Atheism, Agnosticism, and Symbolic Language

In the book beginning on ~ pg. 139 where we examine Supernatural Power, I liken the term “UFO” to the term “God.”

I argue that due to a common sense orientation to reasoning we imbue certain terms (hollow signifiers) with presumptuous meanings, i.e., UFO’s = “little green men,” flying saucers,” etc. as opposed to objects in flight which remain “unidentified” according to some particular nomenclature.

The term “God” is likewise infused with cultural meanings over a vast terrain of subjective ideology as though the noun God unconsciously stands in for innumerable adjectives.

Atheism, as a disbelief in “God,” seems to presuppose that “God” is a thing (in the same manner as a theoist) in itself as opposed to a description. Atheism is thus similar to someone who does not believe in “UFO’s,” all the while assuming that “UFO’s” = “little green men,” and “flying saucers,” etc.

A “UFO” is not a “thing” in and of itself across all cultural and linguistic perspectives but rather refers to any object, which could be described as “flying,” i.e., falling, drifting, souring, etc.

Therefore if the term “UFO” functions as a general description of objects which are unidentified while suspended above ground. The term “God” likewise is a general description rather than a particular thing imbued with presumed meaning across all cultures and linguistic perspectives.

Agnosticism therefore does not presume that the term “God” is a particular ideological object imbued with specific and particular cultural meanings, but rather that it is a generic description across a vast array of cultural and linguistic meanings.

Both the terms “God,” and “UFO,” are hollow signifiers utterly dependent upon who’s cultural meaning is being signified at any given point in time. Therefore both “God” and “UFO” represent a dialectic of descriptions as opposed to particular things.

To argue that one does not believe in “God” is similar to arguing that one does not believe in “UFO’s,” if said disbelief is built upon the common sense falacy that “UFO’s” consist in little green men, et al.

Both “UFO’s” and “God” signify a broad class of possibilities that are utterly dependent upon symbolic language, as opposed to assumed things in themselves.

An Agnostic then is similar to someone who is skeptical of the meaning of “God” or “UFO,” as opposed to assuming their meaning as fixed and immovable.

“God,” and “UFO,” are merely hollow signifiers containing a vast array of possible meanings which are culturally subjective and relative where there is nothing to be “proven” or “disproven” outright, but to be considered contextually. If “God” is merely a description, a description of what?

Until there is an objective description of “God,” Agnosticism is the more uncommon perspective for this writer.

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Limit of Human Rights?

…And who determines those limits?

Within socially constructed reality would it not be the people themselves, with respect to the extent to which they were capable of sharing substance (as per Kenneth Burke’s ‘consubstantiation’)?

If people were capable of sharing Burkeian consubstantiation to a higher degree than their government, such that their government became not only superfluous but a burden upon the people, would their government willingly and expiditiously adjourn?

By what lawful process? If there is no lawful process for dismantling a defunct government, and the government is charged with legislating rights, it is soely the power of the government to determine the limit of human rights.

If it is ultimately the power of government to establish a limit on human rights, and there is no lawful basis for dissolving a superfluous government, what cause is there for a government to refrain from eroding human rights?

Since it is not the function of government to produce wealth, but to regulate commerce, and it is commerce which sustains government, is it not in fact those who control commerce which ultimately determine the limits of human rights?

In as much as profit is a motive of commerce, i.e., personal gain as opposed to shared substance, and governments are sustained by the structure of commerce, than it is those pulling the levers of commerce which ultimately determine human rights, both implied and explicit.

COMMON vs UNCOMMON SENSE

“Common Sense” has come a long way since the time of Thomas Paine. Due to demassification and technology there are a multiplicity of special interests and specialized knowledges which are not easily disseminated nor understood by the masses of today.

Common sense-making (coloquialism) as a defualt methodology, has become a necessary but archaic mode of communicating; we know which side of the road to drive upon, or how to properly greet one another in the street or in formal situations, yet fewer of us understand how to construct an automobile from scratch, or the nature of language and it’s function in the co-constructing of social reality.

Ever fewer of us are experts within every highly specialized field of science and technology. Therefore those within a given specialized field of knowledge could be said to possess an “uncommon sense,” or knowledge with respect to their particular special interest.

This leaves a great majority of people utterly dependent upon the “uncommon” knowledge of others – in so far as the masses are dependent in one way or another upon said technologies – and susceptible to the will thereof in the construction of social reality.

As Marshall McLuhan sugessted – “first we build the tools, then the tools build us.”

In as much as knowledge is a function of power, i.e., a function of social hierarchy such that the more privileged generally receive better educations, the demarcation between Common, vs Uncommon, sense tends to occur along the lines of knowledge vs ignorance.

However ego factors in as well. Ego is so primal to the human (symbol using and abusing animal) condition that no matter what mode of sense-making one is born into, it necessarily becomes implicated within the individual’s value-based system of sense-making.

For better or worse – in a technologically driven world – knowledge (as a tool), will ultimately determine the values and meanings of it’s minions. Knowledge then is the only reasonable approach to sense-making.

The most fundamental step towards gaining knowledge is openness, i.e., the questioning of everything; who? what? why? how? when? etc. One who is not open to new knowledge must either assume that they are already in possession of sufficient knowledge, or are resistant to knowledge in defense of the ego.

A common sense perspective provides a safe and simple sense of belonging and meaning for the ego thereby promoting a general sense of apathy and even resistance to the pursuit of knowledge.

An uncommon sense perspective does not assume or presume, is risky, but is neccessary in the acquisition of a quality existance (an existence in which the common sense maker later becomes acclimated).

A common sense orientation is so ensconced within a myopic worldview that it is unable to comprehend let alone engage an uncommon perspective.

An Uncommon sense orientation cannot escape the interconnectivity of phenomena within a meaningful, technological, language constructed world.

I’d Gladly Pay You Tomorrow For a Hamburger Today, If Only My Debit Card Weren’t Frozen

The nature of money is the basis of social reality…

Longreads

Brett Scott explores the emerging cashless economy in Aeon magazine. Is ubiquitous digital payment the harbinger of a glorious future, or a smokescreen for powerful interests that want to control (and undermine) choice and capitalism?

This is no longer a deal between me and the seller. I am now dealing with a complex of unknown third parties, profit-seeking money-passers who stand between us to act as facilitators of the money flow, but also as potential gatekeepers. If a gatekeeper doesn’t want to do business with me, I can’t do business with the seller. They have the ability to jam, monitor or place conditions upon that glorious core ritual of capitalism – the transfer of money for the transfer of goods. This innocuous device exudes mechanical indifference, reporting only to invisible bosses far away, running invisible algorithms in invisible black boxes that don’t like me.

If we are going to refer to…

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On Subjectivity

When we consider the “container” and the thing “contained,”in relation to human purpose, is not the container of all meaning subjectivity?

Does not the concept of “purpose” reside within the paradigm of oppositional meaning, i.e., Good vs Evil?

We seek “purpose” in relation to something which is lacking. There is no need for purpose in the absence of opposition.

 

 

 

The End of all Evil – Guaranteed.

It all begins with a campaign in which we all agree to refrain from all carnal relations  for the equivalent of one human lifetime.

On the day that the last human expires – and with him or her – symbolic language, this will be the end of all evil (at least until the next symbol using and abusing species evolves).

Without war, without conflict, without any physical harm whatsoever including the added bonus of the absence of any semblance of carnal immorality!

If language is the locust of all evil (as opposed to supernatural causes), and language is an invention of symbol-using and ab-using animals (humans), and if sexual behavior is implicated in the pro-creation of humans, then the most reasonable and logical solution is to abstain from behavior which is not only itself a locust of contention, but the ultimate cause thereof.

If our ultimate motive was the elimination of all evil, our proposal above seems the most reasonable, logical, and moral course of human action at our disposal; we will weep for the unborn centuries from now just as much as we, the unknown, were wept for in centuries past (which I dare say was equivalent to the slightest whisper of a single dying wind) due to our progenitor’s uncertainty regarding our existence.

Thus our manifest will is towards the will-to-Good in conjunction with the will-to Power, regardless of any “evil” consequences. We continue carnal relations unabated (just as our animal relatives) because it is in our nature and our nature is the will to the Goodness of nature including all endocronic responses.

Therefore in order to bring an end to all evil, we would have to contradict our very nature, the nature which is the architect of our motives regardless of how much we proclaim the unacceptability of “evil.”

It is precisely at this point that the supernatural paradigm intervenes providing a scape-goat mechanism for the contradictory and subjective nature of subjective language. Through mystification we differ our logical fallacies – in their limitless manifestations – into the lap of the Gods.

Thus “evil” is externalized and separated from the human will as an essential supernatural force to be overcome as opposed to a function of language itself. Through mystification we get to have our cake and eat it too; not according to reason or logic, but ironically, as a function of the subjective nature of language.

The U.S. Political Divide: 2017

What is at the essence of the U.S. political divide in 2017?

As a literary theorist and philosopher, Kenneth Burke (May 5th 1897 – November 19th 1993) was fascinated with the function of symbols and language as means of persuasion between humans within every day interactions.

Burke believed that our natural division or “disassociation” due to our separateness of physical bodies and therefore differential viewpoints caused us to seek “identification” and therefore “consubstantiation” with others through shared symbolic meaning.

However Burke also realized that any particular words or jargon which we employ in attempting to persuade like-minded people may also unwittingly serve to alienate others whom have likewise developed a specialized “grammar” – as Burke called it – of their own thus creating a sort of “terministic screen” which “reflects,” “selects,” and “deflects,” particular elements of reality within a certain “grammar of motives.”

Burke believed that the rhetoric of any given symbol-user/s (communicant/s) could be analyzed as symbolic action (as per his dramatistic pentad) by analyzing relationships between his pentadic elements (act, scene, agent, agency, & purpose, and later attitude), and that one could thereby determine a hierarchy of motives contained therein.

According to Burke, the most basic or fundamental motive is the “container” while lessor motives are the things “contained.” Burke believed that in understanding the most basic and fundamental motives contained between opposing viewpoints, we could ascertain a more reasoned approach to “identification,” i.e., shared substance.

The current state of the U.S. political divide 2017 according to Burkeian philosophy leaves much on the table according to our own “trained incapacitance” as though partisan ideology were the container of all else as opposed to fundamental knowledge, law, or philosophy.

According to Burke, the essence of meaning is to be found within the symbols we use to communicate. If anything is of significance to humanity beyond partisan ideology, we owe it to ourselves to actively seek the larger “container.”

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An Hierarchy of Significances

If things are significant (of consequence) there must be some organizational hierarchy thereof.

The art of rhetoric is the art of persuasion within the paradigm of significances. Hawkers, vendors, and advertisers, seek to arrest our attention in favor of their goods and or services (for their own best interests).

Within a given instance of rhetorical persuasion, erectile disfunction may become more significant than life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness for all.

In any given moment we may choose to satiate the needs of the self over others (allocate our life’s energies and consciousness in favor of the self as opposed to the greater good).

In any given moment – as long as we are all subject to other things and conditions – there must necessarily exist need for aid and relief somewhere in the world.

In as much as we cannot (due to subjectivity), nor will not (due to the exigency of the self), conform to an hierarchy of motives which are necessarily embedded within the structure of social reality (due to symbolic language), we are predominantly motivated by power-over relationships (survival of the fittest).

Symbolic language allows us to construct reality in any manner we choose. Whether we choose survival of the fittest, or life, liberty, and happiness for all, defines the nature of the human will.

We create an ideological hierarchy of motives and pay homage to them (as per the Emperor’s new cloths), i.e., ‘all [men] are created equal,’ as a scapegoat-mechanism for our existential motives.