Notes on Modernity

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Xanthippe, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Xanthippe Registered Member

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    If we look at modernism in terms of Chaos Theory, the tiniest disturbance, divergence, can grow, in time/space, into a huge effect.

    The modern focuses on the tiny selectively.
    The tiniest similarity, amongst multiplicities of differences, is evidence enough of a uniformity; the tiniest divergence, amongst the superficially similar, is not good enough to discount uniformity.

    But not even clones are absolutely alike, because absolutes are absent, and natural selection works on infinitesimally minute scale, where a slight advantage can spell the difference between life and death.

    The average modern nihilist often selectively rejects differences, and appearances, wanting to live in uniformity where all divergences can be corrected with education, training, surgery, human interventions. He wants to live in a nature he can erase and start over in...or reboot.

    The slightly above average type of the same category will accept and admit divergence as something belonging to the past.
    His antagonism to nature produces this need to eradicate, correct, level down the products of the past. For him the immanent utopian coming future, promises total uniformity in potentials...on a scale no where in evidence in nature.
    And the only way to make this coming Utopian future possible is to encase humanity within controlled environments, where breeding, training, genetics, is controlled by man-made ideals turning natural selection into social selection, by integrating females into a dogma which can be manipulated.
    The female's natural role as genetic filtering system is used by the prevailing meme as a way of excluding all males who do not show the proper acquiescence or desire to adapt to the cultural norms.

    This slight alteration promises, in time, a big change, and we are only witnessing the symptoms of it at the moment.

    In the arts, the discipline of human creativity, the first signs of degradation are being witnessed.
    On a longer time-scale we can look towards to east to see the effects of centuries of nihilistic, feminization. Amongst peoples with high I.Q.s the absence of creativity is evidence of this decline in masculine resistance to increasing chaos.
    Nihilistic ideologies and the institutionalization they produce, has castrated a population of billions, making them no more than recyclers and regurgitators of western creativity.

    McEvilley in his excellent book 'The Shape of Ancient Thought', which I can't recommend enough,,, explored the decline of eastern civilization and its outflanking from the west, and now the west is following the same path.

    One major reason why this is necessary:
    No frontiers.

    This absence of frontiers makes Nihilism a useful tool for internal stability.
    What cannot be achieved with force, without a high cost, can be achieved by using coercion, over multiple generations - small interventions resulting in big changes.

    Now we can understand why "love" becomes a common theme of divinity, and why levelling is possible.
     
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  3. Xanthippe Registered Member

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    To be modern is to remain ensconced within a temporal box.
    If "genius" is the ability to exist (think, act) in a more timeless continuum, and not to be defined and restricted by the current - to think in a manner that extends beyond the socio-economic and cultural boundaries you were born and raised within - then to be modern is the opposite.

    To call it a form of retardation is not to give full credit to its commitment to what is called "normal" thinking and behaviour, because one can be intelligent and still remain trapped within a temporal cultural box wilfully or simply because one cannot break free of the childhood, family, teaching and their emotional weight.
    We can say that if it is not a product of a lack of mental talents and awareness inherited as being weak in potential, then it is the choice to remain loyal to what has been invested in - emotionally or materially - either because of cowardice or laziness.

    A distinction must be made between the previously mentioned possibilities - by far part of a more common type - and the last possibility which is that of a mind hypocritically committed to the modern for pragmatic, self-serving reasons.
    The pretence of acquiescence, for hedonistic and materialistic gain - should not be confused with actual acquiescence, due to restricted intellectual capacities or spiritual energies.
    Hypocritical, self-serving, discipline to the modern can be uncovered when discussing matters of morality and belief, because the pragmatic, hypocritical modern, will not be as passionate about defending what he knows, whereas the more honest modern will show a consistency and passion which cannot be faked for long.
    The latter will think and act in accordance with the modern principles even when given the opportunity to question them. The pure modern will never dare go outside the box even when involved in a discipline which is dedicated in doing just that, as that of philosophy.
     
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  5. Xanthippe Registered Member

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    We live in an age of plenty, in a world of abundance.
    It is in these environments that greed and excess become prevalent and eventually wind up diminishing the value of everything.
    In an age where food is easy to be had, gluttony becomes the rule and risks the health of millions.
    In an age where security and ‘rights’ are given openly and indiscriminately, the loss of respect and the emergence of undeserved arrogance becomes the norm amongst individuals that have never had to earn either and now take both for granted.
    In an age where education is supposed to be a ‘right’ it is diminished through the attempt to become available to all, no matter the students' intellectual quality or seriousness, and at affordable prices as well as to not exclude anyone.
    In an age where products are mass produced and capitalism becomes the economic driving engine for an entire culture, consumerism becomes the ideal and the throw-away society emerges amongst populations that have never known hunger or poverty or scarcity.
    In an age where there are billions of people continuously reproducing, the value of the individual diminishes and men/women too become disposable products to be used and then thrown away when a replacement for them is found.

    It is therefore natural for sex and love and for all human emotions and relationships to be considered objects of entertainment and hedonism in such superfluous times. Human beings become disposable, reusable objects that are easily replaced and easily discarded; just pieces of ass, the flavour of the month, mere flesh that is enjoyed and then forgotten with no deeper ramifications ensuing and no, more profound, connections expected.
    Sex has become a hobby and a form of amusement and distraction that means nothing anymore. It has become the mere quenching of a thirst or a placation of a physical need and through this practice human beings become objectified and depersonalized; just bodies and their parts: penises, vaginas, breasts, that results in a human species defined by numbers and statistics, weights and measures; generations of disposable, mass produced humans, one the replica of the other, so “replaceability” becomes easy and quick, cookie-cutter humans with little personality and even less distinguishing characteristics.

    Even the so called "spiritual" types, cannot escape the gravity mass of pleasure and pain, and the desire to escape appearances (matter as something other than energy).
    What does it matter how intelligent or what values the brain attached to the penis has, when it can fertilize just as well as any other?
    What does it matter if it is human or ape - to pursue this "logic" to its absurd finality ...yet not so absurd because if we dare to follow the logic of modern thinking down to its conclusion (using its own principles) appearances do not matter, mind is other than body and all is one, because multiplicity is an illusion.

    The compartmentalized consciousness of the modern man separates, though he will never admit it, the body form the mind, turning the penis into a organ with no attachment to the brain. The penis is no longer a tool serving the mind's will, but the mind is a tool serving the penis' automatic responses.
     
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  7. Xanthippe Registered Member

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    Here in this enhanced reality of testosterone distended muscles, hormone therapies, surgical mammary glands, botox injections, penises in spectacular Bacchus splendour and excessive juvenescence, expressing desired dependence and faked virility, everything gets notched-up an octave and a new artificial median is found.
    It is a world of dolls, with perfect skin and hair, with push-up bras, lipstick and gaudy toupees.
    An environment of caricatures where numbness is counteracted with extravagance; where a whisper must reach the crescendo of a scream to be heard… and a scream…?
    A scream becomes an inaudible Munch-like facial contortion where, in the silence, the horror is lost in travesty; Simulacra of a Baudrillard nightmare.

    Under these circumstances enjoyment can only be had through overindulgence and amplification. A caress must become a slap, a kiss must become a bite, a voice must become a shriek and a gesture must become accentuated through theatrics and dramatizations, so that purity can be replicated in the superfluity of emptiness.
    Passion made clear through sadism and masochistic magnification.
    Circumstances, themselves, spin into staged events and legitimate characters vanish under thespian exuberance.
     
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    4,623
    What do you take the word 'modernity' to mean? When postmodernists use the word, it often seems to mean something like 'everything about the contemporary world that I don't like'. In other words, it strikes me as something of a straw-man, a token object for one's own feelings of alienation.

    I'm more inclined to use 'modern' and 'modernity' to refer broadly to the post-medieval conceptual world, shaped most obviously by the scientific revolution and by industrial civilization, as well as by worldwide communications and by broader educational opportunities. And I think that all in all, these are good things. I don't feel alienated from these tendencies at all.

    Ok, gotcha, you're alienated.

    So what do you want instead? If you could make the modern world go away, just disappear, what kind of world would you replace it with?

    It seems to me that there's a widespread nostalgia among a certain kind of intellectual on the European continent for some highly idealized vision of medieval times. A world led by chivalrous and naturally superior Nietzschean warrior-aristocrats (or alternatively, a world of primitive tribal communism where everyone is equal), a world of small intimate villages, of craft industries where every product is a work of art, where aesthetic value takes precedence over factual truth, where magic replaces science and where everyone is embarked on a path towards some vague sort of (presumably non-Christian) Transcendence. (Never mind the social hierarchies, the violence and brutality, the ignorance, the disease, the superstition and the poverty that also characterized those times in real life.)

    My sense is that these 'critical' tendencies arose in 19th century France and Germany as pietist-flavored romantic reactions against the industrial revolution and the failure of the promises of the French revolution. Two totally disastrous 20th century world wars underlined the until-then rather counter-cultural hostility towards what's dismissively called 'instrumental reason' (it promised liberation and only brought death) and made anti-modern cultural alienation mainstream, among intellectuals in the European arts and literary humanities at least.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  9. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    51,738
    In philosophical terms, that essay was a load of nonsense.
     
  10. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    3,942
    OK, from now on, philosophy should not be read, much less written at all unless it has a clearly printed expiration date. I'm not saying to burn it; just leave it to collect layers of dust and/or print it on acid laced paper stock. If scanned into digital form, well, that's where the expiration date comes in.

    Because I could care less what Aristotle had to say about modernity or the internet, and most of the philosophers mentioned in this thread are in the same category. I haven't read any Dostoyevsky since high school, because the world he wrote about no longer exists.

    Please stop me if any of the terms I have used are poorly defined, equivocated, or ambiguous like most philosophy is. I don't play word games other than scrabble, and that's only because knowing more two and three letter words is an advantage there.
     
  11. Landau Roof Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    598
    You should not dismiss Fyodor Dostoevsky so quickly, Dan. He was a master of psychology before the field was even recognized as such. For instance, just off the top of my head (paraphrasing), he wrote: Give a man a palace to live in, nothing but cake to eat, and champagne to drink, and in a few weeks he'll be complaining about that. All right, he was not nutritionist, but his observations of human nature still hold true.
     
  12. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    756
    I was thinking the same thing. 50 years from now things will be different still. Will it be for the better? Who knows. Im sure that there will always be plenty to complain about if you choose to do so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  13. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Marie Antoinette made a similar crack about eating cake and paid the price for it (and this was not referenced by Dostoevsky). Her remark was also pithier, and more to the point. The folks eating cake tend to forget that not everyone is privileged to eat cake, and some of those who aren't are probably sharpening and polishing their guillotines.
     
  14. Landau Roof Registered Senior Member

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    598
    There's so many things wrong with this post, I hardly know where to begin.

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    Dostoevsky was not making a 'crack,' he was making an astute observation of human nature. Marie Antoinette was also not making a crack. She purportedly made her remark out of insensitive ignorance. However, she never did say 'let them eat cake'. Therefore her remark was not pithy, nor could it have been to the point. And anyway, what point could you mean? That the peasants deserved to starve? make some sort of sense please. "The folks eating cake? To whom do you refer? Dostoevsky's cake eaters were hypothetical, and Marie Antoinette never said anything about cake nor eating it.
     

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