not gonna lie, being in a relationship is great

Sucks for all you single people out there. You should really get in a relationship.

I read a lot of blogs from single folks. I get it, dating sucks. Not that YOU suck, it’s just the whole rigamarole.

I haven’t been single in 10 years. Love my family. Best thing that ever happened to me. Couldn’t recommend it enough.

But I’ve been there. I’ve hopped from one dating site to another, scrolling through countless boring profiles. It’s easy to get resentful, I would know. Outside of relationships, I’m the most resentful person you’ll ever meet. So I’ve seen that side.

I’m average looking, got a small pp, have no money, and I’m a dumbass. So if I can do it, so can you!

Here’s my advice: stop overthinking it.

You either feel it or you don’t. If you keep getting rejected, sorry bud…I’m sure you’ve heard it before, YOU’RE the common denominator. Accept the challenge. We’ve all had to spend our time in the wilderness. Your issues probably stem from problems that are hindering your romantic capabilities. You should probably address those. Just sayin’.

A lot of people want to discuss the differences between men and women, but I’ve learned something: other than our physical differences, men and women are exactly the same, at least in terms of needs and wants. No one likes to hear that because projecting their insecurities on the opposite sex justifies their resentment. But it’s true. Sorry.

If you’re looking for a fuck, that’s easy.

But if you’re looking for love, you got it all wrong. If you have a perfect image of “Eros” that no one can live up to, you don’t deserve love.

Love is built on respect, concern, a desire for another’s wellbeing. It requires you to get out of your own head. To many of you single folks haven’t learned how to check your own selfishness. If you’re only concerned on what your “lover” can give you, you don’t deserve love and I hope you remain single forever.

Good luck! 😀

cynics and stoics

The post-Socratics get a bad rap for being not nearly as good as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Stoicism in particular has been much maligned over the last few years. It reentered the public consciousness recently, which irked some in the philosophical community. I guess in our post-Enlightenment era, there’s a resistance to schools of thought that seemingly promote individuals to rise above their political realities. This makes sense to a certain extent, especially given our reality after the Great Recession. However, this in turn irks me because the intellectual community is unwilling to divorce the bad from the good in these philosophies, but they’ll gladly do so for Plato and Aristotle (and as I mentioned in an earlier post, for Marx).

Many claim to find stoicism to be too rigid in its determinism, which in turn means we should almost remain passive or unattached to the obstacles we find in our daily lives. But that’s an over simplistic reading, in my view. To be honest, I don’t know if this was the intention of noted stoic thinkers like Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius, but I think we can infer from them that we have to exercise our best judgments and restraint to remain above the madness in everyday life. If we fail to do so, then we are no better than that madness. Through logic and reasoning, we actually find our free will, then subsequently, our happiness. Through this interpretation, Stoicism actually isn’t deterministic at all (though this might run contrary to actual Stoic metaphysics. I don’t know 🤷‍♂️).

I understand why Stoicism would have had detractors in its heyday as it seemed to have caught on with the Roman elite, who had the security to explore such lofty idealism while the proles weren’t afforded that luxury. But that seems like a lazy, bad faith criticism of it today, which comes across like an attempt to deflect personal responsibility and agency (especially given that proletarian-centered philosophies like Marxism is way more complicated, lofty, and at times hypocritical).

But I’ve always been more partial to Cynicism. Not that I condone it, it’s just way more in-your-face. It’s impossible to be a Cynic today (you’d be arrested for a being a public nuisance), but it does ask you to question common sense. Diogenes of Sinope was its most prominent thinker. He apparently jacked off and relieved himself in public, gave no shit about social status, and extolled the virtues of what amounted to homelessness. I agree with the leftist critics of Diogenes’ form of Cynicism in that his fetishism of poverty undermines how dehumanizing it actually is. But the real reason why I think Cynicism is unpalatable to modern thinking is it’s rejection of material wealth and its promotion of “cosmopolitanism”. While I find the Cynicism of Diogenes to be somewhat individualistic, his form of individualism runs completely contrary to its modern form.

While I wouldn’t call Cynicism’s version of cosmopolitanism to be sophisticated, it was rather forward thinking in its rejection of “imagined communities” (see Benedict Anderson). Diogenes allegedly called himself a “citizen of the world”, this coming at a time when the city state dominated political thinking. Cosmopolitanism is widely rejected by ideologies across the spectrum, from Nazi’s, traditional conservatism, and even Marxism (depending on your interpretation), despite its inevitability.

So I don’t know, maybe I’m asking you to reassess these schools of thought because they piss off the right people.

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.

michigan state university

Imagine if you actually met Jesus (Christ).

I’m not talking about the “Second Coming” or whatever, I mean what if you got transported back in time 2000 years ago and met Jesus of Nazareth. What would you see?

Studying the history of early Christianity really makes me appreciate how little we know about ancient history. Sure there’s some records here and there, but we’re really riding blind.

Imagine if historians 3000 years from now just have Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, this blog, and the ruins of Las Vegas to go on while studying our era. That would leave them with a pretty odd view. But that’s essentially what we’re going by when evaluating ancient times.

Every famous person from back then, like Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great, was probably half a foot shorter than you imagine and you could have easily kicked their ass. What I am saying is that I can stomp the shit out of a Spartan. 300 was just a movie, a shitty one at that. I am taller, got more muscle, and when I’m when I’m trying to quit nicotine I can take anybody. ANYBODY.

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.

last temptation of Christ: a deeper revolution

The Last Temptation of Christ unsurprisingly stuck with me. Usually when I complete a novel, I think “hmm, that was nice” and I move on to the next thing. But Kazantzakis’s interpretation of “the Greatest Story Ever Told” is rewarding and leaves a lot to think about, especially if you’re obsessed with early Christian history.

I mean, obviously it’s not historically accurate. That’s not the point. The point is that the book brings these familiar characters to life. Jesus begins the book as a sickly carpenter before transforming into the messianic figure we’ve come to know and love. However, his humanity is emphasized. At times, Jesus comes across as a jerk with megalomaniac fantasies. This helps contextualize Jesus the man and the era he lived in.

This is best demonstrated by his relationship with Judas Iscariot. Judas is a true revolutionary with a hatred for the Romans and is often frustrated by Jesus and his message of love. Jesus feels that Judas’s revolutionary ideals don’t go far enough: the concerns for the body are temporary, Jesus wants to bring salvation to the world…Jew and gentile alike.

The various characters are often puzzled by this. This universalism is too lofty, too radical to ever be realized.

And this sort of remains true today. I’ve expressed my admiration for John Dominic Crossan views: Jesus was responding to the imperial authority of the Romans. Jesus and his followers might not thought of it in that way, but that was effectively what he was doing. I don’t think enough scholars, both Christian and secular, stop to appreciate this. Not even Bart Ehrman.

I think this is best demonstrated by the cross as the official symbol of Christianity. Jesus unquestionably died by crucifixion, perhaps the most ruthless form of punishment by the Romans. And none of the early Christian apologists deny that it happened. Stop and think about that: their very leader got “owned” by the Romans. In fact, it HAD to have happened so that he could be resurrected. So Christians took this event and chalked it up as a win for their beliefs, and a loss for the ruthless rule of the Romans.

Scholars often wonder how Paul was able to convince so many pagans to convert to Christianity (or, to be more historically accurate, his form of Christian Judaism, as Paul still thought of himself as a Jew), well maybe here’s an answer: Roman rule under the Pax Romana pissed off enough people that when they heard of a man who was resurrected after a crucifixion, conversion was a way to subtly stick it to the Romans. This could be why Paul put so much emphasis on death and resurrection in his theology.

Yes, I know there are plenty of problems with this theory, chief among these is how little the Romans are criticized in the New Testament. In fact, the Gospels explicitly blame the Jews for Jesus’s death and not the Romans, even though the Romans certainly DID execute Jesus. My response to this is that you don’t have to spend more than two minutes following populist/leftist politics before realizing that they hate each other more than they hate their opposition. It is my opinion (maybe more on that at another time) that this is fundamentally rooted in these kinds of movements. Even though the Romans were THE existential threat to life in the Mediterranean world, it would have been mainstream Judaism that were the primary theological/ideological opponents of early Christianity…even if the Jews were as much under the thumb of Roman rule as they were. This is heresy in the world of radical movements, what leftists might call “class traitors” today, and it wouldn’t take much for Christian writers to switch out Romans for the Jews in regards to who was guilty for Jesus’s death.

It is this narcissism of small differences that plague radical movements, religious and political alike, and I doubt early Christianity was any different. (See Monty Python’s Life of Brian)

It is difficult to tell if the real Jesus actually preached this message of universalism, or a peaceful coexistence of all people under one God. Crossan might, but it’s more likely this was extracted by later thinkers and is now considered the ethical message of Christianity IF people could move past their short-sightedness (maybe not under “one god”, but you get the idea).

Anyways, I’ve spent too much time on this post, forgot where I was going. The end.

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.