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This post is in reply to Glenn Wallis on the site he created Non-buddhism for the article “Sorry, Charlie! A Non-Buddhist Argument for Animal Liberation” he cross-posted on the (limited access) Buddhist site Tricycle Magazine.

In the future this will be revised to be not about Buddhism and about the bigotry, fallacy, and shortsightedness of anti-speciesism. The article and exchange with Glenn crystallized our thoughts and feelings.

TL;DR

Anti-speciesism is ill defined, misleading, biased towards only species deemed to be sentient, and implies and fosters exploitation and death of species not deemed sentient. Anti-speciesism is better described and more truthfully by its synonym, sentiocentrism as it only has compassion for animals deemed sentient.

Our belief is that all species are living beings and deserve respect, dignity, and compassion. We embrace anti-speciesism in its broadest and fullest sense.

Regarding Glenn’s article, we argue that any internal criticism of x-buddhism’s position regarding veganism and animal liberation must first contend with the different and ambiguous understanding of what x-buddhism means when uses the term sentient beings (jantu, bahu jana, jagat, sattva).

We contend that any sort of absolutisms regarding veganism, anti-speciesism, and animal liberation while desirable, is impossible, and the best one can attain (at our current technological capabilities) is the harm reduction model.

Because we assert that absolute cessation of harm, exploitation, and use of species for survival is impossible, and x-buddhism’s ambiguous ethical position regarding who or even what is covered by the term sentient being, any immanent of critique of x-buddhism via the lens of non-buddhism, that attempts to set in concrete ethical precepts regarding animal liberation and anti-speciesism, and supports veganism by such precepts, while it is in the right spirit, is still a product of ideologies of anthropomorphism and its more inclusive, but still elitists offspring, sentiocentrism.

Glenn’s critique is an improvement on the illogic of x-buddhist beliefs on such subjects only by degree and his prescriptions are ultimately impossible not only in practice but cannot ameliorate the psychological repression and guilt of the existential reality nature has burdened all life, what we call the ouroboros Real, where life must consume life or that which was once living to survive and thrive.

Hi Glenn,

We apologize that our response was not clearer (in fairness its original intent was to garner discussion on another platform about the misleading biasedness of the term speciesism (and thus anti-speciesism), and not intended to address your critique head on).

We, as stated though, have no qualms with the spirit of your critique.

One of our frustrations is equating x-buddhism’s term sentient beings with the ethical and pollical term anti-speciesism (sentiocentrism), and likewise with (ethical) veganism to the extent anti-speciesism is considered a defense for veganism.

Our non-buddhist, and non-buddhist-academic explanation of what x-buddhism means by term sentient beings would state that it has a broad definition (fallacy of definition) from all living animate beings to only living animate conscious beings; but also in some more esoteric forms of x-buddhism even inanimate beings are considered sentient beings (the Wikipedia entry for Sentient beings cites; Getz 2004, Encyclopedia of Buddhism; Keiji (ed.) 1976, The Eastern Buddhist; Ray 2000, Indestructible Truth; Chen 2011, “Chinese Tiantai Doctrine on Insentient Things’ Buddha-Nature.” Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal 24).

In that you bring in the terms anti-speciesism and vegan (giving the implication of an ethical argument, admittedly from a immanent position), these terms deserve to be defined, as that the first again qualifies as a fallacy of definition due to the “tradition” of being defined as pertaining to only species deemed to be sentient, not to all species as the term speciesism would seem to imply. Thus, any form of veganism based on the principles of anti-speciesism is better defined as sentiocentrism (a more accurate synonym for the mal-defined speciesism). Veganism, based on the ethical stance of what is traditionally called anti-speciesism, is elitist, in that the only species veganism vanguards for are sentient animal species. All other species are fair (fare) game for exploitation and consumption.

So, in an immanent critique of x-buddhism through the lens of non-buddhism we’d (ourselves, not you) end up with really 2 sets of theorems and ennobling truths. One we will label x1-buddhism, and the other for  x2-buddhism. X1-buddhist are those that refer to sentient beings as living animals that are deemed capable of experiencing suffering, thus can logically be included in an immanent criticism of buddhism that argues for anti-speciesism or veganism. X1’s buddhism and thus anti-speciesism or veganism can be judged elitist as species not included in the sentient category are fair game for exploitation and consumption.  X2-buddhist are those, who like us, embrace an (overly?) broad definition of sentient beings, one that is truly anti-speciesist, in that no species is biased against.

X1-Buddhism Theorems and Ennobling Truths

From the perspective that those x1-buddhists who embrace sentient beings as animals that are deemed to experience suffering, excluding plants and animals that are believed not to suffer, we would logically deduce these theorems and ennobling truths:

Theorems

1.     Animals and animal products used and consumed that are deemed sentient beings perceive and feel pain. (While “The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness” goes a long way to reducing harm to other species is is exclusive to species deemed sentient. As consciousness is not yet fully understood, the determination of sentient beings is not (yet?) exact.  

2.     Only animals that are deemed sentient deserve the inalienable rights of “dignity, freedom from exploitation, and protection from unnecessary pain.” Thus implying that species not deemed sentient do not deserve dignity, they can be exploited and enslaved, and do not deserve any protection.

3.     Buddhism is a rare force for compassion in the world. Subtract its compassion imperative, and Buddhism’s value as an agent of betterment is fatally compromised. More than ever, the world needs the robust, unambiguous displays of compassion that Buddhist training can offer. (Remains the same as it doesn’t infer elitist compassion)

Ennobling Truths

First ennobling truth: Pain is inevitable, but you can contribute to its diminishment.

The truth itself stands unchanged as it is non-elitist and embraces the only rational and reasonable goal for conscious and aware living beings, that of harm reduction to and for all other beings. The clarification you offer that follows the truth can be seen as sentiocentrism but is logical within the context of x1-buddhism’s varied precepts.

Second ennobling truth: Craving. The root cause of [killing other sentient beings]…

Assuming your defense refers to animals deemed sentient; this can stand in our opinion albeit clarified. Though we’d like express how the idea of all of x-buddhism’s link between cravings and sentient beings could widen the set of sentient beings than that of the ethical, political, scientific, psychological definitions of anti-speciesism. We, as of yet,  haven’t seen cravings used as qualifier in western political/ethical/scientific circles. That said see: X2-buddhism’s second ennobling truth.

Third ennobling truth: Cessation. That needless slaughter [of other sentient beings] will cease with the cessation of our craving for [other sentient beings]. Compare to x2-buddhism’s third ennobling truth (cessation of the idea of cessation).

Fourth ennobling truth: The Way of sentiocentric Buddhism. Stop using and consuming products of animals deemed sentient.

 X2-Buddhism Theorems and Ennobling Truths

Theorems

1.     See 2

2.     All species are deemed sentient. All species are an “an inalienable One indisputably deserving of dignity, freedom from exploitation, and protection [as far as possible following the ethics of harm reduction].

3.     Buddhism is a rare force for compassion in the world. Subtract its compassion imperative and Buddhism’s value as an agent for betterment is fatally compromised. More than ever the world needs the robust, unambiguous displays of compassion that Buddhist training can offer.

Ennobling Truths

First ennobling truth: [Dukkha] is inevitable.

Precepts

1.     Even where a species is deemed incapable of experiencing suffering, pain, or in the x-buddhist sense samsara, the very act of taking the life of another living thing, for whatever reason, significantly affects the perpetrator (Weisberg, Zipporah, “Animal Repression: Speciesism as Pathology).

2.     To the extent that non-animate objects are used and or consumed for survival by species macro and micro, can, by deduction of precept 1, affect conscious, aware, and sentient beings who use or consume said non-animate objects.

3.     In that consciousness is still a hard problem and that panpsychism is not yet ruled out, there is the possibility that Dukkha is as universal as any subjective experience can be.

a.     While we consider ourselves to be staunch atheist (albeit as belief, not fact) and thus have in the past ignored theories of panpsychism, of recent, due to increased philosophical and scientific discussions and realization that it isn’t just new age woowoo, we have become more open to the idea.

b.     We’ve even gone so far as to attempt to break any psychic barrier to experiencing panpsychism during mediation and other contemplative and mindfulness practices.

c.     Absent of induced psychotropic experiences, or extreme religious contemplative practices experienced decades ago, the barrier, if there is one, has not been breached by us.

Second ennobling truth: Craving. Cravings are ubiquitous with species deemed sentient (within the biological realm evolved on earth). Killing species for survival is also ubiquitous for species deemed sentient. The only difference between humans and non-human sentient deemed species are human ethics, or more accurately, our repression of guilt, empathy, and for some, the horror of the reality we are currently burdened with (and the list of overt, subconscious, and unconscious, feelings can be extended depending on individual makeups and psyches).

Precepts

1.     It is known that sentient deemed animals crave sustenance and sex.

2.     It is not known if non-sentient species experience cravings regarding sustenance and sex.

a.     The AEO has “a high degree of certainty vertebrates including human beings and invertebrates such as cephalopods (such as octopuses and squids), since they satisfy the criteria for sentience.” (What beings are conscious) (Braithwaite, V. A. (2010) Do fish feel pain?, Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

b.     The AEO acknowledges that it “is a controversial issue whether animals such as insects, arachnids and other arthropods are sentient,” citing V. B. Wigglesworth (1980, “Do insects feel pain?”).

c.     The Animal Ethics organization (AEO) claims plants do not have experience: the response to external stimuli is not sentience.

3.     The nature of consciousness is not known but it remains that all ethics based on consciousness, sentience, or even cravings, is biased inferring that species that lack the aforementioned characteristics are ripe for exploitation, abuse, and consumption.

4.     Thus, cravings persist regardless of whether we are human or non-human sentient deemed species.

5.     From an x2-buddhist perspective, cravings are ubiquitous, and our extension of rights and compassion to all species makes it impossible to objectively choose which species to exploit for our survival. Empathically, of course, it easier to kill species we think are not sentient, or use the products species we believe are less sentient, or we believe are not sentient.

a.     The harm reduction model is a method usually applied to drug and alcohol addictions, irrepressible biological and physical cravings.

Third ennobling truth: Cessation is at this time impossible and the best that can be done is harm reduction. The existential reality is that evolution has designed all species to either survive by consuming living or what was once living, or to prefer consuming living or what was once living. Humans and most species must consume living or once was living to survive. Plants, for example, do not have to consume organic matter to survive, but they do prefer it. Different plants have different preferences to the organic-ness of soil.

Precept

Rather than cessation, striving for harm reduction is the only reasonable objective at this time. For those who cannot tolerate harming anything, given knowledge of the impossibility of cessation can either actively work towards creating ex nihilo “everything the body needs” or make the other more dramatic choice.

Fourth ennobling truth: Harm reduction is The Way, and the best any being can do within the known circumstances.

For sentient beings with self-reflective awareness The Way is anything but simple.

 

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...

When We Save the World We Will Become Known

Robin pushing a fledgling from the nest

In the cycle of life within this ecosphere,

all creatures need to consume what is alive

or what was once living

to survive.

In this cycle of life within this ecosphere,

All creatures encroach upon the freedom of other living things,

to live out their lives

and survive.

In this cycle of life within this ecosphere,

all creatures are slaves to the cycle of life,

a life red in tooth and claw,

to survive.

In this cycle of life within this ecosphere,

humans consume more of what is alive

or what was living

than all other species.

In this cycle of life within this ecosphere,

humans encroach more upon the freedom

of other creatures and life

than all other species

Some will argue this is the natural order of things.

They argue, “We are products of our evolution;

we are what evolution made us.”

PAH-SHAH!

Humans are the only creatures capable of not being slaves to their evolution.

Mindfulness is the way.

Humans can create the food and nutrients they need in labs.

No animals need be harmed.

Humans do not need property or land.

We can create orbital cities.

Humans can free all living things from humans.

Be free all creatures great and small.

When will we grow up

and free our mother?

When will we become

known?

#futurism #evolution #humanity #compassion #wisdom #ecology #logic #poetry #AnimalRights #animals

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...

Photo: James Balog/Getty Images

Image: naked elderly white man with his back to a chimpanzee; both looking up into the sky with similar facial expressions

“I say enduring because humans are truly unique in the long timescale of our goals and in our flexibility to choose which goals we most wish to prioritize. One promising method for reaching clarity in our goals and becoming less immediately reactive to our evolved instincts is the practice of meditation, which has received increasing research attention in positive psychology. As Robert Wright has written about so convincingly in Why Buddhism Is True, the disciplined practice of meditation, over time, can help one to become less slavish to our evolved instincts and be kinder, gentler, and happier as a result. It can also help one witness more beauty in the world.”

-Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., Positive Evolutionary Psychology: Darwin's Guide to Living a Richer Life

Scientific American: Beautiful Minds: Toward a Positive Evolutionary Psychology

I am not a full fan of Kaufman...I kinda want to be...I've tried listening to his podcast, The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman...but we have a visceral revulsion to a lot of pop positive psychology. This excerpt is from the forward of his book. (Disclaimer: I have not read the book. I want to read it, but I am afraid I will be disappointed.) The quote reiterates what I preach about a lot—more of me working to come up with a comprehensive philosophy than anything else—and what follows is another variation on these ideas and thoughts. I will use headings to help navigate to where one may want to read.

Evolutionary Psychology and the Ideologies of Žižek

So much of who we are is driven by our evolutionary drives. Drives that evolved phenotype like ideologies (Hegel, Lacan, Zizek etc.) (psyche reflecting evolution, Eph) in which we perceive the world and justify our actions. It is true those primitive pheno-ideologies got us here, and for good reasons too. The “real” is not something that would inspire any organism to thrive and reproduce. Our primitive organic ancestors had to be blind to the existential truth and driven with emotions stronger than reason to evolve even some our most endearing qualities, hope, love, compassion...

The Evolution of Hope

@klp@zirk.us shared today this Kantian quote:

“Hoping ultimately amounts to the conclusion that there is something...because something ought to occur.” Kant, A806/B834

How might have hope evolved? Because the existential reality we were in is not the one we should be in. Reality was too “real” to survive without hope. While that is the rational, we could hardly expect a trait as a hopeful disposition to evolve because of reason. If it did evolve, and we believe it did, it is because those organisms that could hope, to act as if there was hope, in whatever primitive manner, were selected by nature. Of course the same hypothetical can apply to all our other primitive ideological mental models, including desire, power, status etc.

The Practice

These desires, drives, and pervasive fantasies are so much of all of us that when one starts contemplating them, the shadow nature of humanity, we naturally lean to reacting in two polar opposites. The easy one is nihilistic thinking. The other pole is compassion and hope. Compassion and hope not just for ourselves, not just for all of humanity, but for all life and the world. While we don't practice any sort of mystical or spiritually inclined meditation, and what Kaufman proposes is secular enough, but in ours, we strive to explore many of our beliefs and behaviors on a deep meditative level. We do enough of the self-psychoanalytical deep dives reading the likes Zizek and his ilk. What works for us is not just meditative but a somatic meditative exploration. Deep down, what is the feeling, where is the feeling, what does it feel like to want to be seen as powerful, have status, wealth, to be able to have any mate I desire, etc. In exploring these primitive drives, we are looking beyond our mundane projection of ourselves, rather we look for those aspect of humanity dark and reoccurring archetypes we see in media, literature, culture, films etc. What does it feel like to hate the other, where is that hate, hot, cold, pressure, or even fear. Fear is a constant and comes up again and again.

Meditating on the Five Aggregates of Buddhism

Much of this can be found in Buddhism although it is framed by the culture, time, and beliefs. Those frames of ideology are not always comfortable for the rational mind. I found meditating on the five aggregates something I believed in and wanted to explore deeply from perspective deeper than intellectual contemplation. I wanted to gnow the truth and place of the five aggregates in myself. I saw it as a practice where I could go deep into my/our evolutionary psyche. Those aggregates (which I now interpret as evolutionary ideologies) are, with my interpretation of them, vital for philosophers and psychologists in my opinion: 1) Form (physical reality), 2) Sensation (reality conveyed by the senses), 3) Perception (in the Buddhist sense, this is the labeling of sensations – signs), 4) Mental Formation (biases, prejudices, interests, etc.), and 5) Consciousness (basically I interpret this is our ability to be conscious of these things, including that we are conscious of being conscious). While I've had a long history of contemplative practices beginning with esoteric Catholic practices, what I love, and I think other deep thinkers here will like is, we can meditate on these deep thoughts (sure we need to create a blank slate at the beginning of each session), and we can also investigate them somatically. And I think, hypothesize, that those somatic insights will help us overcome these deep seated, subconscious programming, or at least manage them in ways that we are able to be mindfully responsive to situations rather than reactive with self-justifications, that are not really just from a higher perspective than the mundane.

One of our fantasies are meditation centers devoted to understanding ourselves from an evolutionary psychological perspective and/or devoted to exploring the five aggregates.

I believe there is hope for us if we can learn from what evolutionary psychology and the various schools and practices of mindfulness have to teach. I believe we want this, but as my idols would say, our fear of attaining (or fear of losing) what we want perpetuates the Ouroboros of absurdity. I have hope there is a way to step out of the absurdity.

#EvolutonaryPsychology #psychology #philosophy #PositivePsychology #Zizek #evolution #mindfulness #meditation #Buddhism @fediphilosophy.org@fediphilosophy.org @writing.exchange@writing.exchange @zirk.us@zirk.us

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...

“Dex turned the mug over and over in their hands. “It doesn’t bother you?” Dex said. “The thought that your life might mean nothing in the end?” “That’s true for all life I’ve observed. Why would it bother me?” Mosscap’s eyes glowed brightly. “Do you not find consciousness alone to be the most exhilarating thing? Here we are, in this incomprehensibly large universe, on this one tiny moon around this one incidental planet, and in all the time this entire scenario has existed, every component has been recycled over and over and over again into infinitely incredible configurations, and sometimes, those configurations are special enough to be able to see the world around them. You and I—we’re just atoms that arranged themselves the right way, and we can understand that about ourselves. Is that not amazing?”

Chambers, Becky. A Psalm for the Wild-Built: 1 (Monk & Robot) (p. 140). Tor Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Disclaimer, we are neoZizekians and desire to be corrected where we are mistaken.

We've been dipping back into #Zizek, which is a divergence at the moment, and critiquing his philosophical theories through the lens of #EvolutionaryPsychology. All our analysis is via EvoPsych and mindfulness.

The trigger question here is what drives us to desire a life of meaning? Or maybe why do we fear living a life that has no meaning? Let's see if I get there.

#TheAct – The pressure of profound personal dilemmas seem to be a catalyst for one to “act,” Zizekianly speaking. The act being an authentic and liberated achievement free of any unconscious, subconscious and conscious drives and limitations. It argues that to be able to “act” is desirable.

Now, ignoring the infinite existential loop/reflection for the moment, in Zizekian terms, it could be argued it isn't the desire to be able to act autonomously that we want, rather what truly drives us is the desire to desire (ala #Lacan). What isn't discussed thus far in what we've read is how we came to be beings who are driven to desire beyond having (“Having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical but often true.” – #Spock, Amok Time, #StarTrek the original series).

From an Evolutionary Psychology POV, desire is secondary to survival and reproducing. But somehow it has also become an end in itself. Somehow we evolved to desire incessantly.

I think it could be argued desire stems more from reproduction (desiring the healthiest and most fertile mates – one imagines at first mating with whatever, but mating with the healthiest and most fertile became naturally selected and with that the ability to discern and desire therein). But for survival, one also must learn to discern foods that enhance survival and flourishing, thus desiring those foods. Power, another secondary drive also uses desire, the desire for it (#Nietzsche), and the desire for the power payoffs that increases ones status which enhances #survival and mating. In fact we believe an argument could easily be made that desire is a secondary retroactive characteristic of almost any drive (will to desire?) But #sex and #love overwhelms us with a #desire that makes us forget everything else, love as an act of violence (Zizek, Badiou?, Spok), such that we become irrational with desire.

Have you ever experienced a desire that overwhelms every aspect of who you are (it doesn't even have to be sexual or because of love)? This is what the gods of #capitalism, and retroactively (Zizek, Lacan?) #evolution and #being have capitalized on. We'd even argue capitalism is, probably innocently, but maybe not, based on this fatal flaw of evolution. Capitalistic #consumerism feeds the desire to desire without any life giving purpose. We become like addicts, and our #addiction, consumerism, will kill us, and maybe the planet (my usual soapbox stuff).

Now what does all this have to do with the lengthy quote from #BeckyChambers's must read for those seeking plots based on #mindfulness and #reflection? As we've preached elsewhere, we can't master these evolutionary drives that have run amok from the top down. Most of us do not have the #willpower. Those that do have the willpower and are still slaves to the hierarchical drive for #power, are often our masters, even in this seemingly world of #democracy and #liberty. Us mortals, we do not have that kind of willpower. But we can master our drives from the bottom-up!

Mindfulness practice allows us to find that space between the drive to impulsively act, react, act out, and actually acting. Mindfulness allows us to truly “act” even without having to wait till life's pressures make it possible (One wonders if the “act” as a result of life pressures then is a true “act” compared to the mindful “act”). Mindfulness is the true power of the final revolution. Not only against those with superhuman will power, but against the gods of evolution as well. Mindfulness is the third pill (Zizek).

MossCap is a sentient robot. MossCap is a being free of everything that #psychology and modern and continental #philosophy strive to cure and resolve. He is not burdened with the evolutionary and social burdens we are. He is desireless and thus, we'd argue, he is a true rebel (Camus) and he is free to “act.” He is example par excellence standing right in front of Dex, the somewhat enlightened and evolved human. Yet Dex cannot stop desiring something. He has an idyllic life as a Tea monk, going from community to community bringing serenity and peace, with the perfect teacher/guru/friend. Yet they (Dex, identifies as nonbinary) are never satisfied. They've gone from one occupation to another, one place to another, always seeking to find what will satisfy their existential desire. Even when Mosscap spells it out (above quote), Dex, because of their human predicament cannot hear or see the answer in front of them.

Now this analysis is not a conclusive theory but it is clear where we must begin, becoming mindful of our evolutionary predicament. We are not to blame. We should not blame ourselves or others. Blaming is not helpful. We cannot just willfully change. It takes a cooperative, compassionate and patient practice. In the book quoted, “A Psalm for the Wild-Bilt,” by Becky Chambers, that is the role of MossCap, the cooperative, compassionate, patient, and sentient robot companion. But if we could just get to where we are not driven by all our human shortcomings and learn how to be happy, or at least OK, in this existential moment, ala MossCap, then we can truly “act” free of our evolutionary, psychological, and sociological chains. We can truly revolutionize what it means to be human (Nietzsche without the human martyrdom).

The desire to desire may never be eradicated, but we believe it can be mastered and redirected towards desiring that which benefits all. In theory.

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...

Here is a summary of the lecture by Daniel C. Dennett:

Dennett argues that free will is a complex and valuable capacity that humans have, which allows them to control themselves and their actions. He rejects the idea that free will is incompatible with determinism or indeterminism, and instead proposes that it depends on having a flexible and intelligent brain that can learn from experience, anticipate consequences, and resist temptations. He also claims that free will is not a mysterious or magical phenomenon, but a natural and gradual result of evolution.

Dennett explores the concepts of autonomy, consciousness, and freedom in relation to free will. He defines autonomy as the ability to act according to one's own reasons and values, without being coerced or manipulated by external forces. He distinguishes between different degrees of autonomy, depending on how well one can reflect on one's own motives and goals, and how well one can resist influences that would undermine one's autonomy.

He defines consciousness as the subjective experience of being aware of oneself and one's surroundings. He argues that consciousness is not a prerequisite for free will, but rather an enhancement of it. He suggests that consciousness enables us to have more complex and sophisticated forms of self-control, such as moral reasoning, planning, creativity, and humor. He also contends that consciousness is not a single thing or property, but a collection of cognitive abilities that vary in degree and quality across different species and individuals.

He defines freedom as the opportunity to exercise one's autonomy in various domains of life. He acknowledges that freedom is limited by physical laws, biological constraints, social norms, moral obligations, psychological factors, and environmental conditions. However, he maintains that freedom is not an all-or-nothing concept, but a matter of degree and context. He argues that we can increase our freedom by expanding our knowledge, improving our skills, developing our virtues, creating new options, overcoming obstacles,

and cooperating with others.

He concludes by emphasizing the importance of understanding and protecting our free will as a precious human achievement¹²⁵⁶.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 2/16/2023(1) The Amherst Lecture In Philosophy: Lecture 14. https://amherstlecture.org/dennett2019/index.html Accessed 2/16/2023.

(2) Autonomy, Consciousness, and Freedom – Amherst Lecture. https://amherstlecture.org/tracking.php?w=dennett2019/dennett2019_ALP.pdf Accessed 2/16/2023.

(3) The Amherst Lecture In Philosophy: Lecture 14. https://bing.com/search?q=summary+of+autonomy%2c+consciousness%2c+and+freedom+daniel+c.+dennett Accessed 2/16/2023.

(4) The Amherst Lecture In Philosophy: Lecture 14. https://amherstlecture.org/dennett2019/index.html Accessed 2/16/2023.

(5) Freedom Evolves – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Evolves Accessed 2/16/2023.

(6) Daniel C. Dennett : Recent Work – Tufts University. https://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/recent.html Accessed 2/16/2023.

(7) Content and Consciousness Revisited, with Replies by Daniel Dennett .... https://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews/content-and-consciousness-revisited-with-replies-by-daniel-dennett/ Accessed 2/16/2023.

(8) The Amherst Lecture In Philosophy: Lecture 14. https://www.amherstlecture.org/dennett2019/ Accessed 2/16/2023.

(9) Autonomy, Consciousness, and Freedom – Amherst Lecture. https://amherstlecture.org/tracking.php?w=dennett2019/dennett2019_ALP.pdf Accessed 2/16/2023.

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...

  • Transitioning
    • Most of January (and December) has been occupied by moving and downsizing. This year is important for us for multiple reasons. At the top of the list is transitioning into being and presenting as nonbinary. As someone who was born a cis white male, lived his life as a gay male since he was 18 years old, and is now 61 years old, it almost feels like a lie to say transitioning into nonbinary is a transition into who I’ve always been. I also feel like I’m betraying my gay pride. Eh, I am 61, we need to get over ourselves!
  • A photo journey
    • The pictures below share the journey of indoctrination into being what biology and society wanted me to be. An indoctrination we accepted, except for the being gay part, because nonbinary was not an option nor had it even arisen in the collective consciousness that we were aware of.

1962, 6 months old

1 year old

2 years old

Senior year, 1980, 18 years old

Ditto

1981, out of the closet and getting baked

1991 Provincetown, 29 years old

2001, 39 years old, New Orleans

2014, Gatlinburg Regional Bridge Tournament, 52 years old, still pretending to be a boy

I have always wanted to be an academic, still do. After PTSD therapies made breakthroughs and I became contemplative, at 54 years old, I attempted to go back to college. I am still struggling to take classes. I cannot handle classes full-time, but I try to take a couple of classes every semester. At 61 now, I probably am a junior. 2016

Ready to transition to nonbinary.

  • Disability and diagnoses
    • So let’s begin with the admittedly confusing habit of sometimes speaking of myself as I and sometimes we. We are diagnosed with multiple psychiatric disorders. We’ve been on SSDI since the early ’90s. Shortly after the 1991 Provincetown picture, we were institutionalized for several years. Our primary diagnosis is complex PTSD/dissociative disorder. I divulge this for multiple reasons, but primarily, while we were groomed to be a single self, we know now we never were, at least as far back as we can remember. Maybe we were not born dissociative, trauma did that, but as explained below, we believe everyone has multiple selves and the belief we are a singular self is the delusion.
  • Ourselves
    • In most of our journaling and various writings, we used we for the singular self I. But, when engaged with others we followed our conditioning and used I when expressing ourselves. We did this unconsciously. We never even wondered why we used we in our private writing yet used I when speaking with others. It is only in the last five or so years that we began hearing others use they/them pronouns, not grasping at first that they were a reference to nonbinaries, did the awareness of our disparity of self-referencing come to light. The mind is brilliant, self-deceptive, and interesting.
  • Reasons for self-divulgence
    • A glimpse of our philosophical beliefs regarding the self, philosophy, world, and society
    • Part of our philosophical beliefs, which is where all this is going, is that no one is really a singular self. We believe this to be on multiple levels, but certainly from a biological and psychological perspective.
    • Ethos
    • Another reason is simply ethos. While our beliefs are thus far consistent from our perspective, at this point in time I have no evidence to provide. We believe there is evidence, we just have not focused on the academic references for the hypotheses of the universality of multiple selves. We and the psychiatric world have questioned our perceptions, identity, and reality. In this, we can be labeled an unreliable author(s).
    • Reliable unreliable author(s)
    • That said, from our perspective, those who claim to be singular, and from society’s perspective, reliable, are the most unreliable. Indeed, the singular perception of self, we would argue, is at the root of much of the conflicts of the world, from a global perspective, down to the level of communication with others, and in understanding one’s self. (Some examples would be great here, but because of my anxiety and the sake of brevity, we hope to circle back to this later.)
  • Nonbinary or dissociated selves?
    • After we started terrifyingly using we sometimes instead of I, we also became aware of the real reason some people preferred the third person plural rather than the gendered third person singular. Only then did we realize further, while we were born white cis male and gay, we never fully identified with either male or female. For us, all presntation was drag. Not that we did drag (we love drag! So please, no haters.), but for us, dressing and acting male was as much drag as if we were dressing and acting female. The words of RuPaul became Truth for us.

We’re all born naked and the rest is drag!

There you have an abbreviated I/We-Nonbinary story and pictures to grasp the transition of Eph (short for Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat our name we hope to legalize as one of our 2023 resolutions) from white cis male to nonbinary queer.

We’ll share the solitary part tomorrow.

#I #we #solitary #nonbinary #complexPTSD #dissociative #DID #RuPaul

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...

  • In the cycle of life within this ecosphere, all creatures need to consume what is alive or what was once living, to survive.
  • All creatures encroach upon other living things to live out their lives, in this cycle of life within this ecosphere.
  • All creatures are slaves to the cycle of life if they exist in this cycle of life within this ecosphere.
  • Humans consume more of what is alive or was living and they encroach more upon the freedom of all other species than any other species in this cycle of life within this ecosphere.
  • Humans are consuming and/or displacing all other forms of living things in this cycle of life within this ecosphere.
  • Some will argue this is the natural order of things.
    • They will argue that we are products of our evolution, and we are what evolution made us.
  • Pshaw!
  • Humans are the only creatures capable of not being slaves to their evolution.
  • Humans can create the food and nutrients they need in labs.
  • Humans do not need cattle or farms.
  • Humans can create cities in the sky (near orbit).
  • Humans can free all living things from humans.
  • When will we grow up and free the earth?

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...

Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; …– Anonymous (Valentin Tomberg) Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism

  • talking about that the goal of the experience is to experience “the joy that can arise in the moment that makes all things become effortless.”
  • Here we will need to speak a little more about ourselves, set a new signal to identify ourselves, and speak some about feelings and emotions.
  • March 17 is a peculiar anniversary for us. It is the first time we have had a suicide attempt and according to those who resuscitated us, we weren’t breathing and had no pulse. We were in our late 20’s then (the late 80’s) and haven’t had such urges for several decades. Our journey from that point was a series of institutions where we believe we eventually received our most accurate diagnosis of complex (childhood) post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative disorder, and anxiety driven depressive disorder.
  • For a long time, we struggled with our identity until we accepted that we were multiple identities and finally found some sort of federacy (although in the beginning it was a fragile confederacy) to become a functioning human being.
  • Thus, we usually refer to us as, tahdah!, we. From here on out though, to identify when we are speaking of the personal, we, we will be capitalized, We. When we refer to the common, we, (which we are sensitive to limit so as not to should on the collective we), it will be as usual, we.
  • Apologetically, when it is more accurate, We may even use I. The I is reserved for past selves before we became federated. This is times when various egos predominated and even fully dominated our other selves.
  • Okay, what We have perceived and learned through our decades of struggles is that most of what others perceive in Us (We) as disorders, is often nothing more than exaggerated distinctions that we all really share.
  • A wonderful example of what I am trying to say is the Pixar movie Inside Out. Hardly a usual movie We would watch (or recommend), but We had a therapist who insisted, and while, critically, it has its failures, therapeutically, it is spot on, remembering only that there is a spectrum and we all fall somewhere differently, no matter how close and majority some points may be.
  • So, let’s talk about emotions and feelings.
  • There is a biased saying about women that is wrong on many levels but that can be more appropriately applied our feelings and emotions, “You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.”
  • Like all things, the opinions will range from left to right. How a person chooses to engage with their feelings is their own business. We only hope to help others understand in a way that can help them choose wisely.
  • For example,
  • Most would agree that liberty and equality are admiral goals for society. But when it comes to our offspring, we really want more of what’s best for our offspring even if at the expense of others. Throw life and death into the mix, and all ideals of liberty for all quickly goes out the window.
  • As moral antirealists, We don’t judge such truths. Both perspectives are valid depending on context, perspectives, feelings, and projected justification.
  • The reason we can say We don’t moralize either way is because as much as we as a society may agree on acceptable behaviors, what drives us as a society and individually are the evolutionary drives that allowed us to ascend the evolutionary pyramid. We didn’t ascend evolution harmoniously and now, even amongst our peers, our beliefs and feelings can be divergent.
  • What this means is that an emotion or feeling of joy came into existence for a reason, and most often, it arises for purely natural reasons regarding survival and reproduction, not rational or logical reasons.
  • Let’s talk about extreme joy, or ecstasy. This is most known as an accompaniment to sex. Would we choose to get all sweaty and mix bodily fluids if there was no ecstasy? We don’t think so. From an objective perspective, sex could even be said to be disgusting (hello Puritans). But as our genes demand to be reproduced, our genes needed something to make us do the dirty.
  • The point is, nonjudgmentally, our emotions are functions, they have a purpose designed by evolution and nature. Remember, evolution and nature are irrational and illogical. Thus, our emotion’s purpose is not always (some would say never, even when beneficial) rational or logical. And in fact, extreme emotions can rob us of our rational capabilities.
  • Feels are volatile and dangerous. But also, would life be worth living without them? They can be said to be a catch 22. Can’t live with them and can’t live without them.
  • Clearly an ideal would be an Aristotelian means. As anarchists though, no means should be right or wrong and certainly not made into laws. We are all free to determine our own means, even unto disaster. The only thing We want to do, as already said, is help in educating others so they can discover the means that is most useful for every individual’s personal thriving.
  • Our emotions and feelings are less ours than they are our programmers, our genes. But as sapient beings, we can affect our emotions and feelings, where other organisms cannot. We are aware of our evolution, and that knowledge gives us “some” power over who we are and want to be. All things natural are not good and some unnatural things can be better than what is natural.
  • We seek a world where everyone is free to be, feel, and do, whatever brings them joy (without desiring to harm or exploit). But we don’t seem able to allow others to be, feel, and do, whatever they want because we are threatened by those who are different. This isn’t rational, but, the scary thing is, it is natural.
  • Everybody’s Free by Rozalla feat. David Anthony on piano

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...

Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke you accept easy; and every burden you carry light! – Anonymous (Valentin Tomberg) Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism

  • Our goal in these personal meditations is to share the influence these words and others have had on our life and how to best implement them into a truly free and equal existence.
  • We are atheists and anarchists (Libertarian Socialism comes close to our political and social vision). But we have been influenced by many deistic and theistic writings, never wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater, nor indulge in black and white fanatical thinking.
  • We are not aware of anywhere the words of the first two lines of the quote above are written. The words of third and fourth lines are echoed in Mark 11:30, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
  • Tomberg spends several pages describing these words and you can get a detailed synopsis here The Magician.
  • The first line is the most elusive to practice. We find a simple Daoist meditation on the present and passing moment the simplest. Become aware of the moment as it comes into being and passes away (Gospel of Thomas, saying 42). This is also the nature of Daoist influence on Zen and other forms of Buddhism and ephemeral spiritual beliefs.
  • But we need not spiritualize such truth, we can simply accept it as it is. Although, the tendency to spiritualize is natural, evolutions way of helping (tricking) us into living, and reproducing. If we weren’t capable of primitively making sense, fantasize, of such existential truth, early sentience would most likely have been impossible as early organism would have been too terrified and crippled into inaction, unable to see past the ever-present existential dangers to gather and hunt, let alone reproduce. It was necessary for evolution to pull the wool over our eyes to get us to do its business of consuming and reproducing.
  • Ok, a bit of sideline there, but it is a deep understanding that is important to process the path to personal thriving.
  • This is because for many, to simply sit and become aware of the ever-evolving moment can be anxiety provoking (to cease movement, to cease work, goes against our programming). So, to concentrate with ease, is way more difficult to do than say, for many.
  • But the second line gives us a clue, “transform work into play.”
  • The overarching goal of the first two lines is to become aware of the ever-slipping moment and experience joy. To do so intentionally is, at least at first, work. Yet, all of us have experienced this eternal moment at some point in our lives, through sex, music, dancing, singing, nature, playing, sports, and many other moments of sublimity.
  • We, humans, are unlike any other creatures in that we first come into the world completely passive, with our only ability being perception. Even the other apes, are born to cling, whereas human children must be carried by their caregivers or some invention to carry them. They are unable to cling effectively to their caregiver as the caregiver goes about its business of surviving and providing. We perceive first whereas other animals are able to “do” at the beginning. Not that they don’t perceive, but at the very least, then can perceive and do.
  • This beginning, whereas all is achieved by perception, everything else is done for us, magically. This has profound implications on our drive to be entertained. We learn by being entertained. This is natural, and neither good nor bad, it just is. But to exceed our programming, if one desires to do so, one must be aware of our natural truth.
  • Likewise, we can experience the infinite now (Tolle, Eckhart; The Power of Now) simply by being entertained. One trick is, while one attempts to work at experiencing this now, is to use music, meditation tapes, exercise, sex, or any other method one finds useful, to help one become aware of the river of time.
  • There is no one size fits all recipe to achieve the deceptively simple task of concentration without effort. Play, experiment, be adventurous. All you want to do now is overcome any hurdles of anxiety or stress about doing nothing but focusing on the moment. And do not make it work like so many fanatics would have you believe.
  • The goal is to experience the joy that can arise in the moment that makes all things become effortless (Csikszentimihalyi, Mihaly; Flow). At some point, like when it happens dancing, or whatever, this will emerge as joy. A song we like (among many) is “Let the Joy Rise,” by Abigail.
  • En-joy
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In order to save the planet, we H. sapiens, must leave the earth, our Mother and place of birth. Some though, will stay behind if they are so called. It is suggested we let those who are called to be servants of Mother Earth remain behind to humbly steward, protect and help nurture our Mother back to a state of pristine nature as possible. They will become the anarchy of the “Meek.”

The Meek will live in a manner subservient to our mother, a calling most difficult for the anarchist mind. To be a Meek is a calling that requires great sacrifice and humility. To be a Meek is to sacrifice all selfishness for the sake of the planet.

Many primitives, indigenous, and other earth based anarchists may be called to be Meek. Many will not, as they have not evolved enough to sacrifice authority to the Mother.

The children of the Meek will abide by the calling and sacrifices of the Meek unless request is made for them to be raised in space, within another anarchy of the plurality. All children of the Meek will decide, when they come of age, if they are called to remain a Meek, or to join one of the other space faring anarchies.

While the Meek, as all anarchies, will have no laws, the evolution of their consciousness must inspire them to put all other living things, nature, and the earth, before their own needs and even their offspring if they should choose to reproduce. To submit to the ecology of the environment necessarily means to live under the rule of nature. Nature requires all organisms exploit to survive. This is inescapable if one is to live on the earth and be part of its natural system. It is the desire to be free of evolutions drive to exploit, and the drive to be free of the chains of the vicious cycle of nature, that we, H. sapiens, realized the only place we could be free is in space. This is mentioned because the drive to exploit, the drive to take from other organisms to favor our own offspring, are so powerful that only those who are truly called can master themselves and their drives so that the earth and nature are the priority over human needs, and the needs of their offspring. As such, such occupations as farming, husbandry, and forestry, cannot be considered beneficial. Hunting and gathering it seems would be the primary means of “natural” sustenance. But, over hunting, over gathering, and excessive harvesting need to be moderated. All this need not be enforced as the Meek will have a conscious that would never consider such practices. The minds of the Meek will always remember they are there to heal and nurture the world into a state of flourishing.

That said, the Meek are free, as anarchists, to live as they choose. They can live communally, in families, tribes, or even as solitaries. As long as they steward, protect, and nurture, all life in their ecosystem, they are free.

The meek will have full access to the resources of The Great Society. This can include food, medicine, education, and other resources that preserve their lives, their livelihoods, and especially that of the world ecosystem. The Anarchy of the Meek are a great asset to Mother Earth and have the full honor and respect of The Great Society. You, the Meek, are vital to healing and realizing our Mother’s truest potential and freedom. The is in the heart of all of us who sacrificed life on the Earth in order to heal her and set her free.

Ephemeral Gnoselph Prat Discuss...