MM adds some nuince.
In response to this
See my last post if you want.
>Why do anything?
I wasn’t aware that there was an alternative.
As long as you are alive you are doing something, even if that is only maintaining “you” and “the world” perceptually.
All is continually in the act of doing and of becoming.
Even the act of undoing all (possibly) by killing yourself is still a doing.
But of course, this was not how the questioned was intended.
The question was actually-
“Why should you choose to do anything?”
You should choose to do a particular thing, over an immense number of possible things, because it has value to you. Oh but you are a multiplicity!; which of the multiple has the say in what the collective shall do?!
If you aren’t familiar with MM’s stuff, he’s referring to the idea that our minds are a mashup of sub-personalities with their own ideas and interests and often conflicting agendas.
Which urges should the ‘rational’ brain give in to, and what discomforts should the ‘reptilian’ brain be forced to sit through?
What nature of your many natures has gall to say what is an overarching value!
Know thyself, and know thy world.
It is not an easy thing to decide what to do when you want to do so much.
It is not an easy thing to decide what to do when you want to do so little.
Value is imposed upon you, not chosen.
To be more accurate, it IS you.
Though I agree with all the other criticisms in his last two posts, this assertion about the nature of nature remains a bone of contention between us. It boils down to a disagreement about the cosmological argument, which I claim is a failure on his part to understand what entropy actually is and how it works (whereas he appeals to the anthropic principle on the grounds that the happy coincidental configuration of dice called “life” only needs ). The consequence is that I claim a supernatural source for moral decisions which is a factor in our value systems and can’t be described as merely another fixed type of “nature”; i.e. to borrow Haidt’s example, even if having sex with a dead chicken doesn’t have any material consequences except to realize your phenotypical telos, you still shouldn’t do it. Therefore, I say what we value and how much is not 100% determined by our natures, leaving space for values to be informed by experience and choices we make, although I admit determination has a great deal to do with it.
And when you do value such things it is because they have been reframed as their opposite;
When you love your enemies and help them you are strong (HA!)
When you turn your thinking off and decide that you are correct it is because you are smart (HAHA!!)
When you do nothing it is because you never wanted to do anything at all. In such a corrupt world only doing nothing is NOT failing, right? (HAHAHA!!!)
This does happen a lot. “A = B = not A” is not the only sort of deception (contra Ayn Rand) but it’s more impressively delusional than merely misrepresenting the potential value of two mutually incompatible choices, and can be absolutely disastrous when fetishized. Then it becomes an unexamined central conceit taken on faith (and remember, I’m using “faith” to mean a deeply held heuristic that remains unexamined until the cost is too high):
The central conceit of sadism, for example, is that the people you’re hurting will be better off for it. Really you’re helping, not hurting. And if they died under the torture, you can hardly be blamed for their weakness. “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and if not then they were going to die anyway. And anyway they deserved it. If they hadn’t originally deserved the treatment, you wouldn’t have had to torture and kill them.
The psychopath’s excuse for victimizing people is similar and more commonly understood. “The old lady deserved to be fleeced because she was stupid enough to be fleeced. Better me than someone truly bad, and she’ll learn from it too!”
Back to MM, who was talking about how you can get knowledge of your own natural values based on what values liars appeal to when they’re trying to sell something.
PERHAPS this is a hint!
As too are your aspirations and fears.
Nietzsche, as you may have heard, was dead wrong that people can create their own values or their own moralities. They can merely come to a better understanding of the world they live in and of what they are (and thus, of the options that they have available in the pursuit of value).
Everything you do is a battle within yourself. The long and varied history that has forged the human psyche has imbued you with conflicting desires.
You want to conquer, you want to submit, you want pleasure, you want pain, you want life, you even want death.
Live life, explore your mind, explore the world, see what the various courses of actions have benefited those that have followed them (You are, after all, mostly like other people). Give it the supreme amount of attention and thought.
I’ve been putting a lot of thought lately into a companion guide for that old “What not to do” podcast. There is surprisingly little helpful material out there about how to figure out what to do.
MM finishes up with some conclusions that anyone who gives life a reasonably good effort will eventually draw:
You will see that living for only today is a mistake; you will see that living for only tomorrow is a mistake.
You will see that sadness has a place along with happiness, and hatred has a place along with love.
You will see that see what your organizing principles are, when they fail, and perhaps new ones that may have value to you.
But I am only speculating; such things are yours alone to figure out.
The only thing I can say with almost universality is that this modern world has trapped us all in distraction and addiction.
How can you understand yourself in such an environment, and how can the value of one addiction, or even a hand full, take the place of all of the pleasures (and valuable displeasure) of the mind?
Get some clarity, and don’t let yourself become a slave to something unless it is truly an organizing principle that agrees with so much of your being that such a decision is worth it.
And if your reptilian brain or dopamine demons are impulsing you to do things that the higher you does not want to do, then you must stop such things or find a way to change the impulse to be agreeable with your higher values.
Similarly, if you are simply ignoring aspects of yourself then that is much less unhealthy than a disgusting fixation or corruption, but you need to find a way to incorporate the underlying need into your life- unless it is something that’s just fucked up to you. Bury that shit or you become one whose multitude wishes for death.
What would you choose to do?
What do you want the world to become?
“I don’t know”= figure it out.
Then do it, since there is nothing else to do.
I like Brian Tracy’s phrasing better: “Do the most important thing right now. If you don’t know what that is, then the most important thing is to figure out what it is.” The best skill I’ve picked up in the last year is to just Google “best books for [my particular issue]” and then read a few book summaries to see which ones look the most helpful.