Showing posts from July, 2023
I wrote in an earlier post that biggest problem with the 20th century was the overestimation of the importance of language.  I want to clarify that point.   I am not opposed to language or to the philosophical importance thereof, per se .  My opposition is to linguistic humanism : the tendency to make language the dividing line between humans and other animals, with humans conceived of as in some sense higher than the other animals - though often with a kind of dark, tragic dignity, sometimes a kind of wistful longing for the supposed innocence of animals.  Sometimes this includes a belief that humans are in some sense "rational" while other animals are not - perhaps because humans think in terms of "concepts," which are thought of as in some sense impossible without language.  An obvious example would be Jean-Paul Sartre, who regarded animals as machines, or as he put it, "only a body," but humans as fundamentally different from machines, because of lang

Ethical individualism, epistemological collectivism

  I am ethically an individualist, but epistemologically a collectivist.   I have written about egos and egoism before - broadly, I am in favor, but I also think that the ego can become an obstacle in its own projects - as I like to put it, the ego isn't selfish enough - and for this reason, I call myself "egoish".  I don't think there is anything given or automatic about individualism.  I think that the ego is a construction: mostly a social construction, though also, to an important extent, a personal construction.  But I also think that that's a good thing.  We should construct egos.  We have a responsibility to construct the ego as a locus of responsibility.  It's a good thing to individuate.  It's a good thing to build yourself, creatively, to develop strength and self-possession, or, to put it in that one beautiful word: composure .  So yes, ethically, I stand by individualism.   But, on the other hand - and precisely because of what I have said

Introduction to Lenin

  Introduction to Lenin  I've been hesitant to write anything about Lenin, but it's difficult to avoid.  It seems unhelpful, and often downright counterproductive, because it can divide the left.  (My only consolation is that there's not that there's much of a left, these days, to divide!)  I'm certainly willing to work together with those who consider themselves Lenin's followers on specific projects, and I don't want to waste my time or theirs pointing out all of Lenin's shortcomings.  On the other hand, it feels a bit dishonest not to let them know my negative opinions of Leninist theory - or rather, the facts, which often speak for themselves.  I definitely don't want to be the type of person who spends all of his time writing about how bad Bolshevism was - mostly because that would be very boring, and there are so many more interesting things to write about.  To me, the Bolshevik era is not an especially important time and place in history - I d


  In Kuf, there is a religion known as Viandros.  I'll admit right off the bat that I don't understand the complexities of this religion, but from what I gather, the central tenet of Viandros is the cultivation of Shush.  I get the impression that Shush means something like "spirituality," though the connotations seem to be a little different than in English, and some Viandrists maintain that Shush cannot be cultivated - that you already have it, but you may not fully understand this, or be able to express this in language.  Perhaps Shush might mean something more like "consciousness"? There are several sects of Viandros.  There are a few that are classified as Nachoric.  From what I hear, these people believe that the material world doesn't exist - it is nothing but an illusion - though I never spoke to any Nachoric Viandrists, so reports of them are purely secondhand.  Apparently, centuries ago, Nachoric Viandrists were very popular, but then they were


I was talking with my friend Margo the other day.  She's the Area Coordinator for "Justice for Jonny Gammage," which was protesting the police murder of a young Black man.  She's also heavily involved in a lot of other causes: The PRIDE Alliance, which deals with LGBTQ+ issues, including Bash Back!, Take Back the Land, which fought against foreclosure, and for the interests of unhoused people, the Drug Policy Alliance, which fought for the decriminalization of all illegal drugs, CDS, which advocates for restorative justice, and probably some more that I don't even know about. The topic of Marxism came up.  I expected her to be somewhat open-minded towards Marxism, but I was surprised when she said, with a sneer of disgust on her face, "Marxism!  Marxism is just the socially acceptable way of being conservative." I asked her what she meant.   "Look," she said, "There are only two sides in politics: the liberals and the conservatives.  Or yo