Thoughts on my statement: “I am not knowledge” – aspects of knowledge in relation to the self and the importance of intuition

Recently, I have been finding that I feel particularly dumb in life.  Its like I don’t know anything.  I look at all that I thought, and think, and it all looks ridiculous and naïve in a way . . . its just a bunch of words and ideas.   Its like I only think I know but really don’t. More importantly, I know that there is great truth in this that, deep down, I really am dumb.  This is probably why, in the past little while, I have begun to say:

“I am not knowledge.” 

This got me to thinking about it:

“KNOWLEDGE”

I should point out that when I speak of “knowledge” here I am really speaking of it in a broader sense.  I speak of these two things:

Actual knowledge – this refers to information, facts, etc. . . . the “substance of knowing”.

Knowing – this refers to an act or ability . . . the “attaining of knowledge”.

These are really distinct and separate things but they are also intimately bound together.  Because of this, I react to them similarly and often view them as the same thing.  In this article I will speak of them, together, as “knowledge”.

“WEARING KNOWLEDGE”

The statement “I am not knowledge” states that “knowledge” – “actual knowledge” and “knowing” – is something that is separate from me.  In other words, “knowledge” does not make me who I am.  In fact, I’d say that “knowledge” is something that comes to me from “somewhere else”.   It is not a part of me and, in that sense, is “alien” to me, a stranger or foreignor.  In this way, “knowledge” is really no different than putting on a jacket or a hat . . . you just “put it on”.  One “puts it on” by “learning” it.  Once one “learns” it one “wears” it.  This more or less is saying that “learning” is the same as putting on clothing . . . its something separate from you that you “wear”.  I sometimes jokingly speak of this as “wearing knowledge” or “knowledge-as-clothing”.  

But, just like clothing, “wearing knowledge” tends to change the way a person looks, to themselves and others, and can alter the way they view themselves.  This change has a number of effects, such as:

  • Functional value – it makes a person “fit in”.  For example, “learning” the ways of a culture makes one fit in to the culture or “learning” how to be a lawyer makes a person fit into and become part of the lawyer profession.  In addition, being able to fit in to how the world works helps one to survive and live.
  • Illusionary and deceptive – it makes a person appear to be something else than they are.  This often becomes an illusion not only to other people but to the person themselves.  It can even get to the point of being a deception.
  • Revealing quality – it can help a person discover hidden or other aspects of themselves.  Changing the way a person appears can often reveal or bring out hidden aspect of themselves they did not know they have.  In this way, it can lead to a revealing of things.  It does this primarily by creating a condition where what one thinks one is or knows is as if put “off guard” by the change in ones appearance.  This assumed knowing is as if “challenged”, so to speak, causing a tension which often brings out other aspects of ones self.

One can see that there are good and bad effects with “wearing knowledge”.

The main problem with “wearing knowledge” is primarily that it does not necessarily reflect the person deep down.  In this “era of education” this is becoming a big problem. People are “wearing knowledge”, to such an extent, that they no longer know themselves.

My observation is that “wearing knowledge” generally starts by having “functional value” which gives it a legitimacy and relevance.  This often slowly turns into the “illusionary and deceptive” form over time.  In effect, they eventually deceive themselves by “wearing knowledge”.  This can become particularly dominant for some people.

The “revealing quality” appears from time to time in most people, but tends to only be strong in certain personality types.  Typically, people who “wear knowledge” tend to not develop the “revealing quality”.

Overall, though, I’d say that the “functional value” is the strongest and most prevalent value of “wearing knowledge”.   In other words, the main value of “wearing knowledge”, for most people, is in its quality of making a person “fit in”.  Some of the reasons why this is so important include:

  • It makes a person part of a group.
  • It can help a person “get ahead” and can give them advantage.
  • It causes a unity in a population of people.
  • It helps a person to adapt to the conditions of life.

Many of these reflect social conditions and show that there is a close relationship between society and “wearing knowledge”.  Because of this, “wearing knowledge” tends to be something that society promotes as a value.  In addition, it promotes and strengthens society as it helps people to survive in that society.  Because of this, “wearing knowledge” has a very strong social orientation and value.

But it must also be pointed out that, because of its more social orientation, “wearing knowledge” tends to not reflect personal inquiries or personal qualities. This, in my opinion, is one of the great illusions of knowledge and is one of many aspects of knowledge that is not understood.  My experience is that people who seek knowledge begin with the “wearing knowledge” point of view and generally remain there.  As a result, a person who is “knowledgeable” is generally nothing but a person that is “wearing knowledge” and remember that this is based, as I said above, on social values and themes. In this way, all they are seeking, really, is knowledge that is known and accepted by society.  If they are looking at things from a social values and themes point of view (which is generally the case) then its generally OK.  But when they are inquiring for “personal” reasons, such as a spirituality or deeper meaning in things, then there tends to be problems.  This is because the social values and themes, found in the “wearing knowledge” point of view, seldom reflects “personal” aspects.  As a result, there often develops a mismatch of motives which causes things like:

  • They tend to get misled and misdirected.
  • They get deceived.
  • They overemphasize certain things and neglect other things.
  • They become like blind sheep following the herd.

Its because of things like this that the emphasis on”wearing knowledge” point of view often tends to hamper peoples personal development.  This is because it is primarily based in a social orientation.   In actuality, this tends to lead them away from themselves.

KNOWLEDGE AND “I”

It seems, to me, that it is not “I” that is the origin of “knowledge”.  It seems, to me, that “knowledge is something that comes to me from somewhere else.  In this way, it shows that it is separate from me and removed from me.  As a result, I treat it that way, as something removed from me.  In this way, “knowledge” is not “mine”, so to speak, but a separate entity altogether.  In other words, I see “knowledge” as removed from my self and a separate entity.  This means that any “knowledge” does not contain my self, of who I am.  More than once have I said that things such as:

These all reveal a feeling that my thoughts don’t seem to be coming from “me”.

Being that “knowledge” is removed from me the “I” tends to feel stupid and dumb, oftentimes.  Some of the ways the feeling and being dumb appears include:

  • I forget things.
  • I can’t get seem to retrieve certain trains of thought or facts.
  • I contradict myself.
  • Things become relevant/irrelevant very easily.
  • I lose interest in subjects.

In other words, I become “flighty” and “absent-minded”.  This is because the “I” is not “rooted” in “knowledge” and, as a result, “bounces around” going from here to there as easily as the wind changes direction.  One  could, perhaps, refer to this as the “non-knowledge-focused orientation”.  In opposition to this one could speak of the “knowledge-focused orientation”.  In this orientation, of course, “knowledge” becomes the basis and mainstay of the self and “I”.  Because of this, the “I” becomes rooted in “knowledge” and becomes equated with the “I”.  A person then “becomes knowledge”.  The “knowledge-focused orientation” is very common in this society.

Looking at the qualities of this feeling of being dumb one can see a number of things such as:

  • That “knowledge” is separate from me.
  • That “knowledge” is limited and narrow, even when it comes from within me.
  • That “knowledge” is variable and changes.
  • That “knowledge” is not the great thing it seems to be. 
  • That “knowledge” comes and goes.

These qualities conflict with the “I”.  In fact, my observation is that there is a great disconnect between “knowledge” and the “I”.  As a result, “knowledge” often tends to fail in life.  Most people, at least in one point of their life, will experience this sense of the failure of “knowledge”.

WHEN “KNOWLEDGE” FAILS

In life there is a point where “knowledge” begins to fail.  There becomes something like a conflict between “knowledge” and the “I”.  Its almost like there are phases in this conflict:

  1. Being “simple”.  This is ones original state, of not “knowing”, much like an infant.
  2. The “knowing”.  This is when one gains knowledge.
  3. “Becoming knowledge”.  This is when one becomes “learned” and “understands”.  In this state we tend to equate knowledge with ourselves and often “wear knowledge”.  This can be a very satisfying feeling as one feels they are accomplishing something.
  4. The “knowing” begins to fail and “does not satisfy”.  One finds that the “knowing” ceases to be the great thing it once was nor does it seem to answer anything.  Often, this phase appears when one begins to develop a stronger sense of “I”.  In this way, it is a sign of a growing disconnect between “knowledge” and the “I”.
  5. One begins to have a sense that there is something “more” than “knowing”.  With the failure of “knowing” one begins to sense “something else”.  In many cases, this is a growing sense of “I”.
  6. The separation of the “I” and “knowledge”.  This is when one begins to see that ones self is beyond knowledge.
  7. The contemplative attitude.  This refers to an “awareness without knowledge” basically.  It primarily entails various forms of awareness that is rooted in the self and “I”.  It can go to the great depths of ones self.  Its often a sign of a great sense of self.  Most people don’t go this far.

Interestingly, the state of contemplation tends often takes on traits similar to the first phase, of being “simple”, and then the process as if starts over again.  Because of this, we could really refer to this as a cycle.

But, it seems to me, that many people, at least in this society, would have a hard time making it to phase 6, and possibly even phase 5.  This is primarily because they just see “knowing as knowing” and not as a manifestation of the self.  This has a lot to do with the fact that this is a knowledge worshiping society which tends to hinder the development of phase 6.   One effect of this is that they reach phase 5 and feel a frustration in life.  Many people will feel this frustration all their lives.

THE “KNOWLEDGE”/SELF RELATIONSHIP

The nature of “knowledge” is that it is often the “window of perceiving the world” that allows us to see, experience, conceive, and view the world.  As a result, we tend to equate this “knowledge” of the world with our self.  But our self is neither the world or our “knowledge” of the world.  This fact becomes more apparent when “knowledge” fails.

A major reason why “knowledge” fails is because our self grows and develops, particularly as we age.  As the self grows there is a tendency for a greater sense of a disconnect between the self and “knowledgeOften, there reaches a point where a person will either seek the self or maintain “knowledge”.  If the path of the self is chosen the self generally continues to grow.  As a result, there develops a greater sense of disconnect to the point that “knowledge” fails and all that’s left is the self.  One effect that this can cause is a sense of being “dumb”.  

One thing this shows is that the self is, in actuality, “dumb” and is without knowledge or “knowing”.  Accordingly, when the self becomes dominant one becomes, or feels, “dumb”.  In a way, being “dumb” often shows that the self is dominant.

Because of the “dumb” nature of the self there becomes little use of “knowledge” when the self is concerned.  As a result, there is a tendency where the self is known “without words” and in other ways other than “knowledge”.  Some of these include:

  • Faith.
  • Belief.
  • Doing.
  • Beingness.
  • Contentment.
  • Contemplation.

All these deal with the general qualities of the self and do not, accordingly, involve knowledge or knowing.  Many of these qualities, interestingly, are more prevalent in primitive, smaller, and older societies. This fact shows that primitive, smaller, and older societies tend to take a “non-knowledge-focused orientation”.  Societies that are more developed, larger, and newer tend to take a “knowledge-focused orientation”.  

One fact that this shows is that the more developed, larger, and newer societies (that is, more modern societies) tend to actually degrade the self, not develop it, as it usually claims.  This fact may be one reason why modern societies tend to dehumanize and alienate peopleThe self simply does not figure prominently in more modern societies.

EFFECTS OF A KNOWLEDGE WORSHIPPING SOCIETY

In this society there is a tendency to worship knowledge.  This point of view is seen in many more modern societies.  But, the problem is that these societies preach that “knowing” is everything.  This orientation, as I said above, tends to hinder the development of the self.  The over emphasis on “knowledge” tends to make it difficult to allow it to fail and allow the self to grow.  There then becomes a dilemma where one part of a person wants to follow the self but it doesn’t know how.  This is because its in a society that only emphasizes “knowledge” and, as a result, the path of the self is not known.  This causes a number of reactions such as:

  • They try to find another way of “knowing”.  This often appears like “experiments”, such as another belief system or religion.  Usually, this works for a while but fails in the end.
  • They learn more as a way of following the “knowledge” orientation.
  • They resign themselves to the fact that they are dumb.
  • They become indifferent.
  • They develop contempt.

Typically, a knowledge worshipping society creates a “self-suppressed” condition that actually hinders the development of the self.  A segment of the population will try to develop the self, using techniques as shown above, but they usually never quite develop the self.  It seems that the people who develop the self are generally people who are “on the fringes of society” and, accordingly, are not under its control.  This allows the self to develop more freely.

INTUITION AS A FORM OF “SELF-KNOWLEDGE”

The self, though, does have an innate form of knowing.  I generally refer to this as intuition.  It is a form of knowing that originates from “inside” or within us.  In this way, it is not really a form of “knowledge”.  It does not depend on a learning or a knowing that comes from without.  The qualities that seem to promote intuition, it seems to me, are:

  • An openness.  This means an ability to be open to it, and to allow it to happen.
  • A receptiveness.  This means an ability to receive it into ones mind.
  • A recognition.  This means an ability to recognize its value.

Many people have intuition but never use it because of some failure, such as in one of the qualities describe above.  These qualities all describe an aspect of the self.  In short, the self must be “prepared” and “open” for intuition.  Otherwise, intuition comes through one ear and out the other.  This shows that intuition is a matter of the self.

Because intuition comes from the self, and originates from within, it tends to be wordless and dumb, just like the self.  As a result, there is a tendency to not be able to understand it.  In addition, we tend to not recognize intuition when it does appear.  In this way, intuition is something that one must “discern” or, rather, see amidst the myriad reactions, feelings, and thoughts one has.

Intuition is really an active relationship of the self with the world.  It is not a “knowledge” in the sense of “I know this or that”.  In this way, we could describe intuition as an “active knowing”.  Intuition then becomes a perpetual discovery and a revealing that never ends.  It is also never complete but ongoing.  Its in perpetual flux and change.

Interestingly, even though intuition comes from within it often has this appearance of coming from without us, as something separate from us.  (this was seen, for example, with Socrates – see my article “Thoughts on how I perceive the world – inspiration and the “I don’t know” – with remarks about Socrates, philosophy, Odin, and belief“).  No doubt, this is because of its deeper origins . . . the conscious self perceives it as something else.

 THE EFFECT OF AGE – THE QUESTION OF WISDOM

As one grows older the sense of self usually develops as well.  One effect of this, oftentimes, is a growing sense of becoming dumber as one gets older.  One feels that “they never really knew”.  Another aspect of this is that we really begin to see how dumb we were when we were younger and that we only “thought we knew”.  In short, knowledge tends to fail when we grow older.

Because of this, one tends to take a more “intuitive” view of life as one gets older.  This, it seems to me, is the source of a lot of the so-called wisdom of old age.  Normally, we say it is based in “experience”.  I feel that there is truth to this but I feel that there is other aspects not mentioned.  The failure of knowledge, based on the growing self and its leading to a more intuitive sense in life, seems a major element in the development of wisdom.  This would mean that wisdom is not based in wholly in knowledge or experience.

One of the reasons why wisdom can be so powerful is that it is based in an intuitive sense and tends to describe an attitude of an active participation in life.  In other words, wisdom is often a sign of an active participation in the world.   This is why wisdom often appears as “advice” or “suggestions” and does not appear as “facts”.

AFTERTHOUGHT

Overall, we find that the self and knowledge are not as compatible as it may seem.  In actuality, knowledge or what I know, or think I know, is not who I am nor does it make me who I am.  The self, by itself, is actually dumb and without knowledge.  But the self contains a form of knowledge in intuition.  One could say that intuition is the “knowledge of the self”.  In this way, one could say that “real knowledge” is intuition, the knowledge that comes from the self, which is dumb and without knowledge.

————————————————————————–

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Dehumanization and alienation, Existence, Awareness, Beingness, Consciousness, Conceptionism, and such, Inspiration, free association, and intuition, Modern life and society, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the control of money and the problem of “pressure” in life with remarks about “personhood”

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I saw some teenagers and a thought came to me of some advice I would like to of given them.  The more I thought about it the more interesting it got.  I started off by wanting to give them this advice:

“Don’t make money run your life.”

Its true that we all need money to survive but we want to avoid it having control over us.  There needs to be a balance that is achieved.  There is a time and place for money and there is a time and place without money.  One doesn’t want to make it the focus of life.  To make money run your life is to live a degraded life, in my opinion.  It basically causes you to become something like a puppet to it and, in so doing, you cease to live and be a person.

THE CONTROL OF MONEY

I see three ways where money can have control over a person:

  1. When you are poor you are controlled by the lack of money.  In other words, not having money makes a person have to need money and, accordingly, a person then is controlled by it, out of necessity.
  2. Neither rich or poor, but average income, where ones attitude and how one manages affairs dictates how controlled a person is.  This is the “middle path”.  Here a person wavers between rich and poor.  This is usually where most of the population is located.  Often, people here are the least controlled by money.  Its not uncommon that a person has to learn how to do this though.  Many people have problems with this.
  3. When you are rich you are controlled by what money can buy.  Life becomes a matter of spending money.  It then begins to dictate what you do and how you live.  It can even begin to dictate how you view yourselves and your position with other people (like a class struggle or a “keeping up with the Joneses”).

What we see, then, is that people who are rich are just as controlled by money as poor people, but in a different way.  In fact, I’d say most rich people are slaves to money. Many, though, don’t see that.  In many ways, this is the problem with being rich, you’re controlled but you don’t realize it whereas when you are poor you know it.  Overall, being either poor or rich, they both seem to lead to a controlled life.  The greatest opportunity to not be controlled by money is usually in the “middle path” . . .

The middle path

The best path, in my opinion, is in the middle, neither rich or poor.  Typically, this means that a person makes an average wage . . . nothing spectacular.  You’re usually making what most people make.  This is why another advice I would give is:

“Get the ideas out of your head of owning mansions and expensive cars.”

In other words, don’t think in a rich way and try to not make your plans in life involve money.  In short, if you don’t think rich you don’t expect to be rich.  To take the middle path a person needs to take a middle path perspective and attitude. 

I must also point out that, to take the middle path, a person must be in a situation that is conducive to this path, the “middle path condition”.   In many cases, this condition is threatened because a person is pulled or threatened into the poor condition or, oddly enough, they may even be pulled to the wealthy end.  This being pulled or threatened to either condition tends to upset the “middle path condition” and tends to undermine it.  If this does happen the “middle path condition” can be harder to achieve than it seems. What this shows is that the “middle path condition” tends to require a constancy.  You can’t be pulled back and forth between different conditions.

THE “PRESSURE”

Making an average wage, though, creates a condition where a person is always in need in their lives.  They need money to pay bills, to buy foods, etc., etc.  This creates something like a “pressure” that one feels, like a great burden on ones shoulders.

This “pressure”, we must remember, is a normal condition.  All living things feel this “pressure” in one way or another:  plants, insects, mammals, etc.  When you walk into the forest, for example, what you’re seeing is plants fighting for the rays of the sun and the nutrients of the soil.  In addition, insects, animals, and other living things are continually seeking food.  When you see insects flying or crawling around that’s what they’re doing. When you see squirrels scurrying around and jumping from branch to branch that’s what they’re doing.  All nature is filled with this “pressure” because all living things are in need.  If we could tap even a small amount of the energy of this “pressure”, found in living things, it would probably supply power to the whole world!  In short, all living things are in a continuous never ending need.  We are all seeking.  That’s the way it is and that is the condition of life.  This means, more or less, that the “pressure” is a normal part of life.  In a sense, life is about the “pressure”.  Looking at it that way, we could very well say that a person does not live unless there is “pressure”.  Therefore, depriving oneself of “pressure” deprives a person of life and living.  This means, then, that there is more to “pressure” than what it seems.  It isn’t just a burden, a weight, a worry . . . its a source of life!

In this way, becoming rich is a way to deprive oneself of life and living because it deprives one of the “pressure”.  Being poor, on the other hand, as if “drains” a person of life, the “pressure” is now too great.  In both cases, a loss of life takes place.  It seems that the reason why the middle way is better is because of the “pressure” that exists there and that it is the source of life . . . one is neither deprived of it or overwhelmed by it.  

This “pressure” can be described as having several qualities:

  • It has a great seriousness to it.
  • Its continuously present.
  • It is never ending.

In some sense, its like a great shadow that hangs over us all the time, throughout our whole lives.  There’s no escaping it.  If one thinks they have escaped it then they are only deceiving themselves.  In this way, “pressure” is something one lives with.

Struggling with “pressure”

Many people struggle with this “pressure” and for many different reasons.  Some of these include:

  • Personality.  Some peoples character may predispose them to being oversensitive to “pressure”.
  • Social conditions.  Various social conditions may predispose people to a greater or lesser sense of “pressure”.  Some social structures can do this as well as things like a “class struggle” and even some qualities of culture.  Various form of competition tends to intensify it as well.
  • Actual conditions.  Difficult conditions, such as bordering on poverty or uncertainty about ones future, may intensify the “pressure”.
  • Uncertainty.  Often, one is unclear of the severity of the “pressure”.   It seems that uncertainty about “pressure”, and what it may mean, often causes an intensification of the “pressure”.  In some ways, this may be the worst form of “pressure” . . . of knowing about it but not knowing its severity.  Sometimes, the struggle with “pressure” is imaginary.  At other times, its not as bad as it seems.  And still, at other times, it is a real legitimate concern.  Sometimes its hard to tell if ones worries are truly real.

The struggle with “pressure” may cause people to do things like these:

  • It makes some people despair and become hopeless.
  • It makes some people apathetic, not wanting to do anything.
  • It makes some people dream of being rich.
  • Some people will try to be rich in order to alleviate the feeling of “pressure” (this can be done legally and illegally).
  • They learn to “manage” it.

So we see that there are many different responses to it, ranging from good to bad.  It seems, to me, that a significant way of dealing with “pressure” is by managing it . . .

Managing “pressure”

Some of the ways to “manage” the “pressure” include:

  • Making concessions.  This basically amounts to having modest wants.  It includes things like not having expensive tastes, no frivolous spending, buying modest things, etc.
  • Developing the right attitude and ways.  This includes things like not expecting to be rich, accepting conditions, learning to be modest, etc.
  • Accepting the fact that, in life, a person is always in need . . . accept the “pressure” and live with it.  This seems to be a difficult thing to do sometimes.
  • Have or develop a belief system that gives meaning to life and life’s struggles.  In many cases, this is religious or religious-like.  Often, it develops as a result of experience.
  • Learning how to manage ones life so that its conditions are in your favor. This generally requires some know-how and experience.  Some people may be better at this than others.  This can also help maintain the constancy of the “middle path condition”.

Doing things, like these, allows one to live in the presence of “pressure” but not to be overwhelmed by it.

NECESSARY AND DEEPER WEALTH

It seems, to me, that there are different forms of wealth:

  1. Necessary wealth.  This is wealth that is necessary to survive.  It includes what money can buy (food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and other necessary things (such as air, the ability to move around, sight, and such).
  2. Deeper wealth.  This is wealth that is “deeper”.  It is a wealth found beyond necessary wealth and money.  It cannot be bought.  It tends to be an interior sense that can border, at times, with being spiritual-like.  In actuality, this is the greatest of wealth’s.  In fact, in my opinion, this is the wealth that a person should most seek.

To me, there is a relationship between these two wealth’s.  This is because both are necessary.  I’d describe necessary wealth as having a quality of a foundation.  Upon this foundation is built deeper wealth.  This describes a relationship, that they both work together:  deeper wealth requires necessary wealth to survive and necessary wealth allows deeper wealth to be meaningful.

It seems that “managing” the “pressure” tends to develop the meaning and value of deeper wealth.  This is because the “pressure” is rooted in life and living, as I said above:  life is found in the “pressure”.  And we must remember that deeper wealth is “deep” because it is beyond things and hits deeper into ones soul.  Because of this, there is a close association between “pressure”, deeper wealth, and life.  Therefore, by “managing” the “pressure” one finds “deeper wealth” by “living”.   It does this by doing these things:

  • It allows us to “tap” the life that is found in “pressure”.
  • It allows us to not be overwhelmed by “pressure”.
  • It allows us to live beyond “pressure” and find deeper wealth and life.

In so doing, we tend to live a life beyond money and a life where it does not control us.

“PRESSURE”, THE SELF, AND OTHERS

It is harder to deal with “pressure” when one has a family or is responsible for other people.  It would probably be more accurate to say that it gives it a new depth and meaning.  This is because of things like these:

  • The concern over other people makes it more serious.
  • There is actually a disconnect because other people are not a part of ones self.  One is “acting on the behalf” of other people, so to speak.
  • Its based more in an abstract instinctual need.  Typically, when on has a responsibility for other people it has an instinctual-like basis, such as in a family or an extended family (such as ones country) . . . one doesn’t just automatically feel a bond with strangers where there is no instinctual bond.  This instinctual connection creates a bond that is “abstract” because it connects ones self with other people who are separate and removed from you.  Its a “bond at a distance”, so to speak.

In short, other people tends to create more of a “pull” often making the “pressure” worse. Sometimes it can become so overbearing that it causes problems.  Many people may struggle with it and it may stress some people out.

But, we must also point out that since life and living is found in the “pressure”, having responsibility for others is often a great source of living.  For some people it is the source of living and is what make life matter.

LIVING WITH “PRESSURE” AND “PERSONHOOD”

In many ways, the issue of money (at least in the “middle path condition”) really revolves around living with “pressure”.  This means that dealing with “pressure”, as well as managing it, are critical aspects in life.  I think I’d go on to say that a significant part of ones happiness in life revolve around how one manages and lives with “pressure”.  In other words, for most people, money isn’t the issue, they just think it is. My observation is that, for most people, money is seldom the problem they think it is. More often than not, it is about “pressure”.  It seems that the more problems you have with “pressure” the more problems you will have with life and, probably, the more unhappy you will be.

There appears to be an innate recoiling tendency against “pressure”.  That is to say, a person as if automatically dislikes and avoids it.  In many ways, this is the problem of “pressure” and why we struggle with it.  This dislike makes us struggle not only with it but often against it.  Many people end up fighting against the “pressure”, treating it as something like a threat.  They often become bitter, preoccupied with money, and develop images in their minds of an “impending tragedy”, as if the world is going to come to an end.  This is even though they, in actuality, are not “hurting”.  This is a good example of how “pressure”, or the inability to manage it, can greatly deteriorate life and cause unnecessary despair.

But this same innate recoiling tendency probably hides one of the reasons why “pressure” is so important in life.  The reason why:  the innate recoiling forces a person to confront life.  In other words, the recoiling tendency places a burden on a persons self that “wakens a person to life”, so to speak.  In this way, ones self is “awakened” and, accordingly, one is forced to “live” as a person-in-the-world.  What this shows is that “pressure” is closely related with “personhood” and that this is associated with the recoiling against “pressure”.  So we see this pattern:

need>>>”pressure”>>>recoiling tendency>>>self is awakened>>>living>>>personhood

In many ways, the recoiling tendency is the self “being forced to be awake”.  It seems, to me, that many people do not “awaken” primarily because they allow themselves to be recoiled and avoid the “pressure”.  Looking at things from this angle, we could say that deeper wealth and life are found by the self being awakened, often forcibly, by need and “pressure”.  This makes one a person-in-the-world and develops “personhood”.  When money controls you (by having too little or too much) this is hindered or even prevented.  


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Advice, Life in general, Other stuff, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on “humanity fear” – Christian sin and the assumption that humanity is bad

Recently, I was walking on a College campus.  It was, apparently, earth day or so the signs said.  I happened to go in the student services building and a guy told me that they were having a performance of some sort upstairs.  I decided “why not?” and went to have a look.  A guy was actually talking about economy, politics, and such.  He spent a lot of time with climate change, no doubt reflecting the fact it was earth day.  His general stance toward climate change is that humanity was at fault.  It made me think about things.

I should point out that my attitude toward climate change is that I’m not fully convinced humanity is at fault.  My gut tells me that it is a natural process, that we’ve seen before in history, of temperature fluctuations.  This doesn’t mean that I’m saying that they’re wrong.  I’m saying that I’m not convinced and need more proof.  But, as I thought of this, I saw another side to it that I thought was interesting.  It goes something like this:

As I have listened to this stuff, through the years, I always get this impression that, behind a lot of this, is nothing but an attitude of condemning humanity.  In other words, there seems to be some inner satisfaction at blaming humanity for problems.  I’m under the impression that this mentality began with the Christian idea of sin which preached of the inherent “evil” in humanity, that humanity is “bad” innately.  This attitude progressed through the years and changed with the times.  One of its current results is that “humanity is at fault” for damage to the world by causing climate change.  In that way, its really a religious-based mentality of condemning the sin of humanity.  This is why there are things such as:

  • There is a sense of a “great cause”.  This comes from the religious cause.
  • There is a self-righteousness about it.  This comes from the self-righteousness of religion
  • It is satisfying to people.  It reaffirms the cause and makes them feel self-righteous.

In this way, much of the environmental stuff has this quality of a “save the world” which, by the way, was the message of Christianity.  That, it seems to me, is no mistake.

This means that all of this is a reflection more of an attitude, a way of looking at things than whats actually happening.  The effect of this attitude is that it tends to alter the interpretations in order to fit things to its image.  Many years ago I began to suspect that all this worry over climate change was really more a reflection of this attitude, and its subsequent distortion of interpretation, than actual fact.  That’s what my gut told me anyways.

Over the centuries there seems to be a historical progression of the “inherent evil of humanity” attitude.  It has gone through many changes and transformations.  It goes something like this:

  • Christian sin – there is an “inherent evil” in humanity.  This instilled, in the people and culture of Western society, an attitude and sense that humanity is evil in whatever it does.  This can be so extreme that it views all humanity does as bad.
  • The crusades.  This caused a great sense, in Western Christianity, of a “great worldly cause”, that their belief impacted the world in some way.  In other words, it made Europe take a more “whole world” perspective.  Previously, it was more regional.
  • The black death.  This, following the crusades, gave a sense that the “whole world was being punished by the sin of humanity” in Europe.  In other words, the sin is “upon the whole world”.  Before this, it seems to me, the issue of sin seems to of been personal.  After the crusades and black death it seems to take on a more “whole world” quality.
  • The Protestant Reformation and the failure of Christianity.  The Protestant Reformation caused a slow decay in Christian belief.  This led to things like science.  As Christianity failed the belief failed but many Christian attitudes persisted.  One of these is the “inherent evil of humanity” attitude.  It persists as an attitude in Western society down to today.
  • WWI, WWII, and the machines of war.  The world wars seems to of instilled a horror to humanity in its ability and effectiveness to kill.  This is primarily because of the machines of war, which have begun to be very effective.  This cast a big shadow on humanity as well as a doubt about humanity.
  • Hitler and the holocaust.  This cast another shadow across humanity, of how horrible people can be to other people.  I think this has had far more impact than people think in portraying all of us as bad.
  • The cold war.  This is really a continuation of the previous two.  The threat of nuclear annihilation cast a big shadow across humanity along with a sense of the “evil” of humanity.  During this time there were many references back to WWII and Hitler almost as a basis of “proof”.
  • The Vietnam war.  The protests, hysteria, and panic at this time as if brought all of the above together into one form.  As a result, it gave the “inherent evil of humanity” attitude a form, a voice, and made it accessible to common people.  It also associated it with a mass hysteria.  During this time there were many references to a great sense of the evil of humanity:  war was bad, the government is bad, rules are bad, etc.  Alongside this, it was preached that we need to “love” one another, as a solution.  Interestingly, the emphasis on “peace and love” happened to be nothing but Christianity restated.  This is a good example of how, behind a lot of this mentality, is nothing but Christianity.  This is why it assumed the “evil” of humanity” (sin) and that the solution to this is “peace and love” (which is what Jesus preached).  This point of view became a very strong attitude of hippi mentality.
  • The attitude branched in different directions.  One of the effects of the Vietnam war era is that it made this attitude more accessible to the common people.  Accordingly, it branched off in many different directions.  One of these is the concern over the environment and climate change.  Since, behind this mentality, there is the “inherent evil of humanity” attitude, it tends to assume that “humanity is at fault”.

So we see that the assumption that “humanity is at fault”, such as is seen in climate change, is a modern reflection of the Christian idea of sin and the “inherent evil of humanity”.  Humanity is, therefore, assumed to be causing all the problems.  Not only that, there is the idea that the world is being threatened by humanity.  In other words, humanity is threatening the world because of its “inherent evil”.  This creates a fear of humanity, which lies behind much of these points of views, which I jokingly referred to as the “humanity fear” because its like a fear of all humanity.

What all this shows is that the idea of Christian sin has, over the years, turned into a fear of humanity that is very prevalent in Western society.  It causes things like:

  • A tendency to see threats coming from humanity
  • A tendency to blame humanity for problems
  • A tendency to see the worst in humanity

These are often done very easily and is often immediately assumed to take place.

One effect of this “humanity fear” is that it causes a tendency to paranoia.  In other words, the Christian idea of sin has, over the years, created a tendency to paranoia in Western society.  This can even develop into a sense that humanity will destroy the worldIts no mistake that this same point of view was taken by Christianity.  Many years ago it was not uncommon for guys to stand on the corner and preach things like:

  • “Repent ye sinners!”
  • “The world is going to end!”
  • “The sin of humanity is going to make God destroy the world!”

These same viewpoints and attitudes, in a modified form, are being seen today in people like environmentalists.  So what we are seeing, really, is Christian attitudes being applied to non-religious things.  I call this “post-Christianity” (see my article “Thoughts on Blind Christianity – some effects of the post-Christian era“).  What this causes is a tendency for many Christian attitudes to be applied to everyday and non-religious things.  I think climate change is another example of this.

Its probably no surprise, then, that many of the solutions to the “humanity fear” are very similar to Christian-based themes, such as:

  • Love – “we must love the earth”
  • Peace – “people must work together to avoid war and destruction”
  • Understanding – “people must be taught to save the planet”

In many ways, much of these things are nothing but a reiteration of Christianity, referring to the same themes and attitudes.  If anything, this shows how much influence Christianity has had on Western society, that it can’t even let its attitudes go after the belief system has failed.

But the problem is that it is laying too much blame on humanity and too easily makes humanity bad.  In this way, we can see that the Christian idea of sin has, over the years, turned into a tendency to easily villainize people and humanity.  This is often done needlessly and blindly.  It can be particularly severe if there is something that “proves” it, such as the holocaust.

Remember that this does not necessarily say that climate change and global warming is false.  Whether it is true or not I still think that the “humanity fear” has played a role in its mentality, assumptions, and interpretations.  In fact, I think the “humanity fear” plays a significant part in many mentalities, assumptions, and interpretations of things nowadays.  To be frank, I think that if we did not have the “humanity fear” the world would not look so dark and we’d have a better view of humanity.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Christianity, Christian conversion, Post-Christianity, and Christian influence, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Philosophy, Religion and religious stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the ‘post 2016 election mentality’ – continuing the Vietnam War protests and the inability to resolve media-induced mass hysteria

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I have noticed what I often call the ‘post 2016 election mentality’.  This refers to a mentality that originates as a result of the 2016 Presidential election hysteria that took place in the U.S. As I have explained in my article “Thoughts on a media-induced mass hysteria . . . the “Trump panic”” much of this election was dictated by a media-induced mass hysteria.  As I watched it happen before me I saw the media literally exaggerate, distort, sensationalize, fabricate false things, etc. on a scale that I’ve never seen before.  They did this with many different aspects of this election and to such an extent that much of the population was “worked up” to the point of what I often called a “hysterical frenzy”.  I would even talk to people about it and they’d have this “crazed and frenzied” look in their eye telling me ridiculous nonsense about Trump that was so obviously absurd that it was unreal.  It was almost surreal at times.  The ‘post 2016 election mentality’ is really the continuation of that mentality after the election.  In other words, its a continuation of the “worked up” mass hysteria frenzy attitude (remember that the media “worked up” the people to this “hysterical frenzy”).

Most people, it seems, have calmed down but there is a small group of people that are still “worked up” and are having difficulty calming down from it.  I would not doubt that some will keep it going for as long as Trump is in office and maybe even continue it even after that.  In other words, they are keeping the frenzy going.  A large part of these people seem to be:

  • Liberals
  • Females
  • Democrats
  • Paranoid people
  • People who are upset about life or other things
  • People who feel “threatened” by the government or politics

People, such as these, continue the frenzy and are keeping it alive.  In fact, I’d say that many won’t let it go.  Much of this seems to show that they are “attracted” to the frenzy and that it “speaks” to them.  In other words, what’s important is the “frenzy” not the politics or issues, as they claim.  The “frenzy” tends to be a medium for the issues and problems that they feel.  Keep in mind that the “frenzy” is an outlet . . . it does not solve the problem.

I tend to feel that this type of mentality tends to largely be a result of the Vietnam War protests of about 1970.  In other words, the ‘post 2016 election mentality’ has a resemblance to the Vietnam War protests of about 1970.   One could even say that it, in some ways, appears almost like a reenactment of the hippi movement begun in the Vietnam War protests.  Because of this, it makes them continue to interpret things in a certain way and continually emphasize certain points originating from this era.  Some of the traits this entails include:

  • The assumption that the establishment or authority is bad.  Of course, since Trump is President, an attack on the establishment or authority is actually an attack on Trump.
  • The idea that we are all being oppressed in some way.  This is strong with females, in particular, many of who seem to think that they are being threatened in some way, even though nothing has happened.
  • A continual emphasis on freedom, that we need to maintain it or that it is being threatened in some way.
  • A tendency to look at things in the worst possible light.  For example, if Trump or the government does something its interpreted as a great threat in some way.
  • A tendency to see things as threatening the entire world.
  • A blind rebellious attitude.
  • An emphasis on females and minorities.
  • A concern over hatred.
  • An emphasis on some form of unity, real or imagined.
  • An emphasis on “loving” or caring for people.
  • An emphasis on peace.
  • A tendency to fear and paranoia.  This is because the Vietnam War protests is greatly influenced by the cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation.  This is the origin of much of the fear and paranoia that we see later and which motivates all this.

Much of these claims, though, are not founded on fact and actual conditions but reflect biased points of view which tends to make them interpret things a certain way or see things from a certain light.  Because of this, it is a matter of how they interpret things that is the question.  In this way, they are really trying to force a specific interpretation onto things.  I call this “forcing the interpretation”.  As they force this interpretation they tend to alter the facts to reflect their viewpoints and attitudes.  As a result, their interpretations tends to show these qualities:

  • A bias
  • A distortion
  • Fabrication

As a result of these they often create a reality that does not exist:  threats are created that don’t exist, enemies are made that don’t exist, intentions are assumed that don’t exist, freedoms are threatened that aren’t threatened, evil intentions are created that aren’t there, and so on.  In other words, “forcing the interpretation” tends to create an image of realities that do not existGenerally, things are portrayed worse than they are, and usually because of some malicious intent, often taking the form “X wants to harm Y and, because of this, Y is in a panic”.

This type of mentality became very prevalent during the Vietnam War protests.  And, because of the growth of media during this time, it as if “injected” these attitudes into the general population of the U.S.  As a result, many people in the U.S. have a tendency to “force the interpretation” creating false threats, enemies, and so on.  In short, Americans are more likely to display paranoia after the Vietnam War than before.  This is one of the lasting effects the Vietnam War protests created.

This attitude of “forcing the interpretation”, paranoia, etc. has carried on down through the years in many different forms.  After the Vietnam War they became “detached” from the war and became attached to other things.  Some examples include the lawsuit crisis that appeared later, political correctness, over-reacting to being offended, seeing hatred in things people do, and so on.  Some of these have become very prevalent to the point of being a problem.  What this shows is that the attitude of fear, paranoia, and “forcing the interpretation” is directed to anything that it can use as a medium of expression.  In other words, its not the “thing” (the issues) that matters but if it can be a vehicle for the feelings of fear and paranoia.  Its this type of mentality that prompted statements I hear all the time such as, “anything can be turned into oppression”, “all you have to do is look at someone and you oppress them”, “just because a black guy is involved we’re now all viewed as racists”, and so on.  We can see that anything that can made to fit into their “forced interpretation” becomes as avenue to their fear and paranoia.  Again, this is not about the “thing” (the issues) but about finding an expression of their fear and paranoia.  This tendency causes an increased likelihood of mass hysteria.  This is because mass hysteria can easily become an avenue for these feelings of fear and paranoia. 

During the election much of these feelings became attached to Trump.  In other words, Trump became an avenue for fear and paranoia.  But, we must remember, that these feelings existed before Trump and, in actuality, have nothing to do with him!  In actuality, the feelings directed toward Trump revolve around general American feelings, concerns, worries, etc. that are decades old.  This is one reason why many statements said about Trump “don’t make sense” . . . people are speaking about something else through Trump.

Much of this tendency is persisting after the election in the ‘post 2016 election mentality’.  One could say that it persists in two ways:

  1. Those that are attached to Trump and politics.
  2. Those that have gone beyond Trump and politics, into other unrelated areas.

I speak, in this article, of the later.  Some examples of these includes things like these:

  • There is more “pro-female” themes coming up all the time that did not exist before Trump.
  • There is more emphasis on females being “victimized” in some way.
  • There is more emphasis on females being “leaders”.
  • There is a concern over refugee’s and minorities.
  • There is more criticizing and condemnation of the establishment and authority.
  • There is more emphasis on a “unity”, with some groups, than before.
  • There is more of an emphasis on being involved with democracy.
  • There is an emphasis on preserving our freedoms and rights, even though they are not threatened.

Because these things were so easily detached from Trump it shows that these attitudes predate him.  In other words, they are attitudes that originate from somewhere earlier, as I described above.

My observation seems to show that much of these attitude do, in fact, originate from the Vietnam War protests and that much of the commotion about Trump is really a reenactment of these protests.  It supports my statement I had once said about the election:  “The commotion about Trump, in this election, is not about Trump at all but the hippi movement during the Vietnam War and the themes it brought out and that it is still unresolved”.  Much of the so-called “women’s march” is a reflection of this fact, of the reenactment of the Vietnam War protest (with marches) stating almost identical themes (rights, freedom, etc.) . . . almost a “carbon copy”, in some respects.

All this shows how impactful the Vietnam War protests were and that it still affects American mentality.  This does not surprise me as I have always suspected that the Vietnam War protests is the single most influential event in American history after WWII.  It is something like a wound that has not healed.  Its shadow hangs over all of us, though it may not seem like it.  One example of this is that a lot of people take hippi views (though they are usually unaware of it).  In fact, many views seen in this election descend from the hippi views and are amazingly similar to what was said during the Vietnam War.  Liberalism, in fact, is greatly influenced by hippi viewpoints and this figured greatly in this election.

I tend to feel that the Vietnam War protests have brought up conflicts that have largely gone unresolved.   The reason for this, it seems to me, is that these conflicts are not, in actuality, real but a manifestation of a mass hysteria that gripped the population.  In short, the people were “worked up into a frenzy” over conflicts that weren’t really real.  But, because of the “frenzy” they got “pulled into it” and, accordingly, believed they existed.  The important point is that their behavior was dictated by being “pulled into the frenzy” not by the conflicts themselves.  This being “pulled into the frenzy” is mass hysteria.  All the fancy explanations and “causes” that they stated are just intellectualizations of this mass hysteria (such as peace, love, freedom, etc).  They are only the rallying calls of the mass hysteria and the “frenzy” that they were “pulled into”.  In other words, peace, love, freedom, etc. is not what its actually about.  As a result, these things will not solve anything . . . and they haven’t.  This more or less means that the Vietnam War protests is an issue of mass hysteria, not peace, love, and freedom, as they said. 

I tend to feel that the Vietnam War protests were so influential because they hit deep in much of the population and country.  I do not feel that this was because of the causes they were fighting for, as they claim, but because of the effects of the media-induced mass hysteria, as stated above.  This is because of the nature of mass hysteria.  Basically, in mass hysteria the person, the individual, is no longer in control.  They have given up their self to the mob.  It now dictates their feelings and motives (they’ve as if lost control of themselves).  In short, in the Vietnam War protests much of younger people, in particular, gave up their self to the mass hysteria and ceased to be individuals.  Being without a self, they had no real way to deal with all the panic and hysteria they and the mob were feeling.  They were as if helpless people subjected to the panic with no clear cut way, as individuals, to deal with it.  In this way, the mass hysteria hit deep, because people did not have a self to deal with it all.  As a result, people had to find ways to deal with it, and without a self.  This made many people become prone to do things like these:

  • They got wound up and overly concerned with causes and conflicts – this gave a sense of having some purpose.
  • They would go into blind rebellion even when there was nothing to rebel against – this gives a sense of having purpose and a way to vent.
  • They went into despair – this reveals how people often struggled with it.
  • They became concerned about “developing the self” – this shows a dilemma of the self.

These all became prevalent during and after the Vietnam War protests.  What we see in these is that people are trying to grapple some psychological issue and concern, something “deep down”.  This means that the issue of the unresolved Vietnam War protests, then, is about psychology not politics.  They shows the effects a mass hysteria can have over people . . . in the end, people are struggling with psychological issues.

With the loss of self, I find it interesting that there became, in the hippi movement, a tendency to “develop the self” (reflecting the effect of the psychological issues caused by mass hysteria).  In fact, it one looks closer, it seems that it was after Woodstock (1969), in particular, that the mass hysteria began in the greater population of the U.S.  As a result of the mass hysteria’s loss of self, with the self problems it created, it seems that “developing the self” became more prevalent after that time.  In short, one could probably say that the hippi movement largely consists of attempts at dealing with the loss of self the hysteria created as well as its effects.  In this way, one could probably say that the a lot of the hippi movement is a reaction to hysteria, not the “causes” they were professing (which is what I originally thought).  Because of this, the hippi movement created whole new areas devoted to developing the self:  the self-help movement, new age movement, meditation, LSD to “expand the mind”, and such.

Looking back on it now it looks as if the hippi movement is really an attempt at dealing with a personal crisis.  This personal crisis, it seems to me, is the loss of self that a media induced mass hysteria created.  In other words, the media-induced mass hysteria of the Vietnam War era has created something like a sickness in the U.S., a ‘mass hysteria sickness’.  This is largely an inability to react or resolve the effects of the loss of self, and its effects, created by a mass hysteria.  I tend to feel that this is far more prevalent than it may seem and that many people struggle with it as a result of the many forms of mass hysteria that have go on throughout the centuries.

It seems that individual people can usually overcome ‘mass hysteria sickness’.  This seems primarily achieved by no longer being involved with the hysteria or anything connected with it.  In other words, just be being away from it and continuing on with their lives (which reestablishes the control of their self).  As a result of this, many of the mass hysteria’s, through the centuries, are overcome by individual people.

Societies, though, seem to have difficulties overcoming mass hysteria.  It seems, to me, that once a mass hysteria reaches a certain level a society can’t really overcome it.  This is because it becomes too ingrained in the society.  The only way for a society to overcome it is for a “new society” to appear, such as a new generation, a new era, a new mentality, etc.  If this does not appear that the culture takes on qualities of the mass hysteria as part of its identity.  In other words, the mass hysteria turns into a cultural identity.  I tend to feel that the effect of mass hysteria has had great impact on many cultures identity, a lot more than it may seem.  This is particularly so with larger and powerful societies, such as the U.S., England, and China.

It seems that the mass hysteria of the U.S. was particularly bad during the Vietnam War to the point that it became part of the national identity.  I tend to feel that one of the reasons why there is such an inability to react or resolve the effects of the loss of self, and its effects, is because the Vietnam war protests were really the first great media-induced mass hysteria in history in which the media played a particularly critical role.  Overall, there are a number of qualities that that made the media very influential in the creation of a ‘mass hysteria sickness’  during this time.  These include:

  • There was a multitude of media sources and forms:  the news, TV, music, newspapers, etc. which includes different forms of appearance, such as by reading, watching TV, seeing actual footage, musical tunes and lyrics, etc.
  • The extensiveness of the media, which made it more widespread and with greater exposure in history.
  • It was the first time electrical forms of media was used extensively, which used new forms of conveying information such as visual images and actual footage.
  • The naïve and simple mindedness of the youth of America making them prone to gullibility and easily provoked to hysteria.

These all contributed to cause an extensive mass hysteria in the population the likes that have never been seen before.  In some ways, it hit America like a storm and America was unprepared for it.  This is true of its people and, especially, of its youth.  It has affected much of the country and people ever since.  It affected the U.S. so much that it created an extensive ‘media-induced mass hysteria sickness’ which has affected American culture and its people.  To be frank, America is still grappling under the effects of the media-induced mass hysteria that took place about 1970 and cannot resolve it.  The loss of self that mass hysteria causes makes it hard to resolve as a society.  Because of this, its effects, and its inability to be resolved, are continuing on years later.  This is probably why it has appeared during the 2016 Presidential election and is continuing on in the ‘post 2016 election mentality’.  Because it is so deep rooted in American mentality it will go on long after this election and Trump.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in 2016 Presidential election and things associated with it, Current affairs and events, Government and politics, Historical stuff, News media and the news, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on my statement: “The modern world is doomed to fail”

Many times I have said this statement:

“The modern world is doomed to fail.”

In other words, I tend to view the modern world as something which is temporary and which will eventually, and inevitably, fail.  How could the modern world possibly continue in the way it is going?  It simply cannot continue going like this forever.  To me, that’s common sense.  Not only that, it seems blatantly obvious.

It seems that the modern world is doomed to fail for a number of reasons:

  • It is incredibly destructive and in many different ways.  The modern world is destructive in almost every way imaginable:  militarily, environmentally, culturally, etc.  Its the most destructive system in history.  Basically, it appears that, since WWII, there has been more destruction, in every form, than in the whole of world history before it combined.  That makes the past 70 years the most destructive in history!
  • It creates tremendous amounts of waist, refuse, garbage, pollution, and such.  I’ve always thought that if we took all the garbage of the modern world since WWII and dumped it in the ocean it would make an island out there.  But we must also include stuff like exhaust emissions, various forms of pollution, and such.
  • It is one-sided and requires certain conditions in order to work.  In some respects, the change in humanity, during the modern world, are primarily in response to the condition which the modern world requires.  In other words, humanity has to conform to it.  The modern world doesn’t change for us . . . we have to change for it.
  • It controls us . . . we don’t control it!  Initially, it seems that humanity controlled the modern world.  But now this is not the case anymore.  We are now the slaves to this great beast.
  • It makes humanity dependent on it.  We now need it to survive.  In this way, the modern world has actually destroyed humanities self-reliance and independence.  I’ve always felt that this fact is going to haunt humanity in the future.
  • It tends to undermine human society, often breaking it apart.  The modern world has practically destroyed the need for a human society.  As I said above, we have to conform to it.  The problem is that the modern world does not follow human qualities.  As a result, we must get rid of these human qualities in order to fit into modern society.  The more “modern” we get the less human we become.
  • It fosters overpopulation which, in turn, makes the modern world grow.  For various reasons, the modern world tends to promote overpopulation.  In fact, the more successful it works the more it seems to inspire overpopulation.  The growing overpopulation then causes a greater need for “modernism” to sustain it.  This then pushes humanity to be more dependent on the modern world.  This gives the modern world more power over us.  The result, we lose control over things.
  • It creates very destructive machines, systems, and ways.  What the modern world has created is almost frightening at times.  The weapons of destruction, the machines of economy, the systems of control and regulation . . . to me, its like watching the growth of an overlord over us and which we are powerless against.

All in all, the modern world is like a big massive leech upon the world and people, sucking the life out of things.  Not only that, it can be compared to a big massive beast or machine that is as if marching all over the world.  To me, it seems that the modern world has turned humanity into something like a parasite upon the earth.  I don’t see how a system like this can continue indefinitely . . . its doomed to fail.

Many people, though, tend to view the modern world as this great “power” and assume that it will never die, almost as if it were a god.  In fact, there is a common view that the modern world is something that will “save” us.  This isn’t all that surprising as it is the heir to Christianity.  This point of view seems associated with the Protestant Reformation.  Basically, after the Protestant Reformation there developed a growing doubt about Christianity and the Bible.  This is because there, all of a sudden, there appeared all of these different ways of interpreting the Bible (Lutheran, Calvinist, Puritan, etc.) . . . and they all claimed that they were correct!  This caused, in actuality, a loss of faith in many people.  But, at the same time that this was happening, there was a growing resurgence of neo-classicism.  That is to say, there was a growth in the study of the Greek and Roman classics, particularly at the Universities.  This growth, for many people, would end up replacing the dogma of Christianity, which they lost faith in.  But since Europe had been Christian for centuries it continued to maintain many Christian attitudes.  These attitudes would carry on over to neo-classical thinking.  The idea of being “saved”, for example, would change.  It would no longer be Christ who “saves” us but it generally went in two directions, both based in neo-classical thinking:

  1. Science and knowledge.
  2. Democracy and freedom.

Both of these stem from the Greek and Roman traditions and philosophies.  The former – science and knowledge – would turn into the modern world.  As a result, this point of view would make it so that the modern world became viewed as something that will “save” us . . . the new messiah!  This makes it so that people think that the modern world is a “permanent” solution to the worlds problems and, accordingly, will “save” us.  It also develops this point of view that, with the growth of modernism, we will all be happy and a utopia will be created.

I tend to feel, though, that the modern world is only setting the stage for a future crisis which will more than likely affect a large part of the world.  I have always felt that this crisis has the potential of being bad.  But this is not how it appears at first glance.

The modern world, it seems to me, is something that developed primarily to deal with overpopulation (see my article “Thoughts on overpopulation“).  It began to appear, in particular, in England in the 1800’s when it was having overpopulation problems.  This caused great strain on the society.  When industrialization and science appeared it as if “absorbed” the overpopulation problems at the time.  It lessoned the problems and even seemed to solve it.  Because of this, I tend to believe that, if these problems had not existed, the modern world would probably of never begun to get established in England.  They would of been inventions that “came and went”.  In short, the overpopulation problems of England, in the 1800’s, gave industrialization (the modern world) a “use”.  Without that “use” industrialization would of never taken hold and the modern world may of never been created.  This suggests that there is a close relationship between overpopulation and the modern world.

The coming of the modern world seemed to “solve” overpopulation problems initially.  But, as I said above, the modern world is very destructive and behaves like a parasite upon the world and will eventually fail as a result.  In short, even though its seeming to “solve” overpopulation problems its actually doing damage in other ways, and ways that will eventually catch up to us.  This means that the modern world is actually a temporary solution . . . it is not a permanent solution to overpopulation.   In short, the modern world is “buying time” for humanity by temporarily stalling overpopulation problems . . . the problems will eventually catch up to us in time.

As the modern world is “buying time” it is doing a number of things:

  • Its making people more dependent on it.
  • It is fostering even worse overpopulation.
  • It is becoming a power.
  • It is becoming more destructive.

In other words, as time passes the condition that instigated it – overpopulation – continues to grow and is not solved.  In short, the modern world does not solve the actual problem!  This is why I call it a “temporary solution”.  And its this “temporary solution” that gives the illusion that if it solved.  This illusion is also helped by the idea that the modern world is our “savior”.  In these ways, the modern world is like a big grand illusion.  It give the illusion that humanity “seems OK” in the hands of the modern world.  With this we see that the modern world is an illusion that seems to solve the problem but really isn’t.  As I said above, it is only “buying time”, which is actually making it worse, and seems to be setting the stage for a future crisis, when it begins to fail.

I’ve often wondered how the modern world will fail.  Will it fail dramatically or slowly over time?  I think historical conditions, that are unknown at this time, will determine that.  My guess is that, since the world is a big place, it will do a little of both depending on where you are at.  In some cases it would be dramatic, like the Depression.  In other places it could be almost imperceptible.  There’s also a possibility that some other system will appear that will, over time, supplant it.  Perhaps this new system will “save” us from the modern world.  Who can say?

But I have always felt that the “when” and “how” the modern world fails is an important question to ask nowadays.  I’ve also think there is the question of “what do we do when it fails?”


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Science and technology, The 'system' and 'systemism' | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the competency, legitimacy, and mentality of American law, and other legal things

Over the years I have thought a lot on the competency and legitimacy of American law.  I particularly have great and tremendous doubts about its mentality and logic, which seems horribly warped and oddball to me.  Here are some of my thoughts on it (I may of mentioned some of this in previous articles):

THE PROBLEM OF LEGITIMACY

To be frank, American law doesn’t impress me all that much and I don’t look to it highly nor do I acknowledge it as an authority.  In other words, I do not look at American law as the “final answer” or “final solution” to problems.  As a general rule, I don’t give much credence to American law and treat a lot of its judgement’s much like the statements from tabloid magazines . . . more likely to be ridiculous than something to take seriously.  I particularly don’t like this warped oddball mentality hovering over me with its “pretended authority”.  In short, American law has not earned my respect and belief.  In fact, my feelings and observation is that American law has largely failed in earning respect and belief from most of the people.  This is something that it really needs to do.

What all this more or less means is that law cannot be considered legitimate until it has earned the respect and belief of the people.  Notice the word “earned”.  I have always had this belief that law needs to earn respect.  Generally, though, law does not earn respect but only demands it, regardless of whether it is right or wrong.  This is particularly so in larger societies.  But, regardless of this, I tend to believe that any “true law” is a law that has earned the respect from the people.  Since this has not happened in the U.S. it means that American law is not a “true law”.

I think I’d call American law an “expedient law”, done out of necessity and expediency. This, though, still does not make it any more “true”.  If anything, “expedient law” is a type of law that has been degraded and broken down because of necessity and expediency.  This is why I consider American law a degraded and broken down form of law.  Though it may “somewhat work” it still hasn’t earned respect and, accordingly, it is cannot be considered a legitimate form of law.

MECHANIZED LAW”

Much of law nowadays, it seems to me, is what I often jokingly call “mechanized law”.  Law is basically treated like its a machine.  Its a mentality that has qualities such as:

  • It is abstract, to the point of being mechanical or mathematical, in its mentality.
  • It gets too wound up in details, to the point of ridiculousness.  There are too many “technicalities” based in things like wordings, grammar, policies, and a multitude of other things.
  • It tends to be divorced from the real world.
  • It creates a false reality where all of its principles work:  the “legal world” (see below).

What we see then is a mentality that lacks wisdom.  Instead, legal matters are treated more like an engineering or mathematical problem.  Overall, its a mentality that appears much like “if a equals b then go to c; if b does not equal b then go to d”, and so on.  More than once, after listening to lawyers and judges, have I said statements like this:  “what are they doing, trying to figure the motion of a spacecraft through space with tragectories, forces, vectors, and that?”  I’m waiting for the time when they will start using mathematical formulas and equations to solve legal problems.

In my worthless opinion (as anything I say that conflicts with the law will be made worthless in some way), the “mechanized law” mentality makes law incompetent.  It does this a number of ways:

  • It does not cater to “human reality”.
  • It is not based in human culture, belief, etc.
  • It tends to neglect “actual real-life conditions”.  That is to say, everything is compared to the philosophy of the “legal world” and how it interprets things.
  • It lacks wisdom and common sense.
  • Its too based on their own legal logic.

These tend to make “mechanized law” inefficient from the human world standpoint and, subsequently, it often tends to be in error.

The problem, though, is that the “mechanized law” mentality is something that works well in a massive social system, which is why it is so prevalent.  In fact, one could say that it makes it necessary.  In other words, “mechanized law” is competent for a system but its not competent on the human level.  This is where it horribly fails.  Its here that I primarily dispute it.

THE “LEGAL WORLD”

The “mechanized law” mentality is based in what I call the “legal world”.  This is an image of the world, and how it works, based on legal principles, ideals, and other miscellaneous legal details.  It is literally a world view, very much like what science or religion has created.  Over the years, the “legal world” has become so massive that it has, in some sense, become a whole other abstract image of the world.  It is the “world view of lawyers”, so to speak.  The problem is that the “legal world” does not match the real world and human reality.  It is simply too abstract and based too much on its own intellectual principles and ideas.  This is not how the real world works, though. This is the basic problem of the “legal world”.

I find the “legal world” not all that convincing.  This is because of things like these:

  • It has become so complicated that a person has to go through years of schooling just to understand it.
  • Its something that is never taught to the common people.  The “legal world” is something the legal system keeps to itself like some secret holy relic.  Most people haven’t a clue about its principles.  But, we must remember, we are judged by this unknown secret mentality that only lawyers understand!
  • It often does not follow societies beliefs and principles.
  • It tends to neglect real world and human reality.
  • It tends to cater to specific beliefs and points of view, such as liberalism, which often does not reflect the people themselves.
  • It is too reliant on abstract, mechanistic, and math-like thinking.
  • It relies on thinking that is unique to its logic, policies, and points of view.
  • It lacks wisdom.
  • It views its rulings as “final!” and the “last word!” as if it were the word of god.

I find, though, that one of the reasons why its not convincing is that it is not based in a “right” or a “truth”.  Law is actually based in expedient need.  In other words, law does not solve things by being “right” and “true” but more in the context of “its the easiest way to solve the problem”.  This is because the primary purpose of law is based in these things:

  • To end conflicts and disputes between people as simply as possible and without violence.  In this way, law is rooted in an expediency or a necessary need.  This, in actuality, is the real “need” of law, not that it is “right” or “true”.
  • Law tries to impose its principles in any way possible.  In this sense, we could say that law is based in a desperation, of trying to make a judgment that “works”.
  • It uses any form of authority to achieve this.  In this way, law is a handmaiden of the current existing form of authority.  Whatever authority is in power is what is used.  Since authority changes through the years the authority law uses changes.
  • The law is often “forced” upon people, usually the people who are adversely affected by it.   In fact, many people have judgement’s forced upon them that they, themselves, do not understand or believe in.  All they can say is, “they say the law says this is a crime”, but they don’t understand it.  I’ve seen this many times.

In this way, we could say that law is a desperate form of expediency, that is generally forced upon people, with whatever authority works, in order to limit conflict.  In this way, the law is not motivated out of “right”, as is commonly supposed.  Accordingly, one should not look at the law as a source of “right”.  Its purpose is to end problems as quickly as possible so they do not get out of control. 

THE “LEGAL ENIGMA”

We see, then, that “right” and “truth”, in actuality, do not figure that well into law.  We could then say that law is based in these three things:

  1. The use of whatever means to prevent conflict.
  2. The use of whatever authority to bring this about.
  3. The use of whatever control to enforce it.

This creates what can be called “legally justified right”.  That is, they are justified by these conditions.  What this does, though, is to create an illusion of the “right” in law.  In actuality, its a myth of right.  One could actually say that “legal right” is whatever works to accomplish those three things! 

This “legally justified right” is the beginning of the false reality of the “legal world”.  With this “legal right”, of whatever works, the false reality is given credence and truth and value.  But, as I said, the “legally justified right” is not based in an actual “right” but in “expedient need”.  These are not the same.  One could compare it to the saying “might makes right”.  The “might” of “legally justified right” makes it “right”, not that it is, in actuality, “right”.

This reveals a basic problem in law, which I call the “legal enigma”.  Basically, law is not motivated by “right” and, as a result, if never completely “right”  nor does it try to be.  But it must be firm in its rulings, asserting that it is “right”, using whatever authority is needed, in order to prevent disputes from getting out of control.  But, because it is never completely “right”, there is often a “fuzziness”, vagueness, or uncertainty that follows many legal disputes, rulings, and so on.  In other words, the fact that it is not motivated by “right” tends to cast a shadow over law of uncertainty.  To put it another way, law pretends at being “right”, with all the pomp of authority, when all its doing is trying to prevent conflict in whatever means possible . . . in actuality, these are at odds with each other. 

THE “SINGLE PATH DILEMMA OF LAW”

Because of the conditions of law, the legal system has to pretend that its rulings are the only and right path and in which there are no alternate or different paths.  This is what I call the “single path dilemma of law”.  The fact, though, is that there are always other paths and points of view that can always be taken in any legal ruling.  Things that cause these other paths and points of view include:

  • Different forms of beliefs. 
  • Different forms of authority.
  • Different schools of thought in law itself.  Just in American law, alone, there are different schools of thought of how this or that should be interpreted.  In this way, we see that law is not a science.

Because of these things most judgments of law can be disputed.  In fact, one could very well say that there are multiple paths that can be taken in most rulings.  In addition, all these different rulings can be viewed as “right” in some way or another.  But, law has to create a “single path” in order to enforce itself and be effective.  It has to “pretend” one ruling is correct over all others when, in actuality, it is not.  This, really, shows that the “single path dilemma of law” is really a continuation of the “legal dilemma”.   Law “pretends” that there is only one path to take (that is, its ruling, its decision, its points of view).  In actuality, this is not the case.  In this way, law is actually “pulling the wool over our eyes” with its “single path”, making it appear as if this is all that there is. 

In addition, in enforcing this “single path” it continues the false reality of the “legal world”, creating its own “truth” when, in fact, there are many.  As I said, a lot of the mentality of the “legal world”, that I have seen, tends to assume that there is a “single path” in law.  I get the impression that many lawyers and judges view law as a “single path”, never even considering that there can be other directions and points of view.  This tends to cause a narrow mindedness in law and in lawyers, I’ve found.  Its one of the things that puts the mentality of law under question.

THE PROBLEM OF AUTHORITY IN LAW

In order to work, law must have authority.  Over the years, there have appeared a number of different forms:

  • Religious authority.  This is law based in religious belief and principles.  We see this in Judaism and the Middle East, for example.
  • Cultural authority.  This is law based in cultural traditions, customs, and so on.
  • Political authority.  This is law based on political theory.  This is very prevalent in the U.S. and Britain.
  • Logical authority.  This refers to “legal logic” and is primarily restricted to the legal world.  In other words, it is a logic that only lawyers and judges understand.  This means it is part of the “legal world” and “mechanistic law”.

What authority is used depends on the time, place, and conditions.  In many cases, multiple authorities are used or combined in some way.  In the U.S., for example, political and logical authority are often combined.

A problem that is inherent in a large population is the problem of authority.  Typically, the larger the population, and especially the more diversified, the more authorities there are.  What one person may accept as authority is not accepted by another, for example.  In addition, the authority accepted by the legal system is not necessarily the authority accepted by the common people.  As I said above, the “legal world” tends to be removed from the real world.  Because of this, many legal rulings are using authority and logic most people don’t really accept and often aren’t even aware of.  This makes the question of authority a difficult situation in large populations.  This, it seems to me, is one of the reasons why law has sunk deeper into its “legal world” and “mechanistic law” mentality.  It gives them an illusion of a “solution” that makes sense to the legal system.  In other words, in a large population, there tends to be a degradation in religious, cultural, and political authority.  These can be called “social authorities” as they represent social authority.  Because of the degradation of these “social authorities” the law has increasingly had to turn inward into itself, away from “social authorities” and, accordingly, has had to rely on its logic and principles as a basis of its rulings.  In this way, the effect of a larger population is for law to rely increasingly on logical authority.  This has slowly turned into “mechanistic law” over time, where law is treated as a “logical problem” than an act of wisdom.  Its also made law more reliant on its own world its logic creates (the “legal world”).  In addition, because it has turned increasingly inward to its own logic it has increasingly become removed and alienated from everyday life. 

Oftentimes, because of the problem of authority of law its not uncommon that the authority the law uses must be forced in whatever way it can.   In other words, they choose the authority and impose it upon you.  I call this “legally forced authority”.  This is because they are “legally justified” not only their authority but its imposing upon you, even though you haven’t a clue what it is . . . they are satisfied in their mind (another example of the “legal world”).

The best condition, of course, would be where the authority used in law is known and understood by the people being judged.  In a large population, this is becoming less and less attainable.  Many of us listen to the rulings of law and are completely appalled.  “I don’t agree with that!” or “That’s ridiculous!” are common remarks.  I often feel that the people in the legal system, particularly judges, should listen to what people say about their system.  Very few people, that I know, agree with many rulings and tend to view them as biased or motivated by money.  In other words, most people view the legal system as corrupt in some way.  Because of this, its not something to rely on and its rulings are not to be taken seriously.  This point of view is so impactful on the perception of the legal system, and its authority, that it amazes me that the legal system hasn’t looked at it seriously.  I tend to believe that this is because the legal system lives in its “legal world” much like a hermit crab lives in its shell.  It shows a great divide between the “legal world” and the real world.

FLUID AND CONCRETE LAW

The “mechanized law” varies with the form of law.  In some forms of law the “mechanized law” mentality causes endless problems.  In other forms, it may even be beneficial.  To me, there appears to be a spectrum in law, with these two extremes:

  • Fluid law.  This are conditions which there are often many different ways of interpreting things.  This is seen a lot in social situations, such as dealing with marriage, family, and criminal law.  This form of law has a bad reputation for being “right”.
  • Concrete law.  This are conditions are typically not social in orientation, but involve non-human type of things.  Examples include trade, business, property, patent law, and similar law.  In this form of law “mechanized law” is often beneficial and has helped a lot.

Most of the failure of law is in fluid law.  Since this is more social based, the problems associated with this law are reflective of social problems.  My opinion is that law cannot really solve social problems that well but yet it tries to.  When law is used as an “attempt” to solve social problems, such as divorce law or racial problems, it often only succeeds because its rulings are “forced” upon people.  The fact that they have to “force” their rulings shows that it is not a “solution”.  In actuality, I do not view the law as sufficient authority in social matters and do not assume any of its rulings are “correct”.  I have never turned to the law as a source of how society should be and I believe there is a reason for that.  But one of the effects of its increasingly having to force its rulings in social matters is that it has increasingly “acted” as if it was the solution to social problems.  In this way, the law has often “pretended” to be the “authority in social matters” which it is not.  I often get a chuckle how law often tries to pretend to solve societies problems with its rulings.  With what I have seen of the rulings and decisions of law so far . . . so what!  Who cares what they think.  But the problem is that they are the ones who judge us!

THE PROBLEM OF KNOWING THE LAW

The law will make judgement on you whether you know the law or not.  I have always maintained that a person cannot be held accountable by a law they did not know existed.  This, to me, is common sense but we must remember that the “legal world” is removed from the real world and tends to not know what common sense is.  Remember its based in “expedient need” . . . it must make a ruling and it must be “right” according to its dictates and citing its authority.  This attitude in law tends to negate common sense.

I have always felt that a person should have some understanding of what the law expects of us.  In my life, I have had absolutely NO instruction into what the law expects me to do or not do.  All that I have learned was from hearsay or personal inquiry.  I have always jokingly said that I held the legal system “negligent” because of its failure to instruct the people what it expects them to do.  I have even went further and said:  “the legal system has been so negligent in its teaching of the law that it is not competent to make judgements.”

But there’s even more to the lack of being taught the law.  As I have looked into the legal system on my own (as the law surely wouldn’t teach us anything), I have often been appalled by their logic, mentality, and point of view.  Reading many court cases is often like reading some oddball, bizarre, and weird science fiction stories about aliens.  In science fiction stories about aliens they have to “make up” things for the aliens, often going into the bizarre and ridiculous.  To be frank, that’s what a lot of court cases look like!  The logic, points of view, etc. sound almost “made up” by the lawyers . . . they just “dress it up” with legal jargon, principles, and such to make it sound legitimate.  Many of us have heard the logic used in the courts and said, “are you kidding?”

Some of the things that have been ridiculous include:

  • What they admit and do not admit as “evidence”.
  • The procedures of the courts and how they are held.  For example, I’ve been appalled how, in some cases, everything must be done in a certain limited period of time.
  • The role and actions of the lawyers.  I’ve been appalled watching how lawyers twist and warp things to their advantage.
  • The logic and mentality they use.  Often, the logic doesn’t make any sense at all.
  • How they use the laws own “legal authorities” and policies as a basis of everything.  Often, the common people are in complete dark about it all too!  They are as if watching this play before them spoken in a foreign language.

More than once have I stated “what the crap?” after reading court cases.  Its quite clear that the legal system lives in its own world and that there is a gap between the legal system and society.

THE DILEMMA OF LAW

It seems, to me, that the current legal system seems based in conditions like these:

  • A smaller society.
  • A society where authority is defined.
  • A society where the culture is more unified.

With these conditions, law is more a part of culture and everyday life.  In conditions like this, law works better.  This is because of things like this:

  • People know the law.
  • The law is based in the culture.
  • The authority of law is accepted.
  • Its judgement’s are accepted.

Unfortunately, the conditions that cause these no longer exist.  In other words, the legal system is actually based in conditions that were existing centuries ago.  As a result, it assumes the same things, even though conditions have changed.  Some of the things that have changed include:

  • Society has become a mass society.
  • There are too many points of view, beliefs, and such.
  • There has been a breakdown of culture.

These new conditions do not match the conditions that the law is based in.  Regardless of this, the legal system is still functioning as if it is still centuries ago.  The new conditions has put a great dilemma in the legal system.

The reaction to these breakdowns primarily seem to be in the creation of “mechanistic law” and the “legal world” with its abstract disconnected thinking  . . . law is turned into something like math.  This “mechanistic law” and “legal world”, of course, treats society like a system, a big machine.  Accordingly, people and their problems are treated that way as well, as part of that machine.  On the surface – that is, on an abstract, mechanistic, and system level – it seems to work.  But it fails on the human level.  As a result, I don’t see modern law as a solution to human problems.  What this more or less shows is that, with the new conditions created by mass society and such, law is really ceasing to be a solution to human problems and problems between people as it was in the past.  In other words, law has changed primarily by becoming more ineffective.  It seems, to me, that law is primarily a “forcing” than a solving.  What’s worse, its a “forcing without understanding” in many cases.  Many people are forced to do things they don’t understand or never even knew about.  This all shows how disconnected law is.

WHY LAW CONCERNS ME

Apparently, I’m the only person who really says anything about the law. What most people do is grumble about it.  No one really seriously looks at it.  Many people tend to distance themselves from the law saying things like “its corrupt” or “its all about power” and such. They are really only expressing their helplessness to it.  In other words, most people don’t have any interest in it and tend to distance themselves from it.  But I seem to be particularly concerned about it.  I tend to feel it is a result of a number of things such as:

  • I can see that there is a deeper relevance in the nature and meaning of law.  Its not just policies, rulings, judgments, and such.  It goes deeper.
  • As I have looked at other cultures (that haven’t broken down like the U.S.) I can see that there is naturally appearing close association between law, culture, and everyday life.  I can see that law is a significant contributor to life and how to lead it.  In this way, it makes law a significant part of life.
  • The power of law.  There is a lot of abuse of power in American law, of manipulation, corruption, distortion, etc.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that.
  • I am appalled by what I see in American law.  The absurdity, ridiculousness, and such is embarrassing and disgraceful to me.
  • The deeper meaning of it all.  I very well know that the “mechanistic law” and all that, shows a breakdown of this society.  It says a lot about this country.
  • The fact that I believe in law.  I believe in what the law represents and want to believe and respect it.  Much of American law, though, isn’t giving me that much cause to do that.

At the base of all these is really a concern about the nature and meaning of law.  I seem to be the only person, that I know, who inquires about these aspects of law.  I don’t look at law as policies, procedures, and such.  I look at its meaning in life and what its nature is. Looking at things from this perspective makes things look totally different.  I know, from conversations with people, that my looking at things in this way reveals a whole other side to it that people don’t see.  It makes me look at law more seriously.  I also look at it as reflection of who we are.  In addition, I see it as something that affects us and our life.

AFTERTHOUGHT

Overall, what I seem to see in law is a basic disconnect between the law, authority, culture, everyday life, and the people.  My feelings is that this is far more bigger and serious than it seems.  In fact, this great disconnect is one of the reasons why law figures less and less in peoples minds.  In most cultures, there is such an association between the law and culture that they are often intertwined.  As a result, it figures in peoples everyday life and everyday behavior.  In the U.S. the law has become so disconnected, and the “legal world” has become so extensive, that there is less and less an association between the law and culture.  As a result, the law isn’t even a thought in peoples minds and doesn’t figure in everyday life.  Because of this, many people do not know if this or that is illegal.  Just in the past several weeks, for example, I’ve heard several discussions where people were wondering what a person is supposed to do legally in certain situations while driving.  Basically, no one knew!


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Current affairs and events, Law and legal stuff, Modern life and society, Society, The U.S. and American society | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the value of degree’s with remarks about some of the problems and illusions they create

In a recent conversation I said something interesting . . . I said that degree’s were misleading, an illusion, and not what they seem.  It made me wonder of their value.  Here are some of my thoughts:

PURPOSES OF THE DEGREE

It seems, to me, that there tends to be several different purposes of the degree.  These are:

  1. The degree as some sort of “certification”.  The “degree” really began with the Catholic church as something like a “certification” of a priest, saying that he “knew the information and doctrine”.  This shows that a degree is a form of “certification” from its earliest origin. Its basis in the church may be why there is still great ceremony surrounding the degree.  In this form, it is primarily used for practical reasons and that the people using it see it only for practical means . . . it shows that the person knows what they are doing.
  2. The degree as a “badge of distinction”.  In this type, it is primarily sought for social prestige or status.  Specific fields, specific Universities, and specific scholastic accomplishments (such as a PhD) are often sought in order to achieve this.  It makes a person look good and can even help a person “get ahead”, even if it has no real practical value.
  3. The degree as a “human robot”.  This is primarily a manifestation of work and jobs. The idea behind this form of degree is that it says that the people “know everything before they are hired”.  In other words, the degree is treating the employee much like a “turnkey system”, already to go, just plug it in and it goes.  In short, a degree is used to make human robots geared to perform a specific function.

I tend to feel that the degree was originally created as something like a “certification” and that is its primary value.  As a result of this, the question of the value of a degree, in my opinion, really rests on its “certification” qualities.  This means that the importance of a degree primarily rests in what it certifies.  The “badge of distinction” is just social prestige and status . . . really, it has no practical value.  The “human robot” is taking this “certification” quality more to the extreme, to guarantee that a person “knows what to do”.

But the big question is what needs to be certified?  Does someone knowing how to work AutoCAD, for example, require a degree as a “certification”?  As a draftsman for a quarter of a century, I’d say no.  I don’t believe a person needs to have a degree in drafting to do it, but they need to know how to do it.  A degree, with all the general ed, miscellaneous classes, and such, seems an overkill to me and completely unnecessary.  I tend to believe that a person could do things like take night classes, on-the-job training, or an apprentice program and that would be sufficient.  This is because drafting is just “something one learns to do”, like learning how to cook or drive a car.  Its not like some great complicated beast of a thing like surgery.  A person only needs to learn how to do it.  In other words, I tend to believe that “something one learns to do” does not need “certification” (that is, a degree), only the knowledge of how to do it.  They don’t need to know all the other stuff that is required for a degree.  In actuality, most people forget it in a matter of years anyways.  As a rule, I tend to feel that degree’s are a waste of time and money for most people and fields.  The bulk of fields is nothing but “something one learns to do” which don’t require a degree (at least, in my opinion).

It seems, to me, that degree’s, with all their complexity, should only be used when several qualities are needed:

  1. The need for an overall base of knowledge (meaning general education, which is needed in some fields but not many, such as a teacher).
  2. The need for the learning of a mass of critical information (such as all the information required to be an Engineer).
  3. Where there is great responsibility in what one does (such as a Medical Doctor, to ensure that they know what they are doing).  

Fields that fit these qualities include an Medical Doctor, Engineering, Law, and such.  These fields require a degree as a “certification”.  Most fields don’t need the extent of what these require, I don’t think.  As a general rule, most fields do not fit in these three qualities.

THE PREVALENCE OF THE “HUMAN ROBOT” POINT OF VIEW

With the way business and the economy is now many companies want a person to be more than certified. They want them to be a “human robot” that knows what to do the day they are hired.  Examples of what causes this include:

  • Big companies with a large turnover of employee’s.  They don’t want to continually teach people what to do.
  • Companies where people are just “cogs in the machine”, behaving much like a machine.
  • With the new technologically based “machine economy” the person, as a “human robot”, has its benefits.  It makes people fit the “machine economy” environment better.  In other words, people have to make themselves like a machine in order to fit into the “machine economy”.

Recently, the “human robot” point of view has become increasingly critical.  In many cases, it has become the reason for degree’s and its main value.  It says to the employer, “here is a human robot who has been pre-programmed”.  But one of the effects of the “human robot” point of view is that it has given the degree a quality that is not a lot of different than “programming a computer”.  The person, in this case, is whats “programmed” to do a specific function, task, or work.  What this means is that, in the “human robot” point of view, the person is treated much like a computer, of something that has been “programmed”.  Accordingly, they are expected to behave like a computer in the working world, to do “what its programmed to do”.  I should point out that this doesn’t just mean that we are talking about menial-like work, such as working some machinery.  It could also include intellectual-like work, such as some Medical Doctors and Engineers, for example.  In fact, I have been surprised how many intellectual-like work is becoming more and more “robotic” in nature, to the point that many of these jobs are really no different than being something like a “human calculator” to solve specific problems.  The fact is that a lot of work nowadays, both menial and intellectual, is becoming increasingly “robotic” in nature, requiring “human robots”.  Accordingly, this point of view is becoming increasingly prevalent.

The main value of the “human robot” point of view is:

  • From the employers perspective:  the employee is a “robot” that will do his job with minimal effort and expense.
  • From the employee’s perspective:  a wage

The prevalence of the “human robot” point of view seems to be a result of the conditions of business and economy today.  As a result, the “human robot” point of view is one of necessity that the times have created, both for the employer and employee.  Because of this, it has increasingly become a common reason for a degree.

THE HISTORICAL PROGRESSION OF THE DEGREE

It seems like there is a historical progression of the degree.  It seems to go in this pattern:

  • The Church.  The degree is something that descends from when the University was controlled by the church and was primarily for clerical or church purposes.  In other words, it wasn’t to train doctors, lawyers, engineers, and such.  It was primarily a place where people learned church matters.  A degree often allowed them to rise up in the church.  This phase seemed to give a quality of holiness or sanctity to degrees.  This began in the early middle ages.
  • Politics.  Over time, the church became associated with politics.  As a result, many people in the church would be involved in politics and the power associated with it.  This would give a degree an even greater social status and importance in the society.  It also gave it a political power.  This phase seemed to give a quality of power to degrees. This seemed to appear during the Crusades.
  • The learning of the classics.  The discovery, and growth, of the Greek and Roman classics were added to the curriculum.  People like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates became a requirement.  Because this is not inherently associated with the church or politics it gave a new dimension to degree’s.  It seemed that “knowledge for knowledge sake” became more important, and not church or politics.  Because of this it increasingly became associated with “common people” (non-church people and non-politicians).  In some respects, it was when the “common people” began to learn the classics at the University that the idea of the “educated” appeared, as if to imply that the “common man has become elevated above his station”.  This gave this almost magical and, sometimes, superhuman quality to the idea of education, which persists to this day.  This phase gave qualities to degree’s such as social status (“educated”) and “knowing things”.  This began to get particularly strong during the late middle ages.  This phase would help the establishment of the next phase.
  • Social status. This began primarily after the French Revolution and, in some respects, is in response to it.  Getting a degree became a way to turn the “common man into a nobleman”, so to speak.  In other words, it “broke the social structure”, reflecting the ideals of the French Revolution.  Because of this, it was often looked at very highly and was greatly esteemed.  Many common people would get a degree for this reason alone.  This phase gave a quality of something esteemed and social importance to degree’s.  This phase would particularly be supported by the next phase.
  • Science.  With the coming of science, and what it created, the University would become associated with scientific knowledge.  As a result, a person had to “know this” and “know that”.  In some respects, this phase is just a continuation of the Classics phase, except that it changed to scientific knowledge.  This gave the quality of novelty and “knowing stuff” to degree’s.  This phase got really established in the mid 1800’s.
  • Professions.  Science would create many new professions.  As a result, a degree would be associated with this profession.  With the “regulation” of many professions (such as medicine or engineering) a degree would be required.  This phase gave the quality of social status and wealth to degree’s.  This appeared in the late 1800’s.
  • Trades and jobs in general.  The industrial and consumer revolution created many new trades and jobs.  Many of these were new and, because of that, would follow the already existing pattern of degrees for professions.  They ended up creating “lesser degree’s” but followed the framework of the professions, of learning all this stuff that you don’t need to know and is unnecessary.  In actuality, a lot of these news jobs are really “something you learn to do”.  This phase gave the quality of “accessibility to the common man” and making a living to degree’s.  This phase started to grow in the early 1900’s.

The progression of the degree seems to follow this pattern but, keep in mind, that when one phase appeared the previous didn’t die.  One phase did not supplant the previous one.  In actuality, each new phase tended to be something that was additional, that gave a new dimension to degree’s.  As a result, qualities found in each phase are often seen associated with degree’s.  Which quality is most prevalent, though, depends on the field you’re in.  As a result, in one field the quality of “knowing stuff” is most important.  In another it is social status.

What the different stages of degree’s shows is that the awarding of degree’s reflects the societies values and conditions during that era.  That doesn’t necessarily mean it is important or necessary . . . its what is viewed as important and necessary at that time.  What this means is that degree’s were not really created out of the context of a practical working situation but as a manifestation of the ideals and conditions of an eraIn other words, degree’s were not really created out of need and requirement.  This is part of the illusion of degree’s . . . they often only “appear” to be important.

THE MYTH OF THE “EDUCATED”

A myth that I used to hear a lot when I was a kid is that degree’s somehow “make better people” or it, somehow, puts people on a higher plane.  At one time even I believed that.  This attitude is actually a mixture of several qualities found during different phases of the degree, as described above.  These include:

  • The influence of the church – a degree makes a person on a “higher” reality, divine, holy, or even super-human.
  • The influence of social status – they rise above the common people and become something like nobility.
  • The influence of professions – they make a living that gives the wealth to act important.

These qualities tend to create this idea that an “educated” person is this great person that is better than everyone else.  But when I went to the University I found that this was not true.  I did not see any proof (and still haven’t) that an “educated” person is better than an uneducated person.  In fact, my inquiry and experience has shown that the most descent, genuine, natural, and intelligent people tend to have little education or are uneducated.  The more educated the more phony and artificial a person is, typically.  One reason why is that they have spent too much time listening to other peoples ideas and such . . . they haven’t had time to develop themselves or their abilities.  Most of what they do is repeat what they heard or read in class which gives the illusion of intelligence.  This brings up the question of over-education . . .

PROBLEMS OF OVER-EDUCATION

In actuality, I tend to view that going to the University or College – “advanced schooling” – is something most people should not do.  In other words, I tend to view that too much schooling adversely affects most people.  To me, “advanced schooling” is something only some people should be doing. My general feeling that, after learning the basic stuff for life, its better for most people to NOT do any “advanced schooling”.  If they do go on to “advanced schooling” then its because of things like these:

  • They have to do it in order to pursue some other motive, such as to become an officer in the military.
  • They are inclined to do it, such as by a great desire or “dream”.
  • They have an ability which makes them want to develop or use it.

Most people, from my experience, continue on to “advanced schooling” for other lesser reasons, such as:

  • They want to make more money.  I was surprised when I went to the University how many people really didn’t even have that much of an interest in their field of study . . . it was all about the money.
  • Because they are told to do it or its expected of them.  This has become increasingly prevalent nowadays, where public school system is literally “forcing” kids to go the University.
  • Because everyone else is doing it.  This seems a problem with girls nowadays . . . all their friends are going so they have to.

In my opinion, none of these are good enough reasons.  Sadly, they are probably some of the most prevalent reasons.

The prevalence of people going for these “lesser reasons” has created, in my opinion, a degradation in scholarship nowadays.  I generally speak of this as the “cheap scholar”, which I think is becoming more and more of a problem.  Basically, the “cheap scholar” is someone who has no real interest or ability but is able to do what the system requires to pass.  Accordingly, they “appear” to be scholars but really aren’t.  Personally, I think the “cheap scholar” is a threat to scholarship nowadays.

Making everyone continue on to “advanced schooling” causes a lot of problems for people.  Some of the things it causes include:

  • It makes everyone the “same”, with the same thoughts, the same point of view, the same basic knowledge, the same perspectives, etc.  They’ve all read the same material, are told the same stuff, and all from the same point of view as everyone else.  Modern schooling is a “blur of sameness”.  More than once have I compared the schooling system to an “assembly line” because that is what it is.  Because of this, it actually impairs peoples ability to “develop on their own”.  It does make the masses more alike, though, almost like robots.  For this society, this sometimes seems like an ideal.
  • It impairs natural abilities.  I seem to feel that there are many natural abilities that are being destroyed or neglected by over-education.  For many people, the abilities destroyed or neglected are often the qualities that need to be developed.
  • It tends to favor a specific type of person.  This is usually a person who has an ability to do what is required.  This ability, I should note, is not necessarily the same as being “intelligent” or “educated”, though it may appear to be the case.  Its primarily a person who displays the qualities the system or system “thinks” is important.
  • Most people do not fit the character of person described above.  As a result, many people will try to force themselves to be that type of person, even though they aren’t like that.  In other words, over-education tends to alienate people from themselves and who they are.
  • It tends to create too many people who “know” things that have no value in the real world and life.
  • It creates a condition where people live in an “abstract world” detached from everyday life.
  • It creates illusionary abilities.  Many people develop this idea that they have abilities they don’t have.  This is because they are repeating what someone else did and, because they understand it, they think that it originated from them.  This, I think, is far more prevalent than what it may seem.
  • It is a waste of money, time, effort, and stress.  Many people waste these things when it could of been put to better use in other ways.

Personally, I think there should be a movement away from education and “advanced schooling” for most people.  The time and energy that is used for “advanced schooling” could be used for other ends.

In my opinion, a degree typically means that someone has only “done what the system wants” . . . it doesn’t guarantee anything more than that In other words, they learned what the system views as important.  They learned it, repeated it on a test, and all in the way the system views as important.  This brings up the question: who made the school system the authority in what constitutes education and learning and how to measure it?  I sure didn’t!  Frankly, I don’t view the schooling system as the authority in these matters.  I don’t go to the Harvard Admissions Department to find out what the qualifications of an “educated” person are.  I’ve always said that if everyone in history had to pass the modern school system, and get a degree, very little would of happened in the world.  The main reason why is that there are qualities, abilities, and attributes that the schooling system doesn’t not take into consideration and are probably unaware of.  Not only that, a lot of people in the world are not scholastically inclined anyways.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people who did things in the world probably would of failed in school.  Basically, the modern school systems limited scope of vision, particularistic requirements, and method of measurement would of excluded a lot of people.  That’s how accurate I view the methods of the modern school system!

And doing what the school system wants doesn’t necessarily mean or guarantee that a person is knowledgeable, “smart”, “educated”, or anything like that.  In fact, I’ve talked with quite a few people who have expressed how dumb University students are.  I don’t view University trained people as “intelligent” or “educated” necessarily (though they could prove themselves that way . . . most don’t).  To be frank, I tend to consider people who go to the University as “University robots” who have done nothing but what the system wanted and so are “robots to the University system”.  As a result, they tend to only know “University system stuff”.  With the prevalence of the “human robot” point of view, though, this is what this society wants at this time and thinks is neat.  I don’t agree with that.

AFTERWORD

In my opinion, the main value of a degree is as a “certification”.  The times, though, has created a need for the “human robot” and the degree is used to ensure that.  It seems, to me, that they have gone a little “overboard” with degree’s and are making everything require a degree including “something that is learned”, which is unnecessary and an overkill.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Education and learning, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, The 'system' and 'systemism' | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment