“The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak” -Baruch Spinoza
Ludwig Wittengenstein infamously had a similar quote: “Whereof one cannot speak, one must be silent.”
This is true. There’s no use in filling the air with senseless chatter about things we do not understand.
Like I don’t understand why I got laid off. I’ll spend hours in the basement with a bottle of Jim Beam and a loaded 22. My wife will ask if everything is alright and I’ll respond with “whereof one cannot speak, one must be silent.”
So I was at a writer’s workshop where some dude was trying to get under my skin. Then we became best friends. Tom Brady also showed up because he was trying to get his acting career started. Why he was at a writer’s workshop was never explained.
Then, like a ghost from the past, appeared an old friend. In real life I haven’t spoken to him in nearly 15 years. His brother was actually my best friend and our friendship ended in the worst possible way: in a courtroom (we both lost btw). It’s one of my biggest regrets, and in truth, I dream about him often.
But his brother shows up, and I confide in him that I think highly of his sibling and I miss them both. In fact, I tell him that I am at this workshop because I am writing a fictionalized version of our friendship.
The Brother tells me that I can’t do that. I ask why and he disappears into a bookstore. I go looking for him and I find him with three small children. I ask him again why I can’t write the book. He tells me that his brother’s dead and that one of these children is his son.
It was a poignant moment in the dream. It reminded me of the passage of time, how we were once small children, and how we are now creating the next generation. I tell the Son of my best friend that I too have a son, how fortunate he is to have his uncle, and that his father was a good man.
The Brother disappears once again, and I help the Child find his uncle. As I walk with the Child, he tells me to not have regrets, and that he hopes to meet my son. I tell him that “that’s a very nice thing to say,” and that I hope they meet someday too.
Finally, we find his uncle standing outside. He’s with two men in suits. I tell the Brother that per his wishes, I won’t write the book. One of the men in suits spoke up and said “that’s a wise decision.”
“Are you an attorney?” I ask.
“What if I changed all the names and events? Can you sue me then?” I said.
“Well clearly he (my best friend) is everything that he’s not,” the lawyer replied. Whatever that meant.
I look over to the Brother. “Did you invite these guys here?” I ask.
“Well fuck it,” I said. “I’m writing the book.”
I then pointed at the lawyer’s shirt like he had a stain. When he looked down, I lifted my finger up to his face.
Ep 1: Dorthy has to keep Sophia from escaping the house during COVID lockdown. Blanche reveals she had a questionable fling with Jeffery Epstein. Rose believes everything she reads on the internet and begins denying the Holocaust.
Sorry, I was high on gas fumes and aerosols when I wrote my last post. It kinda went off the rails there towards the end.
So allow me to muddy the waters a bit more.
Fundamentally, I think that “everything is ideology“ (a lot of people have thought about this long before me). And I mean EVERYTHING: objects, sex, relationships, beauty, art…everything. To break these things down to their smaller components would reveal true horror: your food is dead animals and vegetables, sex is exchanging of gross bodily fluids, etc. So we have to sublimate these objects into ideas…hence “everything is ideology”.
Which is perfectly acceptable! Humans are both blessed and cursed by logic and reasoning because these functions often reveal the nothingness behind everything. Thus, REAL truth is terrifying and ultimately meaningless, so the “mask” of ideology is the only “reality” that matters. Sometimes existential dread ensues because of this. Therefore sublimation, in the Freudian sense, is helpful in constructing a healthy view of the world.
Which is why I sometimes praise religion and SOME politics, provided they promote peaceful coexistence and openness. Clearly sublimating into certain ideologies can lead to straight up derangement. So, therefore,“sublimate well”.
Part of the reason why William Peter Blatty considered The Ninth Configuration as a true sequel to The Exorcist is because they both attempt to address the “mystery of the good.”
Blatty, from my understanding of course, was a devout Catholic so he understood these terms from a very spiritual perspective. While I find the phenomenon of religion fascinating, I don’t view the universe in that particular way. Nevertheless, I think Blatty was attempting to address a very interesting question, particularly with The Ninth Configuration (the film. I haven’t read the novel)
Much ado is made about “the problem of evil”, but that’s only a problem from a religious perspective. If the the universe is indifferent to our plight, and life is inherently selfish, then there is no mystery. Furthermore, there is no good OR evil…it’s merely a projection of human perception.
Many philosophers have attempted to formulate a model for morality, notably Kant’s Categorical Imperative and utilitarianism, with varying degrees of success. I personally tend to favor something that I heard Bart Ehrman say: I just know it when I see it. However I do find it interesting that nearly every religion has some variant of the Golden Rule: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
I don’t think that I have many philosophical convictions, but one thing I am certain of is that I am not a “blank slatist”. If we were born as blank slates, then nothing we do would be possible. Language acquisition itself provides some insight into the a priori nature of our being. What language can tell us precisely about our morality is unknown to me, but I think it warrants further investigation as evidenced by the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule may not be a “philosophically consistent” principle, but I think it’s intuitive enough that there could possibly be something revealing about it. Empathy might be an example. To my understanding, empathy is a phenomenon that’s scientifically falsifiable, but I’m just spitballing here. Maybe “good” and “evil” are a priori categories of human reasoning, I dunno.
Either way, from both a religious and secular perspective, “the problem of good” needs answering.