Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

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Scott wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 9:37 pm There are no shoulds or oughts in my philosophy, only cans and cannots; and then from ‘can’ there is only do and do not. In my philosophy, there is no ought, no should, and no try. I can tell you what I will or would do, and only time and happenstance will tell if my answer is honest and true.
Wouldn't it be more accurate and honest to say, "I don't know what I will do, but this is what I am planning to do (as part of what I am currently doing)"?

Is "I will" a special kind of "I should", based on fantasy which may or may not coincide with future reality?

"Should" can be based on moral obligation or expectation. "This should happen because I think it is morally right" or "This should happen because I think it is likely to happen (but in saying 'should' I'm implying there's chance this won't happen)".

"Will" is based on expectation without any expression of uncertainty. "This will happen and I am not communicating any possibility that this won't happen".

If John says "I will do this tomorrow" he is basically saying "I should do this tomorrow if everything goes to plan and I obey myself". He is commanding future-John to do this. He expects future-John to obey, and he may think future-John is morally obligated to obey. He may be confident enough in his plan and self-obedience to round "I should" up to "I will".

But who can know what will happen between now and tomorrow? Tomorrow-John will have gained another day's worth of experience (if has survived the day). This may change him and he may have different ideas about what to do.

Even if John attempts to enslave future-John by committing to do this tomorrow, tomorrow-John John may feel free enough to override yesterday-John, arguing he is in a better position to decide what to do now.

Is "I will" a kind of self-enslavement (attempting to enslave future-self to past-self)?
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Scott wrote: January 27th, 2021, 4:25 pm ...my broader philosophy of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline)...

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 27th, 2021, 4:37 pm You mention this several times. How would you respond or react to those other members of society (😋) who do not seem to possess or exercise "self-discipline"? Clearly, you would not attempt to coerce their behaviour. You might not even attempt to persuade them of the wisdom of "self-discipline". But would you do anything at all, or just leave everyone else to get on with it, even though they are not following the path of anarchy as you prefer it?
Scott wrote: January 27th, 2021, 5:49 pm I'm sorry for writing a long answer to your question! It was a thought-provoking one for me! :)
Thanks for such a complete and honest answer! 👍
Scott wrote: January 27th, 2021, 5:49 pm There is no one size fits all answer, but more often than not I would err on the side of, as you put it, "just leave everyone else to get on with it" and focus heavily on not sacrificing my own self-discipline by self-righteously imposing on others, especially in ways that would betray a god complex on my part of one sort or another. Long story short, respect and accept the choices of others, and focusing primarily on my own choices and my own self-discipline.

This is pretty much what I expected you to say, but it is good to confirm, not assume. 😉 And this leads me into another question. Your philosophy, it seems, is a very individual one. This makes me wonder what value it has? Let me expand:

Humans are a social species. We're not as hide-bound as (say) bees or ants, but it is social co-operation that has lead to our, er, success. Humans don't act or achieve individually - I don't mean that literally, as it's obviously false; I offer this as a rough and general observation - we act and achieve in groups, familes, tribes and other societies. Given this propensity for group living, what is the value of a philosophy that is so sharply-focussed on the individual, and even seems to shy away from social interaction, to some extent?
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

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Scott wrote:I could be wrong, but I suspect our views diverge slightly at the point where you write "achieving that goal".
Hi Scott. Yes I think our views diverge there in the sense that we're talking about different goals, as you make clear below...
Keep in mind, I am not saying "the government should do X" or that "you or someone else ought to do Y".

Rather, the bottom line context of my comments on the alleged benefits of non-violence are to my choice of whether not I choose to intentionally and knowing engage in non-defense violence myself. Since one's choices are 100% in one's own control, if my stated goal is to not choose to intentionally commit non-defensive violence (e.g. murder, rape, etc.), then I think that is a decently achievable goal; don't you?

I think we can agree it is at least as achievable as a no-cake-eating diet is for the dieter themselves.
It's clear that your goals are personal. As such, I agree that those goals are relatively easy to achieve because they don't involve the need to persuade other people to behave in various ways. But I would argue that if we're only talking about what we personally want to achieve for ourselves then we're not talking about ethics, because I would say that a defining feature of ethics is that it's about how groups of people behave and interact, not just how individuals act. And I know we're in the politics section, not the ethics section, but I think the same applies to politics.
Telling others what kind of diet they "should" engage in, or expecting others to stick to one's own personal chosen diet (e.g. "please stop fighting guys"), is--I think we agree on this--a recipe for disappointment.
Yes, I agree, if all we're doing is telling people what to do or stating our aspirations as to how people ought to behave or how human nature ought to be, we have a recipe for disappointment. That's why I've always thought that the "if I were king..." method of setting the world to rights (as I called it in a recent topic) can tend to be a bit fruitless or empty. By the "if I were king..." method I mean the method of imagining somehow having the power to create any society we wish without having to figure out how, as an individual, we can persuade people to act in various ways, and without having to seriously consider how to get from here to there.

So I agree that saying "please stop fighting guys!" is as unlikely to be successful as saying "it would be great if people didn't fight" or "as king, I decree that all fighting shall stop". I'm more in favour of looking at why the people are fighting and whether they can be incentivised to stop.

When talking about politics (which to me means talking about the kind of society we wish to live in, how we think people in that society should be treated and so on) I tend to prefer to think in terms of what might have a chance of actually happening. As I said earlier, that means imagining what we might try to do if we were in some position of influence. How we might seek to get people on board with our ideas, bearing in mind human nature as it currently exists. To me, simply saying "I would behave this way and others can behave as they please" isn't really politics.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

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Scott wrote: January 27th, 2021, 4:25 pm As an alternative to a huge supreme centralized national (or global) government that micromanages the lives of its citizens, including in terms of consensual activity such as adult prostitution, marijuana use, etc., where some handful of wealthy-special-interest-selected millionaires a thousand miles away decide if armed uniformed soldiers will break in your house over some alleged marijuana you might allegedly have, a minimal federal government can be much closer to the ideal of self-government, at least insofar as it does delegate most powers to the states which themselves delegate most powers to small town city councils and the boards of private condo communities and such. Federalism can be a practical way to move closer to the diverse peaceful localism of peaceful self-government.
I'm slightly more pessimistic about how much this can be optimized. One suggestion I could give is really leveraging technocracy in terms of supercomputing for traffic planning, water and sewage, and even policies based on key demographics of a town or city. Even there it's garbage-in-garbage out and the tighter a system is the more sensitive it is to human incompetence which is perrenial.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 28th, 2021, 9:24 am what is the value of a philosophy that is so sharply-focussed on the individual, and even seems to shy away from social interaction, to some extent?
I mean this as 2 questions:

1. What value has a self-centred philosophy to a social species?

2. What value has a self-centred philosophy when it must be practised by significant numbers of humans before it can have an effect?
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Scott »

-0+ wrote: January 27th, 2021, 6:56 pm
Scott wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 9:37 pm There are no shoulds or oughts in my philosophy, only cans and cannots; and then from ‘can’ there is only do and do not. In my philosophy, there is no ought, no should, and no try. I can tell you what I will or would do, and only time and happenstance will tell if my answer is honest and true.
Wouldn't it be more accurate and honest to say, "I don't know what I will do, but this is what I am planning to do (as part of what I am currently doing)"?
Yes, perhaps. If not more accurate, I think it would more clear at least.

-0+ wrote: January 27th, 2021, 6:56 pm Is "I will" a special kind of "I should", based on fantasy which may or may not coincide with future reality?
Both are equivocal so I suppose it depends, but typically speaking I doubt it because the word "should" tends to be used much more vague and equivocal, sometimes in ways that seem to suggest the speaker speaks without any intended meaning (i.e. gibberish). For example, people can say vague things that may or not mean something such as:
  • "I should be drinking tea, but I am drinking water."
  • "I should have gone to the mall today."
  • "You haven't received my RSVP and want to know if I will be going to the wedding? Well, I should go to the wedding. There is your answer."
  • "It shouldn't be raining today."
In contrast, I think saying "I will" is confusing, vague, and equivocal (in relation to the present tense phrase "I do") simply because "I will" deals with the future and the usually useful construct of time, as illusionary as that construct may be particularly in the Newtonian sense.

Moralizing or impotently hopeful/fearful words like should and ought are problematic and equivocal even in the present tense.

Future-based statements involving the word should are problematic in both ways combined.

Present or past, they have no place in my philosophy.

Other philosophies, particularly moralistic philosophies such as but not limited to moral utilitarianism, do seem to require those words. Thus, I personally reject those philosophies.
-0+ wrote: January 27th, 2021, 6:56 pm Is "I will" a kind of self-enslavement (attempting to enslave future-self to past-self)?
That's a very good question. I think it speaks to the value of presence, particularly in the context of mindfulness and inner peace.

When it comes to the context of my true free-spirited self (as opposed to my ego or any false self), I find it useful to often treat my so-called past bodily self and so-called future bodily self as other people such as my neighbor. So my neighbor is removed from this body in the construct of space, and my so-called past bodily self is removed from this present body in time. This body may make some kind of loving sacrifice for my do neighbor out of love, such as shoveling the snow from his sidewalk for him. Likewise, this body may make some kind of loving sacrifice for its future self such as suffering on the human torture machine that is my treadmill during the snowy winter so that future Scott can feel the pleasure of arrogant pride walking around the beach enjoying the fruits of my discomfortable labor.

Of course, as you wisely reference, just as we can happily choose in the present (using "I do" not "I will") to with inner peace loving sacrifice for others (be those others in time, or in space, or in both), we can find ourselves unhappily enslaved by others, either (1) by the literal violence of slavery in the political context or (2) by spiritual slavery, meaning a sacrificing of our self-discipline a.k.a. spiritual freedom.

Pattern-chaser wrote:And this leads me into another question. Your philosophy, it seems, is a very individual one. This makes me wonder what value it has? Let me expand:

Humans are a social species. We're not as hide-bound as (say) bees or ants, but it is social co-operation that has lead to our, er, success. Humans don't act or achieve individually - I don't mean that literally, as it's obviously false; I offer this as a rough and general observation - we act and achieve in groups, familes, tribes and other societies. Given this propensity for group living, what is the value of a philosophy that is so sharply-focused on the individual, and even seems to shy away from social interaction, to some extent?
As admittedly circular as it is, I think the short answer is that the value of my philosophy is for me, namely in regard to giving me a framework for me to make decisions and ideally find, have, and/or maintain inner peace (or in other words contentment or true happiness). This "inner peace" to which I have referred might be what the ancient Greek's referred to by the word eudaimonia, or it might what a Chinese Taoist would refer to as being centered, flowing through life like water, or being one with Tao. It could be what an Indian Buddhist might refer to as nirvana or enlightenment. But I don't speak ancient Greek, Chinese, or Sanskrit.

Insofar as I choose a philosophy that leads me to make choices that leave me having inner peace and contentment, then I am the one who seems to primarily and directly benefit. Insofar as I choose a philosophy that results in the opposite of inner peace for me, then I am the one who primarily pays the cost. In that kind of way, Karma seems to me to be as analytically self-evident of a natural law as natural selection and evolution.

With that so-called "short answer" said, much like the way I believe that my political philosophy of non-violence would lead to better results from a utilitarian perspective in correlation to the degree it is implemented, I do believe that if more people adopted my boarder philosophy regarding spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), with its heavy focus on presence (the here and now), on self-responsibility, on acceptance of others, on the idea of live and let live, and on inner peace, that would lead to better results from a utilitarian perspective, as well as results that would be "better" by other common measures too. For just one example, measuring the amount of inner peace in the world is presumably different than a utilitarian measurement of utility, but one that to someone like me might be more meaningful. I am probably not alone when I say I would rather experience physical pain with inner peace than experience the opposite of inner peace with great physical pleasure.

On the other hand, my belief that if everyone adopted my code of conduct the world be more pleasant and near-utopian is probably a given. The given being not the alleged truth of my belief but merely the fact that I believe it. Presumably almost everyone thinks in a parallel way that about their own code of conduct and their own personal philosophy, which circles us back to the idea of me neither violently forcing nor arrogantly socially pushing my personal code of conduct on others. Other people's inner peace or happiness, whatever that means to them, is their own responsibility. Their choices are their own. Maybe they find inner peace a different way than me. Some probably don't even believe in inner peace, thinking it's either nonsense or impossible to achieve, which is their right according to me at least.

It gets dangerous very quickly to think too much about how allegedly grand the world be if everyone just followed one's own philosophy, even if one's own philosophy purports to be one that respects people's freedom, embraces diversity, and respects the risk of assuming one's own code of conduct can be (or worse "should" be) extrapolated to the behavior of others.

Steve3007 wrote: January 28th, 2021, 10:28 am It's clear that your goals are personal. As such, I agree that those goals are relatively easy to achieve because they don't involve the need to persuade other people to behave in various ways. But I would argue that if we're only talking about what we personally want to achieve for ourselves then we're not talking about ethics, because I would say that a defining feature of ethics is that it's about how groups of people behave and interact, not just how individuals act.
I agree.

I can't really talk about ethics, or at least I can't provide an ethical philosophy, because there are no shoulds or oughts in my philosophy at all.

Just as my political philosophy of non-violence and self-government could be called anarchism or near-anarchism, my broader philosophy of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) could be labeled as "spiritual anarchism", "moral anarchism", or "moral nihilism", namely meaning I don't believe in morality or objective moral laws, meaning (sorry for the redundancy) that I don't believe in shoulds or oughts but rather can and cannot, and from 'can', do and do not. There is conscious choice in my philosophy, but there is not moral law or moral judgements. In my philosophy, fundamentally choice always takes the form of do or do not, a binary bit function.
Steve3007 wrote: January 28th, 2021, 10:28 am Yes, I agree, if all we're doing is telling people what to do or stating our aspirations as to how people ought to behave or how human nature ought to be, we have a recipe for disappointment. That's why I've always thought that the "if I were king..." method of setting the world to rights (as I called it in a recent topic) can tend to be a bit fruitless or empty. By the "if I were king..." method I mean the method of imagining somehow having the power to create any society we wish without having to figure out how, as an individual, we can persuade people to act in various ways, and without having to seriously consider how to get from here to there.

So I agree that saying "please stop fighting guys!" is as unlikely to be successful as saying "it would be great if people didn't fight" or "as king, I decree that all fighting shall stop". I'm more in favour of looking at why the people are fighting and whether they can be incentivised to stop.

When talking about politics (which to me means talking about the kind of society we wish to live in, how we think people in that society should be treated and so on) I tend to prefer to think in terms of what might have a chance of actually happening. As I said earlier, that means imagining what we might try to do if we were in some position of influence. How we might seek to get people on board with our ideas, bearing in mind human nature as it currently exists.
I at least mostly agree.

In my philosophy, I think philosophical thought experiments such as the ones you describe as well as others can be helpful learning tools to help generate a working code of conduct (e.g. a literal nutrition diet or some kind of semi-figurative behavioral diet). For instance, I don't think I'm actually going to find myself as a Jedi rebel fighting the Emperor and his police with a light saber or find myself in the fictionalized William Wallace's situation as shown in the film Braveheart, but hypothetically considering what I would do (or more accurately what I would want myself to do) in such a situation helps provide a framework to make the actual choices I am presented with in my personal here and now, as well as share and debate ideas and advice with others, just like two nutritionists might debate the pros and cons of their different diet plans, even though neither has an intention to force their diet plan on anyone.

Another common example is learning from one's own past, by imagining oneself in the same situation but with whatever lessons one has learned in the meantime (i.e. having the benefit of hindsight).

There is line between (1) doing this as educational and/or philosophical exercise that helps one to make more intelligent decisions in the present that give one more contentment, inner peace, or whatever one hopes to get from their choices, versus (2) doing it resentfully such as by refusing to accept the past and accept the fact that one cannot change the past by wishing the past (and thus present) was different, irrationally trying to change the past, and in that context saying something that didn't happen shouldn't happen or that something unchangeable that is the case should not be what it is. The former involves learning from replaying the past or imagining other hypothetical thought experiments as a form of practice and learning so that it helps us use our present and future choices to more intelligently and strategically change that which we can change (i.e. to play our cards the best we can). The latter involves resenting unchangable things for the being the way they are or refusing to accept them, such as being unable to non-resentfully accept the tautological truth, it is what it is.

That tautology, and by extension the ideas of unconditional acceptance and inner peace, give context to the general policy that summarizes of live and let live.

I am fully on-board for learning from the past and for playing around with other thought experiments and advice-giving, just so long as it doesn't cross that fine line into sacrificing inner peace, sacrificing my spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), sacrificing my self-responsibility (such as by worrying about what others should do instead of focusing on what I can do and choose to do), failing to unconditionally accept the unchangeable, or otherwise deviating from my general policy of live and let live.
Steve3007 wrote: January 28th, 2021, 10:28 amTo me, simply saying "I would behave this way and others can behave as they please" isn't really politics.
I agree. For that reason, I imagine many people following a philosophy like mine would generally not be very interested in politics or political debates. Freedom breeds beautiful diversity, so it's hard to generalize regarding what they would be interested in, but one reason I use the label "spiritual freedom" in addition to "self-discipline" refer to the same exact idea is because I imagine spirituality would be a common interest among the live and let live crowd, more than politics, though presumably it's still not a universal interest due to the aforementioned diversity. Self-actualization means different things to different people, and self-discipline manifests as different behaviors in different people, which is in my opinion the beautiful diversity of freedom.

On the other hand, politically speaking at least, as much as they may prefer to not be involved, the problem for people in the peacefully diverse live and let live camp is that they are forced into political involvement (i.e. violent conflict) by the camp of folks who are willing to use non-defensive violence to force their will on others, be it an openly selfish initiation of violence or be the initiation of violence an alleged utilitarian or nanny state thing (e.g. "this non-defensive violence is for your own good").

For that reason, even among those who share my live and let live attitude, many are presumably interested in defense and suffering through political discussions regarding the organization of defense, or at least political discussions that consist of attempting to somehow convince those who would initiate non-defensive violence (e.g. murder, rape, etc.) to not do that.
Pattern-chaser wrote: January 28th, 2021, 11:04 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: January 28th, 2021, 9:24 am what is the value of a philosophy that is so sharply-focussed on the individual, and even seems to shy away from social interaction, to some extent?
I mean this as 2 questions:

1. What value has a self-centred philosophy to a social species?

2. What value has a self-centred philosophy when it must be practised by significant numbers of humans before it can have an effect?
1. I don't think any singular philosophy has much value to the species, at least not in a way that would be pleasant to my eyes. In my subjective opinion, a crucial of the beauty of freedom, both political freedom and spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), is the diversity it engenders. The idea of all of human society adopting a singular philosophy, even my own, brings to mind when Agent Smith turns every single human in the Matrix into a copy of himself, except instead of a suit and glasses it is a philosophy, way of life, and/or detailed code of conduct. The only seeming rule I believe in even remotely close to that deeply would be a rule prohibiting non-defensive violence, but the word non-defensive is crucial both to make the rule un-rule-like and to avoid contradiction. In other words, my support and other people's support for defensive violence is moot if nobody initiates non-defensive violence. It's a 'the only rule is no rules' outlook, but with the word 'non-defensive' used to avoid contradiction.

2. The way I see it, it doesn't need to be practiced by significant humans to have an effect. The effect is total, guaranteed, and it is on me, including results such as being at peace with my own choices, having the inner peace that comes with the spiritual liberation that I also refer to with the label self-discipline, a supremacy of free-spirited conscious choice versus the autopilot whims of a fleshy material evolved would-be philosophical zombie. My philosophy is designed to maximize the practicer's self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom), in this case my self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom). I would turn the question around on you, and ask what is the use of a philosophy that leads the follower to choose to have less self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) than is possible? To what end would you be willing to have less self-discipline? For what end would have followers accept the means of sacrificing self-discipline (i.e. becoming spiritual slaves, or at least feeling as such)? For what end would you want to or encourage others to choose to sacrifice inner peace?

A poetic way to describe the sacrifice of inner peace, spiritual freedom, and/or self-discipline is "selling one's soul" or being a sell out, which some people may do for money, for drugs, for fame, for egotistical reasons, for fear of death, or for some other reason. I'm not personally a Christian, but with that previously mentioned poetic idea in mind, I think I completely understand what Jesus meant when he asked, "For what has a man profited if he should gain the whole world for the price of his soul?"
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 28th, 2021, 11:04 am What value has a self-centred philosophy when it must be practised by significant numbers of humans before it can have an effect?

Scott wrote: January 28th, 2021, 7:24 pm The way I see it, it doesn't need to be practiced by significant humans to have an effect. The effect is total, guaranteed, and it is on me, including results such as being at peace with my own choices, having the inner peace that comes with the spiritual liberation that I also refer to with the label self-discipline, a supremacy of free-spirited conscious choice versus the autopilot whims of a fleshy material evolved would-be philosophical zombie. My philosophy is designed to maximize the practicer's self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom), in this case my self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom). I would turn the question around on you, and ask what is the use of a philosophy that leads the follower to choose to have less self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) than is possible? To what end would you be willing to have less self-discipline? For what end would have followers accept the means of sacrificing self-discipline (i.e. becoming spiritual slaves, or at least feeling as such)? For what end would you want to or encourage others to choose to sacrifice inner peace?

I would not rate or judge a philosophy according to self-discipline or inner peace. It's not that these things are without value, but that there are other things that are important and valuable too. I think I tend more toward an outward-looking philosophy that guides my thoughts and actions as I interact with the universe.

In response to your final question, I would ask others to sacrifice themselves in some way - and expect to do likewise myself, of course - if I perceived a need to do so in order to achieve some worthwhile thing. An example of this might be asking people to cut down or stop all global air travel, so that damage to the world we share could be reduced. Not all such requests would affect inner peace, but some will/would, and so they should, if the hoped-for result is valuable enough.

My view here is that our membership of life, the universe and everything could, would or should lead us to contribute as we can, when we can, even at the cost of inner peace. No man is an island, and all that stuff. 😉
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Gertie »

Greta wrote: January 25th, 2021, 3:01 am There has always been tension between the interests of the one and the interests of the many. Lean too far towards the former and you have anarchy. Lean too far towards the latter and you have stultification.

There is an optimal distance between a planet and a star for life, neither too close or distant. There is an optimal size range for each species and an optimal climactic temperature range. So there is also a balance between individual and societal interests that will be optimal - for a given place at a given time. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to governance. It's a matter of how (or if) a society adapts to a changing world.
Nailed it.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Gertie »

Scott wrote: January 23rd, 2021, 9:37 pm One of my family members sent me the following question, and about eight or nine paragraphs into writing my blabbering reply, I decided to copy my answer here.
I'm interested in your thoughts on how society would function if people were truly free to do whatever they wanted. As in, if government doesn't make any rules that services need to be available to all, would that make the inequalities and injustices better or worse? People are kinda **** and I imagine there would be groups of people deprived entirely of essential services. For example, if there are only a handful of doctors in a state qualified to treat a rare medical condition and all of them refuse to serve people who are left handed, lefties would be SOL.
What a great question! :)

First, I want to say that the majority of my philosophy and the best aspects of my philosophy, in my opinion, are not political. My beautiful glorious non-political overall philosophy is centered around a deep value for spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) and a transcendence of flesh and of fear of death. My first tattoo was a stoic meditation, "Memento Mori", which is Latin for "remember you will die". I put that stoic meditation on my left arm where I see it every day.

Political philosophy mostly only interests me to the extent that it acts as an analogue for my spiritual philosophy of spiritual freedom. For instance, self-government can act as an analogue of self-discipline, and self-employment can act as an analogue of both of self-government and self-discipline.

Primarily, the authorities and enslavements I seek to firmly, stubbornly, and defiantly reject are much more than merely petty political ones. I suspect generally only those people who are way too attached to the material world of the flesh could care very much about the topical human politics of a sliver of time on a tiny planet in an endless sky.

One reason all of that is important to note is because it speaks to this point: I don't believe in "shoulds" or "oughts" or other moralizing. So if hypothetically I'm asked "what should the government do" or "what ought my neighbor do", I cannot answer. There are no shoulds or oughts in my philosophy, only cans and cannots; and then from ‘can’ there is only do and do not. In my philosophy, there is no ought, no should, and no try. I can tell you what I will or would do, and only time and happenstance will tell if my answer is honest and true.

With all that said, I agree that humans are **** (and arrogant, selfish, cowardly, short-sighted, addiction-prone, and self-righteous). Man is not fit to govern man. No human on this planet is fit to wield the power of non-defensive violence, especially not of the state-sponsored variety.

The idea of the benevolent dictator is an impossible naive pipe dream, in my opinion. The idea of a mob of people acting as a multi-person benevolent dictator is even worse and more absurdly impossible. It may falsely sound pleasant in random specifics (e.g. "let's use non-defensive violence to end world hunger") but it is easily shown to be an absurd impossibility. Impossible imaginary ends are used to justify foolish means, the foolish means being namely non-defensive violence such as murder and rape.

If anyone's plan to 'save the world' or do charity requires committing rape, murder, or other non-defensive violence, then let me give that person fair warning they need to be ready to fight me to death. I believe not only in the principle of "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," but also I believe equally in the broader principle from which that one is derived: "I strongly dislike what you do, but I will defend to the death your right to do it."

I don't care how noble the Noble thinks the end goal of their prima nocta is, or how legal of a raping it is, I would still rather die as a William Wallace than live to become a murderer, rapist, or coward--to sacrifice the one thing that is worth anything: self-discipline, self-ownership, and spiritual freedom, three different phrases that all mean the same exact thing to me.

I don’t philosophically agree, but I understand why an act utilitarian would hypothetically commit murder, rape, or slavery as a perceived lesser of two evils, such as by murdering an anti-left-hand doctor's child to coerce the doctor into saving two left-handed children against his will, presumably as a form of utilitarian slave labor. A more traditional philosophical thought experiment is to murder a fat man by pushing the fat man in front of a train to save 5 others.

I would still rather fight a good-hearted act utilitarian to the death to defend the mean doctor from slavery, or to defend the fat man from murder, than violently enslave a doctor myself or violently murder a fat man myself.

But in practice such act utilitarianism never works anyway for many reasons. One is that humans are too selfish and foolish to do utilitarian calculations with any reliability. For example, in real life, those claiming that committing murder, slavery, and rape is for the greater good in a utilitarian sense are simply mistaken, like a child failing his math homework. More often, they are self-serving liars who know they are playing a shell game. In another example, most people’s utilitarian calculations are biased and perverted by their own denial-ridden dishonest fear of death. For instance, any accurate trolley problem needs to have a loop in it very closely because the trolley is going to get us all very soon. You can’t save any human from death ever; we are all going to die very soon. The best you can do is postpone a human's death for a little bit. I've heard many different wise people say, we all die, but we don't all really live.

You show me a self-proclaimed act utilitarian, and I'll show you a lying hypocrite who doesn't donate enough food to starving children and doesn't donate enough organs to dying patients. If one is an organ donor and an honest act utilitarian, then I ask that person, "why don't you slit your organ-donating throat right now?"

So even though I would still oppose rape, murder, slavery and other non-defensive violence even if it was utilitarian, ten times out of ten I will bet that my way (namely peaceful non-violence) happens to be the utilitarian way anyway, at least if we limit ourselves to the practical and truly possible. To illustrate, I definitely believe that, if somehow society suddenly became much less violent (and thus by extension there was much more political localism, self-government, decentralization, and individual freedom), then there would also be less children starving to death every day and less kids being blown to pieces by drone strikes. I don't think so many thousands and thousands of children are starving to death because there is too little state-sponsored violence; I think the opposite is the case. While utopia might not be possible, I believe less violence would lead to much less children starving. For example, I definitely think I myself would personally donate more to useful charities if less of my money was forcefully taken from me to fund the military industrial complex.

But please don't think that me giving those hypothetical examples of the utilitarian benefits of the current violent plutocracy suddenly backing off so that we can enjoy the wonderful fruits of a much more peaceful society are meant to imply shoulds or oughts.

Nope.

Rather, we each have to choose for ourselves what we ourselves will do. Our freedom of spirit precedes and supersedes that of any politics or fleshy happenstance. I must choose for myself whether I murder, rape, and enslave others or not. I must choose for myself whether or not I vote in favor of murder, rape, slavery, or other non-defensive violence. When the Nazis come after the Jews, I must choose for myself whether or not I break the law and hide Jews in my attic or follow the law and turn them in. When I am given the choice to commit murder for a Nazi to prove my loyalty, and thereby live another day, or have myself and my whole family murdered by the Nazis as punishment for my peaceful civil disobedience, I must choose whether I will murder one to save multiple including myself or die as a defiant free stubborn peaceful man. Live as a murderer or die? If that choice is presented to me, I choose death, or at least I hope to have the courage and self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to honor the promise I have made here and bravely choose death for me and my family instead of becoming a murderer, rapist, or enslaver.

The reality of humans isn't that they are bad at designing diets, but that they are bad at sticking to their own diets, at maintaining honest spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) in the heat of fleshy discomfort and in the face of those or that which would say, "eat the cake; break your diet and eat the cake". But sometimes it's not cake that a voice in your head that is not you says to eat; sometimes it is not a delicious drink of alcohol that a voice in your head that is not you says to drink; sometimes the voice is from an external Nazi, the politics aren't an analogue, and the cake is an innocent person you could violently murder, rape, or enslave. I chose to say no. I choose to disobey, to disobey both the Nazi with a gun to my head and the egoic voices in my own head pretending to be me. If you have ever been on a tough diet, you won't doubt me when I say it may be the latter that it takes more self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) to disobey. I've never been addicted to drugs, but I imagine it too may be tougher spirtually than having a literal Nazi put a gun to your head and telling you to either murder one person or watch your whole family die as punishment for your disobedience.

Each person is stuck choosing for themselves. What will you choose?

You have to choose for yourself.

Because unlike political freedom, when it comes to spiritual freedom, slavery is a dishonest illusion built on denial and resentful rejection of reality. You are always 100% in control of your choices. When it comes to your choices, there is no try. There is only do or do not. But many humans resentfully reject that reality, and cling to the comfort of their own imagined slavery, as self-delusional as it may be, thinking ignorance is bliss. The so-called bliss of ignorance and dishonesty may indeed be comfortable, but insofar as it is then I wish to avoid comfort and seek out and embrace discomfort. Kierkegaard wrote, "anxiety is the dizziness of freedom". Kierkegaard didn't mean political freedom, but freedom of spirit.

I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who wrote, "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." Shaw's words help show the analogousness between mere political freedom and grander spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline). In a Shaw-like way, we can say that the spiritual freedom that is self-discipline means self-responsibility, and that is why most humans not only dread it but also desperately lie to themselves in anxious dreadful resentful denial of this most obvious truth: Spiritually, you are free whether you like it or not. Whether one likes it or not, the obvious truth is that one's choices are 100% one's own. Nobody can make you a murderer or a rapist; you would have to choose that yourself. Nobody can make you choose to intentionally and knowingly commit non-defensive violence (such as but not limited to murder, slavery, and rape), you would have to choose it for yourself. Whether you like it or not, the choice is 100% yours.

Voltaire wrote, "man is free at the instant he wants to be."

To paraphrase yet more thinkers who are probably wiser than I am, in this case Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Emiliano Zapata, I believe liberty and non-violence are the mother, not the daughter, of order, and regardless I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.
Libertarianism is a political ideology. It can have philosophical justifications, and your personal motivation can be philosophically motivated, but that can be said for most (all?) political idelogies.

Your position on amorality is refreshingly self-reflective, I agree that any moral justification for Libertarianism is flawed, if you take the view that morality goes beyond self-interest.

Just curious - how many people have you fought to the death over your principles so far?
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Scott »

Gertie wrote:Just curious - how many people have you fought to the death over your principles so far?
I do not murder people. In fact, I am a vegetarian, so I am relatively peaceful in my interactions with animals too, at least compared to most humans. I don't believe I would ever kill another person simply because of their views, nor have I. I am extremely opposed to non-defensive violence and coercion. For more on that topic, I invite you to post in the following topic: Intentional non-defensive killing - Do you always oppose it?

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 29th, 2021, 10:19 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: January 28th, 2021, 11:04 am What value has a self-centred philosophy when it must be practised by significant numbers of humans before it can have an effect?

Scott wrote: January 28th, 2021, 7:24 pm The way I see it, it doesn't need to be practiced by significant humans to have an effect. The effect is total, guaranteed, and it is on me, including results such as being at peace with my own choices, having the inner peace that comes with the spiritual liberation that I also refer to with the label self-discipline, a supremacy of free-spirited conscious choice versus the autopilot whims of a fleshy material evolved would-be philosophical zombie. My philosophy is designed to maximize the practicer's self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom), in this case my self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom). I would turn the question around on you, and ask what is the use of a philosophy that leads the follower to choose to have less self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) than is possible? To what end would you be willing to have less self-discipline? For what end would have followers accept the means of sacrificing self-discipline (i.e. becoming spiritual slaves, or at least feeling as such)? For what end would you want to or encourage others to choose to sacrifice inner peace?

I would not rate or judge a philosophy according to self-discipline or inner peace. It's not that these things are without value, but that there are other things that are important and valuable too. I think I tend more toward an outward-looking philosophy that guides my thoughts and actions as I interact with the universe.

In response to your final question, I would ask others to sacrifice themselves in some way - and expect to do likewise myself, of course - if I perceived a need to do so in order to achieve some worthwhile thing.
I suspect that we actually agree here and are saying roughly the same thing with different words.

What I would refer to as inner peace (a.k.a. contentment), including the inner peace (a.k.a. contentment) of one choosing to make a sacrifice (presumably usually some kind of loving sacrifice for other people in space or for their so-called future self), I suspect you would probably refer to as the chooser's honest opinion of its worthwhileness or in other words the self-perception of worthwhileness.

To illustrate, we can speak metaphorically of accepting the cards we are dealt while playing those cards the best we can (best meaning the most 'worthwhile' way). What I refer to with the phrase inner peace is something that inherently stems from doing the latter, in one's own honest subjective opinion, and thus inner peace is essentially within one's own control, ipso facto, hence the name, as opposed to being a matter of external happenstance and luck, such as the cards one is dealt. For instance, as a parent, one might explain this two dimensional way of looking at things--rather than looking at them as merely good and bad on some one dimensional scale--by saying to a child playing a sports game, "Regardless of what the scoreboard says, as long as you played your best then you are a real winner."

But one controls their choices. Metaphorically speaking, one controls how they play their cards and thus controls whether or not they have the inner peace (a.k.a. contentment) of knowing they played their cards the best they can. That points us to why spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) has relevance in regard to inner peace and self-perceived worthwhile choice-making. When one is presented with a choice between A and B, we can ask or wonder why a person would choose A if they believe B is the more worthwhile choice; it nearly defies logic. In the narrow field of politics it's easier to understand why someone would make a different choice when (1) under the duress of threat of non-defensive violence versus (2) when they are politically free (i.e. not being coerced with violence); it's easy to see why the introduction of violence would affect the choice. But, in the broader spiritual sense, spiritual freedom isn't related to violence, and one is always in control of their choices (how they play the cards they are dealt). So that's why I argue in the OP that spiritual slavery/imprisonment and the corresponding discontentment (a.k.a. lack of inner peace) from which one suffers when in that state of spiritual slavery/imprisonment depends to some degree on self-deception. Perhaps, the epitome of such a person who lacks spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) and thus who is lacking in what I call inner peace would be a stereotypical addict, such as an alcoholic. Likely, it's easy to relate to the way that person might feel like a spiritual slave to the object of their addictions or to their own bodily urges, or feel like a prisoner in their own body. Even though they aren't literally forced in the literal narrow way as in political context of mere political freedom, there is a sense in which somehow despite being in control of their choices one can somehow lack self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) meaning make choices that one does not honestly feel are best (a.k.a. most worthwhile), and thus lack the corresponding inner peace of knowing oneself is playing their cards in the most worthwhile/best way according to their own honest opinion about what's most worthwhile/best.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 29th, 2021, 10:19 am I would not rate or judge a philosophy according to self-discipline or inner peace. It's not that these things are without value, but that there are other things that are important and valuable too. I think I tend more toward an outward-looking philosophy that guides my thoughts and actions as I interact with the universe.
Scott wrote: February 15th, 2021, 10:14 pm I suspect that we actually agree here and are saying roughly the same thing with different words.

What I would refer to as inner peace (a.k.a. contentment), including the inner peace (a.k.a. contentment) of one choosing to make a sacrifice (presumably usually some kind of loving sacrifice for other people in space or for their so-called future self), I suspect you would probably refer to as the chooser's honest opinion of its worthwhileness or in other words the self-perception of worthwhileness.

I wouldn't argue with what you say: we each choose how we look at things. But for me, I prefer a philosophy that includes and acknowledges my being an indivisible part of life, the universe and everything. Yes, my individual perspective has value. But for me (again), that individuality is given meaning by the way it contributes to something bigger than just me. Humans are a socially co-operative species, and I think too great a concentration on the individual loses this. We are both individuals and members of our societies, IMO.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Scott »

Pattern-chaser wrote: February 17th, 2021, 9:36 amI prefer a philosophy that includes and acknowledges my being an indivisible part of life, the universe and everything.
Yes, well-put. I too prefer a philosophy that includes and acknowledges that. Insofar as I have communicated my philosophy in a way that it doesn't seem to include and acknowledged such a unity, I have miscommunicated it.

When I refer to spiritual liberation, a crucial aspect of that as I use the terms is the transcendence of a false identification with the false egoic self. The spirit/self that is being liberated is not the ego or false separate bodily self. Selfishness can be seen as the opposite of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline). To illustrate, where my philosophy would often have me embrace discomfort (e.g. pain, hunger, fear, etc.) with content inner peace that transcends the whims and feelings of the body and ego, an opposite of that would typically just be selfishness, presumably represented by obedience to egoic or bodily urges or even a full conceptual identification with the ego and/or body.

In one way of speaking, spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) is the transcendence of selfishness, if not simply the opposite of it. Spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) involves disobeying the urges (i.e. selfishness) of the flesh, body, and ego, the false self that is served by selfishness. In that sense, it depends on one having true consciousness (the "spirit" in spiritual) as opposed to being a philosophical zombie. One needs to have a spirit to liberate it.

And spiritually I very much believe in the kind of unity you describe. It is that unity, and the love engendered by recognition of the unity, that explain why the inner peace of spiritual freedom would entail--at a spiritual level--contently and eagerly choosing to endure and embrace great discomfort, pain, or fear as a loving sacrifice for the beloved, the beloved being that with which we see ourselves as spiritually united.

In contrast, a selfish human would instead be a slave to the feelings of egoic or bodily discomfort (pain, fear, etc.) and vice versa.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Tegularius »

Pattern-chaser wrote: February 17th, 2021, 9:36 am
But for me, I prefer a philosophy that includes and acknowledges my being an indivisible part of life, the universe and everything.
From that perspective nothing is excluded and everything is included meaning all the extremes and opposites of which life is capable. By default and without choice we are and remain an inherent part of the universe for as long as we exist. It's not as if we have a choice being a part of anything else. Any philosophy which argues being a separate entity from that which it is clearly a part of invalidates itself as soon as mentioned.

The universe is like a picture puzzle of many billions of pieces and every single piece belongs to that picture without reference to good or evil.
The earth has a skin and that skin has diseases; one of its diseases is called man ... Nietzsche
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Scott wrote: February 17th, 2021, 11:16 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote: February 17th, 2021, 9:36 amI prefer a philosophy that includes and acknowledges my being an indivisible part of life, the universe and everything.
Yes, well-put. I too prefer a philosophy that includes and acknowledges that. Insofar as I have communicated my philosophy in a way that it doesn't seem to include and acknowledged such a unity, I have miscommunicated it.

When I refer to spiritual liberation, a crucial aspect of that as I use the terms is the transcendence of a false identification with the false egoic self. The spirit/self that is being liberated is not the ego or false separate bodily self. Selfishness can be seen as the opposite of spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline). To illustrate, where my philosophy would often have me embrace discomfort (e.g. pain, hunger, fear, etc.) with content inner peace that transcends the whims and feelings of the body and ego, an opposite of that would typically just be selfishness, presumably represented by obedience to egoic or bodily urges or even a full conceptual identification with the ego and/or body.

In one way of speaking, spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) is the transcendence of selfishness, if not simply the opposite of it. Spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) involves disobeying the urges (i.e. selfishness) of the flesh, body, and ego, the false self that is served by selfishness. In that sense, it depends on one having true consciousness (the "spirit" in spiritual) as opposed to being a philosophical zombie. One needs to have a spirit to liberate it.

And spiritually I very much believe in the kind of unity you describe. It is that unity, and the love engendered by recognition of the unity, that explain why the inner peace of spiritual freedom would entail--at a spiritual level--contently and eagerly choosing to endure and embrace great discomfort, pain, or fear as a loving sacrifice for the beloved, the beloved being that with which we see ourselves as spiritually united.

In contrast, a selfish human would instead be a slave to the feelings of egoic or bodily discomfort (pain, fear, etc.) and vice versa.
As you have observed, we are not disagreeing here, only chatting. I have observed that your philosophy, and the words you use to express it, are all self-oriented. You responded, as I understand you, that your philosophy does include things external to you, but that they are sort-of implied, not explicitly stated. Fair enough. There is no criticism here.

My observation is merely of interest (to me, and I hope to others). My philosophy considers me as an indivisible part of the Great Whole (as you might say). Me and the Great Whole. Neither one dominant or supreme. It is an important part of my philosophy that this be stated clearly, rather than lying forgotten in the lost corners of my unstated context.

I think we're done here, although I'd be pleased to continue if you see something still worthy of discussion in this little sub-thread? Thanks for the chat.
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Re: Man Is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom

Post by subatomic »

Isn't this just anarchism, or philosophical anarchism, where people believe that we would all survive if everyone acted on moral values, and thus we wouldn't need a government because people would regulate themselves? I don't know a lot about anarchism (although I am reading Desert currently, I am about halfway through), and what I think is that man IS fit to govern man. Sure, there are a lot of negative things about or current governments, but I still believe that even though the individual does not have to always obey authority, this does not mean that anarchism and individualism is the solvency, so state and hierarchy are naturally going to be better. We can't completely avoid authority, it's been around since prehistoric times, and it is just human nature. We need someone to regulate us.
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