Category Archives: essays

New Form of Freedom

One of the most pressing obstacles in our fight for freedom is the amount of observers versus actors. So many are willing to pinpoint problems, yet who is brave enough to solve them? It is because we think the scale of this task is too great, or do we have too little care to embark on a journey towards solutions? The ghetto, it is a cesspool that America has forced our brothers and sister into, deprived them of necessary resources needed to survive, and armed them with the tools of their own destruction. There is no doubt about these places, and the horror within it, yet we must realize that the root of it is intertwined around the root of American society. The ghetto is doing exactly what America wanted it to do, and those observing are seeing the results of a properly working system built on enslavement (both ancient and modern).

In order to combat this we must seek “entirely new and substantially different forms of expression.” How many more years can we sit idle while conditions continue to worsen? The fight for freedom starts with us, and within our own communities.

  • “Black people must organize themselves without regard for what is traditionally acceptable.”

Traditionally, we have fought with methods that have, in the grand scheme of things, been less than effective; what exactly does marching through the streets at night do for us? Besides foster filial bonds with your allies (which is ideal). We are weak because we are divided. The proletariat soon discovered their strength when their numbers grew and they were forced to work with each other. We must do away with this hateful and competitive nature that keeps us, oppressed humans, apart. It is the goal of the oppressor to divide us, for division makes us weaker and we can be easily controlled when isolated. This is the reason we need organizations, ones that are strictly crafted and drafted by our hands. Only we know what our people desire, value, and seek; and it should also be us who bring them together over these shared ideals. It can be done because our struggle is universal, just disguised by the characteristics it takes, ex. threat of deportation=threat of mass incarceration.

  • “We should concentration of forming…and not wasting time on trying to reform”

American politics are too deeply rooted in racism and hatred to be truly reformed. Although risky, we must form our own; it is the only way we can hope to achieve political victory. By creating our own, within our community, we can aid our brothers and sisters. Oppressive America wants to keep us static and it is up to us to remain dynamic and achieve our freedom.

Our movement starts within the mind. If we want change then we must be willing to dedicate our lives to it; the day of change will never come if we do not make strides towards that future now. That begins with sound organization in a way that best represents us. With organizing comes control, and it through these two methods that w can seek change. We should control what affects our community; housing, education, banking, politics. All of these are ways that modern society defines our existence as a citizen so we must do our part and prepare ourselves. The system will not do this for us, for once again, it was built to produce the results we see today.

  • “It is crucial that race be taken into account in determining the policy of this sort.”

Race can either be a divisive factor or it can double as a bond. When I enter a new location for the first time, I unconsciously seek out other people of color.  Imagine if you fond them all at the top of the building? This isolation that we feel would diminish and instill within us a sense of hope; it is with this malleable hope that we can change from observer to activist.

Bibliography

Carmichael, Stokeley; Hamilton, Charles V. Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America. 1967.

Danger of the Digital Collective

The collective. The body of drones that hold uncharacteristically similar values, talking points, fears, and aspirations. Ever since our inception into consciousness, the collective has existed. It will always exist. It was present during the days of the Pharaohs, thrived in the Dark Ages; now, it has evolved (due to the internet) to create a greater threat to the individual: Social Media. Although earlier digital communication platforms, such as AOL Instant Messenger (sfx: closing of a door) and Myspace (top 8) existed, they were too rudimentary to generate a true collective. They were, however, an ideal foundation for Mark Zuckerberg to expound upon and create Facebook, thereby ushering the dawn of the digital drone.

If the physical being has an id (for the individual) and an ego (for the collective), then we can assume that there are respectable forms for the digital being as well. It may be too early in theory to classify these metaphysical constructs, but for the sake of this entry I will dub them “es-se” and “pro-se”. The es-se represents the identity, the equivalent of the soul, the unique digital creation is closest to the authentic self; the pro-se being the self within the sea of avatars. Where exactly does the pro-se operate?

It is the websites, the domains that we casually enter each time we connect to the wi-fi.

Here, we are part of the collective, each of us hooked to a digital matrix of waves and hashtags. It is here that we are susceptible to the debilitating nature of the collective. How? Because information is never free. Yes, we are granted near limitless connectivity with the world, but what is being provided to us has the potential to alter our being. We are rarely our authentic selves on such sites; we rattle our opinions and update profiles regularly, but this does nothing for the individual. A relationship posting, a status regarding a new career, a photograph of a recently deceased family member is information that we upload to the world. Before any of these were posted though, we had to experience them here in the physical realm first, and this is where the issue lies. The immediacy of information today is a grave threat against the es-se.

It was also their choice to upload this information, mainly to inform others, those that exist outside of the self. When an individual begins to make decisions for those other than themselves, they run the risk of temporarily halting the growth of the self. Now, an isolated incident such as this would be no bother, however, this is happening on an unprecedented scale.

Countless updates, all to provide others with your information, and what do we expect them to do with this knowledge? They will either discard it with the rest of the digital nonsense, or accept it. If they accept, willingly, then they have just adapted a value that wasn’t birthed from their own being (which is not always a malady). However, when one is constantly adopting expressed, rather than impressed, values they are potentially harming their own individual. And an individual that has a disconnect with the self, has all the space for the collective to enter and infect.

Eventually, when enough have followed this action, we will have an army of mindless drones that are systematically programmed to believe whatever is uploaded to their screen. Take the citizens who backed Trump. Many of these “good American folk” were willing to blindly accept whatever they read on Facebook as the truth. This may not sound frightening, but what if the rhetoric was hateful? What if, also, Facebook users adopted this mentality? With their power, they voted in a man who is strictly for the bourgeois. The collective has the power to shape a nation and if lies are spoonfed like they are, it can destroy a nation.The media has been successful of this in the past, however, with the immediacy of social media, the brainwashing can reach exponential growth. A larger population is also able to be influenced. So how does one combat the horde of the pro-se?

By creating a space separate from the all-inclusive domain (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). Just as an individual must define themselves from nothing to be considered a being, so to must the digital individual do the same. The es-se needs a space to exist and grow. It cannot be found on these sites and if one attempts to solely thrive in this space, it will eventually become tainted by the memes and other viral uploads. Man in his ignorance believes that he understands the internet, yet we have no clue of its influence on the individual. Being a child of the 90’s, I myself along with all the other “millennials” are the guinea pig generation for the invention known as social media. And I imagine that we suffer from exposure.

For example, phototropism. If a plant is set on a dust-laden window sill, will it grow straight? Negative, for if the plant is exposed to light, its appendages will carry towards the source of it. The soul (physical and digital) has a similar process, so there is no valid way for an es-se to exist on those sites. The only exceptions to this principle are those whose id’s are so defined that it penetrates and injects itself into the platform, living symbiotically with that site. We typically refer to them as “internet sensations”, but their infamy exists on borrowed time (much like our lives). Very rarely do they make a longer term commitment because the internet is a temporal death trap (expound upon this later). In the end, one must define and develop their es-se, but it seems they must be exposed to the collective first, and that is frightening.

All are born as members of the collective, for we do not yet understand the working of the mind (the object that defines our self). The goal is to eventually branch away from these sites in an effort to create an individual page, in turn defining your own es-se. Once established, an individual now has a sturdy vessel to navigate the sea of information without fear of being engulfed by the wi-fi waves. Being disconnected from sites, while still having my personal page, is refreshing. The mental constraints from constantly checking notifications have faded, and my desire to be part of the collective has significantly diminished. The brainwashing effects still exist, and they always will (guinea pig generation), but I can rest easy knowing that I exist within the Golden Moment, my own es-se.

Destroying Tomorrow

“Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today” – Ayn Rand.

First off, let me say that I’m glad to be back with bae (Rand). I constantly return to the words written by the philosophizing, Russian born, American bred author, Ayn Rand; I believe her moral views on the world to be similar to my own. But this quote struck me as I was reading the introduction to her work, “The Romantic Manifesto”, and I find myself pondering a recurring question…what is the future? Does it even exist? In my honest opinion, I want to destroy the future, because it is a fortified construct that men place their dreams, aspirations, and desires within, just to let them die. We all imagine the future as a vast horizon that resembles the sky at the end of the day, vibrant with warm shades of the unknown, but that is not what it really is. The future is a bleak prison cell, lined with bars constructed by cast iron and diamond, it is unbreakable. I do not like the future for it is man’s greatest excuse for inaction.

How many times must we hear, “I’ll handle that later,” “We can wait until tomorrow”, “Why not wait until there’s more time,”? All these confessions are empty, devoid of any honest truth, just the hollow ramblings of spineless individuals. If you encourage future action, then be adamant about it and set it in your brain that you will see it through, it not then you add to the list. The future is not real, and if it is, it does not abide within tomorrow. It is here, sharing this exact moment with us, for the future is a direct, and possibly the only, substantial result of the present. The future exists due to the present, and if one happens to reserve decisions until tomorrow, then they are not waiting for the future. They are only prolonging the inevitable choice, to act or not to act. If man does not act then how does he project his will, his being, into the world? He doesn’t. Instead, he pushes his self into a limbo, straddling the same fence that his desires are caged within. By putting so much emphasis on tomorrow we have systematically killed the now, and the now is one of our sacred treasures. God has bestowed us with the moment, a single, desolate fraction of infinite time, and we have taken it for granted. Because the moments given have been weaved together like a patched quilt, we automatically assume there will be another moment. And another, for when we look behind us, we see a string of moment, a red yarn that has stretched across the temporal dimension from birth to this instant; yet are we confident enough that another will always be coming? When we are young and naïve to time, we acted in the now, for it was all we knew. After enough actions, we became lazy, less confident, and sluggish, simply because we relied on the approaching day; but once that day comes, there will always be another to take its place, leaving us with another missed chance to act. If we miss too many chances to act then what will that do to us? Maybe our mindset will alter, or maybe we will turn our backs to choice and continue living without a why. I do not know for certain what would happen to an individual, and I am afraid to find out that answer, simply because that requires inaction today, and indecision is the enemy of the virtuous. If we have values, beliefs, opinions, etc. then we should showcase them at any given moment, why wait until another instance (as if we are even graced with a second)? Tomorrow is one of the most dangerous words a man can utter to both himself, and the world. Unless he can say it will full confidence, then do not believe in his tomorrow, for it is an illusion. He does not believe in his own tomorrow, but he will grant you the opportunity to do so for this gives him another opportunity to not act, and if he is afraid to act then he could very well be afraid of himself. Would you want to be known by someone like that? Could you see yourself in his shoes? I fear that we are all this person, at some point in our lives, but we must steel ourselves and destroy tomorrow for it will leave us incomplete today.

 

~JLC, III

Existential Expression

Text: Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

“Prior to that projection of self, nothing exists…and man shall attain existence only when he is what he projects himself to be-not what he would like to be” (Sartre, 23).

  • The main and only difference between existing and not is being who you project yourself to be. A book cannot be a book if it is just pages, nor can a heart be that if it is incapable of beating like one. Existence depends on action but the action must be to be. If one is powerless to be, then how can they know they truly exist?

“Will is a conscious decision that most of us undertake after we have made ourselves hat we are” (Sartre, 23).

  • In order for ust to have a will, we must first be. That means there is some significance behind being, and will is a direct result of it. One that is able to be are also able to will; if they cannot will then, they are not yet a mature being. Maybe there is a distinction between those who will and those who have yet to discover their will; but ultimately, if one is unable to utilize will then their existence is limited, for they have yet to make a conscious decision based on their being. Incomplete wills are just wishes.
  • Going back to “what’s”, if man’s obligation to himself is to be conscious of what he is” then that means he must be ready to ask why he must do so. He must understand the logic behind him choosing to become conscious of himself, he must acknowledge that lack of knowledge pertaining to an action does not create a skill, it only creates a reflex.

“Choosing himself he is choosing for all men”

  • When we choose to define ourselves we inevitably begin to create our own nature, this nature is our understanding of all men. For example, if I choose to be a man of justice, then I expect all men to share my ideals of justice, for my viewpoint of men is based on my definite self. If may be there reason that I believe that everybody is capable of doing something, meaning that I match up with my nature if I expect it to be applied to others (even if this is false, which it often proves to be). The main principle to take away from this is that I believe that my being has a relationship to all men, and more importantly that being is mine. In the end, I choose for all men, because I choose for myself.

Vocabulary:

  • Anguish – a man who commits himself, but then realizes that he is not the individual that he chooses to be. “What would happen if everyone did what I am doing? (Sartre, 25)”. You must ask yourself if your actions could represent the entire human race.
  •  Abandonment- God does not exist, this was a debated topic among the existentialist. Without the existence of God, then some aspect regarding existence will left to be forever unsolved, this ruling this notion improbable. The tools for consciousness and thought were not arbitrarily created, rather they were purposefully given to humans to utilize; so then who is capable of giving us such a gift, but God?

Leviathan Logic

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes

Sense is the original teacher of man. How else were we able to obtain teaching from nature except without our eyes, ears, etc..  In reality senses are responses of our organs to “motions of external things” (Hobbes 49). What does this mean to man? To understand-which is man’s desire-he must have certain objects “move” against his senses. That motion from an external object has the same power to illicit an internal response from the man.

What is imagination? It is the projection of an image that was once in motion, but now has stopped. Motion can only be stopped when there is a force to oppose it (Newton’s law supports this); imagination is the mind trying to recreate that motion that may have been stopped in the external world. It is known as the “decay of sense” (Hobbes 50). Senses are the body’s way of deducing the nature of external objects, and imagination is a fragmented version of this understanding.  Imagination is “weaker” than true sensibility, but where it excels is that it has been polymerized with our memories and ideas; becoming a new creation altogether. Compare it to the sun’s light versus the stars, the sun’s light is the senses and it is able to illuminate virtually everywhere. The stars have only limited light, but they provide us with more in the darkness. When we wake our senses rule-for our body is relying on physical receptors- but upon dreaming they are decayed and we are met with the projection of an external object within our internal realm. The imagination is stemmed from our senses, does that mean the more I sense, the greater my imagination? I must allow my senses to carry me far, for the more they are used, the better my imagination will become, if this hastily stated hypothesis were proven to be true. Imagination and memory are both considered decaying, but what separates the two from each other? I do not known, but memory is more specific to the individual and the experience surrounding a sense, whereas imagination is just general sensation. By utilizing specific senses, we can remember a moment; but when we combine the varying aspects of multiple senses, we can create a moment.

Ayn’s Axiom

Text: Journals of Ayn Rand by Ayn Rand, Edited by David Harriman

“The moral law of man must be based on his nature as man” (Rand 251). We come back to morality, which is a set of principles concerning what is right and wrong. If this doctrine is based on man, then the questioned presented by Rand is “what is man’s nature?” (251). If we examine the moral law, we find that good and evil are disproportionate, goodness is greatly overshadowed by evil. What does this say about our nature? That we are evil? This is doubtful. All living creatures have an aspect of their nature that aids them in survival, Rand believes that man’s attribute is reason. “His brain is his only weapon” (251). Just like any other tool, one must use it in order to improve its level of proficiency. Man has tapped into his tool of survival and created a world. Sartre believed that a man must exist before his purpose and Rand has stated something similar; we are given our mind, but without any instruction on how to utilize it. We must be the ones to discover how to use it, and then shape ourselves with this tool. This is how we discover our being, by crafting it with what we have been given a mind born as a tool from our nature. “Man’s life ultimately depends upon every conclusion within his brain” (252). It is stated that conclusion is the final step in the process of discovery, then how does one reach a true conclusion? I believe it is by placing an action towards the thought. Simply put, it is not enough for the brain to think, it must do. In order to do, we must choose an appropriate action, which leads us to, as Rand says, “the ultimatum of man’s existence” We were created to choose, to utilize a force other than instinct and primal logic in order to survive. Choice is defined by Merriam-Webster as “to decided that a particular person or thing is the one you want.” Want. What then is the importance of want? We want, that is what defines us, all other creatures have needs but only man understands want. There is proof in all of us: we seek, we hope, we dream, we wish. All of these have one fundamental quality in common and that is want. It is what drives us to do the things that are against our universal nature, in an effort to choose something, even if it is against his survival. “He [the animal] enjoys a safety that man can never have” (253). Our true nature isn’t based on survival, it is based on want; and oftentimes that want will overshadow our survival. Just as the birds learn to flap their fragile wings before flight, so to must man utilize his tool for survival before entering the world. Then how does one test his brain? By choosing the need over the want, by focusing on survival and rationality, but can this truly be obtained? Is man capable of always choosing survival? No, because the want that resides within him is too great. The want is what separates us from each other, and by watching others “deducing” we have learned to choose wants over needs. What this entails is that if men, unanimously, choose want then that is the fundamental principle of mankind. From a moral standpoint, want is neither good nor evil. Exactly what happens when man does not behave like a man and misuses his process of thought, his tool, to seek something other than survival? “There is no proper name for that thing which he becomes (253)”. In the end we are not men, but a new form altogether with a nature that was dismantled and reshaped with want at the core.

Before I continue I am inclined to explore this concept of want. By determining it’s origin we have found some understanding of it, but why is it such a dominant force in our lives? What is inside us that would force individuals to pursue an object that is within direct conflict with our nature. It is a blessing, for it provides us with something more than a survival; but alternatively doubles as a curse and removes and hope of safety from our minds. For this I will examine two types of individuals, the laborer and the liberal (in the sense of the man free from work). The laborer is exactly what a man is supposed to be, a creature who acts and chooses that will enhance his survival. He chooses to awake and enter the greasy factor, or the claustrophobic cubicle and he does so without question. The reason he does not ponder his decisions (or even acknowledge the possibility of choice) is because it benefits his chances of extending his brief stint of life. He is acting in accordance with his given nature. But the liberal has erased any notion or idea of survival, no longer fitting his form. Instead, he does whatever he desires with or without question, by utilizing the three steps of discovery (deduction, observation, conclusion) in order to choose; but more often than not, he chooses his want over need. This is a “dangerous” choice because it puts “survival” at risk, but this also yields a new alternative to solely existing. The liberal who pursues this adjunct to life discards his title-and his pre-determined nature-as a man in an attempt to become a new being. This being is then “nature-less” which ultimately means that he he is now capable of authentically defining himself, in other words, becoming an existentialist.

An existentialist is a being who has cast away the definitive, and original, nature of man in order to chase desire. It is this new adventure that will give one an opportunity to define his self. “Man is the only being that is capable of being something that it is not.” (253) Does our “responsibility to remain” men help or hinder us, especially in this digital age? The choice is yours may be the most damning statement I have ever heard. If man’s nature is capable of transforming, then we cannot expect a moral code to exist, because it is based on a transformative foundation. If the tides of life continue to wreck the sandcastle, how can we expect to have any fundamental foundations? Morality is based on an individuals own desire and choice. Think of how quick we are to condemn an act evil, contingent upon the scenario. The classic example is murder. It is immoral for a man to take a life, yet it is justified for a man to take a life; then it is either both good and evil, or neither, to take a life. How can we expect morality to truly exist for man, when he is constantly revamping his original nature into his own authentic definition, and one that isn’t shared amongst his neighbors. The modern man is moral-less, he is constantly defining his nature, constantly choosing options other than survival. Drinking liquor, smoking tobacco, practicing monogamy, all of these are “irrational” options and yet each day, millions of humans will choose to follow them. Does that make them less of a man? Negative, it makes them their own man for they are out actively seeking their wants. The world we live in has forced men to do something more than simply survive. We no longer exist to survive instead we are here to choose, and more importantly, choose our desires, our intentions, our wants. If this is to be our existence then we are no longer the same men as before, even though we’ve retained the same look.

The moral code cannot be shared, yet there is a universal ideal that can be applied to each of us. “Am I right? (254) is the “first, most crucial question a man asks of himself.” Why do we seek to be right? We don’t, we only want to choose what’s right. If one has done that then they have fallen within their personal moral code, and they have done good. If this is the case then can a man truly consider himself evil? Possibly, but he is only evil if he cannot answer the question. Society may view him as evil-based on that universal morality that has been generated by the collective-but the individual will not consider themselves to be evil, so long as they believe they made “the right choice.”. That is the true danger of a nature-less nature; “the right choice” may in fact be pure evil, but he may not consider it that because it was his want. It is vital that we utilize logic and weigh out the consequences of each choice before taking them, it is this rationality that ultimately aids in strategizing to survive the modern world. A man is able to define his nature, thereby defining his morality. This principle is the sharpening stone for the brain, if one is able to make moral choices, then they are good. However, are moral choices morally correct? Social media has given way to a brand new nature, a collective an individual nature that spans the globe. The platform has increased the desire for want, and has significantly aided in the discovery process. We are now able to observe others discard their nature, and don an entirely new one (the creation of an avatar/profile/esse) ; witnessing this process surely must have an effect on us, but to what extent? Did it increase our desire or did it affect our choices, or must we have patience giving the results time to be analyzed? This demands further reviewing. Our world may very well be becoming what it is because so few of us are acting as original men, and instead pursing the wants of our lives, regardless of the moral compass that was originally thought to drive us. “Man exists and must survive as men, the axiom of the only morality proper to man” (254).

The Humanism Hour

Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

“How can we measure the strength of a feeling?” (Sartre, 33). We begin with a comparison of the values of man versus his instincts, specifically feelings. What are feelings and should man trust them? According to Webster’s, feelings are “an emotional state or reaction” and “a belief, especially vague or irrational”. Based on this definition, we can conclude that feelings are not natural aspects of man; somewhere along the social evolutionary timeline, feelings were given a greater role in our lives, but should they have been? They are also described as reactions and states-both which are varying-yet not described as laws or principles. Feelings do not contain the permanence required to assist man, then what exactly does a feeling do for us? It lays down the blueprint for us to perform an action that has stemmed from a thought. Sips chilled henny Now the dilemma that Sartre warns us of is the cyclic nature. “Performing an action that confirms and defines it [feeling]. However…I am depending on this affection to justify my action.” (Sarte x). We often act on feelings, but we also act because of them. These mental constructs, lined with immature passion, both govern and destroy our basic existences; they are a tangent to the fated life. Yet, it is the inclusion of feelings that ultimately aid the modern man in the discovery of self. Want is nothing but a feeling, and even though the desire may change the origin of that feeling is still the same. And want is a way for us to utilize our brains to form conclusions based on our experiences. “Feelings are developed through action” (Sartre x). Imagine when a young boy meets a woman for the first time. By performing a series of actions, his soul forms a preemptive conclusion about this woman (love). Now, after enough actions have been completed, he will be compelled to perform more actions. Over time he may believe that it was this feeling that begun his actions, but in reality, it was the the initial acts of recognition, pursuit, or whatever else that spawned this motion. “I shouldn’t seek within myself some authentic state that will compel me to act,” Sartre is justifying his earlier claims regarding feelings. Acting upon a feeling will only end in us becoming caught in a cycle, we must act then deal with the consequential feeling that follows after, and how we internalize this type of feeling, will determine the type of being we are. This personal understanding of a feeling is what leads a man through his life, and we alone, are charged with the dismantling of this process. However we choose to interpret a feeling, will ultimately aid us in the dissection of the next feeling. It is how we deal with life’s obstacles that determine our existence. In short, it is imperative that a man tackles his feelings, and turns them into truths before they overload his mental.

“Conquer yourself rather than the world.” – Rene Descartes