Sunday, May 24, 2009
Should I believe in God? Does this matter? I somehow need to return to my previous ethical core in so far as the God question is concerned; the only thing is to live in a way that, God or not, you can die unashamed.
How much other Marx is there that supports my idea that a re-conceptualization of the working class is one of the fundamental problems—maybe the fundamental problem—of modern Marxist theory? Also, what exactly does Marx mean by intercourse? And is this idea of self-activity explored in detail anywhere else? And how does this relate to Nietzsche?
Are the pre-socratics simply full of bullshit, or am I unable to appreciate them due to my lack of perspective? Also, is there some radical insight about the human brain to be had from the fact that they, like modern physics, consider the universe to be composed of a single changeable thing? Maybe this is just a misreading of modern physics? From my interactions with physicists, they do seem to have a much clearer understanding that everything they do is a guess than everybody else does. . . (by “the pre-socratics” I mean Thales, and maybe Anaximander. . I have just started.) I am wary of Occam's razor. . .
What things should I value? If I can answer this from myself it will then conveniently cover the question of “which things do I value?” as well, of course. . . I can tell you which things I like, but—and this grows out of a lot of recent conversations with Greg—if you just chase what you like, what you want, you are nothing but hunger. It is only by will and consciousness that we might become more than pure figments of nature. If I behaved in a way to make the things I like generally easier to get, it would certainly look ethical, but ultimately it's just self-interest. Maybe I'm ranging towards hedonism. Maybe that's ok.
How does one place appropriate value on other people without getting screwed over by them?
There's a distinction that a lot of people will make, but few with any kind of clarity, between different kinds of pleasure. John Stewart Mill points out that people happiness is better than pig happiness, but nowhere that I'm aware of does he discuss, in detail, exactly why. What I'm even more interested in is the difference—if there is one—between the satisfaction that comes from satisfying a basic hunger (food, books, sex) and an ethical one (say. . . justice. For people who aren't you.) If you want justice more than you want food, you aren't giving anything up by devoting your life to justice. In this context is the pursuit of justice any different from hedonism?
Unrelatedly, I just have to say this; Marx is amazing. More on that later.
Anyway. . . so it's lonely in here, but not too unstable. The main thing I've been feeling for the first little bit is this tremendous sense of control over my time. . . and also a sort of faint underlaying current of terror.
What an excellent start. :)