11 July 2013: Got Over-Scintillated
Despite not enough sleep, rose automatically at 5:30 AM and decided to work out, get it done, and not nap…just hit the hay this evening at a reasonable hour…8:00.
200 low-rise steps *without much pain* and no need for yesterday’s march-or-die-mes-enfants efforts working through both pain and exhaustion. Instead, polished them off in ten minutes and then did nowt but “conductus” (air conducting of classical music) for ten minutes more.
Stayed up late last night to 10:30 because I always get over-scintillated by these trips to chemo and meetings with remarkable Chemo-Sabes such as Ciaran Love – turned out to know this Dude of Dudes from Lamma, and he’s an actor like so many good folk are. Doing Shakespeare, so having geeked out I can help.
My morning Chemo-Sabe (The Lone Ranger’s Indian Companion was his Kemo-sabe) was a Chinese friend who studied Kant for a social theory degree in Paris. I always irritate her by jumping around, straining the comprehension perhaps especially of smart people who unlike dumb people expect coherence from me of all people. Dumb people somehow have a Sixth Sense that I am off the wall whereas smart people tend to think that just because I am brilliant, focused and on-topic for ten, thirty minutes, I won’t get bored and spin off the turntable after thirty minutes. They feel they’ve been had, as when they read James Joyce the first time. Which they have been. Had, that is, but in a good cause.
Still underweight at 153 and getting sick of chocolate but not enough to quit. Found a Nestle’s Crunch but no Lindt bars at the 7-11 in Queen Mary. Therefore Lindt chocs will be welcome and if you’re skint I will pay for them and share them with you. 75%+ cacao solids added or more are my favorites…even the 99% bar, an almost unsweetened bar, has deep mysteries to reveal. Like Ancient Pistol, who says i’th’old play (Henry IV part 2), “I sing of Africa, and golden joys”; the 99% reveals sweetness in a heart of darkness.
A chocolate bar was deliberately designed by Mars for the United States during the War. It needed to solve a problem: designed for deep survival, it couldn’t be tasty since then the GI, a kid really, would eat it up prematurely. As I would: Snarf.
So they made a nearly unsweetened (90% cacao solids added) bar of chalky taste and texture, and provided Mars Bars in the PX world wide for actual eating … along with cigarettes to reduce appetite in those cancer-innocent days. Those things (Mars Bars) can be eaten anywhere, frozen in Germany, melted in the Solomons. Likewise the survival bar would itself survive a range of climates.
In his copy of the Grundlegung for a Metaphysic of Morals, my late dear son underlines the key point: all we can know to be good is a good will. Now, GE Moore demurs. He philosophized at OxCam during the turn of the twentieth century and he thought that language doesn’t deceive.
To Moore, the philosopher must defer to common sense. The twentieth century had two or more major “turns” where previously neglected forms of analysis were brought back when things seemed at an impasse.
The most famous “turn” was linguistic and for many mathematically so. It started with Russell, and his Principia and its attempt, doomed on the face of it, to derive all math from logic and thereby disproving what to Russell and his American companion (Alfred North Whitehead) was to these guys, Kant’s absurd claim that 7+5=12 is “synthetic aPriori”, encapsulating real knowledge about the world.
They failed because their German correspondent Frege’s work was found, by Bertie Russell, to be destroyed by paradoxes all of the form “the set of sets that do not include themselves”, from that (paradoxical) set to the “Barber” paradox in which all true Proletarians in a village (presumably a Chinese village during the Great Cultural Revolution) who do not shave themselves must be shaved by the Hero Struggle Comrade Barber, for no revolutionary goes abroad with a beard if we are to believe pictures of Mao.
Silly bastards soon went mad.
Therefore Russell and his student Wittgenstein had to take a look at language including the mathematics of language. But Moore took a different path.
He simply declared, by fiat if you will, that we must check results with common sense. In ontology, we know we have two hands and five fingers on each hand when we visually see that we have the “normal” equipment. Our knowledge is “true belief, justified”:
1. Its content is something that is true
2. We believe it
3. We can check our hands and fingers from time to time
Now, take a look at the third criterion, the “justification”. Shortly after Moore developed his philosophy in the calm Edwardian era before WWI, common sense received a blow in the unexpected course of World War I. Here, the soldier in battle might not have a hand or a couple of fingers and would have to justify more often.
The problem being that “justification” in “justified true belief” just rests on more justified true beliefs all the way down with “justification” required all the time. Kant would seek in vain for an ultimate stopping point because we can always question any one natural-language justification. In wartime especially, a global uncertainty throws one back to Cartesian fantasies of an “evil genius” and never any ultimate justification, whether the transcendental (often taking the folkish form: if it were not so we wouldn’t be able to discuss whether it were so, bozo) or the cogito (“I think therefore I am”).
In wartime we have more problems of the “fantasy” limb where the wounded soldier really believes that he still has a leg as long as he does not look.
But let’s proceed with Moore.. In ethics, we know simpliciter that health, friends, family and food are just good, dammit. It derives from tautology: at the zenith, it’s a tautology or analytic aPriori that The Good is good. Then it descends in gradients.
Friends are good unless they are partners in crime.
Family is good unless family gatherings end in gun play.
Food is good save for road kill and most of the crap I’ve cooked for myself over time such as “pizza melt on Japanese cake bread”.
Now, Kant starts at a different place than I do, with my trivial and analytic “the Good is good”. He claims more boldly and more synthetically (if it’s at all permissible to think of the synthetic in gradients) that the tip top good is the good intention almost as if to cock a snook at the (British) common sense of the “road to Hell”, damme your eyes sir, “being metal’d, if not paved”, blast it, “with your Liberal good intentions and Genius of Universal Emancipation of blackamoors”, hey hey what what.
In less purple prose, Kant’s statement is profoundly Continental, from a Continent of good intentions and constitutions and Fifth Republics and a Prussian Academy now by American fiat during the occupation a German academy.
But: our lack of purity of intention (our damned covenant with slavery in our original Constitution that took a generation of Killer Angels to redeem) is still plaguing us with redneck and billionaire rule so there’s something to be said for the lack of “good intentions”. Kant gave Europe their current Constitution in part because his “things in themselves” lead to religious tolerance because we can no longer claim to know the truth about theological and metaphysical matters apart from negatives.
Whereas my country and that of my grandchildren may return to what some historians call the “American Dark Age of the 17th Century” with its witch-burning of the 1690s and its genocidal “King Phillip’s War” owing to the enserfment and immiseration of 99% thru debt and a new indentured service for whites paying off college loans, and, slavery to welfare cutbacks for blacks. Environmental degradation, which will cause, is already causing, the movement of peoples, constitutes our barbarian invasion.
A grim spectacle but Kant is a comfort and a source of thought that leads to solutions.
Hopeful Bit of Family History
My brother told me that Grandfather was diagnosed in 1960 with prostate cancer but survived, in the primitive by comparison medical care of the 1960s, for six years.
During that time, Grandfather took me and only me to the Holy Saturday service of unveiling the shrouded statues in the church marking the end of Lent. A proud and brutal man, a successful entrepreneur in the fearful time of the Depression, he was given six years to relink to the Church and now undoubtedly ist in Himmel.
The Missouri Breaks: I Part the Ways Completely with Tea Partiers at Missouri Tenth
Missouri Tenth is Tea Party in spirit but would dearly like to disavow that, desiring instead to be a bunch of cutting edge young dudes but in such a cultural wasteland as to not be able to do any serious political analysis or discussion.
I was more than tolerated, however, as their house liberal; they treated me, with occasional blowups, real well and as real Southron gentlemen. But when I predicted last week that they were going to get their fool heads blown to kingdom come in a new race and Civil War if they continued to advance what sure look like White Supremacy politics, the moderator chose to interpret this as a “veiled threat” on my part and has booted me off the site…thank God in light of the time I’ve wasted on these boys.
I pointed them to Orwell, for neocons and libertarians who read PDFs and watch Fox are aliterate and never get “a round tuit” and actually read the Constitution, Scripture, or the writings of their iconic Orwell when there’s something good on TeeVee and now there always is. For they accuse me of making “veiled threats” one of those unanalyzed chunked phrases we see in the media that Orwell thinks we ought not use since they are used thoughtlessly. I don’t make veiled threats. I make threats to go to civil law and then follow up. I don’t go around whacking people upside the head, I prophesy someone may do the job for me if they make absurd accusations against fantasy “liberals” and engage in veiled indeed racism by advocating “smaller government” against their own interests and their class equivalents, African Americans.
So here’s my screed to them in response to a ban.
Great, won’t waste mah tahm throwin’ Pearls before swine. That’s in the bible, you know, and I often wonder at how little “Christians” know Scripture or the Constitution. And I am just as much Missouri as you, as most of my extended family went there after immigrating to Amerika in the 1850s, and they fought Secesh and wastrel slaveowners. Learn the history of the St Louis Hegelians and the IWW.
You know, Orwell, in “Politics and the English Language” writes “Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.” You said I send “veiled threats”, and this was an excellent example. I didn’t make threats, it was clear that if you continue to sow dragon’s teeth you will reap the whirlwind in a race war in which you and your family will be easily identified as white and killed by blacks who you try to set back with white-first causes such as the tea party.
“Veiled threats” sort of masks your intended meaning of charging me with making threats but I don’t threaten. I prophesy.
And as to name calling, PUNK, it just started with that word, PUNK. You are name calling when you call your best friends, “liberal” college professors who try to get you passed by struggling, as I struggled at DeVry and Roosevelt and even Princeton, to teach clear writing as part of computer science and critical thinking, and doing so, as I did, without any office space outside my car, “genocidal murderers” if they support reproductive CHOICE. When you call doctors who are just more educated and smarter than any of you boys “genocidal murderers” if they abort, if they support the right to choose, or even just use drugs that have been falsely called abortifacients…when their non-use kills far more zygotes (persons in your messed up logic and slop language) than their use!
When you use “person” to refer to a fetus when a person, in John Locke, is an equal who can stand up to you armed or unarmed and discourse with you as a man or woman and brother or sister…thereby conveniently ignoring all of our struggles, from black male and black female struggle as well as mine, to be credited with our struggle to get an education, to cure personal faults and addictions through 12 step and other means, to heal our relationships. Naw, were just all like l’il ole fetuses, ain’t we.
You boys go secede and form your little Hell Republic of back-alley abortions, tittie bars, and minimum wage jobs at the Suck and Sip. I predict you’ll just start warring amongst yourselves when the shale oil runs out or you destroy your water table.
Do I make myself clear?
You need “us”, more than we need you. You need real American books and not vanity press effluvia. Your wealthy make damn sure to send their brats to Harvard, Princeton or Stanford and not Ole Miss or State. And if you don’t think Missouri Secesh wouldn’t so cock up the right of way of the Union Pacific … that the railroad bosses would go to war with Obama as they did with Lincoln, and now also the airline and trucker bosses … you need a clue bad. [This paragraph added to this edition of the essay.]
This shall also be posted on my blog.
A Spot of Chemo Nausea for the First Time?
Oops, I normally look forward to my meals here, Chicken ala Stanley Prison, Fish ala Stanley Prison, with wild and unfounded enthusiasm: but alas for the first time I have that famous chemo nausea creeping up, perhaps. I am wearily sampling the “tomato” soup whose only virtue is that it is thin and therefore only hints at the type of tomatoes tossed of the truck from which it was made. Then to address the fish and rice normally my favorite. As to the Special Dark Chocs…don’t think I will make it.
Damn this means maybe another weight drop to Sexy as Hell if You Like That Sort of Thing.
12 July 2013 More notes added concerning justified true belief
12 July 2013 Various corrections