“Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of
this faith is to see what we believe.” — Augustine
“The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.” — George
In 'Mere Christianity' C.S. Lewis asserts: “And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” But all good things and social progress, historically, including: commerce, affluence, ambition, peace, free love, equality, democracy, freedom, art and science, also express the striving of humanity for worldly happiness, do they not? For that matter, indeed how often are the former, the very ills catalogued by C.S. Lewis, any less than the latter, the presented counter examples, much alike advanced expressly in order to please God? C.S. Lewis himself only follows in a long history of the extol of the embrace of the abstract and fantastical in rejection, condemnation and abandon of reality and action, or at least such alone, as hopeless and futile. Christians in particular, as we all know, are enjoined to hate this world and this life. Still, perhaps best to be wary of regarding religious culture and Endotheology as monolithic and invariant. Religion can be whatever you want it to be, except actually true when it is not. -In case any of that even matters in the recommendation of pleasing, beneficial and even effective dispositions, basic trust or attitudinal faith, much less of doctrines and beliefs of doctrinal faith, particularly in priority over the quest for truth, let alone from any striving at improving conditions in life and the world.
If any scripture is truly vested with exclusive authority, infallibility, clarity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, comprehensive and universal applicability, then how can there be such vast variety of interpretive differences even amongst those who embrace literal scriptural authority in just such a manner? To begin with, such claims violate the Incompleteness Theorem. Only a vast and even infinitely long text could ever specify everything so completely as to remove every possible ambiguity in linguistic logic. There is no escaping the need for context of background information and bias that inevitably differs. After all, any successful scripture actually endures by ongoing distillation, actually becoming so wondrously stripped of original historical context, becoming a veritable Rorschach mirror for projection of inner reflection, therefore so powerfully relatable to all.
Thus no two cultures, indeed no two individuals, can ever truly hold in their hands the same scripture, despite that every printed word be the same. Indeed, whatever God might conceivably intend to express however unambiguous given God's own inerrant and comprehensive context of complete background information, would nevertheless remain doomed to ambiguity before mere fallible human understanding. Fallible humanity is always doomed to whatever degree of bypassing, exchange which is not genuine communication because it lacks sufficient intersubjectivity and does not carry at all the same meanings or even purpose, intention or point at all between the participants, and that would apply no less in relationship to God. Only ever an angel, could always understand God perfectly!
That is precisely why so many devoutly religious people in supplement to the study and scrutiny of whichever scripture, also seek for God's representative on Earth, whatever true prophet of guru, or else, scorning the proverbial Buddha on the road, instead to search within, strive so mightily to transcend mortal fallibility by achieving oneness with God. The problem remains however, that at any moment, anyone can falsely believe oneself to abide in such grace and exaltation, and realize otherwise only afterwards, taking solace in learning humility. Hence, only God can know who is indeed in a state of grace and clarity at any given moment. Furthermore, is it even conceivable that an infallible God would never have considered all the above conundrums, when instead of stopping with His perfect Angels, instead He made humanity fallible? What then, could a personal God have ever intended for Humanity, except Faliblism? And beyond utter despair, what faith, except that attitude or disposition imbued by any experience of good fortune and kindness at all whatsoever, the entirely irrational and optimistic hope, Psychodynamically, distinguished by Martin Buber as optimistic hope and (in Psychology, basic) trust, that simply does not make assertions or even actually claim knowledge as such, much less certainty, as does it's poor counterfeit, mere beliefs and opinions? In the words of Alexander Lowen MD: "Conviction lies not in the ego." Or to quote Joseph Fort Newton: "Belief is a truth held in the mind. Faith is a fire in the heart." And the world turns without waiting upon certitude.
"Faith is the evidence of things unseen" the Good Book tells us. But as it turns out, the test of faith, is not a means of testing reality at all, even by whatever Epistemological Methodology somehow howsoever at all dubiously employing faith. Rather, the test of faith is indeed exactly as it is so named, the test of resolve in faith itself, demonstrating no more than that. Typically, religious or ideological apologetics collates even the weakest corroboration while ignoring even the strongest refutation. Such dishonest lowering of all scientific and journalistic standards of evidence is nothing but bad faith, deadly hypocrisy, and the reason why doctrinal faith meant to shore up attitudinal faith, optimism, courage, hope and trust, can so frequently be observed to bring exactly the opposite effects of depression and timidity. In the alternative, scientific rationalism and systematic doubt, rejecting doctrine, is readily seen as entailing attitudinal faith, not only in the intelligibility of the universe, but any human capacity of problem solving. All rejecting demands of infallibility, in favor of ongoing error detection, course correction and learning, ever less wrong rather than any purported foundation of ultimate truth. - Rejecting thus, also, the perfectionism of religion and ideology, in favor of the responsibility towards progress by ongoing improvement.
Science strives to explain the unknown in terms of the known, while religion contrives to explain the known in the terms of the unknown.
Any serious project then, of reconciliation between science and religion will be challenging indeed, given such manifest contradiction between rational inquiry and Empirical investigation of science under systematic doubt, versus the willfully wishful thinking of religion and ideology. Scientific evidence of the existence of God, or in corroboration of whatever other ideological tenet, would only remove the requirement of doctrinal faith, while doctrinal faith, even the doctrinal faith in the process or results of science itself, remains shabby and unscientific. Science is faliblist, while religion and ideology are infaliblist. How can faliblism and infaliblism ever be reconciled as in reconciliation of science and religion, being indeed the stated endeavor of the John Templeton Foundation?
Religion and ideology reject reason. Apologetics may deflect and evade reason deviously, or even castigate reason vehemently and venomously, demanding renewed tireless indoctrination by any means necessary.
Epistemologically, autonomously, in science as in day to day functionality, getting by without certainty remains entirely feasible and routine, by living in reasonable doubt which is only healthy and responsible. The autonomy of Falibilism, is simply embrace of Socratic Wisdom in the precept that one might always be mistaken, may be more alien to Theistic religious heteronomy even than Atheism in and of itself, all even despite the unfounded conjectural nature of day to day interaction with reality for everyone no matter how pious, and indeed, of life itself physiologically and neurologically. Human progress is not to be deemed fruitless simply because human progress is temporal and not eternally changeless. That would be both oxymoronic and purpose defeating, if not actually boring! Epistemological Methodology of systematic doubt, must itself be subject to ongoing error detection and correction, conjecture and refutation. Again, such is life itself, literally, even neurologically, as in sensory and nervous systems that actually change and adjust by trial ad error. All is conjecture and fallible. But that's not the end of the world but always new beginnings. Life is uncertain. There is nothing in day to day life, much less Scientific Method, that waits upon absolute certainty. There is nothing in day to day life, much less Scientific Method, that waits upon absolute certainty. The demand for absolute certainty is as paralytic as any other brand of Perfectionism. Absolute certainty is neither possible nor necessary. By the fruits of imperfect and temporal human progress and individual human character growth, the attitudes and values of scientific rationalism and democracy, all so scorned by Theo-crypto-Nihilistic value destruction, shall Faliblism be known.
Can the unbelief, lack of belief or even outright disbelief falling under the category of Atheism truly be deemed a creed, any more than not playing chess can be undertaken as a hobby? Answer: Given ramification of religion or Theism, then one might anticipate corresponding ramifications to the lack thereof, to Atheism. But in truth, it is hardly clear that religion or Theism, the belief in God, clearly determines any other position or temperament, all so varied regardless of creed or religion, Theistic or otherwise. And yet religion and Theism as purported sole grounds for morality, are often marshaled or pandered outright in support of Moralism, while Atheism may appear often as a ramification of Scientific Rationalism which simply demands sound Empirical evidence for the existence of God or gods, just as with any other assertion and likewise without special pleadings. And therefore what resultant Atheism all to often actually accrues, is endless bickering with pious pinheads! And indeed, the entire controversy seems already covered in great detail and redundancy. Therefore all that I seek to contribute here, are any at all neglected interesting fine points amid the endless repetition:
In the ongoing struggle between autonomy and heteronomy, Faliblist autonomy is expressed in scientific rationalism and democracy, while the institution and traditional Infalliblist heteronomy has in more recent history as often taken the form of ideology, but from antiquity, that of religion wherein Apologetics are all largely part and parcel of a long established and vast industry of diversionary travesty. And so merrily plunging down the rabbit hole we go! All hence must it come as little surprise that each and every one of the traditional purported logical proofs of the existence of God are all logically flawed Sophistry, long standing refuted. Because, in the first place, reduction to First Principles is quite impossible. Proof, after all, is only of validity, defined as theoretical logical internal consistency, and never of truth value, defined as correspondence to external reality in assertions, which is never ascertainable by logical possibility alone without actually testing by observation and experiment, Empirically.
At least with anyone honestly declaring that where the conclusions of science and scripture might if ever logically conflict, they will side with scripture, we know where they stand and can readily question and criticize their dogmatism and double standards, because there is no pretense. Indeed, only science is bound by standards of evidence seeking to screen out special pleadings of self-undermining reasoning. Whereas matters of faith hold themselves to no such standard. And so, as far as internal consistency alone, that confession should simply be the end of it.
But Theistic pseudoscience is no less convoluted than Theology. All the standard distortions of Apologetics are routinely brought to bear in support of the existence of God, including all manner of scientific misconceptions and omissions in order to fabricate scientific problems then demanding explanation only by intelligent design or God one way or another. Or else Apologetics may often be extremely learned in the sciences, demanding a great deal of attention to detail from the reader. Because, in the suggestible receptivity of faith, which is the cultivation of satisfying beliefs in order to bring about altered states of consciousness, and the protection of said beliefs in order to cultivate altered states of consciousness in the long term, even bad evidence gains weight as it accumulates. -As if the house of cards might still stand, at least one or two broken logical links and mooted points hovering miraculously.
Alas, in truth, all of the extensive information and argumentation of such Apologetics, much like unto empty gossip, is centered about the same shopworn general logical falsities in the Epistemology of Scientific Method and standards of evidence, herein to be stripped bare:
Have I ever wondered why I am never yet called of God? No, not really. First of all, is there any God to begin with? Otherwise, can one actually be called by anything or anyone that does not first really exist? Yes. one can. One can heed the calling of an idea. But many ideas occur, and no one takes heed to them all. As for the mere idea of God, clearly I am too skeptical. I could only go through the ritualistic motions of inviting God, without the requisite sincerity of the appeal. It only ever works for anyone at all suggestible to give credence to Theism to begin with. But perhaps the greatest sticking point, to the best of my knowledge as yet unaddressed by any Theologian, would be as to the very validity of the experiment, which I do question. -Precisely because of the vividness and confidence of the sought for altered state of consciousness if successful, nevertheless and no less entirely subjective. The entire undertaking might at all qualify as a Psychological experiment, with no conceivable bearing upon objective reality, except by special pleadings for circuitous reasoning to assume the veracity of Mystical experience and the existence of God to begin with. Nor are there conditions of refutation, because there will always be testimony or anecdote of success, and negative results are dismissed, accurately I might add, as lack of faith, in other words: honesty and objectivity. And besides, an all powerful God would never need be so coy. Wary of wishful thinking, rational people do not strive to cultivate personal certainty for its own blissful sake, but instead seek truth and value honest opinion of one's own, to be challenged by Empirical investigation of reality not subverited by brainwash and autosuggestion. Such an endeavor would constitute a Psychological experiment at best, with no bearing upon external objective reality. In science, doubt is not an enemy to be overcome. Rather, systematic doubt is the guide of Scientific Method. Rational people do not struggle to quell doubt, but to settle doubt, one way or another, by investigation seeking truth defined as correspondence to reality in assertions.
Rational skepticism and credulity place the burden of evidentiary support upon the advocacy of any given hypothesis. Faith, however, stands the process of rational skepticism on its head, proclaiming that beginning from belief, evidence appears, unfolds, and accumulates. But that is merely confirmation bias, accumulated corroboration ignoring all refutation of contrary evidence. Religion provides time tested procedures in the cultivation of pleasing beliefs. If only you will open yourself and male the effort at wishful thinking, you too can join with us and believe as we do, exhort the faithful. I don't doubt it! But what if one honestly simply does not take Theism seriously? Should the unbeliever then simply go through the motions? Would there be any point? Indeed, Evangelists of every stripe often exhort all whom they hope to convert, to undertake whatever particular prayer, meditation or such, usually with a certain required attitude, as a means of direct evidence, in order for the subject to achieve the certitude of divine revelation for themselves. But thus do they simply presume Epistemological Methodological consensus. Because, even assuming resounding success, why accept any such at whatever ostensible face value any more than drug experiences, hypnosis or any other similar incidentally altered or deliberately tampered with states of consciousness and impaired judgment? Since when is even the most immediate of direct experience beyond question and skeptical examination? Because, what can there ever be in human nature at all beyond fallibility? Since when is direct experience so completely reliable?
So ignorant of basic Phenomenology, many religious people are often so blithely uncritical of naïve perception at face value, and are surprised, even incredulous, to learn, for example, how the astronomer Christiaan Huygens, discoverer of the rings of Saturn, had first to even at all to conceive of the rings of Saturn, before being able to see them. Indeed, Galileo was unable thus to visually interpret his own observations thereof. And of course, that is only one among so many celebrated illustrative examples in demonstration of the theory laden conjecturality and therefore inevitable bias, even of perception and experience.
Religion remains, after all, the notorious opiate of the masses, prone to pernicious nonsense with such great conviction and hence meaningless conflicts that can never be settled. And so, by appropriate analogy, do the other people at the bar really become more beautiful the more one drinks? After all, pub crawling too, has it's ardent and fevered Evangelists! And so, with no satisfactory answer, all such mental masturbation must be recognized as experimentally inconclusive, no matter how vivid. Because even the most successful desired results remain open to a myriad of explanations and are well known to be very much colored in the mind by preconception even to be intelligible at all. Yea, verily, experience is biased by context of expectations. And apparently, there are not only the entire range of paranormal interpretations and the idiosyncratically surreal, but even entirely prosaic apprehension of much the same experience, altered states or day to day private cognition and emotion. After all, in the Epistemology of science, which, Methodologically, is the application of systematic doubt, inspiration from the willing suspension of disbelief and judgment, is not the motivating end goals ever put forth, as in religious faith, but only a starting point of unsupported conjecture to be subjected first to Critical Preference and then to Empirical reality testing and the quest for the simplest likeliest explanation.
Indeed, as yet there is no evidence for God save as He may be evoked explanatorily, even so far as affirming the consequent or converting the conditional (Modus Ponens). That is to say, by the same observable outcome, be such Ontological or Phenomenological, that, however, may be, and indeed is, also and better explained by whatever other competing viable hypotheses. Hence, the current evidence for God is only as good as Theistic explanation for scientific problems. And for any given problem, either there are alternative hypotheses to that of the existence and agency of God, or else, conceivably, there might not be. Even if neither first cause nor infinite regress are deemed satisfactory explanation, that still does not necessitate God, because God explains nothing, being Himself and His alleged agency unexplained, unsupported and theoretically inelegant. What profit is there in simply shifting the burden of explanation into an even more difficult problem, when the entire point is simplifying theoretical elegance of adequate explanation?
If there is currently no other known explanation, than, for example, flying saucers, spontaneous anxiety, Santa Claus, conspiratorial Jewish bankers or God, then this only amounts to the same tired and fallacious Argumentum Ad Ignorantium or argument by lack of imagination, jumping to conclusions in the face of the unknown, circuitous reasoning affirming the consequent. Because, even when we have no explanation at all, new explanations may arise later and often do. The lack of explanation or solution at any given time offers slim support indeed for paranormal claims, whatsoever. If there are no good explanations, for however long, that still does not support bad explanations, unsupported explanations and out and out non explanations! Of course there will always be new questions, but God has yet to become a viable hypothesis. God remains an inelegant non explanation. There is, as yet, precious little in the way of mechanistic explanation of how God is supposed to exist, function or accomplish all that He is presumed to have done or to does. Nor, indeed, much effort at all to improve matters, neither theoretically nor experimentally. Indeed, lately, God has been a fruitless hypothesis, supported only by faith, by wishful thinking.
Hence, scientifically, thus far, all that evoking Intelligent Design AKA God accomplishes is to remove any complex problem to an exponentially more complex problem upon which there has been no progress to speak of. Simply because intelligent personality is a complex ordered phenomenon, does not logically attribute all other examples of complex ordered phenomena to the guidance of any intelligent personality. Rather, whereas antirational religion explains the known in terms of the mysterious, in rational science, seeking to build and test (corroborate and refute) explanation of the hither to unknown via the known, even intelligent personality must be explained the same way as other complex ordered phenomena. And the latter endeavor remains fruitful, whereas the sheer vague supposition of Theology remains fruitless at very best. God, then, lies on the cutting room floor amid the fat trimmed by Ockham's Razor. Hence, any viable hypothesis remains far better than Theism.
In a nutshell, the hypothesis of God is vastly superfluous. In the hurly burly contest of competing hypotheses for explanatory fitness which is the Evolutionary Epistemology of scientific progress, God does poorly. Indeed, His faithful are not even really making such effort as is appropriate among scientists wanting to settle a bet at all. And it's easy to see why they'd all chicken out! From a standpoint of Psychology, then, given the behavior of endless and specious denial and evasion, it becomes increasingly difficult not to question the sincerity of the belief in God, in most cases.
Mediocrity Principle and mechanistic materialism
In nature, intelligence arises from complexity, not complexity from intelligence or soul essence, the precept whereof being flagrant non-explanation and untestable. Whereas in the alternative at all, the hypothesis remains viable and supportable, that somehow Ontologically the quantifiable active physical reality of the nervous system comprise the mechanism of Phenomenological qualitative experience, conscious awareness, cognition and emotion. But best human knowledge to date thereupon is admittedly general and limited. Nevertheless, complexity by itself remains insufficient inference for design and thence a Designer. Even living organisms are not irreducibly complex. After all, we know full well, one way or another, indeed, in very principle, that order progresses without deliberate conscious intelligent design. Because, the happenstance of blind and incognizant natural order, even however imperfect and suboptimal as real adaptations inevitably will be, and entirely without guiding consciousness, is the result of natural selection under physical conditions providing for randomness but under constraints of circumstance. Unlike paranormalism, science is more concerned with the ordinary than with the unusual or even purportedly miraculous. There is no real understanding, say, of the wondrous birth or two headed livestock, without first unraveling the secrets of the most ordinary biological reproduction. Science, after all, quests after reproducible results not irreproducible quirks. And this approach has been fruitful. Indeed, certainly, at first blush, one might wonder daunted at the utter improbability of the sheer complexity of the universe, all out from empty chaos and darkness, let alone ensuing evolution of life. But surprisingly it turns out indeed, especially given nigh endless repetition and adequate range of variance, how the very wonders both of a complex universe and the evolution of life thereafter are both actually highly probable, indeed, nigh inevitable, under the right conditions which turn out to be quite common, typical, likely similar enough if not actually identical in many times and places, even mediocre rather than exceptional. - Existence out from empty chaos and darkness, and living ecosystems anywhere under the right chemical conditions thereafter. After all, circumstances under which order spontaneously appears as an emergent property of complex interactions among the parts of a system, far from being only a figment of mathematical imagination, even include certain meteorological phenomena such as tornados are neither regular nor random but are already the result of intrinsic self-organizing processes without external guidance. Hence, as applicable likewise also to a wide range of even more complex phenomena, we now begin to know and understand how chaotic flux is an unstable and impermanent state, because, eventually even by sheer chance, homeostasis always eventually arises from such a state of utter chaotic flux, bringing an onset of the development of ordered complexity, tightly integrated dynamic complex systems of organized correlation between functioning components as a result displaying emergent even howsoever organic properties or Gestalt, even including hysteresis beyond determinism alone (hysteresis being a quality of system dynamics often analogized to memory, the manifestation of various persistent states, each responding to similar inputs howsoever differently), indeed the maximum complexity possible only from ongoing chaotic disruption of orderly systems called: the edge of chaos. Indeed, even the origins of physical laws are but a special case of such order from chaos, said physical laws being description of conditions most fundamental to coherent physical existence in the universe as it has ever existed beyond it's most primordial state of chaotic flux. And Entropy is often seen to decrease locally at the expense of increased Entropy globally. So, beyond the sheer joys of unfettered fantasy, scientifically, why seek to anthropomorphize Negentropy and the edge of chaos? What need is there anymore of Teleology?
And returning to evolution, characteristics may become advantageous for entirely different reasons, in the course of evolution, without somehow actually striving towards whatever we see today. And so, the precursors of complex systems, even such as are currently only advantageous in their current conjunction with other complex components, may have hitherto been useful to perform other, entirely unrelated functions, even far more simply. So, why would any particular instance of order, "improbable" low Entropy, however seemingly fortuitous, then require God? Not without either far better support for God and/or far more rigorously ruling out the more ordinary even if highly complex causal alternatives. And so the world and people in it, can come into being without a God to conjure it all especially for you and me. It may be jarring to realize that the totality of being does not revolve around us after all, but such often comes growth towards maturity. Rather it is still love, and confluence of suitable conditions thereto, common and mediocre or rare and fortunate as the case actually may be, that makes anyone special for anyone else.
Consciousness, however palpable Phenomenally, remains poorly understood. In nature, intelligence and consciousness have been known to arise from complexity that is characteristic thereof, but never complexity from any sort of ambient consciousness. Apparently, only artifacts, and not natural phenomena, are actually products of intelligent (deliberate, conscious) design. Natural order is not the handiwork of intelligent design or consciousness deliberately, rather intelligence is another among many kinds of ordered states of localized low Entropy. There is no evidence of vital force or awareness as a primary, whatever that means, pervading the universe. Nor do these assertions amount to Reductionism, but, rather, just to the contrary, Gestalt.
If space is round that means that a traveler flying off in a straight line far enough, would eventually return to the point where they began, coming from the opposite direction. And likewise, if time where round or looped, then this would mean that one would only need to survive and wait around long enough in order to witness ones own birth. Or perhaps the vast expanse of space is indeed actually endless and infinite, and/or likewise time, infinite in both directions, the past an endless regression backward and the future without end lying forever before us. Indeed, an infinite universe sliding down an endless Entropy slope, would never actually reach Heat Death. Now clearly, neither an unending chain of causal events, an infinite regress nor a cycle with neither beginning nor end perhaps even closed within looped time, would neither alone necessitate God, still only removing the already complex to a greater order of unexplained complexity, inelegant non explanation. Indeed, if there is necessarily anything however eternal in nature, or even one way or another or in any sense outside of space-time as we normally experience, neither still would establish that this would ever have to be anything so magical as God in Eternity. Science may as yet be somewhat short of fully satisfactory explanation neither for the emergence of existence from nonexistence or else of existence forever without beginning, but even so still far further along than religion. For, remarkably enough, from the known evidence to date, conventional modern Cosmologies do indeed posit and describe in any detail, both a chronological first event and also dependence upon a condition, both primordial and forever imminent, with neither volume nor duration, called: the void, or in Theological terminology: Eternity, but, speaking of the Existentialist absentee God, indeed untenanted, sufficient even sans any trace of aware consciousness, anthropomorphic, benevolent, all powerful or otherwise. -Indeed, perhaps all somewhat reminiscent of how as chaos and darkness in Genesis, are actually Monotheistic depersonalizations of Babylonian Polytheistic gods. While other modern cosmologies are of an infinitely old cycle of Big Bangs followed either by universal contraction and collapse into the Big Crunch or else with unfettered expansion, dissipation into empty void in the long and slow Heat Death of the Universe, either way producing conditions for Big Bang ex-nihilo anew.
Touching again upon the topic of endeavor at reconciliation between science and religion, historically, among the prominent authors of the Big Bang Theory where scientists who were also devout Catholics. But what has acceptance of the Big Bang Theory, even as bolstered by its own howsoever repressive scientific orthodoxy, actually accomplished in whatever hoped for scientific support of religion? Not logic, but merely hopeful invited inference, the pandering to faith, bait with no lure except to the religious to begin with. The universe is of a finite age and expanding according to conventional Big Banger interpretation of Red Shift and universal background radiation. Hence time itself, like the expansion of space out from infinite compression, is thought to have began with the Big Bang. According to the Big Bang Theory, preceding even the Big Bang and beyond the known physical Universe abides the void, conditions without volume or duration, volume being the expanse of space and duration being the passage of time from within any frame of reference inside the Universe. The intuition of some timeless condition (and even thence much later even time as a constant physical fourth dimension) probably first occurs anciently from altered states of consciousness, even expansive Mystical experience, wherein all sense of time is lost. In Theology the POV, Point Of View, perspective or howsoever frame of reference outside of time that is attributed to God who is described as a spirit without substance, is called Eternity. But even to posit the void / "chaos and darkness" / Eternity, does not automatically imply God. Theoretically, application of the mediocrity principle even to the Big Bang itself have posited that appropriate conditions for the Big Bang in the void where/are, indeed, howsoever uniformly mediocre, common, probable, even so far as to imply the existence of other Universes, other space-time continuums, though such might only ever be detectable if ever at all, only by gravity waves. But paradoxically, all such as yet wandering in abstraction, as yet still awaiting Empirical corroboration, in any case at least hypothetically leaves regression, thereby begging one more question that as yet we know not even how properly to phrase or frame because all conventional logically causal explanation rests upon antecedent events, and according to the Big Bang Theory, time itself began only with the Big Bang, so that nothing could actually happen before that. Nevertheless, as to the very manner of being, or, dare say: dasein, why is or was the void such and not otherwise conceivably? Indeed, for that matter, even if the Universe is infinitely old, as in any steady state model including such as now appear theoretically viable taking into account the Plasma Universe as a more elegant and more consistent alternative explanation of the observations, or as in cyclical Cosmological models wherein after either a Big Crunch or else the Entropicly inevitable Heat Death if the Universe, another Big Bang ensues, or similarly if time is round much as space is often thought to be, or even given any steady state model of the Universe, every question would remain much the same as to how and why so. Are there any viable hypotheses? Can there ever be? Or is it all just so?
The above conundrum can only tantalize, while inane Theological hand waving remains so boring! Again, to posit God the Creator, to anthropomorphically and supernaturally apply Pathetic Fallacy to whatever entirely natural processes even of the howsoever theorized very void itself, let alone to natural randomness within constraints and arising complexity there after, only removes the already complex to greater complexity still. Indeed, even if first cause is at all are ever where satisfactorily demonstrated, then that still need not by itself establish any God as first cause. And whatever the first cause, would that not leave said in need of explanation? Indeed, is not God often claimed to be causeless and eternal? -Which is to say, unexplained... Yea and verily, the Archeologist will unearth the Israelites before Physics ever works its way to God(s)! Even if neither first cause nor infinite regress are deemed satisfactory explanation, that still does not necessitate God, because God explains nothing, being Himself and His alleged agency unexplained, unsupported and maximally theoretically inelegant.
Furthermore, it bears mention that even demonstrating only the very existence of God, even if such compelling evidentiary support ever where to come to light, would not necessarily or automatically follow any specific sectarian details as to His (or Her) nature, particularly not even any sort of benevolently moral or personal loving God, much less the specific sort of God in detail, nor any other tenets asserted by any given religion, for example, as to an afterlife. Indeed, all such questions and details might conceivably very well remain open, even if the very existence of God at all, and no more, where to be demonstrated and supported by whatever sort of new evidence. True enough as it may be, as held forth in the Zen, that unworkable and misleading models obtain in the differentiation of God from self and the totality of being, indeed, simply calling or naming most any given phenomena God, is a common though transparent ruse either for metaphorically dragging in so much more via the proverbial back door, or else a flimsy camouflage for however reluctant or pseudo-pious Atheism.
Such are the deep and psychologically ingrained cultural Judeo-Christian presumptions of an all pervading God, as to become all nigh inescapable in the mind, as likewise must be the unintended ironic subtext, so dramatically delicious, of this very text, in it's confessedly and inevitably mounting virulence, as might be imagined issuing forth like unto smoking charnel brimstone spewing from the mouth of some devil, denying, mocking and railing against God in His Heaven Above! For is it not said that the Devil is Ultimate Negation? And is not God just said Ultimate for the Devil to deny and negate? No, not unless God exists to begin with! Rather, whether one accepts an actual Devil anymore than God, it remains in truth that the most extreme conceivable Nihilism necessarily entails rejection of reason, logic, Ontology and thence the embrace of madness in whatever ensuing moral vacuum.
How has the mythical Santa Claus become the very paradigm for faith in any untestable hypothesis? Answer: Perhaps because of history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, the famous 'Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!' Note therein the exhortation to faith, buttressed by the framing of an untestable hypothesis rejecting all conceivable conditions of refutation, rejecting also in very principle, the burden of evidence upon the positive. What is suggested, nevertheless, in subtext, is that actually faith is beautiful despite reality. Here, I might actually agree. My issue with faith is Epistemological and therefore Methodological. It is from the the Transactional ego state of the Inner Adult that rational interpretation of reality ensues. Again, in the words of Alexander Lowen MD: "Conviction lies not in the ego." Or to quote Joseph Fort Newton: "Belief is a truth held in the mind. Faith is a fire in the heart." As Martin Buber points out, optimistic hope, attitudinal faith, basic trust and wonder of the Transactional ego state of the spontaneous and playful Natural Child, are simply not matters of belief or Ontology, let alone dogma and doctrinal faith, as such to begin with. -Except perhaps at best, metaphorically and mythological. Hence the very quest for certitude in justified belief or declarative statements at all, is utterly misguided and obsessive, metaphorically barking up the proverbially wrong tree! Emotional dispositions are not attached to declarative intellectualizations as pertaining to Ontology, let alone access thereto Epistemologically and Methodologically. Emotional dispositions are Psychodynamic. Even the optimism of the scientific attitude is in the hope that truth can be investigated and problems can be solved. All questions remain open. There are no specific articles of faith, with faith as the dogmatic scriptural evidence of things unseen. If there can be said to be faith in the scientific attitude, it is faith without knowledge let alone certainty. Indeed, Psychodynamically that is the true nature of that hope at all which is called: basic trust. And it turns out that knowledge doesn't help in cases of real despair and pervasive mistrust of life that can only be addressed Psychodynamically and Psychotherapeutically. The feeling of insecurity is very distinct from intellectual or statistical uncertainty. Hence in science, controversy is a value, not a threat. Whereas, faith zealously defended only by denial of reality, necessary in order to sustain irrational beliefs lacking evidentiary support and even in the face of overwhelming refutation, bespeaks not hope or trust, but only the desperation of Theo-crypto-Nihilism, ultimate cynical Nihilism cloaked in ultimate hypocrisy. Theo-crypto-Nihilistim argues no other escape from the abyss of Nihilism, save by faith, indeed typically then dismissing all criticism or rejection of faith, of Nihilism. And what monumentally pessimistic hypocrisy is just such false hope in Theo-crypto-Nihilism! For in truth, one must first be Nihilist in one's heart of hearts to begin with, and in utter failure of imagination otherwise, stone blind to all other options, in order to so desperately gasp at straws of so specious an antidote as lunatic faith. But perhaps the true depths of Nihilism are plumbed rather by sheer heteronomy, the loss of all faith in the self as impulsive, lazy and hedonistic that inspires desperation for some infallible leader to absolve all personal responsibility with infallible truth received from on high. Indeed, Existential inadequacy from comparing so poorly to God and Divine perfection, is actually a common complaint. And just as the false characterization of all science as Reductionism is often deployed for launching argument from ignorance and lack of imagination, likewise moral Nihilism and even Nihilistic value destruction is falsely thrust upon us as the only default position without firm grounds upon the certified word of God. but Godliness ever promising certainty, simply cannot deliver. And to legitimize meaningful values including morality only by appeal to God, is at best redundant or worse actually mocks and denies inherent value of intrinsic worth as sheer Ecclesiastical futility. For such is Theo-crypto-Nihilistic value destruction, ultimate hypocrisy because it masquerades as hope and trust.
Hence perhaps the most important reason to forsake belief in God, is because the very concept of relationship with God obstructs genuine faith by removing the burden thereof.
Whereas then, Atheism is merely an expression of autonomy, and scientific rationalism is no more than the Epistemology of autonomy. An Atheist, simply and straightforwardly, is one who does not believe in God or gods. But there is another related term, Agnostic, meaning one not knowing or professing ignorance in regards to any question of the existence of God. And this has engendered much confusion, because, from the standpoint of the Scientific Rationalism usually underling Atheism, the default is disbelief. And so, barring any particular knowledge from Empirical evidence to the contrary, one would scarcely suspect, much less opine or believe in, the existence of God any more than the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster or for that matter indeed Santa Claus. And so, that would suggest that utter and complete Agnosticism is actually sufficient to Atheism. Indeed, the very uncertainty professed of Agnosticism ought to require any serious evidentiary support whatsoever for whatever tantalizing suspicion of any possible existence of God at all, just to raise so much as a specter of doubt at all! (Unless an Agnostic, perhaps in the most in monumental Socratic irony, where to actually claim and thence begin from complete ignorance even of the entire question, rather than actual indecision with the known arguments and evidence.) But from any religious standpoint wherein the certainty of reveled truth is professed, Theists often insist that since otherwise one cannot know anything for certain, indeed, because only positive assertions are directly supportable while negative assertions are supportable at all only by an ongoing and endless process of elimination, therefore Atheists are more properly merely Agnostics. Worse, because religion in quest for impossible and unnecessary transcendental certainty appeals more to the test of faith, as a human need and value to be redeemed and recovered, rather than any standard of objective reality testing in the embrace of healthy skepticism and systematic doubt, Theists generally assume that an Agnostic is lost, yearning for the reawakening to worship. In other words, by just such circumlocutions, many Theists, in their priorities mandating a practical rejection of Ontology, utterly and blithely refuse to even recognize the very opinion of Atheism in and of itself as possible human state or frame of mind! -Which, even granting every natural human proclivity towards animism, still seems somewhat pigheaded.
Prospects of reconciliation of religion into science or of science into religion?
Proselytizing is so obnoxious, unwelcome and ultimately ineffective, because: proselytizing is intrusive propaganda and indoctrination, indeed nowadays so often delivered via SPAM. Proselytizing is typically schmaltzy and phony, feigning deeply personal sincerity, but actually bogus impersonal advertisement in regurgitation of rote liturgy of one kind or another, often hostile and demeaning, closed upon ever the same demand of enthusiastic cult consensus. Indeed, the faithful are often admonished to shun heterodox outside influence. How then, are they to reach out to the world? "Join us, brothers and sisters, or go to Hell!" For the last thing such dogmatists ever care to do is get into anybody else's head! Manichean dogmatists can only deplore heresy and heretics, indeed as they regard one another, unless they belong to the same cult. Therefore in actuality, most proselytizing is actually an Ulterior Transaction of co-validation in "preaching to the choir" or else when more honestly in accordance with classic insider-outsider dilemma of sharing purported externally intransmissible communal revelation, not precision targeted at all, but a SPAM-like shot gun approach to promotion, the metaphorical scattered seed falling on barren or fallow ground as the wind, the proverbial breath of God, carries it, an outreach intended for those scattered amongst the populace, already sympathetic, ripe and susceptible, and not any attempt at persuasion otherwise at all. For it is the exceptional proselytizer, indeed perhaps even Christ-like, who seeks to understand and relate to their audience, especially an audience of which they are not themselves already a part. And rarest of all is honest respect rather than manipulative cynicism. Notably insightful, for example, is the sage advice for Christian proselytizing targeted at Muslims, to the effect that Islamic preoccupation with superficial ritual cleanliness betrays a deep concern with sin, to which the promise of redemption as offered by Christianity may find deep and resonating appeal. But provincial failure of imagination is the more pronounced when confronted with real controversy beyond Theological fine points within readily discoverable existing affinity. For by contrast, religious appeals to science and reason tend to be patronizing and fraudulent. The heteronomy fostered by religion tends to be threatened by and hostile towards the autonomy fostered by science and reason, no less than as towards all other attachments and motivations than those of religion and heteronomy. Indeed, it is any at all sincere virtue values of honesty fostered within religion that are ever vulnerable to be swayed by rigors of the scientific quest for truth. After all, it's dogma not reason, that so frequently makes the speaker whereof blush with hypocrisy.
Theology has never emerged from Metaphysics because the entirely hypothetical problems, conundrums and entire corpus of argument in a vacuum that is Theology even yet remain entirely bereft of any detectably correspondent reality for Empirical scientific investigation. Nevertheless, abstract good or value which defies description in in terms any worldly physical properties of things or phenomena, and therefore often laid claim by Theology and religion, is actually qualitative intangible idea and motivation contingent upon no end of circumstances that are nonetheless very real even though as yet, the Scientific Method cannot address Axiological questions beyond simply describing different Axiologies as characteristic of different individuals and cultures. Hence, Axiology strives to emerge from Metaphysical discourse into scientific investigation. And yet, though there are no end of vexingly vague and confusing moral grey areas, conflicts and fine distinctions, some simpler moral assertions do remain seemingly plainer and more enduring.
After all, Philosophy endures as the incubator of emergent new fields of science. And science that unlike religion must strive for impartiality, is often criticized by various Mystics of an alleged prior commitment to materialism. But science is an Empirical study of objective reality. Hence, if commitment to materialism as alleged is seen as so prejudicial, then the remedy, a revolution in science, would be Empirical objective study that is not materialistic. But what form would that take, and how might such an undertaking even be possible and accessible to science? What might be the central inquiry, questions or problems? What manner of hypothesis? By what standards of evidence and conditions of refutation? By what protocols and experimental controls?
Indeed: What are the functions of prayer and how are they accomplished? By what method and procedure? Indeed, where if at all, does religious and occult intuitionism draw the boundary with sheer magic and magical realism of fairytales and likewise wishful thinking, desperate and willful or entirely unpremeditated? According to a study by University of Chicago lead by Nicholas Epley, lonely people are more likely to believe in the supernatural, whether that is God, angels or miracles. Indeed, other scientific studies, particularly such as recently financed from religious sources, by the John Templeton Foundation particularly, contend that religion helps with stress, health and longevity. But so do marriage and pets, or so we are also told. So, if religious belief and practice are beneficial, does that then recommend self dishonesty and even painful and debilitating heteronomy if and as ever necessary thereto? After all, understanding, as facilitated my scientific rationalism, has been observed to inspire active confidence, assuaging anxiety in the face of the unknown. Now, whatever feels more reassuring may be the point of religion, whether or not so openly, but since when is any of that a criteria of successful science in quest of truth? What science has always offered religion is criticism, ever constrained by the church until science finally broke free.
Any serious project then, of reconciliation between science and religion will be challenging indeed, given such manifest contradiction between rational inquiry and Empirical investigation of science under systematic doubt, versus the willfully wishful thinking of religion and ideology. Scientific evidence of the existence of God, or in corroboration of whatever other ideological tenet, would only remove the requirement of doctrinal faith, while doctrinal faith, even the doctrinal faith in the process or results of science itself, remains shabby and unscientific. Science is faliblist, while religion and ideology are infaliblist. How can faliblism and infaliblism ever be reconciled as in the stated endeavor of the John Templeton Foundation?
Quite trivially, most any assertions, such as rummaged from whatsoever among any scientific hypotheses plus any religious beliefs, can be imaginatively synthesized in to any new fiction however pleasing.
But would merely such achieve the vaunted quest of religious and scientific reconciliation? Or might it be more honest and productive first to begin with identification and confrontation with whatever true bones of contention between faith and reason? To begin with, because science deals in testable hypotheses with conceivable experimental outcomes of refutation, therefore there remains the question of the very relevance at all of Theology to science, much less conflict between them, given how Theological doctrines tend to be untestable. lacking in clear conditions of conceivable refutation.
Can there be howsoever religious application to science? Yes, there is certainly all manner of scientific study of religion indeed including appeal, alleged health benefits and more, but seldom, from any religious vantage or concern, unless to the point of however biased distortion in the vested interests of religion or fraudulent validation of Theology. But sincere attempt at application of science to Theological questions is not inconceivable. And so, in the unlikely contingency that anyone might ever actually be motivated to pursuit after curiosity, I have gone ahead and invented full blown and from the very thin air, two scientific specialties pursuing different distinct religious or Theological concerns, but without biased distortion in the vested interests of religion or fraudulent validation of Theology, that I have respectively dubbed: Endotheology and Theophysics:
As computer analogies are current in physics and ecology, action and reaction, particularly as constituent in homeostasis, become comparable to responsive internal state monitoring, then euphemistically referred to as life or even awareness. Unfortunate mythological amplification and distortion then ensues until, either at superficial appraisal, all such rhetoric be naught but the Theological Sophistry, equivocation and slight of hand of typical apologetics, or else otherwise, just idiosyncratic language in the poetical indulgence of Atheistic false piety. Nevertheless, for fear of undue reduction in case there may, after all, be anything more conscious and directed at work than meets the eye, let anyone seeking thereof first contemplate the sheer physical and computational requirements, if, in faith, they are at all serious about advancing beyond unvarnished Science Fantasy and at long last building a model and formulating and fleshing out any cogent viable and testable hypothesis of universal consciousness and at long last undertaking the challenge of Theophysics! My challenge to the likes of the John Templeton Foundation, is to put up or shut up: If religion seeks to undertake science, then with any of the vast resources now so wistfully lavished upon mendacious apologetics and Public Relations hot air, let them do it! And damn their tiresome hypocrisy. However slim the prospects for success, the uplifting vindication of science is in the fruitfulness even of failure. After all, as things stand, some even allege none too secret religious inspiration and even the hand of the Vatican, in the true genesis of Inflationary Theory that has produced such bizarre and some might even say: nigh Theological conundrums of modern Cosmology already, indeed similarly too long wandering in nigh Metaphysical mathematical abstraction of conjecture and falling behind in the Empirical support or refutation from Astronomical observation.
For, after all, there has been such much talk of and some effort too, and lately so generously well funded thanks to the John Templeton Foundation, at reconciliation, to render compatible or consistent (and one would hope, with reciprocal integrity), of science and religion. So, how well does any of that truly adhere to the will of the late John Templeton, who, having by then become an atheist, then died so poignantly lonely for his imaginary friend Christ, endowed his foundation for the mission of inquiry into the big questions? Indeed, what, literally, is actually ever signified, by reconciliation of science and religion? What can it even mean to reconcile undertaking the explanation of the unknown by the known with such presupposition as the explanation of the known via the unknown, indeed, at least allegedly, the mysterious and unknowable? -never mind precisely how...
Sigmund Freud, the founder of Psychoanalysis, classified religion under “obsessional neurosis”, suggesting that a belief in a God was the result of an “immature infantile helplessness” to then seek comfort in the fantasy of an omnipotent protector. The Roman Catholic metaphor of their community, the congregation and even the personal union of marriage, all under the Holy Ghost, represents the heteronymous paradigm of relationship in broadest social context and leadership of course, whereas a perhaps healthier and certainly more autonomous perspective upon social integration, remains that of society as the aggregate or network extending ever outwards from each directly interpersonal relationship between individuals. Indeed, virtually all religion even still exhorts personal relationship with God, in contrast to how, for example, Albert Einstein, who had such difficulty relating to others, instead strove to fathom the mind of a possibly metaphorical but explicitly impersonal God, through the ongoing inquiry of physics. I myself am well acquainted with a somewhat eccentric metrology aficionado who, when he takes umbrage and personal betrayal because a local television news team weather forecaster gets it wrong, I express amazement at his utterly blithe fantasy as if they were really even acquainted! So I generally urge him instead, to close ranks with those precious few he truly respects and care for him.
For, all of these are standard examples of desperately lonely and rejected infantile projection of attachment and relationship, so desperately seeking comfort. Emotional Intelligence pertains to real interpersonal relationship, as even in the bonds of ordinary friendship. But does social intelligence at least nowadays, demand such attachment to society as an abstract? Because, conformist heteronomy often seems to fantasize some kind of intimacy between the individual and, not even any neighborhood of long reciprocal acquaintance, let alone whatever ones own imbedded immediate social networks, but the broadest and most indifferent if not actually abusive and alienating aspects or facets of the mass society and culture as a whole into which they are born or later entered into.
And all such seems sheer delusional affect of Pathetic Fallacy, lending to social reality such vividness and affect! But interpersonal emotional intelligence aside, what can ever become of my social intelligence without it? I confront hostility or simple indifference from society, lifelong. So, I still fail to attach to society as a whole, in all of its abstraction and anonymity, as it indeed, reciprocally, society so often quite fails to embrace me, personally. Nor does that seem very surprising. So, is this a disorder or merely civic dissidence? Quoth the disciples of Emanuel Swedenborg: "We hear about "victimless" crimes, but society is the victim. We live in society with others, and what one does to oneself affects society. C.S. Lewis illustrated this by comparing society with a fleet of ships sailing in formation—if one goes off course, the whole fleet is harmed." Nevertheless, considering how society simply isn't a person, can it be appropriate to pity society whatever sense of injured sensibility? No, indeed, being that society is not a person, a proverbial Leviathan, but whatever existing web of connection and support between individuals, therefore what undermines the fabric of society is not challenge to tradition, control and authority in order to promote progress, but domineering intolerance, undue hostility and incivility under any whatever such transparently hypocritical pretexts. Therefore, I, for one, often find it difficult to sympathies with whatever sense of injured sensibility attributed to the collective entity of society, anymore than I can pity God who grieves over my sins, especial whenever should I fail the most ludicrous, petty and actually indecent social expectations of cliquish knaves and bullies. And patronizing emotional blackmail only adds insult to injury. Indeed, I particularly resent cowardly inexplicit and often self-serving peer pressure from individuals so blatantly cowering behind the herd mentality when they clearly suspect exposure the weakness of whatever their own position. And so I actually find myself ashamed whenever I catch myself yielding to overbearing social peer pressure.
There have been successful programs to help well meaning civil servants break free from bureaucratic isolation, and reconnect with their clients and with their own long lost relevant and pro-social career motivations. And the implications are astonishing: This means that under the correct optimal conditions, government can actually love you! Indeed, for the fortunate and included, all manner warmth and support derive from functional close nit social networks in any social context. Nevertheless, it remains that society in the abstract, the broadest, pervasive and most anonymous social environment, can only love, perhaps, celebrities. And to reiterate, expectation otherwise is sheer Pathetic Fallacy. Democracy and autonomy can only abhor the brutal subjugation of the self into the whole.
Indeed, is the social environment really any more personal or conscious than the natural physical environment, let alone the technological environment subsumed to our comfort and convenience? Surely, likewise, our failing societies can never be validated except as a mechanism explicitly for meeting the needs of each individual, effectively and transparently. Democracy in principle is only a definition for a healthy relationship between the individual and any society that values, fosters and respects autonomy. After all, any better more tolerant society must build more transparent bridges and conduits between individuals, eschewing the all to common roadblocks and social minefields. Indeed, any screening criteria should likewise serve the needs, fulfillment and preferences of the individual in question, not any other self serving third parties, and not even under typical implicit bullying pretext of safety after all actually only seeking conditioned compliance under typical threatening and coercive subtext in ubiquitous reward and punishment systems and institutions.
For do we not hold such truths to be self evident?
Sigmund Freud, the founder of Psychoanalysis, classified religion under “obsessional neurosis,” suggesting that a belief in a God was the result of an “immature infantile helplessness” to then seek comfort in the fantasy of an omnipotent protector. It is a truism, even something of a platitude, that nothing is brought away from mystical experiences that wasn't prior baggage going into them in the first place, and that such is the entire learning opportunity of all soul-searching: of evaluation or reevaluation, of Axiology. For the allegedly marvelous and miraculous that are staple of heteronymous religion frequently misses the metaphor entirely, obscuring any relevant moral of mere human responsibility and autonomy. Indeed, even in the New Testament it is howsoever highland and dismissively suggested that manifest conclusive evidence of the existence of God would simply not improve mere mortal moral conduct. And that stands to reason. Even given an infallible God, conflicted fallible human beings can only deal with Him fallibly. Complete certainty is neither possible nor necessary, and nothing in life or science ever truly waits thereupon. Theism subscribing to Teleology must therefore cherish imperfect autonomy, strength of character at all and integrity, all as nevertheless God given. But religious heteronomy tends so vaingloriously to identify with God on high from persistently speaking with His authority. as thereby to have lost all perspective of the humility they so prize. But what other options remain in the face of such Theo-crypto-Nihilistic value destruction? In Freud's assessment, religion is to blame for people living repressed, unhappy and cheerless lives. Indeed, recent studies likewise correlate religion and Theism with animism as a coping mechanism for loneliness. Hence it must come as little surprise how in order to remain at all responsible and capable, so many people tend to compartmentalize Theistic religion away from other thought, simply in order to prevent impact upon responsible and practical decisions and behavior.
The most universally embraced tenets of morality are injunctions against simply inflicting harm upon others, and also therefore honest attention and effort to treat one another fairly rather than harming and demeaning by unfairness, by abrogation of equal rights to fair treatment and consideration due that will tend to inflict harm and danger that otherwise would be prevented. Additionally harm and fairness considerations, follow obligations for the sake of social cohesion that vary so markedly between autonomy and heteronomy. For heteronomy, social cohesion is important for all and may require even by enforcement, such sacrifice as modesty, obedience and even relative chastity, indeed Moralism that engenders guilt and morally dissonant inner conflict. Whereas for autonomy the most preferable modes of social cohesion as much as possible, instead are beneficial relationships and via the cultivation of democratic sensibility of fairness and responsibility of harm reduction in society. Heteronomy is a view of society from the top down and the individual member of society as the product thereof, whereas autonomy tends to value instead the social network from the individual and close relationships radiating outward. Hence the social skills and executive function of autonomy and democracy are very different from those of heteronomy and often vastly underserved. Lip service aside, alas that even the most heteronymously well meaning human domestication is often more readily provided than actual autonomy support and individual respect. And clearly this is both harmful and unfair.
Knowledge is awareness of truth (correspondence to reality) in assertions. Knowledge does not consist of justified true beliefs. Non Justificationism is the Epistemological Methodological hypothesis, that all hypotheses begin as unfounded conjecture, without a'priori criteria, subject only thereafter first to critical preference and then to reality testing. Firm grounds are neither possible nor necessary. Fallible human beings nevertheless learn, grow and progress, from our mistakes, by process of elimination narrowing the field of remaining viable hypotheses, hopefully ever less wrong and closer to truth. But how if at all, might Non Justificationism apply to moral Axiology that isn't even Ontological to begin with? Such articles of critical preference as theoretical elegance are indeed readily applicable also to Ethical frameworks, but reality testing of hypotheses including conditions of refutation, only applies to responsibility in regards to reasonably foreseeable real consequences of possible and practical alternatives of free choice, not abstract morality. The view of morality as evolutionary and therefore merely happenstantial, is problematical because that doesn't explain morality in and of itself, or how morality exists as any kind of dimension, phenomena or consideration, whereas (with whatever values however selfish and/or altruistic, simply taken as given), indeed any other view whatsoever of responsibility, save as pertaining to circumstances and foreseeable real consequences, hence indeed happenstantial, is what is problematical or simply oxymoronic. And heteronomy typically comes replete with exactly such the latter lunacy, especially Moralism and likewise the Perfectionism of Utopism, worst among pipedreaming malagenas, the doctrine that responsibility is impossible save in the lights of perfect (or justified) knowledge of whatever ultimate truth and/or towards whatever ultimate good (to which of course, the ends ever justify the means), responsibility is impossible. Thus by promising the impossible and the unnecessary, do high-minded scoundrels ever evade even the most minimum and ordinary of obligations and pedestrian expectations of minimal responsibility to which private citizens, service providers and public officials are held accountable under democratic civility and the rule of law. -By entirely removing responsibility from foreseeable consequence, into a realm of perfect and pure abstraction. Such mad and dangerous Utopist thinking remains entirely distinct from what is simply Utopian merely in terms of even laudably embracing high ideals or altruistic ambitions entirely without the madness of Utopist ideology.
Eudaimonic well-being consists of: personal growth, purpose in life, autonomy, environmental mastery, positive relations with others and self-acceptance. Enfolding self-regulation, action in line with one’s true self and deep values, and striving to integrate the different aspects of oneself, thus endorsing one’s activities rather than being controlled by external or internal pressures, persistence, cognitive flexibility, conceptual learning, creativity, and vitality; autonomy therefore correlates negatively to extrinsic motivators such as money, material possessions, image, and status. Eudemonia is not asceticism. Opulent standards of living are among the great achievements of industry and automation. But relative comfort is only the beginning. Eudemonia embraces life, work and play, not just acquisition and possession. Leading a life, and not just making a living, depth, not just immediacy, quality over quantity. Real growth in every sense, not just economic boom and bust: In entrepreneurial terms, creation of meaningful value, not empty travail.
Freedom and power require both capability and autonomy.
“It is less important to redistribute wealth than it is to redistribute opportunity.”
Anti-critical bias is the prejudice to the effect that doubt paralyzes, that dispute leads to strife and the incapacity to cooperate, and that criticism is a form of aggression and an expression of antagonism and hostility. And that is just poor sportsmanship. Whereas, the open democratic society thrives upon good sportsmanship and good fun in adversarial process, in doubt and the acknowledgement of fallibility, upon the exchange of criticism in order to expose and learn from one's own mistakes, hence of dispute as the means of cooperation in error detection and course correction.
Thus, one might hope and expect the function of education in democratic open society to be the cultivation in students of all ages, in children especially, the habit of thinking for themselves, feeling for themselves, freely challenging accepted ideas or suggesting improvements to the existing social order, the practice of trial and error, learning from mistakes, and having an independent sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-respect. In brief: the function of education in the open society, so one would expect, would be to cultivate in children the habit of autonomy. Alas, lip service notwithstanding, as we shall see, instead, formal education functions to cultivate and entrench heteronomy.
The struggle for autonomy liberates desire and curiosity, problem solving in order to overcome whatever obstacles instead of surrendering to them, instead of learned helplessness, beaten and apathetic moribund obsessive disinterest and aversive taboo characteristic of heteronomy which propagates together with panic because heteronomy is the primal Psychological panic reaction, mechanism and social institutions of denial and last ditch unity in deep seated dependency, in case of crisis, especially that of mortality and death. And as with most any Psychiatric disorder, the condition may long outlive whatever initiating trauma or issues. While dogmatic, anti-critical, suspicious, closed minded and obsequious heteronomy in particular may well outlive any whatever supporting rationalizations of religion, ideology or creed. Epistemologically and Methodologically, heteronomy typically strives to quell doubt viewed as weakness, often by sheer commitment as measured by all manner of personal investment and self sacrifice, where autonomy embraces fallibility and seeks to dispel doubt by investigation and experiment.
In order to be sustained in practice, values must be reinforced, kept both in view and within reach. Heteronymous false values are typically promulgated by heavy indoctrination and conditionality, whereas the striving for true human values is awakened by sheer temptation in the form of autonomy support and the Capability Approach together with the sociability that remains alert to opportunity to include others, especially those who seem left out, socially, in activities and conversations, let alone substantive cooperation and intensive networking of life opportunity.
Heteronomy, the very opposite of autonomy, is by infantilizing conditioned preference from bitter experience with whatever sort of actual punishment and reward systems, demoralizing subtext only ever signaling the dire lack of intrinsically motivating value thereby eliciting overjustification effect, especially school, the internalization of submission as part of ones own sense of what is good and moral behavior, even the conflict aversion characteristic of Stockholm Syndrome, conformity beholden to external influences, or subjugation to some external rule; especially as contingent upon a covertly dependant and immature lack of the needed empathy to relate to others with any caring, consideration, moral compass, principled criticality, freedom or self-determination, wherein acutely refined and hypersensitive social intelligence to vested interest develops in compensation for such impaired emotional intelligence, hence even a deep and ostensibly high-minded contempt towards all self regard and the rejection of individual responsibility in all of it's manifest subjectivity (hence risk of error in forming an opinion or the snare of intolerance by taking any stand at all), as any source of ethical obligations or of moral behavior, exhorting instead, reliance upon any manner of worldly or transcendent authority or upon any certitude substitute especially consensus, standardization of life, "providing structure," leading in turn, to stifling authoritarianism even however arbitrary, in desperate preservation of order whatsoever from the decidophobic perceived dire threat of individual hedonism and laziness, recreational indolence that, in self fulfilling prophesy of bored transitory unsaturated hedonism ever desperate for the next fix of distraction, indeed ever looms over the heteronymous without autonomy to define lasting Eudemonia.
Indeed the tragedy of heteronomy is rooted in the motivating allure thereof, the incapacitating guilty anxiety, fear and and loathing in dread of individual responsibility in the face of uncertainty and risk, and how exactly the sheer futility even of the most artfully minimized indoctrination is, in truth, simply the more insidious than merciful let alone certain or risk free in the manner that true freedom clearly is not. Heteronomy is reluctant to relinquish any position until manifestly untenable, and even then, only surreptitiously. The timidity of heteronomy is a desperation vested only in the social order and to the exclusion of autonomy in individual attachment and respect, risk taken in friendship and vested in talent, with trust placed in content of character.
It's not just singles who suffer, left out: The affiliation, however genial, of neighborhood parents with little else in common, is often fallow ground for any deeper connection. And matching couples, demands compatibility by a factor of four. Alas that we have fallen prey to an heteronymous dependency upon the stifling behaviorally structured environments of school and employment, to provide propinquity for forging close and enduring friendships: convenient proximity, repeated unplanned interaction, and a setting for unguarded moments to confide in one another. Hence clichéd social advice typically centers upon recourse to even more arbitrary behavioral structure, such as facilitated by hanging out at the same bars, discos or gyms etc., interminably, or joining and subordinating oneself to various clubs or undertaking the drudgery of volunteer work. But in the alternative, reliance upon spontaneity alone, is futile without actual habits of spontaneity. For autonomous intrinsically motivated interaction to provide the same and actually better social opportunity, the participants must be responsible and indeed intrinsically motivated to continually reengage one another of their own accord, and to network and exchange social support, all even without behavioral structure of schedule or proximity for regular chance reencounter. Exactly such scarce initiative, the lost social skill set of autonomy fallen so out of fashion and into such disrepair, is especially crucial, reciprocally, for sustaining any forward momentum, interpersonally. Too long domesticated, then without any routine provided us, we degenerate into such passive, confused and mistrustful sheeple adrift!
A frank and honestly stated creed of heteronomy might read somewhat thus: I refuse to openly explore challenges for which I do not already have handed down to me the fully rendered solution, and certainly not from any perspective of intrinsic motivation. I see no future in such pipedreams so devoid of all prior foundation or justification! I cleave to the straight and narrow of dogma. I remain utterly disinterested in seeking truth, much less undertaking feasibility study. My life has been planned for me and there is no need to consult anybody else. Therefore, I do not care to argue, I can't enjoy it, I will only take criticism as insult and I can remain completely oblivious to any taboo question, no matter how pressing. I am proud that I have done as expected, so why shouldn't you? Stop rocking the boat, and maybe you can be popular too! My scorn and ridicule protect others from seduction onto your path of folly.
At least the affection when I pet a dog must be at all genuine, because dogs can tell! It's really not that heteronymous persons, deep down, really can't detect flagrant insincerity, but rather that as social approval seekers, they often actually prefer blatant insincerity. Insecure people with extreme interpersonal trust issues are often well known instead often, via retreat into utter fantasy, to seek perceived security in sheer conditionality. Only genuine personal contact actually needs to be at all sincere. Indeed the last thing precisely such bogus and damnable simplistic know-it-all sanctimony could ever motivate pursuit whereof, would be actually to cultivate improved and more perceptive emotional intelligence and thereby to risk transparency, criticism and the disillusioning exposure of sheer human fallibility that might even engender any iota of actual humane sympathy.
Epistemologically and Methodologically, heteronomy rejects all real and uncertain hope such as of Cryonics and radical life extension, demanding instead, impossible guarantees such as in religion, or failing that, despairs into Nihilism, and even then therefore still typically strives to quell doubt viewed as weakness, often by sheer commitment as measured by all manner of personal investment and self sacrifice, whereas autonomy striving in uncertainty, nevertheless to solve problems and improve life, instead embraces fallibility and seeks to dispel doubt by investigation and experiment. Thus Heteronomy is notoriously reluctant to relinquish any position no matter how bleak, until manifestly untenable, and even then, only surreptitiously. Any prejudice such as Racism or Sexism never stands out but actually fades from notice within the bigoted milieu or setting, and it is much the same with Deathism here and now. Perhaps out of sheer decidophobia, more common milder degrees of Deathism are purposefully designed so as to allow gradual and surreptitious progress, but without surrender of all manner of investment in complacency of status quo, instead to the investment and opportunity, of hope and desire implicit to open embarkation upon the anxiety provoking experimental fallible uncertainty of anything as yet seemingly so distant in abstraction as of practical immortality.
Hence even the taboos against Cryonics and Radical Life Extension may be regarded as only a special application of the much broader taboo upon relevance itself and even upon hope at all. But it is precisely the rational capacity for abstract reasoning along with every beneficial accomplishment therefrom, that differentiates the human condition, and embrace whereof that defines Humanism.
Know thy self, thy place and station in life, and the truth of your destiny will set you free from uncertainty, because behavioral structure will always inform you exactly where you stand. Such was the heteronymous authoritarian god-fearing heteronymous admonition of the Oracle at Delphi.
Whereas: The positive value of personal autonomy enfolds principles of self-integration resistant to the ego-alien denial characteristic of whatever heteronymously "appropriate" mold. Hence, full autonomy, the real and effective capacity to develop and pursue ones own conception of a worthwhile life, can often be extremely difficult, but at all more readily achievable under however more socially supportive conditions. There can be no preparative inculcation for autonomy, save by the practice thereof. Indeed, Artificial Psychology posits that autonomous value judgment, difficult to conceive of except as inalienable from identity and therefore consciousness, will be inextricably fundamental to any human like intelligence. Epistemological, autonomousy, in science as in day to day functionality, getting by without certainty remains entirely feasible and routine, by living in reasonable doubt which is only healthy and responsible. Heteronymous reliance upon authority for delusional certainty is therefore unnecessary.
Atheism is merely a rational expression of autonomy, and scientific rationalism no more than the Epistemology of autonomy. Thus the question evaded in seeking to reconcile science and faith, reason with unreason, becomes the struggle how to reconcile autonomy and heteronomy. And the answer is only by each watering down the other. And exactly therein lies the appeal, such as may be, even to eat ones cake and have it too, or so to pretend. The real problem may be that the inability of the panicked and guilt ridden heteronymous to understand autonomy as anything more than sheer Id, selfish impulse. Hence misguided appeal to heteronymous self abnegation and tyrannical ever mounting inner conflict as a path to psychological balance.
All mature and functional attachments of social relationship under autonomy are ethical, being predicated upon trust and fulfillment of such expectations, lack or abrogation whereof creating distance, even loathing and avoidance, or else ambivalence, mistrust and dysfunction, indeed if not amoral sociopathy outright, then the shattered confidence and compensations thereto of heteronomy. Weak attachment makes for weak conscience. Thus heteronymous covert relational hostility working to to undermine those attachments in society, shunning and mobbing, even well organized orchestrated harassment, thereby conspire with impunity by means of social exclusion, to harm and endanger the target of exactly such serial bullying.
Functional and relevant relationship, even in the most transitory sense of immediate interaction let alone lasting attachment, remains oppressively impossible from the sheer cargo cult mimesis that is mere social intelligence into behavioral structure. Rather, relationship arises either from free and coherent communication, indeed from common purposeful endeavor or else from the seduction of play and the dignity of social risk with trust, security, ultimately openness in yielding to temptation, all the aforesaid that are the competencies of autonomy, along with organization and congenial social grace to manage and sustain contacts, reciprocally. -All that is such anathema and typically obstructed by such drone-like heteronymously arbitrary social acumen, skilled incompetence and cronyism, that everywhere buttresses the tacit institutionalization and twisted value of all the most flagrant insensitivity and ineptitude imaginable, the bad driving out the good, and worse, actingout the destructive evil that is rampant bullying. Indeed, gregariousness and engaging personality may even be reviled as subversive and impertinent to a malagenda of sheer heteronymous group validation in sheer denial of all such profound endemic and pandemic alienation from the innate and intrinsic drives of human expression and connection. .
When decisions regarding endeavors beyond solitary well formed planning with only individual resources and ability, are entrusted in due course to whomever the people with whatever specific knowledge, expertise, capacity or responsibility to make such decisions, the individuals who make these decisions experience authority, capability and autonomy. But barring extreme self sufficiency from that point forward, only if their decisions are respected and seriously followed through by others. Such cooperation is often structured hierarchically or else may be considered as envisaged here on FoolQuest.com, reciprocally among equals, or then again, even imagined as remaining largely unstructured, spontaneous cooperation. But realistically, the latter dubious Anarchism may be dismissed as pipedreaming wherein the intention and striving characteristic of autonomy are despised in very principle as in Not-Doing and the irresponsibly indifferent Behaviorist heteronomy to situation.
Heteronomy is motivated from the Transactional inner controlling parent and inner adaptive child dyad, whereas autonomy is grounded in a healthy ego, a strong inner adult and inner natural child. Fuller information and best critical thinking for good faith sensemaking essential to all narrative reconstruction of events towards plausibility at all, is available only from the Transactional adult ego state, and not to the inner controlling parent and inner adaptive child, depending upon variable tolerance for sheer petty conditionality as a price for security at all, many simply yearn and strive to fit in one way or another, while others in society who undergo positive maladjustment therefore aspire to autonomy. the free self-organization and administration of their own affairs from the bottom upward. Individually purposeful endeavor and motivation is an expression of autonomy. But competence in planning, organizing and following instructions challenges both personal resources and social aptitude, often unto frustration and distress. Boredom may often result from and/or exacerbate incompetence in planning, organizing and following instructions, as well as the lack of purposeful endeavor and motivation.
is the beginning of the state or condition of
attachment which is
an ongoing, remembered or anticipated and even yearned for state of
hence according to Self-Determination Theory, secure
characterized by attention and responsiveness to one another's needs when
turning toward one another to obtain comfort and care. Indeed, prime features
autonomy include initiative, the
of enterprise and determination that affords any capacity to
The genially agreeable positivity of a toady or utter tool, along with the humility of attention to others, is often extolled over egotistical opinionated honesty, humor, intelligence, fun, creativity, talent and all the seeking of even positive attention for oneself. Indeed sensitivity in paying attention to others is an expression of emotional intelligence of true friendship, but is impossible until contact is first established, and thus may often turn out to be quite irrelevant socially. Heteronymous social skills demand instead attention and approval to be lavished instead upon consensus and even obsessive collective identity, the Orwellian love towards Big Brother. And the chronic exploitation and jealous rage of bullying rewards only negative attention from destructive behavior, while punishing merit, positive attention and especially responsibility.
Not only the most flagrant neurotics fearfully spurn all their heart's desires by clinging instead to insecure maladaptation. Actual human motivation is often neither from intrinsic arousal in whatever the doing for its own sake, nor even merely extrinsic for whatever hoped for payoff. Hence, people by in large are neither just impulsive nor are they opportunistic and/or cautious rational agents. Rather their compelling motivation may turn out to be such as will be found in whatever their perception of vested interest, of which even the ongoing self justification, however deranged and hypocritical, that is called: Existential Validation, is only an aspect. Vested interest is whatever personal stake or special interest in protecting or promoting that whereof derives howsoever perceived personal benefit or advantage. Even what little that passes for moral restrictions at all, may largely reflect the individual vested interest in whatever social order that in turn at all both intimidates and protects said individual by whatever much the same credible threat. People often become motivated only by buying into indoctrination, by internalizing extrinsic motivators, one way or another into whatever particular investment of sacrifice. And people are notoriously reluctant to let loose of past sacrifice invested, no matter how clearly in vein. Otherwise, should indoctrination and sublimation fail, coercion alone accrues alienation and depression. And this is why faith is so prized: Because it promotes the heteronymous illusion of belonging.
Whatever is ever truly invested in the individual may reflect what is vested in said individual by others. In particular, in a truly functional circle of friends, networking by others on behalf of an individual ideally best and most straightforwardly serves the interests, preferences, needs and desires of said individual in true and abiding autonomy supportive respect. Alas more often, within the attachment disordered racket of exploitative cliques, there arises considerable moral hazard, being: circumstances in which one party, with impunity, insulated from risk, is prone to act on another's behalf expending whatever that other's resources, tangible or intangible, in advance of entirely any other agenda than simply the best interests, preference, needs and desires of the individual ostensibly served. And the individual so exploited, in rationalizing cognitive dissonance often simply makes do actually because of their own fearful prior investment of sacrifice and vested interest accrued. Thus are individuals so often manipulatively deceived, brought together or wedged apart for various scheming exploitative advantage of amoral sly self serving sociopathic relational bullies, hypocritical gang stalking predatory cockblockers and worse.
The innate aggressive imperative of pleasure principle is motivation to avoid pain and thereby harm even while seeking gratification, immediate and impulsive or else realistically deferred, and thereby, ultimately, advantage. And hope is no less indispensible. Indeed, beyond maintaining past gains in peace, only by ever and further raised expectations, the sweetness of temptation fired by ambition, does even the brightest flower of robust democracy ever rise to improve and exceed sheer complacent and orderly mediocrity.
Among the nine basic affects, only two are involved in creating the emotions and sensations that lead to an experience of happiness, or perhaps more accurately, of eustress and gratification, and are placed them all on a mild-to-intense-spectrum as enjoyment-joy: pleasure and interest-excitement: involving engagement which is the gateway to attachment. However, beyond affects alone, the remaining crucial factor in the Happiness Formula remains meaning in the deepest sense. "Pleasure is terrifying because it breaks down the boundaries between people. Embracing passion means living with fear." writes Erica Jong in: 'The Zipless Fantasy'.
Although happiness is not an emotion, the mood-elevating qualities of many distinct emotions that involve a surge of pleasure and increased motivation are considered as a state of happiness. [...] An event that fulfills a personal fantasy about the possibility of something amazing happening to you will trigger elation—the experience of unreality, euphoria, and confidence that is extraordinarily energizing and makes you want to broadcast the good news (DeRivera, Possell, Verette, & Weiner, 1989). In contrast to elation, the emotion of gladness is created by a less intense hope that is fulfilled, and it is experienced as relaxation and relief (DeRivera, et al., 1989). But relief itself is considered to be a happy or positive emotion. Relief is felt when something that had strongly stirred up your emotions subsides (Ekman, 2003). You may be familiar with the common expression of relief, a sigh, which seems to suggest that whatever has impacted you is let out in one deep breath. The emotion of joy involves [...] meaningful encounter—your heart feels “open” and you have a greater caring about others that seems to affirm life’s meaning (DeRivera, et al., 1989). Joy might be felt in a situation with others that you perceive to be a unique and pleasurable shared experience, and it is often accompanied by feelings of vigor, strength, and a readiness to engage in interpersonal interactions (DeRivera, et al., 1989; Frija, 1986). [...] A surge of extreme [or even transcendent] pleasure is felt when the emotion of bliss is activated. [Not only, say, reconnection with long absent loved ones, but though perhaps at all less tangibly and the more abstract, likewise elevated sensation of engagement in meaning in the deepest sense even such as are called: spiritual], can trigger joy. Bliss is often felt as love, sensory or sexual pleasure, anticipation of high excitement, or a meditative state (Ekman, 2003). When a blissful state is experienced with someone you love, the craving and need to recreate it can be intense. And finally, amusement is the emotion felt in response to something funny or in reaction to other matters that have a humorous quality (Ekman, 2003).
— Psychology Today: Just Being Happy Can Be Complicated
___ Completely Off Course! "How can I structure the learning environment so my students experience autonomy?" Egadz!
While of course Psychodynamic Psychotherapy contends, reasonably enough, that self absorption with personal issues and traumas frequently present considerable obstacles and stumbling blocks in the pursuit of happiness until said issues and traumas are better resolved, the immoderate polarizational Manichaeism of the Zen not only demands annihilation from the very Phenomena, of metacognition, of self conscious reflection and distraction entirely, but utterly rejects any pursuit of happiness in worldliness, in external reality at all whatsoever. For the Zen test of faith demands the breaking of the spirit first, promising exaltation only thereafter. Yes, even beyond the introverited transitory flash of satori, Zen may indeed extol the value and promise intense states of engagement. But given Zen Nihilistic value destruction, then engagement with what exactly? The answer remains constant in optimistic Nihilism of the liberation of intense engagement via the extinction of ego, merely by engagement unselfconsciously in the present. - In short, in non attachment and sublime apathy with no preference regardless of circumstances or situation. But that is not my way. It may be your way. And welcome to it. Typical Zen equivocation. Bah, humbug! Freedom requires not apathy, but individual power, capability and autonomy.
In the alternative: Elisa cites "Colangelo [who] suggests that “meeting the cognitive needs of gifted students often simultaneously meets their social-emotional needs”. Or put another way (and I believe this could be extrapolated to also apply to gifted adults [indeed, why not to everyone, Elisa?]), if we are challenged intellectually, it’s highly likely that gifted adults will result in broader emotional satisfaction and be surrounded by a peer group. Those of us who are gifted know that ‘meeting [engaging] our cognitive needs’ is a high bar; however, if Colangelo is correct than he has also provided gifted adults with a roadmap for finding fulfillment." Indeed, it has long been observed how gifted students amongst their own true gifted peers, suddenly and mysteriously no longer require socialization! And what could ever be more productive and fulfilling than meaningful affective and cognitive engagement as a more rewarding and authentic apex of interpersonal interaction and social connection?
Full engagement puts forth clear goals, both immediate and over all, both action in the moment, with immediate observational feedback, and also whatever overall overriding plan or purpose, challenges matched to ability, neither frustrating nor boring, in control, unselfconscious, undistracted, so absorbed as often losing tack of time. Engagement and concentration, visceral or intellectual, elicits the intrinsic motivation of perseverance. Underserved stimulus needs of nurture for intelligence via optimal reciprocal engagement needs include steady emotional support, exploration and fun, active participation, sensory stimulation, with opportunity for social interaction, freedom from undue pressure and distress though suffused with a degree of pleasurable intensity or: eustress, with varied selection and alternatives of successive novel challenges, again, neither too easy and boring nor too difficult and frustrating, advancing in greater complexity promoting lifelong growth in a broad range of skills and interests, intellectual, physical, aesthetic, social and emotional.
As it turns out, self control tends to be by far the more debilitating under pressure than by at all free choice however constrained incidentally by circumstances or situation, even if not under entirely intrinsic motivation as such, then with respectful autonomy support which is the more persuasive to committal engagement and responsive action. Engagement means intensification or entry to begin with, into either interaction or merely focus of attention. Engagement increases with and also intensifies, the pleasure from motivating attraction of meaningful intrinsic value, subjectively, even in the face of adversity, even to the preference of stimulating moderate challenge. Serious fun, gratification and satisfaction in the effort and concentration necessary to do things well and progress in competence. Greater difficulty, though perhaps initially resisted, even spurs increased effort overcoming the resistance of more difficult obstacles, and thence accrues absorbing and engrossing deeper engagement wherein effort comes easily without reluctance, even to the point of loosing all track of time. And the strength of such values inspires all the more aversive revulsion and Existential disgust in whatever is deemed bereft thereof. It is a disappointing experience to become disengaged from eager or enthusiasm, while it is a positive relief to disengage from fretfully vigilant and guardedness. And people are generally happier when others are attentive and engaged with them. "Stimulus struggle" seeks engagement in arousing even if nonutilitarian frivolous activity or: play. An optimal level of arousal is highly correlated to intrinsic satisfaction and value, the flexible imagination towards the comparison of fresh perspectives upon experience that is called: perceptual freedom, and peak performance.
Indeed, being that engagement is the beginning of the state or condition of attachment which is an ongoing, remembered or anticipated and even yearned for state of engagement, hence according to Self-Determination Theory, secure attachment is characterized by attention and responsiveness to one another's needs when turning toward one another to obtain comfort and care. And in this regard, autonomy support, vital to engagement in challenge and mastery in one’s own activity, is no less crucial than any other comfort. Whereas, Humanism contends that character development is shaped entirely by personal values and standards free from instinctual pressures and conditioning, a high ideal but but in truth, few are ever actually quite so ruggedly self reliant. Napoleon Bonaparte was justifiably popular with his generals, because when he assigned each their part in pending operations, he left them each to work out the details as each as best they judged fit. And even though cogent explanation of the relevance of whatever task at hand, may be deemed more respectful and persuasive in eliciting cooperative compliance than the manipulative coercion of Behavioral Modification via structured punishment and reward systems, demoralizing subtext only ever signaling a dire lack of sufficiently engaging and even engrossing intrinsic value, thereby eliciting overjustification effect. Stressed out guarded and vigilant students and employees who demonstrate boredom and apathy have been learning not to care, even finding that disengagement from effort and rigorous intellectual endeavor to be the norm, and only want to quit and go somewhere else. And that's what makes it so frightening to consider that, after all, true autonomy features every right to refuse and to decline even the most rigorously considered recommendations and friendly advice. For even all such reasonableness as above simply does not go so far as, instead of knowing best and seeking compliance in the first place, and even whilst sparing no criticism, yet with no strings attached, honestly and whole heartedly fully abetting the other decision making person's perspective, objectives and priorities to begin with:
The better to foster autonomy, antithetical to the immoral patronizing manner typical of what passes for education, true autonomy support is an entirely legitimate intrinsic motivation in its own right, not some convenient motivator, and never to be rationed, prostituted or negotiable for insecure manipulative tactical leverage in any object lesson or practical illustration towards whatever sort of enlightenment into compliance. Employer, Teacher: Are you engage with others? Do either of you even know or much care what intensely interests, involves and engrossingly engages me?
Relevant living knowledge (as opposed to knowledge that is rightly called: inert), serving renewal and vitality, is growth, the experience of change put into practice, learned behaviors never immutable but ever subject to re-adaptation, emergent in collective interaction, tacit, highly charged and redolent, profoundly with the sensibility of drama, may even skirt the ineffable, often defying ready articulation let alone routine management via knowledge-driven Epistemology.
Respect is also not sexist Moralistic patronizing euphemistic stigma of feminine “virtue!”
Autonomy support is actually nothing more than at all howsoever empathetic consideration, the dignity of treatment with respect that everyone so craves, reciprocally among equals, consisting not only in the satisfaction of needs for competence and relatedness in one’s social environment, validation and acknowledgment of personal feelings and experience, but perhaps most crucially of the exchange of critical feedback and salient information for best possible decision making, and freedom of perhaps different and unexpected free choice in course of action to best suit personal needs, desires and priorities. -All of which requires a great deal of trust, faith, confidence or whatever one might call it, where ever vested, be it in others, in human nature, in principles, ease and fragile trust so readily challenged, undermine or brought in to doubt in oh so many ways, and with every momentary interaction, built up or torn down. Genuine autonomy support cannot be structured, conditioned or prostituted. Respect is more than mere tolerance and forbearance, because tolerance and forbearance by themselves indeed remain compatible with patronizing contempt that is the opposite of respect. In order to be sustained in practice, values must be reinforced, kept both in view and within reach. Heteronymous false values are typically promulgated by heavy indoctrination, but the striving for true human values is awakened by sheer temptation in the form of autonomy support and the Capability Approach.
Moreover, according to research, cross-culturally and therefore even regardless of explicit value of autonomy, individuals with a lower discrepancy between their actual and ideal self-concept report higher levels of well-being and individuals’ actual self-concept tends to be closer to their ideal self-concept when they benefit from the experience of relationship and interaction with truly respectful (autonomy supportive) partners. So, clearly, the exchange of autonomy support, in other words: authentic respect, is crucial to functional close friendship, autonomy itself being, after all, distinct from self sufficiency. And whereas love and understanding cannot and should not be summoned forth on command, respect may be a more appropriate expectation and a good habit in relating to others.
The dramatic scene breaks down into Motivation-Reaction Units: Immediate reactions are often reflexive, but then conscious deliberation ensues upon what action to take next. Or does it? Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually. Motivations and goals as ever set forth thereby, meaning as only created in the mind, values, moral sympathies and empathies included, so often ambivalent, are not willfully intended in free agency but received and imprinted in receptivity as we discover ourselves subject all thereto. Most dramatically, relationship, the impression made by characters upon one another, often dawns upon the individual in emotional response to events unfolding. Only then is action undertaken, consistently with characterization, often giving rise to conflict and Setting The scene.
Problem Solving and Justification are reciprocal functions, and one must be shaped to rationalize the other, with integrity or else into hypocrisy. When there arises a discrepancy between the feelings and activity of a character, tension mounts all the more, the greater the obstacles to resolution of whatever ambivalence and conflict. Therefore, Existentially, what is freedom, indeed for whom is freedom? Is freedom the Zen Mystical and Christian freedom from all desire, or the freedom from causality yearned for by Hinduism? Or just the contrary, is freedom is for the individual, the power to act upon individual motivation and priorities, simple whims or sophisticated principles, which are all, after all, causal and Deterministic ever to taking action? –Good reasons, even such as unfold in character growth and the cultivation moral advance, all the more so. In the alternative, indeed as it is so oft extolled that God's love is uncaused, how ever at all can freedom obtain from arbitrary random Indeterminacy? In the Zen quest for oneness, the enlightened man is said to be one with dharma, the law of causation, and the perceptions of Determinism on the one hand, or of freedom, willful choice and influence, on the other hand, are both error, presumably from uninspired failure to synthesize frames of reference: conscious subjective willful choice and objective Determinism, all into the correct Gestalt.
In plot oriented fiction, characters acted upon are forced to react to situation by whatever there is at stake, Deterministically. But in character oriented drama, characters in struggle advance the plot by conduct determined no less, but according to each their own natures of character. -Determinism is intrinsic to the character and temperament in action, rather than extrinsic and belonging to circumstances. For it is values, including cherished moral principles and sentiments, that motivate individual divergence from whatever path of least resistance, even at considerable personal sacrifice. And the dismissal all thereof as arbitrary because of Determinism or for lack of satisfactory Meta-Ethics, or for any other reason, is Nihilistic value destruction,
Objectively, indeed all is Deterministic, circumstances and people no less than any other things or phenomena in interaction within whatever situation or environment. When we disapprove of a bothersome chronic behavior, we deride the person's predictability. But of predictably constructive conduct, we praise that person's reliability. Determinism remains consistent either way, only value judgment differs. Indeed, even as the will and yearning for all manner and dimensions of joyful untroubled freedom and power, we may even tend to consider ourselves most free in being true to ourselves, such that we might each ourselves claim: If I had whatever particular decision into action to do again, I would by volition chose do it all exactly the same. But the previous only tends to apply in any matter in personal value judgment deemed of importance and hence as such crucial in defining of personal identity and cherished values of all what one stands for, and not just anything at all howsoever at all seemingly trivial. And hence the problem is not dharmic, objective, value neutral and Ontological as such, but indeed rather in value judgment and self image that remain subjective. Because only in light of of values can anything held to have importance. And thus is Axiology revealed as central to the Psychology of such assessment in the mind that drives the above experience of freedom in the specific sensation of truth to oneself, of self consistency. This also accounts for the appeal, in each our own ongoing true to life drama no less than in works of fiction, of the often arduous journey of change and learning of decisions and conduct in order the more to better understand, judge and even quite appropriately approve of oneself and one's own conduct from hence forth, according to personal values, especially morally, with integrity true to oneself rejecting that which becomes ego alien, striving in hoped for resolution of whatever enduring drama of inner conflict.
This process may also be viewed socially. Indeed, communication and awareness of the feelings, perceptions and opinions of others, sought or unsought, will tend to impact not only individual perception and reconstruction of reality, but value judgment as well. Phenomenologically, it is the mind and “the heart,” not the senses alone in experience somehow unprocessed, that howsoever fallibly interpret and truly perceive. And others may often be consulted for purposes of error detection and in order to gain perspective, or in outreach for support and approval. All mature and functional attachments of social relationship under autonomy are ethical, being predicated upon trust and fulfillment of such expectations, lack or abrogation whereof creating distance, even loathing and avoidance, or else ambivalence, mistrust and dysfunction, indeed if not amoral sociopathy outright, then the shattered confidence and compensations thereto of heteronomy. Weak attachment makes for weak conscience. Thus heteronymous covert relational hostility working to to undermine those attachments in society, shunning and mobbing, even well organized orchestrated harassment, thereby conspire with impunity by means of social exclusion, to harm and endanger the target of exactly such serial bullying.
As C. S. Lewis observes, the only person who opposes escape is, by definition, a jailer. Fantasy is the exploration both of unfettered desire and of reality principle of feasible scenario. Fantasy and speculation therefore fundamental to freedom. It is only the denial of reality that is clearly illusion rather than freedom. Action is motivated by desire. Desires can be selfish or unselfish. Benevolence is desire to the good. Desires in and of themselves, cannot be true or false, only any howsoever understanding thereof can be to whatever degree, accurate or inaccurate. Morality answers deep-seated yet contingent interests and desires of human beings. To wit: Meta-Ethics strives to fill a much needed gap: Love and compassion, most precious amongst human assets and deepest meaningful value, are not rational, nor ever should they be. This extends to motivation of altruism and conscience at all, either irreducible, say, to Enlightened Self-interest. After all, even self interest to begin with, even sheer pleasure principle and aversive (desire to avoid) fear of harm and death, survival instinct at all, is all desire not Logic or reasoning, never mind likewise empathy to extend from the selfish in order recognize, along with sympathy to validate, similar needs and motivating desires in others, thence to expect fairness upholding ones rights and to avoid doing harm. -imperative of fairness upholding one another's rights and prohibition upon doing harm, being the most universal moral criteria. Was there harm? Was there foul? Morality therefore is not Behaviorally reducible. For as Piaget discovered, heavy moral inhibitions imposed to soon, actually only undermines the natural and tender childhood awakening of empathy and sympathy, souring the disposition into bitter jealous rage and the hypocrisy of Moralism. For in the words of Dr. Samuel Johnson: "The wretched have no compassion, they can do good only from strong principles of duty." Phenomenally, empathy and sympathy, identification with others, is neurologically innate by virtue of the mirror neurons that activate in any action or experience observed of others (and eliciting the motivation of desires) identically as in experienced action of ones own (motivated by those desires). Hence, among attempts at rescuing Enlightenment thinking, even evolutionary utility and survival advantage of reciprocal altruism remains merely hapenstancial if not actually arbitrary. So, does causality of circumstances qualify as an Ontological foundation or justification? What exactly would an Ontological foundation be?
Unlike Logic or physical laws that may be considered as most constant and consistent underpinnings intrinsic to existence itself as we know it at all, circumstances, opportunity and advantage are flexible and variable, accounting for the most ignoble of impulses as well. What still bears mention as far as sociological principle, is that evolutionarily, morality is civilizing, even in animal communities. Unlike morality, ethics are determined from situation amid pertinent circumstances, the responsibilities and commitments of one's particular role or position, post of employment, accountable relationship or social standing. Whereas any variation of appeal the supernatural remains completely irrelevant among rationalizations. There is no Ontological foundation of morality, first of all because there are no grounds or justification, period. Meaning does not preexist externally, but must be assigned and structured in the mind. Indeed, all hypothesis begins from unfounded conjecture, subjected first to critical preference and then to Empirical reality testing all as applicable. And secondly, Axiology is not Ontology. Only responsibility towards free choice at all amongst foreseeable consequences is at all Empirical, and even then, indeed only first given the altruistic morality to give a shit at all in the first place. The very existence and conduct of non reciprocating amoral sociopaths ought to raise doubt as to the existence of external moral order. For as the saying goes, peace of mind requires either a clear conscience or none at all. That loveless amoral sociopaths may be deemed monstrous, wretched, lonely and pitiable despite all manifest practical advantage, is value judgment of Psychology speaking to the human condition. In the words of Alfred Adler: "The person who isn't interested in his fellow beings has the greatest difficulties in life and also creates the greatest damage to others." The only relevance of God to morality, is in the relationship of prayer, being: the propensity from innate animism to express personal moral sentiments, in the imagination, to God, who if He exists, listens. Alas that heteronomy to God is not the answer. Only the listless amoral Zen sociopath in quest of sublime apathy and freedom from motivation of desire, seeks to work in dharmic harmony with the universe. Whereas empathic sympathetic morality rises in rebellious autonomy against an indifferent universe, Theism typically marshals animistic denial in service to irresponsible heteronomy and injustice, even to arbitrary taboo, often sexually repressive.
Logic is deemed Metaphysical in that Logic deals abstractly with validity being: the internal constancy, or else not, of propositions, in demarcation from Empirical scientific investigation seeking knowledge of truth which is awareness of correspondence to reality in assertions. Theology has never emerged from Metaphysics because the entirely hypothetical problems, conundrums and entire corpus of argument in a vacuum that is Theology even yet remain entirely bereft of any detectably correspondent reality for Empirical scientific investigation. Nevertheless, abstract good or value which defies description in in terms any worldly physical properties of things or phenomena, and therefore often laid claim by Theology and religion, is actually qualitative intangible idea and motivation contingent upon no end of circumstances that are nonetheless very real even though as yet, the Scientific Method cannot address Axiological questions at all let alone morality, beyond simply describing different Axiologies as characteristic of different individuals and cultures. Hence, Axiology strives to emerge from Metaphysical discourse into scientific investigation. And yet, though there are no end of vexingly vague and confusing moral grey areas, conflicts and fine distinctions, some simpler moral assertions do remain seemingly more plain, distinct and enduring.
So what is morality which is the emotional motivating and cognitive rational focus of conscience? How can morality or obligation as a subject matter of principle in its own right ever be clearly defined, much less pursued objectively? What is moral Epistemology? By what process or faculties and from whence does any moral knowledge arise, except merely the moral compass that is conscience? And what's in a name, simply to call it so: conscience? -anymore, likewise, than to name morality to begin with... Virtues are not rules but principles, demanding aptitudes of autonomous critical thinking rather that acquiescence into behavioral structured heteronymous obedience. Conscience is indeed not only passionate but deliberative, argumentative, even methodical, and indeed metaphorically like unto some sort of proverbial onboard compass, directive of action by some developmental altruistically expanded set of desire and aversion. But conscience is therefore likewise as any matter of pertinent reality principle, limitations and foreseeable consequences, in further quest also of boundaries of responsibility in order to inform impulse formation, check and balance (aside only from that of inner conflict with entirely selfish considerations) in order thereby to be at all self manageable beyond completely naive impulsive altruism. -As in the well meaning mayhem of the archetypical sociopathically blundering innocent kind hearted fool, Parcival.
Alas, Theism adds nothing to make anything howsoever at all clearer, only, as ever, removing the problem into a question of even greater complexity all premised upon a raft of far less supportable assertions. All such Apologetics as Theistic Intelligent Design merely articulates the more general yearning for belief in destiny with nothing to chance ever demanding responsible free choice from mere mortals. Morality and responsibility are distinctly relevant to the pursuit of happiness both towards individual well being and maintenance of any at all livable society. But no less obviously, morality and responsibility limit and an obstruct unfettered pursuit of individual desires. All nevertheless, putting aside all Epistemologically dubious Ontology from yearning and wishful thinking, religion can still embody values including morality, even regardless of the sheer brutality of any actual scriptures. All question of the essential characteristic disposition and application of values by which we live are informed by worldviews of human nature. Specifically, there have always been those exhorting or even in any way imposing whatever alteration in character as a free willed choice of decision outright and nothing more, and those extolling, instead, honesty and harmony with destiny on whatever path to change, growth or progress as is congruent with life and human nature.
There is a common misconception in any expectation of Psychotherapists to work with their patients to correct troubling thought patterns. But it is common knowledge, quite to the contrary, how Psychotherapy seeks to recover and delve into dystressing thoughts and memories, in order to bring repressed emotions to the surface and release them from denial. This is called: Catharsis. Additionally, there is hope of soothing balm in sympathy and understanding, and even whatever value or consolation of insight gained. Indeed, any willful effort at change, let alone imposition by others, raises the question of self control unto concerns with levels of denial, self deception and manipulation. And Sigmund Freud is very clear that new conditioning pressure into inner conflict with preexisting issues often results in suppression and yet more insecure reaction formation. Indeed, in the alternative, Freudian catharsis, the expression and release of inner hurts to be tended upon with compassion, is not without ancient precedence in the ministration to the soul. Alas, however, it often seems that, all pious protestations aside, sanctimony and trivial superstition are more common than true profundity and richer inner life, let alone improved character and true benevolence, out from worship or faith. For many so vociferously protest their deep spirituality and relationship to God, the more transparently shallow and disappointing are their religious fantasies. Yea, verily, even their daydreams are dreary and banal cliché! But by concerted introspection, perhaps such as who do truly and sincerely walk with God, may ever fruitfully contribute to Endotheology, the Phenomenological and psychological study in cognitive philosophy, of the role and value of God in the psyche, entirely unburdened by any question of to whatever degree or objective reality to being with, of supernatural contact with God versus mere subjectivity of inner life, nor indeed with any mechanics of Theophysics.
Indeed, as a practical matter, it remains unclear that religion at all reliably improves moral conduct any more than simply high ideals of one's own, much less shared in society. Moral compass remains an aspect of character growth and development of the superego, initially from vulnerable dependency and fear of disapproval, then internalization into heteronomy, and finally, if ever, positive disintegration into autonomy. Again, to quote Alexander Lowen MD: "Conviction lies not in the ego." And that applies no less to any functioning moral compass, running deeper than opinion even as to values of what is moral. Who so truly and abjectly surrenders and submits to the will of God can no more rely upon the efficacy of prayer than an Atheist. Prayer alone and in and of itself, ever such as that may be, must be deemed howsoever the only comfort entailed therein. Likewise, the conviction of righteousness alone, a value, the appeal to a morality beyond selfish concern alone is observably a comfort and support to confidence, short of despair, utter defeatism and Nihilism in relation to which belief, opinion that God exists, observably only serves as denial of despair, never mind, and less importantly, of unbelief. -Irresponsibility in the face of fallibility and uncertainty. Faith by any other name, courage, respect, "basic trust," residual optimism however cautious, all for lack of better understanding thereof, sustains us at all, even to rise when we wake; not knowledge, not by faith nor otherwise. Faith bears no Epistemological moment. Socratic Wisdom is only knowing that we do not know, how ever approximately gauging the scope of ones own ignorance. It is often admonished that merely believing that there is a God, is insufficient to finding true faith. Indeed, the belief part seems redundant at best thereto. Let alone actually making decisions and taking action, first of all any quest for unknown or uncertain truth, even being an exercise of the Rational Ego State, may still call for a kind of faith, trust, emotional security or optimism not contingent upon any particular assertion, theoretical Ontological opinion, belief or rationalizing cognition of ego consciousness. For that matter, does belief that the city of London is located in England or that two and two equal four, require much effort invested in faith? Atheism is no more than the inescapable arrival at a rational conclusion regarding the evidence and likelier explanation. And if there are moral values of Rationalism, then these must be the honesty, responsibility and autonomy. For indeed as the saying goes: there can be no other values without honesty first.
According to the biologist Edward Osborne Wilson "Human beings function better if they are deceived by their genes into thinking that there is a disinterested objective morality binding upon them, which all should obey." But function better in what sense and towards what purpose or value? Moral relativism is the contention that because the objective reality of morality cannot be established, then morality is entirely subjective and therefore is or could be entirely arbitrary and variable between individuals, with nothing to make morality howsoever universal and therefore necessarily intersubjective or howsoever valid. Moral purposes, judgments and imperatives need some manner of objective categorical prescriptive force in order to be true. But otherwise, exactly what sort of error is morality? All therefore, as the individual capacity for logic in reasoning pertains after all to objective causality, to what external phenomena does the personal capacity for morality relate?
Thence in the desperation of Theo-crypto-Nihilistic value destruction, Theism purports to rebut moral relativism, but inexorably runs aground upon the shoals of the Euthyphro Dilemma because Divine Command Theory appears only to render the content of morality entirely arbitrary. If morality simply depends upon God’s decision what to make commandment, then how can God’s decision thereupon be informed by morality? Surely, morality as the dictate of God would be entirely arbitrary and hence amoral unless there is any reason, at least such as would be known even only to God. Would sheer malice become a virtue hypothetically if it amused God to so declare? Surely, that would render morality entirely arbitrary and thus amoral! Or is God, as the epitome of morality, bound from doing or saying anything so evil? If so, then morality as a principle transcends even God. Or else as an intrinsic aspect of God, then remains mysterious. No matter which way to slice it, Theism, the assertion of the existence of God or gods, simply does not explain morality. Hence, any punishment and reward system, bribes and threats of the Appeal to Force logical falsity aside, asserting that God is the source of morality explains nothing about morality whatsoever, worse quelling intrinsic motivation of innate morality by elicitation of overjustification effect,. Indeed, if there is a God, then, as Sartre observed, man must be freer than God, because man can sin. Again, an ultimately good God would actually have to be bound by morality, making moral principle primary even beyond God. What does it mean at all, then, to assert that God is the source of morality? Just how does that work? What does it even mean to assert that morality is supernatural? No, none of that really makes much sense.
Aesthetically, Musicologically, it appears that any part of what is beautiful and melodic to begin with, is biologically innate, while further particulars of taste and preference are cultural and individual. Likewise, some part of morality appears to be universal to humanity, being considerations of harm and fairness, indeed including not only compassion most generally amongst mammals but even general expectations of quid pro quo that may be elicited even from behavior of other primates, whereas among humans further details of morality may be worked out with cultural and individual variation. Or else, harm and fairness may even be either overridden selfishly or rejected amorally or Nihilistically one way or another, or else eclipsed in favor of other arbitrarily heteronymous theories of morality entirely, such as loyalty and obedience as virtues for their own sake, whatever entirely normative ethics, or Divine Command Theory, that can each and all senselessly justify almost any evil.
Theology typically extols that only by loving God who is the font of goodness and morality, moral decency is revealed and elucidated. The only catch being, alas, that as ever, that evoking God only shifts whatever problem into even greater needless complexity without actually explaining anything. Only by positing whatever conceivable benevolent motivations, principles or priorities even on the part of the All Mighty, such as boundless Divine Love and Providence or All Knowing maximal utility, can even the mind of God at all contain morality, even then buttressed by no more than the logical fallacy of relevance that is the Appeal to (ultimate!) Authority, opposite of Ad Hominem. All that loving God, or anyone else for that matter, accomplishes here, is to motivate the yearning for their good opinion of you, in this case, a yearning directed towards an ideal morality, with all the tension of the Romance with God; metaphor for the thirst for righteousness.
Consider the personal contract with God, traditional in Judaism. Clearly, such is an exercise in supposition unless one possesses the kind of hotline to God that so many of those Televangelists seem to think they’ve got! The veracity of such absentee negotiations might be said to depend upon good faith and individual knowledge and understanding of God. But what can that really mean in worldly life? All such is naught but the same endless human drama of inner life, of perpetual lifelong bicameral shadow boxing, ceaseless inner monologue or even dialogue of conflict and turmoil, in an indifferent universe. In truth, we answer to ourselves as best we may, questing at the same time for both rectitude and mercy, where God is the ultimate object in fantasy, of positive transference obstructed by negative transference. That is the challenge of true to life human drama. Clearly the fantasy of God here serves as metaphor for all such abstractions that God here represents. The issues are no less real, indeed the more so, despite that literally God simply does not exist. Or perhaps a merciful God actually strives to conceal Himself, because all we do is fight wars over Him!
“Devotion is nothing but one’s private asset. But morality is a public asset. If there is no devotion nothing is lost. But if there is no morality, everything is lost” — Periyar (E.V) Ramasami
Atheism is indeed more moral, in that Atheism demands direct confrontation with moral issues, without logical falsities of relevance such as appeals to authority or force, let alone malignant Behavior Modification or indoctrination, religious or secular. Rationalism and Atheism historically are fueled by humanistic moral outrage with abuse in the name of God and worship of an unjust God as might inspire such inequity. Indeed, hypothetically, there are many as might find some difficulty in forgiving a God who damns even the most righteous Pagans, Infidels and Free Thinkers to eternal torment, all simply for failing, even in entire sincerity, to embrace one seemingly fantastical evidentiarily arbitrary creed amongst so many on the veritable roulette wheel of faith. Instead, should whenever God would desire to make His existence plain then He'd need not limit Himself to ancient myths and fables or perhaps meditative hunches and ideation if not more dramatic visions and trances, rather God would be well capable to manifest under controlled laboratory conditions and perform miracles on international television. Yet scripture remains likely correct in surmise that even such clear and unambiguous demonstration nevertheless might well fail actually to improve human virtue. First of all, because even such actually wouldn't make morality in and of itself manifest. For that matter, nor is it clear even human knowledge at long last, of a lucid Ontology accessible to science, of moral Axiology, would provide any panacea of moral growth and improvement. Furthermore, claims for divine authority to validate any worldly rule, must ever be regarded as suspect and dangerous. Rather, our leaders and judges must be accountable to the rights of the individual. Democratic values are still the best hope of worldly justice at all. Indeed there are those called Moral Atheists, those who believe in God yet nevertheless deem the existence of God morally irrelevant. After all, morality as some manner of consideration in its own right only given. Atheism with altruism in and of itself whatsoever at all, is at least inevitably suggested in the mind of anyone who would still exercise any moral constraint at all, even assuming that there is no God. Indeed, attested miracles have often in the minds of believers served to obscure even the plainest morals of the simplest parables. Indeed, one might imagine a God so despaired of the supernatural obscuring the ethical, that He might actually choose to hide Himself from humanity in order to protect us! And that might even make proselytizing somewhat misguided, if not, indeed, the Devil's work, indeed as the occupation does seem so appealing to the overweening vainglory of every self nominated elect of God. In the alternative, that a God who made humanity fallible, only lays in wait to punish the very uses and trust of the same senses and capacity for reason endowed by our Creator Himself, is monstrous. Anyone yearning to celebrating God's glory while watching everyone who ever disagreed with them eternally suffer excruciations of divine retribution, is being something of an asshole, at least if only in harmless fantasy Anyone who fails to perceive ethical problems in the traditional gloating hate speech of scriptures, never mind the pretzel logic of Theology, does not abide in good faith. Thus in this my epistle to all Bible-thumpers, do I rebuke the faithful. Such is the value of criticism even in religious context, not in the quest for truth or even practical application, but in the cultivation of morality, at least for those who trouble to remember and recognize Axiologies of virtue as indeed traditional to religions.
If there is a God who keeps His own secrets, withholding certainty only unto Himself, then, likewise, Godlike responsibility can solely be for God alone, and by design. Hence it can only be the human struggle from from uncertainty with human responsibility, within the fallibility of all as much and as little that is given us to know, that will ever be pleasing to s God of freedom and autonomy delivering us from the bondage of heteronomy. Allegorically, it may be only the struggle with God, that is truly pleasing to God, especially a God who is to be hailed as the greatest of scientists instead of a king of kings. Indeed, such is the role of Job, and by metaphorical extension, the Jew, as loyal opposition to the Almighty. "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him" (Job 33:15, NASB). Otherwise, if all is subject to the will of God no less than if none, then any appeal to God's will is non explanatory and uninformative, to believer and unbeliever alike. Which is to say that, clearly, the dramatic struggle with God is either simply a potent metaphor for coming to grips both with the limitations of situation and the demands of conscience, or else religion is no more than the abrogation of responsibility into lunatic moral Theo-crypto-Nihilistic value destruction. Whereas, by contrast, the Atheist remains free and lucid to discern the responsible moral behind the fairytale.
“If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever.” — Woody Allen
Theologians have argued in favor of moral heteronomy, that without God as an absolute, then morality becomes so subjective and flexible as to loose all meaning and so becomes void. Alas the premise of absolute or intrinsic morality tempts the irresponsible bad faith of irrelevant Moralism.
While a merciful God might well conceivably forgive wrongdoing, how could a moral God at the same time ignore virtue instead to lay in wait to condemn even the most entirely honest and/or devout sectarian disagreement from for example: compassionate Buddhists and/or neighborly Muslims and most especially, highly moral Atheists? The allegedly miraculous only obscures rather than better explaining morality, indeed often inspiring Moralism wherein morality in the abstract may become lost in wandering because of focus entirely upon purity of motivation, losing sight of concrete responsibility of autonomy regarding reasonably foreseeable consequences together with moderation and fairness of accountability in the real world, that rightfully ought to be the focus of outwardly directed compassion and compunction. Such is another example of paralytic demands for impossible and unnecessary perfection typical of decidophobic heteronomy. Faliblism instead allows for harm reduction that actually helps others.
Does the infinitesimal point, which can never be evidenced Empirically, actually exist? Even if not, then Geometry premised upon the infinitesimilitude of points a'priori, nevertheless consistently achieves all manner of true measurements and predictions. Therefore, if inference of the infinitesimal point therefrom is not actually valid (logically self-consistent) and true (assertion correspondent to external reality), and so long as the very question remains untestably Metaphysical, indeed even as a mere convenience and abstraction at least the notion at all of the infinitesimal point likely somehow bears verisimilitude, closer to truth, less wrong. By contrast, however, a'priori assumptions of moral right and wrong are never similarly bourn out. Indeed, despite every attempt to date, Ethics has yet to naturalize and emerge from Metaphysics in the sense of meaningful and coherent discourse nevertheless as yet remaining beyond the scope of scientific investigation, Indeed, only at all beginning from any moral premise can scientific investigation up to any point, ever shed light upon possible and likely consequences of behavior informing responsibility towards whatever choices free to autonomy.
To reiterate, anything that exists, any event that occurs, tautologically is manifest in mechanistic cause and effect and is therefore Deterministic. Therefore, freedom from Determinism is oxymoron. And besides, in the alternative, what freedom would there be from random and therefore arbitrary Indeterminacy, whatever that means? Therefore, real free will and choice if any, will be Empirically observable and Determinist in cause and effect, stimulus and response, even complex motivation and action contexted to character and situation. And free will does indeed sounds desirable, but what sort of free will is it, when there is only one correct answer along the straight and narrow path? Only free will to eternal damnation, by that pretzel logic. Whereas, in light of human fallibility, uncertain free choices in all good faith are the very requisite of autonomous responsibility. Conscious free will is subjective given inescapable uncertainty. There is no point in Decidophobia. Without the dignity in the risk of error, there can be no autonomy or free will. Indeed, with complete certainty, from any hypothetical infallible omniscience, all options would be narrowed down to one correct optimum possibility at any given moment. Perhaps the ultimate in models of Determinism is that of Einsteinian Relativity according to which Space-Time as observed from some entirely hypothetical outside vantage point, an omniscient perspective, would be revealed as a changeless whole. So, is the experience of duration which is the passage of time, as indeed so varies from any frame of reference inside the Space-Time Continuum, therefore illusory? Not according to Einstein who, after all, so famously declared that all is relative, not illusory. And it is much the same with free will, subjective from within any frame of reference of inescapable and real Epistemological circumstances of uncertainty, and therefore no less real despite the objectivity of Determinism.
Free will and submissive heteronomy to God are not compatible. God would be a hypocrite to allow, much less actually to create, evil, all for the purpose of preserving free will. Therefore, free will does not resolve Theodicy. (Indeed, it has been suggested that Atheism from burden of evidence upon the positive, is merely to hold the universe innocent until found guilty, merely the default assumption that circumstances of suffering are merely of happenstance rather than actually by Design.) Such a God, like so many real parent figures, seems inner conflicted between the yearning for love and insecure simmering wrath of lust for power and dominance. The angry spiteful rejected jealousy of the mythic trickster Lucifer ever disobediently, deviously and manipulatively actingout, is therefore only dramatically consistent.
Indeed, all values, even survival instinct to begin with, cannot be logically reducible any more than morality can ever truly be reduced to self interest alone (as asserted during the Enlightenment), but all simply a matter of human nature, individual, cultural, genetic/neurological/biological and innate, ultimately happenstancial and all thus perhaps somewhat arbitrary, thereby perpetually tempting Nihilistic value destruction. For as Socrates famously argues, how can the oblivion after death be any more painful than the oblivion before birth? In the immortal words of Protagoras, "Man is the measure of all things." There is no objective meaning. Meaning occurs subjectively in the human mind. And because values ultimately derive from biologically innate needs and drives; therefore as discovered in the Empirical childhood developmental Psychology of Piaget, the clearest known actual source of howsoever Altruistic morality remains sympathy emerging as a human, indeed an animal, propensity. Humans can be humane. Dawkins has proposed that morality evolved because of the survival advantages of social cohesion, cooperation at all, and simply good will, indeed exactly just as evil and predation likewise persist because they are personally advantageous. All therefore Machiavelli notoriously and cynically recommends that the capable ruler must know how to be good and also how not to be good. But though clearly we are all naturally run the entire gaunt of impulse from the benevolent to the malevolent, none of this explains or supports Axiology and value in its own right, any more than vision causes light or mathematics demonstrates actuality of volume or number.
However, whereas other values pertain to personal needs in accordance with individual nature, morality uniquely deals in moral obligations and inhibitions of oneself and expectations demanded of others, altruistically, but not just whatever one needs of them, all even at the sacrifice of cynical personal advantage. Everyone is obliged to the rights of others. People have rights wherever they have interests but many interests overlap and conflict and therefore must be prioritized. Hence whereas whatever arbitrariness of personal values generally might possibly be dismissed simply in being true to oneself, the thought of arbitrariness of morality, even likewise as aspects of human nature, seems the more troublesome because, whereas individual personal needs, tastes and values must at all vary, by contrast moral controversy is a striving for intersubjective consistency and some kind of validity or even objectivity in reality, even at least amongst at all non-sociopaths. Just as individual values obtain even howsoever hapenstancially and therefore perhaps somewhat arbitrarily from motivating individual needs and drives of character, likewise thus far morality has been shown to be reducible no further than to altruistic recognition of others likewise as ends in of themselves. And even that leaves great latitude and ambiguity in a vast range of ever controverited moral specifics. Rights then, are moral and legal claims, preponderating interest that must not be abridged. An ethic is set of principles of right conduct, rights, obligations let alone even perception, within what is permissible, both of self interested pursuit and of entirely optional benevolence and merit voluntarily beyond the call of duty, a theory or a system of moral values: Ethics are rules or standards governing conduct. Or Ethics is the study of the general nature of morals and moral decisions. G. E. Moore derided the very notion of Ethics ever founded upon scientific principles, as: the naturalistic fallacy, because Ethics strives to define what ought rather than what is. Thus science, he declared, can’t get an “ought” out of an “is." After all, philosophy has never actually produced a falsifiable assumption for Ethics.
Therefore, is Ethics meaningful? How are moral lapses possible, if indeed there is no morality? Is moral knowledge possible? Knowledge is awareness of correspondence to reality in assertions, and assertions are Ontological statements such as employ the verb: 'to be.' So, how, if at all, do moral obligations as any manner of discrete entity or condition actually exist? -Objectively? Then to which Ontology does moral knowledge correspond or even pertain? Any morality is prescriptive alleging how one ought to conduct oneself and take action, but is morality ever descriptive? How, other than morally, can morality be even prescriptive to begin with? -And if prescriptive other than morally, how then also morally pertinently so? As a matter of coherent motivated characterization, moral convictions and various and often competing worthy principles, considerations and priorities can be coherent, mutually supportive and reciprocally consistent, or else, of course, may come increasingly into inner conflict and moral dissonance under various dramatic situations according to plot, or by reapplication in transition between different contexts or circumstances. But can even the most honest moral convictions or expressions of moral sentiments of approval or disapproval, ever actually be true or false as such? Is there any moral dimension or orientation howsoever intrinsic or contingent to any external reality or situation? Epistemologically, Ontology is supportable only Empirically, but just as rationality can only be demonstrated or recommended rationally, likewise only moral reasons can be advanced for morality. Ethics and morality are abstractions, like unto numbers, but far less distinct. Generalizations of Math accurately describe and consistently predict all numerical reality for all countable or measurable phenomena. But what do Ethics and morality seek to describe or predict? And if an Epistemology of objective moral Ontology is ever finally discovered, would such ever actually help clarify Ethical controversy anymore than even the most credible breakthrough substantive scientific evidence of the existence of God would ever likely quell interfaith Theological dispute?
Ethics and morality are discoursed, if anything at all perhaps at all more coherently than, say, Aesthetics. -which is only saying so much. Like Aesthetics, Ethics and morality are values, and values derive, even biologically, from intrinsic needs of human flourishing. But is that then actually anything more than to say that moral distinctions are no more than simply expression of how one feels? Perhaps that's less completely arbitrary than it sounds, given that no moral compass points at all true or exerts any compelling and motivating force of character whatsoever, without fundamentally altruistic sympathy and compunction. Yet relevant logical inference of morality whatsoever or deduction towards any moral conclusion in good faith, is at all possible only by recourse to the entirely fallible and even fragmentary assay of responsibility which is an aspect of autonomy, and only in the light of at all foreseeable consequences and if one even cares to begin with.
For it remains that morality in the abstract feels quite trivial to the true amoral sociopath devoid of altruistic attachment or compunction, recognition or value of others. Morality is a value, a need, a drive, a goal thereby put forth. Note again the employ of the word 'is' conjugated from the verb: 'to be' constituting thereby, at least grammatically, an assertion of Ontology regarding some external reality. But what else can morality possibly be other than a value? Again, exactly to what reality does moral truth, if indeed any, thereby correspond? Perhaps Ethics, as a branch of Axiology, merely seeks better to define the motivating values and driving needs of morality. And this then reduces Axiology including Ethical study of Morality to human Psychology. However, Psychology studies both universals and individual distinctiveness of character. Hence, is morality likewise variable and even relative? If so, the perhaps nevertheless only in part, and yet also in part universal to humanity, exactly as with other values such as Aesthetics. But after all, moral responsibility, being linked to foreseeable consequence, is similarly conjectural and fallible. Values are subjective reality, even emotive motivation, and thereby often confounding in controversy, but moral responsibility is relevant to at all foreseeable consequences that are or will be objectively real. But that brings us to Metaethics, the intersection of morality with other real circumstances and the studies thereof, including. moral semantics being: the study of denotation in moral language, moral Psychology being: the study of the nature of, and relations amongst, inner moral dispositions including morally relevant opinions, convictions, desires, intentions and motivations, even including, cognitively, deontic logic being: the study of the logical structure of discourse and reasoning about obligation, prohibition and permission. But does any of that actually help towards whatever moral Epistemology of any moral Ontology?
The moral challenge of Nihilistic value destruction remains: How do morals even matter, given that their very existence so defies location? Then again, given that Ontology is dharmic and value neutral to begin with, what difference does it make how the very existence of morality, being karmic, so defies location? Freedom is subjective and as with Existential despair, likewise an artifact of fallibility. Otherwise, given perfect knowledge, all options would always be narrowed down and reduced to a single optimum. But that is impossible, at least fir mere mortals. So the concept of God, let alone heteronomy thereto, is simply neither relevant nor pertinent. because, in so far as morality is, after all, conjectural, Furthermore, motivations for moral judgment are complex and multifaceted, emotionally and intellectually, and often fraught with inner conflict and moral dissonance. And Godliness only promises certainty but cannot deliver. For in the words of Martin Heidegger: "He who thinks great thoughts often makes great errors." And what could there be greater, even only in thought, then God? Consider the personal contract with God, traditional in Judaism: Clearly, such is an exercise in supposition unless one possesses the kind of hotline to God that so many of those Televangelists seem to think they’ve got! The veracity of such negotiations therefore might be said to depend upon good faith and individual knowledge and understanding of pleasing God. But what can that really mean in worldly life? All such is naught but the same endless true to life drama of inner life but presented in metaphor, of perpetual lifelong bicameral shadow boxing in an indifferent universe. In truth, we answer to ourselves as best we may. That is the challenge of true to life human drama. The mythological fantasy of God here serves as a device metaphoric narrative. Morality is a passionately uncertain struggle. " . . . since the possible number of actions in the universe is unlimited -- as is the number of possible situations from which actions may proceed and take their tone -- morality is ... too complex to be knowable and far too complex to be reduced to any code . . ." — John Gardner, On Moral Fiction
Indeed, the religiously observant in their desperation for some infallible bedrock in flight from freedom and responsibility, are all too correct in their rebuke of more moderate believers of their selective obedience to holly writ. But can such truly be so easily dismissed as mere laxity? For if not selection then at least prioritization is inevitable. Moral dilemmas arise when duties come into conflict, and no ready procedure towards resolution presents itself. Likewise, conflicting duties may require logically or physically incompatible active response, while dereliction of either constitutes moral wrong.
Alas that, by way of example for purpose of illustration, that the Ten Commandments however interpreted are never so readily prioritized as, say, Asimov's Laws of Robotics!
Ethical appeals employ commonly held values and beliefs; appeals to our sense of fairness, right and wrong, justice and mercy, persuasively as pertaining to the real world, or as pertaining to the consistent fictional scenario. Ethical appeals may appeal either to actual people, readers, or, likewise, fictional characters may seek to motivate and persuade one another by appealing to the values of the fictional or historical scenario, milieu or setting.
Again, Atheism is indeed more moral, in that Atheism demands direct confrontation with moral issues, without logical falsities of relevance such as appeals to authority or force, let alone malignant Behavior Modification or indoctrination, religious or secular. While Humanists find themselves obliged to contemplate individually in seeking to prioritize most broadly applicable moral principle, heteronymous Fundamentalists obsessively prioritize every most minute explicit detail of scriptural commandment, however circumstantial or ritualistic, seeking therein freedom from responsibility but achieving instead, only the most dramatic sheer inner conflict of dishonest hypocrisy and paralytic denial, cognitive dissonance even unto crimestop indeed in the very face of wholesale abrogation of all justifying lofty principle. Aside at all from simple deterrence of wickedness, fear as principle moral agent has consistently failed, only sympathy has ever succeeded in truly motivating moral conduct. Even to sting the conscience, must awaken sympathy out from repression and denial of bad faith. Mere arbitrarily shaming conditioned guilt otherwise often backfires as any agent of moral improvement in conduct.
By every Technique of Suspense plotting, the rising tension and of dramatic conflict signifies that the resolution of whatever the central problem is such as to increasingly press character(s) inevitably to take action in struggle with whoever or whatever the antagonist in some way that must one way or another bring the very values of said character(s) into question for them. Most dramatically, an attempt at howsoever the wiser course may instead press a character into conflict on every level with their own motivating values for which they will be compelled to sacrifice the easier way because the moral course and the more difficult among free willed choices may so often coincide.
Morality is Axiological, a value, not an Ontology as such. True morality is a matter of principle but no less a question of responsibility that in turn obtains from foreseeable consequences as much as principle, principle being extrapolated deductively while foreseeable consequences are a matter for prognosis. Hence the entire concept of God remains irrelevant, moot, non sequitur, morally. Morality and Ethics are trying and difficult concerns of actual life in the real world, not specious nattering of the supernatural. There is, however, endeavor at statistical corroboration and even explanation of positive moral values, especially those often deemed most crucial to relationship, even as howsoever fostered by religion and particularly by sense of community therein. -though apologism along those lines typically continues sidestepping the alarming downside of antirational indoctrination and taboo.
It is utterly depraved even to pity much less to avenge a zygote!
“People who harbor strong convictions without evidence belong at the margins of our societies, not in the halls of power.” — Sam Harris, Playboy Jan. 2005
“Be fruitful and multiply” — Genesis 1:28 What can that actually signify? Just breed like rabbits and damn the consequences? Or does directive to a “land flowing with milk and honey” — Exodus 33:3 howsoever imply recommendation of strategy and the husbanding of resources? For that matter, is any such a goal as above put forth actually achievable and by now achieved if not actually indeed perhaps somewhat overachieved, or again, a standing order simply to propagate like bunnies, unceasingly and without pause or thought to strategy and resource acquisition, and damn the consequences?
— Sister Joan Chittister
Speaking of evolutionarily misguided morality run amuck: Pro-Life doctrine is typically premised upon a veneration of human life in the abstract, but somehow arrives therefrom to a mandate for the conservation of individual human zygotes or even gametes. But that is exactly the opposite of what happens in the natural selection process by which only a tiny minority of zygotes, in turn the product of the fusion of only a tiny minority of surviving and successful gametes, survive even into noticeable pregnancy at all. Indeed likewise with in vitro fertilization, only one viable zygote among many is selected, and the rest simply discarded unless salvaged for other adaptive purposes such as stem cell research or treatment wherein "potential life" unless technologically repurposed, "sacrificed" in research or therapy towards ever saving actual lives, will otherwise simply be winnowed out much as in nature. Nevertheless, irrational pseudo-moral Pro-Life sentiment continues in escalating legislative obstruction of vital stem cell research. In truth then, Pro-Life doctrine simply abhors abortion as an extension of irresponsible Fundamentalist scriptural prohibition upon Onanism, in antirational maladaptive willful disregard of the ever very real dangers of exponential population increase ever given only arithmetical increase in resources. After all, by no coincidence is anti-abortion sentiment linked to opposition to birth control to begin with. Maybe instead if human life as some sort of generality is sincerely embraced as a value, then for better or worse, doctrine and practice might unfold somewhat differently, indeed perhaps at all even similarly to any variation upon Eugenics.
It's more than a matter of arbitrary difference in custom and doctrine: Certainly, abortion simply is not murder, because murder requires a real victim, an individual, a person, not "a potential", whatever that actually means. The murder of a dream unrealized, is no more literal than the butchering of language in bad prose or of melody off key, but likewise remains euphemism, poignant metaphor. Perhaps unless, of course, the soul really does enter at the very moment of genetic recombination, as allegedly revealed only to those declaring themselves to be "of the spirit." But then, if they are really half so serious as they pretend, then why are they so unconcerned that to begin with, naturally, only an extreme minority of fertilized ovum ever survive even into noticeable pregnancy at all? Indeed, pregnant women in El Salvador live in fear of seeking medical attention in an obstetric emergency, for should they miscarry, that they and not God! will be charged with homicide due to their country’s complete abortion ban! After all, if fertilized ovum are really people, then that would constitute an horrific infant mortality rate! Of course, miscarriage is only natural, but so are heart attacks. And heart attacks are not ignored, but treated and lives saved! Therefore, if zygotes are people, no less than cardiac patients, then we ought to spike the water supply with anti-miscarriage drugs in order to protect the poor innocent little dears! After all, even as things stand, those deranged Pro-Lifers prefer their fantasy conscious zygotes, to real breathing children. So much so that in South Dakota a bill under consideration would establish the prevention of harm to a fetus, even up to the murder of an abortion provider, as a "justifiable homicide" in many cases! And at least from delusional premise to deranged conclusion, it all makes such perfect sense. One shudders to think how they'd react to enhanced teratothanasia!
But the less straight forward the less lucid, runs the gamut of Pro-Life propaganda: Even if literally Jonah in the Bible was swallowed by a giant fish, we now better know and understand whales in reality to be, like dolphins and porpoises, mammalian cetaceans, sea going bovines, aquatic cows! Which makes more sense, because whereas whales hold great volumes of breath, however fetid, by contrast inside of a giant water breathing fish, Jonah would have quickly drowned before being digested! Likewise, regardless of "Pro-Life" antiabortion propaganda exploiting the ill informed etymology of the very word 'conception' as the beginning of new life, actually conception is merely the inception of development of a new individual of whatever species. Actually life in and of itself, through fertilization, remains continuous beck from the very origins of life on Earth in the primordial ooze, up until the preceding lives of the parents and thence via their zygotes into the inception of the development of a new individual of whatever species, as yet unformed into existence. For just as with logic, without Empirical data, linguistics cannot discover truth which is correspondence to reality in assertions.
Again, most often, one way or another, by evocation or implication of potentiality, the otherwise unintelligibly ambiguous emotionally loaded language of Pro-Life propaganda pandering by nigh subliminal invited inference bypassing such full capacity for rational critical thinking as available only from the Transactional ego state of the Inner Adult, by mounting instead logically irrelevant and fallacious, utterly misplaced and inappropriate Appeal to Pity (argumentum ad misericordiam) even whilst shamelessly and perniciously side stepping their actual and hitherto blithe and direct though unsupportable paranormal claims of consciousness and the capacity suffering and death even in allegedly martyred zygotes or fetuses, all the latter thereby remaining nevertheless evasively vague and implicit doublethink. Indeed, the slippery employ of the verb 'to live' as a noun, as in the ubiquitous slogan: "It's a Life!" often repeated by weak minds, in mounting and increasingly grating hysteria, is a ready staple of Pro-Life propaganda. But what is "a life" except in context of what lives? "It's a human life!" comes the standard rejoinder. But then, is not a human tissue culture, not both human and alive? Of course a tissue culture is not a living person, nor is a zygote either. And the obfuscated difference inherent to a zygote, serves the Fundamentalist Religious Right Wing only to smuggle Mystical potentiality, with all baggage of morally transcendental divine purpose and commandment, back in again via the proverbial back door. To men and women desperately deficient in simple self esteem, the ancient Pagan mythology, even howsoever expurgated and cloaked in Monotheism, the exaltation in amoral unselfconscious blind frenzy and humility in carnal sympathetic magic with the potency of the rain bringing Sky God into the fertile clefts of the life bearing fecundity of the receptive Mother Earth, remains mesmerizingly awesome and delicate. By devious employ of such symbolic motif or topos in Theological obfuscation of life itself, even as inevitably ever distinguished from mere biological activity by whatelse other than higher intelligence and reasoning as in the human psyche, instead into mysterious unintelligible and scientifically untestable Metaphysical abstraction thereby increasingly divorced from worldly intellect, consciousness, personality, autonomy and free will, is all the latter thus readily trivialized in such slippery rhetoric so typical of of Theo-crypto-Nihilistic value destruction. What is it (the zygote or fetus) then? -the Pro-Lifers demand, resorting to such implicit argument from ignorance and failure of imagination at all transcendent of such dull and ancient awestruck primitive precepts of magical vitality, lacking as those militant dullards and their thralls so plainly do, all scientific curiosity and wonder. Well, the best most lucidly honest and insensitively concise reply remains: "It's a tadpole!" -and with due apology to tadpoles...
The chicanery of Pro-Life apologetics is shameless!
Conscience is being advanced in legislation and as legal grounds to impose superstition upon others, by obstructing or withholding reproductive health services such as contraception and abortion. However: One way or another, many transgressors may be motivated by conscience, from a latter-day Robin Hood stealing for a benevolent purpose, to a cause inspired Racist serial killer. Are either such exempt? Of course there are also such sympathetic and extreme exigencies of civil disobedience as hiding Jews from the murderous Nazis, but unlike zygotes and corporations, the consciousness of different religious or ethnic populations is hardly in serious dispute!
The undocumented in hiding from the police, do not turn out to vote!
And predictably, clearing them out from the United States of America only
leaves our crops to rot on the vine, because no one else wants the work. The "Personhood" bill, of course, was
merely a feint to distract from the new Jim Crow of special voting IDs and
costly bureaucratic red tape in order to obstruct the disadvantaged, minorities
and students who all largely vote Democrat, from duly casting their ballots.
Indeed, the "Personhood" bill is so ludicrous as to become divisive even amongst
Pro-Lifers themselves. Yes, the Pro-Lifers themselves finally pressed the point
that the timid mainstream of Pro-Choice has been too polite and sensitive to
confront directly: A zygote is no more actually a person than a corporation! So,
no, the murder of an abortion provider us not justifiable homicide as per the
bill that was considered
in South Dakota.
Thus, with the begged question finally asked and answered, what clear and compelling civil rights question remains to compete in priority with that of individual reproductive rights and health of young people so often very much in need of any morning after Plan B, not to mention our brave service women similarly also suffering absurd and repressive restrictions in health coverage? - Yes, and certainly rape victims should pregnancy result! The mandate of the FDA is only the safety (not even the efficacy) of any given treatment option, and not morality or public policy. Yet the FDA has ignored a court order to reconsider its refusal to make emergency contraception available over-the-counter to women of all ages. And now unconstitutional and intrusively mandatory ultrasound will be leveled to debilitating obstruct and sentimentally, manipulatively and deceptively guilt trip and disarm women seeking abortion services in Texas from resistance to coercion, or to terrorized doctors in South Dakota.
Obviously, reproductive choice and family planning save society and the tax payer tremendous expense in the long run. Therefore, restriction of public funding is flagrantly pennywise and pound foolish. We all understand how the purse strings are being seized as a pretext and indirect means of restricting the full range of reproductive health services especially to the most needy. Indeed we well understand that opposition to contraception and abortion, much as with the abominable rights of Sati and widow burning, is likewise premised upon similarly fantastical supernatural claims likewise attested to by claims of divine commandment in guarantee of reunited bliss in reincarnation. But ovum are not people and do not have the right to be fertilized! And if God wants them to be, then let Him file a court brief, personally, explaining His stake in the matter. Reproductive freedom is under attack by delusional fanatics who also tend to support the death penalty even in most wonton application, while opposing assistance even for children and the most needy, and all therefore clearly prefer their scientifically insupportable fantasies of conscious zygotes while remaining indifferent to the actual crying needs and suffering of real people. And this is precisely the most calamitously malignant loony Fundamentalist religious oppression that our secular government exists to protect us from.
Clearly, individual autonomous reproductive free willed choice remains the salient compassionate and responsible priority, no less than anesthesia for women in labor, a medical innovation likewise initially obstructed by similarly cruel scripturally derived taboo and depraved indifference. And indeed therefore it becomes plain, verily they are scarcely better than honor killers and widow burners. all whosoever still barbarically deem coerced childbirth appropriate chastisement "consequenced" for that which those infernally bullying Moralistic sexist bigoted slut shaming prudes deem harlotry, being sex with any male partner of and by a woman's choice outside of marriage. (And worst of all, not with me!) By the twisted Moralism of the Pro-Lifers against abortion, one might likewise argue that to take responsibility for the weakness of eating sweets, one must refuse dental treatment of cavities! Anywhere in the world, no less than as with revivals of the ghastly and abominable rituals of becoming Sati, Patriarchic goddess of fidelity (by the self immolation of drug entranced young widows upon their elderly husbands' blazing funeral pyres in order to attain for the couple, vastly longer tenure in Nirvana), all restrictions upon abortion in thinking and in sentiment no less appeal to scientifically unsupportable fantastical supernatural claims and articles of faith that under the separation of church and state that protect us all from the barbarism of religious persecution, must never ever inform policy and legislation whatsoever. The coercive defense of allegedly conscious and innocent zygotes is no less Existentially Absurd than suicidally consensual human sacrifice in order to book the longest stay in couple's Heaven, both similarly insane bad ideas being inflicted upon impoverished women under pretexts of irrational belief in the soul! After all, mustn't we respect deeply cherished convictions as "emotional truth"? As arbitrary the premise of the soul to begin with, let alone either particular claims, Personhood or Sati, however fantastical and unsupportable, dare we take the risk that it all might be true for all we know?
|Those who can make you/||[If/ As long as]: we/ People (who)|
|believe in absurdities|
|can make you/||[will/ shall]: eventually/ continue to|
Shout it from the rooftops: Corporation and zygotes are not people!
Potentiality resides with the plans in your head and the love in your heart, not your genes or your plumbing!
Nature only means: shit happens! In so far as nature is filled with suffering and cruelty, it is only good and right to feel, to think and to act in opposition to suffering and cruelty to matter how natural. Indeed, such is our own human motivating natural drive. In the time bound state of human consciousness and reflection, we not only react spontaneously in the present, but also remember the past and imagine scenarios to anticipate possibilities of the future. And so, barring sheer depraved indifference, in rational foresight there accrues responsibility, whereas by contrast, religion, historically rooted in unpremeditated fairytale magical realism, is instead typically associated with Moralistic guilt over very intentions instead of responsible foreseeable consequence. As for examples, war, mayhem, murder and terror for the greater good all in the name of God or, to be fair, also secular ideology, and again, case in point, the lofty pure intentions behind opposition to reproductive free choice yoked to irresponsibly ignoring the known and foreseeable consequences. For, indeed, Moralistic pure intentions of chastity invariably leading to the inevitable fall from grace, that, by rejection of the occasion of sin intrinsic to preparedness for the foreseeable eventuality of sexual opportunity and activity, then actually demands the patent irresponsibility of deep denial ignoring all need and prudence of preparation including such precautions as prophylaxis. Surely, all such exemplifies the the proverbial road to Hell paved with ostensibly good intentions! Excuses aside, in truth, subconscious ulterior motives to pregnancy, often as compensation for deep-seated inadequacy, far better explain the behavior than does all crazy-making doctrine and capricious denial. Indeed, far from posing tragic inner conflict for women, not surprisingly, often abortion actually comes as a great relief from crisis pregnancy!
Perhaps the most profoundly natural denial at all, even in protection of very personal sanity at all, is of the terrifying eventuality of death and the very annihilation of consciousness itself. But exactly such denial continually threatens very survival. For even though it only stands to reason that if religion and the cultivation of pleasant beliefs, especially lying to oneself in resignation and surrender to glowing fantasies of an afterlife is at all comforting, then any honest hope at all of survival placed in at least the sheer engineering feasibility of future reanimation following cryonic suspension until such time as the requisite technology becomes available, ought to be even by far the more comforting, nevertheless, alas, instead the very notion remains so repugnant to many, and therefore the very idea and progress at all faces such Luddite resistance. of ubiquitous Deathism, the glorification of death.
But why so? And what can be done? To know more, browse: The Kriosgrad Project. And join in formation of a working group towards feasibility study towards a novel business and Public Relations model in new venture creation.
The nigh idolatrous awed cult reverence towards sheer procreative power in Nature only inspires contempt for the individual, resentment and lemming-like self-loathing, the Medieval sanctification of poverty and ignorance unto the Necrophiliac adoration of the imagined hereafter as this life is progressively rendered intolerable, that has also obstructed the benefits of organ donation, autopsy and Cryonics. Man, we are told, is made in God's image, not that we so exist and abide. The alleged sanctity of life seemingly does not extend beyond the womb, not even to the mother to be herself, and only returning in the cold dirt of the grave. So called Pro-Life is actually more of a Kirbyesque Anti-Life, a sinister Orwellian mind controlling Nihilism wielded by its fanatical memebots, ridiculous yet dangerous Fascist comic opera villains and Elmer Gantry pseudo pious charlatans.
Indeed, worst of all, by no means limited to religion or ideology, there is sheer anti-rationality, but in the mentality of religion and magic, even beyond any more pedestrian doublethink self deception as denotes self manipulation in order to juggle contrary inconsistent beliefs, there is even the Solipsistically resolute faith in miracles of the literally most impossible, as in supernatural powers and the agency of an omnipotent God bound neither by neither logic nor even morality nor swayed by appeals either thereto. And by that path lies the ultimate negation of truest devil worship that actually treasures hypocrisy and leaves little other account for heterodoxy whatsoever save by Ad Hominem hostility, one way or another. But here, in any sense, any appeal to God is deployed only in the unrepentant abandon of all values and conscience whatsoever.
• The madness of Deathism
According to Freud, the reality principle in the mind, playing out likely scenarios, weighs the costs and benefits of any effort before deciding either to act upon and gratify or else to restrain and abandon an impulse arising in accordance with the pleasure principle. And this interplay of the pleasure principle checked by the reality principle is obviously fundamental to all motivation and values, being crucial because Eudemonia, authentic well being, arises from human interchange suitable to fulfill intrinsic stimulus needs in harmony with personal values. -not merely character, even howsoever sterling, in the abstract, but real opportunity for life lead in integrity. Thus, happiness comes in meeting ones needs for capable interaction with responsible others, partaking together in that very interplay of the pleasure and reality principles that imbues living with meaningful relevant value and autonomy.
“About once or twice every month I engage in public debates with those whose pressing need it is to woo and to win the approval of supernatural beings. Very often, when I give my view that there is no supernatural dimension, and certainly not one that is only or especially available to the faithful, and that the natural world is wonderful enough—and even miraculous enough if you insist—I attract pitying looks and anxious questions. How, in that case, I am asked, do I find meaning and purpose in life? How does a mere and gross materialist, with no expectation of a life to come, decide what, if anything, is worth caring about?
Depending on my mood, I sometimes but not always refrain from pointing out what a breathtakingly insulting and patronizing question this is. (It is on a par with the equally subtle inquiry: Since you don't believe in our god, what stops you from stealing and lying and raping and killing to your heart's content?) Just as the answer to the latter question is: self-respect and the desire for the respect of others—while in the meantime it is precisely those who think they have divine permission who are truly capable of any atrocity—so the answer to the first question falls into two parts. A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless' except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one's everyday life as if this were so. Whereas if one sought to define meaninglessness and futility, the idea that a human life should be expended in the guilty, fearful, self-obsessed propitiation of supernatural nonentities… but there, there. Enough.”
― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir
“You have to give to the world the thing that you want the most, in order to fix the broken parts inside you.” — Eve Ensler
Existentially, what is freedom, indeed for whom is freedom? Power and influence over others accrues either by coercion subject always to resistance, trickery of deceit and manipulation eventually subject to exposure and dissipation, or else in exchange or in support of value, so long as whatever that value or utility endures. Values are attitudes in definition setting the worth of people, needs, utility, concepts, or things and phenomena. In order to be sustained in practice, values must be reinforced, kept both in view and within reach. Heteronymous false values are typically promulgated by heavy indoctrination, but the striving for true human values is awakened by sheer temptation in the form of autonomy support and the Capability Approach. The dramatic scene breaks down into Motivation-Reaction Units: Immediate reactions are often reflexive, but then conscious deliberation ensues upon what action to take next. Or does it? Life can only be lived forwards, but only understood or recognized in hindsight. Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize and evaluate intellectually. Motivations and goals as ever set forth thereby, meaning as only created in the mind, interpretation, values, moral sympathies and empathies included, so often ambivalent, are not willfully intended in free agency but received and imprinted in receptivity as we discover ourselves subject all thereto. Most dramatically, relationship, the impression made by characters upon one another, often dawns upon the individual in emotional response to events unfolding. Only then is action undertaken, consistently with characterization, often giving rise to conflict and Setting The scene.
Any good or value is not a property of things or phenomena, but motivation contingent upon no end of circumstances. Value judgment denotes the process of how one desires for oneself that which one recognize as good for oneself, as agreeable and in accord with ones own nature or inclination rather than badly thwarting it. Therefore Altruism and respect, being important aspects of friendship, is to desire for the other, all that they themselves desire for themselves, likewise recognized individually as good for them. Breaking away from dull boring routine, involving engagement, focus and concentration along a learning curve of skills of capability matched to challenge, accrues growth towards clear goals ever put forth best guided by ongoing and timely feedback.
Logic is deemed Metaphysical in that Logic deals abstractly with validity being: the internal constancy, or else not, of propositions, in demarcation from Empirical scientific investigation seeking knowledge of truth which is awareness of correspondence to reality in assertions. Theology has never emerged from Metaphysics because the entirely hypothetical problems, conundrums and entire corpus of argument in a vacuum that is Theology even yet remain entirely bereft of any detectably correspondent reality for Empirical scientific investigation. Nevertheless, abstract good or value which defies description in in terms any worldly physical properties of things or phenomena, and therefore often laid claim by Theology and religion, is actually qualitative intangible idea and motivation contingent upon no end of circumstances that are nonetheless very real even though as yet, the Scientific Method cannot address Axiological questions beyond simply describing different Axiologies as characteristic of different individuals and cultures. Hence, Axiology strives to emerge from Metaphysical discourse into scientific investigation. And yet, though there are no end of vexingly vague and confusing moral grey areas, conflicts and fine distinctions, some simpler moral assertions do remain seemingly plainer and more certain and enduring.
In hopes of ever helping forestall any future outbreaks of such manifest horrific evil witnessed in his own lifetime as the rise of the Nazi's, Dr. Robert S. Hartman received the Nobel prize in 1973 for advancement of human self understanding, in recognition of his striving towards a scientific Axiology being: the study of good or value. But where are values after all, except in the individual mind? To reiterate, as yet, the Scientific Method cannot address Axiological questions beyond simply describing different Axiologiess as characteristic of different people and cultures. Essentially, Hartman developed the Hartman Value Profile, a personality test of individual values, mathematically quantified upon a scale of his own devising and to this day claiming superior insight and accuracy to traditional behavior based profiling. Hartman explored the richness, dimension and capacities of how different people value intrinsically, what we each imagine and hope for. Hartman's work then, seems more properly an Axiopsychology, certainly pertinent to Virtue Ethics (being: the moral focus upon good character rather than dilemmas and conundrums of situation and plot scenario) and perhaps even with promise in application to advanced automated Sociometry.
To be honest, the actual questionnaires of Hartman value profiling, seem as infuriating and badly designed, unusable, ambiguous and unintelligible as any other such today. Nevertheless, even leaving aside all such particulars, how does Hartman's work pursue howsoever any kind of Axiological truth? And exactly what would that truth correspond to in reality, again, except to variance in individual personality? Beyond clarification of individual Axiological position, how if at all is controversy from Axiological variance or disagreement advanced into scientific testability and refutability? How, if at all, has hypothesis in Axiology proper yet begun to emerge from Phenomenal subjectivity and Metaphysics in the sense of what can be reasonably and sensibly discussed even while remaining elusive beyond whatever the current accessible scope of Empirical scientific investigation? For the importance of all such questions remains undiminished. Rational science can measure resultant effects from actions and events, but can sweet reason and Scientific Method ever assay which if any are desirable or not in and of themselves?
The etiology of bad faith characteristic to Psychosis in sheer rationalizing disavowal of emotionality, entails not only a) poor emotional intelligence and self awareness due to the effective sabotage of emotional feedback from the reptilian brain and paleomamalian limbic system into sensory experience and only thence emerging from dim precociousness into distinct consciousness in the neomammilian neocortex (all poorly integrated to begin with), accomplished via rigid chronic tension in the abdominal muscles that normally respond in reflex to vulnerable emotion and actually produce physical sensation thereof upon the same region of epidermis, and b) fanatically stubborn bad science as manifest in intellectualized denial mechanisms together with extreme confirmation bias and willful disengagement from reality testing and refutation of explanatory pet theories, thence abductive reasoning alone even unto mounting delusion, but most saliently at this juncture: c) a particular dissociative strategy in abuse of Philosophy, specifically: the ongoing classic object disoriented ivory tower struggle to replace consideration and in every word and deed, all language and action, individual prioritization of emotional needs and desires, with complete abstraction utterly disconnected therefrom. In truth however, Axiological questions of what is good, better, desirable, bountiful, valuable, precious or even pleasant, useful, effective, high quality, beneficial, upright, moral, fair, within bounds, however worthy of whatever love or respect, even at all reliable, how so and why? can never be divorced from Psychodynamics and motivation of character, first of all because values of every kind are inevitably shaped Phenomenally from the full range experience over time, and not by sheer cognition in a vacuum. Intrinsic values pertain to that which is needed or desired in and of itself. Indeed, we all experience that transcendent intimation of something, for wont of a better term: greater, beyond any simple instrumental pragmatism or means to an end: ends in and of themselves, values of intrinsic worth, often complicating what would otherwise accrue only the most purpose defeating oversimplification in whatever utilitarian calculus. Indeed, all values, even so much as survival instinct to begin with, cannot be logically reducible, but simply a matter of human nature running deep, biological and in that way indeed arbitrary. For as Socrates famously argues, how can the oblivion after death be any more painful than the oblivion before birth?
Nevertheless, just as the false characterization of all science as Reductionism is often deployed for launching argument from ignorance and lack of imagination, likewise moral Nihilism and even Nihilistic value destruction is falsely thrust upon us as the only default position without firm grounds upon the certified word of God. But to legitimize meaningful values including morality only by appeal to God, is either redundant or else denies inherent value of intrinsic worth. For such is Theo-crypto-Nihilistic value destruction. For in the immortal words of Protagoras, "Man is the measure of all things." In truth, morality and ethics no less than aesthetics or taste are a values, qualities regarded as having desirable worth or utility, and as are all values including survival itself, especially values of democracy, unless utterly and unnaturally abstract and ideal or just arbitrary and dogmatic, are not Ontology but subjective and redolent with meaning in the deepest sense relevantly derived from the motivation, including and transcending mere vested interest, of human needs evolved first for survival and beyond, survival, pleasure principle, sympathy, culture to stave off boredom even without danger and violence, ultimately the gratifiable but insatiable attraction to new and fresh challenge and growth toward self-actualization or at least freedom and autonomy, without which purpose life itself threatens Zen futile Ecclesiastical vanity! and suicidal ennui of Deathism is even known to ensue.
“To be, or not to be, that is the question:” — Hamlet Act 3, scene 1
“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” — Albert Camus
Artificial Psychology posits that autonomous value judgment, difficult to conceive of except as inalienable from identity and therefore consciousness, will be inextricably fundamental to any human like intelligence. What makes a life go well for the person who lives it? Good or value is not a property of things or phenomena, but intangible idea and motivation contingent upon no end of circumstances. Value judgment denotes the process of how one desires for oneself that which one recognize as good for oneself, as agreeable and in accord with ones own nature or inclination rather than badly thwarting it. Therefore Altruism and respect, being important aspects of friendship, is to desire for the other, all that they themselves desire for themselves, likewise recognized individually as good for them. But people seldom quite understand what they want, their true deepest needs and desires. Freudian transference love is the associative projection in the mind of fantasies onto a real person who somehow or other strikes a chord. Eliciting values in order to build rapport, which is the sensation of comfortable harmonious mutual understanding as from relating well to one another, denotes the sensitivity and autonomy supportive respect of psychoanalytically and dialectically drawing another to ponder and to reveal their unique profoundly motivating individual intangible true deepest end yearned for emotional state or experience, simply how they like to feel, as opposed to their more superficial means desires, typically concrete tangible things, phenomena, situation or circumstances, and especially qualities in others, merely howsoever associated or expected to help achieve or attain the former. Indeed, emotional motivation of inner life, is externally relevant only in response to circumstances, favorable or unfavorable.
An illusion is an error in perception or judgment, even an ensnarement in deception or diversionary manipulation. But then again, even in the Zen, transparent illusions or even referential allusions such as the reflection of the moon, are often indication or expression of anything howsoever deeper and at all more involved. If values are merely conjectural and contingent no less than perception, indeed, being that Axiology, the domain of value judgment, is not Ontology, are values then entirely Phenomenal, and is Axiology entirely Phenomenological, and hence all even chimerical to be Nihilistically condemned? Without God, indeed even if there is a God, are we to despair of firm grounds? In truth, values communicate and are meaningfully communicated. Values are both personal and intersubjective. Values can be apprehended and comprehended. And values have profound impact. Even sheer pragmatism and Nihilistic value destruction, even suicide, are all value judgment, cognitively or emotionally, and indeed functions engaging the much maligned self aware ego, the purity or impurity whereof, is again, value judgment. Only autonomy in quest of values and not justified firm grounds, gives freedom meaning and makes life worth living.
In fiction writing, by every Technique of Suspense plotting, the rising tension and of dramatic conflict signifies that the resolution of whatever the central problem is such as to increasingly press character(s) inevitably to take action in struggle with whoever or whatever the antagonist in some way that must one way or another bring the very values of said character(s) into question for them, even the very most intrinsic values that define character by consistently taking priority over other clearer and simpler motivating interests and concerns, often extrinsic. Or else, much as Psychosis and fanaticism are characterized by anxious stubborn resistance to the observational testing of competing hypotheses, the heteronymous failure of autonomy, positive disintegration and character growth is typically distinguished by a fateful reluctance to wrestle with competing values.
“All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
very question of value
also is further elaborated in the quest for that which is dubbed
with many useful and fairly concise definitions and explanations
compiled and correlated. But the grab-bag remains still somewhat ill
sorted no thanks to somewhat confused holism, in that there are also
certain key distortions of to be well wary of:
Indeed, all that is said of value judgment as a complaint, is very true, but in actuality unproblematic. For the rejection of ego, the ego being the font of perfectly valid and meaningful value judgment, is a position though couched in Eastern terms, that is nevertheless identical with the very Western mistrust of human nature, a mistrust rightly denounced, being evil by the very adequate humanistic definition of evil proffered, specifically: denigration of legitimate need fulfillment, the railing against desire.
Certainly, biology has every part in most profound motivation, but sociology can never be discounted or despised either. Neither nature nor nurture need negation. Indeed, the loftiest goals ever put forth, of self-actualization, a concept much abused, must never overlook nor overshoot first the more concrete imperatives toward autonomy requiring a healthy ego, no less worthy to be extolled though, and alas, they are not, regardless how what passes for education, exemplar of the social evils mounted against developmental autonomy, is accurately and rightly denounced.
And the confusion can only be compounded by the ad hoc non sequitur inaccuracies of Taoist objectivity demands plus transcendental hand waving, obfuscating the entire point of the humanist legitimacy and even loftiness of worldly subjectivity so unjustly and disastrously despised in the East no less than in the West.
They say that there is no disputing matters of taste. And yet/, the saying is
observably false. For not only are matters of taste disputed and argued every
day, but even, sometimes, quite sensibly, even
Indeed, by exercises and studies in art appreciation, the tastes of other
people, individually and culturally, can be better understood even if not quite
reciprocally embraced. Which is, upon reflection, quite
surprising! How can it ever be possible, and by what
Methodology, to argue Aesthetics sensibly, when taste is manifestly so
subjective, quite beyond any proper Ontology?
Indeed, in drama, the aesthetics of which are very much bound up in the morality explored, though even the classical rules of drama can never be so steadfast as physical laws, nevertheless, without any critical disposition in the labor of writing, readable and compelling fiction is unlikely to result. But why so? As to the question of Aesthetic validity, there may be a clue in that Musicology can discover, discern and even most anciently mathematically express the characteristics and proportion not only of harmony but also, in modern times, of melody, musical pattern pleasing to the human ear. Such accomplishment suggests that as well as obvious culture and individuality, there may actually be an innate neurological component even to artistic taste. Plato held that patient reflection upon the whys and wherefores any instance or experience of subjective beauty can reveal some meaningful truth in an idea.
Moreover, Aesthetics is a value. So, might such as the above discovery regarding Aesthetics also in any way somehow also pertain to other values, particularly and most crucially, morality and ethics? Or, indeed, are ethics and morality nothing but arbitrary questions of taste? Clearly, no less that with Aesthetics, morality and ethics are rooted in human nature. And given the premise at all, somehow, sensible discussion ensues every day.
To attempt consistent description is to seek to know truth (to attempt to locate and identify correspondence to reality in assertions) in generalization, in ethics and morality no less than any other field of inquiry, despite the inter-subjectivity of values. Integrity, after all, is of the human condition.
The best that can be asserted is only as to the objective reality of subjectivity itself, of the Phenomena as some sort of ongoing event, simply rejecting whatever trivializing Reductionism. Hence, morality cannot be derived logically because morality is Altruistic, arising by way of sympathy, love recognizing the selfish needs of others as well as one's own, so that bonding becomes possible. Indeed, the dramatic exploration of moral dilemmas depends very much upon the emotions and sympathies evoked, or else the work fails and falls flat. But, regardless of recognizable or foreseeable consequences whatsoever, any motivation to responsibility at all, selfish needs to begin with, growth in the pursuit of self-actualization or at least freedom and autonomy, whatever will to power, the avoidance of pain and pursuit of pleasure, even self preservation, survival instinct, even for oneself, let alone, by love, caring and Altruistic extension, to others, are not logically derivable. For, to reiterate, as Socrates put it, how can the non existence after death be any more distressing or unpleasant than the non existence before birth? Indeed, what is more logical than Nirvana Principle, the Draconian escape from subjective suffering by reducing one's needs by abrogating all sense of identity, ego? Only developmental psychology recapitulating evolution at all explains first of all selfish concern let alone Altruism and therefore morality at all which can no more be logically validated than selfishness in the first place. Likewise God remains, at best, entirely non sequitur to the question of morality.
Nor is God actually necessary for arguing Nirvana Principle, self abnegation and the rejection of attachments from the subjectivity of identity, either, let alone whatever values either way, neither the innate values deriving from human needs nor even such Draconian pragmatism as to reject them all wholesale. Clearly, beginning from argument from ignorance and lack of imagination, Theism offers a specious morally non sequitur Appeal to Authority readily deployed by every side of any issue. For better or worse, worshipers tend to rationalize and project into their religion, whatever the content of their own character. Indeed, a successful scripture is one so bleached of distinctive original background over time, that it so readily adapts to each new era in turn.
The unnamed author of the above seems blithely unaware of having penned an adequate definition for the aims of indoctrination and mind control,
rather than, in the alternative, reaching out to engage autonomy of independent moral and other reasoning, voluntarily, and only thence free action...
' Educational Psychology: A Practical Approach' by Edward Vockell, Ph.D. Chapter 5, the section upon: intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation (or actually: ever manipulative "motivators"), included, first of all, as fine resource indeed, upon the range of motivation of interest to fiction writing, but also cited here as an entry point into an illuminating display of irresponsibly oppressive and antisocial heteronymous hypocrisy: the how-to manual on the reshaping of personality by undermining autonomy, which, incidentally, from all that is said and the more so in what goes unsaid, for purposes of drama will find ready application to realistic backstory of character development and deeply ingrained and often morally dissonant inner conflict or: ambivalence.
In his Theory X and Theory of Y, Douglas McGregor categories individuals thus: The X category or theory, is, in not so many words: indolence. For the avoidant individual that lacks of ambition, shirks work and commitment as much as possible and resists change, and must be threatened with punishment, controlled and penalized in order to comply. Whereas the Y individual, to the contrary, is highly committed, considers it only normal to exert intellectual and physical effort, and intrinsically likes to become involved in different responsibilities, even enjoying the sense of anticipation from the however extrinsically motivating associated rewards pursued, and needn't be threatened or forced in order to comply. But other individuals yet again, may vary in response, depending upon all manner of circumstance, such as healthy environment, fair treatment and sense of inclusion. For such, perhaps it may be more accurate to postulate the elicitation of X and Y responses. But how are such opposite responses triggered or elicited to begin with, much less conditioned in the long term?
• Act Without External Pressure: intrinsic motivations of mastery, meaningful purpose and value maximization
“Why Don’t Students Like School?” Well, Duhhhh… Students don't like school because they love freedom. School is prison! But we are all made ashamed to admit it.
It is often quipped that those who can't do, teach (and that those who can't teach, teach gym, and those who can't even teach gym, administrate!). But why, indeed, are teachers and administrators as a breed, so crushed and helplessly paralyzed? Just what is their damage? Absurdly, rather than firmly resolving as soon as safely practical, to end plainly destructive scholastic oppression, granting freedom and even establishing whatever necessary democracy to mitigate conditions of daily student captivity not to mention their own captive and sore travails! [the French word for 'labor,' literally: suffering] teachers motivated by enduringly blind heteronymous vested interest instead remain intent as directed, upon the Quixotic doomed effort of lunatic faith and doublethink sleight of mind, somehow to integrate and reconcile autonomy so terrifying to them, as a component enfolded within their desperate security blanket of heteronomy, the desperate and fantastical enterprise of reconciliation, autonomy and heteronomy watering one another down.
In the patronizing Moralistic concatenation and sheer irresponsible misanthropy of such daily incarceration as passes for our education, the customer is always wrong! For rather than engaging the interests of students, consequent boredom and distress is deemed a character flaw of indolence then subject to unrelenting coercion and manipulation. Precisely thus, our secular educational system nevertheless still rooted in traditions of the religious church patronage, remains no more or less than the institutional Fifth Column of dedicated loving but insulting Totalitarian patronizing condescension within democratic society alas still too cowardly and contemptuous to trust the worthiness of our own children or even adult college students (therefore, when if ever??), as to be curious enough on their own without exactly such constantly mounting, pressurizing and ultimately crushing abuse guaranteed to quickly erode any joy of autonomous curiosity. For the brain naturally engaged in often unique construction of personal comprehension and individual pattern construction, is poorly adapted for behaviorally structured and boringly predictable formal instruction.
In a stunning reversal of all free market norms, the vendor, or "school"/"university", through an employee called a "professor" or "teacher", veritably policing hapless student performance, then holds the power of satisfaction and dissatisfaction against the consumer! The customer is always wrong! And the vendor to a significant degree controls the career future of the consumer, or as he or she is called, the "student".
Further more, this brand of oppression has been consistent from childhood, through the school system, and is deeply ingrained by conditioning and indoctrination. By the conditionality of meeting emotional needs only given the desired responses, peer pressure of negative conditioning and even emotional tear town against undesired response and awkward begged questions and generally obstructing and discouraging error checking, the technique of graduated indoctrination can be employed, with continual repetition, so as to gradually reshape the subject's belief's or position. Most commonly, as per the travesty of Inductivist education, whatever innocuous seeming truisms by default may be utilized initially as a starting point, and then the desired behaviors and supporting rationalizations are slowly and stealthily introduced and connected thereto, unexamined. In this way, the individual subject may be coaxed into to perceive the institutional righthink as consistent with their own habits, personal boundaries and perceptions, no matter how jarring and suspicious it all might have been, had the proverbial cards all been laid out on the metaphorical table from the beginning, instead. Social success demands permeability to such osmosis, whereof autonomy requires resistance. A quandary.
"The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school." — George Bernard Shaw
But worse, precisely such societal cowardice and contempt is unsuspectingly internalized by children subjected to manipulatively devious and systematic indoctrination to insecure paralytic heteronomy, so that they can never trust others or even especially themselves ever to be curious enough on their own without exactly such constantly mounting, pressurizing and ultimately crushing abuse guaranteed to quickly erode any joy of autonomous curiosity. In brief, in order to function at all, they become helplessly addicted to coercion, from wherever coercion can be found.
If anyone is ever observed to prefer eating junk food and memorizing sports trivia to studying math and working hard at it, there are at least two competing explanatory hypotheses: One is that human beings from childhood are naturally impulsive, lazy and hedonistic, in a word: 'indolent'. and the other, quite simply, is that people are routinely traumatized from childhood by school but less often by their hobbies. Alas, the latter is as yet recognized only as a complicating cofactor at best, while the former has never properly come into doubt, in blithe denial of theoretical inelegance and preponderance of evidence. Thus, to typical heteronymous authorities and functionary teachers, the quite unpalatable risk in any fundamental alternative, is in simply respecting the individual right also perhaps possibly to reject unwanted education. Because, what then? If no one is coerced one way or another, indeed, if one day automation finally puts an end to chores and busy work, then how will anything ever get done and what will be the point of living?
It's still all for your own good, dear! -even if we dare no longer proclaim that: "pressure makes diamonds!"
Respectful and exceptional teachers are all too often treated very badly, actually penalized, in our school systems. Typical school teachers are uniquely patronizing, even the sweetest and dopiest of kindergarten schoolmarms. Their tone and demeanor is unmistakable. On the other hand, Behaviorists and school teachers can be the nicest people. It just doesn't help. Indeed, sincerity can be the most profound manipulation of all! Indeed, such insult as patronizing condescension that after all comes of love can be less painful than insult that comes without it, or more so, or equally so, as the case may be: but be that as it may, it is, in any case significantly more harmful. This is because insult provokes anger and hostility, but hostility towards people who even sincerely profess to love you and act on your own best interest is curbed and turned inwards, internalized, and experienced as self-hostility, namely Moralistic guilt.
Precisely such deceptive appeals undermining the target’s credulity and defenses even whilst actually exercising coercion constitute often likewise internalized insecure flagrantly manipulative behavior, conscious or unconscious; because, beyond bypassing and overwhelming aware intellect and good sense by the adroit application of such motivating emotional triggers as guilt, fear, spite, temptation and flattery, a prime function of manipulation is simply to disarm individual resistance to coercion by rationalizing said coercion as reasonable, fair, moderate or even benign and benevolent, but anything except what it is: coercion. Little wonder then, how do few of us are actually all that well adjusted. With the exception of a hand full of remarkable individuals who where exceptionally good students in ostensible vindication of entrenched status quo, we are all to some degree emotionally disturbed because of the extended traumatic experience of how we adapted to school and/or how we didn't.
Intrinsic motivation is that process of arousal and satisfaction that is the reward from carrying out an activity in and of itself, rather than whatever extrinsic motivation or motivator coming in hoped for pay off resultant from said activity. In brief, however deplored by Edward Vockell, PhD, may be the application of external extrinsic motivation even where internal intrinsic motivation and value is absent, fulfilling internal and intrinsic motivation being howsoever preferable to oppressive extrinsic motivation and likely resultant overjustification effect, teachers are still not charged by the expert and authoritative likes of Edward Vockell, Ph.Dl simply to facilitate and aid in the fulfillment of whatever varying needs and desires of students themselves, to respectful autonomy support, but rather still, however adaptively, to inculcate curriculum and even socialization by whatever motivation necessary, fair or foul and without respect. Indeed, where, according to Edward Vockell, Ph.Dl, extrinsic motivation (often) must(!) be employed initially, then only temporarily, because "extrinsic motivators may lead to merely short-range activity while actually reducing long-range interest [...] Therefore, it is essential that extrinsic motivators be backed up by intrinsic motivators or that the extrinsic motivation become internalized", often via the Existential bait-and-switch of sublimation, indeed, by the correct application of Behavioral Modification. But behavioral internalization is never classified properly and honestly as manipulative and uncritical indoctrination, whereas education, in distinction from indoctrination, professes to foster unfettered critical thinking in quest for truth, free of insecure corrupting vested interest.
Because, after all, while teachers naturally want students to flourish, responsible and accountable to themselves, we all need to be sure that this will be the right kind of responsibility for members of society! -Alas, the tone of irony here is my own, not the shamelessly straight-faced educators. And the right kind of autonomy, so-called, is nothing less than exactly the bright eyed and bushy tailed loyal exuberant enthusiasm that ordinary kids mock, fools that we are, such virtuous inhibition indeed very limitedly autonomous in seriousness and initiative exceeding mere obedience. For such is the reward of unreserved goody two-shoes internalization and surrender of individual identity via unconscious uncritical osmosis, such prized characteristics of the hand full of truly well adapted students, that are never actually taught any more than good study habits or socialization and popularity. And if they can do it, then why not everybody else? That is why we malcontents have no one to blame but ourselves, and should line up chomping at the bit to have our useless and obstreperous spirits broken, right? Where's our school spirit of enthusiasm?
In the bad old days, the school system was an obstacle course designed for placement of the individual within a stratified society, and then became an assembly line for turning out factory drones. And while both outmoded legacies persist, neither are any longer politically correct to honestly admit. Indeed, a most remarkable aspect of modern scholastic indoctrination, rife with such patronizing condescending hypocritical doublethink, is how scholastic indoctrination strives to avoid indoctrinary bias and indeed content at all except, without saying, as to the urgency of putative need for scholastic indoctrination itself and also for the putative imperative of socialization, all thereby theoretically leaving wide open a vast and free range of critical thinking, indeed so long as it remain entirely abstract with no risk of action and change. The real goal put forth of timid reform as embraced by the likes of Edward Vockell, Ph.D is is only the same desperate and fantastical enterprise of reconciliation, autonomy and heteronomy watering down one another, autonomy to rescue heteronomy, even whist constrained and stifled thereby and even under the pretence all vice versa.
And the low percentage of success in production of blithe uncomplicated and high functioning true believers, the leaders of tomorrow with "the right kind of autonomy," is of course only taken as a spur to renew faith and strive even harder, rather than, perish forbid! legitimate cause for doubt, acknowledgment of fallibility, and to consider instead the by far more responsible risk management entailed in the honest demands of respect for student autonomy. After all, leaders of tomorrow still need their damaged minions and sycophants. As consistent with ancient patronage systems, education is traditionally and heteronymously viewed as the responsibility of the individual student as a contributing member of society, not any service of intrinsic value to the student as end user, customer or citizen. Why in the bad old days, the school Principal or Headmaster might even take affront at any student professing to enjoy any of their classes! Harrumph.
Yes, under any guise, the challenge of student motivation aside, whether in the most harsh and brutal competitive arena of old or the worst "No Child Left Behind" misguidedly egalitarian reformist cultivation of sheer ersatz Harrison Bergeron mediocrity of today, should ever compulsory education fail, naturally it remains entirely acceptable for the student to be chided and blamed via a bad grade despite being captive with little real free choice, the risk from true unique independent individual mistakes remaining still so terrifying a responsibility for all concerned! Indeed, nowadays, mischievous schoolchildren may be "consequenced." But such parlance is even more transparently Orwellian. Alas, even given, obviously, how external and therefore extrinsic motivation often indeed arises situationally, nevertheless "providing structure," the inductivist deliberate behavioral engineering of external extrinsic motivation is also never honestly and responsibly named as: systematic punishment and reward, subtext only ever signaling a dire lack of sufficiently engaging and even engrossing intrinsic value, thereby eliciting overjustification effect and all therefore doomed to stifling demoralized failure and ennui exactly as already explained and acknowledged quite sufficiently by the author himself Edward Vockell, Ph.D, even as he extols exactly such tactics, even if only in such deviously and manipulatively ostensible moderation!
Alas, the truth remains that even given that the application of discipline may ever be necessary and appropriate in matters of conduct such as to simply in defense of our rights from one another as from bullying, the application of discipline as punishment and reward to extrinsically motivate learning remains as failed and doomed an enterprise and all around dubious a proposition as ever since the dawn of history and already debunked.
Indeed our tragedy is rooted in the motivating allure of heteronomy, the incapacitating guilty anxiety, fear and and loathing in dread of individual responsibility in the face of uncertainty and risk, and how exactly the sheer futility of artfully minimized indoctrination is, in truth, simply the more insidious than merciful let alone certain or risk free in the manner that true freedom clearly is not. Thence the moral of our story might be how modern education remains insecure and Utopist as ever, and the manner in which inflexible grand and overreaching responsibilities to desired results however lofty, only end in rationalizing the most flagrant irresponsibility even regarding minimally acceptable daily conduct of educators simply not to bully and abuse power, even however deviously and manipulatively (and of the expertly guided administration not to actually demand such evil of teachers), never mind simply to freely provide educational service with immediate, attractive and yes: intrinsic end-user appeal in service to stimulus need and therefore better conducive to real individual growth. Indeed, so thin runs their faith in democracy as to dismiss democratization as Utopist because there can be no guarantees of certainty.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” — Albert Einstein
Coercion in what still passes for education has flailed for thousands of years, and yet has not been abandoned. But in order to begin curing the pandemic anxiety and heteronomy inculcated by the pathological and misguided practice educational coercion, any renewed focus upon deeper reasoning skills as has been advocated in substitution for obsolete superficial rote learning, may also serve as any beginning towards reawakening autonomy and the yearning for freedom in students and teachers, and ever inching towards ending scholastic coercion once and for all. All of which remains no less crucial likewise to better sexual education ever truly free of Moralism. Research shows that providing medically-accurate, age-appropriate sexuality education leads to healthy decisions. However, not only genuine, accurate and current information, but the practices of ongoing learning by secondary library and internet research, problem solving and decision making, all apply no less to the entire range of tradeoffs entailed in different safer sex strategies, that sexual partners must choose together, even at any loss of spontaneity. But in turning away from the systemic unfeasibility of Moralism, even pending the abolition of scholastic coercion, even the rationality any more intelligent teaching approach undertaken in its own culture of the dignity of sex for pleasure, much less the ignorant barbarism of abstinence propaganda and indoctrination., is often inadequate to the needs of helping neurotics: For it is really no secret either, how crisis pregnancy is more often actually motivated by psychological unloved feelings of powerless inadequacy, demonstration of potency and every social dysfunction whereof such unhappiness emanates, and in truth no accident, simple birth control failure, or even, really deep down, nor has determination to bring crisis pregnancy to term, truly have anything much to do with howsoever sentiment towards the unborn in the abstract. Considering that unprotected sex is well understood as all too often motivated by unacknowledged yearnings for procreation that is a symptom of profound feelings of powerlessness, to which of course, educational coercion, bullying and dysfunctional family, all contribute, the problem, then, is also very much a public psychotherapeutic care issue, desperately needing address as such.
Indeed, consider suitability of modality and directive even if knowledgeable competence is at all evident or taken on trust. Most excellent advice, if only at all permitted! Alas, many of these Coaches can become indignant and slippery when pressed with too many questions about exactly what it is they do.
An appealing pitch for a well qualified Coach highlights their specialized expertise and sympathetic understanding towards whatever whomever target market segment(s) for clients or: "coachies", all nevertheless amounting to glittering generalities in so far as both broadly conceptual and practical detailed explanation of Coaching modality, individually applicable and appropriate practice and whatever if any new and different solutions for the client of 'coachie'. Such additional questions coming upon reflection upon the heels of the lucid and even compelling pitch, can even come as decidedly unwelcome. In short, as typical of all variants of what can only be described as stealth Behavior Modification, there is a serious issue of fully informed consent. Indeed, just for example, what differentiates Anger Coaching, from whatever conceivable anger therapy, let alone controversial Anger management? One aspect of Coaching most commonly purported to define Coaching as distinguished from other therapeutic, consulting or educational modalities, is that Coaching is supposed to be howsoever goal directed as set out between the Coach and client or: coachie, from prioritization, strategy and feasibility assessment with the client, in contrast to Mentorship characterized by information and advice. Whereas consultants advise on specialized expertise and Mentoring or career development cultivates knowledge and skills for the long term and in a specific field, Coaching even while looking to the future, boasts of providing supportive discovery-based approaches and frameworks for teams or individuals capable of generating their own solutions confronting immediate probortunities in pursuit of specific actionable outcomes or changes. Committed to discover, clarify, and align with what the coachie wishes to achieve, the coach listens, offers observations and poses questions along with concepts and principles which may be creative and thought provoking and assist in revealing hitherto unconsidered possibilities and expanding the range of feasible actions to take. By this definition, Coaches seek to elicit not suppressed trauma and obstructive inner conflict from a patient as in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, but renewed clarity, solutions, strategies and decisions from the coachie and upon an agenda, frustrated dreams stalled and dispelled, progressively rendered more strategically concrete in order to flow with renewed vigor and passion, their true path revealed; all entirely from the coachie, and likewise as with Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, entirely without manipulatively planting suggestion.
Now, Reality Therapy so named, is also extolled as howsoever goal directed. Indeed, in Reality Therapy goals set forth with the patient must be well formed and individually achievable. That often entails radically lowered expectation, even to the point of purpose defeating induced sublimation. The problem is of course, that most life goals set forth are contingent upon interdependency within society. It's a give-and-take world, after all. So the actual problem as from the very cradle remains the same: What to do in order to attain ones desires from others? Thus enters extrinsic motivation and the opening for indoctrination which aims at bringing about in the subject, the internalization of extrinsic motivation. Alas that so much of education and counseling of whatever kind, very much including Coaching, only boils down to more of the same stealth Behavior Modification, discourse of ostensibly open ended negotiation only concealing the manipulative consensus engineering of any secretively predetermined ulterior agenda. Thus all vaunted goal setting that evinces such open practical straightforwardness, may often actually constitute a conniving manipulatively leading Dialectic of Behavioral Suggestion not unlike classic consensus manipulation. Indeed, Reality Therapy is described as a Cognitive Behavioral approach to Psychotherapy, indeed explicitly leveraging patient trust and affection in order to gain influence even over resistance and non cooperation, compliance, after all, being the sole patronizing treatment criteria of Behavior Modification. Its for your own good, dear! Reality Therapy extols the value of exposure to responsible others, in the person of the Therapist. Likewise, Coaches may serve to hold the coachie accountable. And all such smacks of external conscience. For all the talk of client goal setting, how do Coaches really respond to coachies howsoever asserting themselves? Indeed what is goal setting in actuality, if not the cats paw of extrinsic motivators internalized into cognitive dissonance that is the method of indoctrination, rationalized Behavior Modification exactly as in Cognitive Behaviorism, the engineering of consent much as in consensus manipulation that maneuvers the subject into accepting another's ulterior agenda as their own? Whereas by contrast, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy aims at bringing into consciousness, not only inner conflict but conflict between pleasure and reality principles, liberating rather than struggling with much less successfully overcoming the patient as even for their own good. Indeed, non-directive coaching as opposed to directive coaching, like Psychodynamic Psychotherapy is founded upon Dialectical with effective active listening, reframing and empathy, all enjoined from suggestion. (From the core tenet of all Medical Ethics being: the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm" thence is derived in specific application to Psychotherapy, the Freudian injunction against suggestion, manipulative conditionality or coercion.)
As with Reality Therapy, often Coaching is extolled as an equal partnership between Coach and 'coachie'. But that is simply inaccurate: A partner is not any sort of consultant paid by the hour and limited thereto, but an interested stakeholder full time. So, are some more equal than others? Not, for that matter, that even the clearest motivating self interest has ever reliably deterred sheer perversity and irresponsibility undermining collaboration. The quest towards true legitimacy in Coaching, then, the key driving vastly underserved need, is only the same striving for respect and competent autonomy support as ever. So, are Coaches truly ready to embrace and fully abet whatever goals ultimately set forth by their clients? Or does whatever training background ever carry baggage of ulterior agenda and manipulative engineering of consent? I shudder to think, but there even runs the entire gamut of Religious Ministerial and New Age Mystical specialist kook charlatan Coaches offering their services! But then of course, there are also likewise various similar fringe therapist and councilors.
Unfortunately, when Coaching sometimes incorporating any sort of social skills remediation, and in any case as all too often incorporates motivational techniques and even Behavior Modification outright especially Cognitive Behaviorism, even the most obsolete and no longer plausible Neuro-Linguistic Programming, then expect the same typical evasion on that score, not transparency of modality and disclosure towards informed consent. Beware stealth Behaviorism! Candor is all too often rejected as counterproductive towards the sole relentlessly manipulative treatment criteria of Behavior Modification in any context of application, ever being no more or less than subject compliance, be they clients, students, patients, disciples, lab rats or prisoners. Professional caginess regarding precise treatment modalities for Autism Spectrum disorders including Asperger's Syndrome, can be a recurrent frustration in seeking and evaluating professional help options. Frequently alas, this applies no less even for any range of Psychodynamic Psychotherapists, specialists and various lay practitioners as who have entered into the Coaching field specializing in any range of pervasive developmental disorders, twice exceptionality or giftedness even as subject to misdiagnosis outright. But at least there seems to be consensus therein, that Behavior Modification is distinctly contraindicated for the gifted. At least, so they say.
Indeed, only Coaches for Asperger's and the gifted, often with background in education positively steeped in Cognitive Behaviorism, seem to have even heard of Kasimir Dombrowski and his seminal work or take any interest therein. But woefully deficient as my grasp of Dombrowski's work, especially his practiced modality, I'm fairly sure that Kasimir Dombrowski was no more a Coach than Hans Asperger was a Behaviorist! And the field of education has refined the process of killing the legacy of innovators, then sanctifying the travesty thereof and parading the cadaver as the very soul of living hope! Is there truly anything on offer here beyond fraudulent stealth Behaviorist sham opposition? Moreover, Coaching is generally not recognized for health insurance coverage any more than for academic accreditation and student loans. However, this could be handily resolved by simply taking on Coaches as clinical social workers. Indeed not surprisingly, some Coaches are already licensed in clinical social work, apparently having career transitioned into Coaching from clinical social work which is largely Cognitive Behaviorist.
If Coaching is so important, why do we know so little about it? by Don Kincaid and Amanda March, University of South Florida offers the following salient bullet pointed questions:
Are there generic skill sets make for effective "coaching"?
Can we train for a generic "coaching" repertoire and supplement content knowledge?
Does the skill set remain the same across tiers and implementation levels?
If not, how does it change?
How can we effectively evaluate "coaching" skill sets and/or activities?
How does "coaching" relate to academic and behavioral student outcomes?
The above questions may be reframed for any range of other non academic context and application.
heteronymous patronizingly high-mindedly misanthropic view of
education as intrinsically indoctrinary persists, extolling
the internalization of
It's for your own good, dear: In the famous words of Coach Tom Landry:
"A coach is someone who gets you to do what you don't want to do, so you can be
who you want to be." By that standard, a tank commander is the greatest
coach there ever was (well: maybe for Klingons!), ever urging on his
subordinates to fight and to persevere until they are eventually killed or
maimed. And the honor, nobility and sacrifice of the soldier is undeniably
inspiring. But the comparison here, however rhetorically intended, may be deemed
somewhat extreme and exaggerated, as, after all, the stakes of mentorship or
Life Coaching are seldom anywhere near so high as those in the Hell of war.
Nevertheless, anyone generally compulsive or otherwise bent upon doing anything
they really don't want to, will tend to
conflict, and often
understandably simply will not feel that they can afford to be entirely
with themselves. Indeed, as most common with modern educators,
whatever ideals embraced of whatever cooperation or
Dialectic between equals, responsibility, autonomy
and even giftedness, can only accrue the
bad faith in denial
cognitive dissonance. Nor, neither from
howsoever misguided altruism, brazen exploitation nor from sheer self
validation, are they often
with others with whom they afterwards seek to share their treasured motivators
to achievement. Such internalization of generally misanthropic
Though as completely unregulated as social skills training, by contrast Coaching does have various accrediting professional associations. Coaches vary so widely in qualification and talent because Coaching is a practice of whatever practical guidance, and a grab bag of whatever is included, and perhaps even more so than therapy, variously market niche specialized to all manner of circumstances, personality and. field of endeavor. Applied Positive Psychology is increasingly popular in Executive or even traditional Athletic Coaching, because they have in common focus upon supportive improvement in functioning and even peak performance towards whatever plans and desires, rather than treatment of pathology, even diagnosis and cultivation of strengths and aptitudes, not only remedy of flaws and weaknesses.
Positive Psychology at least differs from Behaviorism, in that Applied Positive Psychology even in quest of improved performance, aims at even at all meaningful elicitation of peak experiences of enjoyment rather than in rejection of the psyche, mere subject compliance often by suppression of inner conflict. And yet in application of metrics and whatever hedonic calculus to any observable fluctuations in transitory pleasure in order thereby to gain an average over time thus to assay happiness longitudinally, something is still lost in translation thereby still quite missing the point, because often Zen influenced researches in theoretical Positive Psychology, hence not entirely unlike Behaviorism, may arrive at implicit invalidation even of intrinsic motivation, desires, values and ambitions indeed as no more than mistaken hypotheses of resultant happiness, in other words: snares of illusion, the maya. - and all from the cutting edge observation that life is often different from expectations!
On the other hand, many Coaches but not all, are nowadays also various types of Psychodynamic Psychotherapists and/or educators. As Orwell observes, take away freedom of speech meaning: opportunity of outlet and feedback from conversation with other people, and individual creative focus suffers. Therefore Psychotherapy and Coaching may actually fill at all different relationship and social support voids and concerns. Howsoever qualified and specialized Coaching may therefore come recommended for business or other endeavor lacking such outlet for fresh perspective as a particular professional community or peer group, and that thus that may become excessively lonely in whatever their chosen vocation or endeavor, even if not elsewhere in life.
One thing is true enough: After all, what are the situational forces of routine status quo, except the immediacy of readily available or even unavoidable human interaction? All those hucksters and self help gurus want is your money: If no hyped up guide, course or book achieves whatever earnestly desired life transformation, and blaming yourself certainly won't help, then perhaps what is wonting is the quality of intentional human interaction. First, change the discussion!
Therefore: Perhaps gentle reader, what you want after all, is not any consultant for hire, but some real world contact, even an actual prospective business partner or maybe just a friend. My bio.
Again, what is coaching, how does coaching help, towards what objectives, and what are its limits? Coaching is generally thought of as providing some manner of support, and beyond career, educational and remedial specializations, the loftiest overall goal so oft put forth, is not merely life success but true fulfillment. And so better questions might be not only what is fulfillment, but what optimal support is most needed and/or desired in quest of the stated objective being: fulfillment? That is the central question and implementation agenda of this, my personal website: FoolQuest.com
But all such that so serves in the struggle to extricate the study of consciousness out from Metaphysics and into science, amounts to elaboration upon the bare generalization of working hypothesis that consciousness is a complex Gestalt emergent property, because such Reductionism as Behaviorism so abysmally fails, and can neither explain nor explain away and dismiss, consciousness or conscious decisions. Indeed, rejecting the very concept of consciousness and/or for that matter, reality, what becomes of morality? Any community is a community only as far as and as beneficially as its members participate in one another's destiny. To coexist with other conscious and living beings means to interact, communicate, and sympathize with them as conscious. Otherwise, only the most inconsiderate coercion and manipulation remain.
“Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean.” — William Stafford
Much as the Zen disciple quests for the no-mind, do the Behaviorists after all truly contend that they themselves are, to begin with, mindless, and that even the belief or opinion of Behaviorism itself is no more than a matter of conditioning? Why not? After all, what is the Inductivist Methodology of Baconianism, except a conflict averse regimen of conditioning? What meaning can there be in Hypothetico-Deductive controversy, the known and the unknown, except because of conscious reasoning? Meaning, after all, is never merely "operant" but experienced and constructed in the mind.
And yet, despite all scientifically unsupportable and manifest ideological bankruptcy, the pseudoscientific heteronomy of Behaviorism remains as pervasive and influential as that of proto-Behaviorist Mysticism, particularly as amongst the disciples of the Zen.
Emotional health is surely relative. The individual with no psychiatric issues whatsoever, is surely as mythical as Plato's philosopher king, Nietzsche's superman, or Lysenko's new Soviet person. Psychotherapy is meant to help the patient to better heal themselves, by filling an emotional gap in the life of the patient, of what the patient so sorely needs in order to grow emotionally, acceptance, understanding, insight and more. It follows then, the less of such a gap to begin with, the less need for the less Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. The more adequately one's personal relationships and social interaction serve the at all similar needs as those addressed by Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, then the better one might get along even without it. But strangely, it would appear that such if any are seldom the ones most determined to avoid Psychodynamic Psychotherapy at any cost. Perhaps looniest and most dangerous of all, and in the deepest denial, are those pervasive cults of respectable quack doctors, educators and consultants, so relentlessly determined to forestall Psychodynamic Psychotherapy or any other provision of empathy or respectful autonomy support whatsoever for for their patients, students and clients. Behaviorism both expresses and obscures the sad heteronymous fantasy of at long last laying down the heavy burden of freedom and responsibility by becoming an unthinking and unfeeling automaton, in order build the automaton's paradise by helping others likewise to upgrade from human frailty into the exalted insensate transcendence of the zombies eternal servitude. The heteronomy characteristic of Behaviorism is motivated from the Transactional inner controlling parent and inner adaptive child dyad, whereas autonomy is grounded in a healthy ego, the unending quest for truth, a strong inner adult and inner natural child. Fuller information and best critical thinking for good faith sensemaking essential to all narrative reconstruction of events towards plausibility at all, of which Behaviorism though no less pervasive, is so clearly bereft, is available only from the adult ego state, and not to the inner controlling parent and inner adaptive child. As with any other Absurdly irrational ideology, degrees of fanaticism vary. Indeed, borrowed as as characters in fiction writing, Behaviorists would make ideal Straw Vulcans!
To reiterate,, rejecting the very concept of consciousness, what becomes of morality? Any community is a community only as far as and as beneficially as its members participate in one another's destiny. To coexist with other conscious and living beings means to interact, communicate, and sympathize with them as conscious. Otherwise, only the most inconsiderate coercion and manipulation remain. Why, if ever there was any desiccated and malignant creed actually living down to the most morbid fears regarding Godless and soulless materialism, then then exactly such Reductionist travesty of science is indeed realized and visited upon our world in the Post Modern cynical Nihilistic value destruction inherent to Behaviorism denying, disavowing and making taboo of any independent significance of the mind, the psyche, actually holding that consciousness is neither a definite nor a usable concept but even downright superstitious, all premised upon the proposition that behavior must be researched scientifically without recourse to inner mental states. And much as with the nearly identical Zen precept of ego as an illusion, the similar amoral denial ideologically central to Behaviorism can only likewise serve as license for Behavior Modification in relentlessly abusive coercion and manipulation.
As a matter of Professional Ethics, a doctor such as a Psychotherapist, much as an attorney or an accountant, works only for the client or patient, with no ambiguity on that score. By way of example for purposes of illustration, an inner conflicted patient in Psychotherapy may get to the root of and overcome even actually criminal compulsions. On the other hand, they may instead come to a personal realization that in their heart of hearts they simply consider the law intolerably unjust, overcome false guilt, and rededicate themselves more wholeheartedly and effectively to a life of crime and insurgency.
Indeed, the Professional Ethics of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy often stands accused of even depraved amorality precisely because Psychotherapy must never take sides, except in service to the patient. But when instead conformity or compliance are allowed to enter as desiderata, as indeed such are the sole treatment criteria as they are in Behavior Modification, conflict of interests is intrinsic and manifest.
Behavior Modification howsoever dubiously promises practical results by abandoning or at least deferring pure science and the quest for knowledge and understanding, by a Philistine Pragmatism sometimes supported by the rejection of technology as merely applied science from the perfectly accurate historical observation of at least instances of engineering, even such as the very discovery of fire, not to mention care for emotionally troubled people, advancing ahead of science, of application actually preceding viable explanatory hypothesis or theory.
The problem therein, however, is not so much Epistemological as Methodological: Doubtless, Epistemologically, it truly has come to pass, that investigation of surprising engineering innovations no less than discoveries in nature, do indeed advance science greatly. But simply refusing to apply scientific investigation at all, much less adherence to Scientific Method, in development of viable technology if it doesn't yet exist, is folly. And devoted deep study into a procedure that clearly doesn't actually work, will likely be as fruitless as Theology, likewise except for purposes of propaganda and indoctrination. Indeed, as with Theology, and in desperate Cretinous mimesis of quantitative Hard Science, Behaviorism is yet another misanthropic body of rationalization in order to Nihilistically devalue and trivialize the true richness of human relationship and stimulus needs along such fundamental innate impulses of autonomy even as curiosity, rational healthy skepticism and systematic doubt, as nothing much of a loss to be blithely suppressed or conditioned out, in favor of the peace promised by the attainment howsoever of heteronymous uncritical confidence, in a word: of faith, even however blind. And even good engineering requires better vision or problem statement than that!
Just Another Brick in the Wall
Feeling less anxious and functioning more rationally as an outcome, there are many people who express appreciation for true friends and exceptional teachers that they fortuitously have thank for guidance in overcoming the debilitating handicap of aversion to criticism. And yet, even for patients diagnosed with conditions the symptoms as listed whereof typically including the most disproportionately extreme hypersensitivity to criticism, in no known modality of Behavior Modification is desensitization to criticism indicated or administered. Why is that? It is because openness to criticism, without which rational conduct is impossible, is an aspect of autonomy and a value of democracy. But Behaviorism is thoroughly heteronymous to social conformity. Behaviorism views happiness as a function of socially accepted conduct, and compliance as the sole treatment criteria. And even in whatever cognitive persuasion, there is no open ended Dialectic and no true variably individual decisions, only uniform predetermined correct thinking and compliance. Hence manipulation is justified for the subject's own good. Such is the proverbial one way street characteristic of brainwash.
The punishment and reward system of formal education has long been tainted by traumatic coercion and extrinsic motivators. Any whatever small success and service to humanity ever from Behaviorism at all, has come from sidestepping needless and avoidable conflict as did B. F. Skinner, never by relentlessly manipulative and oppressive dominance in repression of inner conflict. In school room experiment in providing standardized structure, Behaviorism has accomplished only one simple at all progressive humanistic and positive contribution particularly to education in the framing of even peacefully robotic blandly value-neutral tasks in learning, not merely in the removal of distraction but actually of aversive coercions and even mixed signals from neurotic teachers as inevitably promoting anxiety and inner conflict in students. Alas, it did not stop there, but in grasping overreach beyond those Ethics and those howsoever simple and modest accomplishments, has long gone careening into renewed power mad wholesale coercion, manipulation and rationalizing co-validation. Indeed, just as the saying goes, it's always nice to know where one stands. But it is also well said that there can always be such as too much of a good thing! In "providing structure," a clinically quasi-legislative travesty and mimesis fostering intentionally arrested development so stifling of all genuine spontaneity, patronizing Behaviorism simply assumes that the failure to conform is most easily remedied by simply dumbing down the challenge for the patient under howsoever irrelevant and alienating contrived circumstances and structured environments. But such does nothing towards beneficially reforming and improving mainstream procedural transparency in order better to abet operant, meaningful and purposeful undertaking out in the world at large. Indeed, the transparency of intentionally and even whimsically constructed and simplified etiquettes has no end charm. But such are better facilitative of more freely reacting out for whatever that which oneself desires, not just more clearly understanding how to comply with howsoever authoritative demands and expectations as in the knavish hypocrisy of Cognitive Behaviorism. In truth, peer pressure among other social devices towards Behavior Modification have been formally and informally practiced in human and even animal societies since time immemorial. Behavioral "providing of structure" is oppressive, and the very need thereof is heteronymous and even best treatable Psychodynamically.
Non judgmental repeated testing simply until and as a means to task mastery of any repeatable process or procedure, for learning at one's own pace. is a venerable and effective old trade school teaching method, long predating formal Behaviorism, with promising application also, for other processes and aptitudes, for example, for teaching basic chemistry laboratory procedures. But testing and grading of either wrote learning or papers and essay questions has been calamitously and distressfully misapplied to entirely conceptual subject matter in the oppressive socially stratifying obstacle course of grade school through to higher education. The one at all actual positive and indeed even howsoever idiotically productive aspect of Behavioral structure as originally implemented in the context of education via BF Skinner's teaching machines, actually a glorified collection of flash cards, a quiz but with instant results for each question, thus without the traumatic dystress of suspense or threat of graded failure, the standard calamitously failed heteronymous punishment and reward extrinsic motivator of what so lamentably passes for education, replaced instead with the predictable routine of a mechanical behaviorally structured procedure of learning engagement thereby facilitated, predicated in the avoidance of needlessly arising conflict situations raising inner conflict, indeed along with much any other distraction from focus of human interaction whatsoever. But nothing of the sort is any longer the case in current practice across the range of settings, context and application of providing or indeed imposing behavioral structure, only stifling and meaningless, antithetical to freedom and fulfilling engagement of creativity. Besides, in any therapy, the troubles of the patient are always fraught with conflict that cannot be neatly sidestepped by any teaching machine. Behavioral structure merely structuring time arbitrarily is lonely, boring, meaningless, valueless and irrelevant, Behavioral structure of any kind can only be meaningful, of value and at all relevant motivation, indeed: when operant towards some stimulus need if not truly universal than particular and unique to character of the individual. The mere simplification of expectations of the individual at the cost of lowering the expectations of the individual is creepy, oppressive, patronizing, humiliating, alarming and distressful to the individual, and will consistently meet with resistance given any shred of autonomy or dignity even amongst the most retarded and dysfunctional, let alone in gifted intelligence. Behavioral or social structure is heteronymous and its institution, insinuation or imposition may even be regarded as institutionalized bullying and abuse of the vulnerable seeking help, especially when no better alternative is really on offer or even much conceived of. This must not stand!
Whereas the old confessional perpetually facilitates the exchange of old guilt for new, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy strives for improved relief from shame and guilt, warranted or unwarranted, towards the liberation and discovery to pursue whatever autonomous individual desires. Behaviorism, however, is scarcely above manipulative exploitation of shame or guilt towards the sole objective, ostensibly therapeutic or otherwise, of Behavior Modification, being as ever, subject compliance, plain and simple.
An heteronymous heavily structured and controlled social environment, perhaps such as some sort of halfway house, cult, or military school, may seem desirable and reassuring for an extremely decidophobic anomied personality in utter panic before life. By contrast, meaningful value driven structure going unrecognized in the Nihilism of Behaviorist heteronomy, is crucial not only to democracy, due process and Scientific Method, but also likewise to the antithesis as played out in Transactional Analysis, seeking liberation from headgames, Ulterior Transactions, from a combination of conscious insight and even frustration unto extinction, behaviorally, of the Ulterior Transaction or: headgame. But extremely disturbed personalities are often well known even instead to panic and wildly escalate their headgames when subjected to the antithesis. Hence, hypothetically, a heavily structured Transactional Analysis might be necessary for playing the antithesis while also completely blocking such an escalation, thereby bringing about a dramatic breakdown of whatever pathological adaptation, often first necessary before replacing it with anything better and healthier. Whereas, by contrast, for any more responsible and autonomous individual simply yearning for the encouragement of perceiving and understanding better more optimal alternatives, coercion or restriction will be entirely unwelcome. Indeed, any behavioral extinction via the antithesis in Transactional Analysis, is never really tolerated by the patient except because of the patients' intrinsic motivation from Psychodynamic values accrued, of truth, insight, catharsis and intimacy. As it turns out, self control tends to be by far the more debilitating under pressure than by at all free choice however constrained incidentally by circumstances or situation, even if not under entirely intrinsic motivation as such, then with respectful autonomy support which is the more persuasive to committal engagement and responsive action.
But in Behaviorism, much as the sport of golf is often recommended as an activity in order to ameliorate professional feelings of helplessness via the cultivation of even so completely an entirely arbitrary competency as that of playing golf, similarly, robotically dehumanizing Behaviorism which studies behavioral patterns as shaped and conditioned entirely by incidental situational forces, applies said body of observation by "providing structure," supplying however humdrum and arbitrary routine of deliberately contrived and consistent typical authoritarian punishment and reward systems, all avowing no other purpose than of sustaining predictable negative and positive reinforcement in the environment, a patronizing malagenda of sheer useless and pointless heteronomy in complete bad faith. In providing structure, Behaviorism merely caters to heteronomy, presumed entirely natural and given rather than adaptive and particular, without admission that autonomy ever existed previously even as a possibility or value of responsibility, thereby promoting a unique rightthink implicitly denying likewise the very possibility of indoctrination as such. For the very concept of indoctrination presumes autonomy to assault in the first place. For the very crime itself erases the evidence, flushed right down the memory hole, neatly rewriting history, at least via circuitous reasoning in the glazed eyes of the willfully blind, perpetrators and victims alike. The very cognate of indoctrination is long stricken from the Behaviorist Newspeak Dictionary.
Thus Behaviorism and certainly Behavior Modification engages in nothing less than Post Modern cynical Nihilistic value destruction and dysfunctional conditionality, with conformism as the default definition of successful strife free adaptation, and the one consistent treatment goal put forth of simply obtaining compliance. But we are all too often entirely justified in unhappiness with our circumstances, environment or situation. Discontent and ambition have driven humanity to confront and overcome the challenges we face. Therefore, the rejection of reactive unhappiness is nothing more than a manipulative exhortation to compliant docility. Behaviorism promotes defeatism and glorifies lowered expectation, anathema to giftedness. Because even though theoretically there is no reason why greater confidence, resistance, improved assertiveness and even better competence, could not all be attempted via some regimen of behavioral conditioning, first of all, that's the approach of motivational speaking which simply doesn't work, and secondly, values and expectations of aggression and bluster aside, social adaptation in civil society is simply assumed by B. F. Skinner to be essentially conformist, chameleonic and ultimately submissive. Hence, even though education is supposed to be somehow or other entirely distinct from indoctrination, nevertheless the perception that indoctrination remains integral to education persists not despite nut because of how indoctrination is intrinsically harmful to autonomy. So Behaviorism, behavioral conditioning and modification, sheer insecure manipulation in education, is all as wrongheaded as conceivable! Indeed, classroom routine planned down to the very minute, so called:: the structured lesson, in abhorrent anathema of all spontaneity, is the darling of educational pseudoscience. -As by the brazen effrontery even to insinuate that democracy, featuring agendas, civility, Dialectic, due process, criticality and even Scientific Method and more, the very quest for value or meaning in the deepest sense, is all sheer anarchy utterly lacking in structure or benefit of any kind. Oppressive Behaviorist structure harmfully erodes genuine spontaneity for all involved.
The completely inane Epistemological Methodology underlying Behaviorism.
In the face of institutional cannon and cliché ever more fugitively inbred, naturally it will be only a matter of time until the call rings out for a clean slate and a fresh start in search of untapped novel inspiration. But much as nature is said to abhor a vacuum, the embrace of such void has never reliably induced creation ex-nihilo, only suffocation and hallucination. Instead, the clean sweep of any one raft of cliché, may all to often readily only fall back upon untenably hoarier and ever more generic cliché still. And finally the only renewal is of fresh appreciation for that which has endured after all for any good reason or service. Whatever true obstacles in stultification of creativity remain studiously unconfronted.
Now, it is all fine and good to criticize Freud, professionally and even personally, indeed thereby to rediscover the flawed humanity of so influential a thinker. -Even if Freud himself, perhaps at the risk of monumental hubris, worked with rather than against any propensity of the patient to cast the Therapist into a larger than life God-like role, thereby also shouldering the Therapist with tremendous responsibilities for keeping so open eyed an even keel before the patient drawn into vulnerability and often unstable, indeed reciprocally so often prone to ensnare and agitate the Therapist, all with such high expectations of transference love setting up the inevitable let out with the discovery of human fallibility of for all intents and purposes, of the therapist in whatever role projected by the patient. All the same, there is no end of controversy is the quest to account for Psychotherapeutic success and failure. Freud's own explanations for Psychiatric cure have come under continual fire as inadequate at best. Indeed, the famed critic of Psychiatry, Thomas Szasz is among those declaring that we scarcely know why Psychotherapy works when it does, and doesn't when it doesn't, even going so far as to opine that, first and foremost, Psychotherapy is helpful simply because anyone is encouraged by attention! Not only is there always a steady stream of renewed attack upon the failure and unreliability of Psychodynamics, but also ever more innovative attempts to explain the enduring successes of Psychodynamics as well. Indeed, speaking simply or indeed not so simply after all, of attention exactly as such, we do all live in an attention economy. Indeed, to quote Simone Weil: “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” And this is because sheer curiosity of human interest is the first agent of compassion, and therefore attentive comprehension as applicable to empathy, let alone sympathy and compassion, are qualitatively irreducible to pandering or conditional approval as in relentless Behaviorist trivialization. Ultimately, growth ensues only from remaining true to oneself, best abetted by others receptive thereto. Among the most important long standing criticisms of Psychodynamics, is that testable prediction is unreliable because no particular stimulus, no matter how averse or conversely how cathartic, seems entirely reliable in the production of any resultant pathology or conversely, cure, either way. Still, that is far from a refutation neither of the hypothesis that experience of the environment can cause, and generally is the cause of, psychopathology and suffering, likewise of healing, nor of the hypothesis that drawing narrative from personal biography gleaning personal association and emotion in the mind of the patient between pathology and memories of the past as well as issue in the present, can be an is often helpful and curative. However, such is the baffling and nigh chimerical challenge of human nature and the human condition. that there can be no guarantees of results or how long it will take, and every reason to fear all manner of suffering dredged back up to consciousness and re-experienced, the sheer displeasure even if whatever feared risk is actually quite minimal and rare. So, all in all, much as in life and human experience to begin with, the commitment remains frighteningly open ended. Indeed, all therefore, it is all fine and good to wish for something more reliable or even simply more precise for the sake of clear and distinct Empirical testabity, not to mention therapeutic results or living life at all, than as reflected in our essentially Freudian legacy of Psychodynamic diagnosis and treatment or for that matter as most anciently in study of the human condition as through drama.
Precise quantification is not and end in and of itself to science, but merely a desirable adjunct to clear conditions of refutation necessary to testability nevertheless still at all possible even in qualitative soft science. And so, speaking of poignant dramatic circumstances, merely wishing for hard science doesn't make it so and never has, and certainly not for the doomed effort of Behaviorism, behavioral conditioning and modification, simply resolving to ignore all that which continues to challenge scientific inquiry while so deeply stirring human affect. In truth, we simply remain confounded by the impact of experience within the human condition. Although, who can say? just perhaps there may be better hope for more precise and therefore more readily testable hypotheses in Psychodynamics, just over the horizon, in the processing of profoundly more copious and detailed personal and interpersonal information on the frontiers of advanced computerized Sociometry.
Arrogant Behaviorist dismissal of Psychodynamic Soft Science, is so clearly premised upon a flawed Verificationist Epistemological Methodology from the beginning: As things stand, though actually not so much the sheer verisimilitude of the real most basics, all manner of conjectures within Psychoanalysis may remains highly speculative, unsupported and even be found out to be wildly off the mark. But such is exactly the fruitful nature and learning curve of science itself, no less than of personal self discovery. There is no certainty or justification, nor need thereof. All hypothesis begins from unfounded conjecture, subjected only thereafter first to such articles of critical preferences such as validity, which is only internal logical consistency, and theoretical elegance, and only then to Scientific Method of evidentiary support and refutation, Empirically. Moreover, simply because the subjectivity of motivation is so slippery, enigmatic and difficult to quantify, is no excuse at all for scientific cowardice shying away therefrom, and does not howsoever signify whatsoever, that the wretched dehumanizing oversimplification of conditioned behavior, despite whatever superficial objectivity all thereof, offers anything remotely adequate either in diagnosis or ministration to the human condition, only the trivialization of value thereof and lowered expectations, with scientism, the propaganda mythologizing science itself, compassion burnout and empty promises of unattained quick reliability. All of that is why some, but by no means all, Behavioral theorists may nowadays be found striving to metaphorically slip at all deeper motivations in via the proverbial back door. What is clear is that here as in what passes for education, likewise the decidophobic heteronymous Reaction against autonomy is so often first expressed and then imposed in the demand for impossible guarantees as of certainty and denial in the form of lunatic faith therein.
Depression and the myth of endogeny
Chemistry must be
consistent with Physics. Uniting the two sciences seems obvious. And yet, how
much progress is being made to that end? Biology however, is newly reborn as an information science of actually reading, analyzing and coding and
designing in chromosomes, in DNA and RNA, just as concretely as with machine
code. And yet despite how the brain as well operates and encode memory from in
the very same DNA, the connection between Neuroscience and Psychology, certainly
obvious in principle, remains by far the more dauntingly complex and abstract.
When Freud speaks of formative emotional suffering as trauma and neurosis, this
is not just metaphorical. Freud actually hoped for the discovery of exactly such
scarring quite literally in the brain. Alas however, to this day, any true
accomplishment or cogent thinking in Neuropsychology is limited, general and
cautious. Much is sheer pseudoscience, fueled by compassion burnout and
Psychopharmacology big bucks.
Indeed, to truly even begin wearing down the wall between Neuroscience and Psychology, why would that take any less preparation than, say: ever recovering and restoring individual personality, out from long cryonized and severely damaged brain tissue? Even putting aside the requisite confluence of favorable social conditions, delayed resuscitation out from Cryonics, actually the recovery of the personality out from preserved but extremely damaged brain tissue, will require significant progress, scientific and technological, for the wherewithal in neuroscience to know what we are doing, nanotechnology for the recovery of neural microstructures, and the sheer computing power to run the necessary simulations for complex reconstruction. Point being: Why would any real breakthrough and watershed into even the very beginning of any true Neuropsychology, require any less such the wherewithal, if not, indeed even somewhat all the more? Not if you ask the prestigious leaders in the field today:
The brain of a suicide is autopsied, and low levels of epinephrine are discovered. Thence is confidently concluded that low levels epinephrine caused suicidal depression! Of course, depression is well known to be reflected in lowered low levels of epinephrine, because depression is reactive. And the Psychodynamics of chronic moods, of unresolved traumas from the past and issues in the present, not to mention whatever real current ongoing problems and issues in life, are all well understood. But all of that can simply be ignored in favor neurochemical Reductionism supported by ever the same circuitous reasoning and conformation bias, beginning and concluding in therefore the same dubious premise. And of course, neurological diagnosis of psychiatric condition indicates likewise neurological treatment, barbaric neurosurgical interventions fallen from favor, giving way to the growth industry of psychopharmacology and, by similar pseudoscientific pretense, Behaviorism. Although, why the quackery of Behavioral Medication ought to be better than any Psychodynamic Psuchotherapy for treatment of any genetic and congenital condition or predisposition including the general human condition to begin with, remains nonspecific. The logic, such as it is, replete with such failure of imagination as to the accumulative creativity of ongoing processes, therefore becomes reminiscent of the arguments for Intelligent Design balking at Evolution, except that at least Intelligent Design, proffering no practical application, undermines no technology and spawns no misguidedly oppressive therapeutic modalities as Behavioral Modification and Psychopharmacology. Another equivocation proffers as conclusive evidence of endogenous depression, that certain drugs are effective for endogenous depression but not for reactive depression. -except that in some cases those drugs are also indicated for reactive depression. But that is regarded as another special case, not by any means, as refutation bringing etiology into question! In truth, the Psychodynamic issues and traumas that are the actual cause of depression, are frequently urgent enough to fight their way back to the surface, even as dosages are ever increased. Bah humbug to endogeny and Psychopharmacology! Ultimately, growth ensues only from remaining true to oneself, best abetted by others receptive thereto.
Indeed, one of many known defense mechanisms is the specific denial of connection between dystress and the reason thereof, only rendering episodes and sensations of anxiety the more baffling and frightening. Thus the confusion engendered ultimately only increases the distress. And whereas it used to be that when a patient complained of sudden and terrifyingly mysterious anxiety out of the blue with no trigger, administering the old talking cure, the Therapist would then gently ask the patient what they just happened to be thinking of at the time, however supposedly unconnected and irrelevant to whatever mysterious attacks from out of the blue, and guide them past their denial into catharsis and insight by reestablish the broken connection; nowadays instead it has become variously more fashionable actually for the Therapist to join the patient in denial, and facilitate renewed reaction formations in ever deepening the denial even by means of addiction to heavy prescription psychopharmacological medication. For disregarding the mind and denying and mocking all Phenomenological pertinence of Ontological circumstances, still leaves the physical brain, therefore Behaviorism is routinely called into service in standing support of neurochemical Reductionism along with the myth of endogeny, comprising the long refuted blanket rationale for so all to often reckless Psychopharmacology.
There is a common misconception in any expectation of Psychotherapists to work with their patients to correct troubling thought patterns. But it is common knowledge, quite to the contrary, how Psychotherapy seeks to recover and delve into dystressing thoughts and memories, in order to bring repressed emotions to the surface and release them from denial. This is called: Catharsis. Additionally, there is hope of soothing balm in sympathy and understanding, and even whatever value or consolation of insight gained.
As is well understood, chromic suppression of emotion into the subconscious is exhausting as emotional dystress struggles for conscious expression thereby depleting all resources for all else. Indeed, that is why the fictional ever Stoical Vulcans on 'Star Trek' must invest such superhuman strength. stamina and focus of concentration! Indeed, symptoms repression in reality, typically include repressed memory in denial of events, emotional denial: laughing on the outside while crying on the inside or masking angry emotions under fallacious peace and love, intense privacy and difficulty talking about oneself, rarely speaking of one's feelings, fatigue, alienation, depression, lack of ambition and motivation, a knot in the stomach and/or tightness in the throat, lethargy and indifference, false nonchalance, superficiality, intellectualization, instead of speaking of issues/interests, rationalization even unto Psychosis, poor acceptance of oneself and others, troubled relationships with friends, acquaintances and family typically featuring discussion focused upon children and money rather than talking about themselves. And in the words of Sigmund Freud: "That which is not expressed, is actedout," in various ways: the entire range of substance abuse, compensation via overeating, especially of foods loaded with sugar and fat, print or other media passive distraction, compulsive behavior including exercise, sex, busy work, activity or sheer true to life melodrama, all or any serving as emotional distraction, oversensitivity and temper over trifles, delayed reaction of anger, even hostility and bullying.
Of course, as is entirely well known, neurochemistry and even neuroplasticity, neurological development and even gross brain structure over time, are all bound to reflect changing emotion, cognition and accumulated experience. After all, sheer failure of imagination aside, neither severity nor chronicity alone nor in tandem, automatically actually at all rule out Epigenetics and Psychodynamics. Nevertheless, there are also clear special cases of the reverse, of emotion instead subordinate to neurochenical fluctuation, as for examples: puberty and menopause. Hence, arguing from sheer stubborn lack of imagination and circuitous reasoning, simply ignoring rather than howsoever investigatively eliminating all that is well known applicably regarding traumatic and environmental causation, springs forth the myth of endogeny, of congenital neurochemically spontaneous anxiety or even Existential depression, among all manner of any other chronic cognitive or emotional states or conditions and pathologies, together with the Stress Vulnerability Model of Psychiatric disorders being flawed only in how what is called: biological vulnerability is, again, no determinant on it's own, being, of course, actually universal and even generally uniform in the human condition. Endogeny is a fantastical and untreatable Etiology little better than non-diagnosis entirely and likewise leaving only treatment of symptoms by whatever means. Indeed, in Clinical Psychiatry the diagnosis, so called, of depression refers only to the symptom, with no inquiry into real causal Etiology, whereby only treatment of the symptom is indicated.
Epigenetics includes, most particularly, the phenomena of neuroplasticity, physiological changes occurring over time and throughout life, on many levels and scale, from the cellular to the anatomical, of the nervous system, due to changes in affect, behavior, environment, neural processes, or in any other part of the body, even profoundly altering patterns of neuronal activation in response to experience. Parsimony of explanation better known as: Occam's Razor, advises "don't multiply entities unnessessarilly" in explanatory hypothesis. Good science seeks to explain the unknown, such as the cause of Psychological and neurological variation, in terms of the known, such as, quite adequately and evidentiarily supportably, Epigenetics and neuroplasticity. But the high powered junk-science of Neurochemical Reductionist genetics attempts, needlessly and fruitlessly, to explain the known in terms of the as yet unknown.
Indeed, clearly the determinant of Psychological differentiation is
not in any blueprint from nature or in God's image, but rather as unfolding from
ongoing nurture, indeed:
Ridley]. The natural mechanisms
that make the effects of nurture are mow better understood than ever before. Obviously,
heredity, biological evolved behavioral genetic nature, only and fairly
consistently enables the
capacities for learning by encoding from the
from experience, from nurture, to begin with. Experience is also now understood
to trigger epigenetic change in genetic expression. (Indeed, there is
even the case of identical twins, one Autistic and the
other not. And also, let me tell you: Anyone convinced that
Asperger's is something that cannot be brought about by personal experience
of the environment, was never raised in my family!) Fraudulent obfuscation and
denial to the contrary on either count, are only the
current preferred high powered junk science marketing tactic of the Psychopharmacolical industry,
pandering to compassion burn out and
desperation, "soullessly" mocking and trivializing such cherished
illusions as the yearning for understanding and with them all Philosophically
arising from the deep wellsprings of human emotional needs and
In truth, we simply remain confounded by the awesome and profound impact of experience within the
human condition, of which there is always so much more to learn, not less.
As Voltaire said: “Anything too stupid to be said is sung.” Though what's stupid here, is the proverbial elephant in the room and need of repetition of anything so obvious in hopes of shattering taboo. And so, without further adieu:
(To the tune of Rigoletto ‘ La Donna E Mobile’ )
Neuroplasticity, you can sing this with me
Neuroplasticity, it's plain for all to see
Neuroplasticity, all that your brain can be
Don't get frenetic, about genetics
Leave meds on their shelves, the fault lies with our selves
So, don't make a stink, just go and see your shrink!
The indictment against Behavior Modification from Psychodynamics
There is a common misconception in any expectation of Psychotherapists to work with their patients to correct troubling thought patterns. But it is common knowledge, quite to the contrary, how Psychotherapy seeks to recover and delve into dystressing thoughts and memories, in order to bring repressed emotions to the surface and release them from denial. This is called: Catharsis. Additionally, there is hope of soothing balm in sympathy and understanding, and even whatever value or consolation of insight gained.
Denial is only natural in response to suffering or to ambivalence. Denial reinforced by sustained suffering and ambivalence becomes habitual by conditioning into suppression from consciousness, ever deepening denial. This is trauma. Psychodynamic Psychotherapy strives to release suppressed trauma via the Catharsis. In short, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy works to undo prior conditioning which is regarded as pathological. Inner conflict and mounting desperation only build reaction formation and ultimately thwart productive action. Behaviorism and Behavior Modification actually mandate improper diagnosis, treatment and medication within their standard of care. So long as any kind of Psychotherapy is practiced as any sort of branch of medicine, then the very question of Medical Ethics obtains. In ugly truth, Behaviorism, behavioral conditioning and modification is simply unprofessional. indeed, an abomination, a giant step backwards, malpractice, sheer a'priori abrogation of Medical Ethics, because the core tenet of all Medical Ethics is the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm" and thence as derived in specific application to Psychotherapy, the Freudian injunction against suggestion, manipulative conditionality or coercion. -the very stock and trade of what passed for education. Just has Hippocrates dedicated himself merely to assist the body in healing itself, likewise Freud cast himself as the sympathetic midwife for unfolding insight, catharsis and closure. Likewise, just as the physician strives to minimize harm to the absolutely necessary and unavoidable trade off, the Therapist must strive never to undermine the freedom and unfolding cure or personal growth of the patient howsoever by insinuating his or her own will over the patient, because Freud discovered even the strongest suggestion as in hypnosis, to be ephemeral and useless at best and harmful at worst, raising conflict or bringing about further repression and additional reaction formation, let alone as chemically assisted. Indeed, Freud concluded that any kind of persuasion, even the best advice as such, is generally transitory and useless at best, in dealing with deep-seated and debilitating emotional inner conflict, and harmful at worst, either humiliating the patient and destroying trust, or building further layers of reaction formation and denial, as clearly manifest in dealing with anyone in real distress, let alone seriously disturbed personalities, indeed no less, under such circumstances, than the predictable failure of good advice and sweet reason. let alone manipulation and coercion. The Medical Ethics of Psychotherapy resides at the core of Freudian Psychodynamics, so that in rejection thereof, Behaviorism only recapitulates the moral void of proto-Behaviorist Zen.
Alas for Autism and Asperger's particularly, that Psychodynamic Psychotherapy departments even routinely refer to Behavior Modification, even though Behaviorists are seldom if ever known to return the favor, even no matter how clearly and extremely emotionally disturbed the patient. For Psychodynamic Psychotherapy ever at all to make referral to Behaviorists, is a massive wholesale betrayal no less than the notorious abandonment of the Seduction Theory in favor of the Fantasy Theory. And one day, much as with Freud on his deathbed purportedly bullied by the Medical establishment threatening the very future survival of Psychoanalysis, into his now notorious recantation of the Seduction Theory exposing the taboo problems of incest and child molestation, in favor, instead, of the Fantasy Theory which ostensibly denies but actually slyly implies, the Seduction Theory (because fantasies are inspired by reality, while reciprocally, fantasies can be acted upon), the abandonment of Autism and Asperger's, replete with similar obscure telltale breadcrumb trail of hinted confession and all, will likewise be shamefully remembered as yet another scandal of hostility, craven professional cowardice and bad judgment in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy backing down before power and pressure, from a humane but howsoever controversial position, thereby betraying the patient. For just as the rape victims under care of of Psychoanalysis who had first been helped to confront their repressed traumas, where then persuaded that it was all delusional, likewise Aspies and Auties instead of being howsoever compassionately encouraged and guided out from whatever sort of traumatic inward retreat and isolation, instead are now conned into the myth of endogeny and subjected to methods used in brainwashing, mind-numbingly replete with powerful drugs, conditioned new layers of reaction formation, and stultifying pointless busywork in the provision of the supposedly all important but Nihilistically Zen futile and arbitrary providing of structure, all likewise, to reiterate, in violation of the injunction against suggestion and therefore flagrant abrogation of Medical Ethics. -None of which inspires much hope of ever really meeting the needs of twice exceptionality, of Autistic or Asperger's giftedness, let alone the would-be Activist ideal of actually cultivating howsoever unique desirable features thereof.
In the words Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower: "Plans are nothing, planning is everything." But what is planning, really, psychologically speaking? To begin with, does anyone really follow consciously formulated plans, much less suggestion and conditioning? Or in actuality, does unconscious intention simply surface from the subconscious into conscious awareness and cognition towards action? Indeed, do we consider our options and consciously take action, or do our actions simply come upon us as we react to situation, and only then rationalize afterward? Indeed, to quote Friedrich Nietzsche: “Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler.” People often make their most important decisions with their heart but only then rationalize intellectually.
Good practical advice even recognized as such, being after all a form of suggestion, is often of no help for an extreme neurotic embroiled in inner conflict and distress, who despite the consciously stated intention and desire to improve and do well, suffers from powerful disorganizing and disruptive emotional experiences and reactions for which there are no obvious explanations, even confronting repeated situations and problems in social life that are incomprehensible and destructive and for which there are no obvious solutions.
Therefore, no matter how frustrating the patient, like unto the Zen Master, the Psychotherapist must strive ever to retain cool professional detachment and compassion, bringing no issues or agenda of their own, no investment, no axe to grind for any reason. No matter how well intended, to manipulatively persuade and beguile the patient into lowering defenses without addressing inner conflict and helping bring it to the surface, instead to implant suggestion against the patients inclinations, can only cause debilitating emotional harm at best. And all that is exactly why instead, Psychodynamic Therapy indeed strives to disarm and encourage the patient to relax repressive self control but in order to discover and pursue self direction, as much as possible unbiased by repressive suggestion. Ultimately, growth ensues only from remaining true to oneself, best abetted by others receptive thereto. As associated trauma resurfaces in personal narrative (memory being reconstructive by nature), the release and closure of catharsis is achieved and insight dawns, even likewise to cast liberating reasonable doubt upon hither to intractable patent deadlocked in paralytic guilt complexes and the like, shielded in denial, and thereby return repressed desires, truth and understanding to the surface, in order to liberate the patient to any range of their own free willed choices imaginable rather than any conditioned "correct" direction.
Indeed, Freud also famously cautioned: "That which is not expressed, is actedout,." Which is why the Psychotherapist must always have recourse to the Psychotherapist that trained them, whenever issues for the Therapist are howsoever raised in therapy with a patient. Because, when the Psychotherapist dishonestly actsout, typically so via insinuation and suggestion. Therefore this is to be avoided as scrupulously as possible. A danger risked all the more, with a Psychoanalyst or any other Psychodynamic Psychotherapist simply has their Freudian mask on too tight! For the Freudian mask so named, is the therapists professional poker face to avoid suggestion and allow projection and transference on the part of the patient. Which, in unnatural seeming excess, can just be creepy and bring mounting distress to the patient, indeed at all depending upon whatever experiences and sensibilities the patient brings with them.
Behaviorism, then, has been a doomed effort from the beginning, standing utterly refuted and ideologically bankrupt even so saliently well in advance.
And the answer of Behaviorism to this entire problem from the beginning, has been simply to ignore it. The ideology of Behaviorism, fallen victim to it's own Reductionist Post Modern Nihilistic value destruction, not to mention flagrant scientism (the veritable religion of science), is faking it until they make it, ritualistically bent upon magical cargo-cult mimesis, pretending until it will all come true. And why not? After all, they recognize only behavior itself as at all real:
Behaviorists: We are Behaviorists, Lebowski. - We believe in nothing except conditioned behavior!
The Dude: Oh, that must be dispiriting.
Although, it does bear mention how Freud's colleague, Alfred Adler, effectively rejecting the Inductivism and even noncommittal Decidophobia of so desperately striving to avoid biasing observation by influencing the patient, therefore differed from Freud in regards to the lengths of injunction against suggestion, Dialectically, opining that at some point, if need be, the therapist might as well speak candidly instead of forever beating about the bush with the patient. After all, observation is theory laden, and nowhere more so than in Psychoanalysis. Indeed, perhaps a more Adlerian view towards the injunction upon suggestion might be seen as permitting application of Psychology and Psychotherapy in such mentorship practical guidance as dispensed by Psychotherapists entering practice in Life Coaching.
Combating cult-like mind control
New frontiers of exploitation
A common rationalization of patronizing coercion of students in purposes of what passes for education, is the nasty aphorism: "It's the only language they understand!" But the ugly truth is that such is indeed, the only language, as it where, rather, that the educators themselves speak or comprehend to begin with. Similarly, a common feature attributed to the Autistic spectrum including also Asperger's Syndrome, is weakness of Emotional Intelligence, if not absence if not of empathy, then literal sympathy, or even what is called: theory of mind, if not awareness or acknowledgement of other minds, than modeling and understanding thereof, of perspective, POV, Point Of View, thoughts and needs, motivation of other people. And exactly being also, as we may recall, no less a primary doctrinal tenet (or: pathological psychiatric feature?) of Behaviorism as well! All thus given, Medication and Behavioral Modification being the only recognized treatment options for Autism and Asperger's, such is truly a case of the mind blind leading the mind blind! Which is truly malpractice misleading the public, because none of the latter salient most basic information is actually made plain to the patient, and certainly never prior to patient consent for treatment. Because, that would not be the operant flimflam for obtaining acceptance and compliance in society for the entire intake process.
It is nothing short of amazing how all manner of entirely different diagnoses nevertheless somehow seem to corroborate indication for treatment via the same dreary family of Amphetamine derivatives. Either there is some amazing though as yet poorly understood convergence of results at work here, or else, as the saying goes, when your only tool is a hammer, your solutions tend to involve getting hammered on those damn uppers and downers! Even the most insightful learning disability testing, or: Neuropsychology Evaluation so-called, can lead in treatment modality, only so far as extends whatever the familiar range of available treatment. There may be parallel between the learning disabilities and often compensating strengths as well, indeed as associated with Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis, as brought to light by so-called Neuropsychology Evaluation, with the excitabilities of Kasimir Dombrowski. And Etiologically, the excitabilities of Kasimir Dombrowski are explained developmentally, environmentally, Psychodynamically, with no recourse to genetic congenital neurological variation or indication of medication. But only Asperger's and gifted Coaches (still generally not covered by health insurance) seem to have even heard of Kasimir Dombrowski and his seminal work or take any interest therein.
Alas, never mind whatever sort of Coaching, even Psychodynamic Therapy is endorsed merely as helpful only in processing and coping with the suffering caused, but not at all the condition itself, of Autism or of Asperger’s. But even if the Autism spectrum falls into the category of pervasive developmental disorder, in turn despite indeed so named as developmental, are deemed neurological, genetically and congenitally, why then is Behavioral Modification, let alone Psychopharmacology, indicated, but Psychodynamic Psychotherapy not? After all, is not the most normal, average, typical human condition to begin with any less congenital and genetic? What are the not so secret aspirations and ideals of totalitarian pseudoscience? Behaviorism has always been an enthusiastic idealistic movement of antidemocratic paternalism, in the name of science Remember, ever in such staunch heteronomy, they really do practice as they preach. All that has changed, is that open proselytizing has become inoperative, and the behavior modified to become more socially acceptable. Rather than reevaluate, they have simply reconditioned themselves, instead, to cultivate inroads medically, educationally, and otherwise. Indeed, have we forgotten what Behaviorism and Psychopharmacy have always had in store for us all, if we are only fool enough to allow it?
Funny thing, though: the notoriously vague and ever expanding category of Asperger's or Autism spectrum, remains a syndrome without an etiology, essentially a flagrant non-diagnosis of clinical Psychotherapy, as such therefore stopping short merely at the development of categories for treatment, and at that very beginning of theory and categorical reasoning, instead sharply stopping short and rejecting all investigation any further in quest of etiological truth in correspondence with external reality. Nevertheless, in actuality there remains long standing theoretical etiology for Autism and Asperger's in, of all places, Psychodynamics, indeed, as the purported result of withdrawn childhood failure of attachment in response to howsoever hostile or indifferent care giving, the notorious "refrigerator mom" or at any rate, clearly, some sort of failure of attachment, and presumably caused by or at least associated with some remembered experience personally significant and seriously deep, somewhere in the patient's biography, perhaps even perpetuated as issues in the present.
It may seem cruel and unfair to continue labeling the many decent and levelheaded parents of Aspies and Auties as refrigerator parents. Hence such daunting blanket taboo upon consideration at all of entirely possible and probable social environmental factors. For in the immortal and stirring words of Simone Weil: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. [...] Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention." And to each, whoever they are under whatever circumstances, exactly the right kind of attention or sympathy zeroed in on the correct need or issue. Attachment disorder and failure to relate are varied, subtle, nuanced and miltidimensioned. There are many ways relate or not to in different degree under different circumstances. And besides, even for no fault of anyone else, people can withdraw even during the most crucial developmental periods from all manner of entirely incidental shock and trauma in life. After all, the greatest drawback of Psychodynamics towards scientific refutability is the inability to make reliable predictions in filed work amid the complexity of life. Indeed, for if not hostility, rejection or invalidation from a care giver, however blatant or subtle, even an early traumatic event or perhaps the Epigenetics of illness such as fever and mitochondrial damage, vaccine induced* or otherwise, not to mention food intolerance adverse to focus of attention and therefore therefore to emotional intelligence, even undiagnosed infection swelling the brain, may be the newest culprit, even neurological symptoms of chronic Lyme disease that may mimic Autism. In the face of such a possibility with such monumental epigenetic ramifications, a genetic weakness to such infection is proposed in order to continue surreptitiously defending the myth of endogeny. But there are even identical twins, one severely Autistic and the other entirely normal, with very different brain scans.
*Vaccines often contain the mercury based vaccine preservative Thimerosal. And escalation of the vaccination schedule in the United States began in 1989 coinciding with a sudden spike in reported cases of Autism. Then again, neurological symptoms of chronic Lyme disease even such as may mimic Autism, may show improvement from antibiotics.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. alleges government cover up
Pfizer rebuts by alleging discredited evidence denounced by the British Medical Journal as elaborate fraud - Pfizer claims that removing Thimerosal has made no statistical difference in the onset of symptoms.
Moreover, the most lucid symptomology of low functioning Autism in worst severity and Asperger's in less severity, remains by comparison to Negative Schizophrenia or: deficit syndrome attachment disordered symptoms of withdrawal including flattened affect as manifest in inexpressive faces, blank looks, monotone and monosyllabic speech, sometimes actually inarticulate, few gestures, even apathetic Zen-like passivity, incompetence in planning, organizing and following instructions, seeming lack of purposeful endeavor, motivation and interest in the world and other people, anhedonia and lack of spontaneity, boredom, inattention, poor focus, cognitive fluency and flexibility, not to mention depression and distress, even poor hygiene, rage and violence or talk of self harm. So why not simply view Positive Schizophrenia etc. as some further Psychotic reaction formation on top of the former range of Negative Schizophrenia / Asperger's? Indeed, Schizophrenia is known to appear in the same family history with Autism and Asperger's. But location of Autism and Asperger's upon a continuum together with Psychotic withdrawal, a severe and pervasive attachment disorder to say the least. has for some reason fallen into disfavor. Yet skepticism thereupon endures.
How is the fabled conduct within dharma attained? What are social skills, really? Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy the royal road to a breakthrough? For it would appear that Asperger's kids don’t learn from consequences! So-called Neurotypicals [sic.] are often compared to packs of dogs and Aspies to unherdable cats. But then, is not the same comparison proffered of vicious lock and step Republicans and timid scatterbrained Democrats? -Heteronomy ever on the march and autonomy routed in panicked disarray...
While gifted individuals amongst their own true gifted peers, mysteriously no longer require socialization, alas this does not appear to apply similarly amongst highly functioning Aspies and Auties. The less socially adept, the chronically disorganized, continue to be taken advantage of by the more manipulative, the more socially adept and better organized. What is to be done? After all, resistance is actually more demanding of social aptitude even than compliance and conformity. And there is no school for rebels. Ultimately, who ever we are, even with all the interference and intervention that fills our days or sucks them dry, we are still each and all abandoned to our own devices, to induction, to the puerile guessing games of oppressive social conditioning, myth, propaganda indoctrination and mimesis. Whereas democracy, instead, is the ongoing struggle for formalized transparent due process, even in parallel to Scientific Method, lip service aside, all heteronymously dismissed as sheer anarchy.
Do Children With Autism- Lack Ability to Imitate? It Could Be A Dysfunctional Mirror-Neuron System The Social Role of Imitation in Autism [bears] Implications for the Treatment of Imitation Deficits. Aspies purportedly lack non verbal intuition of, if not emotional, than social, intelligence, that others are thought normally to developed by the Inductive process of osmosis, often unawares and therefore uncritically. Thus, what often so naive and trusting Aspies and Auties lack, is uncritical compliance. But never fear! This is where Behavior Modification comes in. In a nutshell, Aspergers and Autism are subject to treatment as dissidence, no more and no less. After all, Aspies and Auties are notoriously so guilelessly oblivious, stubbornly tactless, ornery and insensitive at ever just taking a hint. For the saying: "A word to the wise is sufficient" extols the wisdom and prudence of simply accepting circumstances and taking hints even without lengthy explanation, question or perhaps even forgoing much conscious deliberation at all. Indeed, the phrase: "A word to the wise" frequently accompanies or prefaces a warning or often actually an admonition of whatever sort, "if you know what's good for you!"
The advice is oppressively heteronymous. For the sagaciously discrete if not kneejerk cowardly subtext of the venerable cautionary is indeed always to tactfully leave subtext in subtext, the proverbial sleeping dog to metaphorically let lie, sans whatsoever open cogitation and transparent articulation much less ever question or protest. Or to employ the more contemptuous figure of speech: to know which way the wind blows, meaning: even excessively to skillfully gage the tide of opinion of others, ever changeable and easily tempted and swayed, even so far as to become an insipid and toadying complete and utter tool: disparagement of a sad and ever inane fake fun pathetic witless and readily manipulated poser or charlatan, sometimes even by far too readily abusive of power as an unwitting proxy in ambient or stealthy bullying within hostile social environments, so lacking in autonomy, any will or identity of their own, backbone and individual judgment or moral compass and ever desperate to impress in order to fit in and therefore ever oblivious and lacking the capacity to fathom how they're simply being used, indeed even eager to be used, for the opportunity to conform, to be included socially, advantageously, to reap reward and avoid rejection and exclusion. -Typically replete with all the usual chronic backstabbing and skullduggery of the serial bully, all in desperate hopes of ever getting laid. The primitive, emotionally and socially secure heteronymous innocence of sincere ignorance can never be recaptured. The most Existentially Absurd rightthinking blithe arrogance of rigidly monologic authoritative or absolute normative or transcendental Axiology of the most exquisitely socially sensitive utter tool, is achieved via the most ardently bad faith in adamantly never listening even to oneself thinking.
Social dexterity can be so mysterious unless acquired Inductively, by osmosis from the milieu, socialized or to be dead honest: indoctrinated by behavioral conditioning, because of all that goes without saying, indeed even shame and taboo from very mention: The prodigious memory and facile adolescent fascination of the social butterfly, with every detail even of the most superficial and distant acquaintance, the terrified heteronymous preoccupation with social standing, taking a hint, a sufficient word to the wise. To quote Sigmund Freud: "That which is not expressed, is actedout." And the more that gifted and assertive self expression is discouraged and repressed, even particularly as an aspect of gender roles, the more even the most cruel and seemingly arbitrary facility in the worst covert relational hostility is encouraged and valued as actually prudent and tactful.
And so, as it is so often counter argued by would-be activists and even sometimes by skeptical anthropologists, by contrast, is Asperger's really anything more than the current euphemism for oddball dissidence, positive disintegration and growth surpassing and transcending heteronymous innocence let alone conformist travesty thereof, with the dawning of individual responsible conscience in the awareness of social reality as deliberate and constructed, even often somewhat painfully contrived, rather than blithely natural and organic? Indeed, individual autonomy often engenders dramatic conflict in confrontation with with society. And that would explain the torture, drugs and brainwash! Be seeing you, Number Six...
The true Psychodynamics of Asperger's are painfully obvious. Frankly, the diagnostic and etiological hurdle seems little more than sheer compassion burnout. Autism and Asperger's are more commonly diagnosed in boys than girls. Therefore, sex linked genetics is certainly conceivable, but differences in gender socialization are already well established. Girls are expected to be more cooperative and sensitive socially, which may be howsoever developmentally advantageous, or else girls may simply be discouraged from the assertiveness or aggression one way or another to press and call attention to whatever their problems and issues. Indeed, Psychodynamically, there is really little so mysterious about the most common observable Asperger's symptoms: Howsoever atrophied emotional and social intelligence is to be an expected result from social isolation, difficulty with intuitive nonverbal communication often results from self doubt and denial, repression engendered by the experience of constant invalidation or just lack of sympathetic external refection and reinforcement of the individual's own motivating feelings, perspective, POV, Point Of View and perceptions. And whatever odd ticks, gestures and facial expression, obviously manifest inner conflict, easily triggered experientially by circumstances and situation or even by unbidden thoughts and refection amid subjective inner life, also undermining developmental bodily-kinesthesia, spatiotemporal coordination and physical intelligence even unto atonia. The nervous and awkward vulnerable haunted sense of insecurity and rejection and self conscious social information overload, especially when manipulatively played upon and exploited, inspires all the more hostilely and dread that unpopularity might rub off, while even any trace of autonomy and self assertion in lieu of the tightest social embedment and integration, can all be more than enough to provoke heteronymous jealous rage and continual escalation of chronic opportunistic bullying. And most of this can be framed in terms of behavioral conditioning as readily as Psychodynamically. The quest for ever more exotic genetic and physiological diagnosis is primarily inspired by compassion burnout and the same guilty denial behind the irresponsible decidophobic heteronomy of whatever passes for parenting, education and clinical enablement all thereof in treatment of dissidence by any other name. The problem remains that the pragmatism of Behavior Modification rejects pure science and the quest for truth, all diagnosis whatsoever, even Behavioral diagnosis, in favor of Clinical Psychiatry and the treatment of symptoms without diagnosis otherwise. Nevertheless, in truth, it still all boils down to ongoing cumulative experience of situation, environment. And Behaviorist/Neurochenmical pseudoscience in still nothing but denial and rationalization for treating the suffering oppressed only by even further repression in order for all involved even to cope at all. Thus does oppression propagate amongst the oppressed.
Anyone who dismisses environment as cause for Asperger's, never grew up in my family!
Indeed, Psychodynamic etiology of Autism and Asperger's, not to mention Psychosis, remains plausible and even Empirically supportable to say the very least. Indeed, when and how if ever, was such ever formally abandoned, much less actually refuted in any peer reviewed study? And yet, for whatever reason, there is no Psychodynamic treatment of Asperger’s available. And since there are no Psychodynamic Asperger’s specialists, there is simply no one designated as responsible to implore and demand: Why so? Why has an entire diagnostic category been invented, simply to be abandoned to glorified brainwashing methods? Psychodynamic Psychotherapy has simply thrown in the towel and abandoned all patients ever to be diagnosed with Asperger's to the tender mercy of Behavior Modification and Psychopharmacology (Neurosurgery having so long fallen from favor). And Cognitive Behaviorism views classical behavioral condoning as Inductivist. Worse, Behavior Modification numbers among those misguided ideologies implicitly marshaling Inductivismt in defense of preference even towards the Pragmatism or Instrumentalism of Engineering and perhaps Research and Development over investigatory research in pure science and the scientific quest for truth in it's own right, it's own sake, or even for anticipated technological application. or in medical context: treatment protocol, only after gaining better understanding. If only all of that expert discerning and acute behavioral observation of Asperger's behavior and symptoms where instead simply interpreted and treated Psychodynamically. What would it hurt to try?
Indeed the claims of success of Social Neuroscience in Music Therapy for engagement of the socially expressive facial muscles and emotions via stimulation of the inner ear in Autistic children, brings to mind the achievements of such Freudian inspired body oriented psychotherapies as the Bioenergetics of Alexander Lowen M.D., similarly in catharsis of different repressed emotion back into consciousness though engagement of various muscle groups. Phenomenologically, Alexander Lowen M.D., a disciple of Wilhelm Reich, posits that the mechanism for conscious or even tentative preconscious awareness (and interpretation in Situational context) of emotions welling up from the unconscious, are actually the different physical sensations these emotion trigger. Hence, the mechanism of denial and repression back into the unconscious, is not merely by intellectualized rationalizations, but by muscular tension or flaccidity, dulling precisely said sensory feedback of emotion into palpable experience. Hence, the brilliant double entendre in the book tile of Lowen's 'Betrayal of the Body'. For when emotional, physical needs represented by the body, are disavowed, undercut or: betrayed in bad faith, the psyche in denial is in turn exposed or: betrayed by unconscious subtext of posture and expression, body language.
To be fair, Autism in children as originally classified, though distinct and immediately recognizable, has always been so mysterious and ineffable though readily apparent as characterized by introverited withdrawal even as most distinctly expressed in the "unusual grace" with which said children with autism are often said to waft through space. -A grace most distinctly lacking in the Behaviorist dance around uncomfortably begged questions! For over time, the definition of Autism has ever expanded to accommodate different theories of Autism, until becoming so bloated that mitosis was inevitable, and the even more vague Asperger's diagnosis was born onto a thriving and diverse Autism Spectrum! Indeed, as syndrome without an etiology, it begins to seem that Asperger's is anything you want it to be! No definition really makes sense, and no two agree. And it becomes ever more apparent how the main reason that Asperger's remains a syndrome without an etiology, as manifest in the marked behavioral meme or fad of merely disregarding the obvious and longstanding Psychodynamic etiology of Asperger's as somehow vaguely antiquated, is not because Psychodynamic etiology has ever actually cone to stand refuted or supplanted by any better competing hypothesis, but only because according to the bankrupt and not merely Inductiviist but actually Nihilistic Scientific Method of Behaviorism simply ignoring qualitative Psychodynamics to behind with, the human condition itself can never be anything more than a syndrome without an etiology. For an etiology to account for variations in behavioral response between subjects, raises the ugly specter of qualitative subjectivity and Psychodynamic causation within inner life, anathema to Behaviorism, wherein reside motivations the likes of scientific curiosity that must always be so vigorously conditioned out in the sad pathetic impoverished Behaviorist travesty of the conduct itself science itself as a mere conditioned behavior, as always with cognition at best serving only to inform desired behavior. Unless, of course, Behaviorist where actually to seek to diagnose pathologies in terms of conditioned response as they are supposed to, and perhaps even prescribe treatment by deconditioning, by breaking preexisting conditioning, instead of the endless dreary and harmful festering band aid solution of blindly reconditioning ever new layers of reaction formation, repression and escalated inner conflict! Again, alas, the reason is because Behavior Modification, no matter how purportedly Cognitive, has entirely spurned Hypothetico Deductive Scientific Method thus abandoning attempt even at entirely Behavioral diagnosis!
'THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF BEHAVIOURISTS' is a scathing critical attack upon Applied Behavior Analysis in ongoing brutalizing treatment of autistic children, in regards whereof, and irrespective of highly successful diversionary Public Relations, alas, (and much as with education throughout the developed world) the only violence actually outlawed in England and put a stop to, is strictly of the physical variety. -Though, of course, generally most notorious remain the methods used in brainwashing, also found in peer pressure and bullying.
No wonder, then, Behaviorism is the darling of our dysfunctional educational system, the cultures have so much misanthropy, heteronomy and anathema of real learning in common.
All cooperation in baffling and perplexing cult initiation persists upon suspended judgment and the hopes that things will begin to make sense later on. And even putting aside the most egregiously extreme and overt forms of abuse, Behaviorism even most routinely is certainly no exception. Indeed, effort at comprehension is steadily subject to the erosion by frustration unto behavioral extinction. Questions are clearly unwelcome, and persistence only ends unpleasantly. Only despair accrues from metaphorically swimming against the proverbial tide. Behaviorism, in an unrelenting blizzard of obfuscation and intractable contempt for the very principle of informed consent (the very concept thereof rendered in inoperant by Behavioral disavowal of consciousness an unusable concept), in a constant shell game of ever more dazzling sensational diagnoses, by such classic and powerful bureaucratic diversionary and manipulative behavioral control tactics as drawn out patient referral and intake procedures, along with such misleading propaganda tactics as endless obscure new aliases in a relentlessly shifting obscurantist word salad of all that it at all is, into all that it plainly is not: Neuro/Bio/Cognitive/clinical, etc., etc.. But treatment consistent and relentless no matter, ever wishfully masquerading anew as cutting edge insight even in long discredited neurochemical Reductionism, in failed and botched application to one range of underserved needs and unsolved problems after another in exploitation of the most naive, unsuspecting, vulnerable and trusting in society, is ever seductive to prestigious self overestimating mediocre professional intellects; the highest heteronymous values whereof and by their measure veritably God's greatest gift to humanity in turn so generously propagated to all the teaming unwashed, heteronymously pandering to decidophobic panicked anomie, self absorption, desperation for peace and acceptance with consequent addiction to authoritative routine, the mindlessly conformist providing of structure and stifling routine most arbitrarily, with the one consistent treatment goal put forth of simply obtaining compliance by whatever means necessary, and for our own good, because the Behaviorist key to happiness is only in discovering precisely what compliance will render the individual patients' interaction within society friction free.
Over time, the operant conditioning of Behaviorists themselves has been extinguished of any trace of candor. By every dazzling flimflam of cutting edge diagnosis, by seemingly innocent engagement of trust and compliance into elaborate intake process, the dizzying proliferation of one alias after the next and infiltration into one context after another (what lamentably passes for education, the most antisocial of social work, dubious social skills training, bogus support groups, pseudoscientific and antidemocratic politics and policy making, not to neglect mention of those ubiquitous popularity and pick-up gurus), ultimately by crimestop, evasion, reassurance, and finally sheer sullen sulking passive hostility towards salient questions from exhausted and bewildered patients, in contempt of principles of informed consent (after all, consent at all, let alone awareness and comprehension are not a behaviors, but an inner state and deemed scientifically meaningless), thereby perhaps the worst offender in the systematic undermining responsibility in patients, the new-and-improved turd-polishing snake oil of Behaviorism persists in its endlessly authoritative and reputable mischief.
Just as Psychodynamic Therapists themselves undergo an extensive Psychotherapy themselves, in order to gain professional detachment and quick expert diagnostic insight, likewise heteronymous Behaviorists themselves, under whatever guise, much as with and often actually including: school teachers, may nevertheless also practice as they have always preached, in so far as often being the more behaviorally conditioned themselves, all the more indoctrinated rather that trained or educated as such, into becoming the compulsive manipulators that they are, prizing above all likewise for themselves, behavioral structure, comforting routine providing livelihood and vested interest. After all, what else have they to fall back upon? The dispensation of Behavior Modification of any kind, in the toxic cynical environment of clinical departments of so-called Behavioral Medicine under whatever guise, using such patronizing methods and dealing with patients so thoroughly conditioned, inevitably results in deep seated dependency, atrophied social skills and seriously impaired problem solving abilities of the authoritarian both bossy and obedient, in short: true stupefying heteronomy of the Transactional inner adaptive child continually initiated from the Transactional controlling inner parent, bereft of sound critical thinking and fuller information accessible only front a rational adult ego state. Insensitive blundering practitioners of Behavior Modification under any guise and in any context, socialized over time both to stultifying bureaucracy and to an etiquette systematically and perpetually codling domineering defeated oversensitive and infantilized patients in groups, deserve only our pity except that they continue to present so clear and present a danger to society. In short, the very practice of Behavior Modification under any other name, is itself a conditioned compulsively manipulative behavior under a typical steady cult erosion of ethics. They are truly the blind misleading the blind.
Under the domineering and quite frankly: socially inept umbrella of Behavioral Medicine, myriad other services including, of course, what passes for education, but also social work, social skills training and various support groups and even both misguided study and dangerous application of politics indeed exactly as pioneered by B. F. Skinner, the father of Behaviorism, all heteronymously are ever jockeying to "provide structure" and obtain patient, client, student or citizen, compliance and convenient trapped docility, essentially in treatment of dissidence. Reactionary Behaviorism marches on in precisely every arena of social reform where Sigmund Freud and the Vienna Circle where historically brutally coerced into backing down from proactively seeking tolerance and societal relaxation of traumatizing repression and taboo, and indeed where Psychodynamics continues to give ground and even patient referral, apparently unreciprocated, unto this very day, to repressive Behavior Modification, smoothing down or beating down those individuals in society that by their existence most provoke guilt at prevailing repression and intolerance. Usually school teachers by training if at all, social skills trainers are the blithe unsuspecting civilian quasi-paramedical political commissars of Behavioral Modification and heteronomy. -the very socially imbedded vanguard of the Reaction. Indeed, there are no qualifications and no professional association for social skills training, submissive compliance or: discipline, being the primary core social skills and single value imparted towards the promise and mystique of social success and fitting in. The work of all such semiskilled practitioners of Behavior Modification, often Linguists and school teachers, is possible because, after all, just as social skills are presumed to be no more than adaptive behavior sets (adaptive, if actually at all, to anyone set of circumstances, but notoriously inflexible to new and novel situations) the very practice of Behavioral Modification is itself likewise no more than a convenient set of conditioned behaviors. For such and no more, is the entire medium of cultural transmission in the first place, according to Behaviorism, again, with the one consistent treatment goal put forth of simply obtaining compliance. After all, what is a Behaviorist but merely a memebot conditioned to behave as a Behaviorist and hence a compulsive manipulator all in further continual propagation of Behaviorism?
Cognitive Behaviorism, still denying the underlying psyche of emotional motivation, merely treats the symptoms, the outward behavior. The canny expert observations, tips and tricks, of the Cognitive Behaviorist, all actually relating to behaviors that are really associated with Psychodynamic underlying traumas and issues, thereby blithely stirs up all those associated traumas and issues even from the unconscious. Even should a behavioral coping method prove practical and helpful, even by that token, the deeply troubled patient will feel deeply stung at being asked simply to perceiver and make do, no less heavy and full of sorrow unresolved. Therefore a lucid patient may plainly express their anguish and dissatisfaction with such an approach. Otherwise, one common response is the classic inner conflicted non cooperation typical of the Neurotic, even one so desperately troubled and deep in denial as to actively seek validation in the construction of new defenses. Cognitive Behaviorists are clueless and hapless before all such negative transference. Indeed, precisely all such is among the good reasons for the Freudian injunction against suggestion, the core intrinsic malpractice of Behaviorism to begin with, except perhaps to any extent, as we shall see, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The other possible response to the blithe unawares Psychodynamic triggers of the Cognitive Behaviorist, is outreach on the part of the patient for insight, sympathy, understanding, the positive transference. But to this the Cognitive Behaviorist can only respond straightforwardly, that all such falls outside of their skill set, and continue uninterrupted with more of the same misguided Behavioral observations, tips and tricks. The result, then, is frustration of the patient unto benumbed despair and behavioral extinction, even the agonized futility and dubious liberation that is the much vaunted achievement of Zen tough love unto enlightenment from Ecclesiastical futility, with all the fresh new layers of reaction formation so beloved of insurance providers eager to cut costs with any hoped for quick fix, no matter how miserable and soul crushing. And indeed, there are many patients so agonizingly repressed as to actively prefer and seek out exactly such. In that case, the Cognitive Behaviorist effectively participates and abets in the patient's struggle submerging in denial ever deeper into the pervasive chronic emotional turmoil and inner conflict commonly called mental illness. Or else, as often occurs, the unwitting Cognitive Behaviorist may find himself no less blithely sucked into and embroiled in deadlock with a complete neurotic. Or else, all conditioning simply wears off very quickly, as Freud discovered in the first place.
Is Cognitive Behaviorism redeemable?
Whereas instead, the Psychodynamic Psychotherapist appealing to their need for understanding and release, serves to coax them out of their shells with the temptation of simply remaining receptive. After all, many ambivalent and actually destructive behaviors, much less whatever odd ticks and such, are improved and rendered more constructively assertive by at long last emerging to the surface along with whatever unresolved issues behind them. Therefore, if only there were a real Psychodynamic Psychotherapist in the room together with the Cognitive Behaviorist and the vulnerable patient. Then the unwitting provocations of the Cognitive Behaviorist instead could be put to good healing therapeutic use, treating repression, trauma and emotional deprivation even as underlying in developmental disorders no less than all else well acknowledged as Psychiatric and emotionally motivated. Thus, conditioning can be prevented, and Psychodynamically subverited into proper Psychotherapy, perhaps as part of much needed counterpropaganda experimental clinical trials in order to help debunk heteronymous bad medicine and even reestablish the obvious Psychodynamics of Asperger's.
The Freudian mask by itself is enough for some severely disordered extremely introverited ad out of touch if not just plain stupid patients, for whom therefore it may be sufficient should the Cognitive Behaviorists simply be trained, indeed conditioned, into simple nonverbal expressive behaviorally reducible mimicry of compassionate attentive interest like any good Father Confessor. But far better, what if the conditioned manipulative malpractice that is Behavioral Modification could be abolished once and for all, and the keen observation of Cognitive Behaviorism redeployed as provocative Adlerian Dialectical prompts in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy? Finally, developmental conditions too, after all really no less rooted in Psychodynamics, in personal traumas in the past and individual issues in the present, than any other Psychiatric problem, might at long last be afforded a safe, pertinent and effective treatment.
Indeed, the problem remains pertinent to any endeavor at social skills training or remediation. Can there be education in social skills much as there might be training in the operation of a lathe or a spinning wheel? Well, to begin with, alas in actuality what passes for education tends to be traumatic. Which is a shame, because there is no reason why, say, picking up a skill shouldn't be value neutral and dystress free. But if a traumatized student seeks Psychotherapy finding themselves blocked in study, then any attempt at simple training, let alone Behavior Modification, only comes in violation of the Freudian injunction against suggestion. And are social skills or aptitudes in particular, ever really value neutral to begin with? Indeed, is there anything else more trauma laden and surrounded by issues than social skills and aptitudes?
A therapist such as the Cognitive Behaviorist no longer so overtly bent upon manipulation of the patient via behavioral conditioning, would remain free instead to concentrate upon behavioral observation and offering therefrom useful feedback specifically in order to bring behavior patterns, but thereby also emotional triggers and merely thinking habits all unawares, to the patient's attention and conscious mind. But unless the Psychodynamics are addressed Psychotherapeutically, this only leaves the patient as voluntary partner, if at all, in their own reconditioning. Such is the pinnacle of the art of seeming reasonable while being deviously unreasonable, nevertheless and all the same falling far short of the full measure of required autonomy supportive respect, in sheer blithe lack of professional empathy. Doctor patient cooperation in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is merely a ploy towards the engineering of patient consent and compliance, not service to the patient. The patient in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy reasonably seeks information regarding any range of howsoever maladaptive behaviors of which they themselves may be quite unaware. If such comes as advice, then it may well simply turn out inadequate in the face of deeper Psychodynamic issues unexamined. But what is perhaps the more disturbing, if such information regarding any range of howsoever maladaptive behaviors of which the patient themselves are unaware, such awareness and cognition often accidently-on-purpose serves as aversive conditioning by humiliating the patient into revising their own behaviors by suppressing them And this is only consistent with the mandate of Cognitive Behaviorism, to fill the acknowledged gap in classical Behaviorism, cognitively. Because, too many more complex and even obviously goal directed behaviors put forth imply capacity for abstract reasoning, beyond mere Pavlovian conditioned association in which a stimulus initially incapable invocative of a certain response becomes increasingly evocative thereof by repeated pairing with another stimulus that already even innately does evoke said response or reinforcement of behaviors by immediate punishment and reward. Hence, Cognitive Behaviorism is the view of classical behavioral conditioning as Inductivist. therefore abandoning Inductivism but not heteronomy. In the words of Albert Bandura: “People's level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case.” Indeed, once the subject only reaches any surmise as to what is expected and the consequences, then they can do as they are told. Again, the entire therapeutic goal put forth of Behaviorism remains patient sensitivity to expectations and thence compliance without distress. The only entire point of comprehension is only in so far as incomprehension obstructs compliance. Or as the sadistic Captain famously admonishes Cool Hand Luke: "What we've got here here, is... failure to communicate!"
The issue is of situation, karma, conduct within dharma, and indeed, the foreseeable causality behind retaliation actually as a true dramatic consequence. But Asperger's kids don’t learn from consequences! If not compliance, what then? Oppression is only ended by effective resistance. And effective resistance requires the cultivation of social aptitude even amongst the likeminded, and organization towards mounting any sort of credible threat of significant retaliation in return. -socially "consequenced" accountability sufficient for putting an end to impunity for bullying and abuse of power under whatever pretext. Alas, while gifted individuals amongst their own true gifted peers, mysteriously no longer require socialization, alas this does not appear to apply similarly amongst highly functioning Aspies and Auties. The less socially adept, the chronically disorganized, continue to be taken advantage of by the more manipulative, the more socially adept and better organized. What is to be done? After all, resistance is actually more demanding of social aptitude even than compliance and conformity. And there is no school for rebels. Ultimately, who ever we are, even with all the interference and intervention that fills our days or sucks them dry, we are still each and all abandoned to our own devices, to induction, to the puerile guessing games of oppressive social conditioning, conditionality, manipulation, coercion, control, myth, propaganda indoctrination and behavioral structure. Whereas democracy, instead, to the contrary founded upon any precept that comprehension is prerequisite not to compliance, but to free choice and informed consent, and the ongoing struggle for formalized transparent due process, even in parallel to Scientific Method, is, lip service aside, all heteronymously dismissed as sheer anarchy.
In truth, whereas Psychodynamic Psychotherapy strives to help patients with such problems as needlessly debilitating shame, and to open up all manner of different possibilities and options in life, out from paralytic inner conflict that renders decision so impossible, by contrast, and despite ostensible cooperation with the patient, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy nevertheless falls back upon the tactics of Behavior Modification by manipulatively exploiting shame from the humiliating exposure, no matter how reasonable, of unawares maladaptive behaviors no matter how subtitle, as an aversive conditioning pressing the unsuspecting patient in whatever explicit direction clearly intended by the Cognitive Behaviorist, in such blatant violation of the injunction against suggestion. In the end, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a ploy in abuse of trust, for manipulatively disarming the patient subjected to Behavioral Conditioning. Cognitive Behaviorism merely posits that along with whatever correct negative and positive reinforcement (systematic punishment and reward), learning and comprehension also necessarily plays a part in conditioning of more sophisticated behaviors. And Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, similarly to what passes for education, merely puts that very principle into application.
But in the immortal words of Alexander Lowen MD: "Conviction lies not in the ego." -the ego being the theoretical seat of rational cognition, and conviction or faith being the sheer sentiment of confidence so often and consistently undermined by experience and the human condition. And if howsoever the aforesaid veritably crypto-aversive Cognitive Behavioral tactics, are for whatever reason instead actually accepted at face value advising the patient with exactly the requested criticism, and even as such duly appreciated and accepted by the patient with full responsibility and even all due appreciation, such being features of autonomy and emotional maturity or stability, thereby, much as in combating the most notorious methods used in brainwashing outright, indeed, actually confer resistance to conditioning and suggestion, with the possible result, likewise, being complete failure to render patient defeat and compliance to society. After all, as Freud realized, crazy people are such as consistently will not follow good advice even when recognizing it as such. And responsible people pick and choose for themselves, what advice to howsoever to take heed on their own account. So how then will the Cognitive Behaviorists then react, as may arise, when simply not getting their own way? I shudder to think! Under such circumstances, will the Cognitive Behaviorist begin actingout, simply falling even deeper back upon traditional behavior modification and manipulative behaviors? Or will the Cognitive Behaviorist actually begin displaying classic learned helplessness?
Again, a common frustration with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the patient if not for the somewhat oblivious Cognitive Behaviorist, is that even those most cogent observations offered by the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, of the suffering patient's blithe kneejerk responses, and the tips and tricks the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist strives to teach the patient, the better to govern themselves, in truth often also bear profound Psychodynamic ramification irresponsibly ignored and wasted by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Indeed, all such recommendations are implicit criticism, however valid in its own right, from observations of behavior, no matter how painstakingly accurate, behavior, like all behavior, Psychodynamic in origin, no matter how determined Behaviorism is to ignore the obvious. As such the highly accurate observations and expert behavioral recommendations proffered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, often immediately triggering all manner of ongoing inner conflict by association to all manner of shame and trauma from the past and issues in the present, brought to the surface by the keen observations and expert advice of the Cognitive Behaviorist. Often responses thus elicited include distress from yearning for the comfort of acceptance and understanding, confusion passionately curious for insight and meaning, and the all too common stubborn denial and demands for validation, so fruitless to confront directly. As Sigmund Freud discovered, Neurotics simply do not follow even what they themselves fully recognize as good advice, and certainly not simple behavioral or cognitive strategies that fly in the face of their own complex maladaptive coping in struggle with ambivalence. For alas, all such perfectly legitimate behavioral observation may all too often come, even being so superficial, nevertheless as an excessive honesty, too blunt and direct, where the seasoned and tactful deft touch and oblique dialectic of Psychodynamic Therapy is required. The very knowledge, even if actually desired and not feared, poses a danger to the patient, the danger of Behavior Modification, successful on its own impoverished and harmfully manipulative terms or distinctly complicating, the danger, in short, of Psychodynamics woefully unattended. Again, the blithe unintended Psychodynamic triggers all too common from the conditioned and oblivious Cognitive Behavioral Therapists, are at best gone to waste, left unresolved, or worst of all, painful, conceivably harmful and destructive, wounds reopened and then untreated. Indeed, even such entirely sincere and vulnerable Psychodynamic ramification as distress yearning for comfort, confusion curious for insight, let alone stubborn denial and demands for validation however infantile, all heartbreaking call out for Psychodynamic Therapy for which the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, an overspecialized trained idiot savant of therapy, verily like unto the proverbial one trick pony, finds himself clueless and after all, deliberately and calculatingly unequipped.
At best, unintended Psychodynamic benefit may nevertheless accrue over time, however indirectly, as a result from howsoever more operant behavior socially. Otherwise, suggestion my simply wear off soon enough or be rejected outright by an uncooperative patient. Otherwise, conditioning can only forge forge new layers of reaction formation or help repair old ones, actually stepping back the breakdown of the adaptation that is the cornerstone of any Psychodynamic treatment of psychopathology. Indeed, perhaps at saddest of all, Behaviorism may succeed on it's own terms of Behavior Modification:
As things stand in practice of Behaviorism, no matter how ostensibly Cognitive, from the utter blithe lack of professional empathy, perhaps the patient's ensuing sense of Zen futility is likewise intentional tough love. Hence the vaunted quick efficacy, ever at all, of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, even for treatment of minor problems, depends upon the lowered expectations of the patient, even behavioral extinction if not complete Zen cessation, yet the same resignation and crushed spirit, by repeated elicitation, frustration and eventual extinction of the very impulse gratification to reach out emotionally, and subsequent emotional withdrawal, stiff upper lip and all, thence stunned compliance to embrace conditioning and Behavior Modification. It may be The Behavioral quick fix so beloved of insurance providers, actually only suffices at all in fairly mild cases, to restore repressive reaction formation and get the poor wretches up on their feet and back to work, troubled and unhappy as ever. -Ah, but functioning! Indeed, how sad. Worst of all, Behaviorists like school teachers, abide in denial unwilling or unable to confront what they are actually doing, because of their own heteronymous conditioning and indoctrination.
So perhaps what is needed is not the Behaviorist approach to Psychotherapy as in Reality Therapy, but just the opposite, a Psychodynamic Approach to Cognitive Therapy: Again, what if instead the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist though no less versed in behavioral observation and diagnosis thereof, nevertheless was not a practitioner of Behavior Modification at all, but instead a fully trained Psychodynamic Psychotherapist? What if the Cognitive Behavioral observations, advice, tips and tricks, where deliberately and skillfully redeployed as deliberate Psychodynamic provocations in service to real competent and liberating Psychodynamic Psychotherapy opening up the patients own range of free choice? Why not make deliberate good Psychodynamic redeploy of hitherto blithe triggers from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamically? For what point is there in clutching on so desperately to the notorious Skinner Box paradigm and simply ignoring that is challenging in understanding the human condition? -the obvious Psychodynamic implications of behavior even after cognition has already been so reluctantly accepted as explanatorily inevitable... The proverbial camel has already so long been nosing ever further into the metaphorical tent!
Even barring extrinsic motivation, coercion and manipulation creating conflict to begin with (as in what passes for education), the problem remains of suggestion only raising unresolved inner conflict. At best, Behavior Modification as with all suggestion simply wears off. Worse, may be the sense of manipulation is humiliating betrayal, which is predictably destructive and counterproductive. Worse still, suggestion may take root, raising inner conflict more permanently and building further layers of reaction formation. Suggestion, Behavioral Modification, even the most knowledgeable and acute Behaviorist behavioral diagnostic observation of social developmental shortcomings, behaviors gross and subtle including, for example, as they are called: Aspergisms, Cognitive Behaviorism, not only already constitute conditioning, especially via elicitations of awkward shame, but most generally raises whatever underlying Psychodynamic issues and traumas, to which the Cognitive Behaviorist remains stubbornly oblivious. Indeed, much as with Zen mute and unsympathetic tough love in the face the disciple's mounting crisis in quest of futility, this frequently has the effect of behavioral extinction upon the patient's efforts at expression in seeking compassionate understanding and achieving catharsis. Which is not only destructive and ultimately counterproductive, but a wasted opportunity, Psychodynamicly. Therefore, if anything is to be safely salvageable from Behavior Modification, it might be the currently unintended ignored emotional side effects instead deliberately as skillful prompts or elicitation in Psychodynamic treatment.
Moreover, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) already employs another at all promising approach, the judicious express utilization of transitory short term effects of suggestion and autosuggestion and cultivation of only momentary self control and no more, an important coping skill, in order to overcome a specific barrier to Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Borderline Personalities, even no matter how high functioning, nevertheless still too volatile and defensive for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy because of their overwhelming rage from excruciatingly painful fear of any perceived threat of rejection.
Freud turned away from even the most powerful modality of suggestion under hypnosis, ever so Chimerically transitory. But Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) only teaches the patient how to make good momentary use of transitory auto-suggestive self control, simply in order to open the way for the cultivation of better impulse formation and trust. Even for the most highly functioning and otherwise very mature and giftedly capable adult yet volatile Borderline Personalities, levels of arousal rise much more quickly, peaking at a higher level than the average, often also taking much longer to return to baseline. Borderline Personalities personalities are motivated by an anguished terror of any perceived threat of rejection. Borderline Personalities get a bad rap in popular culture, because of just how overwhelming and debilitating the tireless protracted raging typical of Borderline Personalities can be to others subjected thereto, especially given that pity and compassion, not to mention guilt, also evoked, may manipulatively serve to subvert ones defenses, all the more because of how plainly the tremendous distress of the Borderline Personality tireless protractedly raging is entirely genuine. But it could be worse! Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) therefore teaches, along with mindful self awareness, superficial short term techniques, tips and tricks of self soothing and momentary self restraint, so lacking in Borderline Personalities, to manage trauma. Indeed, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) even admits such a thing as trauma being: distinct and even howsoever meaningful memories of experience as corollary to consciousness in the subjective context of motivated inner life, beyond sheer indistinct and cumulative aversive conditioning from utter oblivious nociception. Superficial short term techniques, tips and tricks of self soothing and momentary self restraint, conceivably might be just enough in the short term for the highly functioning Borderline Personality to finally progress in impulse formation (mature motivation arising from a level of arousal in immediate impulses restrained, sustained and directed towards fairly short term expression, strategy and action), indeed even conceivably to withstand, participating and benefitting from Psychodynamic Therapeutic treatment to resolve persistent deeper troubles in ongoing treatment for the long term; a strategy highly desirable for the sadness of patients still yearning for Psychodynamic insight and catharsis, and ultimately dissatisfied with mere management of their condition by lifelong ongoing cultivation of self manipulation habits. Besides, such band aid solutions of behavioral suggestion are typically only doomed to eventual breakdown unless the root causes will be addressed, either followed up Psychodynamically, either in treatment or simply in life experience, interaction and relationship. Psychodynamic Therapy after all only strives curatively to fill gaps and address underserved unmet needs in social life. -All better facilitated for the highly functioning Borderline Personality by cognitive short term self management facilitated by Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), judiciously employing means of Cognitive Behavior Modification obliquely towards Psychodynamic purposes, given exactly how restraint of the specific volatile borderline behaviors, mere momentary hesitation and the benefit of the doubt, in practice actually can liberate at all better functional Emotional Intelligence for all manner of closer relationships in life, not just in the context of Therapy. And such is an emotional or Psychodynamic interaction and value not typically recognized not even by Behaviorism, no matter how Cognitive, indeed, rather than as typical of damnable Behaviorist Cretins, only serving anything whatsoever more empty, practical and ultimately so puerile and cynical as mere social conformity.
So, can the mousy inner conflicted observable behavior of timid gradual circumvention of taboo, still draw Behaviorism and Behaviorists any further out from entrenched error? Or must Behaviorists need simply and finally to overcome their own conditioning and indoctrination in order to grasp the nettle by admitting their long standing and fundamental mistake? After all, the gap in Behaviorism was never cognitive, but Psychodynamic all along. (And worse, as we have seen, the gap in Behavior Modification is actually diagnostic at all, in the Philistine Pragmatist rejection of the scientific quest for truth, specifically of diagnosis in very principle, including even Behaviorist diagnosis!) After all, exactly how is the inference of cognition somehow more scientific than Psychodynamic or dramatic inference of motivating emotion? Indeed, feelings are often the more readily observable than thoughts. What sort of of competent behavioral observation denies emotion? Only the most severe Autism and Schizophrenia or fanatically entrenched Behavior Modification are ever all so completely mind-blind as that! After all, as even Animal Behaviorism well attests, evolutionarily, emotional motivation long predates higher cognition! Behavior, including action and expression or dialogue, is often actually less mediated by cognitive events than by Psychodynamic events, feelings and motivations to be specific, often with inner conflict, in an observable (show: don't tell) cycles of Motivational Reaction Units. Cognition is a rational function of the ego, Phenomenologically manifest in reflection. Indeed, Animal Behaviorism actually observes complex behavior and body language of animals built up emotionally from elementary drives, impulses and responses, often coming into inner conflict. Moreover, subjectively and qualitatively, human inner life is complicated by the capacity for reflection, so anathema to Behaviorism.
“Thoughts are the shadows of our
feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler.” —
Indeed, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), or indeed whatsoever Behavioral treatment of Borderline Personality symptoms at all, thereby moving furthest from traditional Behavior Modification and even so flirting with Psychodynamics, seems plainly the most viable and valuable of salvage efforts upon Behaviorism. So perhaps flirtation is overdue for consummation and reconciliation, that the Behaviorists can finally be de-conditioned from their own conditioned compulsive manipulation, that Behavior Modification in violation of the injunction against suggestion, along with untenable Behaviorist Reductionism, may at long last all be afforded a by far long overdue decent burial, and that unobtrusive observation and study of behavior may best continue in benefit of scientific advance. Not to imply that, all things being equal, that there's anything all that wrong with generally positive reinforcement, encouragement coming honestly with no strings attached. After all, another feature of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in specific, is in providing a great deal of comprehensive support and reassurance for the insecurity of the Borderline Personality.
Copyright 2004 - 2013 by Aaron Agassi