The End of Philosophy

I haven’t written anything in a week. And truthfully, there hasn’t been much to say.

I know that there are studies out there that discuss pornography’s ill-effect on the human mind (not that I have anything against pornography, by the way). But I wonder if there’s a study that discusses frequent reading/watching of cheap political punditry. Wouldn’t that have some damaging effect on reasoning and creativity? To me, that shit is just as toxic as pornography.

And I went on a bender, where I was listening to politically-charged podcasts ranging from Chapo Trap House to the Glenn Beck Program. And it ended up zapping away any sort of creative or critical thinking. In my opinion, cheap punditry is worse than pornography, and even DRUGS. It causes us to view the world in a narrow light, and instead of getting a better insight into the issues, we become LESS informed. So the next time a friend asks if you read or watch Breitbart, Huffington Post, Salon, Fox News, etc. JUST SAY NO.

It makes me sad really….that the way most of us become informed about events in the world is through cheap outlets. I know that it’s difficult to construct a thorough and unbiased piece about an event. After all, the media has to keep the people’s attention somehow. But you know what? I don’t give a shit. That’s just a lazy excuse. We should be more concerned with the TRUTH rather than reading any sort of agenda-conforming puff piece. Have higher standards for yourself!

But anyways, as I’ve discussed before, this shit literally makes me ill. Mentally and physically. So after that bender, I needed to clear my mind.

And honestly, as stupid as this sounds, at one point I though that I said everything that needed to be said about philosophy. Between My Life With Kant and this blog, I believed, shit you not, that I laid out my philosophical framework and that there was nothing more that I could deliver. So we might as well pack up our bags and close up shop because there is nothing left for philosophy to do….like I was Ludwig fucking Wittgenstein.

Clearly I ran into a wall. I believed that philosophy would reveal something to me….unlock a hidden side of myself and this universe…help me come to peace with the order of nature….SOMETHING….ANYTHING.

Instead it revealed the nothing that lies behind everything. Even myself. Behind the exterior, past my personality, all the way down into the darkest corners of my psyche….there lies nothing. All the things you see are facades, because the reality of nothing is far too terrifying to face.

Which brings us to a tragic question….is this the end of philosophy?

If not here, then where? When?

Now clearly this is just me being dramatic. Yet if we accept nothing, like it’s the gold at the end of the rainbow, what then are we chasing?

Perhaps this is a better description of what I’m going through: burn-out. I stated before that I’ve been attempting to write a post about Edmund Husserl for weeks now, but what’s the fucking point? There’s an academic sterility to many philosophers, particularly those in the 20th Century, I find. And this dryness nearly kills my interest.

Personally, I think philosophy should be struggled with. It’s best when it’s an art. Which is why it’s unfortunately true…the best artists and thinkers are CRAZY. And we just don’t have that sort of thing in modern times. There’s a few standouts, Slavoj Zizek being one, but has society progressed to the point where it’s too…..SAFE!

Now you might think that I’m a terrible person, but I include myself as one the people that I’m bitching about….so it’s okay….because I’m medicated for severe chronic depression. And many people that suffer this problem are medicated as well, particularly in our safe first-world society. We have access to therapy, doctors, support groups, and all kinds of shit that help us deal with these problems. And that’s great! Life has certainly gotten a lot better for those suffering mental ailments…..

…but it wasn’t always that way.

Nietzsche, Hemingway, and my personal favorite Charles Bukowski, all had demons that they wrestled with. If they have lived today, with all the advancements in medicine, would they have produced the same great works? Would they have traded in those demons for a shot at the ‘normal life’? I don’t know. But we have their works today, and it all came at a great price.

And our safe society too is coming at a price….at the cost of individual and artistic genius. Few, and even fewer in academia, are willing to rock the boat. No one wants to be labeled a ‘contrarian’. So we take to social media, because we want to conform to our friends, and become accepted into the mainstream…because it’s OTHER PEOPLE that determine our worth. So we don’t explore our own ideas, we just regurgitate what great thinkers before us said, never engaging with our own genius.

There are few independent thinkers left.

Philosophy has been a casualty in this new group-think. The social sciences are no longer discovering. The act of engaging philosophy has been relegated to arguing about how Kant, Plato, and others might argue about certain topics. Philosophy now only plays second-fiddle to other areas of study, no longer the behemoth it once was.

So we have seemingly ventured into a new era. An era where we must ask ourselves: “what more can philosophy present to us?”

Clearly I have a flair for the dramatics, as I really didn’t intend on discussing “the end of philosophy”. But as of recently, I have found it unsatisfying or incapable of engaging my imagination.

Perhaps I just don’t care about logic, or phenomenology, or epistemology, or “things-in-themselves” anymore. Yet I still ponder the…unponderable? Is that a word? Am I making sense?

Of course, if it were “ponderable” it wouldn’t be “unponderable”, but my intention is to stretch the limits of the mind. And I’m increasingly finding it difficult to explore that within typical philosophical literature.

I guess that would explain the “new theology” that I was writing about. In order to find this so-called “unponderable”, I have to reach into theology and religion. Not that I would call myself a “religious” person, I still consider myself a hardcore agnostic. BUT the only place I can find inspiration LATELY is through Gnosticism, Judaism, and early Christianity in general.

Why?

I haven’t figured that out yet.

But this nothing that I feel predicatbly leaves a void. I didn’t know where else to go with it. Perhaps this spiritual path will lead nowhere, but that’s where I’ll be going anyway.

I Share the Blame for Donald Trump

After spending the last couple days buried in National Review, Huffington Post, Slate, and a host of other nonsensical outlets of information, I feel the need to take a shower. I even went so far as to cause a Twitter battle with a couple of established commentators. Now that especially made me question myself.

(And by the way, if you’re a conservative born before 1965….claiming that you’re NOT obsessed with Ronald Reagan like he was the second coming of Christ is an argument you will always lose.)

But what did I learn in this process?

Absolutely nothing worth knowing. I learned that American political discourse is disgusting, cynical,  and pathetic process. And NO ONE comes out looking good.

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself: “You just now noticed this?”. And I think that question warrants an answer.

When I was a teenager, I was OBSESSED with politics. And being in a Bible-thumping Christian, private-school…you can probably venture to guess which side I found myself on. I wrote letter to my favorite governors, George W. Bush, and a number of other conservatives because they were my heroes. I even attempted (and nearly succeeded) to start a Young Republicans group in my county. Go ahead and laugh.

Of course, when I started college, I drifted leftward and got caught up in the Obama Revolution. Yet in my mid-twenties, I somewhat returned to a libertarian-like perspective. And I’m not going to lie, it sort of felt good to watch Hillary Clinton lose this past election. Yet, following politics got tiresome. I remember getting into online arguments where I literally felt sick afterwords. After the 2016 election, I swore to myself that I would never pay attention to politics again.

I was going to just be a casual observer…occasionally dropping in from time to time…but never fully immersing myself.

That is until yesterday.

Have you ever had a momentary lapse of judgement and fell back into your old, bad habits? Did it make you feel like a piece of shit? That’s how I feel today.

This is, of course, a philosophy blog. And I tend to it daily. So when one immerses oneself into the rigorous study of philosophy…normal things that people do start to look crazy. And it’s because being in constant engagement with philosophy causes you to question EVERYTHING. Plus, once when you realize you know NOTHING, the world becomes a bigger place and you start to feel kinda dumb.

So mainstream politics start to look idiotic, because you see people using arguments and “facts” improperly. And it all just ends up sounding like empty rhetoric. It doesn’t matter which side you agree with, they all sound like they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

And deep down, I think everyone knows that mainstream politics is bullshit. Even the people that peddle this crap would agree. If you take Alex Jones, isolate him from everything, and ask him if he truly believes the shit he says… I have no doubt that he would say “no, this is all entertainment.”

That’s what the “masses” don’t realize. Or they are denying it to themselves. When we turn on Fox News, CNN, or whatever the hell is out there…it’s all showbizz. You can hate Glenn Beck all you want, but during his primetime days, that mother fucker was an incredible showman! They all are.

And we all love a good showman. I’m not going to point fingers here, but clearly a certain segment of the population likes showmanship because that’s exactly what we have in the White House!

And for some reason or another, people actually believe that Donald Trump is genuine! I remember seeing a painting of Donald Trump where Jesus Christ was guiding his hand while signing a piece of legislation! What the fuck! I know that most people are over the initial shock of all of this, but I’m not! Holy shit! Just look at the man!

If you saw someone walking down the street that looked and acted like Donald Trump, would you trust that man with ANYTHING?! And yet we elected that guy into the White House!

In fact, EVERY article that talks about Trump should begin and end with: “what the fuck just happened?!”

But look, I’m not the one to point fingers. There was a lot more that I could have done, and I didn’t do any of it. So I share the blame for Donald Trump. Everyday that he remains in the White House, the shittier I feel. Perhaps when all of this is over, and Donald Trump is facing a tribunal for crimes against humanity, I wouldn’t blame any of you if I have to testify for my crime of inaction.

Yet if we can all admit that this was just one major, collective fuck-up… then we can turn this into a learning experience. Of course, one side can say “It was pretty fucking obvious that he was a psychopath”….and yes, it was pretty damn obvious. And you know what? All of us that voted for him or did nothing to stop him, we are ALL fucking idiots. So if a liberal tells you that you were stupid for voting for Trump, they’re right. Learn from it.

Anyways, I keep getting reminded of the infamous Karl Marx quote: “religion is opiate for the masses” (paraphrasing). It’s easy to see the truth behind that. But it’s harder to see that same mechanism in our politics. Religion is rooted in mysticism and, at one time, it served to distract us from the reality in front of us. We like to think our politics are rooted in fact and logic, it’s just that the “other side” is in complete denial about those facts. (Which is why I think it takes a lot of gall for Ben Shapiro to say “facts don’t care about your feelings”) The priest and the preacher no longer hold the sway they once did. Because we’ve replaced the minister with Brietbart, InfoWars, Fox News, Huffington Post, Salon, CNN……