouldn’t be understood in the usual moral or spiritual terms, e.g. overcoming one’s selfishness or transcending human desires. It isn’t guided by fixed values, but involves the creation of new values, which requires the self-overcoming of all that is too weak to sustain such originality.”
2015-10-15 @ 19:25:29
i like your interpretation of Nietzsche. i’m looking for more passages where he discusses the ego. this one, for instance, seems to contradict the one you posted, and i’m interested in getting more context. do you know the larger passage from which your quote was taken?
‘At the risk of displeasing innocent ears, I submit that egoism belongs to the essence of a noble soul, I mean the unalterable belief that to a being such as “we,” other beings must naturally be in subjection, and have to sacrifice themselves. The noble soul accepts the fact of his egoism without question, and also without consciousness of harshness, constraint, or arbitrariness therein, but rather as something that may have its basis in the primary law of things:–if he sought a designation for it he would say: “It is justice itself.”‘
– Beyond Good and Evil, Chapter 9
the ‘noble soul’ is the opposite of the herd, for Nietzsche, and here he says that ego is the essence of the noble soul. how do you reconcile this with your view that ego is the essence of the herd?
2015-10-13 @ 17:45:19
it might be. check http://www.zenpencils.com
2015-10-13 @ 17:44:13
the Zen Pencils attribution is *contained* in the comic already. it’s in the bottom-right corner. changed the title to mention Zen Pencils too
2015-10-12 @ 20:55:39
:)) thanks so much, mike. glad you dug this one so deeply.
2015-10-12 @ 20:54:41
my personal take is that you have a limited understanding of how the term “God” has been used historically. “God” has been used in many contexts beyond Christianity.
2015-10-04 @ 17:33:49
this is a really interesting argument arising between you two. i can relate to both viewpoints. peter, i have often thought that compassion is about the most important thing any of us can have in order to co-exist on Earth at this point in history. i still think that.
what @martouk is expressing is a really Nietzschean point of view. Nietzsche thought compassion was a form of pity, and that to pity anyone was to put them beneath you, necessarily — to view them as some lesser being not capable of handling their own suffering. this is where Nietzsche broke from Schopenhauer, the philosopher that most influenced him. Schopenhauer thought compassion was the basis of all morality and envisioned a truly great man as a compassion ascetic like Jesus or Gandhi. Nietzsche eventually came to feel that Schopenhauer’s philosophy covertly emphasized pity and was thus subtly life-denying, or vitality-sapping. for Nietzsche, to pity someone not only devalues that someone, but is also a waste of one’s energy — energy that could be used for ecstatic creativity, joyous affirmation of the moment through art.
my question and what i continue to research is whether Nietzsche’s heroic artist figure — his “Ubermensch” — would actually still possess some form of compassion — something more like empathy and understanding without pity, in the sense that he means it. i wonder if an Ubermensch figure could will his own values and bask in artistic power while simultaneously radiating empathy and love, *but not pity*.
if you’re interested in reading more on this, here’s a really interesting paper i’ve started to read that tries to synthesize Schopenhauer and Nietzsche to suggest that an Ubermensch — which can also be seen as a kind of enlightened being — would necessarily possess a form of compassion: http://www.gov.harvard.edu/files/The%20Compassion%20of%20Zarathustra.pdf
also, if you have the time for it, here’s a more detailed breakdown of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer’s views on compassion taken from this essay (https://philosophynow.org/issues/29/Nietzsche_and_Schopenhauer_On_Compassion) that i’m not sure you can access via the link:
**Nietzsche & Schopenhauer on Compassion**
by Timothy J. Madigan
“You want if possible – and there is no madder ‘if possible’ – to abolish suffering; and we? – it really does seem that we would rather increase it and make it worse than it has ever been!”
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Friedrich Nietzsche was destined, like his father and grandfather before him, to become a Lutheran minister. From his earliest days he was steeped in a Christian setting, growing up in a household of sanctimonious women who encouraged him to read the Bible and the works of Protestant theologians. He even acquired the nickname “the little pastor” because of his obvious piety. Who could have predicted that this devout young man would grow up to become the most ferocious opponent of Christianity, and author of a book with the provocative title The Antichrist?
While it was Nietzsche’s own restless searching for knowledge which ultimately led to his breaking away from his pious upbringing, one seminal cause of his rejection of religion was his chancing upon the writings of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860). While a student at Leipzig University in the autumn of 1865, Nietzsche purchased a copy of Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation at a second-hand bookstore. “I don’t know what daimon whispered to me: ‘Take this book home’ ”, he was to write years later, but the reading of it changed his life. “Back at home”, he continued, “I threw myself into the corner of a sofa with my new treasure, and began to let that dynamic, dismal genius work on me.” What Nietzsche encountered was a worldview he had never considered before – one that was thoroughly atheistic. Indeed, Nietzsche was to call Schopenhauer the first honest atheist in modern philosophy.
While Schopenhauer himself had been dead for five years (luckily for Nietzsche, since the old man did not encourage acolytes and would have likely responded to any letter of praise with the scorn and sarcasm for which he was famous), there were many admirers in Germany who shared Nietzsche’s high regard. The most noted of these was the controversial composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883), who was delighted to learn of the younger man’s interest in the philosopher whose works he claimed to read every night. Wagner, who had sent Schopenhauer some of his own musical compositions, was fortunate not to have known of the latter’s low regard for them; for instance, when Wagner wrote at one point in the score “the curtain falls”, Schopenhauer scribbled next to this “and not a moment too soon.”
Yet the restless Nietzsche was not to remain a follower of Schopenhauer’s, or a friend of Wagner’s. In 1876 he startled Cosima Wagner, the composer’s wife, with a letter stating that he had rejected Schopenhauer’s teachings. In particular, Nietzsche broke with the very aspect of Schopenhauer’s philosophy which was so inspirational to the Wagners – the emphasis upon compassion.
It is compassion, or mitleid (fellow-feeling), which Schopenhauer argued is the real basis of morality, rather than rational rules or God-given commandments. Moral behavior consists of an intuitive recognition that we are all manifestations of the will to live. All the great religions, he felt, were attempts to express this metaphysical reality, but they all lost sight of this due to their endless doctrinal disputes. What unites us all is the realization that life itself consists of endless suffering through the pursuit of goals which can never be satisfied. This pursuit ultimately results in a meaningless death.
It would be better not to live at all, Schopenhauer stated, but since we are alive (because of the ceaseless desire of the blind will to perpetuate the species) then we at least have a moral obligation not to increase suffering. We must be patient and tolerant, and show charity toward other fellowsuffering beings. A moving attitude, but one rather incon-sistent with the actions of a man who delighted in skewering his opponents in print, who quarreled so viciously with his own mother that she cut off all contact with him, and who was charged with pushing his landlady down a flight of stairs. Still, as Schopenhauer himself pointed out, one should judge a theory on its own merits, not by the flaws of its practitioners.
Nietzsche, while initially referring to Schopenhauer as “the only serious moralist”, felt the need to draw away from his doctrine of compassion, which he came to consider to be an unacceptable form of asceticism. He agreed that there is a will to life underlying all existence (which he preferred to call “the will to power”) but, unlike Schopenhauer, he did not flinch from it. Nietzsche came to see compassion as a weakness, not a virtue to be cultivated.
For Nietzsche, it was pity which needed to be overcome. To show pity for others is to treat them with contempt. Better to encourage them to face up to their difficulties and struggle against them as best they can. In Nietzsche’s view, Christianity in particular was a religion of pity, basing itself upon the image of a bleeding and suffering deity. He contrasted this with the pagan religions of ancient Greece and Rome, with their heroic gods who took pleasure in engaging in warfares and love affairs.
It is by no means clear that what Nietzsche denounced as pity was the same thing which Schopenhauer called compassion, and attempts have been made to reconcile their points-of-view. But looking at Nietzsche’s own development as a philosopher, it was necessary for him to break away from what he took to be Schopenhauer’s unhealthy denial of life, as well as his pessimistic resignation that suffering was an evil. For Nietzsche (whose ill-health, lack of public recognition and poverty surely caused him more personal grief than that experienced by the robust, famous and well-to-do Schopenhauer), suffering was an inevitable outcome of the struggle for achievement.
Still, for all his fierce criticisms of Schopenhauer (a style which Schopenhauer would certainly have appreciated, since he too was a noted user of the art of ad hominem attacks), Nietzsche continued to refer to him as his “great teacher”. He always gave credit to this clear-eyed atheist for helping him to break away from theology, and for showing him that there were other paths one could follow in the search for knowledge. In an oblique way, Nietzsche pays homage to this cantankerous curmudgeon in his own masterpiece, Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-1885). The sage Zarathustra encourages his followers to leave his sanctuary and venture out on their own, and even to question what he himself has told them. “One repays a teacher badly,” Zarathustra says, “if one always remains nothing but a student.” Nietzsche honored his great teacher Schopenhauer by challenging his views, and thereby creating his own unique philosophy.
2015-09-30 @ 16:24:26
martijn, really glad you appreciated the piece so much. :)) i didn’t mean to suggest that language isn’t as magical as all of nature or as holy as the warmth of the sun! i agree with that. however, i’m not convinced that language isn’t metaphorical still. can’t language be a “gesture” and “natural” and still be a system of representation? the main thing i meant to express was that words are signifiers that imperfectly point to something signified, and that some are more potent pointers than others. that is my current view. i don’t think you’ve given me enough of a refutation for me to see why i ought not think that way about it.
2015-09-29 @ 14:19:47
i hear what you’re saying. i suspect that thoreau — and perhaps kierkegaard — also experienced a higher level of awareness
2015-09-29 @ 13:48:56
well put, david. as a 24-year-old, that’s really inspiring to hear. one thing i fear is to lose my ability to see the beauty and sublimity all around me. cheers.
2015-09-29 @ 13:48:14
thanks for reading, ryan. really appreciate it. not sure about “spiritual scientism.” “scientism” refers to the dogmatic position that science is the most valuable and authoritative source of knowledge today:
2015-09-29 @ 13:46:58
you’re very welcome, ken. i really appreciated your rich comment. thank you for sharing you story with all of us. i agree that science has become dogmatic to the point of bearing many similarities to organized religions. peace to you, my friend.
2015-09-29 @ 12:51:24
glad you thought so too :)
2015-09-29 @ 12:51:14
2015-09-29 @ 12:50:57
the advice is from bill watterson — i.e. the words. sorry if that wasn’t clear.
2015-09-29 @ 12:50:04
great response, alok. thank you for that.
2015-09-28 @ 12:50:57
thanks so much, Tone Tone. that’s one of the kindest compliments i’ve ever received. great to hear from a kindred soul :)
2015-09-28 @ 12:48:18
thanks much :)
2015-09-24 @ 12:39:07
2015-09-24 @ 12:39:00
glad you thought so, beverly. thanks :)
2015-09-24 @ 12:38:46
well put, alok. i totally agree.
2015-09-23 @ 18:19:02
you’re welcome :)
2015-09-23 @ 18:18:40
you’re welcome, my man
2015-09-22 @ 16:12:41
very, very cool. i truly hope my other suggestions prove to be just as meaningful to you. <3
2015-09-22 @ 14:59:53
you know it dude. and hell yeah, biggie smalls for mayor ;)
2015-09-18 @ 20:50:36
i appreciate that balanced perspective on it, mikey. thanks for sharing your view.
2015-09-15 @ 16:11:55
2015-09-15 @ 16:08:50
2015-09-15 @ 16:08:34
really well said. thank you for the rich comment. though i think each of these philosophers were visionaries in their own way, i too adore nietzsche the most out of these and feel that there is boundless value in his work that most people misunderstand/misinterpret.
2015-09-14 @ 13:49:49
2015-09-10 @ 18:31:43
2015-09-10 @ 18:16:49
glad you thought so too, dhyan. no problem
2015-09-03 @ 13:23:31
you’re welcome. :) it’s definitely a lot to process. the hope is that people bookmark the page and come back to it to absorb the full meaning of all of these over time.
2015-08-26 @ 15:21:17
man, fantastic comment. i totally agree
2015-08-21 @ 18:33:56
good catch, friend. thank you.
2015-08-21 @ 18:33:21
es la verdad, amiga. necesitamos apreciar lo que nosotros tenemos. <3
2015-08-21 @ 18:32:05
mine too. he’s one of my favorite people of all time. you’re very welcome. thank you and take care. :)
2015-08-21 @ 18:31:38
you are so welcome, friend. thank you for making it a conversation. take care.
2015-08-21 @ 18:31:13
you’re very welcome, nina. amor fati, indeed. :)
2015-08-21 @ 18:29:48
this article is more about efficiency and finding more time than about doing more. it’s about doing only the essential things.
2015-08-20 @ 14:44:17
2015-08-11 @ 13:03:38
thanks for the long, rich comment, sir. i appreciated it.
2015-08-05 @ 16:03:17
2015-07-30 @ 02:03:09
agreed, man. experiential education is so essential. so glad you appreciated the article. :)
2015-07-27 @ 02:52:40
so glad you liked it, alok. i adore thoreau also. he’s among my favorites. i don’t think i could pick a single favorite!
2015-07-27 @ 02:48:19
i appreciated your explanation/insights. thanks, MayaluvsKaya
2015-07-27 @ 02:23:50
well put, garrett. excellent distinction.
2015-07-27 @ 01:43:03
you’re welcome, nosearmy, so glad you appreciated it. i was also a philosophy minor actually, and i absolutely agree that — especially in my university — the way it’s taught makes it seem terribly abstruse and somehow separate from the concerns of the real world, when, in fact, philosophy underlies everything about our modern societies and can have profound transformative effects on one’s day-to-day lived experience by transforming one’s inner world and outlook. i think i’ll be sharing another 5 in this format next week. cheers. :)
2015-07-23 @ 13:03:39
thanks for contributing that viewpoint, alok :)
2015-07-22 @ 14:34:54
wow, thank you very much, firetramp. FYI, i didn’t draw the comic! not sure if you thought that i did… i did write all those words after it though. i’m really flattered. thank you and take care.
2015-07-22 @ 14:34:27
thanks, tony. you da man. thanks for reading. :)
2015-07-21 @ 17:03:12
laughing at the comic or me, jon?! :)
2015-07-18 @ 12:00:50
great to hear that, stephaniedlc. i’d recommend reading about mindfulness and meditation as well. there are some great articles on those topics on High Existence. talking to a therapist can also be invaluable and has helped me tremendously in the past. best of luck learning to manage your anxiety. it can be done. don’t lose hope.
2015-07-15 @ 15:27:09
what a gorgeous synchronicity, Ayanna. makes me ponder the possibilities of levels of interconnection far beyond what we are able to perceive from our limited vantage point. very interesting, indeed. thanks so much for sharing. :)
2015-07-13 @ 13:24:56
if people are further interested in this topic, here are a few more great links:
The Ethics of Pornography — http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=5055
Can Porn Empower Women? — http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/02/pornography-might-suit-some-women-but-not-all-women
Is there such a thing as spiritual porn? — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jincey-lumpkin/is-there-such-a-thing-as-spiritual-porn_b_2490238.html
Do women really hate porn? — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jincey-lumpkin/carlin-ross_b_1278032.html
Principled Pornography — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kitty-stryker/principled-pornography-ho_b_1435614.html
2015-07-13 @ 12:36:08
thanks for the tip, MikeD84
2015-07-13 @ 02:49:50
;) thanks for sharing your reaction! :D
2015-07-13 @ 02:48:58
thanks ryan :)
2015-07-10 @ 18:14:05
great to hear, melanie. :)
2015-07-10 @ 15:34:27
glad you dug it, matt ^_^
2015-07-10 @ 13:42:47
unfortunately i don’t know, sarah. a quick google search didn’t yield results as expected. :/
2015-07-10 @ 13:41:26
thanks, Kris. :)
2015-07-09 @ 19:15:20
we’ll see. ;)
2015-07-09 @ 12:28:12
i’ve been there, Antares. start practicing being still and focusing on your breath, even when you’re not in that place. that will make it easier to remember what to do when you’re attacked by such thoughts. best wishes.
2015-07-08 @ 12:50:17
2015-07-08 @ 12:48:57
glad you appreciated it, james.
2015-07-07 @ 17:59:50
this isn’t a passing comment in the Tao Te Ching. it’s a central concept in Taoism — the principle of Wu Wei, which literally means “non-action” or “non-doing.”
2015-07-07 @ 17:58:45
cool, thanks. ^_^
2015-07-07 @ 15:31:55
any good links to this ‘crazy research on irrationality’, jon? i’m curious.
2015-07-07 @ 15:31:29
glad you dug, PUGAME. :)
2015-07-07 @ 15:30:11
great to hear, John. :)
2015-07-07 @ 15:28:55
thanks so much, peaceworks. really flattered by the compliment and grateful to be able to provide you with so much meaning. i may have to reflect more on that paragraph and write a whole blog post detailing a theory of the role of artists, writers, and intellectuals.
2015-07-07 @ 15:27:17
:) glad i could share it with you. a huge thanks for my friend Chris who first shared it with me!
2015-07-07 @ 15:26:20
my pleasure. thank you for all you’ve taught me so far and all that you will teach me in the future!
2015-07-07 @ 15:25:50
2015-07-07 @ 15:25:25
2015-07-07 @ 15:24:43
thanks for expressing yourself, Peter. i think that in some sense the self is illusory and that my deeper identity is the entirety of existence itself. i also think that in another sense the self and my personal narrative are entirely real and deeply significant. i think one can hold both perspectives at once.
2015-07-07 @ 15:23:04
2015-07-07 @ 15:22:38
yeah i do. Geoff wrote:
“If you strive, God will favour you. If you sit on your arse and do nothing, God will not favour you. The more you strive, the more you are favoured, the less you strive, the less you are favoured.”
i disagree with this. it implies that you’re best off to just constantly be doing something and trying really hard. in life we need much time for non-activity and rest. and even in our activity, instead of striving and exerting immense effort, i think if we just relax and lose ourselves in the activity, things are completed just as well or better.
2015-07-07 @ 15:20:03
yeah, there’s a lot of shit coming in our lifetimes. if nothing else, it will be really interesting to watch it all unfold.
2015-07-07 @ 15:16:29
you’re welcome. :)
2015-07-07 @ 15:11:25
thank you so much, Matt, for the compliments and for the rich comment. :)
2015-07-07 @ 15:09:55
wow, i’m humbled. such a beautiful comment. thank you, Terry.
2015-07-01 @ 12:41:35
thanks for the honesty, martijn. i think there’s a balance we can work toward. the paradox of the internet is that one must, to some extent, cater to the norms of listicles, meme culture, accessibility, etc if one wishes to have a wide reach. but there are ways to do all of those things and still retain authenticity and depth, i think. something to work toward. ^_^
2015-06-30 @ 17:33:13
pretty awesome to hear that this was the post that pushed you over the edge, thoughtofVG. i agree that there’s a raw HONESTY here that is rare and vulnerable and, yes, haunting.
2015-06-30 @ 16:37:32
i thought so too, tony. ^^
2015-06-30 @ 15:21:10
i think you might be mistaking correct British spellings for errors.
2015-06-30 @ 15:20:20
as a counterpoint to your comments about the necessity of striving, Geoff, consider the words of the Tao Te Ching, the book you said you’ve read 20 times:
“A truly good man does nothing,
Yet nothing is left undone.”
2015-06-30 @ 13:04:31
no, i totally got what you meant later after replying. thanks for clarifying. all the best. :)
2015-06-30 @ 04:07:32
Elesdia, i totally forgot to reply to this. it’s late right now, so i’ll try to get back to you tomorrow or sometime soon. what made me think of this discussion was reading this critique of utilitarianism by one of my favorite bloggers (someone who leaned strongly toward utilitarianism for a while and may still, not sure):
thought you might appreciate it.
2015-06-30 @ 03:25:57
glad you found the article to be helpful or nourishing in some way, van nguyen. on one hand, we are an absolutely minuscule blip on the radar, and on the other, we are active players in a vastly complex system in which the things we do affect those around us. a wild paradox with which to come to terms. i find that for me what’s best is to take nothing too seriously, “do my thing,” “go with the flow,” and “enjoy the ride,” all the while trying to learn/educate myself about the world in order to understand how i might serve a greater “good” in my lifetime by letting my natural talents express themselves in helpful ways.
that’s working out all right so far. sometimes letting go and trying not to think/care too much about the future is precisely that which brings clarity. things have a way of arising by themselves if you give them space. good luck. :)
2015-06-30 @ 03:19:56
thanks for another great comment, TPK. interestingly, i wasn’t tripping in Yosemite. i did indulge a fair share of cannabis, but when we initially arrived in the park, i was sober, yet nonetheless totally swept away by the territory. i think i’ve dabbled in “soul-revealing” substances enough times now that i am almost perpetually in touch with the odd, mysterious, and/or ineffable aspects of reality. or i’m able to access that way of perceiving things. and some places tend to evoke those feelings/perceptions. Yosemite was one of those places. it was so magnificent.
really well put to say that writing about “religious experience” is a “moving target.” i suppose it is, unavoidably. i guess i have a tendency to want to be able to communicate what i felt to anyone approaching my writing with an open mind, and these concepts are so slippery, that i always feel i’ve fallen short of the task when trying to write about such things. but it’s really reassuring to know that others do see in my words the reflection of something they’ve also experienced. and perhaps a couple who have not had similar experiences have become curious about various modes of seeking/seeing/etc. that they might not have found otherwise or so soon. who knows.
anyway, thanks again. really. :3
2015-06-29 @ 15:53:09
gotcha. yeah, a reminder doesn’t hurt. :D
2015-06-29 @ 15:40:37
thanks for this wonderful, valuable comment, Van Nguyen. i like so much of what you said. it sounds like we’re very much on the same page regarding these issues.
i’ve definitely gone through periods of crisis feeling like i wasn’t doing enough to “save humanity,” and i wrote something once about those feelings that might help you work through your own feelings:
i think realizing the desire to help others and relieve pain is one of the ultimate purposes of ‘spiritual’ seeking/discovery. when one gets in touch with true compassion, it becomes clear that we’re really all here to serve and help one another however we can. we’re all “walking each other home,” as Ram Dass says. wanting to help others is great, but i would try not to get too caught up in wondering whether what you’re doing is making an enormous difference. just try to help and sacrifice for others in your day-to-day life, and your actions will have a ripple effect that will affect more than you know. none of us alone can “save the world.” we can only change ourselves and hope to contribute to pushing humanity toward a more compassionate place. it sounds like you’re on the right track.
if you do happen to want to think very rationally about how you can accomplish the ‘most good’ in your lifetime, you might be interested in this blog/organization: https://80000hours.org/. their approach is really intriguing, though i personally don’t align myself with their ideas about how to determine one’s career, at least not for the most part.
2015-06-29 @ 15:33:13
thanks, Ryan. i think we are on the exact same wavelength on this, and it warms my inner-stuff to know others are out there feeling the same way. :)
hope you have a holy time in Yosemite.
2015-06-29 @ 15:31:08
thanks for the wonderful praise, TPK. i’m flattered, really. i’m glad you noted and appreciated all those aspects. :)
and i loved this:
“The real spiritual joy comes, however, when it dawns on the mind that not only are there thousands upon thousands of beautiful inspirational vistas on our humble little world, but that the universe holds untold numbers of such places on untold numbers of other spheres; evolutionary like ours, and architectural, like those of which Jesus referred to when he said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.””
i guess what i was unsure about was whether or not i had been kind of sloppy with my argument. that is, i wasn’t sure if i was just kind of trying to give words new meanings and ignore their definitions, despite the fact that agreed-upon definitions are obviously important and how we make sense of language. pretty sure that i made it clear that i just wanted to use those words because they feel like the most powerful/potent linguistic signs in my repertoire for describing certain feelings/experiences i’ve had. i just wanted to be sure i wasn’t being intellectually lazy in trying to carve out a space for the secular “sacred,” “divine,” “heavenly,” etc. i guess i’m still not totally sure. i think language totally fails to describe these experiences anyway, so it’s really an issue of coming up against the boundaries of what language can do and trying to push language as far as possible. maybe there’s a better way of saying what i tried to say without invoking words traditionally associated with religion/belief in something supernatural. would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on this.
2015-06-29 @ 15:23:57
good to hear that this was just what you needed, dustin. probably a wise choice not to enter such a relationship if you had a strong intuitive feeling that it wasn’t going to work. i don’t think i or anyone else can explain rationally what love is or define what it can and can’t be/do. that’s for each person to feel out on his own. :)
2015-06-29 @ 15:23:04
good point — she may be placing blame inappropriately here.
2015-06-29 @ 15:22:29
well said, apricelessgoat. i think i might be the exact same, though i’ve never dabbled in polyamory so can’t say for sure.
2015-06-29 @ 15:21:32
while i appreciate the beautiful sentiment, suanne, i’m not prepared to assume that someone in an open or polyamorous relationship doesn’t love their partner[s] as much as i love my girlfriend. i have no way of knowing. love is a mysterious thing, and i think we should be open to the idea that unorthodox relationships can work well and be an expression of true love.
2015-06-29 @ 15:17:28
And don’t forget to BREATHE deeply and follow your breath. :)
2015-06-29 @ 13:02:57
we thank whatever unknown forces entail that there should be something rather than nothing.
2015-06-29 @ 12:58:38
hah, what? :P
2015-06-26 @ 18:40:32
thanks, man. much appreciated. very cool to hear you’ve been having similar experiences.
if i may: why is it unsurprising that this was the first HE article you’ve read in a month, hah? are you saying you don’t read HE all that much anymore?
2015-06-26 @ 13:15:01
dude, thanks so much. :D i was a little unsure about this essay for different reasons. great to hear that you appreciated it.
2015-06-26 @ 12:36:36
why’s that, bryan?
2015-06-26 @ 12:36:18
hahah, elaborate, xadious? i’m curious.
2015-06-25 @ 12:38:27
thanks, dude. :)
2015-06-25 @ 12:37:06
one man’s gibberish is another man’s divinity. :)
2015-06-25 @ 12:35:56
yeah, my response to such people is to ask them to define “divine.” it’s not as if “divine” has some fixed meaning or a set of features for which one can test to “prove” divinity. divinity, from my view, is an experience—a deep experience of the profound mystery of existence that involves tremendous awe and reverence for the vast unfurling of being. typically such an experience results in a change in attitude in whomever undergoes it.
in other words, nature is so incomprehensibly intricate, sublime, and wondrous that it seems merely a matter of human language games/semantics to argue over whether “divine” is an appropriate term. the world is self-evidently divine to those who truly glimpse beyond the veil of cultural conditioning and our limited human understanding.
2015-06-24 @ 15:10:39
well put. i can feel your frustration at my always piping up about how we can’t know the objective/absolute truth of existence. i guess it’s just always at the forefront of my mind when people talk about science because i don’t think the majority of people who think about science think of it as the creation of ever-more-accurate models of physical/observable reality. most people think of it as a system that’s giving us plenty of objective truth.
i’m not anti-science. i just want people to acknowledge that it will never give us access to objective truth, absolute reality, the fundamental nature of things, etc. (choose your metaphor) any more than a shamanic rain dance will. in response to your statement that “[i] don’t even know absolute knowledge is a thing that can’t be attained,” you’re right. i don’t know if absolute knowledge exists. perhaps there isn’t even an objective reality or truth to know. perhaps it’s always relative and interpretive. that doesn’t weaken my point.
i absolutely agree with your last paragraph, for the most part. that would be a most inappropriate reaction to epilepsy. however, epileptic fits are one aspect of nature, and neither you or i can say if nature is “divine.” i tend to think that it is. though i also think this is just a semantic game and that “divine” is just a word. this is always so difficult to talk about. i need to get better at explaining myself.
2015-06-24 @ 13:20:11
“Most of us know about subliminal awareness—the type of awareness lurking below actual consciousness that powerfully influences behavior. Freud brought it into the mainstream of Western thought through exhaustively detailed revelations of its effects on behavior. But few, including Freud, have spoken of liminal consciousness, which is therefore rarely recognized in modern scholarship as a separate type of awareness. Nonetheless, liminal awareness was the principal focus of mentality in the preconquest cultures contacted, whereas a supraliminal type that focuses logic on symbolic entities is the dominant form in postconquest societies.
From the Latin language underlying our Western heritage we can understand that liminal awareness, by definition, occurs on the threshold of consciousness. This concept, though abstract, provides a useful term. In the real life of these preconquest people, feeling and awareness are focused on at-the-moment, point-blank sensory experience—as if the nub of life lay within that complex flux of collective sentient immediacy. Into that flux individuals thrust their inner thoughts and aspirations for all to see, appreciate, and relate to. This unabashed open honesty is the foundation on
which their highly honed integrative empathy and rapport become possible. When that openness gives way, empathy and rapport shrivel. Where deceit becomes a common practice, they disintegrate.
Where consciousness is focused within a flux of ongoing sentient awareness, experience cannot be clearly subdivided into separable components. With no clear elements to which logic can be applied, experience remains immune to syntax and formal logic within a kaleidoscopic sanctuary of non-discreteness. Nonetheless, preconquest life was reckoned sensibly—though seemingly intuitively.”
2015-06-24 @ 13:18:00
well, on one level, our understanding is always tied to human language and concepts, so our understanding can only ever be a human-centric understanding. we are not capable of an understanding that is not a human understanding. absolute knowledge is not available to us.
to tackle it from another angle, i could say that identifying the biological/neurochemical mechanisms that lead to epilepsy is not the same as understanding epilepsy. in order to really understand it, you’d have to go deeper, to the atomic then subatomic level. you’d have to understand the fundamental nature of reality in order to ever truly understand anything at all. thus Carl Sagan’s statement that “in order to bake an apple pie, you must first invent the universe.” ask any quantum physicist — we don’t understand quantum mechanics, let alone all of the other paradoxes and mysteries of existence that we have yet to even identify.
2015-06-24 @ 12:48:45
on the deepest level, we don’t understand epilepsy or anything else.
2015-06-23 @ 02:33:45
thanks for this, jordan.
i do generally feel like one should “be they change they wish to see” (interestingly, this quote is often misattributed to gandhi). the thing is — i’m not sure i’d like to see all porn disappear. like i said, i think some people genuinely love performing and find it empowering. and i think porn/erotica in small doses can be healthy. and i think porn may serve as a space in which people with unethical sexual impulses can perhaps find some purge/catharsis/release that may prevent them from hurting others (i’m not certain on the research on this though, have just heard the theory and felt it made sense intuitively more than the opposite idea).
so, you’re right, i am conflicted. there are a lot of factors to consider. at the end of the day i believe in listening to what my being/life-world/soul is telling me and trying to be a compassionate person, and at this point, i haven’t been compelled to entirely give up porn. i’ll continue to think about the issue and may change my mind sometime.
2015-06-22 @ 17:56:21
also, great username. dig the C&P reference.
2015-06-22 @ 17:55:42
everything changes the chemistry in your brain.
i’m aware of /r/nofap and have seen the arguments against porn. i’ve disengaged from viewing for 1 month+ in the past and haven’t really felt a significant difference in how i feel or how much i appreciate life.
2015-06-22 @ 17:30:25
interesting post, though not quite my style, i guess. think i’m a bit more of a hedonist at this point in my life (though certainly not a pure hedonist).
i guess i feel like porn usage might share features with addiction (just as most of our whimsical behavior does) but that it can totally be moderated. i would say i watch porn like 2-3 times per week for 10 minutes. that’s not a big deal, IMO.
i actually find the moral considerations to be more compelling. in the past i gave up porn for a bit, feeling like i didn’t want to support an industry that doubtlessly results in the abuse of so many women and probably men too. i won’t go to strip clubs for that reason.
i never quite resolved that issue with porn. i guess i justify it to myself by thinking that the majority of porn out there was made voluntarily, that a lot of people in porn enjoy the work and especially the freedom it provides, and also that if a video is already existing on the internet, then it doesn’t really matter whether i watch it or not. my watching it and adding one view to the hundreds of thousands it already has isn’t affecting shit. i do try to recognize the humanity of the actors involved and try not to allow objectification to become my default mode of perceiving women/people in general.
2015-06-21 @ 05:02:43
you are so very welcome 8-)
2015-06-20 @ 06:40:36
2015-06-19 @ 18:13:56
great quote from ol’ Bill. one thing to keep in mind, though, is that although race may be an imaginary social construct, it is nonetheless an imaginary social construct that causes immense amounts of death, harassment, suffering, etc.
it’s great to keep in mind that beneath all of our surface differences, we are cut from the same cloth, but that should not become a reason to stop caring about social issues surrounding race, gender, sexuality, etc. those issues are still very real, very complex, and require our utmost care to begin to remedy.
2015-06-19 @ 13:59:39
peeps, if you have a desire to get more into rap, i made this list of 42 albums that i humbly suggest are some of the best in the history of the genre:
2015-06-19 @ 12:49:34
good to hear, dude ^^
2015-06-18 @ 18:02:32
well put, LOSTBOYEVSKY.
2015-06-18 @ 18:02:07
2015-06-18 @ 15:41:16
lawl, me as well
2015-06-17 @ 13:18:11
Thank you for such a valuable and in-depth comment. I really appreciate how well you’ve articulated your defense of utilitarianism.
I think everything you’ve said is reasonable and compelling. Nonetheless, I maintain my position — that utilitarianism should be used as one lens for thinking about ethical questions, not as an absolute.
With regard to my “anti-human” statement: I didn’t mean to say that saving 4 lives was anti-human, but rather, that the very decision to apply a cool, rational calculus to a life-or-death situation involving one’s mother seems contrary to our most basic impulses as feeling, loving beings. I maintain that if I were to entirely ignore or repress my personal love for my mother in that situation, I would be acting inauthentically. I would be acting contrary to my very “soul,” my most innate bonds. In that situation, I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as you would like it to be. When you reduce it to mere numbers, +4 lives of course seems obviously preferable to -4. But such a calculus ignores the *actual experience* of that situation and the complex entanglement of feelings, experiences, memories, etc. that comprise a human being. I am not prepared to say that one of those decisions is “more moral” than the other because I don’t locate the source of morality in the consequence of a decision. I suppose I align more closely with the virtue ethicists and would feel that one’s decision to save one’s mother could not be said to suggest any sort of lack in one’s character/moral fiber. But, again, I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” course of action in that situation. In fact, I think reducing it to a “right” or “wrong” answer is kind of insulting to the *humans* whose lives hang in the balance. I am not prepared to say that 5 lives are necessarily more valuable than 1 life because I see all life as invaluable. As Nietzsche wrote: “What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.”
And, again, in the case of the corporate banker living in a cardboard box: I don’t think it’s as simple as saying, “Well, he’s a hero for saving 1000 lives when he would only have saved 100 if he had lived in accordance with his true personality and nature.” I know this isn’t precisely what you said but in effect it captures the same thing. I guess I think that, again, I think this situation is too complex to reduce to numbers. The man might be a hero in some sense, but I likewise consider a (wo)man to a be a hero if (s)he lives in accordance with her/his deepest values, organic nature, most basic intuition and understanding of life. If the corporate banker rejects those things and defies his deepest personality in the service of utilitarianism, I think there is cause for questioning his character. He may be a hero in some sense, but he has sacrificed his truest self to an ideology. He would have been a different kind of hero if he had been true to his “heart,” his basic him-stuff. And, even from a utilitarian standpoint, it’s impossible to measure the amount of good that is brought into the world by those who display an ineffable sort of authenticity, a wholeness in themselves, a “self-actualization,” in psych terms. Such people, to me, are as inspiring beacons, uplifting and motivating untold numbers of folks who encounter them. I certainly would not want to live in a world where all such people rejected their deepest selves in favor of seeing the world in purely utilitarian terms. I am not willing to say such a world would be “better.”
With regard to your statement that, “We know that an orgasm is more pleasurable then having horton’s headache and we know that sitting on a chair doing nothing falls somewhere in between.”: here you’re reducing what is good to what is pleasurable. I think this is far too simplistic. Meth users may experience greater pleasure than anyone else in the world, but most would agree that their behavior is not “good.” And countless thinkers, poets, sages, etc. — Rilke, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Dostoyevsky, etc. — have argued that pain and suffering are necessary catalysts for personal transformation, for higher sorts of realizations. A tree can only grow tall and mighty into the blissful sky only if it’s roots sink deep into the mud of despair — this is a common metaphor describing the idea. So, again, I think your impulse to reduce something as complex and slippery as “good” to something as basic as the Freudian pleasure principle overlooks a significant amount of complexity. I agree that saving lives and reducing suffering, from a human standpoint, seem like very good objectives, and I wish to help fulfill those objectives. But, I am not willing to claim that those objectives represent any sort of Absolute Good.
You sum up your last point as follows:
“Lastly, even if Hitler did make the world a better place by some miraculous coincidence I don’t think that it would undermine the point I just made. That would be analogous to a person who knows nothing about geology or the history of the earth and does not care about any of that but is asked to guess when the asteroid hit and by pure luck gets it right.”
Sure, but from a purely utilitarian standpoint, one would have to call Hitler a “good” person, would one not? Even if by pure coincidence he were to increase the greatest good for the greatest number, a utilitarian would have to admit that he was “good.” And I am not prepared to do this. It’s precisely the sort of absurd utilitarian conclusion for which I have expressed distaste. Allow me this tangential hypothetical: perhaps someday humans will colonize many galaxies and enslave, mass-murder, rape, and mutilate trillions of peaceful extraterrestrials. We have no reason to believe this will not be the case, given the way in which colonialism/imperialism went down on our own planet. This fathomless suffering could all be avoided if world leaders, right now, agreed to launch all of the planet’s nuclear warheads, destroy all life on Earth, and put an end to our timeline. In this situation, from a utilitarian standpoint, we would seemingly be forced to praise the human leaders as heroes for blasting all Earthly life into dust, thereby preventing untold suffering that we would inflict in the next several millennia. This scenario illustrates that we simply cannot know what will ultimately bring about the “greatest good for the greatest number,” even *if* there were some way to know what “good” even means. What might seem like a colossal act of evil could ultimately bring about wondrous consequences, and vice versa. This is not a non sequitur that has nothing to do with utilitarianism. It’s simply holding utilitarianism to its future-oriented approach to ethics. Why should the near future be given preference over the far-distant future? I hold that no human being has any way of knowing what course of action, if pursued right now, would bring about the “most good” 200 years from now, let alone 5,000. This is part of why I think utilitarianism is ultimately untenable.
I’ll leave you with this Zen story:
A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away.
His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”
The man just said, “We’ll see.”
A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses following. The man and his son corraled all 21 horses.
His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”
The man just said, “We’ll see.”
One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, breaking both his legs.
His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”
The man just said, “We’ll see.”
The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.
His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”
The man just said, “We’ll see.”
2015-06-17 @ 12:14:58
nice, can you link to the course?
2015-06-17 @ 12:14:08
that’s awesome to hear, martijn. you’ve gained a few points in my book now that i know you’re also a vonnegut lover. ;)
2015-06-15 @ 12:37:14
definitely, a lot of ideas here. so glad you also got through it and felt it was great and worthwhile. :)
2015-06-15 @ 12:36:03
true. it seems to be hammered into us from day one that those before us figured most everything out, though. that’s why i think so many people assume that we have real answers. we’re told that our parents, religions, governments, scientific institutions, educational institutions, etc. have the objective facts and all we need to do is learn them. it takes some serious de-conditioning to realize that this is a lie, and psychedelics can drastically expedite that process de-conditioning.
i wrote about this one time: http://www.highexistence.com/6-destructive-ideas-commonly-perpetuated-in-western-culture/comment-page-1/
2015-06-15 @ 12:34:28
wonderful, thank you, terence (and armoredberserk ^^)
2015-06-15 @ 12:33:47
i see your point, but i don’t think the author is trying to negate trans struggles or to say that they are less significant than women’s struggles. she’s just saying that there are two categories of experience here and that we should try to grasp the subtleties of each in order to empathize more fully instead of conflating the two and losing the nuances of each. or maybe that’s just my interpretation.
2015-06-15 @ 12:31:14
2015-06-15 @ 12:30:56
good to know, lola. would love it if more HEthens would take the quiz and post their results. i have a feeling a lot of us would align with Sanders. :)
2015-06-15 @ 12:29:25
thank you so much for bringing this huge point into the discussion. i think Pinker is referring specifically to human-against-human violence, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t consider violence against all sentient lifeforms to be equally horrendous and to be avoided. you might be interested in the book ‘Animal Liberation’ by Peter Singer.
i’m interested in the page you tried to link, but the link seems to be broken.
2015-06-12 @ 16:06:49
well put, TPK. interesting perspective.
2015-06-12 @ 06:11:25
92% Bernie Sanders for me. results:
2015-06-11 @ 12:53:13
great answer. :)
2015-06-11 @ 12:47:45
hey, thanks for leaking bitterness out of your pores! the Internet is now so much better thanks to your having told everyone The Truth about this article!
since you’re typing on a computer right now, i presume you have more or less the precise privileges i’ve had/have. you’re going to fault me for recognizing an opportunity and pursuing it? i did not take this opportunity for granted, but rather tried to learn as much as possible, share what I learned, and help others in the process.
and even though I am undoubtedly privileged to have been able to undertake this journey, I managed to save all of the money for these travels [and pay off a few thousand dollars in student loan debt] in just one year as an English teacher earning ~$25,000/year. frugality was key. any single Westerner could feasibly do what I did.
how rich are you? — https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/get-involved/how-rich-am-i?
go ahead, fill in the data, see where you stand. i said i’m in the top 4-5%, which is true for anyone earning ~$25,000 per year. presumably you are or could be earning that much.
if you want to stop baselessly shitting on people online for no reason and go do something like i did, check out things like WWOOF, HelpX, Workaway, Dave’s ESL Cafe, etc.
2015-06-11 @ 12:28:49
do you like this model of thinking about things, jon? “emit your own frequency”? i think i like the gist of it but that language kind of makes me gag a little bit. ;)
2015-06-10 @ 15:09:13
for people who want to get brought up to speed on where we’re at with AI and where we might be going (and you *should* because this concerns all life on Earth [not being hyperbolic]), i highly, highly recommend this beautifully accessible two-part essay on Wait But Why. it’s the best thing i’ve found on the topic:
The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence: http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html
The AI Revolution: Our Immortality or Extinction: http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-2.html
also, if you want to read something more heady/higher-level that also discusses AI at length, this is one of the best things i’ve ever read on the Internet:
Meditations on Moloch: http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/
2015-06-10 @ 15:04:59
Confucius, you wise motherfucker. ^^
2015-06-10 @ 15:02:57
Ah, right on. I just downloaded ‘Sacred Economics’ by Eisenstein, been meaning to engage his work for a while. I wonder if he’ll discuss some of those same ideas in ‘Sacred Economics.’ You make some more great point, really lucid insight, thank you. I think it’s wise to point out the violence being done to the natural environment, the species we’re brutalizing and wiping out, not to mention the perpetual genocide of the billions of animals we kill every year for food.
Maybe I am a foolish idealist, but I’d nonetheless assert that the very fact that we’re aware of these things and having this conversation from a conscientious perspective that considers all sentient beings is indicative of potential for hope. It might be, as you say, a small minority of the global population that is thinking about these things and working toward a more equitable, humane, sustainable world, but I think it is nonetheless a much larger percentage than ever before. Everyday folks who aren’t particularly intellectual or educated are opening up to ideas of all sentient beings being equal in suffering, the destruction of the natural environment being an egregious misstep, etc. That’s pretty astonishing, considering that thinking beyond one’s immediate environment/tribe/experience was, for most of human history, pretty unheard of (though one could certainly argue that many indigenous peoples possessed a consciousness/reverence of the whole Earth).
So I do have hope, and I think the Internet is a tool that can help to “boost consciousness,” as HE’s tagline says — to spread kernels of perspective, wisdom, compassion, and serious thinking among the masses of the world. This conversation gives me hope. I’m still definitely concerned that circumstances are such that things are likely to remain unfavorable or get worse (if you want to read the best thing ever on the idea that arbitrary circumstances end up dictating the direction of society, read this: http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/). I’m also concerned that just because more people can be pushed to reflect on things nowadays, that doesn’t mean more people are really reflecting rationally and from a place of kindness/compassion. there are many rabbit holes of thought that lead people to absurd, almost anti-human conclusions.
So it’s a wildly complex stage on which we’re all operating nowadays. If nothing else, I’m interested to see where it all goes in my lifetime, and to try to do my part to push things in a direction that future generations will appreciate.
2015-06-10 @ 14:26:28
if anyone is interested in reading more discussion on this piece, some really fascinating conversations arose when i posted it on Facebook. you can read the discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/jordanbates4/posts/10152846557590824?pnref=story
2015-06-10 @ 03:49:32
i already recommended that book to him in my long-ass comment. ^^
2015-06-09 @ 18:36:09
great comment, Albyn. really reminds me of the perspective of Alan Watts.
my take on it is very similar. i think that in the deepest sense, our individual identities are illusory constructs, a kind of game of selfhood that we’re playing that is nonetheless totally real from a subjective point of view and can be profoundly meaningful. on the deepest level though, i think we are all the same thing — the basic stuff of existence, the ocean of reality, choose your metaphor.
2015-06-09 @ 18:26:11
but i can call myself a “woman” all i like and will still never know what it is like to grow up in a woman’s body. i think that’s one of the main points the author is making.
2015-06-09 @ 14:05:40
you’re right — i shouldn’t have said it “doesn’t hold a candle.” i wrote that comment in a bit of a rush. i think you’re making a profound point, one which i don’t think Pinker really considers at all in this talk or in his book on the subject, “The Better Angels of Our Nature.” i can still heartily recommend that book though, even after reading just 30 pages or so. some really valuable perspectives on trends in physical violence that one can choose to see through the lens of domestication/manipulation systems gaining sophistication. what you’re saying kind of reminds me of Michelle Foucault’s book “Discipline and Control.” the methods of control have become much more subtle.
there are more optimistic readings of the present situation out there too, though. some might argue that a large portion of the world is living in a post-scarcity situation, where they don’t have too worry about their basic needs being met, and that this has allowed for more education, contemplation, and concern for such things as human and animal rights, and that this (among other factors) has encouraged us to reclaim a Partnership style of culture. After millennia of Dominator-style culture, various factors may be combining to spark a kind of renaissance of partnership values, in which people see each other as equals and traditional hierarchies break down. I think the end of slavery, the human/animal rights movements of the 20th century, the Occupy movement, and the environmental movement are all strong indications that such a shift may be taking place. Riane Eisler’s book “The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future” introduces this idea of Partnership vs. Dominator culture and dispenses a really compelling narrative of a Dominator paradigm being undermined by Partnership ideas and initiatives arising for various reasons.
that doesn’t mean everything is rosy, or that our present society doesn’t look kind of like a Huxleyan dystopia. but i think it’s unjustified to assume that if these mechanisms weren’t in place, people would be more physically violent (not saying that’s what you’re assuming). Thus the decline in physical violence still stands alone as something of a triumph (or a happy alignment of circumstances) that we can celebrate. But we should nonetheless remain vigilant of the cultural/media simulacra and its pacifying/manipulating/psychologically terrorizing potential. we certainly aren’t living in a utopia, nor should we ever expect to be.
didn’t mean to bombard you with book titles, but they all seemed to come up naturally. if you’re interested, here are links to more info about each of those books:
2015-06-09 @ 12:59:56
good to hear, whitewolf :)
2015-06-09 @ 12:59:32
you’re welcome, glad you enjoyed ^^
2015-06-09 @ 12:59:09
well put :)
2015-06-08 @ 19:08:21
That’s a really interesting idea, Mikey — that physical violence has decreased while psychological violence is “more rampant than ever.” Still, I would argue that the “psychological violence” to which you refer doesn’t really hold a candle to the psychological violence of knowing that people are frequently getting beheaded, stabbed, raped, shanked, etc. outside your door, as many people knew in various human societies of yesteryear (and some today).
I agree that consumerism, the media circus, the constant stimulation/distraction, the constant ego encouragement, etc. etc. of our modern world constitute an intricate pacification mechanism that wreaks psychological havoc on a certain number of people. But nonetheless, plenty of people manage to mostly liberate themselves from these traps, and those people can then pretty much express themselves in life in whatever way seems suitable to them, without *really* having to worry too much about anyone killing them.
Personally, I’d take our situation over that of many, many others in human history. This is an extremely complex topic/question, though, and I don’t mean for this to be the last word at all. I also don’t think Pinker is saying we’ve transcended violence, just that we’re experiencing a downward trend.
2015-06-08 @ 18:54:13
there’s a great article by paul graham on good and bad procrastination that might interest people: http://www.paulgraham.com/procrastination.html
2015-06-08 @ 02:55:11
really fascinating reflections on aesthetics and morality. thanks for sharing, friend
2015-06-06 @ 19:36:45
you’re very welcome! thanks for the awesome recommendations. i’ll have to check those out. :))
2015-06-05 @ 13:14:11
thanks for the tip, jose. that sounds great. i’ll have to check it out. been wanting to read Suzuki for some time.
2015-06-04 @ 19:48:18
please do, and let me know what you think, jon. alan is one of my favorite humans ever.
2015-06-02 @ 12:41:47
yeah . . . i’d say you’re taking a rather cynical perspective on one of the most humbly enlightened anti-heroes of cinematic history
2015-06-02 @ 12:39:21
loved it. found it myself via jason silva and tried to share on here but you’d beaten me to the punch. :)
2015-06-01 @ 14:56:40
thank you for that. :3 and thanks for the compliment. cheers!
2015-06-01 @ 14:56:19
you’re quite welcome. :3
2015-06-01 @ 14:56:04
thank you, glad i could give you the words :3
2015-06-01 @ 14:52:08
i thought so too :3
2015-05-28 @ 14:40:05
thanks so much, stacia. ^^ email me if you’re ever in the Bay and want to grab a coffee or something! ([email protected])
2015-05-26 @ 12:55:44
thanks for commenting, julia. glad you could relate and felt i did justice to the complex truth of traveling abroad. best of luck to you.
2015-05-26 @ 01:27:12
if things feel dissonant, maybe that move is the natural move, paul. it’s seems absolutely true that while living in one’s home country one will always feel the pull to live according to the dominant cultural operating system. and unfortunately, in the western world, money-worship and other arguably dysfunctional/destructive cultural norms pervade (along with a lot of [arguably] pretty awesome stuff). leaving one’s home can definitely be liberating in terms of mostly removing that pressure to conform to one’s native culture.
only you can decide — hopefully via that ideal combination of head and heart — where the winds of time seem to be moving you.
humbled and so grateful my words could become something refreshing, calming, and hope-conjuring for you. truly, thank you. i really wish you the best in figuring things out. let me know if i can help somehow. peace, man.
p.s. if you’re looking for means to travel abroad/earn a living, i wrote a post about that once (http://www.refinethemind.com/earn-a-living-while-traveling-abroad/). HelpX and Workaway are good things to check out too. cheers
2015-05-26 @ 01:15:04
thanks for the beautiful comment, emma. flattered by the compliment and grateful. i’ll keep trying to be as honest as possible to and to give as much perspective as i can. please take care, much love
2015-05-26 @ 01:09:51
your comment makes me smile, tone tone. much appreciated and grateful to have been able to offer something substantive
2015-05-22 @ 15:53:16
thank you very much for the rich comment, gabriel. i wish you all the best in finding peace with your particular darknesses. everyone deals with some kind of suffering. try to let it make you more loving, forgiving, and capable of letting go.
2015-05-22 @ 15:50:56
great to hear your could relate. :) best of luck whenever you do come home. feel free to get in touch with me to discuss your experience of reverse culture shock. i’m really interested to hear other people’s experiences of that in particular.
2015-05-22 @ 15:49:51
thank you, mike.
“you could feel your presence as I was reading” — that’s one of the better compliments i’ve received on my writing.
2015-05-21 @ 18:44:18
thanks, pablo. glad you thought so :3
2015-05-17 @ 13:58:11
Found this to be a really interesting piece that taught me a lot about psychopathy and helped me to think about the unique demands of modern life.
2015-05-17 @ 13:46:57
i’ve been thinking more and more about memes (in the broadest sense) lately and about the impact that meme-virality has on which content/information reaches our attention on a daily basis.
when you really start to think about it, it’s kind of troubling that the most shared memes/content are not shared most because they are universally helpful/meaningful/enlightening/educational but because they more or less short-circuit human psychology, evoke a strong emotional response, and thus create in us a strong urge to pass them on. think chain emails, celebrity gossip, fail compilations, etc. this is why i often say “propagate all the ____ memes” and try to encourage people to spread the sort of content that might actually improve/nourish our inner/outer lives and societies.
anyway, it’s worth thinking more about how memes function, and this is probably the best/most entertaining explanation i’ve ever found, so you should totally watch this video.
p.s. the video refers to “thought-germs” instead of memes, but the two concepts are functionally identical.
2015-05-17 @ 13:44:14
Don’t have time to watch and reply at the moment but Pocketed it and will get back to you this week sometime, Jon.
2015-05-14 @ 14:40:43
Correction: there are still ~1 billion people living in extreme poverty.
2015-05-14 @ 14:21:32
As I alluded to in the description of this submission, we should remember that there are still ~600 million people living in extreme poverty, some deeply troubling environmental issues, and a whole lot of other systemic problems that should make us want to contribute to creating a more sustainable, equitable human enterprise.
However, there’s some great data here suggesting that the world has actually gotten significantly better in a number of areas in the past 200-300 years. This is cause for celebration/optimism.
I think making a point to absorb this data is especially important in a world in which we’re constantly bombarded with the darkest, grimmest news stories. Without getting too dystopian, suffice to say that the nature of the media is to be emotionally evocative and to thus focus on the darker, more violent, anger-and-fear-inducing side of global events. We do need to be aware of such things, but the media ends up skewing our perception of the world far in the direction of pessimism/negativity. Hopefully these charts can help to balance the scales.
P.S. If you want to read a really in-depth discussion of how the media works, I wrote one one time:
2015-05-14 @ 13:28:02
i’m with @xadious. this article is a buzz feed-esque listicle that reeks of having been created in pursuit of virality and nothing more.
2015-05-13 @ 19:06:53
2015-05-13 @ 15:47:06
Absolutely. I read some longer quotes from the interview and they seemed pretty definitively anti-asking-big-unanswerable-questions, which I just can’t get on board with. I think struggling with those questions is what ultimately brings one into the state of what Robert Anton Wilson called “generalized agnosticism” — agnosticism toward everything. And I think that it is from this place of generalized agnosticism that we can become more curious about exploring competing/varying perspectives and ultimately empathizing with/being kinder toward a broader segment of humanity, which is something I value highly. I still love Cosmos and respect deGrasse Tyson, but I think he’s missing the mark on this one.
2015-05-12 @ 23:00:53
From my perspective, Tyson is avoiding countenancing the true complexity of the world. I think much of what makes life so mind-boggling consists not in that which we can “know” via science, but in all of the things which we *cannot know absolutely*. And arguably, we can know nothing absolutely. For Tyson to gloss over these considerations in favor of a science-or-die attitude suggests to me not so much a real truth-seeker but a man who is too absorbed in a single approach to understanding the world that he has lost the ability to see value in other methods.
2015-02-23 @ 15:23:58
2015-02-22 @ 02:42:31
I think this essay is a fascinating explanation of our image-saturated culture.
2013-12-05 @ 02:40:18
Thank you, Eq. All the best to you. :)
2013-12-05 @ 02:39:59
You’re right–that is such a powerful statement. Thank you for reminding me of it. The ‘not taking anything personally’ bit can be so hard to implement, but it’s worth the effort. All the best to you. :)
2013-12-05 @ 02:38:52
Thanks, sian. Wonderful to hear that.
2013-12-05 @ 02:38:30
Joseph, well-said, and I’m glad to hear that Ruiz has impacted you for the better. His ideas are almost deceptively simple–so much so that they can seem cliche or empty. However, I do think there is a lot of value there if they’re taken seriously. Thanks for commenting. Regards.
2013-12-05 @ 02:37:20
Thanks, Edm! I love HE as well.
2013-12-05 @ 02:36:51
I’m sorry you feel this way about what’s written here. Although I too am opposed to crooked schemes for profit, I don’t believe Ruiz engaged in such behavior. I think he was genuine and wanted to help people. Of course he charged money for his books. He lived in a society based around money. He needed to earn a living, and printing books isn’t free. Regardless of cost (this article was free, after all), I don’t think sharing knowledge and perspective is ever a bad thing. All the best to you.
2013-12-05 @ 02:32:39
Thank you, breakonthrough! :D
2013-12-05 @ 02:32:05
Thanks for commenting, Christian. I haven’t read ‘The Fifth Agreement’. I appreciate the recommendation. Regards.
2013-12-05 @ 02:31:28
existentia, I think you’re right that Ruiz sets some pretty golden ideals that are nearly impossible for anyone to follow precisely. However, I think that just moving in the direction of these ‘agreements’ is impactful and worthwhile. Cheers.
2013-12-05 @ 02:29:24
Jon, glad you feel you’ll dig the book. It’s a real quick read. I blasted through it in just a couple hours. Cheers.
2013-07-28 @ 23:01:18
My pleasure. And I’m flattered to receive your thanks for being myself. That means a lot. I’ve also received your e-mail, and I will get around to replying within a couple days. Cheers, buddy.
2013-07-22 @ 20:00:21
That sounds amazing, John. I’d love to do that sometime and will write it down. Where did you go to do it?
2013-07-17 @ 22:02:40
Awesome, Will. Heaven knows I feel alone with my ideas sometimes too. Glad I could provide you with the re-realization that there are others like you. We’re here. Find us. Or find us on the Internet. :)
2013-07-17 @ 22:00:50
Very insightful comment, William. Thank you for it. I love the Buddhist quote.
2013-07-13 @ 13:15:53
I see what you’re saying. I think what I was getting at was precisely what you alluded to at the end of that comment — Nietzsche focuses on creating a new, sort of unshakable self, rather than realizing that the self doesn’t really exist. But like I said, I think the child-spirit, Nietzsche’s model Overman, reaches a point where it is so “with it”, per se, that self-consciousness evaporates.
2013-07-13 @ 13:12:43
Awesome, Madeline. Nietzsche’s ideas resonate with me as well, so that’s cool that we’re on the same wavelength. I’m a firm believe in the idea that we need contrasting emotions to appreciate the good!
2013-07-13 @ 13:08:47
You’re welcome, Michelle. Happy to hear you’re reading the source text! Nietzsche really is an incredible writer. I first read this in a class when I was in college, and one girl hilariously commented that Nietzsche might have also been the first troll. Imagine if he had the Internet. :)
2013-07-13 @ 13:07:12
The source text has its difficulties, but I would recommend checking it out too. It’s so jam-packed with interesting aphorisms that anyone would gain a lot from reading it, even if some parts didn’t make sense.
2013-07-13 @ 12:54:40
That’s groovy, Gee. So glad I could share it with you.
2013-07-12 @ 15:21:25
I’m psyched that it resonated with you, Mick. Thank you for the feedback! Bookmark the post or read the source text. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a challenging but rewarding book.