"Is it Creativity, Rebellion, or Lunacy?"

To: Svein Olav Nyberg <solan@nonserviam.com>
Subject: Re: Non Serviam #21
From: "David G. McDivitt" <dmcdivitt@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 23:38:32 -0600
Cc: egoism@topica.com

Yes, I view ethics and morality along the same lines as epistemology. Life as we know it is a little bubble of intellectualism. What happens when the brain ceases to function? Reality comes to an end. Because there is no longer a mind to consider reality, it no longer exists. There is no longer any value because there is nothing remaining to consider value. A person may say, "Well David, a person dies but the world goes on." Does it? Am I of no value? Have I no worth? Why must the world and all there is be interpreted by a standard which devalues me? If I die and the world continues on, why SHOULD that make a difference to me? Does the world live my life? Does the entire community of man live through me?

Call me narcissistic if you want. Call me solipsistic. The point is we are all equal in this regard and we seek out negotiations, with no attempt to dominate or make valuations for each other.

Why do we value knowledge? Why do we like knowledge? Why do we like to know things? Why do we feel good when we understand something? These are all valuations. If valuations they are choices. We freely choose which answers seem most reasonable to us. If I follow the supposed rules of logic as I choose what answers I like, logic is simply a moral premise. No more. No less. For some reason I feel I should be logical, and therefore am conforming my thoughts to what I think they SHOULD be.

Starting with definitions given by science, we assume they are true. But the point is we value science. Along with science comes the entire set of social protocols ideas must satisfy, before those ideas are validated as true. When speaking of knowledge, to what extent are we aware of this social system whereby knowledge is created? Or do we just speak of knowledge as knowledge, taking it for granted, not knowing how it came to be or what special demands ever existed, demanding answers be worked out? Yes, starting with science one can go backwards and see how all is based on valuations, ultimately. But whose valuations? Well, different men have lived and contributed their intellectual effort. But today, I choose to participate in society. I choose to enjoy the ready made answers society provides. Therefore it is my valuations which are significant, and all the knowledge there is, is a result of my valuations. For this reason all knowledge is choice based. We can get caught up with the grand scale of society and the many social systems, losing our sense of self, not realizing knowledge is at all times choice based. As new knowledge is created, and as new answers are manufactured, how often does there exist a threshold in the mind of one man, where for the very first time the idea is considered right or wrong, and he must decide or choose which way it is? All the things we take for granted in our modern age went through some similar process, be it ten years ago or one thousand years ago.

I do not see morality as something to be served. For this reason people often misunderstand my interpretation of morality. By speaking of morality, I have no intent to imply anyone should necessarily serve anything. For me, to speak of morality is to speak of whatever valuations. What men often do however is attempt to impose valuations on each other, which is therefore an imposed morality. If my life becomes threatened for not behaving properly, or not living properly, it is me who may place valuation on continuing to live, therefore I may adapt my behavior. Such does not mean I freely value what I am told to value. I value my life! But even that may have its limit.

Svein, you ask "What kind of determinism do you think is left when idealism has gone out the door?"

I do not agree idealism CAN go out the door. To think anything is left, at all, once idealism has gone away, is a complete devaluation of self. Determinism is an ideal. It is the belief all things conform to an "idealistic" cause and effect relationship. The premise of cause and effect, or determinism, is valuable. We choose it. We like it. If we did not choose it and like it, it would not exist. The only reason the universe behaves in a deterministic manner is because we say it does. We VALUE that explanation. Because we value it, it is therefore subjective. But all things are subjective in this manner, no?

Why then must we facilitate an ontological perspective? Gee, I was walking home one day, tripped over, and discovered a new piece of knowledge! And it had a Latin name already assigned to it! No wonder people have the concept of god. People describe various phenomena and objectifications, proud of the fact they have properly memorized and annunciated the name, but this is someone else's work! It was someone else who made up and arbitrarily assigned a name to this thing which was thought of and perceived. Knowledge is what works for us in our present environment of intellectualism. Let us therefore pursue intellectualism, for the sake of intellectualism. Let us manufacture new ideas which work, not being afraid to replace old ideas, based more and more on political expediency and protectionism.

So, can anything be true just because we say it is? Do we give fantasy free reign? Shall lunacy abound? In response to such criticism I say: Think. Have an idea. Make it work for you. After having made it work for yourself, share that idea with other people and enjoy their use of it too.

>From: Svein Olav Nyberg <solan@nonserviam.com>
>Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 07:45:18 +0100
>Cc: egoism@topica.com
>>Svein, thanks for the most recent Non Serviam. It helped a great deal in
>>understanding Stirner. It would seem his writings cannot be understood
>>in a standalone fashion so much as in context of his time, and the
>>dialog he had with his contemporaries. In that view the rebellion and
>>contention of his words are more appropriate.
>While it's possible to understand Stirner "stand-alone", the context
>sure facilitates things!
>>I can accept the non submissiveness of Stirner to prevailing views. I
>>cannot however accept the throwing out of all morals and ideals as a
>>virtue. To me all knowledge is choice based or created as we go along. I
>>do not agree with the idea we are out discovering the universe or "what
>>is", but we live in a wholly intellectual environment, and premises we
>>refer to as "knowledge" are merely those which have proven survivable.
>>Soooo, morals and ideals represent who we are, or the intellectualism
>>which is us, and throwing such away altogether simply is not possible.
>So you are saying you view ethics just like you view epistemology?
>>If a person views the universe apart from self, the universe therefore
>>represents whatever external reference, and that reference must
>>necessarily define what the self is, deterministically. So what is the
>>self? What is it we think we are? It cannot be both.
>*What* cannot be "both"? Do you mean to pose a polarity between how
>we are defined by the universe and what we think we are?
>I remember I got one of those 3D postcards once: You cross your eyes,
>focus, and the 3D landscape appears. It was a bear there. A woman I
>knew looked into the distance instead, and got a bear-shaped hole. We
>are those bear-shaped holes. Our surroundings determine that outline:
>You are a David McDivitt-shaped hole, and I am a Svein Nyberg-shaped
>hole. But there is more to us than the outline. Part of that filling
>is what we think we are (even though that is itself a "bear-shaped
>hole", just from an internal perspective).
>>I agree with Stirner with regard to his rebellion against certain
>>ideals, and to some extent agree with rebellion and non conformity for
>>their own sake. But I do not agree with throwing out idealism
>>altogether. Neither is Stirner saying that in my opinion. His words are
>>directed at specific morals, and specific ideals, only.
>They are directed at a way of viewing morality, i.e. as non-discardable.
>>If one throws out idealism, which is the essence of choice, we are left
>This is interesting: Why do you think idealism is the essence of choice?
>>with a solely deterministic view to say what we are and what we are
>>doing. Expressly, I do not like people manufacturing views of human
>>potential, then measuring others in terms of that view. But when we have
>>finished deriding idealism, do we then rebel against determinism?
>What kind of determinism do you think is left when idealism has gone
>out the door?
>>Determinism is reducible to whatever set of subjective ideals, anyway.
>I was not quite sure of this answered my question. Does it?
>>The point in my opinion is moving beyond criticism. The point is to not
>>accept the knowledge, ideals, and choices of someone else, voice that
>>opposition, and then move on to create my own. The "nothingness" Stirner
>>speaks of is when he has finally stopped criticizing, and stopped
>>rebelling, for it is realized there is nothing left to criticize or
>>rebel against.
>That sounds like a good understanding of Stirner. I would perhaps
>modify it to say that the "nothingness" is when one is no longer
>driven to critique or rebellion.
>>One must either criticize or do.
>I didn't quite get a good parsing of this sentence.
>Svein Olav Nyberg
>This is my standard .sig. No quotes of penetrating
>insight to permanently alter your life in this one.


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