Nature, Necessity, and Evolution

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 🎃
What these folks don’t realize is that the notion of “evolution” necessarily implies progress or an unfolding towards some ultimate end or purpose — or even perhaps a state of “maturity”, for which all of everything else is merely a means to realize that end. But it is left ambiguous whether there is an intention behind it. And it is this thing, the matter of whether or not there is an intention driving the whole thing, which makes the notion of “evolution” a scientific term or a religious one.
For even if the progress or unfolding were towards something as innocuous and as abstract as the idea of “the good”, even then, the underlying presupposition is that the future instance is necessarily “better” than the past. This seems pretty obvious and harmless, but ordinary people fail to consider that this kind of presupposition is already laden with a value, and value implies a subject! (For whom something can be good or bad…) But who is the subject?! But if we try to answer this question, we often end with an answer like, “God”. And by that time, we are definitely within the territory of religion, rather than “science”!

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The Good

Tuesday, 15 January 2019 🌞🔥
And then, I think that the “good” is defined by what is good to the person. But Stoics suppose that what is “good” is defined by what is good for the person. I think that they suppose this just because they were taught to revere Socrates, and Socrates was the sort of person for whom the things which he found desirable and good to him also just happened to be the very things that were good for him.
But this latter thing is accidental (a mere association), and it is not properly part of the definition of “good” — for the “good” is, properly speaking, just whatever we love.

Reflection

Monday, 14 January 2019 🌜🌌
And my own interpretations and responses say more about me, really, than they do about anyone or anything that I am opining about. And, that is just how it is, and perhaps how it always will be.
For, if I judge that the sun is golden in color, or that the sea is beautiful at night, or that animals are sentient, then these things say more about me and my own condition(s) than they do about the person or object in question. So much for giving objective accounts. All I have made certain is that the sun appears golden to me, and that I happen to be in a soft and satisfied mood when I look out at the sea at night, and that I am able to recognize reflections of myself in the behaviors of other animals. I have not really said anything objectively true about the object in question…

Wisdom: the skill of deliberating well

Sunday, 13 January 2019.
But Plato supposes that people always intend good, and that the only thing which sets people apart are their ability to execute their good wills. For Plato, it is this that makes a person “better” and “worse”, rather than whether they have good intentions or not (since everybody has some form of good intentions). And so, for Plato, deliberating and arriving at a good or “correct” conclusion is to execute good thinking, since thinking is considered a skill for Plato.

Why forgiveness is a mark of genuine friendship

Monday, 7 January 2019 🕊️
According to the ancient Greeks, a “friend” is someone to whom you give good things to and not someone from whom you expect to receive good things. And this is why forgiveness is a mark of genuine friendship, since forgiveness just means to give someone something before they have given you anything, and before you have a promise from them to give you a reason to expect reciprocation — and also, forgiveness is something given to you before you’ve done anything virtuous, and therefore probably don’t feel like you deserve to be given anything good…

Because they are friends

Sunday, 6 January 2019.
So there must be something which is allowing to remain friends, despite the lack of reciprocity (or a capacity for it). Therefore, reciprocity is not an essential element for friendship.
But I think Korsgaard takes an incidental description that may be true of some friendships, perhaps even of many friendships, and then makes the misleading claim that friendship is defined by it. The important difference here is that two people reciprocate because they are friends, and they are not friends because they reciprocate. Which means that some people may not reciprocate, and still be friends with one another. And finally, some reciprocate and are not “friends”.

Home, ham, haimaz, hem, heimr, heima, hjem, heem, heim, haims, koimo-

Saturday, 5 January 2018 🐧
And the word “with” stuck out for me. And I knew that the word for what I was feeling was love. For I realized that what really made me have these feelings about H was just the “being there” within that environment, because it was while I was there that I gained and grew the most, and in the way that I wanted, and so, I felt alive and strong. And while one could say that H was made up of the myriad of exchanges that I had with other people, it was also despite the exchanges. I was most happy in my own thoughts. But, because it was in that particular environment that it all happened for me, I am nostalgic for that setting — and, I suppose, even for the people there, probably just because the people are also an integral part of what H is.

Spiritual self-interest vs. Pragmatic self-interest

Monday, December 31, 2018 🐬
[New Year’s Eve]
But if this really is what Aristotle himself thought, and it isn’t just Korsgaard’s reading of him, then I don’t think Aristotle hit the nail quite on the head. I mean, it’s close. I think that the idea that he should have been going for is perhaps “empathy”, rather than “reciprocity”.
If we can accept Achilles as a paradigm of virtue, and see that all modern Western values of character essentially arise from an interpretation of this paradigmatic figure, then it would be much clearer to point out that the aim was empathy rather than reciprocity. For reciprocity implies a pragmatic self-interest. But empathy is much more genuine, and comes from a deeper, more fundamental place — spiritual self-interest. And, I think, there’s an important difference between these two kinds of self-interest.

Another Self

Sunday, December 30, 2018.
I sometimes imagine that a “blonde slave” from Rome would have understood me, my soul, my passions, my thoughts — because I would be another “self” to them. And they’d see that I’m one of them, one of their kind.

Day of the GRE

Friday, December 21, 2018.
Today’s scores: V164, Q162.
I have to wait a little while for the essay scores.

My heart is my soul’s burden to bear

Friday, December 7, 2018.
If the universe deems it necessary, there will surely be a way. A way shall be provided. I will trust in that, and endeavor to continue on my way.
All that I can do, as a mere mortal knowing only what can be revealed to mortal minds, is to pay due heed to what has been put into my heart by this great universe; what is in my heart is my soul’s burden to bear.
And I cannot do more than this, as I cannot know more of the truth than what is given to me to know. Still, I must seek the truth for that is the duty of the mind: to discern what is from what is not.

The truth about me and my daemon

Wednesday, December 5, 2018.
I still do hate paternalism, and 1984-ish, and “big brother”, and any other kind of brands of pretentious assuming about me and my daemon — which, for the most part, well-meaning Catholic people et al tend to do without actually knowing the truth (showing a blatant and contemptuous disregard for the truth) because they take it for granted that they know what your values are (or they just don’t care what your values are because yours are wrong objectively and theirs are right objectively), and so they never bother to ask any genuine questions in order to learn and understand others.

The blonde vs. the nigga

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 🦀
That blonde hair wasn’t just a symbol of how one human being could brutalize and overpower another human being so utterly. The blonde hair somehow came to represent an entire race of people who came from the north who were just as equally brutalized and overpowered by Rome itself. And that is also why the blonde hair symbolizes a kind of triumph of justice…

The color of one’s personality and preferences

Friday, November 23, 2018.
But without such things as “personal opinions” to color one’s personality and preferences, one loses one’s sense of individuality and “self-ishness”. One becomes — in some sense — less human, and more of a merely observant bystander. One could, quite literally, both agree and disagree with opposing views, and at the same time. To possess this view is to possess the “view from nowhere,” and truly, no human is capable of holding such a view. Only the gods are capable of accomplishing something so super-mental — and it is good to remind oneself from time to time that one is, after all, just as much a human as she is a god.

Why Poetry?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018.
Perhaps one day one can speak plainly without fear. I wonder… America is really no different from China, is it? They just do things in different ways, but really, the ultimatum is the same.

What she’s always looked like, in my heart

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 🌹
[Selah’s physical death]
And here is me and “my Selah”, together on our planet where everything is just right…

What are the most important characteristics of a society?

Monday, October 15, 2018.
[68 days until the GRE]
Ultimately, I argue that we cannot say which particular set of characteristics of a society are objectively the most important because characteristics by themselves do not hold inherent value or importance separate from the person for whom the characteristic can have value or importance. Hence, it is fallacious to suppose that only a particular category of characteristics of a society is objectively the most important to every type of inquirer. Furthermore, without having first identified what particular characteristic(s) we wish to know about, we cannot determine whether the best means of obtaining the desired information about a society is by studying a major city or a minor one (or perhaps, several minor ones). In conclusion, I think that before we can conclusively say that the best means for gaining an understanding of the most important characteristics of a society is necessarily to study its major cities, we must first ask: who wants to know, and why?

Irony

Friday, October 12, 2018 🌲
Maybe… maybe the gods (and by gods, I mean… the whole of nature which has made me, by default, a truth-seeker) sent me to Harvard in the first place so that I can see the irony in the discrepancy between the meaning of the institution’s name versus what it is in reality. For instance, it has the motto “truth” (ie, veritas), but it lacks a certain kind of integrity; their lack of self-awareness makes them behave in ways that are (as I believe it to be) self-contradictory, ultimately making them hypocrites.