Thursday, December 6, 2012

He speaks to his id, ego, and superego by KV Sart

Super Ego:  What is it you want to be loved for?
He:  I don’t
Super Ego:  So, as the adoring crowd claps you do what? Duck your head in shame?  Run from the stage as a donkey runs from the rain?
He:  I cannot accept the praise in good faith.  What I have done was of mere coincidence and accident.  There is nothing praiseworthy in the action.  It is praiseworthy in the reception. The crowd is praiseworthy for praising correctly.  That crowd is exceptional.  I am ordinary.
Ego:  This is true but the crowd sees themselves through you.  They thrive as you thrive.  They love themselves as they love you.
He:  But they can only love as they have seen.  They can only praise what has been praised before.  I construct from prior construction.  Everything that is novel has been done.  I can only passively combine.
Super Ego:  Allow them to love you as they wish, there is love-worthiness in all creatures.
Id:  What they love in you is your drive and innate sense of purpose.
He:  I have no innate purpose.  My drive is a car ride in the night without headlights.  I move through the world in no particular direction, and in doing so I amass no evil and I amass no virtue.  My choices are both arbitrary and meaningful.  My outer display is a consumable product.  My inner life is my own.
Ego:  But surely it is not all mere chance.  Surely there is something to be said for virtue.  Of prudence, reason, and rationality?
He:  These are some of the guiding principles of civilization.  But even reason has its limits.  One cannot sit on the couch all day, reasoning the day away.  At some point, one must dive head first into the world action. 
Id:  In acting without reason we succumb to our instinctual selves. We act as we do in dreams, without thinking.
He:  There is an important distinction to be made though.  The dream being has no bounds of self.  There is no difference between subject and object.  It is simultaneously itself and all else.  In the non-dream world, I am a singular agent of action, and responsible by consequence.
Super Ego:  If everyone knew as you knew, would the world be a better place?
He:  In a way…yes.  In a way…no.  Better is a judgment that can only be made by the historians.  It would be better for me, because there would be no pushback.  Better for everything?  That is a question I cannot answer.
Ego:  If you sit on the fence, you risk not helping anything.  Isn’t it proper to sacrifice yourself for the greater good?
He:  The greater good is a figment.  There is only the good that sits in front of you.  Large-scale change is uncontrollable.  Those who attempt to control it become the power hungry dictators and genocide-creators.  The only good the individual can know stares them in the face every day.  We cannot see the links of the causal chain, and the idea of the greater good relies solely on the linking of the causal chain.


  1. What of my plan to implement a mandatory beginner's logic and/or philosophy course for every adult (18+) in the world? All those who fail will be executed.

    Seriously though, what is the point of living, if one has no purpose? If one life's can be described as driving @ night with no headlights, why live? Why act? Why think?... Am I allowed to answer my own questions?

    We do these things because as humans, we cannot escape them. While this may be the reality, we cannot accept the premises, so we invent purpose, reason, rationality, in order escape the truth of the matter. This is so loaded, I'd like to have an extended discussion on the topic, if you'd entertain me.

  2. Living without purpose is a little bit of a misnomer. I stand behind the dialogue but it is a bit exaggerated for effect. I'm saying that the purpose just needs to be internally consistent. it doesn't need to be externally validated. Any type of action or plan of action involves some level of inconsistency and hypocrisy, its just the nature of action. There is no such thing as valid hedonistic calculus, meaning all action is gonna involve some level of good consequence and bad consequence; the problem of choice is that we are responsible for these consequences. The struggle is to maintain internal consistency, though even that can be stretched at times. Perhaps instead of living without a purpose, I'd rather say that we should be entitled at any point to redirect the purpose or plot, as long as it maintains some semblance of internal consistency. idk if that makes sense

  3. You call it a problem, I think it the essential part of choice- the consequence. For every effect there is a cause right? That cause is the initial choice, the first act which carries consequences positive and negative and which other choices are subsequently based on. There is an issue when discussing blame, credit and responsibility. I'm a believer in the butterfly effect, you know, when a butterfly flaps its wings over here it can be the catalyst for a tsunami on the other side of the world, that type of stuff... Interconnectedness and all that shit.

    Of course we should be entitled to redirect our purpose, with growth comes more understanding (or less depending on circumstance). A redirection of purpose is essential to a healthy existence... if not, its like the fanatic who clings to an ideology without ever questioning his/her beliefs.

  4. On internal consistency: I'm not sure what you mean exactly.

  5. I mean, strictly speaking, we do not have cause and effect. The law of causation is founded in nothing other than instinct. Now, I'm not saying that I somehow do not believe in causation, because enough science has been done that there can be justified belief in causation. However, my point about the causal chain is that we can never see the total effect or the total cause. There is always a point in either direction that the chain becomes obscured. When you try to effect some large scale change there is always links between where you are and the change you are trying to achieve that you cannot see or know the outcome of. This is precisely because things are so interconnected.

    As far as internal consistency, I guess I mean consistency of belief and action. Action is regulated by internal beliefs and judgments, so action should be consistent with internal justifications. Now, certainly there are internal justifications that are based on experience with the external, but action that has no internal justification is not internally consistent or, to put it another way, out-of-character. Out-of-character-ness in this case is purely a self-reflective judgment.