Saturday, August 23, 2008

beyond the rhetoric

Recently a mysterious stranger lit upon my stoop and inquired as to the melody I was humming. You see, I employ a broad palette when in espousal mode. When endeavoring towards a thought, I do not proceed in the dry and dull manner of the scientist who employs a detached and calculated (faux) objective language. Nor do I proceed in the overly simple and self interested manner of a barrister. I conjure brilliantly colored and boldly outlined metaphors, parables, and aphorisms. I have no idea if a coherent thought is contained there within, something of substance to be transmitted. So it is with great delight that I was asked to speak more directly, more plainly, and most importantly from "the evidence" about my views on monogamy. In response to that request I have this (as well as upcoming posts) to offer:

Owing to the fact that the causes and effects are not only innumerable but also bleed into one another to such an extent that only a confusing morass remains, I can only point indexically—like a mute finger pointing to a heinous car wreck—to unavoidably oversimple significations. The “how” and “why” aside (for the moment), the blatant and indubitable—and, in my opinion, ineluctable—failure of the hetero-normal hegemonic paradigm is but a simple fact of the matter, a given. The tragic state of outright malfunction is at this point as ubiquitous as men and women themselves. (I understand that I have thus far only provided more rhetoric which stands in sharp contradistinction to your request. Patience my muse.)

The hetero-normal standard—an ideological structure and attendant set of practices perfectly encapsulated within the singular term 'monogamy'—was never a healthy affair, rooted as it was in overt oppression, enslavement, materialism, sexism, domination, and worse. [As a brief aside, let me say at this point and with regards to the invocation of the prefix “hetero”: monogamous gay couples are simply playing Ozzie and Harriet with a nugatory exception and thus fully participating in the hetero-normal project. This should not be considered a slight, however, as we are all participating in what presently constitutes “the only game in town”.] For a variety of reasons, some of which I hope to provide an adumbration of below and above (blogs are funny that way), the entire sickly mess was wrapped up in a saccharine package of romantic sophistry and just when we should've have been escaping the worst aspects of feudalism, puritanism, and residual barbarism, we enshrined these violations in inchoate plagiary, in co-opted mythos, in elaborate rationalizations safeguarded by a host of new institutions.

And now, as I indicated above, I must resort to a mere “pointing towards.” Consider the following characteristics of the contemporary monogamous relationship (to be posted one at a time to allow for due consideration and optimal feedback):

* We treat one another as property, as goods. Each individual willingly treats the other as a possession, as something owned. This practice is completely without exception, hence the unmitigated proliferation of rings on the third finger of the left hand. Pathetic appeals to the use of rings as “signs of love” ring hollow considering the ubiquitousness of the practice. Rings are anything but a unique symbol crafted by two unique people to represent their unique love. If two people were merely interested in symbolizing their love by way of some event, action, or icon, some expression significant to the two lovers themselves, everyone wouldn't have the same symbol. Rings are worn on a part of the body perpetually exposed to public scrutiny. They serve the sole function of indicating ownership in a manner fully consistent with brands on the hides of cattle.

(for a post of mine related to this post, see my response to the idea that "philosophy proper" is boring, and worse "useless", at the following:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

the fourth step... an accumulation: retaining the epiphany

Even a glimpse is enough to know that anything that was, is, or ever will be worth anything is at stake:

In the beginning was a series of realizations. Each realization interrelated, as all things are interrelated. Next comes holding tight to those realizations; not letting them slip away like last night’s dreams. Epiphanies are pure and clear moments and easily become muddied by a distracted mind.

“Whatever has been learnt, contemplated and meditated upon
By those whose minds lack alertness,
Just like water in a leaking vase,
Will not be retained in their memory.”


True revelations are profound and disturbing. As such, next comes a coming to terms with and acceptance of the truth of this new awareness – the summary landscape painted by the series of realizations.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"cause and effect" Naga style

Let us begin with the caveat that in this analysis we will treat only the causal cases in which an established cause gives rise to a consequent effect and not vice versa. In other words, we will treat only the world of our experience in which time's arrow points solely in one direction. It is worth noting, however, that our analysis applies equally well to scenarios in which there is no preferred or necessary direction to time.

First we should state unequivocally our fundamental assumptions:
1.cause and effect is a universal natural law
2.time is linear and continuous
3.moments in time are discrete
4.adjacent moments in time are perfectly contiguous*

*The issue of whether or not time is quantized, that is to say whether or not a discrete moment in time is finite in size or not, is of no consequence to this analysis.

For the sake of clarity let us posit a cause 'A' that gives rise to an effect 'B'. Our exercise begins with a question: What are the mechanics of cause yielding effect? The problematic in trying to approach this question seems to be a matter of possible relations between two things which do not share time coordinates. At the time of the cause, the effect has not yet arisen. At the time of the effect, the cause has ceased. In either case the cause and the effect do not coexist. One must exist in a moment we can term “present” and the other in a non-real moment whether it be “past” or “future”. Things in the past are non-real as are things in the future. What relationship, then, can an effect have to its alleged cause?

If we posit 'A' begets 'B', what are we positing? What is the nature of the relationship between A and B? Is there some sort of interaction or interconnection? Either case would necessitate extension across multiple moments of time. If we were to posit that “the red ball colliding with the blue ball made the blue ball move” then 'A' is a collision (the fact that it was a red ball is incidental) and 'B' is a change in motion (that it is a blue ball that goes from relative rest to having a velocity is incidental). What is the nature of the relationship between the collision and the acceleration? At the moment in which there is a collision, if we want to cite the collision as the causal factor, there is not yet a change in motion. At the moment in which the motion changes the impetus for said change must have come to pass. What is it about a cause, any cause, that its cessation gives rise to its consequence? In other words, what are the mechanics of cause and effect?

Perhaps the problem is that “mechanics” are elucidated in dependence upon cause and effect. To ask what the mechanics of cause and effect are is likely akin to asking what the underlying causes are whose effects comprise the very law of cause and effect. That creates of vicious circle and gets us no closer to an answer. Let it suffice to say that it seems that cause and effect is a logically untenable process. Going back to our balls, the change of motion does not occur at the time of the collision because causes and effects do not coexist in time. The change of motion does not occur as the change of motion is taking place for at that time it is not yet a change in motion. The change of motion does not occur after the change in motion for the motion at that point has already changed (which is why we can accurately refer to it as “motion different from its previous motion: a change in motion”). If the change in motion does not occur prior to the movement of the blue ball, at the time when the blue ball begins to move but cannot yet be said to be in motion, nor when the blue ball is already in motion, then when does it occur? We have exhausted all possibilities.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

on misunderstanding the nature of your own view...

Extremists come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Materialist atheists, for example, believe that everything in life can be reduced to matter in motion. They do not understand that the essential nature of their view is one of abject faith. They preempt themselves from having spiritual experiences and then utterly shun ideas and claims that are grounded in the very type of experience that they willfully remain ignorant of. Thus they are doubly ignorant: firstly, and most importantly, of the nature of their own belief system and secondly of any substantial familiarity with the belief system that they attack.

Typical religious zealots fail to consider the utterly unjust convenience of being born in a region where the one and only true religion prevails. And, whether or not they were born into their religion, they reject absolutely the notion that their beliefs are historical and cultural constructs fashioned by other human beings. Thus they misapprehend the nature of their own system of beliefs. The obstinate dogmatists invoke reason sporadically and only in service of non-negotiable tenets. And so they too are doubly ignorant: firstly, and most importantly, of the nature of their own belief system and secondly of the value of doubt and the utility of reason.

To these and other such positions I'd like to offer this sardonic imperative from William James (1890, pg. 320):

“Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

on "open relationships"

The mode termed “open relationship” is not only another restrictive cell to lock ourselves into—another cumbersome love-kit with strict prescriptions as to functionality and participation—but is devastatingly worse in regards to trying to develop a sense of eros. Open relationships are defined by, dependent on, and meaningful only with regards to the hegemonic paradigm already in place. An “open relationship” entails none of the restructuring necessary for eros and thus embodies none of its qualities and none of its expressions or manifestations. An “open relationship” is merely one in which one of two situations exists: a) there is no intention of developing deeply personal, vulnerable, or life-long ties, or b) the extent to which fidelity qua monogamy and meaningfulness have been fused is blatantly ignored: i.e. the hetero-normal paradigm is applied to multiple participating individuals simultaneously. Of course, the first scenario is superficial, avoids genuine intimacy, and thus falls outside of our purview. The latter scenario is one pregnant with disaster. The hetero-normal paradigm is a sickly and perverted collective convolution that distorts the underlying principles of beauty, passion, reverence, and the like on which it is based. Applying this system to multiple people simultaneously while making whatever slight or gross adaptations necessary to accommodate the polygamous brand of the perversion is not only equally undesirable—being as it is fraught with the same unhealthy and destructive expressions and manifestations—it will inevitably create even more misery and strife. An open relationship is simply unable to contend with our natural tendency to pair-bond and the con-fused yet ubiquitous diad of monogamy and meaningfulness.