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PostSubject: Need   Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:46 am

  • Life is an organizing resistance to disorganizing. It is a self-cohesion, perceiving itself as a singularity, in search for its own constancy either through a return to a larger whole {God, Perfection, Love, Source, Self} or through its absorption of the whole into its own unity thusly making the whole and the self a tautology {Dominance, Control, Power, Assimilation, Absorption Knowledge}. These represent the two opposing strategies of self-realization in man, exemplified through memetic ideals, morals and ideologies.

Universal flux is the consequence of an absence; the absence of order/perfection/stability/harmony. Life is created in this flux and so mirrors this universal disorder/imperfection/instability/disharmony in search for its conclusion. It feels this growing entropic imperfection/instability/disorder/disharmony as Need.

  • Life is defined by its resistance to death. It is the act of not dying; differentiated from it by its effort in seeking out its own being, as opposed to the effortlessness of non-being.

  • Consciousness, as a product of life, may not be aware of the totality it participates within or it may be forever condemned to be ignorant about the whole, but it is a reflection of the universe and of reality and so can sense the wholeness and know it intuitively, by becoming aware of the individual self which is a particle in a greater unity. Space/Time, therefore may not be a precise interpretation of what IS and reason might be limited and prejudiced by biological necessities, personal perspective and environmental/cultural conditions, but they represents symbolizations of actual phenomena interpreted by the mind in a comprehensible manner. Comprehension isn’t literal, it is symbolic.

  • Life is a reaction against entropic decay. An experimental/accidental unity – depending on your metaphysical perspective - struggling against temporal attrition; animated matter seeking its own completeness; order fighting disorder by becoming more efficient in the utilization of its energies and by creating a barrier between itself and the infinite chaotic unknown so that a self-contained pocket of order/stability can be attempted, protected and allowed to grow into an all encompassing healer of disease or as a connector back to its source.

  • Life’s individual expressions of incompleteness are characterized by their dependence on external resources.{External in relation to their self-contained, self-limiting, self-defining, self-aware, I} They absorb the elements, that are similar to them, which can then be used to repair the effects of entropic decay on their temporary unity and they assimilate the elements that can conclude their becoming into a final being by growing {absorbing similar elements into a larger unity} or by adapting {changing} in relation to altering environments. This “survival of the fittest” exterminates failed attempts at stability, under specific, constantly altering conditions/environments by absorbing them into stronger unities, better able to resist entropic effects and in search for a final solution.

  • Evolution is life experimenting with multiple forms in search for the most stable one under the constantly altering reality of the flux. It is the testing of individual creations. Since the flux is, presumably, unending, evolution can never attain its final end.

  • Need is life, life is need. These concepts are tautologies. Life is the state of constant needing – to be in need.

  • Need is an expression of entropic decay. It is matter {Time/Space interaction} expressing its instability and imperfection through animation. It is action caused by a void

  • Need is the expression of instability in matter. Its fundamental motive is survival/satiation/completion. It is an interpretation of the endless flow and the resistance to it.

  • There are primary needs {those with immediate connections to survival/continuance} and secondary {those with indirect connections to survival/continuance}. Primary needs are ceaseless and crucial. Secondary needs are primary needs redirected into intermediating, sublimated ones.

  • Need is constant- just like light and heat require constant fuel, life requires constant vigilance against external invasions and temporal decay and constant feeding, constant energy flow. This requirement exposes life’s rareness against the norm. Life is effort personified.

  • Satiation is a myth. Need is constant in that it expresses life’s continual struggle to resist disassociation and disorder. The myth is caused by misinterpreting the availability of a desired resource and Need's ephemeral placation, into imperceptible levels, with its complete absence. An organism is maintained by a constant flow of energy. Either by breathing, or feeding, or maintaining self-cohesion, or – in higher life forms – in the continuance of thought creating consciousness. An organism is effort necessitated by constant Need.

  • Desire/Want is the focus of Need upon a resource/object. When the Need is a primary one the focus upon the object desired is direct and uncompromising. When it is a secondary Need it is compromising and indirect.

  • In higher life forms biological sophistication has made it possible to store fuel and hydration to meet primary Needs. Through this strategy need is constantly fed resources, the focus of its unceasing desire. The primary Need’s constancy is kept at bay by providing a store of resources to draw from. The stomach and the camel’s hump are both examples of evolutionary sophistication resulting in the storage of resources within the body, as to make them readily available to Need’s constant requirements.

  • When the resource is easily and immediately available, such as in the case of air/oxygen, there is no necessity for storage – unless like in whales its survival is dependant on a prolonged, willful disconnection from the attainable resource of oxygen. The Need is placated constantly and immediately preventing it from becoming conscious unless one focuses the mind upon it, through meditation, or the immediacy of the resource is somehow blocked.

  • Lower life forms, lacking a brain, are reactionary in that they are Need reacting to resources in its environment. Higher life forms, those with a brain, can direct, plan and strategize their reactions. They can become more efficient.

  • Suffering is Need, left unsatisfied, and interpreted by the mind as extreme discomfort. It is the brain interpreting its own essence as that of animated Need/incompleteness. Pain is an aspect of it.

  • Pleasure is a negative state, in that it is an expression of the temporary unawareness of suffering. The sensation of pleasure, whether it is sudden reaching an orgasmic release, or gradual, felt as a slow mellow contentment, is the mind being freed from the awareness of its Need before a new one takes its place. To put it plainly, pleasure is the absence of the absence - A double negative resulting in a positive.

But all positive states - as they are labeled by the human mind- require effort: Heat, Order, Light, Life, and so demand energy derived from assimilating and absorbing and consuming other elements into their becoming. For this reason they are tentative, exceptions in a universe declining into dissolution, either destined to cease in a slow deterioration or to reach a limit which will reverse its direction.

  • The mind is a tool meant to facilitate the placation of Need. As such it is an arbitrator deciding which Need takes precedence, and planning, foreseeing, and anticipating Need before it reaches conscious awareness as discomfort > suffering > pain.

  • The mind either functions as an interpreter of sensual stimulations, reacting to them, in relation to them as arbitrator of Need, or it can become a more sophisticated tool, creating models of reality, becoming self-aware, and being able to project this self through the mental abstractions of reality into a possible future, by using experiential data {experience} or inherited experiential data {knowledge} to make the placation of Need more efficient.
    The mind need not experience Need as suffering to react to it but can now foresee and plan its placation {pleasure} beforehand.

  • Anticipation of pleasure is only possible for creatures with higher brain functions {imagination, abstraction}. Suffering is a motivating factor in any action, but in creatures with higher brain functions pleasure is also a motivating factor in that it urges action by promising a release from Need, even if it has not reached the level of consciousness yet. More sophisticated biological forms do not exist only in relation to their past and present, but can project themselves into a historical past – before their existence - and into their possible future – by using the imagination.

  • The mind’s purpose in life is best exemplified by how it abstracts reality using incomplete awareness so as to foresee suffering and plan for it or avoid it by feeding the Need causing it before it reaches uncomfortable levels. The mind can learn, by storing experiences into memory or by sharing experiences with other minds through communication. Therefore the creature need not burn itself by fire and simply react to suffering caused by the Need for self-cohesion, but it can foresee its own suffering and avoid it or minimize it.

  • Anticipation often heightens pleasure by imagining it before hand or by preparing the body, by heightening its energies, in preparation for it. Thusly the Need for nutrition can result in an excited preparatory stage before the hunt. Sex goes through a similar preparatory stage, where the body is prepared for the energy expenditure of the deed through anticipation, by heightening the sensual awareness of stimuli and energizing the body through excitement.

  • Sex is a secondary Need in that a creature can, theoretically , survive as a celibate being. Secondary Needs are often an amalgamation of multiple needs finding a single focus {desire}. Here we find not only the need for ejaculation {orgasm} but the need for belonging within a unity. Multiple secondary Needs are fulfilled through sexual interaction which is more than just the act of fornication. For men there is also the element of dominance and power, whereas with women the element of submission and the completion of a greater self through unity, participate in the act. Sexual need is also a secondary one due to its compromise. The entire self does not survive through this survival strategy but, due to the necessity of adaptation and also due to some limitation to cellular division, only a partial replication of the self – combining with that of another – is possible. Often an individual might participate in unities where only a dominant pair procreates, and they only act as supportive elements, sharing a percentage of the pair’s genetic self which is being replicated. This compromise makes the strategy of procreation through intercourse a more muted Need.

  • Suffering is creative, in that it forces the mind, through its attempt to avoid it and prevent it and minimize it, into ingenuity. Progress is the result of Need trying to find its final satiation. Where there is no absence, no completeness is sought. Where there is no weakness, no strength is sought. Where there is no instability no stability is sought.

  • Hedonism is only possible in environments with a surplus of resources. In other words, in environments where Need is prevented from reaching any uncomfortable level of suffering. It, inevitably results in decadence, since it is a state of inertia. Pleasure being a negative state, is also a state of inaction. The contented mind - as much as this is possible in our universe - is characterized by the placation of its interpretation of Need {Suffering}. It is lacking ambition and motive to act.

  • In essence hedonism focuses on the temporary state of liberation from the conscious awareness of Need {suffering}. It becomes addicted to the momentary release. The mind senses it as its emancipation from its resistance by surrendering to its purpose and as a momentary release of its energies from its demands.

  • In the moment of extreme pleasure the mind is rewarded for its efforts and sufferings by being, momentarily, freed from them, before a new Need refocuses its desires through suffering. This temporary state is felt as an emancipation, as a release from its boundaries of purpose. It is, in fact, the death wish {death being the state of no need} finding a focus through desire while still preserving survival. . Godliness experienced by mortal beings. To be and not be simultaneously.

  • Asceticism is reason dominating over Need, even if temporarily in relation to primary Needs, or through total denial, in relation to secondary Needs. It is the mind escaping Need, not through submitting to it, as in the case of hedonism, but by controlling and dominating it.

  • Extreme asceticism is also an inert state, in that by dominating and denying Need {partially} it becomes unmotivated by suffering and its temporary placation through pleasure.

  • Controlled asceticism is a more efficient usage of physical and mental energies, in that it chooses desires and controls Need by directing or focusing it into creative paths resulting in deeper and longer pleasure.
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PostSubject: Asceticism   Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:02 am

First Proposition

Let us consider the universe and existence from a purely human perspective.

It may be true that the labels of ‘evil/negative’ and ‘good/positive’ have no real meaning other than as a subjective interpretation of events and phenomena from an individual or communal point of view. What is ‘good’ for you may be ‘evil’ for me, and vice versa, but there are certain general ideas that we agree, as living, conscious beings with shared interests, as to their nature.

For instance most human beings will concur that darkness, cold, and death are negative forces whereas light, heat, and life are positive ones.
{Let us ignore the fact that the labels can be reversed without losing any of the meaning so that we don’t get bogged down with semantics}

Taking this shared humanistic perspective as a given and leaving behind more objective philosophical interpretations, we notice that the universe, as it relates to us, is mostly a negative place.

Darkness, cold, and death predominate as the most common state of things but also need no effort to exist; they just are. In other words, they appear to be the ‘normal’ condition of the universe in general.

Keeping this in mind we must suppose that negativity is the rule of the universe while positive forces are the exception to this rule. This because light, heat and life, as well as all other forces associated with positive ideas, require a sacrifice, a consumption and an effort to come to be and to continue being. When this effort, sacrifice and consumption ceases the universe returns to its natural, previous condition.

The universe, in essence, is a place, as perceived by human minds, where positive forces push back the negative fabric in small temporary pockets and establish a momentary equilibrium in which consciousness is made possible.

Man perceives this momentary balance of forces as order and mistakenly assumes that it is the general condition of the entire universe itself. Most go even further and suppose a dominant positive essence as the creating force of the universe, whereas in fact the opposite is more likely to be true.

In the balance of positive and negative forces and in this constant battle of ‘the positive’ to gain a foothold in a ‘negative’ universe, change becomes a fundamental part of survival and makes evolution a necessary mechanism of continued existence in a universe striving to destroy life and to return to its normal condition of lifelessness as it strives to return to darkness and cold.

From this first proposition, it is easy to conclude that life is, in fact, a constant striving and suffering caused by this pushing back of forces that seek to return to pre-existing circumstances.

As Schopenhauer put it: “Life is need and need is suffering; therefore life is suffering”
It was Schopenhauer also that defined pleasure as a negative idea, since it is merely the absence of suffering and a momentary reprieve from the natural state of consciousness.
In other words death and pleasure are synonyms.

Indeed life rewards with survival all those that have paid their dues to her in misery and action and embellishes, those of her creations, with superiority that have exerted and struggled on her behalf.

It is in this continuous fight against death that life becomes creative, adaptive and ascends to higher and more complicated constructs.
Within this interpretation of the universe lies the true spirit of asceticism and its real worth to man.

Second Proposition

Most, due to dictionary definitions and religious extremism, associate asceticism with a complete rejection of pleasure and luxury and a total denial of life itself. But I will propose a new perspective on asceticism that may prove advantageous and attractive to all seeking personal empowerment.

It is true that Buddhism and Christianity have taught an extreme level of self-denial and many other religions and philosophies advocate abstinence as a form of escapism from life’s trappings and temptations, but for me one need not become so severe in order to benefit from asceticism’s merits.

Asceticism, as I see it, is more akin to athleticism, where both strengthen an individual through pain and suffering but need only be practiced consistently, not continuously, in order to profit from them.

Both athleticism and asceticism require self-control and an exposure to unwanted and mostly undeserved pain and suffering through which a body and a mind gain strength, discipline and stamina, necessary throughout life and under all circumstances.

It isn’t a mistake to believe that misery is the sources of all mental and physical beauty given that nature denounces stagnation as death itself and imposes a constant striving and changing through the promise of pleasure.

It may be disturbing for us to acknowledge that nature abhors conformity and lethargy and so rewards struggle and exertion with superiority, that is easily distinguishable in all those exposed to physical and mental suffering and becomes most beneficial to an individual who experiences and survives adversity, but it cannot be denied.

In contrast the effects of comfort and overindulgence can also be plainly noticeable in individuals lacking any contact with suffering and effort; their intellectual naiveté and insecure, over-optimism will bear witness to their limited experiences in a dangerous and indifferent universe, just as their softness of muscle tone and inability to endure physical hardship will reveal their limited experience with physical effort and exertion.

How appropriate that the Greek word ασκησης-askisis[exercise]- is used to denote athleticism but is also the root word for asceticism which denotes a mental exercise or an exertion of the mind.

For what athleticism is for the body, asceticism is for the mind; alike but different only in the focus of their disciplines; interdependent but mutually exclusive in their areas of influence.

To better clarify the relationship between asceticism and athleticism it may be profitable to juxtapose the two.

Athleticism is the training of the body. It hardens flabbiness and denies lethargy through which a body is weakened and becomes soft and vulnerable to external forces and phenomena.

Asceticism is the training of the mind. It invokes mental discipline, focuses energies, and denies apathy and pleasure through which a mind becomes complacent and susceptible to external temptations.

Athleticism does not require a continuous exertion, even if it was possible, but through temporary strain the body becomes more efficient even at rest.
Similarly asceticism does not require continuous self-denial, but through momentary or selective resistance the mind gains discipline and resolve that become helpful even when indulging in pleasure or giving in to need.

The effects of athleticism are hard to ignore since they appear in the empirical world accessible to all, through the senses, equally; acknowledging the benefits of exercise and physical effort and the aesthetically beautiful physical form it leads to cannot be argued away no matter how much we wish to do so.

Reversely, the effects of asceticism are hard to prove since they appear in the mental world accessibly only, through introspection, to the individual; so acknowledging the benefits of cerebral exercise and mental effort and the intellectual symmetry it leads to cannot be confidently argued for.

Despite this, I believe, all can recognize that denial of the will creates a mental framework by which an individual becomes a master of his own being and not merely an instrument of instinctual desire.

A man devoid of all self-restraint and discipline becomes a victim of his own emotions and cravings. Like a rudderless ship he is cast to-and-fro by any subtle wind and becomes a man with no direction and no purpose; a helpless victim of his own whims and a vulnerable prey to clever predators.

For the ship to be controlled a strong rudder is needed and an even stronger captain to direct it. This rudder is mans mind and the captain must be mans intellect.

Final Proposition

All men seek to minimize their exposure to pain and suffering and it is therefore a contradiction of goals that this very compulsion is detrimental to survival and the continued promise of pleasure.

This conundrum is what plagues human existence in its entirety.

We reach for happiness and comfort and yet it is this very striving that causes the opposite condition of suffering and discomfort; we dream of an absence of need and an existence devoid of all torment and yet its realization is the very definition of death; we dream of power and self-reliance and yet we must give up power and become dependant to achieve it.

The Greeks understood the irony of existence and they fully expressed it in their art, in their philosophy and in their total acceptance of it as a part of human existence.
Man is in a very precarious position; not fully intellectual, not completely instinctual.
The choice arises in every thinking mans life as to what path he will choose: will he give in to his instincts and live entirely within the dictations of his nature as an animal, where the mind is simply the facilitator of instinctual desire or will he deny both pain and pleasure and become pure intellect devoid of all need and in complete control of his being?

But there is a third, more reasonable, choice. A choice embraced by the Greeks and now offered, through Nietzsche, by them to us: will we embrace both pain and pleasure as parts of our total being and focus our efforts in enjoying life’s pleasures and experiencing the rapture of consciousness and yet will we not forget that it is suffering that elevates and strengthens us and it is this payment, which we pay willingly, that makes us more than just animals and ennobles us before a universe wanting to degrade, embarrass and destroy us?

Whether we like it or not, suffering and pain are the natural participants in life’s experiment. We either recognize them as such, and use them to our advantage or we spend a lifetime running from them into futility.

It is this aspect of life’s truth that most spend their entire lives escaping from and in the process become weak, gullible, naïve, soft and easily manipulated. How unfortunate for them that even the temporary escape from life’s truth cannot save them from its eventual inevitability.

The signs of human disorderly existence are everywhere plain to see; from the lack of self-discipline in nutritional consumption that leads to obesity and disease to the absence of sexual self-control that leads to promiscuity and immaturity.

The ‘easy way’ is searched for by all those lacking the discipline to go at it the ‘hard way’ and the realization comes to them too late, that there is no ‘easy way’ and those offering it are either con-artists or manipulators.

The controlled exposure to suffering, made possible through athleticism, creates a strong and durable body that will be ready, in a time of need, to meet life’s unforeseen challenges and come out of every battle, a survivor.

It will reveal itself to all in its harmony, symmetry and beauty; it will speak of its superiority in graceful movement and efficiency. It will be something to admire and inspire.

But more importantly, the controlled exposure to suffering and pain through asceticism creates a strong and durable mind that will be easily adaptable to a variation of environments and challenges and come out of every confrontation the dominator.

It will reveal itself, more subtly than the body but no less magnificently, in its harmony, order, and virtue; it will speak of its superiority with noble ideals and strength of will. It will be something to admire and inspire.
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PostSubject: Re: Need   Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:13 am

Satyr wrote:
[list][*]Life is an organizing resistance to disorganizing.

If you're referring to the proposition that all the energy in the universe is becoming unusable, and that the energy which life orders will eventually run out, then life, to continue, would need to resist this disordering.

A potential exception however exists in the fact that energy is becoming unusable at different rates. If you look at the life of a single being of a finite period of existence, within an entropic universe, it is possible that this life form did not need to resist the overall disordering, because the energy it consumed and the forces which acted upon this life form may have contributed to its ordering, instead of acting against it.

The fact that this being came to an end does indeed mean that order failed, but the resistance may only have been instigated at the very end of its life.

Consider a pool of homogeneous matter, let's call it unusable energy...

If you introduced energy into this matter, like a continuous explosion, different materials would form as a result (which can be classified as ordering), and eventually bacteria could form, life, which is a more complex form of ordering. And lo this source of energy directly counteracts the continuous disordering.

Life begins not as a resistance to disorder, but as an effect of order.

The resistance only comes into play when energy declines. Resistance is only relative to success, which is arbitrary, and survival, which the resistance of only becomes noticeable after years of selective conditioning wiring our brains to feel various forms of resistance in a negative way, is not a guarantee or even a goal necessarily.

Life is an organizing. It only resists if it wants to survive, or if it's lucky.
Satyr wrote:

Universal flux is the consequence of an absence; the absence of order/perfection/stability/harmony. Life is created in this flux and so mirrors this universal disorder/imperfection/instability/disharmony in search for its conclusion. It feels this growing entropic imperfection/instability/disorder/disharmony as Need.
what we feel is arbitrary...

When you say that "It" (referring to life), "feels" (perceives or acknowledges), inevitable imperfection/instability/disharmony/disorder, as "need"(something which must be dealt with), I think you're making a few generalizations...

To say that all life feels resistance is not true. Some life, as i hypothesized, can be created from abundance, and draw all necessary requirements for life from an abundant and ready source. The only time that entropy has to be "dealt with" is when resistance causes things to go off track, and even then, it is not necessarily "perceived" or "felt" in any way beyond the collapse of their existence. Furthermore the level of resistance is highly variable. Energy can lie dormant and untouched by entropic forces, which changes the perspective of life from resistance to the opposite, acceptance and indulgence.

I will leave this as a reply, i know there is a lot more but it would be easier to take it step by step.

Hopefully my ideas are rational enough to merit a refutation...
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