Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dialogue with Owl #2 Death

To: Jimothy
From: Owl
“We can only know something by what it is not”
        -K. Beanhouse
This contradictory idea was espoused by the great scholar and cheeba smoker, K. Beanhouse, in his musings on Money, circa April 2011.  It exemplifies the noted thinker’s distrust of words and his skepticism towards the human mind’s ability to grasp something objectively and truthfully, in and of itself, without the ineluctable obfuscation that language and the process of thought bring to any subject.
Taking his pithy tenet as a starting point for studying death, we must first understand what is NOT death, before we can tackle the question of what is death.
The simple and quick answer is: The opposite of death is life.  End of story, right?  Not so, because as anyone who has ever suffered under the inconsolable reality of being/becoming knows, life is much more than the four letters l-i-f-e and all the preconceived notions this four letter word implies.  Indeed, the purpose of life, the reality of life, the truth, meaning and fabric of life is deep, murky and unknowable.
Say, to begin the argument, that life is consciousness; then death is lack of consciousness.  Sleep would be a temporary death, an unconsciousness that we can experience and still recover from - a fleeting experience of death that we are able to recall, partially or wholely or not at all.  True death, then, is the permanent state of unconsciousness, a sleep from which we are unable to awake.  Without ever awaking, we can never recall, and therefore it is nothing, a permanent unconsciousness.
But, life is more than consciousness.  Trees and plants, even fish and empty-eyed dogs, are alive but it would be tough to argue a sentience at the level of which I refer to when speaking of humans.  Perception, data processing, the ability to react to an external environment, these are all factors in defining consciousness, but they are as easily attributable to a mid-tech machine as they are to a “living” being.  So, it seems life is also something biological, captured in the fragile construction of cells, chemicals and organic compounds that enable life to exist and propagate.  Death, then, would be the destruction, or entropy, of this ordered organic life.  The decay of the system until the final feather falls and the system collapses, irretrievable and lost.
Consciousness and order are life.  Death is the negative of these states.
And now for a narrative interlude:
One day while I was at work in the hospital, the EMTs brought a dead man into the ER.  These days, with the technology and medicine our society possesses, death and dead are not the same thing.  A heart can be arrested,  the flow of oxygen ceased, any recognizable form of consciousness absent and the order of the mind and body rapidly crumbling to chaos.  In short, the body can be dead, but life is not completely lost.  Pump the heart artificially, apply electric stimulation to re-boot the cardiac muscles, force air artificially into the lungs and suddenly the dead is living once again.
The docs and nurses did all this and more and for a few precious minutes and, as his extremities turned blue and his body grew stiff, they kept the blood pumping to his vital organs and oxygen exchange occurring in his lungs.  In the end, the state of unconsciousness became permanent.
I stood off to the side for most of this, as I lacked the skill level to be immediately helpful, only occasionally handing someone a tube or apparatus when asked.  One of the EMTs who had been at the scene when the patient was found stood near me, searching the man’s wallet for some form of identification.  In the wallet, he found a hand-written business card which had apparently been prepared by the dying man in anticipation of exactly this situation.  Although I can’t recall exactly what it said, it read something like this:
        Do Not Resuscitate
        Do Not Intubate
        Any attempt made to revive to life the person holding this card will be met with legal action and will be sued to the fullest extent of the law.
        There was also a lawyer’s office and contact information listed.  Whether the lawyer or the address was valid I never found out.  What I do know is that this homemade disclaimer was ineffective and, contrary to its demands, every effort, including resuscitation and intubation, was used to preserve the man’s life.  I was thankful when the doctor finally called off the efforts and a time of death was declared.
        What I didn’t say earlier was the man’s age, which was somewhere in the eighties, and why he was in the ER in the first place.  He was found breathing his car’s exhaust in an empty lot in an attempt to kill himself.  He’d left a carefully lettered note resting on his expiring breast asking anyone who found him to please leave him the fuck alone and let him die.
        Death, in our society, is to be feared, fought, struggled with.  It is quite barbaric.  It is also quite stupid when your consider the inevitability of the event.  Quite stupid, yes, but simultaneously noble.

        I have failed to develop my theories on suicide here.  They may be more appropriate for another topic, but are essential, at least in part, to the understanding of death.  I personally think of suicide any number of times a day or week, but in the same way that I dream of writing a genius novel or leaving my quotidian life in search of some hermetic nirvana.  They are dreams to bring me to the other side of the anger, depression, pain and fear of life.  

To: Owl
Your last paragraph sent chills down my spine, because it is exactly how I employ the idea myself. There is an exit door at all times and I am in control of whether or not I wish to pass through. I do not think life represents order, I think life is a chaos unto itself, life is the origin of chaos. Without life the universe remains balanced(although it will balance itself against the human life's decadence eventually). But it is possible to destroy our earth with our technology it is possible to use chaos to destroy the order of earth, this makes me believe that life is chaotic rather than orderly.
Order lies with the knowledge of death. The only real finish line, from which stems all our understandings of morality. Suicide seems like such a crude word and euthanasia sounds too euphemistic, but employment of the option of death is a powerful tool for thrusting oneself back in to life, as I think your last paragraph agrees. I will go back to my point on morality.
I did a little research in my health/insurance class on DNRs. For the most part they don't work there are multiple situations where people were prepared way ahead of time with actual legal documents and family members with power of attorney in the room. Paramedics are required by law as they see it to do everything possible to make a person live. They cannot debate about the legality of a document when there is no turning back if the argument turns out to not merit a DNR, because the patient will be dead.
Another interesting idea I came across was in Oregon's assisted suicide program. Individuals were given a lethal pill if they applied for assisted suicide. Many of the individuals never took the pill, but the vast majority said that it comforted them. That it gave them control at that point in life where control was to be lost. Not only the control that you and I find comforting that we can always choose to take the exit if we decide to, but control over their bowels and brains. They feared a loss of dignity and wouldn't even have the strength to kill themselves. The pill gave them back power over their own destiny.

I wanted to talk a second about my morality claim. This is a quote from John Locke that was quoted in a journal I'm reading (I have the entire journal from like 2000 to 2010, and i'm only at like 2002 or something, its called "Theory and Event"). Locke as the classical liberal(not the "liberal" that o'reilly/limbaugh rail against, but the liberalism of the US constitution[checks/balances] combined with free market economics[economic liberalism]). So Locke is all about toleration. Hes like we should tolerate everything and that way the government can decide what we can and cant tolerate. Obviously hes facing a world divided by religions and nationality(wars) and he believes that trade can reduce wars.
But there is one exception in the population that cannot be tolerated: "those are not to be tolerated who deny the being of God." "Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all."

In our discussion of money the idea taken for granted in Star Trek TNG is that “plenty” pervades rather than “scarcity”. And humans seek to do, simply because they desire to, not because they need to earn their next meal or find antibiotics for their kid. The morality of TNG seems atheist. Unlike the explorers from history who sought to spread Christianity and proto-capitalism, star trek explorers only seek knowledge and friendship. This may be a little too utopian, I think that there are evil things in all humans. Not that humans are basically good or evil, such a decision no matter what side it came down on would only justify evil. What makes humans good is the possibility of death, but death and its smaller degree variant "pain" are also the condition for evil. The times when humans are most noble and "good" are times of sacrifice. When individuals submit themselves to pain or death in order for another to live or be safe. Christianity is based around this archetype of nobility and self-sacrifice. Death seems to be almost a boon, not almost, it is. Without death there would be no possibility for good. There could be no evil, nobody could steal someone's meal or drive them out of their home if they need neither home nor meal.
I may be simplistic in this way but two ideas that I think are somewhat opposites that are interesting are "jouissance" and "schadenfreude". You know a little French. My font just changed cause I copy pasted that word, weak. jouissance is like a passing joy and schadenfreude is german for deriving joy from someone else's suffering. I feel like such a utopian, but I think that death opens the possibility of good. And therefore the possibility of reducing the degrees of unfreedom any individual or group faces. Death is the possibility for justice(never a pure justice, only steps towards a pure justice by reducing degrees of injustice, that can never fully attain "Justice" with a capital J). Without scarcity and without fear of death humans could live for the jouissance of knowledge and friendship like Picard's bad ass, instead of today's scarcity producing pervasive desire for schadenfreude.

So specifically, death for me is the possibility of morality, because I do not believe that if there is a God we can understand its laws. So effectively even if there is a God, we must function as atheists, because to believe we could understand a God's will is tantamount to proclaiming yourself a God. These individuals argue that there isn't death, that death is only a threshold to the next world, so many and so passionate, LIKE THEY'VE SEEN WHAT LIES BEYOND! I think Locke is stating the exact opposite of truth. Atheists are the only individuals with a possibility of acting (not morally) against immorality, because they accept death. People who believe in an after-life cannot possibly comprehend the value of life and therefore cannot work to protect it on earth. Suffering for many is expiation of sin, how can such an outlook lend itself to fighting immorality.

I think the main problem with my theory is that human morality being based on self-sacrifice and suffering for others(love), then where does that leave us after the sacrifice. After pontus pilate(is that right lol?) stabs a sacrifice, and we all perceive the action as immoral and the action of the sacrificed as moral.  Where does that leave us next time? If self-sacrifice is moral and violence immoral, it leaves us in a self-fulfilling prophecy where those who wish to do good are killed by the evil. Is this how life is until the end of time? What I'm trying to get at without doing it, is why can't the people kill pontus pilate? To make sure he doesn't do it again? Obviously because “this is violence” is the answer, but what if he does it again and again. When can you use violence to stop violence? Or does that violence beget more violence? If we know death is not to be feared(as Atheists do) should we offer ourselves as sacrifices to protect the weak or should we offer ourselves as soldiers who fight evil?

To: Owl
From: JImothy
Two more ideas that I could wait until your response to introduce in to the conversation, but I think they're too cool too wait.
First of all I have to submit the subject to my three points of analysis which you kind of broke in to. "1. Locate the contradictory notion within the text of an idea that relies on a metaphysics of presence.
2. Examine how the idea "became" through a genealogical analysis of history (as we are all always in a process of becoming, never human being only human "becoming")
3. Examine how the word "became" through etymology"

1.I don't know if death necessarily relies on a metaphysics of presence. I suppose the argument would be "how do you know you're alive?" DeCartes "cogito ergo sum" doesn't work, thinking does not prove existence how do we not know a rock or tree thinks? So the metaphysics of presence that we rely on to understand death would be we ASSUME we are alive. lol Hard not to.
2.Number two is always too complicated, need shit tons of research. Death is something that was not socially constructed though, death is a cessation of life. When people no longer respirate and shit, they no longer exchange discourse with others: they are dead. But If we only really know death through the fact that the individual who is dead is removed from the interaction of humans, then death falls upon many political, ethnic, religious, etc. minorities WHILE THEY ARE STILL ALIVE! I suppose a genealogical understanding of death would look at the rituals that surround death and where they came from. One example that comes to mind is from the book "the myths of babylonia and assyria" by donald mackenzie. He talks about how assyria went through multiple periods where priests became too powerful and there were "revolutions". The priests controlled the death ritual and therefore controlled who got in to heaven, elysian fields, etc. whatever. So when they started charging more and more so the priests could do more blow and hookers(or the equivalent back then) people rose up. The taboo on killing priests or overpowering priests was broken by the threat of no afterlife...So in order to protect one part of their belief structure they violated another...
3. The word structure I'm not too interested in. I mean we both apparently know the greek word "thanatos" but I don't see its etymology in other words off the top of my head.

Ok the two ideas I wanted to talk about.
First is Zoe vs. bios (on the topic of greek words lol). These are from Giorgio Agamben's "State of Exception" in which he divides the world in to two types of life. His book explains that the exception of sovereignty is the norm, so the state is just choosing to let us live every day. In effect every state/government/territory is just one big concentration camp in which we are allowed to live at the whim of the sovereign. I couldn't find it in the book in my hand but found it on wikipedia: "bios(citizen) and zoe(homo sacer)"   Essentially there are two types of life. There is the life of bios which is the citizen who participates in the state who has a political life(for lack of a better description). Zoe is the bare fact of existence, a respirating and shitting body. This type of life he shows is how the modern state treats its members as homo sacer (sacred human, before the word sacred meant what it means today). Homo Sacer in old timey days was able to be murdered legally, but not used in any type of sacrifice to the gods. Agamben says that the future holds a paradigm of universal Zoes or bare life.

THe second is Derrida's book "The gift of death" which I haven't read yet. But I believe it talks about mourning and how mourning shows whats best in humans. The book looks fucking incredible its sitting right in front of me, i'll let you know.

more later.
lookin forward to ur response

To: Jimothy
From: Owl
A quick note before I re-enter the discussion: I recently (about two or three months ago) attempted to increase my reading speed by following one of those speed reading books.  It had a bunch of interesting skills that could be developed into a faster WPM, but I lost interest in the exercises and eventually had to return the book to the library.  In light of our discussions, and the gaping hole left by too little research, I am contemplating giving it a go once more.  END OF NOTE.

Now, I think that life is exactly what you claim.  To believe, or assume, that you are alive, or more to the point, to have the ability to believe or assume you are alive is the essence of life.  It is the conscious awareness of life, and thus the realization that this life will end in death, that defines life.  I forget where I read this example, some eastern-based philosophical tract or another, which talked about living in the moment.  It used a fish as an example of immortality.  A fish, as the common thinking goes, cannot remember more than a second of its life.  Every moment is full of stimuli and sensation which pushes any and all earlier experiences out of the mind.  So, without a past nor the ability to project the future, a fish just "is" until the day that it isn't.

To: Jimothy
From: Owl
Sorry...didn't mean to send that out.  I pressed a few wrong buttons in quick succession and all of a sudden I had unwillingly sent off that half-finished email.

Anyway, to continue...

A fish cannot comprehend death and in this way it never dies.  It lives forever, infinite moment after infinite moment, until these moments cease.

This direction of thought brings me to another of my half-baked ideas that I pretend to live by, yet, simultaneously and contradictorily, haven't been able to fully develop into any real philosophy or values for daily living.  The idea is that, at death, the world ends.  Whatever we discuss, all we understand and fail to understand, depends on our existence and without the self to interpret it all, then all of it truly doesn't exist.  So, either death is the end of the universe, or at the very least, death is the end of MY universe, which is the same thing for ME.

Life is so intrinsic on our ability to think that death as a personal and subjective phenomena cannot exist.  We are unable to experience, think, or reflect on the death because it is this absence of these abilities that defines death.  It is therefore impossible to comprehend death, it being beyond what is essentially and foundationally life.

Oh, man, I feel like I have a word on the tip of my tongue but I cannot quite express it.  This idea of individual life and the entire universe as being connected at the basic and fundamental level is so appealing to me. And, yet, I know it to be untrue.  I know my parents lived before I ever was, and I know the world, its ills and loves, will continue after me.  But, there is no other way to see it: when I am gone, so will be the world.

To change streams...I want to argue about order and chaos.  I adamantly believe that life is order, death chaos.  I said:

So, it seems life is also something biological, captured in the fragile construction of cells, chemicals and organic compounds that enable life to exist and propagate.  Death, then, would be the destruction, or entropy, of this ordered organic life.

You said:

Without life the universe remains balanced(although it will balance itself against the human life's decadence eventually). But it is possible to destroy our earth with our technology it is possible to use chaos to destroy the order of earth, this makes me believe that life is chaotic rather than orderly.

First of all, I want to define some terms.  When I spoke of entropy, I used it in the colloquial sense of the word, that is: a movement towards disorder.  There is another meaning for this word, which is more scientific and used, mainly by physicists, to describe a specific state of matter.  In this more technical term, entropy is the complexity of a given system, or the number of possible combinations its individual pieces could form.  Entropy, then, is discussed in terms of how much entropy a given system possesses.  A single particle has little entropy because there are not many distinct ways this state could be different.  A human body, with its trillions of cells and big-ass-number of atoms has an incredibly high entropy, the universe as a whole has mind-boggling entropy.  The other part of this technical definition is that, in nature, everything always attempts to even out.  For example, when you let fall of drop of dye into a glass of water, the tiny drop quickly diffuses and soon the whole glass is a similar light pink.  This happens naturally.  To hold back this tendency towards conformity takes energy.  The human body is built cell by cell in near-perfect order, gaining entropy as it gains order.  Vast amounts of energy are needed to maintain this order and keep the carbons and hydrogens from dispersing and evening themselves out.  So in this view, buildings are unnatural.  But so are trees and rivers, even planets and solar systems.  Something, call it energy, is holding all of this together in a vast and pervasive order.  Now, I have mixed to levels of understanding which you distinguished between, but which I think are bound together.  Those being "nature" and "manmade"  But, what I have argued, is that "manmade" and our terrestrial or solar systemic "nature" are both unnatural in a broader sense and that their unnatural order is a result of  energy.  Moving back to life and death, in life there is that inexplicable movement towards order, death, lack of energy, chaos, are all a move towards that natural state of complete equilibrium, where each and every particle in the universe is evenly spread across the infinite reaches of space.  FUCK, I AM OUT OF TIME ON THE COMPUTER AND HOVE THOROUGHLY CONFUSED MYSELF.  'Till next time.

To: Owl
From: Jimothy
Ok, I need to make a quick response/clarification. It is a silly assumption of binary opposition between man and nature that has been disproved on so many levels that clouds the ground I stand on in this argument. I opposed man and nature and made the universe synonymous with human. Man and nature are one and the same intimately imbricated in their Heidegerran "worldliness". I can see clear faults in my argument, as there are exceptions, but I think that life more closely represents chaos than order. I think the entropy which is evident in my three cleavages of the cosmos: man, nature, universe (which are delineations that only cloud the point) is the evidence of chaos. Entropy to me is chaotic, whereas ZERO is order. In fact lets not call it the cosmos, lets call it the "big bang". To me the big bang was not an event, it is a noun. It is our cosmos, it was an event in which the huge balloon which is our cosmos was created(I won't say from nothing, because outside the big bang is a nothing much more profound than the word nothing can convey). Within the big bang nature and life are possibilities. Eventually though the Big Bang will either become so large the fabric of reality will simply tear or it will reach an apex and collapse back in on itself. Maybe to reopen again some time(does time exist outside the big bang?) in the future(does the future exist there? can "there" denote an area outside the big bang?). The point being eventually man, nature, and the universe will end. There will eventually be zero. The big bang's current iteration (if there has been or will be any others) will eventually achieve order by not existing...I didn't make any sense.

I think that your statement "The idea is that, at death, the world ends." is the antithesis of morality. It is solipsism, the closest approximation of opposite to the idea of empathy. I would advise you to reject this axiom in favor of what you were saying earlier which in philosophy is called immanence.
This is the definition but its not 100% accurate I think.
/ˈɪməənt/ Spelled[im-uh-nuh] 
remaining within; indwelling; inherent.
Philosophy . (of a mental act) taking place within the mind of the subject and having no effect outside of it. Compare transeunt.
Theology . (of the Deity) indwelling the universe, time, etc. Compare transcendent ( def. 3 ) .

1525–35;  < Late Latin immanent-  (stem of immanēns ), present participle of immanēre  to stay in, equivalent to im- im-1  + man ( ēre ) to stay + -ent- -ent; see remain

First of all it is not imminent, which is what people tell me is what I mean when I say it, because its a pretty obscure word. The first definition makes it seem like a synonym of intrinsic which literarily(lol thats not a word) makes sense, but philosophically does not. The second definition is complete bullshit and makes it seem like a synonym to what i was trying to provide an alternative for! solipsism! That shit is wrong. And the third definition makes it seem similar to transcendence which is exactly what it is developed in opposition to in philosophy! FUCK! ok so that definition was bad but allows me to draw a  few lines around it and I can do a   quick explanation here then I'm waiting for ur full response. This is similar to the way a fish lives as you were saying, it is somewhat post-modern and therefore resembles Zen in a few ways so may overlap with eastern ideas in that way as u mentioned. So Sartre was the recent big name in philosophy (and we'll say Thoreau/emerson). Sartre said that every individual is responsible for everything that happens in the world (in what is essentially a big interpretation of Heidegger). So morality lies in two transcendent values: universizability and reversizability (its been awhile since I researched this i'm probably spelling it wrong). Universizability is the question "if everyone else in the world took the action I'm taking would it be ok?" (simply put lol). Reversizability is the golden role "If someone else took this action (that i'm about to take) against me would it be ok?". So there are two simple UNIVERSAL and transcendent rules to live by in order to have a moral life. Thoreau and Emerson's philosophy is actually named Transcendentalism. So they are like late 1800s sartre is writing in the 40s(i think). Before this modern paradigm are the ancient equivalents. THe Kantian categorical imperative. Essentially philosophies of ethics and morality which are based on universality or transcendent values.

Immanence is developed as an alternative to transcendental/universal moralities. It is impossible for anyone to live an authentic life under Sartre (of course the whole world would die if we all lived like my fat united statesian ass) and (of course I would not be ok with being a slave making clothing and shoes, but I still buy clothes and shoes rather than go naked) and to accept responsibility for everything is tantamount to self-flagellation as Foucault said.

Here is a paradigmatic (and quite viscerally offensive) example of immanence producing a more morally defensible reaction than transcendence:

You are hired to be a chauffeur for a junior high field trip. You are traveling on a school bus full of children and 2 other adults who are sitting in front, you are in the back of the bus. At a stoplight a man boards the bus shoots both other adults, drops his weapon which is out of ammo, and proceeds to immediately start raping a child. You are dumbfounded at first but quickly realize that you are not hallucinating and remember that you have a loaded gun concealed on you and have already pulled it out instinctively. THe children are all ducking down in their seats and it is a clear shot at the man who does not notice you as he is deeply concentrated on his task. As you are about to level the gun and take the easy shot you realize that not only are you a christian, but it is illegal and immoral to kill. Having a clear universal moral compass has saved you from inauthenticity again as you holster your weapon trying to ignore the child's screams.

If the world ends when you die then others are not human like you, they are simulcra. They're GTA animations on a playstation.


To: Jimothy
From: Owl

Dear Professor Bean House,

I have been busy with work, moving, reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead, etc and those are my excuses for taking this long to respond.

Now, I must say that I like this idea of yours, this immanence, though I am still unclear what it means and what the implications of such a world view are.  As you realized yourself after you had presented the three dictionary definitions, they are not really helpful in defining what immanence means on a philosophical level.  It is good and right to define your terms using established institutions, but in much of what we discuss these established institutions are unable or unwilling to encompass what we are arguing and I would therefore deem them less than useful, in general.

However, by defining what it is not, e.g. universizability/reversizability, I began to grasp the main idea and I liked what I was hearing.  Now, if I may jump ahead and discuss your final statement: 

If the world ends when you die then others are not human like you, they are simulcra. They're GTA animations on a playstation.

This is not what I meant when I said that the world ends when I die, because what you have written implies that the world was dead the entire time I was alive and that I was never a part of an external reality.  But I was.  People were real, consequences were real.  Pain, anger, love...all of the experiences were real.  But, as a subjective being, inseparable in mind and body, when my body dies so does my mind.  I guess you could argue that under this view, I would be OK with a nuclear detonation ending life at the very moment that I died.  And I would be, as long as it was not I who brought about annihilation.  If I died at the very moment of destruction, I would never know it.  It would be the same thing if the world ends or if the world continues, for I will not longer exist.

However, this doesn't mean I am solipsistic while I am alive, because I choose not to live my life like that.  I feel empathy and I feel hate and I act according to my mish-mash of morals that I have developed over my 28+ years. The fact that my death means "That's all folks" is an inconceivable inevitability and although rationally, with words and abstract ideas I can define that event, I find it impossible to accept it as long as I am alive and thinking. Until that day arrives, I am human and aware and I must do what I feel or have been raised to believe is right/good/copacetic.

And so, we arrive again at your term: immanence.

Your final HYPOTHETIC example confused me.  Did the act of holstering one's gun because of arbitrary moral beliefs give an example of immanence.  If so, I completely disagree with the philosophy.  I believe that we are all responsible for both our actions and our lack there of, and the person who sits idly by as a child is savagely raped before his/her eyes, while simultaneously holding the clearcut ability to stop the pain, is a fiend.  But, you have wallpapered over a moment of life, albeit a very specious and impossible moment, with an abstract and useless philosophical ideal.  This misses the point.  What I am trying to get at is that, maybe, life is, on a moment to moment basis, transcendent of philosophy.  Fear, physical strength, a fleeting disposition one way or the other, would have more of an effect on how I acted than would any philosophy that I thought I possessed.  So much of what we do is beyond our philosophy, beyond even our rational decision-making mind.  It is, I think, this very fact that makes life such a funny, retarded romp.

I have some more to add about death, based on the readings I have been doing on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, but Nick is wanting to smoke a bowl and I am feeling the urge myself.  So, I will write again soon, with some of what I have gleaned from the yellowed pages of my Cambridge library edition of the Bardol Thosol.  However, I'll leave you with the main issue I am having with the whole afterlife/reincarnation/heaven/hell problem.  When we die, I know as if it were fact, that we are gone, baby, gone.  I am unable to see it any other way.  Which makes the entire book and others like it quite silly.  But, it is still fun as a discussion of human consciousness/unconsciousness and our penchant for phantasy and art in our lives.

Peace brother,

To: Owl
From: Jimothy
My mouse has been broken and I have yet to get a new one so I can't like copy paste or navigate easily. Thusly i've been putting off my reply til i get a mouse, but I have decided to spend mouse money on other things.

What I mean by philosophy being behind everything is somewhat like the unconscious. It is not a set of morals as you seem to be constructing it, that is just one school of written and studied philosophy marked by a desire for universality. Philosophy is ontology, epistemology, and ethics. There are other marginal discourses but these are the big 3. We are always deciding our being by continuing to be, thusly not dying is ontology: philosophy is behind everything. We are always deciding what we know when we act or don't act, speak or not speak etc. thusly consciousness is epistemology: philosophy is behind everything. We have a name for an emotion called guilt and it comes in a million shades and we have words for all of them, we question whether we have done right we plan for doing right in the future, thusly living is an exercise in ethics: philosophy is behind everything.

There is nothing without philosophy, even thoughts within your own head are imbricated with philosophy before they are spoken. Just because there are not names for them and scholars have not written them out, they are philosophy.

I'm down for any topic.

To: Owl
From: Jimothy

Now that I have a mouse I can quote your words. Let me just add this response to the death discussion to respond to ur points and to make a point about philosophy that can only be made in the discussion of death.
You said: “Life is so intrinsic on our ability to think that death as a personal and subjective phenomena cannot exist.  We are unable to experience, think, or reflect on the death because it is this absence of these abilities that defines death.  It is therefore impossible to comprehend death, it being beyond what is essentially and foundationally life.”
This was very well stated and sums up the “radical otherness” of death. Which is one of the points I want to make about philosophy, specifically the dialectic.

You said: “ As you realized yourself after you had presented the three dictionary definitions, they are not really helpful in defining what immanence means on a philosophical level.  It is good and right to define your terms using established institutions, but in much of what we discuss these established institutions are unable or unwilling to encompass what we are arguing and I would therefore deem them less than useful, in general.”
This statement reminded me of a thought I’ve been having A LOT recently. And when I read this paragraph the second time I misinterpreted it to think you were talking about philosophical terms rather than the dictionary definition. To which I was going to respond that all words are institutions. But dictionary definitions seem to be lacking recently when I look for meaning.

You said: “what you have written implies that the world was dead the entire time I was alive and that I was never a part of an external reality.”
I think this is a tenuous delineation though, because if there is any assumption in your brain that relies upon thinking of the world as dead after your death it would breed solipsism, even if you can’t even conclude you’ll be dead tomorrow.

As for the Tibetan Book of the Dead: it’s an allegory in my opinion. It makes death in to life in order to make it seem less alien.  It makes death a journey in which you’re tripping balls the whole time. Sounds pretty much like life: a journey where nothing makes sense but certain things seem strangely significant (love, family, art, human touch, etc).

As for the point I felt was important to make on THIS subject concerning philosophy, I speak of the dialectic. The idea that ideas, history, etc. function dialectically. With a positing or “thesis”, followed by whatever disagrees or is in opposition to the thesis known as an “antithesis”. This inevitably results in a “synthesis” or aufheben or supralation or sublimation there are a hundred translations and phonetic arrangements of the idea.
So lets take a classic political science idea of the “state of nature” Hobbes says that before the state it was a war of all against all.
Thesis: War of all against all
Antithesis: Violence/conquering. growth of the strong/domination of the weak
Synthesis: The State. This synthesis  is thusly a feature of history henceforth. It seen as a neutral and normal thing to have the weak dominated by the strong with violence.

Thusly that synthesis is a new THESIS!
Thesis: The state is the only agent of justified violence.
Antithesis: states that go too far
Synthesis: revolution of who is in control of the state apparatus.

Omg that synthesis is a new thesis!
Thesis: The state is the only agent of justified violence, because of its seizure of the state apparatus.
Antithesis: State goes too far
Synthesis: Revolution of who is in control of the state apparatus.

This is one specific examination which ignores a trillion other dialectics happening simultaneously, but it is a simple one to understand that the dialectic can explain everything because it takes TIME(as the condition for anything to be possible) in to account and it takes IDEAs(as the currency of the human mind) in to account, as well as allows for infinite iteration.
The problem with the dialectic is its so fucking radical. Things are either thesis or antithesis in every episteme. Once a paradigm shift occurs and a synthesis has become the new thesis(which can happen a billion times in a day, but not to big firmly established ideas).
Life and death are the hardest thesis/antithesis pair, because there is no ground for synthesis. But it is also the greatest way to understand how radically different thesis and antithesis are.
In my current understanding of what is effective resistance to immorality number one is to know the dialectic and instead of ever cheering for the winner, always be a dissident. If a paradigm shift occurs the new synthesis is not a victory, it is the new enemy.
Many philosophies are based on claims that certain subjects have had their dialectic play frozen and a thesis has become congealed and won’t flip over.
The dialectic is also sometimes seen as similar to the Socratic method.
I think its super helpful for understanding big ideas that go through large chunks of time. Like Marx used an ideal dialectic which claimed that capitalism will destroy itself because of surplus value.
The antithesis to this arrived in the form of marketing as Pierre Bourdieu states. Surplus value pays for more marketing in order to get us to buy the shit we don’t need. Its easier to notice changes in the dialectic if you have perspective looking farther back in history. Or maybe the antithesis was distraction/delirium as Guy DeBord writes, that we are distracted from the fissures on purpose by the media. But both agree that the next synthesis after marx’s identification of surplus value as the internal contradiction has to do with media/marketing which are both encompassed by the phrase: mental environments
It is much harder to establish the Theses and potential synetheses of today, because of myopia and lack of historical intel to see patterns in. But the words for the current thesis pervade: episteme, paradigm, millieux, etc. It is that thing that we accept as neutral that is here because of a succession of dialectic.
Maybe Zizek is right that after capitalism created a new capitalism in order to avoid the pitfalls identified by Marx, it stumbled in to new pitfalls which DeBord and Bourdieu are best at identifying, and then created a new capitalism to overcome that, and the main thrust of this latest synthesis is based on making people experience chemical rewards for consumption. Making people feel they are altruistic for consuming, or that they are saving the environment by consuming, or that they are contributing to fair labor practices by consuming. Just look at your Starbucks cup as Zizek says or as Derrick Jensen says just look around you, look at all the unsustainable shit that is telling you that to purchase it will save the world from environmental degradation.
Ok end rambling, back to current topic.

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