Translate

29.8.12

Creation ex nihilo, and the Rambam.

[I consider the Torah to be in the realm of the "dinge als sich alein" of Kant-the thing in itself. This means that reason can determine its existence, but the character and universal principles about the thing in itself are half from the object and half from the subject.--(I am going out of my way to distinguish this from the Neo Kant school.)]


 Creation ex nihilo. To say that God creates is to say that beings now exist that did not exist before. Finite beings are not made “out of God”. They are made, produced, created. There is nothing contradictory in saying that a Creator brings beings into being. He makes to exist what was non-existent without the act of creation!
Even the verse that some people use to defend Pantheism, "the whole world is full of his glory,"  still implies the world is not Him. There are areas where His Glory does not extend to וכבודי לאחר לא אתן "My Glory to another I will not give."


It seems basically clear that Torah does not hold of pantheism.  Even Reb Nachman was going with the Rambam on creation ex Nihilo as he says in at least one place in his major book. [I forget the exact place but it is easy to look up with the printed index at the end of it.]


The evil inclination begins at its lowest level in physical desires and goes upwards until it reaches it root in Satan.  the higher one goes in the service of God, that the kelipot [dark forces] get awoken every time one reaches a higher level. Putting these two idea together we can understand that as one gets higher in the service of God that the evil inclination that is awoken against him becomes more evil but less physical.

24.8.12

some quike thoughts about Kant

Some quike thoughts about Kant"
The story starts from Hume and the idea that reality need not be related to our beliefs about it. A realist wants beliefs to correspond to reality, and not reality to correspond to beliefs. Because of this Hume simply says there is no knowledge about things we don't experience. Logic can tell us nothing but what is included in the definition of things but nothing about reality. Kant disagrees with this. He says there can be synthetic a priori knowledge. The question he needs to answer is "how?"
{An example he gives that shows us that we do have synthetic a priori knowledge is Mathematics.}

Some suggestions on the ways we can have this knowledge. Kant: Structures already in the mind. [This is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Clearly a bathtub of computer chips is not the same thing as a computer. For computer chips to do anything, the structure has to be implanted.]\
Hegel holds reason can get to the dinge an sich


Kant is tripped up by the  basic question of how to get reason to perceive things outside the realm of experience. So he comes up with this category of the thing in itself. Reason perceives its existence but to understand its character is by structures in reason. My problem here is that the synthetic knowledge Kant is talking about is universals. The way I see it Reason perceives universals plenty well with no help of inherent structures. And this leads me to the Intuitionst (Michael Huemer, G.E. Moore, Prichard) approach to the problem of Kant. He expands the role of reason. Is this legitimate? By simply expanding the role powers of reason can Michael Huemer answer the problem of Hume? I am not so sure. Kant wants a justification -not just a blank statement. [It seems to me that Fichte hold from intellectual intuition.]


Furthermore, a very troubling thing about Kant. He expands the role of reason beyond Hume. That is nice, but then he limits it. He says it must not go into metaphysics. But he adds that it automatically does go into metaphysics. And when it does so it comes up with self contradictory beliefs. And the most troubling thing is that he is not talking about the human faculty of reason. He is talking about pure reason, Reason in its essence. And it is this reason in its very essence which by necessity falsifies information about the world (by the antimonies); How are we supposed to understand this?
Does not this seem strange?




 Hegel. He obviously does not impose any restrictions on reason at all. I can only say that I am a bit horrified that Jurgen Habermas is not horrified by Hegel and Marx. It is not just the collapse of Socialist totalitarian systems founded on the thought of Rousseau, Marx, and Hegel which bothers me. And it that I think there must be something in these systems that is wrong but not apparent to the human eye. They all sound great on paper. [Now two years later I retract. Hegel has two areas he is good at-- analyzing other philosophers and building up a metaphysical system. Th dumb part is his social theories and politics]
Looking at all this I can only say that I agree with Kant about the limits of reason. In my mind only a society founded on reason and the faith in the Torah can be just in any sense. I have heard enough horror stories about socialized medicine to chill anyone's blood. We definitely need a reasoned defense of the type of Liberal democracy of John Locke which is possible to defend only by Kant. Locke himself is not very good at defending liberal democracy because his system has no moral autonomy. Self interest is the motivating force, not moral justice. So a real decent defense of John Locke would have to start with Kant. But it could not end there. 

I have thought this way for years. I apologize to all readers that it took me so long to state this openly.

23.8.12

Nietzsche derived the existence of the subconscious from Leibniz and christened it the Id. This was later borrowed by Freud.

Nietzsche derived the existence of the subconscious from Leibniz and christened it the "Id." This was later borrowed by Freud (and is generally attributed to Freud). Nietzsche thought the Id is the source of true values. And he said openly "consciousness falsifies."
[It is true that Leibniz did originate this concept. He said that representation causes consciousness and not as people think that consciousness causes representation.]
Kant went further. He thought that Reason itself (i.e. the very essence of the faculty of reason ) falsifies. He got this from Hume. Hume based himself on one basic insight that he says over and over again and it is clear that all of his reasoning rests on the cornerstone of one basic principle. That reason itself can only perceive contradictions. But the way Hume said this is misleading for most people. Can you conceive or unicorns yes. Can you conceive of a square circle? No. This sounds like what Hume was talking about. But it is actually more profound. Does the contradiction of something imply a contradiction? This sounds like I can convince that 2+2=5 would not imply a contradiction. But this is not what Hume means. He uses the word imply the way it is used in logic today. Can you derive from the same fact two contradictory things? Then that is called implying a contradiction. This is an important difference. I can conceive of circular argument not implying any contradiction. But the way Hume means this is since I can derive two contradictory things from a circular argument it is therefore false.

This makes the fact that Kant based himself on Hume a lot more reasonable. Hume's point is a good point. The great philosophers today like Bryan Caplan and Michael Huemer definitely considered reason capable of conceiving a lot more stuff than contradictions. But this precisely the point of Kant. Kant definite expanded reason way beyond Hume.-He thought that reason itself can cross the border to see the existence of the thing in itself-but he said the character of the thing in itself depends on the observer. [Exactly like Quantum Mechanics.]

But Kant held that at a certain point Reason tries to go beyond its boundary into metaphysics. This is where I think that insanity comes from. Not consciousness like Nietzsche thought, but from Reason itself venturing where it does not belong.\

 Reason falsifies. But his approach was more along the lines that Reason coupled with another faculty he called Faith (or as philosophers call it  immediate non intuitive perception) does perceive the truth. Faith corrects Reason.

I realized after writing the above essay that it stops right where it ought to begin. So what is a young collage student to do? What does this say about the essence of life? What does it mean in terms of personal direction?

You need to find one basic moral value and stick with it at all cost. This has to be something of your own choosing. I can make recommendations but it has to be something that you believe in has the power to redeem you from evil and the sitra achra {the dark side}. But I believe that if you hold to even one basic simple moral value at all cost then you will be redeemed.



22.8.12

There are cults which are really bad -- even though they are founded on a saint or tzadik

There are cults which are really bad -- even though they are founded on a saint or tzadik. This is the reason I have not written an essay today.





[I want to mention in reference to my essay yesterday that I think the Torah [the set of the Five Books of Moses] is not porous. I know every Jewish group looks on the Torah as being able to absorb any world view the want to impose on it --in my view the Torah is not porous. Rather it  has a very specific world view ]



I consider the tzadikim of Chasidim to be in what is called the intermediate zone which is high above the trans-personal zone but still not the same thing as total enlightenment.
I consider the general chasidic movement however to be basically based on people that only reached the transpersonal zone.
I am a bit rushed but in plain English this means that following most chasidic cults leads one into the Dark Side.

The reason I as a philosopher am discussing these issues is that basically I hold from the Kant school of thought that Carl Jung was a part of.

The  areas in which i think that breslov is wrong and are are: Pantheism, so called Zniut and actually many other things
However i admit that I don't consider chasidut to be of the degree of  authority that breslov gives it.In this case i think every person should and must create his own world view based on the Torah and philosophy and science and Logic and reason and especially his or her own parents.

With the emphasis in breslov on  the cultic features that define any cult one would be almost tempted to say that chasidut is  not any different than any cult. [one feature is that ''so and so was the greatest such and such that every lived.'' When you encounter this philosophy in any group you are definitely dealing with a cult.]



20.8.12

The essential event that happens is one starts to think of himself as a god or as G-d or the true tzadik or many other variations of ego inflation.

(Morality  means: Never lying, and working honestly for a living, and not asking for handouts, and being married. The Ten Commandments.
 I consider morality and holiness to be closely connected. (That I got from Hegel).
  On the other hand Kabalah and/or Eastern religions tend (when they are effective in opening the gates to the beyond)  to be traps. What I am trying to say is the standard common sense morality and logic and reason seems to me to be the only valid standards of behavior and spirituality. Logic may not be very good, but it is the best thing out there. Common sense does not seem perfect, but it is the best among  all other options.

We must distinguish what we might call common sense morality. One ought not to tell lies, one ought to keep agreements, one ought not to attack others without provocation--these are all elements of common sense morality.


[I was at The Mir and then when I got to Israel I did get a kind of sense [immediate non-intuitive knowledge] for the spiritual realm. But I don't think this is exclusive. Also, I think that the basic reason that this path worked was for the basic moral values in the path
Torah contains two levels. A first level moral law and then a second level Divine Law. To see this in detail see the Rambam/(Maimonides). The first level is the law of the ancient Greeks, natural law. The next level is Mount Sinai.  The Rambam holds the first level also needed Revelation. People are in no way automatically moral. To get even to the level of natural law needed some kind of Divine input.
Then when people were ready for it came the second level of Mount Sinai. Now what I wanted to point out is the are plenty of aspects of the first level of natural law in the Torah. Because the Rambam and the Talmud make clear that the Laws of the Torah have reasons. And these reasons are not mysterious. They are knowable. and the Rambam [Maimonides] himself gives some of the reasons, some of which are straightforward natural law.]




Now I can get to my point after this introduction. The point is once one gets in connect with the spiritual realm the basic event that happens is the Dark Side shows up, and also ego inflation occurs. This is totally outside the basic effect of learning kabalistic literature which causes ego inflation even when one is not in contact with the spiritual realm.
The essential event that happens is one starts to think of himself as the Messiah or as G-d or the true tzadik or many other variations of ego inflation.

The fact of ego inflation does not take away the fact that one may have true insights into spiritual  and human nature. In this mixed realm,  great insight and miracles tend to be mixed with an overgrown ego and personality problems that get inflated because of the power of this realm. I have not seen or heard any safeguards against this. Every spiritual group that I have seen or heard of seems to have the same exact set of problems.



19.8.12

The problem is simple. Muslims are addicted to murder. It is just a bad habit that is hard to break.

 However I remember going to the Kotel (Western Wall) by bus, and every day there were some Arabs in the Gate of Shechem area that threw Molotov cocktails at the bus and rocks. But this was at a time when Eged [the bus company] had gotten smart and put unbreakable windows on the buses. But this was a daily incident. I highly doubt if any of the Arabs were even searched for by the police. The Israeli police in that area were in general Arabs or Druze themselves. This type of incident did not seem to bother them much. [That is to say I do not know if they were Druze or Arabs, because they seemed to be both. It seems to me that Israel sometimes put straightforward Arab police in the area and other times put Druze from the North. It seems to me clear that the Druze would have been  more eager to enforce the law and protect the buses. [In fact, even Arabs from the north of Israel probably would have been more eager to enforce the law. The Arabs from the North of Israel were in general peaceful decent citizens in  those days.] But that never happened. The attacks on the buses were daily over the several year period that I was going to the Kotel(Western Wall) every day.]  But besides this there were many attacks on me and others on a daily basis that never got into the news. I remember one professor at Hebrew University in Givat Ram [the Natural Sciences  campus] that was killed on one bus. This bothered me more than usual because I knew him. He was the professor that the Russian Physicist, George Ryzanov did his experiments in his lab to test his Unified Field Theory. So I had some dealings with him. [I no longer think his theory is right.]
Here is an important insight from the foremost philosopher of this generation:
"Historically, terrorism falls in a category different from crimes that concern a criminal court judge."
Jurgen Habermas
This is the problem in Israel The terrorism being practiced daily on Jews are not criminal offensives. The media thinks they can cover of the nature of the problem by the weasel word way of referring to "the conflict" in the Middle East. This is not a "conflict." It is war. And in war you can't go and question every person from the enemy side to see if he is actively attacking Jews today.  And even if you could find out, what can you do if tomorrow he decides to buy a non refundable ticket to Gan Eden by killing some Jews or Christians?

Can you imagine in World War I walked out of your trench across the battle field to the other side and reading Miranda rights to the soldiers on the other side?
The problem is simple. Muslims are addicted to murder. See the article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali:The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World. [http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/05/ayaan-hirsi-ali-the-global-war-on-christians-in-the-muslim-world.html] It really does not matter if it is Jews or Christians or other Muslims. It is simply an addiction that there is no cure for. It is like cigarettes addiction or drugs. At a certain point, the person just can't help himself anymore.

18.8.12

Is there a moral obligation to observe social norms?

Is there a moral obligation to observe social norms? I have a few questions that bother me about social norms. The questions that bother me about social norms are :  Are they natural law? Or are they legal positivism? They seem to be neither, but occupy some middle ground. These questions bother me  because I was born in America at a time in which the major goal and value was self reliance and individuality. Even though the hippies were attacking social norms,  but they just elevated these values beyond their usually accepted level. In Southern California to be independently minded was the  given prime value. No one debated this. [Unlike in the USSR where individualism was attacked.]
But as for what values one would come up with? Clearly Nietzsche was the big thing in those days and also Ann Rand. (She held from agent based values). [Marxism was the economic theory  the philosophy of the hippies.] So the American value of self reliance was swallowed by other value systems. To Nietzsche the Ubermensch creates his own values. To Marx, moral values are an invention of the ruling monied class to exploit the workers. It is a form of moral relativism like Nietzsche. Still the hippies were attacking authority and emphasized the need to be your own person.
Later when I leaned Talmud I discovered that it was very similar to Spinoza in that it holds from an objective moral system than does not depend on the observer.

  Talmud was very different than science because in science you could not start to do your own research until you finished and knew the subject. In Talmud each area stands by itself. So you can in theory open up one Tosphot and understand it without having to have gone through the whole Talmud. [Science is like a pyramid.]

  The Rambam (Maimonides) holds from two axioms that are prime values in his mind. One that there is no difference between the laws of the Torah and the Talmud. That seems simple enough. In general the law of  Talmud is  connected and supported by Biblical law. The Sages of the Talmud sure spend enough time and effort to defend this. However you can't see how successful they were without Tosphot.
The other thing that occupied the attention of Maimonides was to show that the system of law based on the Law  is  rigorous. He succeed in this. No one before or after him ever did.


  However like Von Mises' critique of communism,  any system of human beings that controls people from the top is doomed to failure. The first reason is the reason of Von Mises. Lack of information. While Maimonides showed the logical rigor of the Law,  if you look in any one area, the basic questions of application come fast and heavy until you realize that  in spite of how simple it looks you really don't know the law. The other thing is concept of an all knowing judge (of Ronald Dworkin). Even if he know all the details of the law and all the details of everyone's life--it is still a system being administered from the top to the bottom. There is still no self reliance or independence.

  What is bothering me is social norms. These are clearly very important to people trying to create a super-organism. But do they have any moral value?



Three things bother me. First that the social norms  are considered authoritative, not the Talmud or Rambam, nor Shulchan Aruch. Mere social norms are elevated to Divine status. This bothers me because it was not how I understood the Talmud. The whole idea of the Talmud was that God gave men laws to keep. These laws are objective. They do not depend on what people think of them. This is certainly how Maimonides understood the Talmud.  If not for this, the leaders at the desert of  Sinai could simply have decided that worshiping the Golden calf was perfectly permitted, and you go by a majority vote.

  Social norms gained status after the Middle Ages. Very little of what came after the Middle Ages impresses me except for Mathematics and  the  natural sciences. Even getting rid of kings bothers me. (Large portions of the populace vote themselves money and various carve-outs out of the public coffers. These groups vote monolithically as ethnic blocs to do achieve these takings.Who needs dumb voters?)

  This lead me to the third thing that bothers me more than any of the above. The difference between esoteric doctrine and exoteric doctrine. Once a community is stating public doctrines that are meant to entice people to join the movement, but holding from esoteric doctrines  in which the real norms of behavior are different and often directly opposed to the exoteric doctrines--then I define this community as an cult with all of the negative connotations that go along with that noun. What bothers me is the rationalization of crime when the criminals  in authority and the use of social norms to justify this.

  As for me, I think Reason can know objective moral values . Moral values are based on Nature,-not the will of men. This can also be called Divine Law. The Torah is to tell us what we ought to be able to perceive on out own if not for the evil inclination. This is my own approach to moral issues based large on the Torah and the medieval thought of Maimonides.
 
  This approach is somewhere in between the Kant approach that reason can perceive ''the thing in itself'' though he does not say how, and the intuitionists like H.A. Prichard  and say that reason perceives universals, and morals are universals applied to human affairs. {In this way the intuitionists are like Hegel.} [This is directly opposed to the so called neo-Kant school which is not like Kant at all. To Kant the existence of the ''thing in itself'' does not depend on the perception of the subject.]


16.8.12

And maybe Nietzsche was right. Maybe the conscious does distort the real truth



 Ignoring the vast subcontinent of the Id does not make it go away. And maybe Nietzsche was right. Maybe the conscious does distort the real truth.


  So what are the implications of this?

My advice about sex is to be in a Lithuanian yeshiva and learn Torah until you are offered a shiduch.
That seems to be the best idea because outside of the world of Torah,  girls aren't very good.

For a good marriage it is best that the girl have two characteristics: (1) Jewish, (2) daughter of someone who learns Torah. The guy--should  learn Torah. Now in Israel there are learners, and guys who learn half and work half, and guys who work. My approach was to learn and do a bit of science on the side, but at this point I might agree that half Torah and half work is better. I admit I am not sure. It is hard to say which path is better.

Rav Shach held -learn until marriage and then if one needs to work then fine. My parents held one should go to university and prepare for a honest vocation.
It is hard to know what to do as a rule. I was myself in Mir in NY before I was married and after that also. And later I went to Israel when Rav Ernster invited me to join his kollel in Safed. Learning Torah is important but there is something about the way the system is set up in Israel that annoyed me. It was like it was considered a 9-5 business and it was run in such a way. I did not want any part of a system that was making Torah into a money making factory so I left that kollel for all the seven years I was in Safed. The way I see it is accepting charity to learn Torah is an argument. The other rishonim disagreed with the Rambam on that point. They said it is allowed. But to have  a situation where one says if you come in at 9 to 5 and learn we will pay you-that makes Torah into a business. And I never heard of any Rishon that allows such a thing. So I threw myself on God's mercy and hoped he would support me without my doing something I thought was against the Torah. And he did help me until I left Israel.



After I left Israel and my wife left, I was no longer socially accepted and could not even walk into any yeshiva or kollel without being thrown out from either the first moment or a day or two.

Now I see most teachers of virtue (Torah) as being in it for the money,- because there is the problem that the students of teachers of virtue are unjust and not virtuous. So there must be something wrong with the system. [That is if the students turn out bad, that must say something about the teachers. Virtue and Torah I think are being betrayed.]



So unless we are talking about Ponovitch or the great Litvak yeshivas in NY, I have come to think of the whole system as terrible and not loyal to Torah. I see the Orthodox world as being organized around Compulsive Obsessive Schizoid leaders that are excellent at doing rituals and not connected with Torah except in appearance alone.

Since then I hope to merit someday to learn Torah. And I contemplate, "What went wrong?"
The answer of Nietzsche seems best: "Consciousness distorts Truth."

That means Nietzsche thought the Id has special access to the truth but it gets distorted as it gets to the surface of consciousness. The consciousness it to him just an phenomenon of the representation--not even of the Id. And clearly this is what Reb Israel Salanter was saying in his Igeret HaMusar. Learn Musar strong an long enough and it will penetrate into the Id and that will allow the Id to bring forth the un-distorted truth.

So what we have is apparently an argument between Rav Shach and my parents. But I think we can minimize the area of the argument to a small space. No one is disagreeing with the Rambam about the importance of learning Torah, Physics and Metaphysics as these last two were understood by Aristotle and the Rambam. And Rav Shach is agreeing also with the idea of  a vocation. I think for all practical purposes the area of disagreement approaches zero if we consider these facts.

11.8.12

I had in mind a great theme to discuss --Sin.

I had in mind a great theme to discuss --Sin.
Sometimes I have one major thesis in mind that I want to defend. But today I just wanted to bring up different aspects of this very fascinating subject.
First of all let me just be straight and upfront. I think the concept of sin is a great idea. The ancient Greeks certainly had this in a powerful way. But for them a sin for Aphrodite was a mitzvah for Venus. You just could not win them all. And even the gods were subject to the Fates. And all together, even the Fates, were subject to the meta-Divine realm. When God gave the Torah, this changed. In the Torah, the concept of sin is very  well defined. The Torah reveals an amazing fact. That there is only one God that we will have to give a reckoning to. And that day of reckoning will come.


But because people are sinful, they like to excuse  sin in different ways. One is by defining sin out of existence. Another is to make the social norms of the social group to be the definition of virtue, and deviation from social norms they define as sin. Philosophers get out of the problem of sin by coming up with some nice sounding abstract principle. When you first hear it, it sounds reasonable. But then they use it to justify out things which people know by common sense are wrong  In fact, this is the major occupation of philosophers in this generation. [Examples: Principle of Double Effect of Anscombe. or for example people know it is wrong to steal. But Marx comes up with a whole theory that property is theft and you get  Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Stalinist Russia and Enver Hoxha's  atheistic Albania. Not beacons in the darkness.]

I  would like the defend the idea of sin as a simple concept. It is things that God says in the Bible not to do. Or it is ignoring things that you are supposed to do. And someday you and I will have to give an account for why we ignored this.
Now I know that some people use the Talmud to over define sin. I agree that this is bad. (Some people take obscure statements from the Talmud and make it look ridiculous.) But based on the Torah and Talmud, I think I can come up with a short list of things that can define for every person the idea of sin. In fact, I don't even have to do it. There already is this short list. It is called the Ten Commandments. But since this list has been clichéd out of existence maybe I still need to state plainly what sin is.
Sin is: disobeying your parents. Sin is to lie or even say an non truth with no malicious intention. Sin is to cheat in business. I could go on, but you get the idea. Well, maybe I should go on.  Sin is coveting that which belongs to your neighbor, or using your voting power to get possession of what belongs to your neighbor. Sin is adultery (sex with a married woman. Not sex out of marriage.).--which has a specific definition--but I would include all the relations mentioned in Leviticus.

But every groups has it own norms that differ from these that they try to make into the level of the Ten Commandments. In some groups it is the greatest sin to support the Jewish state. In other it is a sin to wear the wrong clothing. I agree that these things are taken with great seriousness. I just hold that the social norms that religious cults or political movements  to promote do not have the benefit of Divine approval.
Now I need to get to the second idea about sin.I don't hold that it is wrong because God commands us not to do it. I don't think it is wrong and so God commands us not to do it. Rather i believe that God made people in a certain way.A nature way, and also made hidden paths to his divine Light.the things that God commands us are just telling us about an existing road map.Not being the road map is wrong because it leads one off the cliff. It is not wrong simply because it is written in the road map. there is a reason it is there.
I hope this does not sound like religious fanaticism. If it does I apologize. I know some people even in this subject do go a bit overboard. I have heard of people that in fact know than sin is wrong. But then they are aware of an alternative religion science-ism--the belief that only what science says is true , and these people starting from Kierkegaard wanted to defend the Bible from the onslaught of Hegel and philosophy. They said science is wrong and goodbye. This I feel is wrong. I grew up in a Jewish home in which there was a place fro Torah and science together with zero contradictions I feel that Torah and Talmud can hold their own ground in any competition with any philosopher. But I don't think they could win a war against philosophy and science. They just deal with different issues. When I go to town is see there are stores which sell clothing and others which sell food. I don't see that there is any conflict. Clothing and food are different things which I value. No conflict.








10.8.12

Conformity is valued in all groups. But in some non conformity is punished in worse ways.

There is a whole science of the super-organism that waits to be discovered.when one joins a group he thinks it is from his own free will and thinks he can leave of his own free will. but this is not the case. Once inside a group the rules change. There are for example social norms that if one violates the groups has a way of punishing. this does not happen by any particular individual in the group by by the power and energy of the group itself. This gets to be problematic if the stated norms of the groups are different from the actual norms.

Conformity is valued in all groups. But in some non conformity is punished in worse ways. Growing up in Anglo American society one gets used the idea of individuality being tolerated and sometimes even respected (if one can prove his merit). (It was considered an ideal to aspire to to be your own self in the 1960's) But in many groups individuality is harshly punished. Sometimes  because the group is just a small religious group there is not much they can do legally. But still they tend to label anyone that  deviates from the norms as a kook; and because of the power of the super-organism, this label can in fact stick. This problem is impassible for all human beings.
For being part a of a group is no different than a cell that is part of a human body. Though it seems self sufficient. Taken away from the larger body it decays and dies. So again if one does not want this to happen to him or her he should be careful what kind of group he joins.



At any rate I am pretty sure that the fact that being part of a social organism is so essential to the human being that this must be the reason Habermas [who some people consider the greatest philosopher of this generation] is not as against Marxist theory as most serious philosophers are. He must see it as a kind of social paste.--and who knows maybe it is. But my complain is that once a long time ago the Constitution of the USA was a marvelous social glue. But the effect of the socialist policies introduced in the 1960's did what socialist entitlement policies generally do--they create interest groups who have no sense of identity with the general society, and instead try to suck the life out of the larger society. This has happened in America.

9.8.12

super-groups and super organisms.

(To have any group you need law. No law-no group. And the law is always based on ideology. This is part and parcel of human beings.. You want to have a true ideology as opposed to a false one. But even among true principles there can be a lot of divergence. All animals seems to be organized around some basic principia. Super-organism are just  examples of this. (The U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. were good examples. The problem with Socialism is it forces people into rival interest groups, that try to suck the blood out of society to support their own group. But still there the you see the basic aspects of the human need to be part of a super-group or super organisms.
These super-groups have all the traits of a real life form.
They develop hooks that they stick into people that want to leave the group. Once part of a group one can never leave it without losing his life except by some miracle. But not all these groups are bad. Sometimes a person comes along that wants to found a movement or group based on some good principles.

E.g. the Madragat HaAdam (a disciple of Israel Salanter) that tried to start a movement based on trust in God. I tried to follow this path myself. I discovered a funny thing. It worked until I left it. But once I left it I could not make it work again. But as long as I stuck with it it worked.

Hegel thought individual conscious can only exist in connection with other peoples consciousness. 


6.8.12

Capitalism it is true does not reward virtue. So what does? Did the USSR reward virtue? Does Cuba reward virtue? Does the welfare system in America reward virtue?
Or does it reward laziness and covetousness?
Capitalism rewards greed. And Communism Does not? here is a anecdote that has a kernel of truth of how property far from being considered theft was actual worshiped in the USSR. a group of solders are standing watch around a perimeter before nuclear test. they are given instructions that if the yield of the Bomb is more than expected they should hold their rifles away from their bodies so that as the rifle is melting it should not drip onto their boots which are soviet state property.[It is hard to predict accurately neutron absorption. Also it is true there were a lot of nuclear related incidents and accidents that happened. People know about Chernobyl but not so many know about the K278 on April 7 1989.
However that was a very advanced model. It could dive more than twice as deep as a Los Angeles class or an Alpha ]



On 7 April 1989, while under the command of Captain 1st Rank Evgeny Vanin and running submerged at a depth of 335 metres (1,099 ft) about 180 kilometres (100 nmi) southwest of Bear Island (Norway)[1], fire broke out in the aft compartment, and even though watertight doors were shut, the resulting fire spread through bulkhead cable penetrations. The reactor scrammed and propulsion was lost. Electrical problems spread as cables burned through, and control of the boat was threatened. An emergency ballast tank blow was performed and the submarine surfaced eleven minutes after the fire began. Distress calls were made, and most of the crew abandoned ship.

The fire continued to burn, fed by the compressed air system. Several hours after the boat surfaced, it sank again in 1,680 metres (5,510 ft) of water. The commanding officer and four others who were still on board entered the escape capsule and ejected it. Only one of the five to reach the surface survived.

Rescue aircraft arrived quickly and dropped small rafts, but many men had already died from hypothermia in the 2 °C (36 °F) water of the Barents Sea. The floating fish factory B-64/10 Aleksey Khlobystov (Алексей Хлобыстов) arrived 81 minutes after K-278 sank, and took aboard 25 survivors and 5 fatalities. In total, 42 men died in the accident.

1.8.12

It has bothered me for some time why a great philosopher -Jurgen Habermas seems to like Marx.
The only explanation that I can see is he likes the idea that means of production {and apparently means and ways of making a living} determine people's morality and world view, instead of the world view determining their means of support like they claim. If this is the whole big deal about Marx--that people are irrational primates, then I don't see what the great news is. Original sin is a doctrine that I have heard of before. People are born into sin and then they excuse it with philosophy. Fine.
(Kelly Ross: "Karl Marx did not have a theory of morality; he had a theory of history. Thus, Marxism was not about right or wrong but about what will happen in history.
and what his theory predicted did not happen. The problem with Marxism was that it has never been willing to accept the discipline of falsification. The Marxist "high tide of prophecy," in Karl Popper's phrase, was perfectly willing to kill people by the millions rather than accept that "wreckers," spies, or some diabolical conspiracy were not responsible for the failure of Marxist economics.")

Maybe what is going on is the idea that desires determine perception--and especially the class one belongs to of better yet the social group. But this is saying the same thing. people desire to be upstanding member of a social group more than life.as the kamikaze pilots of WWII teach us.

OK you can say all I need to do is to read Habermas. But there is the trouble (besides the German language). At blowing Rawls (and the postmodern lunatics) out of the water he is great. But in building his own system he does not seem all that great.
Personally I would like to ask him why he does not spend more effort on John Locke and John Locke's state of Nature?