Saturday, November 30, 2013

An Epicurean Triumph

Young Girl Freeing a Bird
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
Musée Fragonard (Grasse)

The poetry of pleasure and epicurean-like delights reject pain, only to save it; to perceive it anew and to transform it for the better. Paradoxical as it might seem, pleasure offers a clearer, and more productive, window onto pain than pain itself. 

The Goddess Aurora triumphing over Night
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
Private Collection (Sotheby's $3,834,500; February 1, 2012; lot 84)

It is better to dine on an inspiring piece of creative expression than on the the bitter aspic of intractable actualities, better to reject pain in order to find and exist harmoniously with solace. 

This defense of pleasure begs an important question, or perhaps a social hope, that self-serving actions can be heightened to a state whereby we serve ourselves a gourmand of aesthetic delights that require our conscious care to preserve and take delight or pleasure in. 

Pieces en Trio, Musica Pacifica
Marin Marais

Pursuits of pleasure and truth, the abyss between desire and reality, are more pertinently recognized from that place within us that appropriates a natural order within the human psyche, namely that of mimicry. 

What we read, think, view, and listen to ... all together become that which we experience. One cannot complain of ills without simultaneously experiencing them. 

The Happy Lovers
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
Norton Simon Museum (USA)

To find love, one must feel love within and surround oneself with loving subjects and metaphors. To find happiness, joy, and levity, one must express happiness, joy, and levity. To entertain divinities, one must become the divine entertainer. 

Love as Folly
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC)

Unlike the convictions that insist human beings derive the meanings of their lives from the finite, mortal, contingently existing expression of life, where newer and better truths continually emerge, so long as one presses them into whatever evidence is available at any given moment, limiting descriptions of the world do not define it; they merely emerge from the limitations held hostage by the mind of the perceiver, locked away from that imaginative identifier that proposes education in the science of humanity to challenge an otherwise unimaginative perception of existence. 

The Lock
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
Musée Louvre (Paris)

Pragmatism, the philosophical approach that assesses the truth of meaning of theories or beliefs in terms of the success of their practical application, condemns us to live in consciousness, rather than from a place of heightened and meticulously sculpted intuitive judgment. 

The essence of this blog is its high approbation for those experiences that render a person profoundly quiet with oneself, joyous in their dialects, impassioned in their pursuits, lighthearted in their judgements, and above all, not diminished in their awareness by the lack of awareness expressed by others. 

Whether one's journey is met with good humor and grace, extensive investigations into unrestricted possibilities of mind or being, or the whimsical indulgences of sensory and cognitive pleasures, the connection between moral and aesthetic values one derives from an epicurean-like pursuit envelope humanity at its finest; from that place within from which the world is best appreciated. 

Understanding is merely a measurement of something we already hold within, whereas appreciation encompasses all that is, was, and might become. 

The Epicurean Triumph over pragmatism is as important as the noninclusive assessments people make to pragmatically perceive reality. 

No justification of pleasure other than the experience of it is necessary.

Mother Kiss
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
Private Collection

Saturday, November 23, 2013

3 Things Vegans Like

1) Telling others you're a Vegan

There is no doubt that Vegans love telling everyone they're Vegan.

Yes, it's true that most people like to talk about what they eat as well as post pictures of their meals on Instagram for millions of other people to contemplate, but Vegans have turned food consumption upside down, forcing Toys R Us Kids and their parents to think deeper about the ingredients (and the ethics of eating) their favorite comfort foods.

2) The "coolness factor" associated with checking out at the grocery store with only Vegan-approved products (and hemp rope)

Vegans often claim that their grocery store baskets are "spiritual" in the sense that their food choices mirror their philosophies on consumerism, which they naturally and organically hold as true, namely that we, despite being able to do so, might not be entitled to consumer another being.

3) Bashing Monsato et al

One of the more popular Vegan activities is educating others on the evils of multinational corporations like Monsato. 

When it comes to products, Vegans reject logos, opting instead for naturally packaged, quick to expire if you don't eat it right away, food. 

Vegans invest thousands of hours learning how to honor their body while simultaneously subverting  corporate culture in order to return choice to the masses (and local growers). Specifically, this means posting informative or humorously deriding posts warning against consuming animal products versus the benefits of each and every naturally-growing and locally available herb, grass, fruit, or vegetable ~ and, by the way, the more exotic-sounding, the more tantalizing it would seem.


If you convert to Veganism today, you'll enjoy the following benefits: 

  1. Reduced grocery store bills
  2. Documentaries on food in your iCloud account
  3. A subscription to Farmer's Markets Monthly
  4. Organic food stickers
  5. The Joy of Vegan Cooking 
  6. Admiration from fellow Vegans
  7. Lower cholesterol 
  8. Higher awareness 
  9. A deeper understanding of the culinary arts
  10. An introduction to Moral Philosophy
  11. A lifetime supply of organic, Vegan-approved, No Gluten, No Sugar, best protein isotopes on the market (because you're going to need supplements). 
  12. And a dishwasher-safe water bottle that says: 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cognitive Miser Lens

A "Cognitive Miser" convinces himself that he (or she) is protecting "truth" ... but what if one is wrong about the "truth" one surmises?

Historically, and yet still today, millions of people put their theories of "truth" ahead of their humanity. Turning on the news will enlighten us as to what many people do in the name of truth.

The Cognitive Miser Lens is a costly viewpoint for the world's citizens to hoard.

The Cognitive Miser has existed throughout the course of the history of humanity. Not just in waring times, though war sadly continues, but also in people's personal lives and interactions with others.

Cognitive misery appears in the every day judgmental thoughts that people hold and is present when individuals stop themselves from being more understanding in the name of some preconceived truth.

Can truth be "truth" if it is preconceived? How could we claim to know "truth" before having discovered it? How could we legitimately hold one "truth" over another? Would that not then turn the "other truth" into a "lesser truth" by comparison?

How could "truth" ever be lesser? By nature of its definition, is it must be equal in its truthfulness. 

Take for example a highly memorable quarrel between the character Sheldon and his girlfriend, Amy Farrah Fowler in "The Zazzy Substitution" (3rd episode of the 4th season) of The Big Bang Theory television show. Sheldon claims that because the world is made of matter that physics is the most fundamental of the special sciences, and whatever is the most fundamental to physics would explain everything else. Amy staunchly disagrees with Sheldon, and the following dialogue ensues: 

Amy: Absolutely not. My colleagues and I are mapping the neurological substrates that subserve global information processing, which is required for all cognitive reasoning, including scientific inquiry, making my research ipso facto prior in the ordo cognoscendi. That means it's better than his research, and [to everyone else at the table] by extension, of course, yours.

Sheldon: Excuse me, but a grand unified theory, insofar as it explains everything, will ipso facto explain neurobiology. 

Amy: Yes, but if I'm successful, I will be able to map and reproduce your thought processes in deriving a grand unified theory, and therefore, subsume your conclusions under my paradigm. 

Could anyone claim superiority for the possession of "knowledge" when "knowledge" is an ever-evolving worldview dependent on geography, culture, gender, viewpoint, the way a study is conducted, human error, and so forth?

Did not Voltaire warn:

At this point in time, I can only personally claim to "know" three things about the world:

(1) that I cannot, in my present state and form, claim to "know" anything with certainty; 

(2) that I exist; and

(3) that whatever the inner workings of the universe may or may not be, that I am, at present, happy to be part of it. 

For me, truth is not as important as existing. Our existence is perhaps the only "truth" we can claim beyond the veil of ignorance that envelops our species. Whether there is one or many who know other truths than those which our species has uncovered or has yet to discover is unknown, and perhaps not as important as simply knowing that we are part of this thing we call "existence".

It is this not knowing that our minds must allow for, that our minds must accept as a fundamental truth and from that recognize that what we know is subject to change and largely dependent on one's own perspective or viewpoint.

The Cognitive Miser has closed his mind off to the possibility What if...? he mistakingly and authoritatively claims that he has discovered "truth" when in reality the ONLY thing he has discovered the LIMIT of his imagination and the THRESHOLD of his ability to suspend judgment.

Cognitive Misery claims one law as a governing agent over the entirety of nature, claims one person's perspective is more valid than that of another, and claims that it is possible for one person to know while the rest of the world's population exists in a state of utter ignorance.

In simple terms: 

Cognitive Misery is the belief that one is "right" 
while others are "wrong".

What value can one derive from accepting a state of being whose foundation is built upon not knowing? 

Individuals react to the sentiment of not knowing in two distinct ways:

(1) by feeling "poor" before an entire universe, thereby grasping at and hoarding "truths"  

(2) by feeling "rich" in their knowing that they do not know and are thusly open to learning and discovery.

In accepting this state of not knowing, would one not then be naturally inclined toward a sense of responsibility or duty for every thought and action?

When one is stripped bare of one's pretenses, does not earnestness for self-understanding naturally arise?

In reality, what we know comes to far too little... what we presume, far too much. Other than being of the mindset and perception that we exist, that we might always exist irrespective of the form (or even that we might not always exist)... either way, we exist "now".

Whether existence is a matter of choice or not, I cannot know. What I surmise from this existence, however, is that everything we think and do is a matter of choice. Everything we feel is a matter of how comfortable we are with existing in a state of not knowing. Everything we think and/or create is a representation of that existence, and everything we "feel" is simply a matter for ourselves, for our own delight or pleasure (or torment). 

Finding harmony between existence and being "okay" with existing and not knowing why we exist is perhaps all we might be capable of doing... in doing, we become part of what which we seek.