You will likely have detected a strong attitude of moralization in my writing, particularly in my last two posts, and I think I have arrived at a more articulate position, but not yet final. My past writings are frankly all over the place idealistically speaking, but I still see value in them, and owe at least that much to my younger self.
Let’s start with the most physical. Today. Rather, my morning start.
0520 tea study.
The rest of the day will continue in similar intervals of work and study with a total of 8-10 hours of labour. My meals are typically quick and carefully selected. But why am, I telling you this? While my activities ultimately seem to serve me and my development, they are initially motivated by a strong sense of collective duty. I see it as my societal and communal obligation to be strong, healthy, and informed. I also see my work, farming, as a necessity when it comes to the larger scale of the industry and my country. My motivations are oriented outwards. That’s not to say I’m happy while doing my 27th diamond pushup at 04:34 in the morning, but there is really nothing else I’d rather be doing. “And, in fact, we find that the more a cultivated reason purposely occupies itself with the enjoyment of life and with happiness, so much the further does one get away from true satisfaction; and from this there arises in many, and indeed in those who have experimented most with this use of reason, if only they are candid enough to admit it, a certain degree of misology, that is, hatred of reason; for, after calculating all the advantages they draw – I do not say from the invention of all the arts of common luxury, but even from the sciences (which seem to them to be, at bottom, only a luxury of the understanding) – they find that they have in fact only brought more trouble upon themselves instead of gaining in happiness; and because of this they finally envy rather than despise the more common run of people, who are closer to the guidance of mere natural instinct and do not allow their reason much influence on their behaviour.” Any spare time I get outside of working out and working is typically devoted to study and teaching. No social media, very few social gatherings, and no escapist internet browsing or TV shows. Only reality at it’s most visceral and base level. Good.
“I ought not to act except in such a way that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law.” This is beautiful, and an awfully pretentious reformulation of the classic moral challenge: “what if everyone did it?’ But this is precisely right. I had a revelation while reading Kant as to the preposition of this imperative. It seems like the preposition Kant made to arrive at the categorical imperatives was through the conclusion that the rational will at it’s purest is really the only principle by which man is man and not beast. It’s not binary, but almost. The only way in which we can postulate the way things “could” or “should” be as compared to the way things are is by the application of reason. But Kant doesn’t explicitly provide us an objective for this world of universals, as far as I can tell, aside from the fact that it should be compatible with the kingdom of ends and physically possible. But it seems to me if the core assumption that leads him to this is the (good) rational will, then by necessity the rational will should be prioritized/maximized by the imperatives, in a way reminiscent of a hypostatic system. (A system which takes information from it’s surrounding environment to adjust it’s conditions in order to achieve a desired outcome.) Basically that our actions in the present must facilitate an expansion and elaboration of moral practice and theory through the application of the imperatives.
“But, Tomas, look at yourself. You are constructing these autistic and grandiose illusions and expecting them to be universal. People just want to live.” This is an issue I am currently trying to clarify. As detailed above most of my actions are motivated by a sense of duty, but how many of these things are universally applicable, i.e, to my peers? It seems evident that as a citizen of a liberal democracy we are obliged to study history and politics to the extent possible to actually function as autonomous citizens, and to further mold/change/improve the system we are in. What’s the alternative to this? I’ll tell you. The tyranny of the majority. The mob will rule.
The human being discovered the future. We must think about ourselves as a new instantiation of the function of evolution, history, and psychology. Camus said the only problem in philosophy worth wrestling with was that of suicide. The only way I can live is by striving to attain some level of meta-cognition through the cultivation of the good will, the rational, and a honing of the physical through biochemistry. I see no other possibilities. Do not wait for the last judgement. It comes every day.
“An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. “Can they be brought together?” This is a practical question. We must get down to it. “I despise intelligence” really means: “I cannot bear my doubts.”