Leo's Blog: Infinite Insights — Page 2
Somalia is ranked the most corrupt country on Earth, and one of the least developed.
The problem with under-developed states is that they aren't just deeply corrupt, they export their corruption across the world. This is why countries are not equally good or equally bad, in a culturally relativistic way. Some countries are more corrupt than others and have a toxic effect on the rest of the world.
Not all cultures are different but equal. Some cultures are more toxic than others. This quality of being toxic is not a judgment against a culture you happen to dislike for some personal prejudice or bias, it is a measure of a lack of integrity (i.e., corruption). Can you see that there is a difference between disliking a particular culture for subjective personal reasons vs recognizing that a culture is toxic? The difference is, you may prefer Chinese culture over Arabic culture over African culture, but determining which of these cultures is more toxic, more corrupt, is a separate and more objective matter.
The issue of corruption (or lack of integrity) is not merely a subjective notion, like whether you prefer Chinese or Japanese cuisine. Corruption is a much more fundamental issue, which has to do with truthfulness and fairness. No sane person would want to live in a highly corrupt, untruthful, unfair society — if they were given the choice, unless they are a criminal who wants to exploit a bad situation.
You can ask any person the following question and you will get a consistent answer: "Would you rather your children grow up in a corrupt or non-corrupt society?" So, you can see that this is a common value that nearly everyone on the planet agrees on. Truthfulness, integrity, and fairness are, so to speak, universal values. Recognizing this allows us to go beyond Stage Green cultural relativism.
Thus we can say that North Korean culture is inferior to American culture. Not because we hate North Korea, not because we are blinded by prejudice, but because we reject corruption. This doesn't mean American culture isn't corrupt to some degree. Every culture is corrupt to some degree. But American society way less corrupt than North Korea. It also doesn't mean that North Korean culture is inherently corrupt, or destined to be corrupt forever. In the future the day may come when North Korean culture becomes less corrupt than American culture, but that will require decades of serious development for North Korea.
Even though a lot of stuff is relative in the absolute sense, we can still sort better from worse because the issue of truthfulness is a fundamental, universal factor in life. It turns out that living a good life requires high degrees of truthfulness. So truthfulness becomes our North Star. Or, to put it another way: TRUTH is the highest universal value. Why? Because TRUTH is what exists! TRUTH is not relative, TRUTH is absolute. So unlike what Stage Green relativist philosophers say, there does exist something trans-human that we can all ground ourselves in. Namely, there exists TRUTH. And if you try to deny this, you will end up creating a sick, dysfunctional, monstrous society which even you will start to regret at some point. That's what North Korea is.
Consider that the sickness of a system is not a subjective, relative matter. A sick system is one which destroys itself. This can be turned into a kind of objective metric. If a society is mistreating its own people, it is sick. So the ultimate question in the sphere of politics is: How do we create healthy societies and avoid becoming a toxic society? This is the ultimate question for cutting through all the bullshit found in politics.
It starts off slow. It takes a few hours to hook you, so stick in there.
I love isometric games.
This is important to understand if you want to understand global politics.
I've been on a geopolitics study spree lately.
Two points here:
- John Mearsheimer is consistently one of the best minds on this planet on geopolitics. I love that his takes are so realistic and unbiased.
- Judge Napolitano has an amazing YT politics channel with great interviews. Make sure you subscribe. You will learn a lot.
This is nuts:
What's nuts about it is how deeply their minds are brainwashed with this culture & religion. It's like an alternate reality these people live in, without any sense of construct-awareness. They are completely oblivious to how their mind is constructing all of this. And yet, at the same time, since they all do it together, it takes on a life of its own and acquires real survival value. The craziest and most arbitrary beliefs and practices can acquire real survival value as long as they are part of a self-reinforcing community. The community/religion becomes its own end.
It works sorta like this: I collect shoelaces. My whole life has deep meaning because I collect shoelaces. And shoelaces are meaningful because all my friends also collect shoelaces and we all believe that shoelaces are the greatest thing in the world. And if you question any of this, we will beat you. And since we are all so happy together, that proves this is the best way of life.
(That is sort of a strawman, but it conveys the strange-loopy, incestuous structure of this whole thing. The amazing thing is that this works at all.)
It basically doesn't matter what the content of a religion/culture is, as long as you give people something concrete to believe in and something concrete to do together. It then becomes a system of meaning and an entire lifestyle — literally a shared hallucination. And the craziest thing is that if you're fully bought into the hallucination, it can actually make for a happy, prosperous, rewarding life! You are tricking yourself into a narrow interface with reality which produces a genuinely happy life, as long as you can keep the trick going. This is the magic trick of faith.
The key insight about religion is this: Religion is not about a belief in God or whatever. Religion is a lifestyle. Religion is a pre-packaged set of meanings which a mind plugs into so that it doesn't have to go through the ordeal of questioning reality from scratch and searching for one's own meaning. Religion is like a styrofoam cup of instant Ramen noodles vs cooking your own dinner.
But if it works, what's the problem? Well, the problem is that: 1) it requires constantly brainwashing yourself to the point where you never reach construct-awareness, 2) it is such a limited understanding and experience of Consciousness, and 3) it means never understanding other worldviews and other forms of spirituality or culture, and to forever be at war with them.
Yes, you can narrow consciousness down to a Hasidic Jewish hallucination. But Consciousness is capable of so much more than that. So you never get to fully appreciate the richness, the diversity of God, if your God is the Hasidic God. A true understanding of God involves recognizing that God can hallucinate Hasidic Judaism, or Jihadist Islam, or Evangelical Christianity, or Scientific Materialism, or an infinite number of other dreams. That would be God-Realization proper.
To truly understand what religion is, how it works, and why it exists, is something very profound, that few people understand. Religion constructs a whole new reality for humans to inhabit, but it does so unconsciously, such that its inhabitants are unaware of the construction. And what's even more mind-blowing is that nonbelievers also don't understand the nature of the construction. A scientist, an atheist, does not understand what religion is! So who understands? Only those who have become so construct-aware that they have realized that science and atheism are also hallucinations.
It's not about good or bad, right or wrong — it's about construct-awareness. Are you aware of how your mind constructs meaning and culture out of thin air?
Warning: becoming construct-aware will not necessarily make you a happy or a well-adjusted member of society. It might make you miserable and depressed. Much of human happiness and productivity is grounded in pure fantasy and illusion. Which is why very few humans bother to seriously question it, and why they get upset with those who do. The typical religious fundamentalist is so bought into the hallucination that is his religion that he would rather die than free his mind of it. And of course this isn't limited to theistic religion, it also includes the scientific worldview and various others, like New Age spirituality. The bottom line is that virtually nobody on this planet is seriously questioning their own worldview, they are too busy propping it up, because their whole way of life hinges on it, and it's just too inconvenient and painful.
So why pursue construct-awareness? Because it's the only way to seriously understand reality. If you are not construct-aware your understanding of reality is as naive as a child's. In some sense I envy you. But then again, there is no greater pleasure than finally understanding the creative power of Infinite Mind.
I'm not saying religion doesn't work, nor that religion is merely bullshit. I'm saying something much more profound.
If you believe religion, you're a fool. If you dismiss religion, you're a fool. If you realize that religion is a reality constructed unto itself, you've reached some serious understanding.
The relativity of religion is such a serious thing. Contemplate its nature.
And it's not just religion, it's also culture. The relativity of culture is astounding. Much of culture is so arbitrary and silly, and yet people get so attached to it and take it so seriously. And yet, if you poo-poo all this meaning-making and just become a nihilist, you'll probably want to kill yourself. So you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Be ware of how psychologically dangerous it is to strip all meaning from your life. The consequences of a total loss of meaning in your life are much more serious in practice than they seem in theory. Without self-constructed meaning, there's very little reason to live, unless perhaps you're massively Awake.
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And this is just for fun:
"You ask, 'How can we know the Infinite?' I answer, not by reason. It is the office of reason to distinguish and define. The Infinite, therefore, cannot be ranked among its objects. You can only apprehend the Infinite by a faculty superior to reason, by entering into a state in which you are your finite self no longer, in which the Divine Essence is communicated to you. This is Ecstasy. It is the liberation of your mind from its finite consciousness."
A third of the way into this video I just burst out in hysterical laughter.
Don't forget that 70% of Americans are Christians and 25% are Born-Again Evangelical Christians. This explains why American politics is so retarded. The level of self-deception of American Evangelicals is difficult to comprehend. These sort of people are sitting on the Supreme Court and in the Senate & House!
It takes a lot of study and contemplation to appreciate how deeply religion shapes one's mind. It is such an elaborate web of mental constructions, fantasies, and self-deceptions that it becomes a reality unto itself. It's not just a set of beliefs, it's a whole way of perceiving reality and a whole way of life.
Religion is a self-brainwashing system. You brainwash yourself so thoroughly that you start to inhabit a new reality. And then you use your experience of that new reality to validate to yourself that you have the truth.