Posts Tagged ‘Passion’

CAN’T MAKE LOVE? There Is ALWAYS WAR, Or Plain Old DANGER: WISDOM KNOWS MANY TRICKS; Humanity’s Dirtiest, Greatest Secret

December 16, 2018

TIME TO SHAPE UP ON WHAT WISDOM IS REALLY CAPABLE OF: ANYTHING EXCITING. Neurology Is A Moral System, But It’s Not Found In Books… Yet.

[Future and necessary wisdom: fasten seat belts and read at your own risk…]

Humanity’s definition? Thinking better. That’s reflected in the name “Sapiens” (from sapere “to taste, have taste, be wise,”… there is no wisdom, or intelligence, without perception). It turns out that, to think better, one needs lots of neural connections (axons, dendrites), and those in turn grow from emotional topology, aka emotional logic.

So far, so good.

Thus, the greater the passions, the greater the ability to shake up the old connections, the old brain geometry, and build a new, better brain, that is more fitting to reality. Hence passions, strong emotions, help steer that pot known as the brain. That is why some think afresh while walking (it happens even to physicists; that idea that walking helps is so old, a philosophical school, the Peripatetic, founded by Aristotle, was built around it). That’s also hard sports, and more generally a dangerous life foster more brazen thinking. Advanced thinkers, throughout the ages, have tended to end badly. It’s not just because new, correct thinking messes up conventional brains made of concrete common wisdom. It’s also because advanced thinkers need the passions that danger provide with…    

Passions often invoked positively are “love”, “compassion”, “mercy”, “generosity”, etc Also positive, but often dangerous, controversial, “sex”, “curiosity”, the spirit of inquiry… And then there are passions viewed generally negatively, like “anger” (although found in Christ, Muhammad besides all revolutionaries worth the label)… Or, even more negative, “hatred” (often alleged by the eyes of others, those observing the beholder). And of course jealousy, greed, etc.

However… Let’s consider lions fighting, fangs and claws out. How do humans fight?

Lions Fighting, Woman Involved lurks behind (of course). Humans fight mostly with thoughts, though, not tooth and claw. So human fighting fosters more advanced human thinking…. Which is all very humanistic. Another serious twist on moronic conventional humanism… Talk about fight club! Brawling lions in a serious fight because one horny lion got interrupted during a steamy morning romp. The frisky lion and his mate were not happy at being disturbed during their raunchy session. The king of the jungle launched a brutal attack as he chased the intermeddler away before picking up where he left off. The fierce lions launched at each other during the ten minute scuffle, roaring aggressively as they fought it out over who gets the girl. [Photographer Johan Pieter Meiring, from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, captured the scene at Kruger National Parks…]

However, passions, emotions, plain neurohormonal, not to say chemical, agitation create new associations, new thoughts, because they, and potentially only them, entice the making of new connections (axons), or near-connections (dendrites). Although still science fiction at this point, it’s pretty sure neurohormonal gradients are implicated. That there is such a thing as a “good” neurohormones or a “bad” one is more than debatable: it’s probably the sort of “moral” judgement which don’t apply to chemistry. (What we now, all too often, have called) “Bad” neurohormones have enabled struggles to death in the past, and we are here, because our ancestors won them. We stand on the corpses of trillions of enemies, red in tooth and claw. To spite, or deny, this prehistoric holocaust, is to spite, or deny, ourselves.

Such a negationist attitude about ourselves insures we can’t understand anything important, looking forward.

Once a friend of mine, an emergency MD,  told me all this may all be true, but we have to forget it now, all this prehistoric way of thinking, as we are in a world too evolved for this embarrassing heritage of ours. What I know, instead is that there is no thinking, but prehistoric thinking. Sorry, folks, we, you can’t get out of ourselves. Maybe sad to some, but it’s a fact. Losing track of this sorry state of affairs brings mayhem… because then we, and history, forsake the drastic precautions which need to be taken! 

What I see, then, is a world so evolved it’s bringing its own demise, and not evolved enough to survive it.  And the major problem has been, as with many of my friends, all too often ex-friends, that they were not passionate enough to pay attention to the evil mechanisms at play (fortunately Trump Derangement Syndrome has extracted many a fake liberal out of his or her self-satisfied torpor).

And there comes the twist. Human beings have been evolutionarily selected as the best thinking machines (by the holocaust alluded to above). So the pressure to think better (that is more fitting to the world as it is) is extreme, overwhelming, the main driver of human psychology (and not reproduction as the naive believe, confusing humans and rabbits).

And how does one think better, that is, continually afresh?

With more passions.

So, right, populations where passions are allowed to flow, everything else being equal, will be more mentally creative.

But not just that.

Suppose the positive passions can’t be deployed (say no love object, everybody hates you, etc.; not far-fetched, that was pretty much the situation of the Jews in a sea of hateful Catholics, after Roman emperor Theodosius I decided to “punish” heretics, around 380 CE… and again, after the hiatus of 5 centuries of Frankish tolerance came to an end; countless minorities found themselves in that situation, most minorities so excluded and hated are not around anymore to speak about it; some barely cling by: the 2018 Peace Nobel was awarded to a Yazidi lady, after Islam Fundamentalists tried to kill them all in the last few years)

So suppose no love is forthcoming, nor could ever come. What’s the next best thing to steer the mental pot in one’s head? Hatred. 

Ridiculously, conventional “humanism”, not too human, has ignored this.

“Best” and “Worst” as moral categories are not logical categories, only truth determines the latter [Chad Gold Picture, thanks!]

Hence, don’t love them at your own risk. They may hate you back. Just because they want to satisfy that most primordial of human instinct, thinking.

And what if objects of passion are not readily available?

There is simple way out, coming to the rescue: danger. Danger itself. Danger should in little time brings passions back up, thus thinking afresh. Thereof the fascination of human beings with risk taking: it’s more than a thought adjuvant, it’s a thought creator (another uncomfortable fact for Conventional Wisdom and Conventional Humanism).

Verily, wisdom is the most complicated thing… Understanding how wisdom works is crucial to predicting the future, and optimizing it (because if the good doesn’t develop new, more powerful wisdom, the bad and the ugly will). I emote, thus I think creatively, hence I am a human being in full…

Patrice Ayme

***

***

Note 1: a professional philosopher, MP, told me haughtily that there was no such thing as “emotional logic”. He had read that in textbooks. Right. Creators of ideas don’t get them in textbooks.

***

Note 2: The Yellow Jackets in France have pivoted to fight for RICs (Referendums Initiative Citizens). As the two honest to goodness RIChest states, California and Suisse already have (not coincidentally: RIC make RICH). This is going to be a tremendous fight for improving civilization., mobilizing the collective debating power, hence intelligence humanity needs to survive. Officially six Yellow Jackets have died from their protest (latest was a French protester crushed by a Polish truck driver, who was arrested…) The Yellow Jackets need lots of war hormones, as they fight the huge forces of established evil, sucking at the teat of an exhausted planet…

***

Note 3: Yes, today, I went down a wind slab (although I was on the lookout to avoid them). I had missed the rocky ridge further east, which was safe (when I realized it I was too lazy and getting too cold to go back up; anyway when one is on the slab, it’s already too late). It was probably way too thin to be dangerous, but, still, I was distinctly not amused, and used special tricks I evolved in such cases (go straight down the anchor points, not where the snow is thickest). Doing a wind slab every few years: nothing like it to realize what the human brain is really for….

***

Note 4: Yes, hatred can be a very good thing: watch these millions of rabid Trump haters, foaming at the mouth. Five years ago, they couldn’t give a hoot about politics, and talking to them was like talking to fishes in aquariums. They aren’t yet intelligent, but, at least, less boring.

Now, propelled by their need to hate, they love (hating) Trump so much, politics is all they think they do. Let them hate away! They have now become politically receptive, however naive and ignorant they may still be… Passion is there at least, serious thinking may start, anytime…

***

Note 5: An example of new, more powerful wisdom, has been the idea of “not leaving our children with debts”, used massively to justify crazy European economic policies impoverishing, often to the point of famine, most Europeans. This is fake wisdom, but the bad and the ugly plutocrats of Europe have used it with a vengeance.

***

Note 6: The fascination with risk taking was no doubt a factor, when Nazi collaborator De Beauvoir & Nazi entertainer Sartre practiced “contingent relationships”, leaving a  trail of tears, depression (and official sanctions) behind them. Beauvoir ended at Radio Vichy… in 1944 from being dismissed of her job for seducing a child. 1944? That’s when the Nazis were sure to lose, so either Beauvoir was super arrogant from her relationships, or she enjoyed the obvious risk… If risk entices intellectualization, as I claim, this is explains it… Neurohormones: serious, so is sex…

PAIN & PASSION For Balanced Mental Diet?

April 18, 2014

Today Christians celebrate the suffering of Christ (that’s what “passion” means; the word was more or less created for this, the suffering of Christ, in 12C France). Why?

Are Christians celebrating suffering in general, or the gift the Son of God supposedly made to them by consenting to suffer too? Or both?

If suffering is celebrated, what for? Because it brings good things, or because it is, per se, a good thing? Or is suffering celebrated because it is central to the human condition? Then, refusing suffering would be to refuse the human condition itself.

Pope Gets Down To Business

Pope Gets Down To Business

A specialist of Buddhism, Philip Short, author of several best seller scholarly books, told me, in connection with explaining the holocaust in Cambodia, that, by spiting pain, Buddhism made people more indifferent to suffering… And thus more tolerant of suffering, and of those, or what, the systems of thoughts and emotions, that inflict it.

Certainly Christians make a show of regretting the suffering of Christ, while revering the fact that, supposedly, he died for us. While Islam is rather gross in comparison, by revering “Jihad” (Holy war or holy war-like effort), Christianism is more subtle: it celebrates those who die for us in horrible suffering, just to obey their “Father”. (Implicit message, same as in Islam, where it is explicit (S 4, v 56): obey Your Lord, the one in the big castle on the hill, as ordained by God.)

In any case, if more than half of the planet is of a mentality inspired by Christianism or Islamism (including yours truly), it’s no doubt because both these religions view suffering as a good thing, sometimes, in their core doctrine. That reflectsthe human condition better. Whereas Buddhism, once upon a time a state religion in much of Asia, and all of India, was wiped out nearly everywhere (even Japan, where Shintoism was the official state religion).

The problem with Buddhism? It’ s too condemning of pain and suffering. The beast has to be tough, to be the beast.

Beasts manage pain, like anything else, because biological evolution manages everything, or, at least, used to manage everything, until our forebear, Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis, decided to burn coal in France, 73,000 years ago.

Pleasure one craves for, and pain, one avoids. That’s first order. In second order, evolution found out that sometimes one had to crave for pain. Thus pain became pleasure, on a more meta level.

A good example is the totally typical scene of the wildebeest (gnou) being eaten, slowly, by the hyena, guts ballooning out. Why would evolution want that the live dinner be drenched by endorphins, and thus not to suffer too much? Why would Evolution be a good and tender god? Why would evolution care? Well, Evolution cares about the predator being around to eat another wildebeest the following week. Thus Evolution cares about the wildebeest not hurting too much the hyena. Predators are fragile, precious: violence is a delicate behavior to live from, the prey’s cooperation is essential.

If they can, predators avoid risk, and will not even risk killing their prey, if they can have their cake, and eat it.

It’s pretty obvious that efforts bring suffering, but that, often, without efforts, or danger, there would be even more suffering. So one would expect that evolution would have prepared mechanisms that make suffering, and danger, to be perceived, somehow as pleasant, when they are obviously deemed to be important.

What morality to bring out of that? Suffering is not absolute. It’s relative, relative to the causality at hand. And the causality around the corner. Suffering for the good, or a greater cause, can be excellent. That’s one indirect message contained in the Passion of Christ.

And a warning beckons: humanity has a propensity to suffering, and not just as an inclination, but as something necessary for a fully balanced mind. It’s not just that “great” leaders want to hurt others. They do this, in part because they want themselves to hurt.

Could it be that suffering brings happiness? If suffering comes from physical exercise, it certainly brings endorphins! In this case, suffering is directly alleviated by neurohormones. But more generally, a tough condition, especially when it bring despair, completely transforms common existence: instead of being perceived as dreadful, the simplest thing become delectable.

Say you are stuck on a mountain, hanging in a harness, with not even a ledge to rest on, in winter at night with insufficient clothing, no food nor drink (one of my specialties). A return to simple flat ground will be perceived as paradise.

So paradise is easy to muster: just go about, suffering big time, and then return to normality (with luck). This is the attraction of extreme sports. But also war.

Humanity has evolved over several million years. Several millions years of happiness, but also pain and suffering. Can one go without the other? So, when John Lennon screamed that “when you talk  about destruction, you can count me out” (in his anti-revolutionary song, “Revolution”), was he unwise and unbalanced?

Proper mental ecology has more important things to worry about, than destruction, pain and suffering, says Evolution.

Certainly, stupidity is something more inhuman, than suffering itself, in which one can easily have all of humanity fall into, during these oligarchic times.

Today a famous novelist also died. Gabriel Garcia Marquez observed that: “Most critics don’t realize that a novel like One Hundred Years of Solitude is a bit of a joke, full of signals to close friends; and so, with some pre-ordained right to pontificate they take on the responsibility of decoding the book and risk making terrible fools of themselves.”

Indeed, although novels are jokes, life is not a joke. Or then it’s a pretty good one. And also a pretty insufferable one. Fiction is a genre much honored. But who needs fiction, when one has reality? Is not fiction reality light?

Accept the pain, it’s the human thing to do.

Patrice Aymé

 

[Note: The preceding used in passing a Lamarckian (new semantics!) evolutionary mechanism. The evolution of pain mitigation appeared as a “smart” overall ecological system selections: herbivores too hard to eat were deselected by ecological system collapse. So Masochism is evolutionary advantageous from the point of view of entire ecology survival.]