Why has the world gone greedy and materialistic? Everyone monetizes their blog, and also the people in my church measure success in $$. It’s everywhere, as if it were the right thing to do. But I find it dehumanizing and quite ugly, not to mention shallow. It’s turning into a contest to see who will be the richest, but not in knowledge and wisdom and the things that are worth living for. It comes down to whether you can equate money with happiness. In my opinion, people are creating a hell on earth by making an economic issue of everything. Only after every natural resource is gone will human beings realize that they can’t eat money. Will they ever understand that money is a fiction, an artificial construct made up by our imaginations?
Even though the monkey wears silk, he’s still a monkey.
The Brothers Grimm describe a peasant celebration on the rare occasion when a rich man was admitted to heaven.
The way of the world is overrated, yet there’s not much I can do to fix it. So I’ll just keep making these posts till the cows come home; that, or until the world comes to an end.
Thanks for feeding back on what I wrote yesterday. I think it was the influence of Coca-Cola! But today I had two Snapples and afterwards I felt pretty lousy, so I took a gabapentin and went to bed for a few hours. The old proverb is true that you are what you eat— simply because the brain is a physical thing and every thought proceeds from brain activity. This is what I believe, anyway; there are some who will deny it, saying the mind is unrelated to the body, arguing for a sort of dualism of spirit and flesh. I think their position would be very difficult to prove. It’s a throwback to Cartesian thinking four hundred years ago. Descartes identified the pineal gland as the location where the soul interacts with the body— since proven false.
I’m thinking specifically of Pastor. He is quite paranoid about the facts of biological psychology, the physiology of the nervous system. Perhaps his belief system could fall if my point about materialism were proved to him. So it’s best not to discuss it with him. In biblical language, the personality is carnal and spiritual, but what I’m saying is the whole thing is carnal and the spirit likely doesn’t exist.
Culturally, people generally accept the soul or spirit. In ancient Japanese history, people would drive a hole in the skulls of their dead before burial to let the soul escape. I guess to most people the phenomenon of consciousness is a divine mystery, something imponderable and sacred for the reason that they don’t understand it. A lot of philosophy has been written about it. Sartre actually turned perception around to make the mind logically prior to what it perceives, in the same vein as “I think therefore I am.”
Mind over matter and matter over mind. Idealistic philosophers often eliminate the existence of matter totally, so only the mind is real. Maybe I’m getting a little tired of philosophy. The evidence points to nothing but the physical state of existence, and this is realistic and probably the truth. Philosophy is the most useful when it approximates science, in my opinion.
But then again, you wonder about the ramifications of materialism for freedom of the will…
I had a very brief dream that I had a book in my hands, open to a chapter titled in big bold letters, “FREEDOM.” Somewhere I might have seen this in reality.
I’m up after a three hour nap, though already getting kind of tired. The main observation on my mind is that we all seem to have been bitten by the Gold Bug and gone insane. Not even the church is immune to the infection. I’m just an ordinary person, so how can I argue with the pastor? Instead of other people, we love things: fancy cars, diamond rings, musical instruments, or whatever. It all glitters like gold. This is how we measure success today. Maybe it’s just sour grapes of me, dragging my feet around the neighborhood, shuffling, slouching, getting older and falling behind, missing the boat, wandering on the dock. I can only say the caviar was rancid as the cruise ship sails away without me. And I can tell parables like “The Golden Goose.” I can be a moralist like Owl Eyes in the Fitzgerald classic. Only time will tell if I am right or wrong, and maybe I’ll be riding the ferryboat across the bar without this ship of fools.
Quarter of nine.
People are pretty picky about money these days. I just had a rather sharky experience with my creditors concerning the loveseat I bought last month. To make a payment, the money has to come out of your checking or savings account. A credit card is not accepted. My day is just getting off to a lousy start. More and more I get the feeling that I don’t belong in this world as it is. The heart and soul have gone out of our existence. People want your money and they want it now. Even in church, people are success oriented, thinking of how much money they can make. This was the uneasy feeling I got yesterday after church. It’s not about love anymore. Are all churches like mine? I don’t even own a car, and my voice is like one crying in the wilderness. I feel trampled underfoot even by these so-called Christians. But who knows? Maybe I’m wrong and they’re right, and I should quit writing this blog. Nobody gives a fuck anyway. You know what your reward is. Drive your fancy cars and go to hell.
Ten o five.
Gloria is here cleaning the bathroom. Outside the sun is shining: a beautiful day. Bloggers seem to be converting their sites to places for selling stuff, so I feel like the only person still doing human interest posts on WordPress. Also, people don’t want to read stuff anymore. Eventually I’ll quit doing this because there’s no reward in it. But I’m disappointed to find that people are so greedy and materialistic, valuing things more than ideas and what makes us uniquely human. I’ve known for some time that philosophy is going out of style, but this is sad. There’s something wrong when people don’t care about life— the examined life that is worth living, preferring things to be cut and dried and readymade so we never have to think about them again. And again I consider the image of the new high school on Silver Lane: ominous dark brick façades that suggest a prison more than a teaching facility. This might actually be the fact.
I had a good day. The inside of my home is looking nicer and nicer the more Gloria works on it. A few minutes ago I ordered myself a beanbag chair because I wanted one. The neighbor kids had them when I was young, but my mother refused to buy me one of my own here at home. Gloria and I have dumped a lot of Mom’s clothes and stuff off at the thrift store on Division Avenue, thereby kind of exorcising her ghost from the house. I don’t really believe in ghosts or anything spiritual, and it’s very painful to entertain such beliefs after a loved one dies. There’s so much uncertainty surrounding the whole phenomenon of death and dying, because what happens over that threshold will always be a mystery. I sought to avoid the problem by drinking myself blind drunk for many years. Grieving is not for wimps; it takes a great deal of courage to face the problem head on and say with finality what you believe. The fact is that we cremate our dead, and we say the body feels nothing when it’s being burned. We also know that there’s an identity of consciousness with brain function. The conclusion from all this is that ghosts don’t exist. Therefore, Lucretius must have been right to advise us not to fear death.
Quarter of one.
I have nothing to report today except to say that my poor brain is all screwed up, or so it seems to me. Tomorrow I’ll start a new antidepressant to complement the Vraylar, so hopefully I’ll feel better after that. I did an all-nighter with a big Coca-Cola last night and it actually felt pretty good to me. I think I’ve been struggling with depression for a few months, and when you can’t fix the problem through the interior, you must resort to biology for the remedy. And who would be dumb enough to deny biology any validity; although I’ve heard some people say they reject evolution, especially where it affects human beings. This is such a Victorian attitude; I remember a poem Tennyson wrote about being descended from the brutes. He couldn’t accept this idea from Darwin. But Maryann Evans was a Darwinist in her fiction including Middlemarch (another book I should get around to reading)… The proof of materialism is that you take the psychotropic medication and your mental state changes. This also happens with alcohol and anything else you put in your body. As for indeterminism and the idea of freedom, the proof of these things is an uphill battle, and ultimately a crazy making endeavor. I think I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll just embrace the world of sanity and limits; of cause and effect.
I’m of half a mind to cancel my trip to the agency this morning. The more I think about it, the more it becomes a certainty… The dispatch office doesn’t open until eight o’clock… My walk to the market was uneventful, but I observed that Michelle was in a pretty good mood today. Very early this morning I ordered The Essential Plotinus, then went back to bed and dreamed about discussing it with Pastor and a few people from church. Supposedly Plotinus is the bridge between Plato and modern Christianity. I won’t know for sure until I read it myself, but the prospect sounds fascinating. Pastor has said that my thinking is similar to the Greeks, though I don’t know how much stock to put in that assessment… It’s going to be another day of cooler temperatures, continuing for the next week.
Eight forty. I guess I’m kind of torn on the existence of the Ideal. Is it really the truth that a trapdoor in the heavens could spring open and a red dragon come flying out, and so on? Is Christianity a “revealed” religion or did people just make it up? And is the imagination intuitive or rather merely creative? If I knew the answers then I wouldn’t be asking these questions. I can tell you what I wish was true, but I think the simplest explanations are the most accurate: and materialism is very simple. The origin of every art form is mimetic; it imitates nature and natural things. Cavemen made paintings of hunting wild beasts on the walls. The first musicians whacked a hollow tree trunk with a stick to emulate thunder. And then, language acquires abstractness with use over time, but the underpinnings are still the literal stuff. The very word “matter” is related to the Latin for “mother.” Everything depends on it, like the world on the red wheelbarrow.
Three forty in the morning.
I have insomnia tonight from the Snapple teas I drank. But they also gave me the motivation to do some housework. The new reading glasses arrived in yesterday’s mail. I suppose they’re functional enough. Meanwhile the old ones broke. Blogging is not very rewarding right now in terms of getting likes from followers, but it doesn’t mean they’re not reading every post. Obtaining likes can become an addiction for some people. So, I will just keep posting stuff for my own benefit…
It sucks to be up in the middle of the night, when no one else is awake and it’s dark outside. I know a few people who operate on the assumption that “money makes the world go round.” Their worldview is strictly materialistic, and they see nothing wrong with this. The only power they know of is the dollar sign. Something called to my mind the spiritualism of 19th Century novelists like Dostoevsky, and their mental battle against materialism rising in their culture. How important is it for people to acknowledge some kind of spiritual life? How blind are the ones who don’t? “Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy.” Sometimes the wonder goes completely out of my life, and then I know there’s trouble. Karamazov is a brilliant book, so I think I’ll go back and revisit the opening sections. Or, I can keep struggling with Victor Hugo… Another thought is that the university I went to was really geared towards materialism, with some exceptions. This was the indoctrination I received. But you can always get another indoctrination.
Four twenty five. I continue to be more aware of Aesop’s discomfort. I suppose I’m more empathetic than I used to be. We need to fix the problem of his boredom and inactivity… The food pantry is a go tomorrow morning. Speaking of feeding the community, this morning I remembered a cruel thing my brother bragged about doing to a panhandler some years ago. The panhandler had a dog, so Jeff went inside the store and bought dog food for the dog and nothing for the man to eat. At McDonalds another time, Jeff threw a cheeseburger to a beggar’s dog. My brother is an unkind bastard. I hope someday he pays for his cruelty to me and everyone else he has mistreated. Actually, that might be happening as it is. His rheumatoid arthritis is extremely painful. He has boozed himself into neuropathy and amnesia. Looking over the span of his life, his fate has been rather an instructive one. As a young student he was a nice guy; but he became corrupted by the career he chose. It was all for the almighty dollar. I suppose most families have someone like my brother. Ambitious and driven to make a pile of money. Well, his devotion to Mammon has consumed his soul. There’s nothing left of the nice young student. I would pity him if I could, but in his case, I’m fresh out of pity.