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I will here set out a few of my opinions in a fairly plain form; it is my wish that they may someday be of some small service to humanity.
To start with, what can be done to correct the modern world? Now, that is a very tricky question because there are two problems with the modern world. For one, it's too conformist. Secondly, it's too chaotic. We must promote individuality and order. This sounds like a contradiction but really it isn't at all. An orderly society is necessary to promote the highest forms of individuality. Creativity must be expressed within the framework of a community.
And a successful community must have rules and these rules must have teeth! I was just in downtown Ashland waiting for a walk signal. And this girl across from me looked, saw that it was clear and crossed. This is fine everybody thinks. But I had to move out of her way to let her onto the sidewalk and the walk signal appeared during this shuffle. I started to step out but a turning car, thinking no one was walking, nearly hit me. My point is that small infractions of rules are not okay! Systems need rules in order to function; any violation deserves severe punishment.
And you have to understand that I'm speaking in a philosophical sense. I'm not calling for harsher enforcement of our laws. Our laws, like our society, are morally bankrupt. No, I'm talking about how things should be done in a good society.
Now, having moved past order, let's address ambition. Ambition is a great evil. If I were a religous man, I would believe that the devil planted it in us to tempt us to destruction. When planning our society, we should always just plan for secure survival. Our world is too unpredictable to warrant humans taking chances. For instance, take genetic engineering. We have this great dream of creating new crops and great new wealth. Now, that's all fine and someday it may work. But we are leaping into it, virtually untested. Now, evolution is an incredibly complex system. Again, we are not respecting systems. We are making small violations and thinking that they will be allright. Basically, we're altering genetic codes to make changes we desire without a full understanding of how these systems work. Take this as a metaphor for our whole society, not a specific commentary on genetic engineering.
Thirdly, as for what is called for, I have to say a fair degree of ruthlesness. I too, in many ways am still a democratic thinker, a believer in egalitarianism, free speech, etc. But after years and years of reflection, I've relieved that the great march of liberal progress has taken us somewhere rather undesirable.
The masses, in their current form, are very far from being able to rule themselves. Power must be put back into the hands of some form of elite.
A more difficult problem is that our population is way too high and we are paving the earth. This is not acceptable. It's better to kill off two thirds of humanity than to let this go on. Again, we're making changes in a system without understanding it. We didn't evolve on a paved earth; we have no reason to think that we should continue to survive on one.
Finally, I wish to get to my more abstract philosophy, that which I laid out in "This is This" and other poems. My personal philosopy is a sort of minimalism. I've done so much reading and come across so many ideas. And the flaw that I see in most of them is too much generality. When we talk, we use words like egalitarianism, existence, government, law, democracy, etc. These words are too general to have much meaning. We live in a very specific world. So when we talk, it's better to speak specifically. Talk about length, width, color, etc. Beware of abstractions, metaphors, and comprehensive logic. These things, though valuable from the most profound thinkers, are very dangerous and can greatly mislead you.
Lastly, and most importantly, I've come to trust my emotions. I've lived most of my life trying to reason everything out. But you can't, reason is only a small part of our natures. It is far better to trust in intuition and emotion. There is "sometimes a great notion" but I have yet to come across a great thought. I know that I'm on the right track when, as now, there are no thoughts in my head and my words come from somewhere else.


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The following comments are for "My Philosophy"
by seanspacey

Great Job.
Sean,

Great job on the writing. It looks as if you put a lot of time and energy into writing this- I continued reading more after I saw what was wrong with the world and what we've got to promote.

"For one, it's too conformist. Secondly, it's too chaotic. We must promote individuality and order."

You're absolutely correct. With everything going on in the world, I think that you've given me a topic to write about.

Well done, I'm giving it a nine.

The one and only,

-James

( Posted by: Searching4Ever [Member] On: December 16, 2004 )

Rogan's $.02
Well, in my experience, your $.02 is probably worth a fortune. But here's where I stand: A billion, half a billion, people would easily provide all the diversity we need. My vision is of a highly intellectual, technological society living in harmony with nature. I want the earth to be a garden, not a city. And, the highest level of emotional intelligence, is when you come to understand the harsh nature of this world and gain the ability to make hard decisions, about life and death, with cruel wisdom but also with whatever compassion the world leaves to your disgression. This is not Eden. In order to be effective, great creative minds require massive followings of not so original minds. Roman civilization, this world's grandfather, was built on the back of a massive slave population. I don't have all the answers. I am just one voice. But I know that the harsh problems humanity now faces require equally harsh answers.

( Posted by: seanspacey [Member] On: December 16, 2004 )

hmm...
You're a very intelligent man but I think your calculations are a little off on this matter. I mean, a billion individuals is a gigantic gene pool and well beyond any threat of inbreeding, particularly if this billion was selected to represent all ethnic groups. And that's not off the top of my head, I'm no expert but I've read all of the biological works of Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins and I never miss an issue of Discover.
But I'm no arrogant fool; I'm not saying that this sort of massive population reduction is necessarily a good idea. I'm well aware of the moral monstrosities involved. But the problem of over-population and environmental destruction is very real and it will have to be dealt with. And, frankly, it is humanity's fault for over-populating. This society has made its bed and it will have to lie in it. And I don't feel that bad about it. Humans are not a rational or a moral species. We are a species that creates rational and moral individuals. I am one of these and I save my loyalty for similar creatures, which I've noticed you to be, regardless of what you think of me or my ideas.

( Posted by: seanspacey [Member] On: December 16, 2004 )

ambition, greed, enterprise
Sean, I find it ironic that in your final synopsis you make a point that it's probably a good idea to be wary of generalization, when that's precisely what you're doing here.

Your take on ambition reminds me a lot of my impression of that old 80's phrase "Greed is good". The trouble with both is that they mistake each other, equally, with enterprise. Yet there are essential differences between the three -- ambition, much like enterprise, seeks to move beyond the realizations of the status quo (much as your essay, as well as Nietzche's general philosophy, intends), where greed focuses solely on the immediate satisfaction of the individual, regardless of consequence. It is entirely possible to be ambitious and enterprising without being greedy -- Franklin's refusal to patent his stove, his bifocals and his lightning rod (because he had enough money and leaving these items patent-free did the world far more good by way of ideological availability) is an excellent example of this point.

The idea that society rests on firmer ground when managed by an intelligent elite is debatable, at best -- the trouble with kings, of course, is that you never know when you're going to get a Solomon or a Nero. Without kings, where the right of power relies solely on intelligence fueled by ambition, you either arrive at the political scenario in which we currently exist or the heavier-handed, propoganda-fueled one which ran Russia into the ground. I heartily concur with Jefferson where he said that given a choice between a country with a government and a country with newspapers, the latter is preferrable. In the best-case scenario we have highly reputable newspapers, excellent education, well-run debates leading into the voting process of democracy and a perennial engagement in the excercise of logic. Such things, unfortunately, are the pure stuff of dreams, where the pursuit of money exists as the more realizable goal of the individual amongst the masses.

Minimalism is good and I will always concur with the epithet "Live simply so that others may simply live" yet there is a point in realizing that there is an essential difference in developing the potential of the individual and developing the unmangaged appetite of the unexamined individual -- a point I felt your essay sorely missed.

As regards the difference between EQ and IQ, my alma mater has a motto I really love "Faith without reason risks fanaticism, while reason wthout faith risks cynicism" The essential choice is one of balance, not one over the other, or a refusal which posits neither, but a grasping of both in deliberate and mindful-soulful harmony, simultaneously.

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: December 18, 2004 )





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