How Is My Stoicism Coming Along?

Stoicism, to me, is far from being the pursuit of happiness. It is instead self-sufficiency attained by absolving the emotional imperative in life through an extensive and rational evaluation of oneself, which neither brings happiness nor sadness. It is equanimity.

In my previous post about coping strategies for emotional suffering and trauma, I had postulated that being narcissistic is one excellent and fool-proof way – and this was back when my knowledge in this wonderful Hellenistic school was at its infancy. Now that I can safely regard myself as a practicing Stoic, how did I tie that in with my past subscription to narcissism? The form of narcissism I’d advocated had its premises not in the reluctance to uphold virtue, in holding an ignorant and over-inflated ego but rather in the autonomy from society. Most people are evolutionary conditioned to predicate their social, economic and life decisions upon the repercussions it might have on one’s social standing. Women are particularly susceptible to this sort of social behavior. Men are too, but only to a lesser degree. Narcissism, in the context of social autonomy, refers to the individual’s ability to operate autonomously, or without the influence, from the many dictates of society. This lack of social autonomy is regarded in my philosophy as a massive hindrance to self-actualization and personal enlightenment.

internalize, internalize everything!

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Our Education System Got An F

Education is believed to be the liberation of the mind, but is it anymore? Or was it ever? We are constantly fed with these age-old preconceived notions about education from society. And sometimes directly from the people who are meant to be educating us, almost creating a moral paradox! They tell us that school will enrich our creativity. They tell us how the intrinsic, natural creativity of the human mind is a speckles’ worth in contrast to the mind that has endured years of methodological indoctrination and testing. But are these notions valid? Or are we (they) confusing one thing for another? What are the drivers of education? How is it intertwined with the prevailing cultural and economical scene? These are some of the pressing questions that surfaces when one fundamentally re-examines the very concept of education that much of civilization has held on to dearly for decades, if not centuries. After years of school and college, it’s about time for us to step away from the tradition of receiving grades to being the ones to grade our education system.

Like every other endeavor of human civilization, education is one that has had its movements and reforms. From the early attempts at systematic indoctrination in religious and philosophical schools to the modern system consisting of graduated learning levels from elementary to graduate school, there are unmistakable commonalities to the keen eyes. From the times of the ancient Greek civilization, the Platonic academy and the two men, Socrates and Aristotle who surrounded his legacy to the Huehuetlatolli of the Aztecs to the madrasas of the Islamic world to the Vedic teachings of Indus Valley civilization – the earliest attempts of systematic indoctrination were based on the moral code essential to the functioning of early society. Their teachings were subjective to each civilization and time period, and very further subjective to the teacher or master leading the congregation. Education was simply restricted geographically and lost its relevance with the natural progression of civilization and the spread of ideas. Perhaps one of the most notable cultural exchange of the early days happened with the Silk Route, in a time when education was still in its infancy.

philosophy came to be the grand unifying force for many culturally-divested schools of education

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Culture: Earliest Organization Of The Human Forms

I am a firm believer in the notion of culture existing as the practical realization of religion. Religion, in this context, may extend to other practical realizations of societal order such as the tribe-like settlements of the early day, empires, and modern political systems. Culture plays a vital role in religious indoctrination of its clan, and without it some pragmatic religions would become obsolete. Inbreeding and collectivism therefore emerged out of tribe-like settlements of early humans that went on to safeguard and transcend cultural doctrines and operatives through the generations. Some cultures moved past those conventions while others didn’t – this post will be dedicated to understanding the evolution of present-day cultures adapting to the ever-changing needs of man and the need for such culture.

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The Need For A 20th Century Philosophy

There are several lines of thought in philosophy – the most popular being the separation of the soul and body. The Venn diagram of the what these domains are supposedly believed to contain are exclusive. Something like that would have made sense in 16th century France, where theological ideas primly shaped the everyday functioning of society, where a spiritual domain was required. Ancient philosophy was essential to establish the foundations of ethics and morale – approaching a time where advanced political systems were emerging in Europe such as the democracy. Once a philosophy of people was established, what was left was conquering and rationalizing perception and reason and knowledge – in that order. Today, modern science tells us more on sensory perception than any philosophy, and the rules of reason have come to be known under a wider subject of logic. Knowledge has moved past being a substance of the mind acquired through sensory experience and thought to scientific consensus – where senses are used arbitrarily to reach personal satisfaction of any conclusion. At any time, we can employ logic and mathematics to go back or forth from present knowledge to understand it’s coming into existence or predict what could be or coming.

In the present day of the 20th century, science has far progressed past this phase of individual reasoning. We have build a framework into which we fit things and if they don’t, we conclude them false. A framework consisting of mathematics and science, ruled by logic or pure reason. However, as the society of today moves past the moderating theology that helped maintain humane order of the ancient land, into secular and liberal institutions – we must develop a new and contemporary philosophy to help sort through the ethical and moral conundrums of the present-day. Especially now with artificial intelligence around the corner, we must work on this fast.

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Culture: How Does It Affect Us?

On expression,

[Also included in this section is a lengthy introduction that will be foundational to upcoming sections. I might seem to use culture and society interchangeably, but society should refer to a people’s culture, accounting for their demography while culture is an ideologically constituent part of a demography. Cultural ideology on a whole encompasses the theological and philosophical realms.]

An innate desire to creatively and artistically express oneself is among the fundamental of human wills. I’ve often emphasized my theory of cognition and religion and culture being as one closely woven net, almost like an inseparable fabric. As a result of my insistence of the mentioned, I’ve managed to offend many people. Culture encompasses the various demographic intricacies operating in one’s immediacy – these include popular theological and philosophical ideas, geography and race and complex environmental feedback mechanisms. Religion refers to the majority religion among a demography that influences their theological ideology as mentioned above. Cognition, in this context, is defined as an individual’s ability to perform tasks of reading and writing, comprehending and reproducing information effectively and efficiently with respect to some statistical benchmark. Like gravity, IQ and other metrics of cognitive ability are all relative – and it wouldn’t do justice to compare the IQ of a chimpanzee with a gorilla. Just like the animals, I believe every civilization, over time, with the aforementioned factors of complexity, developed a standard cognition among their people that we call today as average – like the international average IQ of 100. Inductively reasoning from present-day IQs of many civilizations might be key to understanding their culture and religions.

Metrics such as the popular IQ measure an individual’s ability to perform specialized tasks by narrowing down with the specifics at hand. It is iterative and systematic. You could train your brain with IQ tests for a couple weeks leading up to your counsellor’s appointment and pull off a few 10 or more points on your existing IQ. Such cognitive metrics measure how well your brain has specialized – from the time of birth, that is. I believe as one gets older and leaves childhood, IQ is no longer a complete and holistic measure of one’s cognition. Therefore, a fair measure of brain function would be accomplished through divergent reasoning. Divergent tests measure the collocially-called creativity metric – also a statistical measure of how well an individual’s brain is divisive. As one progresses in age with experience, this divergent and rather chaotic type of cognition manifests into convergent cognition. Everything from the simple essay prompts to analytical problem solving can be employed in the task of measuring this lesser-known type of cognition.

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Religion: Earliest Attempt At World Order

This likely will be my last time discussing religion. Unlike the last two times where I directly spoke out against certain religions and how they manage to work in contemporary times, today’s installment will be more on understanding why they work – a question that will require a philosophical analysis of this concept. Our discussion will be focused on exploring why religion might have been necessary and maybe still is. Later, we will get to understanding some shared ideologies among religions.

Where do we start? A new World Order? Sure, let’s start here – despite your forced consent that would’ve otherwise made no difference if you’d answered. The fundamentalists of religion saw the state of political chaos – the anarchy – invading our civilization as the people grew. With more people came more demands to meet their individual and collective needs. People would then give in to their animalistic instincts – their innate desires and ambition – and that would soon overcome any order of the people. Imagine a world without law and order, a world where ethics and moral were foreign ideas – this is exactly the kind of place religious fundamentalists realized and saw. In fear, they envisioned a word of order. A world where man’s innate desires were suppressed for the greater benefit of his fellows – and indirectly himself. The fundamentalist knew order cannot result from the reign of another man – because man’s ambition of a control of his territory would destroy his obedience – and conflict would soon prevail. The solution was to device something of an outside entity – a supreme and perfect being in all regards of man. An entity that lives and grows in apparent truth with the belief of man and other men.

Resources come at a premium – and anyone from a third-world can perfectly relate to this. Nothing is free. In a world survived by man’s innate desires, it would have been hard to ensure fair distribution of vital resources such as food. Also, as anyone who watches the National Geographic can describe – these desires are often lawless in modern hindsight. Animals aggressively secure their territory, their food and their potential mate at any costs. They fight among themselves and among others and form clans – where they venture together into unknown territories to conquer or mark as their own. The fundamentalist knew man was no different from his ancestor and such instincts would soon creep in as they outgrew in numbers eventually leading them to their own destruction. A need for a system of order was in dire necessity. A system to channel man’s own emotions – that he has been naturally predisposed with – against his unknowing will for the benefit of other men and himself. A concept of religion was therefore required.

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Islam: Ideology

I must confess at this time to losing count of posts I’ve written on Islam. The religion of peace just keeps giving me never-ending subject matter to talk about. Over the past days, I’ve unapologetically destroyed Islam (verbally). I discussed how Islam spreads and conquers foreign lands, keeping out external and internal political opposition in the process. This time, we will look at its fundamental ideology and try to make sense of what makes this epidemic movement keep sustaining itself and growing in their own demographic and among others – without bringing up dogma or scholarly beliefs but instead by realizing what it has morphed to in reality. Comparing dogmatic beliefs between Islam and other religions side-by-side have been a staple among conservative and atheistic debates and I don’t see a need to go through it again. The Quran allows unconsentual sex and the Bible calls for women to be sold to their rapists – but not everyone gets to do that (in Western countries). The dogma of Islam, or any religion for that matter, would come in irrelevant when discussing present-day cultural ideology.

if you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to go far, go together. -African Proverb

Let’s start off talking about Islam in foreign lands as I realize that’s a hard topic now – with many sides to it. There is this saying (quoted above) from an untraceable author on the power of unity. When people come together with a common cause, they constructively add up to become an indestructible political and cultural force that will stand the test of time. The kind of unity you see among Muslim communities where everybody has strongly shared beliefs is different from the local communities where people of Christian and other faiths or no faiths at all coexist with individualistic attitudes. In individualistic societies, people unite under the common cause of progressing their society as one, setting aside their personal indifferences because their paradigm calls for all individuals of society to be freely entitled to their own beliefs and opinions under the room of law – secularily practicing whatever they wish to practice. In collectivistic societies however, everybody is everybody else. An individual of such society is made to stay in agreement with what others of their society see fit toward the greater interests of their society – in simpler terms, they don’t have a fucking mind of their own. They exhibit similar patterns of thought, moral conscience that manifest in their ensuing actions. This leads to a clash of cultures when collectivistic cultures try to be part of individualistic countries. But it doesn’t end there, as with Islam, you are dealing with a bigger clash of civilizations.

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Is Science Just Subjective: Are We Observing Or Interacting?

This is part II to my previous post on subjectivism in science. The last part for those of you wanting to catch up, explored the mechanisms by which subjectivism creeps into scientific literature and also ways to alleviate it. Part II will explore subjectivity in observation or more generally, observation bias – from a practical and metaphysical standpoint.

you interact to perceive

mutual exclusion is nothing but an illusion

Scientific instruments are limited to their resolution, accuracy and precision. An instrument can only resolve within finite numerical intervals, only being able to gauge some metric with some degree of statistical consistency. The fixed numerical gaps between which an instrument can register is called its resolution. All instruments have a resolution that is predetermined from design – and probably something you can expect to find on the back label. Accuracy and precision are parented in statistics. The ability of the instrument to consistently register close to some numerical value is called precision, while its ability to register closer to the actual numerical value is called accuracy. The keywords are highlighted.

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Exploiting Human Nature: Business

Quick and short one. I was just wondering how people so often get away with exploiting us. The human psychology is one gullible piece of cake, people including you and me often fall prey to the dings on our phone, the tunes of some low-key DJ we’ve never before heard, or horror movies. That’s because we like to do the things that make us happy, and the people who market them to us in turn like the money. It’s mutual benefit, and that’s why we trade in the market. But this is going to be no lesson on trade. Continue reading

It’s 55 °F at The Ed Sullivan Theatre. Why?

If you asked Google (or any other search engine of your preference) the same question I’d asked when I was in your place about a year ago – let me assure you that you’re not alone, and also given just how much attention this post has gotten lately from people like me and you who take valuable time out of our busy lives to ponder something as trivially pointless as the temperature setting of a Broadway theatre. If I’ve been right all along, I’m assuming by now that you’ve just gotten out of a late night screening of The Late Show or began to wonder because you’re headed there sometime soon and saw something in the lines of ‘bring a warm jacket’ on your ticket. There’s no shortage of Yelp reviews with everything ranging from “freezing cold” to “HELLA cold”. Either way, Colbert’s home on Broadway has an unmistakably interesting environment parameter that people just don’t seem to be able to miss and that is the awfully cold thermostat.

I did a meta-analysis across the best of the Internet’s offerings on the this matter to save you the strenuous task of researching further when you should really be headed to an eatery for a New York dragged by the rat pizza or perhaps a bar on Fifth Avenue. Without further ado, let’s see what it’s got in store for us.

Broadway’s ‘refrigerator’ was apparently not an expensive broken thermostat or a quirk of the aging building but what Letterman, the former tenured talk show host of The Late Show wanted, by design. Yes, it was Letterman’s call to freeze his audience so save your curses for him instead. But why?

When I first got tickets to the Late Show, which also happened to be my first time at the Late Show under Colbert’s tenure, I noticed something on the ticket about temperature, on the same curious boat that brought some of you to this island. It said it was on the cooler end and that we had to dress appropriately. The dress code then stated Broadway casual. I was more fixated on what “Broadway casuals” meant, leaving little thought to the theatre’s environment. It was still early into March and I had my trusty jacket on, so it never bothered me anyway. Continue reading