Archive for April, 2013

Quora answer: Why is Slavoj Zizek hailed as such a badass by some?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Badass? Seems a bit odd as an expression for Zizek.

Just like we are nostalgic during the Metaphysical Era for the passing of the gods, so to we are nostalgic for the passing of Communism as our enemy. Gorbachev told Reagan he was going to do the worst thing possible to him, take away our enemy. And he did. But he did not realize how resourceful we were at generating enemies and in no time we replaced the Cold War with the War on Terror. But now the nostalgia is for an enemy we could understand. Who is some sense like ourselves, i.e. secular. But now we have an enemy we really cannot fathom the religions fanatic who would rather kill themselves hitting back at us than live. So in this time when our new enemies are alien to us, a simple communist is appealing. Zizek says about communism and its fall, and its horrors: if at first you do not succeed try try again. His interesting message is psychoanalytic rather than political. His political message is simplistic and rather uninteresting. But the idea that he can hold to such passe political beliefs makes us wish for the old days where we had an enemy from within we could fight with the tactics of Joe McCarthy, i.e. with tactics just like those of our enemies. Then there was a simple world, where just by getting rid of anyone who thought, or had an intellectual bent we could dumb down our society enough that our masses were no longer a threat to our way of life, i.e. liberal democracy and our precious freedoms without responsibilities. Zizek’s politics represents who we are in our essence, i.e. anti-communists who are satisfied to duck under desks and dream of an apocalyptic world after world war III. He is the old enemy which we vanquished, merely by inventing the Internet. Not like China which is the ultimate extreme of the capitalist state with whom we have a symbiotic Walmart relationship where they finance our debt to buy more and more Chinese made junk or poisoned food or high tech goodies made by slave labor. China who turns their prisoners into on demand transplant donors. We did not play into the hands of the soviets because we could understand them, they like us were ideological creatures. But ultra=capitalist communists we cannot understand and we give away the farm to them without so much as batting the an eye, after we spent decades and billions defeating the soviets. We waste our resources on fighting an abstract war on Terror and stretch ourselves thin trying to be the only remaining superpower with troops all over the globe. We are even sending them to Australia now, for gods sake. Caught between the ultra capitalist so called communist state of China and the Islamicist Terrorists on the other hand with the Oil rich Saudis who finance AlQueda. We actually give our wealth away to those who would destroy us happily in a kind of ignorant bliss, because the Chinese are inscrutable, and the Islamic Wahabi sponsored fanatics are incomprehensible to us. And so when Zizek comes along and proposes communism as an alternative to the excesses of capitalism which we have witnessed recently as our markets collapsed, it sounds almost reasonable. It is like playing oldies but goodies on the radio and remembering what it was like when we were young and at the top of our game, rather than what we have turned into, which is a pawn in the hands of communists who are more capitalistic than we are, and Islamic terrorists who are more crazy than our own evangelicals who work to hasten the end by supporting Zionism unthinkingly to the point where we are likely to be brought into a war with Iran by the Israelis. Clearly we our out of our depth, not knowing how to react to the Arab spring when we have supported dictators elsewhere for so long. We want freedom ourselves but everyone else under the thumb of some totalitarian regime. People we can work with and understand rather than crazies who want freedom at all costs. I.e. who want to be like us. So a nice communist seems almost quaint at this point. And if he has interesting things to say about culture and society via interpreting Lacan as Hegel then so much the better. We bring him in to the Occupy Wallstreet movement to talk to the kids because we know he is harmless. Mean while we kill American citizens and detain them overseas in rendition prisons, our own gulag.

To fight an enemy we have to become like them. And as I have pointed out elsewhere we have entered the age of corporatism which is a fusion of Communism, Capitalism and Fascism. And our global corporatism which as Ron Paul points out is who Obama supports. Obama is not a socialist or communist but a corporatist. And so the Republicans who have sold their souls to the corporations via the lobbyists feel like they have to appeal to the lunatic fringe of their party and so are worse candidates than Obama which is merely a straight forward supporter of corporatism. Like Clinton Obama wins by going right, which drives the republicans our into the own lunatic fringe. And so our democracy is undermined from within by the elevation of demagogues on the right like Santorum and Gingrich. It is demagoguery that is the end of democracy. Meanwhile Obama appears to be the perfect model of sanity holding back the storm of idiocy from the right. And thus the Corporatists win our either way. Either by getting their lackeys installed under the rubric of the Tea Party and social conservatism, or by getting elected an eloquent right wing politician like Obama who can actually put together a whole sentence without making any gaffs. Either way Corporatism wins in our political environment.

Communism is just a part of corporatism, i.e. the part that provides slave labor overseas. On the other hand Terrorism provides the impetuous toward fascism in which we give up our personal freedoms in order to be safe from Terror, trusting in Government to not go too far, and take their surveillance to excesses (fond wish). And then Capitalism can run amuck though deregulation, and wreak more havoc on our economy than any enemy ever has. In light of all this a simple communist who we can call our own, is infinitely preferable, because his communism is our long lost simple enemy who we long to recover so we can understand our enemy who is like ourselves again. The fact that this simple communist message comes with a powerful social and cultural critique based on Lacan as Hegel makes it all the more alluring.

Zizek is the trojan horse. Outwardly he appears to be something we can understand, and old enemy who we long for. Inwardly he carries a psychoanalytic critique of our culture and society to which we have no answer due to its extreme sophistication and the fact that it gives a point of view that can critique anything, as Zizek shows daily. We bring him in to our midst as the representative of the fallen enemy, and he points out to us all the ways in which we are our own worst enemies. In other words his message is quite simply we have nothing to fear except ourselves, and our own ignorance that creates unnecessary enemies just because we feel we need an enemy to give our lives meaning, and also so we will be distracted from the takeover of our society by corporatist interests. By giving our all to the global economic arm of colonialism in its last stages, we have sapped our own strength since the end of the Cold War. And Zizek is there to point our that we are doing all this to ourselves and so we deserve what ever we get in the end.

If as Adorno and Horkheimer says that capitalism is like Odysseus bound to the mast while his men row with their ears full of wax, then Zizek is that siren who Odysseus hears. Zizek offers political nostalgia for the lost enemy, while at the same time singing to us of that we have bound ourselves to the mast, and we have poured wax into our own ears. And the loss of our place as the last superpower due to hubris and over extension, like the Greek folly of the attempt to take Sicily during the Peloponnesian War, only make for Zizek a self-fulfilling prophecy. He is like Cassandra who was ignored because she said things that people did not want to hear that just happened to be true because she saw through the illusions of others. For instance, Agamemnon’s illusion that he could return home as a hero to a wife whose daughter he had sacrificed to get good headwinds when he was leaving. Because he left with a slaughter he had to return to a slaughter (his own). Zizek turns Lacan into the Oracle of our fate while he offers over simplistic political solutions that we don’t take seriously. Zizek does Lacan one better and becomes his Psychoanalyst turning him into Hegel. Just as Lacan used Freud as a foil, so Zizek uses Lacan as a foil, reading Hegel though him. And so Hegel comes back to haunt us, who was rejected during the Soviet period because Marx drew from Hegel. That drove us into Analytical Philosophy (the safe alternative in a McCarthy era purge of intellectuals). Zizek is a Communist and proud of it. He with all his quirks is an outstanding intellectual, who with Badiou have taken over the reigns of Continental Philosophy after the death of the real greats like Deleuze, and Derrida, the generation after Sartre and Merleau-Ponty. Badiou out analyzes the Analytic Philosophers by appealing to Set Theory and Logic to ground his ideas of Being and Worlds. Zizek on the other hand makes the oracle of Lacan comprehensible. Lacan sits on the tripod, while Zizek as priest turns the random mumblings of the intoxicated priestess into poetry.

Zizek is “Badass” because he points out that we have Bad Asses. In other words we foul our own nest. And as a member of a fallen ideological movement who we fought almost half a century if not longer he has the right to laugh as we fall too, without our old enemies to help us keep our balance.

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Quora answer: What does God look like?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized


God does not look like any thing.

In Greek there is a special kind of knowledge called Nous. This is the knowledge of the gods as numinous.

But according to Islam there is no special faculty for knowing God.

However Quran states words to the effect:

  • Everywhere you look, there is the Face of God.
  • Everything is in annihilation except the Face of God.

The god we are talking about is The God, El, Yhwh, Allah. who claims:

There is no god, only Allah.

God as such has two standings.

One is Sifat, his attributes which conform to the 99 names. Where 99 is an indicator of limitlessness by convention. Example God is al-Ahad (One, as in Unique) and al-Samad (self-sufficent).

Iklas (sincerity) the Sura says words to the effect:

Say He: Allahu Ahad (One)
Allahu Samad (self-sufficient)
He did not beget anyone,
nor did anyone begit Him,
And no one is equal to Him.

The other is Dhat which is the inner coherence of the Sifat which is what is generally called the Godhead which is unknowable.

However, Sifat is associated with meaning and Dhat with the Sensory. (cf Meaning of Man Sidi Ali al-Jamal).

This brings us back to nous which has both the comprehension of the ineffable and the sensory as given as part of its range of meanings.

Thus although there is no faculty by which we know God, we can still say that perhaps there is knowledge of God which is like nous which is both a knowledge of the sensory and also a comprehension of the numinous.

By the way the Dhat is associated with the HE (male third person pronoun associated used by God of himself). This is also a convention associated with the dignity of the male in ancient near eastern societies, but actually has nothing to do with gender. The word Dhat is actually feminine, and is considered a grammatical error. So Dhat has a transgressive quality. Generally it is considered s the “essence” that relates all the attributes to each other which is beyond our comprehension.

It is said failure of knowledge IS Knowledge when it comes to God.

God said in the bible, take no other gods before me and make no idols. So any visualization of God is a breaking of this covenant. There is no representation of God.

However, God may give signs of Himself like the burning bush at Tuba.

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Quora answer: What do we know about the pagan Semitic god, Ilah or Elohim?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

The semitic monotheistic god originally was EL. Seen as the old father in the Ugarit pantheon being replaced by Baal. Studies I have read say that the Semitic God was originally monotheistic but then was incorporated as the head of a family pantheon later in Canaanite religion. El also appears as Elohim in the Bible.  Baal is seen as the ultimate demon in the bible, the representative of paganism. There were images of El in Ugaritic worship which have survived.

So we know that both Mesopotamia and Egypt were first polytheistic. Later in Egypt there developed the idea of the trinity Ra, Aten (related to atom and Atum), and Amun being the three faces of this ultimate God. This is more ore less like Hinduism that recognizes Brahman as beyond the trinity of Shiva, Brahma and Visnu. This is more or less on the same template as Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu (Ahriman) where Zurvan is the abstract parent of the two warring brothers. Zurvan is an artificial after the fact abstract construct to unite the dualism of the waring twin gods. Vishnu was a Nondual manifestation of the God Head as a person to unite the gods of the north Brahma and south Shiva. So these are two examples of late syntheses.

In the case of Ra, Aten and Amun we have a more sophisticated concept. Aten is the sun disk. Ra is manifestation, i.e. everything that can be seen in the world by the light of the Sun, i.e. the sun as active manifestor of the things of the world. Amun is the hidden god. My idea is that like Akhnaten took Aten as the only god, so Moses took Amun as the only god. He took the name Yhwh from the local name of God at the mountain where he encountered the vision of gods burning bush and his hearing of Gods words directly. But this was a hearkening back to the God EL who Abraham had encountered on leaving the polytheistic society of his birth in UR, the origin of Mesopotamian society.

It seems that the Semits always worshiped an original montothestic god in the deserts between Egypt and Mesopotamia, which Muslims now call Allah. Allah is considered a unique name and not “The God”, i.e., Al-ilah. There is no god “Lah” (subsequently the questioner changed his question to reflect ilah instead of Lah) historically. This is a misunderstanding. However, Allah (formal name) is The God, i.e. the only god in Muslim eyes. And it appears that this is the original El worshiped as a monotheistic god prior to pantheism. Thus it is interesting that there was an original monotheism between the two pantheisms of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Gods in Mesopotamia the orignal titans have the prefix EN, like Enki and Enlil etc. On the other hand the gods of Egypt were originally polytheistic too being all local gods that were by synchronism combined into myriad trinities the highest of which was Amun, Aten, and Ra. Greek gods are on the Uagritic/Semitic pattern rather than the egyptian pattern. The titans are the original Mesopotamian gods.The innovation of the Greeks was to give their gods human form without animal (totemic) representations, so that the gods were perfect mirrors of humans. The Olympians are there immortal archetypal mirrors of mortals that are human all to human. Totemic Egyptian Gods were distant from humans and kept within temple sanctuaries, dressed and fed by their priests. Greek Gods roamed the world freely.

Indo-Europeans the other group that influenced the Greeks had gods related to Caste as Dumezil has shown.

Greeks took the Mesopotamian Gods as the Titans, and then took the Ugritic family structure as the pattern for the Olympians. Their only concession for to the Egyptians was in having Zeus and Hera brother and sister marry in order to show that they were like the Pharaohs who were gods on earth. Totemic aspects only come in by the transformations of people and gods, and lower entities like Saytrs or Centaurs etc. But the syncretic nature of the Greek gods is that they take something from each of the precursor traditions, but then add in the isomorphy between mortals and immortals.

Thus we can see if we look closely that there are several different patterns for Gods that were on a collision course and came together in the emergent appearance of the Greek Gods which as a true innovation. All polytheism is not the same. And Polytheists do not lack a concept of The God who is behind all the manifestations of the various deities they worship, just like Aristotle and Plato talk about God beyond all the plethora of immortals in myth. The indo-European traditions has caste based gods and the idea of their deva/assura split. In the Vedas the Assuras were the elder gods and the devas were the newer gods like Indra, Vayu, etc. The Titans in the Vedic tradition are gods like Mitra and Varuna. When this pattern was brought to the Mediterranean then we could take the elder Mesopotamian gods as the Titans and take the Ugritic gods as the Olympians. Zeus is Baal. From the Hittites we get the succession myth going from Ahlu, to Uranus, to Cronos, to Zeus/Hades/Poseidon (A trinity). Of these only Poseidon is an orignal Indo-European god. Totemic spirits like the Egyptian Gods are always lesser demigods or peripheral monstrous creatures to be fought by the mortal-like immortals of Greek Myth. In Greek myth we get a perfect mirroring between the human and the transcendent gods as an emergent event, seen in their human like representations of their gods. On pottery we only know we are looking at gods because of their labels and because of their iconography of their accouterments. Ironically the more the Gods became to resemble the humans the more alien they became because they represented true transcendences of mortality in human form.

In other words totemic gods are easier for humans to relate to, as for instance they relate to animals who are other creatures on a different plane than themselves. So if we take Human and Animal characteristics and combine them to project a transcendental plane above the human, then we can relate to that plane as we do to animals. We are the animals in relation to that higher level plane of existence. So Totems are to us as we are to animals, and they take partially or wholly animal form but deified, so we get caves full of mummified cats. The mummification is the sign of the God like properties of the totem. The animal is transformed though the human to the hither plane to be worshiped. And the god is kept in an inner precinct and clothed and fed by the priests, and occasionally paraded though the city. This practice was taken up by the Greeks who build temples based on Egyptian stonework, which was then perfected by the Greeks. But the Greeks had representations that were human like sculptures as their idols rather than resorting to totemic masks as would the Egyptian priests who enacted the role of the gods in rituals. Rather the Gods were considered as invisible, but they could be projected into human form. So rather than the humans taking on the appearance of the Gods via the totems, the gods took on the appearance of humans, or sometimes animals. So the Gods transcended down, rather than being projected as the inverse of the animal plane of existence.

But from the Egyptians the Greeks also inherited the idea that beyond the gods was the Godhead. Interestingly before we could read the Hieroglyphs the Europeans scholars figured out that this must be the case and hypothesized that this Godhead beyond the Amun/Aten/Ra trinity was the source of monotheism. But rather scholars that have studied the Ugaritic materials believe that there was an original monotheism among the semites in the desert between Egypt and Sumeria, which then become degraded into a polytheism with El becoming the chairman of the board of the Ugaritic pantheon due to polytheistic influence from the surrounding cultures, especially Mesopotamia.

So from this we can see that there are different types of monotheism. There is original archaic monotheism that Islam is attempting to reinstate. Then there is also the abstraction of Polytheism, which is conceptual that posits an idealized synthesis like Zurvan beyond the multiplicity. Next there is the conceptualization of a Godhead as we can see lying behind the trinity of Shiva.Varuna.Brahma, i.e brahman, or explicitly included in the trinity in the form of Amun, which is beyond Aten and Ra as an invisible transcendental.

We see Moses, who was one of the Jews who were in Egypt at the time when the Palestinians ruled Egypt. He took the idea of Akhnaten and took Amun instead of Aten as his God, but he named it Yhwh after then name of the original monotheistic god of the Semites that came from the desert area where he had his encounter with El, the oriental monotheistic god, who properly is The God, or Allah.

Christianity unfortunately fell back into Trinitarianism with the idea of the Avatar of the Father God. Here the relation between God and man is mediated by the Angel (Holy Spirit), and eventually it became dogma that This man Jesus become Christ on his resurrection. This idea had nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus himself, which are preserved in the pre-Q Gospel of Thomas which is aligned with the view of Jesus in Quran which is considered gnostic by scholars.

Gnosticism is really influenced by Manicheaism a late heresy of Zoroastrianism that combined Buddha, Zoroaster and Jesus as procurers to Mani whose revelations are more wild than any science fiction today. Mani was given to reinterpreting previous religions in wild and wonderful ways a tradition carried on by the Gnostics. Since the Gospel of Thomas was pre-Q it becomes the closet thing we have to the actual words of Jesus, and there are no claims to be God in these as we see first in the Gospel of John.

In a way we can see christianity as the degeneration of the greek mirroring between mortals and immortals by the introduction of Avatars, and Spirits as being identical yet different in the iron triangle of the trinity. In other words making them identical destroys the mirroring. The Paulistic synthesis of Mithrism and Messanic Judiasm while ignoring the actual teachers of the founder of the religion is a very unlikely candidate for a world religion. But when we understand the nature of slavery in the roman empire and the denial of the body by Greeco-Roman philosophies, we can see Christianity as a structural inversion that celebrated the body, and embodiment. If God can have a body then it must be OK, in spite of the suffering, because God suffered too, and in fact lifted our burden by suffering for everyone thus redeeming our sins, etc. The mirroring between mortals and immortals is replaced by a mediated identity within the trinity, which is just another variation on the trinities we have already seen in action in Hinduism and Egypt, not to mention in Greece. Of all these the most sophisticated trinity is the Egyptian one, because it has Amun the invisible nature of God juxtaposed to its concrete body Aten as sun disk and Ra as manifestation of the world via light. Moses used this sophisticated idea of the invisible god to return to the semitic archaic monotheistic roots calling it Yhwh, which later Muslims called Allah. El=Yhwh=Allah. Islam rejects the trinity of Christianity that makes a man, as avatar, God. It also rejects the bible as original revelation.

All this is a complex way to say what you mean is El not Lah. Lah is just a mistake. (subsequently the questioner changed his question to reflect ilah instead of Lah)  There is no Lah as Al-Lah behind Allah. There is instead El or Elohim, who become Yhwh which much later was called Allah. The point is that these are attempts to unearth original monotheism as opposed to synthesized unities like Zurvan or Brahman. Original Archaic unity of monotheism is not an idea like Zurvan which tries to rise above diversity. Rather original unity is non-conceptual and nondual. None of the structural transformations of differentiation and articulation of multiple gods, or even an imposed idea of GOD later like in Egypt, or Greece, or Hinduism, can capture the original archaic monotheism. As soon as you say One or Many it is lost. The oneness of archaic monotheism comes from the amorphousness of differentiation not having yet arisen. No thought of two or many has arisen, so we don’t have to reimpose the idea of oneness as unity and totality in order to reclaim in the abstract what was lost in the archetypal oneness of the undifferentiated God worshiped when there was only one possible God.

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Quora answer: What are the best koans?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

The best koans are those that give us direct insight into SupraRational wisdom. There are two limits to the Divided line of Plato. One is Contradiction, Paradox & absurdity which are differentiated into levels of striation of the intensity of illogicality. And then there is the single limit of the supra-rational which is unstriated. SupraRatonality is wisdom about the non-dual nature of existence. Basically all the exquisite Koans point to this non-conceptual non-experiential condition based on the interpenetration of all things which is possible due to their emptiness. The sublime Koans are those that take you directly to this state with the proper preparation as a transmission from mind to mine of enlightenment. The precious Koans are those that occur naturally, are not fabricated, are not elaborated, but arise of themselves from the context in which the transmission is made between enlightened beings (one knowing the nature of enlightenment and the other ignorant of it, until the indication is made, and recognized, and embodied utterly. These Koans are sui generis events of the happening of enlightenment as transmission. They are not thought up, and they have no interpretation. They merely exist, nonconceptually, nonexperientially, and unconfined by the limits of language. They are indicators within the total context of the enlightenment situation pointing directly at the suprarational nature of our existence as human beings within the context of interpenetration of everything with everything else based on the differences between things.

The gateless gate describes them perfectly, because they are indications that there is no gate. They are not a gate, but the recognition of this limit of experience and reason which is impossible to transgress called nonduality. Nonduality meaning Not One! Not Two! Not Many! but something else outside of the combinatorics of our logical possibilities as defined by the tetralemma. But because the tetralemma with its logical connectives are themselves empty, the tetralemma itself exemplifies this emptiness via the discontinuities between AND, OR, NAND, and NOR. Nonduality is an impasse. And the good Koans point out that Impasse. The better Koans ARE that Impasse. The best Koans show you that you are that impasse. In other words the truth of enlightenment is that there is no enlightenment other than ordinary mind which is already enlightened utterly. Koans facilitate that natural state of perfection to surface naturally within the total context of he transmission situation. The impeccable Koan is the one that is a gesture of recognition of the embodiment of enlightenment not in the self (because there is no self) but of the total aggregate that is entwined by dependent origination. As such nothing arises and nothing ceases. There is only the adamantine state of utter emptiness of all phenomena. And it through the Koan that we express our comprehension of that spontaneously as a rare event of realization, which is the manifestation of enlightenment in all sentient creatures including ourselves. The Bodhisattva includes himself last. But because of that he becomes the leader pointing the way to the pristine state of things just as they are.

The perfect Koan expresses our insight into the fact that enlightenment itself is a ruse. There is no enlightenment, and it is the realization of that which gives us enlightenment. That is if we devote every shred of ourselves to the pursuit of enlightenment, then when we realize that it is something non-existent to be we are brought to an impasse where we realize the nihilistic nature of our worldview, that we embody that nihilism, and by pursuing enlightenment we have so identified with the path of the bodhisattva that when we realize it was a ruse we played on ourselves, the self like a ship sinks in the sea of wisdom (prajna). That is why emptiness is in fact empty. but the emptiness of emptiness takes us back to the beginning to see ourselves and the world anew, as interpenetrating empty existences that are non-dual and supra-rational from the beginning. That never changed, and never will change even though existence itself is in flux of aggregates dependently arising throughout our experience. The magnificent Koans are those that speak to us across time and take us into the situation of transmission, and by that we ourselves become part of that transmission, and we gain wisdom via the embodiment of the supranational in our language as an indicator of our inner insight and realization of the nature of all things including ourselves.

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Quora answer: Does the veil of ignorance address the problem of the tyranny of the majority?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Such ideas as the “Veil of Ignorance” as a way of approaching the definition of Justice are Analytic tricks, merely hypotheticals in this case used to redefine Justice as Fairness.

The nature of Justice is the key question in Plato’s Republic and is related to virtue:

The virtues for Plato are

  • Courage
  • Temperance
  • Justice
  • Wisdom

See Stanford Philosophy Encyclopedia at

Although the idea of social justice based in a social contract is mentioned in Plato’s Republic and was known even earlier, the Republic‘s conception of individual justice is distinctively virtue ethical. To be sure, Plato understands individual justice on analogy with justice “writ large” in the state, but he views the state, or republic, as a kind of organism or beehive, and the justice of individuals is not thought of as primarily involving conformity to just institutions and laws. Rather, the just individual is someone whose soul is guided by a vision of the Good, someone in whom reason governs passion and ambition through such a vision. When, but only when, this is the case, is the soul harmonious, strong, beautiful, and healthy, and individual justice precisely consists in such a state of the soul. Actions are then just if they sustain or are consonant with such harmony.

Such a conception of individual justice is virtue ethical because it ties justice (acting justly) to an internal state of the person rather than to (adherence to) social norms or to good consequences; but Plato’s view is also quite radical because it at least initially leaves it an open question whether the just individual refrains from such socially proscribed actions as lying, killing, and stealing. Plato eventually seeks to show that someone with a healthy, harmonious soul wouldn’t lie, kill, or steal, but most commentators consider his argument to that effect to be highly deficient.

Aristotle is generally regarded as a virtue ethicist par excellence, but his account of justice as a virtue is less purely virtue ethical than Plato’s because it anchors individual justice in situational factors that are largely external to the just individual. Situations and communities are just, according to Aristotle, when individuals receive benefits according to their merits, or virtue: those most virtuous should receive more of whatever goods society is in a position to distribute (exemptions from various burdens or evils counting as goods). This is what we would today call a desert-based conception of social justice; and Aristotle treats the virtue of individual justice as a matter of being disposed to properly respect and promote just social arrangements. An individual who seeks more than her fair share of various goods has the vice of greediness (pleonexia), and a just individual is one who has rational insight into her own merits in various situations and who habitually (and without having to make heroic efforts to control contrary impulses) takes no more than what she merits, no more than her fair share of good things. Since Aristotle treats all individual virtues as (learned dispositions) lying in a mean between extremes (courage, e. g., is between cowardice and foolhardiness), he also doesn’t think it is virtuous to take less than one’s fair share of things (though the issue is somewhat complicated for him).

However (and as William Frankena once noted), this account of justice seems circular or ungrounded, because if one’s fair share depends on how virtuous one is, the issue of what one’s fair share is cannot be decided independently of whether one is being virtuous in actually taking some particular share and the latter issue, in turn, depends for Aristotle on one’s being able to know independently what one’s fair share is. We have reason to doubt, therefore, whether Aristotle has really given us a determinate conception of justice either as an individual or as a situational virtue.

Both Plato and Aristotle were rationalists as regards both human knowledge and moral reasons, and what they say about the virtue of justice clearly reflects the commitment to rationalism. Much subsequent thinking about justice (especially in the Middle Ages) was influenced by Plato and Aristotle and likewise emphasized the role of reason both in perceiving what is just and in allowing us to act justly rather than give in to contrary impulses or desires. But to the extent Christian writers allied themselves with Plato and Aristotle, they were downplaying another central element in Christian thought and morality, the emphasis on agapic love. Such love seems to be a matter of motivationally active feeling rather than of being rational, and some writers on morality (eventually) allowed this side of Christianity to have a major influence on what they had to say about virtue.

The “veil of Ignorance” is an attempt to take out of play the connection of justice to the individual.

Nietzsche transforms the idea of virtues into values. And he then asks the question about the value of values, and comes up with the answer that Life must be the ultimate value generator, so that what ever continues to make life viable has value. And values have value only to the extent that they support life. Nietzsche was critical of Socrates and his view of human centered morality being the basis of all philosophy., See also

The confrontation of Nietzsche with Socratic Philosophy and his ambivalence toward it, I suggest, tells us more about justice, than these hypothetical arguments of analytical philosophy such as those of Rawls concerning the Veil of Ignorance.

Personally I think we have to go back and look at all four virtues together not just Justice.

What we notice is that what Temperance is to the individual Justice is to the city.

The individual first of all has to have courage, that is the Lion by which the Soul of the Individual is kept from being destroyed by the Hydra, and it is what allows the Humanity of the soul per se to emerge. See Plato’s Theory of the Tripartite nature of the Soul.’s_tripartite_theory_of_soul
See also

So from Plato’s point of view what prevents justice from being the state of things is the Appetite Soul or the Hydra, and this is controlled by the Lion of courage based on the right use of Anger, and this allows Reason as the Human face of the human-being to appear and that appearance in the individual is seen as the virtue of Temperance, and it is seen in Society as the virtue of Justice. And it is only on the basis of the general temperance counseled by Apollo that Wisdom, i.e. the “know thyself” can flourish.

So Justice as a concept has a context in relation to the other virtues. However, if we ask What is Justice dialectically then we are drawn into trying to understand the nonduals as the kerenel of the Western worldview which are:

  • Order
  • Right = Rta = Arte = Cosmic Harmony
  • Good
  • Fate
  • Sources
  • Root

Justice in indo-european society is Dharma, in other words it depends on one’s caste. What is just for one caste is unjust for another caste. cf Dumazil. nb Mahabharata.

Like Beauty, Justice is a way to understand the nonduals at the kernel of the Western worldview.

Beauty is the archetype that leads us to the Good, the source of variety generated by the source of the archetype.

Justice on the other hand is an idea. As we say “Justice for all”

But just like the Good is different for everyone, it was understood in Indo-European society that Justice depends on Caste.

So in a sense this goes against the Veil of Ignorance argument. In an Indo-european context to know the caste was to know the basis of judgement so there was not a complete veil of ignorance, but a partial one.

Justice as we understand it is based on Law, and Law conforms to the caste structure of the Indo-european society, with different laws for the various castes, see the Laws of Manu
So the first condition of Justice is Order within society based on Law. Laws are explicitly stated rules of conduct with associated punishments for transgression. Plato is attempting to establish those laws in the Republic and the Laws (nomos).

But real justice as we know from the case of Solomon recognizes differences, and thus takes into account the difference generation of the Good, which goes beyond just the differences of caste and takes into account the individual differences, so this is what we call the difference between the letter and spirit of the law. Solomon recognizes the mother, and thus is just by his discrimination of differences among claimants.

But Justice in an Indo-European context must also recognize fate, and how we dree our wyrd within existence. Justice pronounces fate in its legal judgments against individuals and determines fate by the punishments it meets out. And we expect those punishments to be “meet” or fitting distributing fates fairly without regard to the position of the person in Society. These punishments infringe on our Liberty, and so Justice is a condition for Liberty. And so this is why the image of Justice is always blindfolded and carrying a scale in one hand and a sword in the other.

But beyond the distribution of fates generally based on the determination of Guilt, there is also the Sources from which justice springs.

In Athens there were five law courts — differing based on the crimes. And to the sources of justice was varied, and not just a single source. The first justice was that of Drako, but then later came the laws of Solon which attempted to unify the laws, but that obscures the source of justice in the various law courts.

And of course it was mythically Apollo and Athena that established the first law courts by placating the Furies who were terrorizing Orestes. In that judgement by Apollo that Athena acceded to Women were made mere receptacles (Chora) of the seed of men, and thus the claims of Clytemnestra were not upheld by the court.

So the root of Justice comes from Revenge, Vengeance, Vigilantism, Tribal Justice etc which is brought under control by the establishment of law courts, in the case of Athens based on the crime and who committed the crime.

So in a sense the whole phenomena of Justice comes from the struggle to replace tribalism by the polis, and sovereignty with democracy within the city as it was played out in Athens.

So Justice is a complex concept that we need to understand within its historical, philosophical, and mythic context. When we do that we understand why Plato focuses on it in the Republic (the journey of Socrates into Hell on Earth, the kakatopia, cf Sallis Being and Logos). The contrast with this Hell on Earth is the city of the Laws which is inland and not plagued by the new things, like new goddesses, that come from the Sea. Justice is a way to know the non-duals that are at the kernel of the Western worldview beyond the core of nihilism production that plagues us, and causes us to be unjust because our reason is obscured by sophistical arguments of the Lawyers (or the citizens trained in argumentation and persuasion by the Sophists) and when that is combined with the hydra of the appetites, and the ties to clan and family rather than city, then we are not only unjust to each other but to ourselves.

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Quora answer: How do followers of Nietzsche’s philosophy describe the basic/core tenets of his philosophy?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Nietzsche’s philosophy is quite complex but aphoristic and so easy to absorb in small chunks, each of which seems fairly independent of the others  (as if Non sequiturs)  yet also intricately connected. No summary or commentary really can do it justice. But there are many great philosophers who have done their best like the multi-volume Heidegger study, or Deleuze’s book on Nietzsche and Philosophy and many others. To entertain producing a bullet list such as:

  • Eternal Return
  • Will to Power

This really does not convey anything worthwhile, and the reason is that Nietzsche alone of the philosophers roots his entire philosophy in metaphors. And so the real essence of his philosophy is to think through the implications of these metaphors. For instance:

  • Truth is a Woman

If we listen to Nietzsche himself he said his greatest discovery was the Value of values. He was the first to ask whether Value had any value of its own. And his ultimate answer was that the Values had values to the extent that they promoted the viability of life. Even very negative and seemingly crazy values like those of Christianity could be seen as having some value in this regard, even if it promoted life in a very backhanded way by denying it.

So rather than reading my summary, or anyone else, I suggest you get one of his books like Twilight of the Idols for instance and read an aphorism, the think about it, then read another one, and then think about it, etc until you have absorbed the whole book. Then move on to the next one until you have read everything, and then it is time to circle back around and read the first one again, one aphorism at a time, looking for the metaphors and pondering them. Basically Nietzsche reverses everyone else. Where Schopenhauer is depressed about the human condition, Nietzsche is delighted. When Hegel says that only slaves can have self-consciousness, he sets out to define a morality and self-consciousness for the nobles. Where Wagner breaks down and Christianizes his Ring Saga Nietzsche hold true to Indo-European roots. Where everyone venerates Socrates, Nietzsche says that philosophy was the worst disaster for mankind and goes back to the Pre-Socratics as his idea of what a philosopher should be thinking about. And we only have fragments from the Pre-Socratics so he produces Aphorisms that could be fragments of philosophy. Where everyone else thinks the Western domination of the world is bringing civilization to savages, Nietzsche sees the deeper barbarism of the Europeans. He identifies the basic sickness of the Western Worldview as Nihilism. He goes deep, and then is dissatisfied and goes deeper still. And when that is not enough he dives into the core of the worldview and looks what Conrad calls the Terror of it in the face, and then he takes it on, all of it, and claims that it is his ownmost possibility. He knows that deep down he is the blond beast. And that is why he must make way for the ubermen, who will come after the last men who stand blinking . . . blinking. We now know that they are blinking because they are surrounded by screens, screens of useless data and infomercials everywhere. In the midst of that deep darkness he finds hope, and so he wrote Zarathustra who descends from the mountain where he had his eagle and snake for companions. He descends to tell us about the Uberman as a possibility which is our ownmost possibility in the midst of the Abyss that is the Western tradition. We cannot be the ubermen but we can make way for them. They are close to the earth. They do not corrupt everything they touch. They are not destroyed by us but are impervious to our disease of nihilism. Each part of Thus Spake Zarathustra is worth thinking about carefully.

For instance, there is the place where he is climbing the mountain, and reaches a point where the mountain comes into manifestation as he puts down his foot for the next step (it comes to meet his foot), but then he finds a way to the Headland Above the World which is the transcendentals, at which he climbs onto and over his own head. But then he comes down and goes to the Sea, and talks to the sea about all its terrible memories, all the wrongs lost in oblivion, that everyone thought that they could cover up, but actually they never go away, but are lodged forever in the sea that moans with its burdens. Just considering these nihilistic opposites is enough to serve as food for thought for some time for all of us. Or for instance the tale at the beginning of the tight rope walker who falls, because the uberman jumps over him on the tightrope, and then Zarathustra has to carry his corpse. We are that corpse. We have lost the Feorh.

Conversing with the Philosopher yourself is always better than the summaries of others. The only thing better than that is being the Philosopher who you are yourself.

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Quora answer: What are some of the best images of god?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Supreme Being in Time Bandits

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Quora answer: Is this board OK?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

In my opinion no. Ridicule for the sake of it should not be allowed. Each person should determine what they think of the people who are being singled out for ridicule. Although, what is happening here is not what I recently complained about with regard to my work being misused on a board. I am going through and marking everything not for reproduction in order to avoid this misuse, and I recommend that everyone who does not want their work misused on boards like these mark their answers not for reproduction, which is an unfortunate side effect of not controlling boards. However, it has been pointed out to me that you do not lose access to your work which is posted to these board so you can change the actual posts, or you can delete the original content. And I think that is what will happen, if people are ridiculed like this they will withdraw their material from quora, and it will case them not to participate, and it will cause them to mark their work not for reproduction, all side effects that are not good, and which are due to the poor design of quora, and the fact that those who control that design really have little idea what they are actually doing. Everything is just a shot in the dark it seems with no idea that this is an ecosystem and that there are many indirect ramifications to every design decision, especially poor ones that make board like this possible within the ecosystem. It is really a form of censorship carried on by one member against other members, it can be seen as  form of bullying, it is just like everyone here is still in highschool where there are outcasts. See ODD GIRL OUT. This sort of peer bullying should not be allowed, and if allowed should not be indulged in, and it in fact points to a character flaw in the person who set up the board in the first place who gets joy out of pointing out the weakness of others. The whole experience here on quora is degenerating, and this is just another good example of that. Welcome to Quora Highschool. You are either in the IN CROWD or you are an outcast, and we are going to make it painfully obvious to you which clique you belong to. Sickening if you ask me.

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Quora answer: Do institutions have an identity?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

See Cornelius Castoriadis The Imaginary Institution of Society on magma

See Sartre Critique of Dialectical Reason on the fused group

See Cannetti Crowds and Power on the pack

Identity like Presence, Reality and Truth are aspects of Being, which means that they transform as we go up the Meta-levels of Being. We can see all these meta-levels in the myth of Oedipus.

Since Institutions have Being then they must have the aspects at all the meta-levels leading right up to Ultra Being, i.e. Absolute Spirit as in Hegel.

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Quora answer: What are the differences between heuristics and metaheuristics?

Apr 08 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Meta-heuristics means the Heuristics of Heuristics, which are Heuristics for coming up with heuristics.

You cannot think of a good heuristic when you are drunk, might be an example.

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