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Monday
Aug162010

You Only Have One Life. Do You Value It? Or Are You Going To Throw It Away? Perhaps, Sacrifice It?

What do you live for? Why do you work? To what end? Is this life just a ride you get to experience for 80 years or so, if you're lucky? Is your reason to be alive to serve God or some other purpose? Is it to serve others? Your family? Or is it to serve yourself? To what end is the purpose of your life? Is it the attainment of virtues? The fulfillment of values? To what end?

I believe that no matter the explicitly articulated reason someone thinks they live, the real reason is personal happiness. It is the only end for which all others are sought. For even while serving others, a person who prides themself in being altruistic, necessarily aims their actions at that which is perceived to make them most happy. The morality of self-sacrifice is nothing but a myth. In reality, it is impossible to practice consistently, because it will surely result in self-deprication. What is really moral and by extension practical is what is in a person's self-interest. The more closely a person orients themself towards or in regards to reality, the better they will be able to reason what it is that is in their best interest. And as a result, stronger and more capable of helping those whom he or she values, for if someone helps, not sacrifices, but helps another, it is always because the helper gains a value perceived to be worth the effort. It is being aware and capable in this world that is good and moral. This place is all there is, all that can be known to be and is what is real. It makes possible all life and the only thing worth living for, happiness. It is moral to want more and to fight for it, if necessary. It is selfish. Not at the, or any, expense of another. It is good.

It is now known that after a brain is electrically silent, which can occur either with the use of large amounts of general anesthesia, when the brain cools past a certain temperature or when the brain is without oxygen for more than 30 seconds or so, not only can it be rebooted, but consciousness as well as physically stored and organized memories can be restored and sustained. Theoretically, prolonged vitrification, or cryostasis, can as well retain one's personhood, which is physically stored in the brain. We are currently well underway, albeit still in the beginning phases, of nacent major technological breakthroughs that will change the world. Why guarantee the ending of your existence by embalming your decaying body and placing it in a casket underground or burning yourself to ashes and having them spread over the sea or placed in an urn? You want to serve your family and loved one's? Stick around! Why not respect, honor and celebrate yourself by getting cryogenically preserved? Why simply throw away a chance, albeit a small one, at more happiness, more achievement, more learning and more time with loved ones without disease and morbidity? There is nothing else, no other 'after-life', for those of us mortals born too early to reap nascent, but still too far off, radical life extending technology. I think it can and will be done. At worst, my form is preserved in a tank, rather than perverted somewhere else.

I believe it is clear that the achievement of sustained prolific happiness is a most moral end to our actions.

 

For more on information and discussion on where we are now in the science of human cryogenic suspension, watch these short videos on the Alcor Life Extension Foundation website:

Suspended Animation By Vitrification, Link: http://www.alcor.org/Library/videos/vitrification.html

Limitless Future, Link: http://www.alcor.org/Library/videos/LimitlessFuture.html

Monday
Aug162010

Put Down Your Gun, You Thug.

A letter to my sister-in-law,

My intention is not to offend, simply to declare facts. A circa late 20th century postmodern multi-culturalist socialist university education and watching mainstream media news coverge and punditry is simply not sufficient to give one a proper objective education and comprehensive understanding of today’s political culture. An objective view of history, particularly philosophy’s influence on culture and politics along with rigorous adherence to logic and reason and empirical reality is the only path to seeing our world more clearly. This means literally. For, if we use metaphor as a replacement for basic principles, our orientation is necessarily, at least partially, directed away from reality. The only thing every body shares is objective reality and our individualistic nature. We are entities within and part of the objective universe. This universe operates according to physical laws, which are predictable and reproducible. And by our physical structure as human beings, our brains function similarly, in that every action we make is a result of neuronal processes that cannot be shared. We are autonomous organic machines. There is no collective brain, not literally. Metaphorically, sure. It is always through this individualistic nature that we relate to each other. And proper government is the necessary protection from one monopolizing bully to ensure we are left capable of taking care of ourselves and our decisions. Individuals function as such, by our nature, and liberty is being left free to do as you wish as long as someone bigger and stronger doesn’t infringe on your autonomy.

“The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty or action of any of their number is self protection.”

---On Liberty, John Stuart Mills, 1859

There is only one thing that you can interfere with or limit the liberty of someone for, one goal, one value gives you the right to interfere and it is self protection. Nothing else besides protecting yourself, not getting your kids a good education, not getting the government to build you a road to get to work, not anything except protecting you from bodily harm. This is the only principle that allows you to interfere with another’s autonomy. To justify doing something to someone else, of harm, you must prove that their actions were going to cause direct harm to another. Being free means being able to act in your own self-interest except if we are going to hurt someone. I should not be able to get money from someone I don’t know, who doesn’t need an education for my children, or a road near my house or healthcare my doctor gives me to pay for it from the money he or she earned, that money which is necessary to sustain their life.

And as for altruism, hogwash. Tricking the masses of humans into believing self-sacrifice is good is one of the greatest evils of religion and theology (the study of one particular metaphor) that there is.  Every decision every human being makes is always, every time, one based on, at least perceived, self-interest. Sustained sacrifice of an individual would necessarily result in their demise. People do good for others because it is in their perceived self-interest.

Agreeing that we all share in each other’s individuality is what socialism, of any kind and percentage, is suggesting. It is irrational and results in slavery. Every good thing that happens in the economy does so because of the individuals that did the work, not because of governmental oversight and restriction. The one necessary monopolizer of retaliatory force has no business in the lives of individuals, except to protect them from impingements on their liberty.  

At dinner the other night, a point you were concerned about was over the details of local governance in a tax-free system. What if my neighbor did not want protection from the fire department and their house was burning down. Who pays? Do we just let them die? What if their house starts my house on fire? Well, all good questions, I think. I believe that a local system based on individual rights could be figured out and dealt with more easily and morally than the one we’ve got now where everybody pays exorbitant amounts of their earnings, by force, for stuff power-corrupted special interest-indebted leaders that supposedly represent the mob’s, or the day’s culture at large, decide to spend it on.

Also at dinner, my brother was concerned about being “talked at”, I know, but I think a point he made was that philosophers should write books instead of talk to their close family members about changing things in their daily life. His attitude sounds defeatist, I think. Just because the proper moral way to live is difficult to achive from where we are now or that it is not the status quo, it should not be sought after. I am concerned when it is clear to me that Democrats and Republicans are essentially, not completely, but essentially very similar when it comes to governmental impingements on my and your personal individual liberties. And you guys not only give money and vote for these institutions, but also condone and support the philosophical principles that allow this corrupt system to function. You are doing it to me, yourselves and everybody else. Metaphorically speaking, you are pointing the gun. My own family would have me be a slave. And mostly because you simply don't know any better. And do not care and/or are afraid to find out, lest your precious mysticism be challenged. That is why I get a bit frustrated while trying to enlighten you guys. It's one thing to be dragged down by the uneducated welfare state dependent masses, but if you guys who are educated, by society's standards, very intelligent and productive members of society don't get it yet, boy, have we got a long way to go. Hopefully, not back to the dark ages, but forward to a better society, like the one envisioned by Franklin, Jefferson and Adams.

 

This post was thought up and written while watching an excellent new video series by Youtuber Mr. Cropper, entitled, John Stewart Mills "On Liberty". I suggest you watch it. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeSltodPpZE&videos=1Fi2YJZ9Ff8

Tuesday
Jul272010

Future City

Tuesday
Jul202010

Lame Capacity

So I'm writing this chapter in a medical ethics book. My chapter is about medical decision-making capacity, i.e., when is a patient capable of making their own choices? Researching this topic has been an exercise in reading 14th century theological texts. That was a metaphor. Let's cut through all the bullshit and realize that we, well some of us, now know enough about it to know that reality is our gold standard for life. All the related medical literature for the last 40 years "dances" around the issue of rationality, but doesn't have the "balls" or properly integrated knowledge base to define it simply. Instead there is endless posturing about multiple similar arbitrary algorhythmic tests weighing risk, benefit, cost, and "society's feelings", and many lame repetitive chapters like the one I'm writing. It doesn't take a chapter to say that when someone is being irrational, for whatever reason, they are not competent to make a proper decision on that subject. Obviously someone can be logical about their healthcare and irrational about their thoughts on the nature of existence, as the vast majority of patients are. At any rate, I don't believe that I, as a physician, have any absolute responsibility or right to act against my patient's wishes. I just give my professional opinion, often try to convince someone of the correct or logical course of action, if that is known to me, and I might even have a marked emotional response to a patient refusing care, but in this day and age, invoking God is still an acceptable excuse to the medical community for refusing treatment, not because the thought process is acceptable, for they go to court if a parent tries this with their child, but so that they can all go home and worship their arbitrary superbeings without the denial looming too big in their face.

I say that it is simple. I provide a service. If you don't want it, leave the hospital. And I will take control of a patient, or find a surrogate decision maker to help guide medical therapy, if I am confident that it is in that patient's longterm rational self-interest, while they are demonstrating a lack of rationality or decision-making capability. And as such, shouldn't I be able to 'pink slip' anyone who refuses medical therapy on religious, or irrational, grounds, for their own good? The most significant paper in the medical literature that I have found on this particular subject portends that there is a clear difference between the irrational and the nonrational (religion), obviously implying that the nonrational can be a source of knowledge.

The true medical decision making capacity debate should be between a patient’s individual rights and whether they are being logical or not. Our cortices perform logic. We recognize patterns of patterns of perceptual stimuli; store them contextually and hierarchically without contradiction into concepts. Reason and logic allow manipulation, comparison, deduction and induction of and with these. It is this tool that we use to make proper decisions. We can abstract metaphor from these concrete concepts and even abstract further from those. And when we cannot interpret or articulate something concretely, metaphor can be useful to convey how something that is not something else is similar to that thing. This can sometimes be effective, but it is always imprecise.

Our cortices are attached to other more primitive areas of brain and consequently feed them and receive from them signals. Our emotions are not how we think; we cannot think with our emotions. Our emotions are simply involuntary reactions to our thoughts. We use our cortex, vis a vis logic and reason, the noncontradictory integration of perceptual evidence, to think, and make decisions. Our perceptions, through our thoughts and memories, which are stored in our cortex, can trigger a feeling of good, or bad, or of jealousy or of anger. The difference is in what way you interpret those signals that have been sent to your peripheral nervous system, autonomic and somatic.

We grow up, build our knowledge base and decide what to do; if our decisions are rational, we are effective and happy. I acknowledge the less likely possibility of tragedy out of one’s relative control causing pain and suffering, but with humans suffering is usually a manifestation of irrationality. We live and work to get what we want and that is usually happiness. Happiness is the one thing never stored up to use for something else. Fulfilling one’s rational self-interest is what makes one happy; it is what is practical; it is what is moral. And it is up only to that individual whose happiness is at hand. To be happy, one must be rational. If happiness is not possible, it might be rational to end one’s own life and in this case, a competent person can properly chose suicide. It is no one else’s right to lay claim to someone else’s body.

Because each of us are distinct entities, built to survive in this world, each affective decision can be made only by a distinct singular mind. It is partly due to this reason that it is around the individual that rights should be described. And thus, it is logical to not initiate force against another and allow prosperity in a secular society of  laisse-faire capitalism, where the laws are based only on what we have in common, objective reality, and how we can most capably orient ourselves within and as part of it. If we recognize any kind of mysticism as having enough merit to influence cultural or philosophical discourse we a committing the error of the last age, the one responsible for the dark ages.

Let’s once again take reason seriously. All we can know about what is real is through the use of our thinking, not feeling. Knowledge can be obtained no other way. Delusional is delusion, whether it provokes a perceived positive emotional response or not. It boils down to, ”what is the test to give someone to assess his or her competency”? The spiritual and religious cannot/will not make the proper inductive leap to properly answer this question because, in reality, concretely, there is no difference between the non-rational and the irrational. The only way to gain knowledge about the real world is through reason and logic, i.e., rationality. And there is one kind: the noncontradictory integration of perceptual stimuli. There is no other way to learn. You cannot intuit knowledge, nor can you feel knowledge. And you most certainly cannot gain knowledge from a burning bush that talks. Every time you use metaphor you cloud the issue; it is the opposite for concrete language. Therefore, how could someone who believes that our “soul” or “spirit” affects reality or believes in some arbitrary contradictory all powerful, yet not capable of feeling fear or knowing surprise, being, expect to speak or opine in a way as to pass the logic and reason test?

A proper understanding of morality makes clear when a person can decide for themselves. If they have something worth living for and they can describe to you logically how they plan on doing it, they are competent. If they do not have something worth living for, perhaps are in constant pain and have no one or thing to palliate the suffering, further life might not be worth the pain, and can without a contradiction in reasoning articulate that, they are competent. And if an invisible pink unicorn or flying spaghetti monster or the sun God Horus or the sun God Jesus Christ come into the picture then so does delusion.

Tuesday
May182010

Rebecca Saxe Studies Theory of Mind Objectively

Wednesday
May052010

Ontologistics Gives You Neo-Nihilism

Saturday
Apr102010

Socialism Sucks!

Socialism, or collectivism, is a consequence of a more fundamental philosophical mistake. This mistake is the opinion that you do not have a moral right to your own life, that you owe part of your life to others. This idea is called altruism, which is mistakenly thought to be a moral position. Well, the principle of altruism, if you wish to actually think about it, is one of self-sacrifice, that it is moral to sacrifice your life to others. This should be clearly distinguished from benevolence, charity or philanthropy. Let’s take destruction out of the picture all together. I’m not saying that it isn’t good to give to others, but it becomes immoral when it is given away at the expense of the self. And becomes all out criminal when it is given away against the will of the producer, by force. Taxes, no matter in what form, are FIRST and FOREMOST an attack against the rights of the individual. It is the individual that creates and produces. It is assault and theft to force him or her to give his or her money to the government, which will, by mob rule (democracy), decide where his or her hard earned money will go, minus the pay-offs that go to corrupt Republican and Democratic politicians and lobbyists.

A proper, or moral, government serves only to function as a single monopolizer of retaliatory physical force, to protect us from criminals, foreign aggressors and settle domestic disputes in law courts. Schools, roads and medical care, like everything else, except police, military and judges, should come from the only way they can, private enterprise, i.e., individuals producing, instead of the government redistributing wealth, bringing everyone down by taking from those with ability and giving to those with need. The moral limited government can certainly be financed with voluntary taxation, donations or the government itself creating money honestly, like thousands of private companies do every day. I, sure as hell, would pay for the protection of the government. 

But, what of the starving unfortunate people in the world? I’m sorry, but because someone is hungry, does not mean I have a moral responsibility to give them my bread. If you wish to truly help these people, good for you. I recommend that you do not sacrifice yourself to do it and I certainly do not wish for you or anyone else to force me to chip in. I’ll do so on my own, after I’ve made my first million. That would come sooner if the irrational people of this country would let me keep that which I have earned, instead of taking nearly 40% of it and giving to corporate CEO’s, banks, Iran or some community in BFE to save a field which some rare turtle happens to use as a path from their mating area to their nursery. 

And if you think that Roosevelt’s New Deal, in the 1930’s, actually helped the economy, well then, you need to go back and research it yourself, instead of taking the word of some postmodernist university professor. And if you don’t know what postmodernism is, you should go read more. Our country was never more economically successful and thriving, without artificial "bubbles" created by governmental price setting and special interest subsidies, as it was pre-taxes, before the very early 20th century. We are still now, less and less, reaping the benefits of the industrial revolution and the American capitalistic work ethic created in the 18th and 19th centuries. The more the producers are penalized for producing and the poor are enabled by a welfare state, the quicker we will return to dictatorship and subsequent revolution. 

Nowhere in The Declaration of Independence or The Constitution does it suggest that we should be forced to give up some of our individual rights to give to the so-called good of the people. The reason we became an independent nation to begin with was to be able to keep what we make and not have to answer to some arbitrary authority. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would be shitting in their pants right now if they were here to see this crap.

Wednesday
Mar102010

"The Future of Physics is in Biology"

-Friedrich Hermann Hund (4 February 1896 - 31 March 1997) 

Tuesday
Jan122010

Zeitgeist: Jesus is Simply One Astrological Personification of Nature; It's just a Story!

Friday
Jan012010

Poison Sleep by Dan Dos Santos