The Master becomes the Slave

Another reminder for this quote

"Think of the old cliché about “the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.” This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master."

from...On May 21, 2005 David Foster Wallace took the podium at Kenyon College and delivered the now-legendary This Is Water,


I see this as somehow connecting to another yet to be posted reference on how Habit rules our existence and "WE" are not really in control of anything. But that is another post

But I read this on Brain Pickings and didn't want to lose track of it.

Ref #4: We like to think we are our mind/brain and action comes from that. The inference is that we are in control of ourselves, or at least we control who we are. But just because one is free of self destructive habits doesn't mean the mid is in the driver's seat. Rather we simply have more productive habits.

I think there are extremely few people who are truly free of habit, conditioning, fear or whatever. I see the Zen master example as the most likely true model. But even then you can read of Zen teachers who fall victim to tradition human failings, so maybe not event that.


Think Inside the Box

Quick note to self..remember slate article on how creativity something people say they admire, but in real life people are risk adverse and avoid creativity since it involves change.

We are taught that our own creativity will be celebrated as well, and that if we have good ideas, we will succeed. 

It’s all a lie. 

This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking, despite all of their insistence otherwise.

Again, people (me included)  have a view of how they think, but the mind is a self deceptive organ.

From slate.. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/12/creativity_is_rejected_teachers_and_bosses_don_t_value_out_of_the_box_thinking.html

Ref#3 Creativity, I don't think it means what you think it means...to yourself


The Unbearable illogic of Being

The broad notion of this random reference is humans, including me, have a self vision that is rational,
 thought out, and above all clearly logical. I have more reference on this, but today I am noting an essay by Chuck Klosterman called...Things We Think We Know from the February 27, 2007 issue of Esquire

The gist of it is that people will decry the act of stereotyping when they feel it is directed at them, but be oblivious when they stereotype others. Sometimes the stereotyping is actually central to their “argument”. But it is by sterotyping that an individual understands the world and Klosterman points out they are a useful intellectual shortcut to to talk about what we believe.

We all hate stereotypes. Stereotypes are killing us, and they are killing our children, and they are putting LSD into the water supply. Stereotypes are like rogue elephants with AIDS that have been set on fire by terrorists, except worse. We all hate stereotypes. Seriously. Dude, we fucking hate them.
Except that we don't. 

We adore stereotypes, and we desperately need them to fabricate who we are (or who we are not). People need to be able to say things like, "All stereotypes are based on ignorance," because expressing such a sentiment makes them enlightened, open-minded, and incredibly unpleasant. Meanwhile, their adversaries need the ability to say things such as, "Like it or not, all stereotypes are ultimately based in some sort of reality," because that kind of semi-logic can justify their feelings about virtually anything. 

Nobody really cares what specific stereotype they happen to be debating; what matters more is how that label was spawned, because that defines its consequence.

Stereotypes are not really based on fact, and they are not really based on fiction. They are based on arbitrary human qualities no one cares about at all. Whenever a given stereotype seems right (or wrong), it's inevitably a coincidence; the world is a prejudiced place, but it's prejudiced for the weirdest, least-meaningful reasons imaginable.

He is saying we gather our stereotypes from extremely anecdotal experiences. You have one or two observations of some thing, person, race, nationality and you form a, or accept an existing, stereotype and then on it reinforces a world view

The point I want to remember is “We say we don't like stereotypes, but actually we freakin' LOVE them!”

This adds to a broader realization that our ideals, opinions, worldview or whatever are not developed by thoughtful analysis where different views are entertained. But more of that in future random references I want to save.

Ref#2 - Things We Think We Know from the February 27, 2007 issue of Esquire by Chuck Klosterman


Now to Start a Grand Theory

Gathering random references for my humble future project to outline a Grand Theory of Everything

"We are discovering a plethora of evidence about our hardwiring for connection and compassion, from the vagus nerve, which releases oxytocin at simply witnessing a compassionate act, to the mirror neurons, which causes us to literally feel another person’s pain and thereby empathize. Darwin himself, who has been grossly misunderstood to believe exclusively in our competitiveness (hence the famous saying, “survival of the fittest”), actually observed and noted that humankind’s real power comes in its ability to perform complex tasks together—that is, to sympathize and cooperate."
-Tom Shadyac on the vagus nerve and his movie I AM

Contrast the above with...

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
― John Kenneth Galbraith

While Galbraith was probably not sympathetic to the modern conservative movement, I think he was accurate, and famously one of Ayn Rand's books is called The Virtue of Selfishness. If conservative fire breathers were honest about it, they would admit all the talk of the individual is really about justifying selfishness.

[Very imprecise thought..] What IF...our society that gives us the modern world, for all it's wonders and pleasures was actually ALL WRONG for how humans would actually prefer to live?

An obvious objection is that everybody is different so how could someone say how they ought or would prefer to live? But the flip side is, doesn't the present system impose, by design, a way we have to live anyway?


ref# 1 – Vagus Nerve