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.
Do you ever just sit down, stare at your paper and pen, or your screen and keyboard and just kind of sigh. When you have so many thoughts but none of them string together in a cohesive alignment, or none of them fit the same context, or at the very worst you’re not even sure what they mean? Well yea, that is me, right now.
And that will be my topic I will align my thoughts to. Why do we feel the need to express our thoughts? Even when we’re sat alone at home, why do we find it necessary to find an outlet for them? I guess it could be due to our natural inclination to be open with one another. Or it could be a defence mechanism for coping with the thoughts – particularly if they are negative. Or it could be in order to better ourselves. Jotting down thoughts certainly gives us the closest to a third person perspective we could ever ask for. And that enables us to analyse them, it enables us as well to exude these negative thoughts and thus examine them with a clearer, more neutral mind.
One thing these things have in common is subtracting a certain amount of thoughts from being stuck within us. A way of ridding them. I’m sure we’ve all ‘thought’ (oh the irony..) that we would like to switch of our brains for a bit. Or that we would like to permanently erase something from our memories. This idea of ridding thoughts is of course just that, just an idea. So the only realistic pursuit of this being possible is the ability to somehow monitor or distract, or expel them from ourselves. By turning them into a physical object (ink on paper) rather than an elusive enigma of floating consciousness that troubles us, saddens us and can drive us insane.
That’s a lot of thought bashing. It brings me to the question of what is so good about them… I mean really, what is good about thoughts? Yes it allows us to analyse situations in a complex manor, it allows us to be self-aware, it allows us to plan ahead to try and create a life that we believe is best for us. If wed ignore the black whole side of thoughts, the side that sucks our mood into it in a moment of mental masturbation then I guess we can start thinking about these positives. But would we really need to plan a life if we had no thoughts in the first place, we’re planning because we get upset by things because of how we feel and think – we’re thinking to help previous negative thinking.. What.
The only conclusion this leads me to is, thoughts are life. They allow us to interpret things, soak them in rather than having them penetrate right through us without so much a ripple of conscious effect. And this is good. Because despite life as we know it existing without our thoughts, it doesn’t exist to us. And if the only way I can experience life is by coping with a cocktail of complex thought processes then that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.
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.
Neurons, atoms, chemicals that’s what makes up the earth, the universe, the sun, the stars but do they make up us? The idea of a soul or some kind of ghost like self within our physical body of mass, is not a new one, nor is it dismissed as insane. But I just can’t believe it. I mean looking from a realism perspective I must assume that everything in existence is observable, in some sense. Now I don’t mean that everything that exists can be seen by the naked eye, in fact I am not discriminating against the other senses at all. As smell and touch are equally as ‘true’ as site. What I mean is what is deemed true in existence is what has sensory observability, e.g planes, birds, stars and pasta. Arguably various scientific theories such as the multiple universe theory suggest that our finite senses don’t allow us access to observation of everything, I mean I can’t ‘see’ numerous universes, but if enough substantial evidence was posed in favour of such a theory then I would consider it potentially correct.
So back to the original preposition, do we have a soul? When looking at ourselves in a materialist sense, I.e a bundle of biology, it proves no more ludicrous to assert ourselves to obtaining a ‘soul’ than to conclude that my radiator has a soul since both objects are no more than a combination of atoms functioning in a specific way. Of course our brains are far more complex than a radiator but does that really progress to the resultant conclusion of a soul? Of course not, where is the evidence that complexity evokes the need for a soul? Well I guess our ‘conscience’ our dillusioned sense of free will and ‘spirit’ I shan’t discuss free will, as I have in a previous post. But the concept of a soul, to me, comes under the same category as the sense of free will that is that they are both ‘illusions’ our conscience or moreover just ‘conscience’ is as a result of billions of neurons and the atoms they are made up of creating a persistent illusion of ‘self’ I am no more a being than a radiator. Infact ‘I’ do not exist. No one does. We are all just complex constructions.
That may sound somber but surprisingly it isn’t all doom and gloom, it means we can never die because there is no ‘we’ and any sense of ‘death’ is just a break down in the atoms and neurons that have created the embodiment of a highly complex structure. It also means that the possibility of existence is almost infinite as it relies on no more than a collection of substances. For example if programmed correctly, with the right atoms and components it would be possible to make a fully functioning ‘human’ with just as much rights as any other natural biological person. To conclude we are no more advanced than artificial intelligence, and we have no say, in anything, even the perception of a ‘self’ is formed from biology. We are not. But conscience is.
Nothing within you is ever lost. If you ever feel like you’ve lost who you are, you haven’t, it’s just fallen apart. All the bits are there, but they’re not together so they’re not functioning properly. It’s like a jigsaw in a jar. It can begin perfect, all pieced together but a little knock to that jar and the pieces fall apart, some might remain in clumps and that’s what remains of ‘you’. You might remain kind and caring and opinionated but loose confidence and personality. You haven’t lost it, they’re just not pieced together yet, but they will be. The jar is your skull, containing your brain, all you need to do is get the pieces together, get them functioning. But you’re never lost, gone, empty. You’re always there you’re just not always working as a unit. All it takes is combing the pieces into a more confident you, a more content you. It can take time, but during that time, don’t loose hope, hope isn’t something that relies on a jigsaw piece, it’s external of the puzzle, and it’s what’ll fix the puzzle.
I know I’ve been absent for a while, sorry, I also know this isn’t my usual type of post, again sorry.