what dreams may come

I’m a hard sleeper.

Nothing can, nothing will, wake me up. Construction, gun shots, home invasions, house fires, nuclear holocausts…nothing.

So I get to have incredible dreams. Last night, for example, I dreamt that I was a football player buried deep down the depth chart. The team boarded a plane en route to a game with the pilot both coked up and drunk. The pilot thought it would be cool to do a barrel roll in a passenger plane which caused some concern. I brushed it off and took a nap. When I awoke, the plane had to make an emergency landing onto a road but ended up crashing into an apartment building. No one was killed,miraculously, and the people in the building didn’t think anything unusual about it because it was in Mississippi and apparently things like that happen all the time. Nevertheless, one player thought this was the perfect opportunity to exact revenge…for whatever reasons…on the head coach and a few other players. So it was up to me, some nobody, to save the team.

Once when that was done, I had to book a flight home but chose to fly to London, England instead. The price came to $20,000 and I didn’t have the money. Then the dream ended.

There were dreams on the periphery, one which includes me fighting a rabbit in Monument Valley and sending it to a highly mechanized version of hell.

I guess dreams are just a hodgepodge of shit stored in our heads and when we sleep, our brains randomly throw things together which we later attempt to make sense of (or in my case, project a story onto). Does it ever mean anything? Probably not.

At least not most of the time.

But I do have recurring dreams. Not dreams where the exact same things happen, but they share similar themes, people, places, etc. I suppose that there are shreds of truth in these kinds of dreams: a revelation of regret, dread, loss, and so on.

I find the subject of dreams fascinating. It reveals the chaos that exists in our own minds. Even the purest of people will experience a gruesome nightmare. Despite their outward practices in real life, even in their minds they will produce true horror. That emanates completely from them. We try to project some sense onto our dreams, but the fact is that there isn’t any whatsoever.

We do the same thing to our reality.

contra Marx (and politics in general)

I should apologize first off. A lot of this won’t make sense, but I need to get it off my chest.

Anywho, good luck reading this ✋

For most of history, there was no delineation between religion and politics. While it’s common to separate them currently, that’s really a false assumption.

Maybe I think it’s foolish to think so because of how I view religion. It’s common to associate it with thoughts on the supernatural, afterlife, etc. Meanwhile, politics is thought of as being policies directed at the governance of a population. But the social/psychological dimensions of these two realms can’t be ignored.

Politics and religion operate in unison. Religion is not just the worship of God or gods, it’s a methodology of perceiving reality. It’s validity of truth is irrelevant. If a significant amount of other people perceive this reality in the same way, then perception becomes truth. I’m not saying that truth is not real. It is. Human perception is, however, malleable and easily distorted. Religion is commonly thought of as being the most prevalent social force in this distortion, but political ideology works in identical fashion. In short, to this very day, the religious is political and the political is religious.

(This is why I say the only sensible position to take is the apolitical one. Political philosophy and science has not advanced one iota since Plato and Aristotle)

Take for example the two Right/Left extremes in QAnon and the resurgence of Marxism. Enough ink has been spilled over the insanity of QAnon, but not enough of it towards Marxists/Left/Left-adjacent Populism.

Part of the reason why Marxism has seen a resurgence…at least in the United States…I think, is because it was all but prohibited in the mainstream during the Cold War period. Additionally, it’s detractors made all sort of wrong assumptions about it or never read Marx, or any Marxist thinker at all. This had allowed it to fly under the radar for decades, with Marxists going unchallenged in good faith debate. Then the Great Recession and the pandemic primed the public for its popularity.

But despite its scientific and sociological pretensions, Marxism (and much of leftism/anti-liberalism as a result) functions no differently than Q-Anon: even when it’s allegations are proven false, it doesn’t matter. It’s critique is way of viewing reality, and no amount of data can contradict it (the explanation usually being that “the data” is bourgeois propaganda designed to undermine class consciousness…or some variation thereof)

As any Marxist/Leftist will tell you, they are not “liberals”. As most know, they are opposed to capitalism, now in its neoliberal form. While neoliberalism has an actual definition in the realm of economics, it takes on a nebulous form with the Left, making it useful as a boogeyman that can describe anything they disagree with. Therefore Marxists, like the Conservatives that once opposed them, fail to understand their opposition and how neoliberalism and global economics have fundamentally changed class dynamics since Marx’s death (or some acknowledge that there’s an opposition to Marx’s class analysis, but mock it. i.e by saying “Marx never considered…” or “Marxism works in theory”). They can’t agree on a “working class” definition (is it income? “Relationship with production”? What?) or where the demarcations are for any class structure, which is odd considering Marxism thinks of itself as a “material” based analysis. Therefore it’s class-based analysis comes to mean nothing. Additionally, Marxists/Leftists wish to take a post-moral approach to politics, but they’ll make a value judgment on the working class over the bourgeoisie (which again, are terms that mean nothing, or ill-defined in the current state of economics/politics). So they engage in the same friend/enemy distinction that they accuse the liberals of doing (and what all political tribes do).

Many, though not all, Marxists/Leftists oppose “identity politics” because they believe it undermines their “class politics”. But they’re functionally no different. In addition to keeping the “working class” divided, Marxists claim that proponents of identity politics are actually cynical actors that portray the various identities as completely monolithic or lacking agency. But the Left does the exact same same with its class politics. It works in their favor to portray the working class as brutish, uneducated, and needing guidance from those that know better. And their “enemy” can be anyone, because again, the “bourgeoisie” can mean anything. Marxists can claim that identity politics undermines class consciousness, but proponents of identity politics can accuse the Marxists of undermining the unique struggles of various groups.

Every political faction has its problems. What I’ve said about Marxism I can say about everyone else. What I’ve always found confusing is what do the Marxist Left and anti-capitalists want? I’m not talking about some egalitarian revolution to make a better world. We all want that. I’m talking about “what happens after the revolution”? A classless society? Sure it may be possible to create material equality for all…but does that eliminate “class”? The need for management of affairs (or politics) would still be necessary. What would we do if an elite “political class” takes control? I’m just skeptical about a “classless society”…especially one that has to be achieved through violent revolution. I could be wrong, but self-conception is heavily linked to cultural and societal structures, this includes structures of power. It is my assertion that since the dawn of complex language, there has been no widespread non-caste(ified) society. Not even in the hordes of pre-history (that usually numbered about 100 people). There were elders, priests, big men, warriors, hunters, gatherers, etc. There were men at the top calling the shots and men at the bottom carrying out the orders. Sure these societal structures varied greatly, but some people definitely carried more power than others, even in the smallest of groups. As power paradigms shifted, from priests, monarchies, military dictatorships, and democratically elected officials, so did the class structures. And these paradigm shifts cannot be predicted, at least not with any complete accuracy. Will capitalism last forever? No. What will replace it is anyone’s guess. The fact is you don’t know, and trying to predict the future is a fool’s errand. Even if you do get your communist dream, it’s days are limited, and a new paradigm will take its place.

I’ve gone into detail on how Marxism mirrors Christianity perfectly (class consciousness=salvation in Jesus Christ, etc.) so I won’t go into detail on that here. This isn’t to say that some tenets of Marxism aren’t without their merit. It’s historical method sounds reasonable enough. But I treat the works of Karl Marx as I would any thinker of the past: remain critical, some ideas work, but a lot of it is outdated. We do that with every other philosopher/economist, why must we treat Marx any different? It’s not like God directly inspired Das Kapital, but that’s how it’s treated (along with Luxenburg,Gramsci, etc.)

Not gonna lie, I’ve spent four years steeped in this shit and I feel mindfucked and robbed. However, studying this stuff has informed me that I need to be skeptical of ideologies proclaiming “truth”. The universe is seeming infinite while we’re laughably finite. The only thing we can be certain of is that we certainly know nothing.

i dont care what ppl think of me

Show me somebody that has said that (the title of this post) and I’ll show you a liar.

Everyone cares about others think about them. If you don’t, then you’re a legit sociopath.

In fact, concern for what other people think is the cornerstone of civilization. We wear the clothes we wear because of this. Observe and obey laws. We have fucking language because of this!

But people say these things because they want to shield off their empathy, and by wearing the “i dont care what people think” badge, they believe they’re fooling you. Yet clearly they do care, because they tell you all the time. Obviously they want you to think something about them.

Unfortunately the human psyche just can’t shut off its concern for others, and the ego can’t lock out its concern for what others think of it. Our whole sense of self is based upon our relations to others.

Of course I’m not saying that we should be paralyzed by fear over other’s opinions. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be “I am who I am”, and coming to terms with the fact that it’s impossible to please everybody.

I think that’s a more honest assessment.

what is truth?

Obviously I’m going through a Bart D Ehrman phase. It’s not because I agree with him most of the time or that I find him a master debater (sorry, had to say it). It’s because he’s the only public intellectual that I can think of at the top of my head that has a genuine passion for teaching.

Because Ehrman’s area of expertise is the Bible, specifically the New Testament and early Christianity, people naturally have strong opinions about the subject. Some people, specifically atheists but a few Christians aren’t exempt, like to use this subject as a way to “trigger” their opponents.

This is a fad on YouTube. The “Intellectual Dark Web” (IDW), or guys that found fame on the internet during the “alt-Right” hay day (people like Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, etc.) perfected the science of “triggering” (also known as “owning the libs”) and many online personalities have attempted to emulate it, including leftists with varying degrees of success. It’s a way of weaponizing information.

This phenomenon is not exclusive to discussions on the Bible, religion, and politics, but even movies and fucking geography!

Because “owning the line” is currency on YouTube, this has led to many quaks pretending to be experts littering the platform and distracting us away from those trying to present information in good faith.

Just because an opinion triggers someone, that doesn’t give it more credence. But that appears to be sound logic in some circles. Even if the opinion is true, if presented in a way that’s designed to give offense, that doesn’t make the one with the opinion more noble or virtuous…it makes you an asshole.

Thankfully my man Ehrman avoids that.

tf is narcissism?

“Narcissistic personality disorder” is HOT right now. I think it’s surpassed “borderline personality disorder” as the cool thing to have.

In all seriousness though, I think there’s been a turn in the psychological community. “Pop psychology” has turned disorders into badges of honor, or an identity, to the point where individuals no longer concern themselves with improvement and instead use their “disorder” as an excuse to continue shitty behavior then expect society to deal with it.

Of course, I’m speaking from personal experience. Obviously I’m an insane person that’s maladapted to society and require the services of doctors and therapists to help me. That has been the case since I was a teenager. When I first started seeking medical attention for my behavioral ailments, psychiatrists and therapists were in a mad dash to “diagnose” me into a neat category. Now, 93 years later, they don’t give a shit about that. It doesn’t matter. They just want to make sure that I don’t jump into traffic whenever I’m out in the public. That’s the important thing.

Anyways, personal anecdote aside, I’m fascinated by narcissism and the nature of mental disorders. I won’t get into that because it’s a lot of armchair philosophizing on my part, but is the prevalence of “narcissism” and “narcissistic personality disorder” a reflection of societal shifts?

I reckon that “narcissism” and “narcissistic personality disorder” are not synonymous, but I do think they share a link with the rise of radical individualism and consumer culture.

I’m not a psychologist. Thank god. But I can say with near certainty that I’ve been blessed with having not one, but two people very close to me have NPD. Crazy people have a tendency to attract other crazy people. Go figure. (I may say more about this at another time)

One was charismatic and the other a complete fucking moron, but they shared this commonality: when most people have an interaction with somebody, say someone they just met, all sorts of assumptions are being made. Most of these assumptions, by both parties, are not expressed and are usually rationalized as being just ASSUMPTIONS. Nothing more. There’s a wall of rationality between perception and reality, and most people are good at distinguishing between the two. A narcissist, at least the ones I’ve met, don’t have that ability.

The narcissist’s perceptions get projected onto the reality at hand, and they’re not able to tell where their emotions end and where objective reality begins. In my instances, both individuals reacted harshly against being labeled a liar. It was obvious that they had difficulty with the truth, but in their mind, they weren’t lying.

What this has to do with society at large, I don’t know. It’s merely conjecture on my part.

No I will not explain further.

pee pee poo poo

The YouTube algorithm sucks sometimes. When you search certain people, you can’t rid their videos from your recommendations.

Bart D Ehrman, the distinguished James Gray professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is one such person. Not that I hate Ehrman, quite the contrary. The man knows the Bible better than anyone. But I don’t find the subject of “God’s existence” to be particularly interesting.

Nevertheless, I watched him debate this with a professional snake oil salesman named Kyle Butt. The subject they were specifically debating was “God and suffering”. Ehrman’s fans swear up and down that he won the debate, but no one “wins” a debate. Everyone loses (and, sorry to say Christians, but agnostics/atheists have the much easier argument).

But I’m always intrigued by how the “problem of morality” gets tossed around like a hot potato in a debate. Maybe I’ve spent too much time of Twitter and Reddit forums, but it feels that in our political climate that all sides wish to enter into a “post moral” phase where one can gain points by accusing their opponent of “moralizing”. However, I have never once found this to be convincing.

Mostly because it makes no fucking sense. Even if we move past “good and evil”, new social mores become established which sets up a whole other paradigm of morality.

When viewed in this political climate, the Ehrman/Butt debate seems outdated (it took place in 2014). Butt believed that there are objective platonic forms of morality established by God of the Bible, while Ehrman simply took a sublime, “know right/wrong when I see it” approach. Naturally, I agreed with Ehrman (even though I didn’t find it philosophically consistent).

But I think what Ehrman was trying (or should have) focused on was the power of empathy in understanding the conditions of our fellow humans. From my understanding, empathy is a real scientifically falsifiable phenomenon that everyone (except psychopaths) feels. HOWEVER, the power of ideology does everything it can to undermine this.

Ideology can take many forms, from personal, to political, to religious.

In my view, individualist ideology, propagated by consumer culture, is the most prevalent. In fact, it even lays the foundation for current political/religious ideologies. When viewed in this light, it makes sense why online atheists and the Christian Right are suddenly bedfellows: Christians can rest easy knowing that God is invested in their individual lives, and the fate and suffering of everyone else is in His hands. And atheists become unburdened in believing that there’s a moralistic force binding the universe together, and can instead focus on their own truths.

Either way, they don’t have to show concern over the suffering of their fellow humans.

I guess that’s another reason why everyone wants to jump on the “post moral” train.