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Solitude in Context – Part I: Being and Culture

The first in a series on solitude and solitary activity, this article outlines the personal, interpersonal, and social modes of being before discussing how postmodern culture obscures solitude and attenuates personal being.

A consideration of personal being in the postmodern world.

Solitude is an integral aspect of human experience, hence its eternal relevance. By intention or by circumstance to either positive or negative effect, people experience periods of aloneness to some extent and degree. More fundamentally, a human being is a separate sentient entity prior to his associations with others, no matter the degree to which he is immersed in a social environment. Thus, solitude is an inherent aspect of life whether one cultivates it personally or suppresses it collectively.

Based on my regular practice of solitary activities (which are to be the topic of subsequent articles), this article establishes solitude as an important yet misrepresented aspect of life. After outlining modes of being I then discuss the sociocultural status of solitude in the postmodern world, specifically, the various ways it has been disassociated from its authentic meaning and demoted from its traditional value.

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There’s Something About Movies (2-Part Special Edition)

An uncut, feature-length discussion about the movie medium; packed with bonus content––and LOTS of movies.

There’s Something About Movies: Special Edition (packed with bonus features!)

Part 1
Embedded-Archetype Recycling

Introduction

More so than any other medium, the motion picture – also known as film, cinema, and most commonly, movies – has the capacity to convey ideas and themes whilst bypassing the viewer’s awareness of having done so; meaning that even the reception of the content generally remains unperceived, i.e. let alone its affect and techniques thereof. This principle can be observed by the substratum of archetypal themes from which movie* narratives are constructed upon; by the industrial recycling of these archetypes, evident in movies that are differentiated by time and genre; and by the common obliviousness to embedded elements and the pervasiveness of this practice.

*Although most of this article concerns movies, the discussion generally applies to television fiction too, particularly since it has become more cinematic in recent years. Movie narratives, however, are the primary form of embedded-archetype recycling.

I have termed the principle behind this practice ‘embedded-archetype recycling’, where “archetype” refers to a type of character or theme that is ancient, or at least pre-modern (hence being adapted into modern form); where “embedded” refers to the concealment of the archetypes within the overt narrative; and where “recycling” refers to the institutional practice of reapplying these archetypes to the narratives of “new” movies (hence, archetypes pervade the medium irrespective of era divergences and genre differences between movies).

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The Nature of Will and the Sophistry of “Free Will”

An eight-part essay on will and ‘free will’.

“I am not a “free” number: I am a WILLFUL MAN!

I

Over the last century, general discourse concerning the topic of ‘free will’ has become increasingly more pronounced in Western culture—a trend that reflects the rapid development of societal complexity during this period: for especially since the postmodern era, the organisational phenomena of bureaucracy, specialisation, and compartmentalisation have intensified the diffusion not only of responsibility but also of knowledge. Concomitantly, scientific theory has supplanted philosophy as the locus of epistemology, producing theoretical phenomena such as relativity and quantum mechanics and instilling them into the foundation of Western ideology. Effectively, such theories have undermined not just traditional knowledge and wisdom but the very basis for their acquisition, i.e. the subjective perception of an objective reality.   In concert, postmodern developments have thus created a culture of disintegrating knowledge and implicit indeterminacy, wherein matters both philosophical and practical are deemed – tacitly more so than explicitly – to be fundamentally uncertain. Crucially, this ideological domination includes the dimension of institutional contradiction; as in, for example, the periodical turnover of scientific axioms, many of which are treated as dogma until they have been deemed falsified and replaced by new axiomatic ‘truths’.
            Within this culture of impenetrable systemisation and philosophical confusion, the question of free will has arisen to prominence: For at least the last half-century, Western culture has been affirming an inherent inability to determine anything at all, let alone an ideology that is clear, consistent, and stable. Adversely, it has instilled a societal paradigm of reactionary measures against the flux of indeterminable existence, which thus represents the postmodern ideology of Western culture—an ideological inversion of Ideology.

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The Nature and Development of Understanding

An essay on Understanding (or, understanding for an Understanding of UNDERSTANDING)

Understanding—is of most importance to understand.

I

For the proper philosophical discussion about any particular thing, the identification of the thing itself is more important than the word used to refer to it: A word is merely a tool used to approximate the meaning of a concept, thus enabling an expedient means to refer to that concept in conversation or writing. In a way, this conventional approximation of conceptual meaning highlights the purpose of Philosophy, which I define here as the unmotivated, uncompromised expression of the innate need to Understand. And, Understanding is perhaps the most important concept to philosophise about—which I define here as the pure and thorough attempt to clarify the essence and significance of a thing.                    Thus for this essay, a cluster of related ‘things’ I consider worthy of discussion are most closely approximated by the word ‘understanding’, with each of these things representing a particular aspect of that concept, thereby being a different sense of its meaning. Hence, I will use the word ‘understanding’ in multiple senses, supported by my definition of each one; and by which I attempt to describe these particular aspects of Mind and Life.

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A Typology of Book-Reading – Part II: Moods for Comprehension

In the second part of this article series, I identify twelve different subjects (including sub-types), which I classify by their ideal mood for comprehension; whilst also providing examples and photographic samples to support the description of each type and sub-type.

The major subjects of literature—but what are the ideal moods for reading them?

Introduction

Having long had a personal interest in seeking and reading the most substantial literature available, I have in the process acquired an experience of book-reading that covers all of the major subjects in literature. As a part of this experience, my mind naturally formed classifications of the qualities and uses of each subject; as well as the particular ‘moods’ I found to be best suited for engaging with their different characteristics. The aim of this article, then, is to clarify and share this experience by making these classifications—hopefully to the interest, if not to the benefit, of fellow book-readers.

The twelve categorized subjects are as follows: Philosophy, History, Sociology (inc. Anthropology), Psychology, Communication & Media, Science, Exposé, Fiction, Literary Study, Entertainments Study, Personal Development, Reference.

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Transhumanism: Religion in Plain Sight – Part 3

This article features a selection of quotes from the book Homo Deus, each accompanied by my notes, comments, and references to related media.

Transhumanism: Humanity in ‘Upgrade Mode’

Part 3 of this article series features my expansion of Ncaps 31-40 for the book Homo Deus (as discussed in the Introduction, which also includes the full list), as a basis for identifying points of significance and referencing a variety of relevant media.

Themes covered in Part 3 include Dialectics of Government, Principles of Revolution, Submission to Authority, Continuity of The Establishment, Emotional Decision-Making, Elite Minority Rule, Conceits of Modernity, Social Instability, Civilized Barbarism, Collectively Believed Fictions, Society as Entrapment, Hindsight via History, Suppression of Awareness, Ideological Bio-Engineering, Prophetic Sci-Fi, Modern Forms of Religion, Rationalized Immorality, Incongruous Speech, Hypocrisy of Civilization.

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Transhumanism: Religion in Plain Sight – Part 2

This article features a selection of quotes from the book Homo Deus, each accompanied by my notes, comments, and references to related media.

Transhumanism: Humanity in ‘Upgrade Mode’

Part 2 of this article series features my expansion of Ncaps 16-30 for the book Homo Deus (as discussed in the Introduction, which also includes the full list), as a basis for identifying points of significance and referencing a variety of relevant media.

Themes covered in Part 2 include Effects of Specialization, Elitism, Use of History, Strategic Criticism, Confusion-Inducement, ‘Slippery Slope’ Revolution, Biogenetics, Ascent of Algorithms, Scientific Theories, End of Individuality, Demeaning of Consciousness’, Materialism, Convention Creation, Techniques of Ideology, Tailored Terminology, Physics Above All, Professional Prestige.

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Transhumanism: Religion in Plain Sight – Introduction

This article features a discussion of the book “Homo Deus”, including an explanation of its use in this article Series; followed by the list of points I made from the book, each of which will be expanded on in the subsequent articles.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016 Book)

This article series is based upon the book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari (2016), which I read last year. More specifically, it is based on the notes I made whilst reading the book, in which I encapsulated (in list form) the many substantial points raised and discussed by Harari; and so this series is more of a multi-part ‘study’, as I expand on the various significant themes I took note of.

To concisely state the most significant aspects of Harari’s thesis: Humanity is sleepwalking towards Post-Humanism; and to elaborate, this means that Society—above all its citizens—are blindly following the trends of ‘technological progress’, i.e. without truly examining these trends, in order to question, debate, and then make informed decisions in the direction this technological development should be taken for the betterment of Humanity.

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Fiction: Purpose & Form

This Long-Article begins with a brief introduction to the significance of Fiction; followed by a close analysis of a short story; which is then intertwined with interpretation of a related film; finishing with a closing summary; and all the relevant links listed at the end.

Books: Reading for the Plot; Selected Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant

For centuries, literature of fiction—specifically, novels and short stories—has had a major influence upon the thoughts and attitudes of people, and has served as a catalyst for the cultural changes the West has undergone since the invention of the printing press. The social significance of fiction is important to recognize, as its power to influence is much less obvious than the overt, religious indoctrination that it has replaced. The power of fiction is not to indoctrinate, but to seduce: to affect individuals with particular ideasbut without the conscious awareness of having been engaged with an ideological sales pitch.

For this reason, learning about the essential forms and techniques of fiction can be very interesting and rewarding, as one becomes more capable of engaging with fictional works in added dimensions and with new levels of depth.

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