I think as humans in today’s society our priorities are ever-changing. We are so easily consumed with the modern world, the latest technology, the gripping but equally shallow and vacuous reality shows that they can often become a priority in our lives whether we realise it or not. By following these ‘celebrities’ on social media sites, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook they become an integral part of the fabric of our self-created day to day network of information. They stream into our lives after one tap on the ‘follow’ bottom and we consume it abominably from then on.
It’s easy though. And nice. I really like the car that Kylie Jenner drives, and the scandal of her engagement with Tyga? Tell me more! Oooh the cast of the only way is Essex are in Vegas, I really want to go there. I wonder how much they earn. Hmm. Flick, tap, scroll… Sigh. Ok we’re all guilty of doing this, and, we’re all guilty of convincing ourselves that we aren’t like the general public and that our infatuation is ironic not obsessive. That deep down we know that there’s a bigger picture and that leaving that knowledge deeply rooted but not letting it surface is somehow acceptable and thus justifies our intrigue in keeping up with the Kardashians.
The day that Kylie Jenner turned 18 was the day that Malala Yousafzia (an 18 year old Pakistani activist for female education) opened a school for Syrian refugee girls. This wasn’t covered by the media, it wasn’t streamed into our social media and so it flew right above our heads without a second glance. Even if it were to be covered and displayed to us it isn’t glitzy enough, not lavish enough to entice a generation of people who are intrigued by context not content.
Our generation is in a state of ludicrous levels of laziness. There is a mind warp pandemic and our brains are morbidly obese with the rubbish we are feeding them. The ‘man’, ‘It’ the ‘Media’ may be to blame for stacking a table full to the brim with unhealthy, fast, easy food but we are ready and waiting with our spoons to scoop up anything new added to the table. We leave the fruit of the media alone to disintegrate and rot, we are the selfish and simple end stage of the conveyer belt of rubbish that is society.
It shouldn’t be normal to partake in this system. It shouldn’t be normal to turn a blind eye to those most in need. It shouldn’t be normal to numb our hearts to the cries of the desperate. But we do. We obnoxiously avoid responsibility. The media has created a vast sphere that stretches across nations, continents, countries it scopes to the richest and to the poorest. But this has not lead to a community that is tightly bonded it has led to dispersion of responsibility to nothing more than a speck per person. Dispersion of responsibility combined with a much easier alternative than dealing with the problem is the deadly dosage we have been prescribed. We’ve got to use our specks of responsibility and make a storm with them.
Why do I feel a moral obligation, or a moral guilt when I participate in activities that are morally neutral? For instance, last night I went out – I kissed a guy and I feel, wrong, bad, unsettled about it. I’m not in a relationship and the kiss was consensual from both parties, so why do I feel uncomfortable about what I have done?
I guess this could stem from some sort of societal role that I feel I should fulfil. The idea that female promiscuity is ‘slutty’ or ‘degrading’. Or the values my parents hold, that being intimate is private and special and not something to be handed out easily. Or perhaps I feel like the act was simply out of character, so much as to rattle me up a little and question the genuinity of what I’ve done.. Did I really want to?
Either way what the experience has done is close me up. I don’t want to be promiscuous or flirty. I don’t want to be ‘easy’. The only reason I can directly attribute these feelings to is a sense of self-worth. Perhaps I was seeking some sort of intimacy with a guy in order to top up any insecurities I had. I don’t believe that I place my worth as an individual in the way I am viewed by others but of course having a guy find you attractive is a blanket of reassurance. So instead of the act being empowering and strong. It was carried out from a place of weakness and self-doubt – and that’s why I feel unsettled.
When you don’t think about, pleasure and happiness seem like the same thing, when you do think about it, their differences become glaringly apparent. There are a few major differences between the very essence of each one. Happiness is a mood, a state of mind that stretches across life, and enriches our experiences, it penetrates into everything and thus I can have a bad day, but still be happy. Pleasure comes in bursts, on it’s own it holds no worth, it relies on the richness of a premeditated level of happiness to work. Happiness is self authenticating, pleasure is not. Happiness can cause pleasure, pleasure cannot cause happiness. I get pleasure from seeing someone smile because I’m happy, I get no pleasure from the very same thing, because I’m depressed.
But can we be happy, without pleasure? It almost seems as though we need events that atleast have the potential of being deemed pleasurable in order to sustain a level of happiness. Although happiness is a state of mind, a cloud of glowering enlightenment, it is not inaccessible by emotions like pleasure. But if pleasure can’t cause happiness how can it sustain it? Maybe because pleasure isn’t a ‘thing’ in itself but is moreover an illusion that happiness has cast. So as you would say ‘money makes money’ it would seem ‘happiness makes happiness’. And so although happiness isn’t permanent, although admittedly stable, it can be slipped in and out of. When we slip out of our happiness less pleasurable illusions are cast, less pleasurable illusions equals less genuine happiness and the spiral continues.
In a previous post I’ve discussed my view on personhood, I believe we’re purely a bundle of biology (not that that’s a bad thing..) I also believe in determinism, a combination that gives my life very little meaning or hope, but anyway.
Today I watched a documentary on the serial killer Arthur shawcross and not only did it illuminate the absence of any remorse, empathy or guilt Arthur lacked but suggested that he had an ‘abnormality’ in the brain, common in serial killers, or even killers for that matter. Identifying this it was argued that Arthur couldn’t be held responsible because he couldn’t help act in the way he did due to his innate programming, he didn’t chose to have this biological abnormality. Well of course he didn’t because he IS this biological abnormality and therefor he is fully to blame.
But similarly then, caring people, charitable people, loving people, cannot be praised for good deeds because they are programmed that way inclined. I couldn’t commit a murder, so by not I’m no better than Arthur why should I be praised for something I cannot possibly be do anyway?
Ok ok ok contradictions all over the place! I’m saying we are not responsible for anything we do, and therefore punishment and praise are irrelevant.. But really we are fully responsible for everything we do because what we are IS what we do. For example I am a person who happens to obtain a sympathetic mind, Arthur is a person who happens to contain an abnormality in the brain. He is the abnormality and I am the caring brain. There is no ‘me’ or ‘him’ seperate to the entities within my brain. I and my brain, and all contained within my brain are not distinguishable. All are one. So yes, I can fully blaim Arthur.
It’s not a question I’ve pondered on a lot, that is until recently, I’m not sure what triggered me to even consider such a question I guess maybe the way in which we use our language to label almost everything. Everything including things we don’t understand or can’t claim to be ‘true’ I.e. God, love, pain etc. We can’t define these things and they are certainly subjective.. Are these traits applicable to the idea of a ‘future’?
If one doesn’t believe in any form of divinity or destiny then surely one must accept that the future doesn’t exist, for to exist it would be predetermined. For example one might claim that the future is say in two minutes time from now, the present. But to say with certainty that the future exists would rely on the concept of a greater being that had already put it in place. Something that had determined that there is going to be a ‘in two minutes time’. But surely if ‘in two minutes’ time is already determined it isn’t the future at all, because it is already ‘there’, it is currently, presently existing. Therefor it is ‘present’ but just not present in our current time.
Another argument is that we never experience the future, only the present. It is impossible for anything or anyone to ever exist in the future, because the present is inescapable, therefor the ‘future’ is unobservable by any of the senses, it is also, as expressed earlier unexplainable by definition. Or is it? A way of defining the future could indeed be ‘things still to come’. Although things still to come are in my opinion a continuous set of ‘presents’. However the ambiguity of the ‘future’ surely allows for interpretation, although ‘events yet to come’ are unanimously almost entirely ‘unknown’ why not label it with a word ‘future’ allowing future to vaguely assert a more conclusive concept. Although the future is arguably ‘nothing’ and never will be this doesn’t mean it can’t have a word to it. A meaningless word but nonetheless a quicker more efficient way of expressing ourselves.
‘Want to come to church with us tomorrow morning Sarah?’ ‘no.. sorry’ I replied. Sorry? Why am I sorry? I’m a perpetual atheist and hold strong beliefs against the idea of ‘religion’. I mean surely my well rounded parents of intellect can understand that their Christian beleifs have been determined by the culture they’ve grown up in. If they’d been born in china they’d be Buddhists if they’d been born in India they’d most probably be a Hindu. I told my parents this but they said ‘well.. Lucky I’ve been born in England then!’. Now there’s a lot I have a problem with about that reply. 1. They’ve not explored other religions, or the hundreds of other gods 2. They are pretty much admitting they’d be a different religion if born in a different country, surely undermining the omnipotent quality of god, I mean he’s really not powerful enough to penetrate manmade culturalisation?
I like to think debating and philosophy are, in comparison to my other qualities, the strongest ones I have, so, I often debate with my theistic, Christian parents. But there comes a point where I begin to feel bad, after I’ve shut down point after point and the only argument standing is ‘god works I’m mysterious ways’ not only do I want to hit my head repeatedly against a hard wall but I also want to hug my parents and almost apologise. Its because I know their beliefs, although dillusional, are so very close to their hearts. I know that’s where their hope that everything will be ok lies. I know preying (a concept that has numerous flaws, such as relying on an occasionally intervening, non perfect god) offers the a source of comfort. And I, their daughter am attacking this? Surely it’s wrong, in any sense, to tear away someones comfort blanket, even if they should’ve grown out of it.
Do I really have free will? Did I choose to write this or did billions of previous ‘choices’ I’ve made determine it inevitable that I would? But then my previous choices of course weren’t choices, I mean I wouldn’t have made a blog if I didn’t like writing and I wouldn’t like writing if I hadn’t enjoyed English classes, hmm. Or would i?
The deterministic approach assumes that behaviour is learnt, and our present behaviour is dependent on our previous behaviour, like a domino effect that’s out of your control. But let’s explore those ideas a little. Before, during and after any action there are almost infinite connections being made by neurons and chemicals within my brain it is the communication paths and patterns that these neurons make that determines the signal sent to my muscles that determines my ‘conscious’ action I make, that I either truthly or wrongly assume to be my free will. Are we really going to simplify such an immensely complex process down to a few previous behaviours? I mean did neuron B send a signal to neuron x after recieving a signal from neuron T All because I previously sat on my bed? It does seem immensely oversimplified.
At best I’d accept that off course previous actions have an effect on future actions but to not such an extent of innevitability. Due to the infinite actions possible to make but the finite amount of actions previously made it would allow for no progression. A finite number can only ever be a percentage of an infinite number, reducing the chances down to something finite out of something infinite creates an inevitability possibility of minuscule proportions and nothing more than a preference or persuasion to an action but never a determination. Off course I could be wrong, I may change my mind, but as long as I continue to perceive I have free will whether I am dillusional or not, I don’t mind because it makes no difference.