Brett Rants

[REDACTED]

A Brilliant Fool

If there were nothing there, I would never bother to analyse.

In Hawaii, they have been known to stack rocks by the side of the road to make pretty pictures, the coral from the sea contrasting with the ah-ha lava, this one is of a Sea Turtle Sporting a Ying Yang Symbol on the back of its shell

[Media Series]

I am listening to [full name's] [media series]. I am finishing the [fourth instalment] as I begin these comments.





Disclaimer

Only being at the [fourth instalment] (i.e. having only watched [three instalments]) is not the only disclaimer, which applies to This Rant. After all, I have numerous disclaimers spread throughout this site and many of them apply to this write-up. But most relevantly...

When we get down to the Point Fact Commentary (or whatever I wind up calling it), I am not trying to summarize [last name]. [Pronoun] can do that well enough on [pronoun's] own. So rather, I'm summarizing my own take-away's, which may well be different from what was on the menu, as I tend to drift.

In other words, I am not going to try and put words into [full name's] mouth. But rather, as follows is what  I  heard. This is  my  take-away,  my  interpretation, and  my  understanding... however erroneous that might be.

Further, I tend to work off notes (or worse yet, from memory). And although [first name] might have been yammering on in the background when I made the initial notes, as with any game of telephone (and/or mental transcription), it's easy to make cognitive errors when it comes time to revisit said notes... days and weeks after the fact.

We need not belabour the point. Those are the big qualifications. This is me talking here, not [full name] (a concept which eventually led to a complete redaction of [full name's] name). And as such, I'm far more likely (and in the end, free) to say what I wish to say rather than what [pronoun] might have me say... or what [pronoun], in point of actual fact, may have said... assuming, of course, [pronoun] ever said anything, at all.

{I have been enjoying [redacting information] as of late, as it allows me greater editorial freedom. Sure (in theory) [the underlying] is lost. But this website is not so much about [the underlying], as it is about my relationship to [the underlying].

Or in other words, I fail continually at expressing myself. So, how could I possibly be trusted to express the opinions of another?

And, yeah. The line between the two (the connective tissue between self and other) is equally distorted. But it cannot be helped (at least, not by me), even if the importance of what lies ahead in This Rant (if anything of importance lies ahead within This Rant) can be summarized as that line that lies between the two, between the self and other... or at least, that ray, which starts with me and focuses outwards on points [theoretically unknown].

In other words, who but a fool focuses on the words of another fool... regardless of how apparently brilliant either might be?}






Another picture from that tropical paradise that is Hawaii, this one of the full moon, peaking from behind a palm tree.  Of course, it could have just as easily have been the sun on a voggy day

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

If my feelings were one-sided, there would be little need for an extensive write-up and I could say what I wished to say (as opposed to what [first name] might have me say) in far fewer words.

It's [Honorary] [Full Name]

I grant [full name's] expertise in the field of Jungian Psychology. I think [pronoun] knows Jung. And even if [pronoun] did not, I would not know the difference.

Along with Jung, I will grant [initials] expert knowledge in regards to Freud, Nietzsche, Modern Psychology, and the Current State of Psychological Research. Listening to [pronoun] is a virtual Data Dump of what I consider to be highly reliable information, as [pronoun] interprets the world through a Jungian Lens. It's quite captivating.

Though, I feel compelled to state that although I am willing to grant [first name] expert status, this expert status is reserved for Raw Data: Quotes, Research Findings, and Textural Interpretation. If [first name] says Nietzsche said this, I'm willing to believe that he did.

However, when it comes to conclusions (i.e. that Nietzsche predicted a religious bloodbath in the 20th Century and that the occurrence of WWI & WWII bear out this prediction, well, of such extrapolations and connections), I am far more critical.

For the True Believers in the audience (why are you reading this commentary), it may come as a bit of a shock to discover how often (I believe) [first name's] conclusions seem... er, well, wrong.

Just Plain Wrong.

[Pronoun] Ain't A Doctor Of Divinity

Like I said (have I not said this), I like listening to [honorific title]. [Pronoun] has a soothing way about [pronoun's self] (more on this later, I expect). But not everything [pronoun] says is inspired. And in fact, [pronoun] uses Straw Man Arguments to exhaustion.

Marxism might be a thing. But it's not a very popular thing. And in fact, Marxism (as Marx wrote it) is painfully out of date. So when [initials] reduces The Left to Marxism, [pronoun] is being as Intellectually Honest as I would be if I reduced Modern Psychology to a study of Phrenology and/or Readings of the Human Aura. I mean, I am sure I could trace the history of Modern Psychology through both. But only an idiot would think the discipline stopped there and hasn't advanced one iota in the past century or two.

Post Modernism is a term (much like Marxism), which few of my acquaintances use on a regular basis. As [first name] uses it (I believe), Post Modernism is akin to not believing there is a Baseline Truth or that it cannot be known. This is fine in itself. Color me a Post Modernist. But no one that I know believes this means all thought is equal... in every situation... in every way.

Socrates said something along the lines of "I can know nothing, this I believe to be true."

Let us name the group of all possible ideas The Thought Space. Then This Thought Space is like a Tree with Roots going down and branches going up, with each fork being composed of the possible answers to all possible hypotheses and questions. At the end of this endless branching, we come upon a Leaf or a Flower.

[first name, last initial] seems to claim that Post Modernists believe that all Leafs and all Flowers are equal. And may well, they might... you know, by definition.

But to the extent Phrenology is the minority view among Practising Psychologists, this is the minority view of... well, pretty much everyone, everywhere, every-when.

No Thinking Person believes all thought is equivalent or there would not be much point in thinking. "Oh, look, rock!" comes nowhere close to the beauty of Differential Equations, Marxist Theory, or Hand Thrown Pottery. Of course, being a bit of a Post Modernist, I can argue the opposite. So let us agree, there was little reason for me to write these words and for you to search them out and read them if we both really believe all thoughts are equal. I mean, it's a lot of effort if "Oh, look, rock!" will do.

A more nuanced view (in regards to Post Modernism, as I am in the midsts of discussing Post Modernism) might be the acceptance that certain groupings of Leafs and Flowers (as a continuation of the previous metaphor regarding a Branching Tree of Thought) will make for a pleasing Bouquet. But that does not mean that an altogether different grouping cannot make for an equally pleasing Bouquet.

And I like to think this (the acceptance of the difficulty if not impossibility of choosing the most beautiful Bouquet and/or truthful metaphor out of many) is a more nuanced view of Post Modernism... and even if it is not, it is a fairly accurate description of The Relativism (or at least, what I shall label as The Relativism) to which I subscribe.

So although [full name] makes a fine Bouquet (arranging [pronoun's] Flowers nicely), [pronoun] does a fairly mediocre job (in my ever so humble opinion) of discrediting the thousands of other Bouquets out there.

The Logical Fallacy

I enjoy listening to [first name] expound. I like watching [pronoun] drill down into an idea. But at some point [pronoun] reaches the unknown (or at least, what [pronoun] should know that [pronoun] does not know or understand fully) and the cards do not always fall in [pronoun's] favour.

There is Science.

There is Logic.

And then, there is personal belief.

At Branches & Nodes, at the Division of Thought, where a reasonable person can go this way or that (though, what is meant by a reasonable person remains the main point of controversy), Truth is not known... and claiming that one does in fact know is akin to Intellectual Dishonesty.

Look. That's not a good explanation. The words "Um, no." come rapidly to mind. It's a fine way of expressing opinion. But it is hardly a refutation of thought.

Possible Truth → "Um, no." → Does Not Prove Falsity

Possible Truth → "Obviously." → Does Not Prove Truth

Such dismissive analysis is not really (not really) a logical or reasoned argument either way (for or against). Of course, at some point one has to get on with it. And for the most, [pronoun] is preaching to the choir.

"Um, no" or its converse "Obviously" plays well to the converted but neither has any meaningful persuasive value if the intent is to mull over the point in question.
Controversial Idea → Relabel → Mislabel → Uncontroversial Example → "Obviously"
In the end, the process reeks of Intellectual Dishonesty.

But Truth

Of course, I'm not one to talk about Intellectual Dishonesty. You see, I do not believe in The Truth. I just don't... not at bedrock. So, I guess, without knowing it, I've been a Post Modernist for some time now.

In contrast, I will claim (sight unseen) that [full name] is a Classicalist. [Pronoun] believes there is One Knowable Truth.

So whereas at a Branch of Thought [first name] might only need to discover which is better (lopping off half of the Thought Possibility Tree at each whack), I tend to keep both Branches alive, laden with conditional qualifications and special cases, which can get sort of odd (and/or self-contradictory), especially when it comes to Ethics or Honour.

So, yeah. I can see the appeal in trimming things down.

But there is a big difference between reducing a question to a more manageable inquiry and simply denying (the perhaps infinite) difficulty in expressing Truth.






How hard would it be to figure out where this picture was taken?  It is a public facing door, near a river, leading to whatever lies under a bridge embankment, that should be enough, or not, I very much just like how the door looks.  Though, it is not just a doorway, but a door, shackle, and blacked out signage along with a light and assorted electrical wiring above.

Scientific Radicalism

Here's the thing. Newton was basically wrong... or more wrong than Einstein. But some day, Einstein will be wrong. And at that point, Newton just might turn out to be more right.

Does that make sense?

Scientific Thought goes back and forth. This Theory has prominence. And then, That Theory has prominence.

And it is hardly The Truth that one was Right and the other was Wrong the entire time.

The Real Truth is that we simply don't know and we will never (absolutely never) know enough to know it all.

And then, increasingly as time goes by, I'm sort of starting to believe there is no truth, like, at all... and even if there is, it doesn't matter.

This really just means that I spent a fair bit of time while listening to [formal name] showing off (some very beautiful) Flowers out of [pronoun's] Bouquet, trying not to be too discouraged by The Thorns.
Hey, look at me, ma!

I'm battling dragons, swiping their gold.




Kicking Hard

I would consider the following to be the major foundational challenge to [Last Name's] Message.

Totalitarianism Is Encouraged

If there is One Truth That Is True, then it makes sense to be Dogmatic about it. Add in One Right Way To Get To The Truth and I believe we have the philosophical underpinnings for Absolutism of Thought: i.e. The Justification for Intellectual Totalitarianism, which encourages (basically, it leads straight to) The Political Totalitarianism [pronoun] so deplores.
One Right Thought

One Right Way
Perhaps more importantly, this stance ignores the actuality of Intellectual Progress.

Are we at the end of Intellectual Evolution?

Probably not.





A Better Disclaimer

It's not just [full name]. I bring baggage to the discussion, as well.

My original notes for this section start by saying "The specific conclusions are trivial and unimportant and are a war I will not wage," {or perhaps, the wording could be slightly improved by saying it is "a battle I will not fight"}.

Ha!

Let me just say, "Ha!"

The next section will be dedicated to that war. So, clearly I lie.

Suffice to say (at this juncture) that I find many of [first name's] conclusions to be interesting, things I agree with, or are simply things I am willing to grant to keep the discussion going.

But there are many ideas which I believe are wrong, which is what the next section is all about.

{Thus, I do not believe the Post Modernist Position (or in fact, any thinking person's position) is an equality of all possible ideas. Some ideas are better than others. But as there is no one idea that beats all, it behoves one to have as many ideological tools at their disposal as they can muster.}

Thus, let me just say that I am a Libertarian Intellectual Modernist Radical Free-Thinking Anarchist with strong Humanist & Communistic Tendencies.

Oh, such words throw little light, to be sure.

So, maybe it is time to get into the nitty-gritty of it all.





The Fine...er Points

I believe [first name] believes in An Ultimate Truth. I do not. And if you believe in Quantum Mechanics, neither do you. So, it's really not as obvious (or clear cut) as one might imagine. But if you want a stronger argument than Mathematical Obscurity, just remember that Logic is not provable, it is assumed. And it really is a small step to assume the opposite (of pretty much anything, including Logic).

[first name] likes to say "People Don't Get Away With Anything" or something close to that (as none of the quotations on this page should be relied upon). And that's basically just another way of saying The Truth Will Out. But many a despot and/or petty career criminal would arguer for (by which I mean, provide evidence for) the opposite conclusion, as the facts just don't bear out Universal Justice. After all, if Everyone got their comeuppance, there would be little need for laws and everyone would be a goodie-two-shoes, as that would be the self-evident self-interested thing to do. But it's not the self-evident self-interested thing to do. And so, crime is rampant.

The preceding (some form of Universal Justice as a Law of The Universe) devolves quickly into Prosperity Gospel (my words, not [first name's]), as it is not difficult to extend Evil Begets Evil into the positive range and claim Good Begets Good, which makes a mighty fine explanation for why Kings are Kings and Slaves are Slaves; and as such, is an intellectual construction of which to be wary.

{I done hit you because you had it coming. I would not have hit you if you did not. Now, go away, before I hit you again.}

Moving on.

Without God, one has no fall-back option in regards to Lost Battles (or Wars) Due To Betrayal. The first part (God) is mine. The second is [last name's] (with some degree of fudging). But it was easy to stitch the two together based upon context. Betrayal "F's you up". {As I said, none of these quotations should be considered accurate.} But the struggle is worthwhile if The Dragon in question (i.e. The Devil) was Guarding The Gold of The Revelation of God. And though, I do not believe this is [pronoun's] idea (certainly, I have not heard [pronoun] state it as such), but I can easily hear [pronoun] say "and that seems to work" (turning to God as one's personal saviour) and leaving it at that, which I will.

{Subsequently, I have fallen into this idea further. And I will state blindly (as in, with no supporting evidence) that it may well take A Walk With The Devil prior to anyone finding God.

To Know Good, one must Know Evil.

To walk towards The Light, one must turn their back on Darkness.

And all of that might be sort of hard to accomplish if one doesn't know what they are looking for.

Sure, everyone thinks they know... even me.

But do any of us really know?}






A Japanese Garden, the sun shining through the trees, pond below, fish pond, lots of moss, greenery, and reflections, one might easily imagine this being located somewhere within The Garden of Eden, this image is also from Hawaii, the one before was not

My Points

Let us not claim [full name] has explicitly stated any of the following {a statement which applies to all of the preceding, as well}. But rather, they are ideas which sprung to mind while I was listening to [pronoun's] words. [Pronoun] might agree or disagree.

Therapist as Confessor Priest setting the sinner straight: a concept which seems Profoundly Powerful to me, probably Spot On, and undoubtedly open to abuse (please see, An Inclination Towards Totalitarianism, above).

Once there is good, there is bad and a sorting takes place: Worse... You... Better. So, at what point are we talking about someone who is not human? In either direction? Angels v Demons? Animals v Aliens? And the dangers therein: Dehumanizing Damnation on one side and Blind Hero Worship on the other?

I've begun to like {i.e. toy with} the idea of Neural Subsystems. It sort of started with the idea of Archetypes. But I think I've rooted it deeper in the Neural Psychology than others. So, take an Archetype and assume there is a Physiological Basis for it. Then, remove the Archetype and look at the Physiological Basis. Add in the mind's (theoretical, this being my theory) ability to metaphorically represent the Mind's Physiological Basis. And I think we are pretty close to Archetypes.

Essentially (as I have no reason to believe the foregoing was overly clear), it's an anthropomorphizing of Brain Subsystems. You got a Serotonin Network. So, how could one represent that? How does the brain represent that? And so on, splitting the brain into hemispheres, by neurotransmitters, by hormones, glands, major thought systems, minor thought systems, and even just a thought, how does The Brain represent that to The Mind? Does The Mind have raw access (best to call it Root Access) to the underlying Biological Hardware? Er, I mean, Software? Fleshware? And/or Wetware?

Since I've been learning about DMT (a powerful psychotropic), I push a DMT breakthrough through the same filter, assuming that the Launching Pad (or whatever you want to call The Cathedral) into a metaphor for The Brain's Main Control Room, with the Entities being individual thoughts... their qualities being an Audio-Visual Representation of the particular neural connections involved. {A concept which leads me to wonder (in retrospect) why the older more established senses do not seem to be as deeply involved.}

Eh, it works for me.

Falling In Deep what does one find at the end of the mind? I believe [full name] finds God... or something similar, call it The Divine, The Mysteries, or whatever.

Anyhow, couple that sort of idea with the Neural Subsystems outlined above and one has the potential to talk to The Self... or if one believes, The Other... or even, God.

Eh, that's not really where I am going with this.

If at the root of conciousness it is possible to find God (which seems plausibly similar to something [last name] might claim), then it seems a small step (at least, for the Post Modernists among us) to theorize that God is just one interpretation of what one might find.

Suffice to say the difference between God/Devil, Angels/Demons, and/or Self/Other is a tentative distinction... at best.

More importantly, by creative use of random presumption, one can Equate The Ego to God, Master of All, and make some sort of equivalence between Thinking and Praying.

Does this make sense?

If not, perhaps you are not at one with God?

Or mayhaps, there comes a point where one does not know and it's a matter of rounding up or down and/or turning right or left.

Ironically, [last name's] [interpretation] only has meaning (has only been able to gain traction) due to a Post Modernist acceptance of all. Basically, [Pronoun] is a Heretic... Well, to some school of thought or another, [pronoun] is a Heretic. So, it's a safe statement. More on point, I think [pronoun's] interpretation varies wildly from the Accepted Dogma. Not that I care. I'm fairly comfortably playing the Heretical Game... aka Post Modernism.

This Rant is winding down, so let me just say (perhaps, once again), I do not find much of [pronoun's] argument compelling. It reduces to a call to [pronoun's] personal authority, which I am unwilling to grant.

Has [pronoun] thought about this for a long time? Great. You do realize that many of us have been thinking about similar issues for... oh, our entire lives, as well. So, the argument is a non-starter.

I probably would not be so critical of the previous if [pronoun] did not talk using an Imperial We. Sorry. [Pronoun] does not speak for me. Truth is not self-evident merely because it leaves [pronoun's] lips. So, who exactly (and I mean, exactly) is this We [pronoun] is talking about?

Fundamentally, We is seldom the correct pronoun... unless one is talking on behalf of an organization, as their duly appointed spokesperson.

Whatever.

Time to move on.

The audience's approval is Almost Cult Like. That has to be surreal (and quite enjoyable). But I am not a member of this cult (The Cult of [last name]) nor am I [otherwise related], or [otherwise bound] through either reward or punishment to [pronoun].

Certainly, enjoy [pronoun] to your heart's content. But applause from a crowd is no more an intellectual argument than saying something along the lines of "I've given it a lot of thought. And this is the best I can do." Oh, the results are (or at least, certainly can be) interesting. But that doesn't make them Truth. It is Not A Valid Logical Argument from my perspective.

In the end, I take [pronoun's] fundamental position to be Pro Status Quo. It seems (so, this is my interpretation) that [pronoun] often argues based on results or what is. And this is fine as long as we are talking about results and/or what is. But Morals seldom are instantiated in The World as they should be.

I recall [respectful title] talking about $750/hr Corporate Lawyers, calling them hard-working, on account of their putting in incredibly long hours to climb (and stay) at the top. Whereas, I might start my discussion of these very same individuals by likening them to Social Parasites and question whether I (or anyone) should care how hard (or even if) they work.

For instance, if we assume [respectful title] speaks Truth, then it is hard to see how [pronoun's] detractors add value to society, as no amount of 'hard work' is going to convert Selfish Desire to a Moral Good. Unless, of course, one is coming at it all from a Hard Core Prosperity Gospel point of view; in which case, Positive Results for the individual are evidence of a Moral Triumph. And we need never look past the actuality of what is.

Are we saying Individual Good is Synonymous with The Public Good?

It's either circular (Good is Good, so Good is Good) or the concept immediately collapses under the weight of history. Many a man has lived a full and complete (call it a Good Life) benefiting from the pain and suffering of others.

And no, I do not believe Genghis Khan was all tied up and conflicted inside about all the men he killed, women he raped, or the children he enslaved.

I'm pretty sure Genghis Khan felt fairly good about himself, proud in fact... even if it's safe to assume thousands-upon-thousands (if not millions-upon-millions) of others would disagree.

$750/hr does not equal Moral, Good, Competence, Hard Work, or anything much of anything.

$750/hr equates to $750/hr and absolutely nothing else.

{Or are are you willing to concede that this page has inherent worth merely because it was written. And The Truth of the Underlying Ideas can be easily ascertained by counting The Number of Page Views?}







The view from the foot of a suspension tower on The Golden Gate Bridge, looking up into the fog, the sun casting shadows, um, this is not Hawaii, either, just saying

Intellectual Rah-Rah

I was enjoying listening to [formal name] talk. I really was... or at least, I think I was. Sure, [pronoun] was challenging. But that's the whole point. [Pronoun] brought new ideas to the table. And since I value (defendable) ideas for their own sake, this was a good thing.

But you remember when I said "I grant [full name] expertise in the field of Jungian Psychology" back at the top of this Rant?

Well, I do have a BS (which is not remotely close to [respectful title's] PhD) in Psychology. And so, I have had time to look at and consider a few of the more infamous experiments.

I don't like Marshmallows. As a child, I would rather be released from captivity than to sit in a chair and wait ten minutes for another marshmallow. Sure, that's just me. But what about the children utilized in The Marshmallow Experiment? Do they all value Marshmallows equally. Sugar was a rarity, when I was growing up. I had excess desire. But is this common? The point is that I have a lot of questions in regards to this particular study and I am completely unwilling to accept any conclusion based merely on this one case study as anything more than an idea, which needs a great deal more support to be considered truth.

{Americans often celebrate the holidays with a bit of speciality candy. Marshmallow Chicks are linked to Easter. Prior to Easter, these Marshmallow Chicks tend to be full price. While after the holiday, the same Marshmallow Chicks (Chocolate Eggs, and so on) can be had for pennies on the dollar. In fact, one time I lucked into a store just as the manager had decided enough was enough and reduced the price of the Holiday Candy down to $5/bag, into which I believe I crammed well over $100 worth of candy.

If we take this example as definitive, then Americans as a whole fail The Marshmallow Experiment left and right, continually and none stop.

Clearly, we do not care that much about The Marshmallow Experiment.

Other factors are at play.}

I don't like The Basketball Gorilla study. Years ago, I watched the video with the sole purpose of finding The Gorilla. And I almost did not see that Gorilla. Let me tell you, that Gorilla walking across the screen while others bounced balls back and forth behind him is not as obvious as such a statement may at first imply.

{There is a Team Dressed in Black and a Team Dressed in White. Wear enough black and the difference between a Player on The Black Team and a Gorilla sort of diminishes. Throw in the fact that we are talking about a Black & White Movie (or at least, that is what I saw) and 'Gorilla' is not as impressive as it might at first appear. We are not talking about a Pink Elephant, a Green Alien, or a Blue Whale. Nor are we talking about a Basketball Court as seen from afar. We are talking about a Black & White Movie with an additional Black Element that is so unobtrusive that many people do not see it.

Magic?

Not in the least.

That Gorilla blends remarkably well.}

Eh, as long as I'm going down the list, The Electro Shock Experiment (not mentioned by [first name] within my hearing) is just as unreliable. I've seen the video, listened to the man screaming for his life, and I just did not take his screams seriously. It's bad acting... making it a bad experiment. Really, it was more like watching a Low Budget LARP than anything else. And in a LARP, the participants have an obligation (it's just good sportsmanship) to play along, which is pretty much what I think the participants wound up doing in this experiment.

Anyhow, [last name] presented both The Marshmallow Test and The Gorilla Study in rapid succession with absolutely no critical hesitation, making it hard to take seriously [pronoun's] claim of being a critical thinker.

I pretty much stopped dead, right after [pronoun] was done mentioning The Gorilla Study.

Still, I found it worth my while up until that point to listen to [formal name] talk.

Archetypes (renamed Subsystems) are likely to be part of my Model of the Mind for some time to come.














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Is there any higher level of respect than reading or attending to another's words?

Is there any lower level of disrespect than disagreeing with someone or belittling their words?

Certainly, I intend no greater respect or disrespect beyond that which is inherent in calling another a Brilliant Fool.

And if that moniker does not fit another, perhaps I am only writing about myself. After all, that is my favourite subject.


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