I Have to Judge the World

I am different this way – I not only have to be, I also have to judge. The vast majority of people avoid both, as if they were death itself.

Bear with me, while I get my thinking sorted out here. This is a huge subject, full of landmines, for those who do not tread carefully.

The basic fact is simple – I know things are going on, because my senses tell me they are. Like the tiny ants, that walk across the screen of my computer – I can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. And more – I know that I am – I am conscious. They ants get along fine without this luxury. If they could think, they would probably think themselves better off, without such extra baggage.

However, since I am human (through no choice of my own) I have to accept this extra stuff. I not not only have to be – I have to judge the rest of the world. But I have to keep this in mind – my judgements are for my consumption only. The rest of the world can get along just fine without them.

We have to accept that our extra abilities, often as not, get us into serious trouble – we end up killing each other – and enjoying this. But, more likely, it seems to me – we also enjoy helping each other.

Our biggest problem – is knowing when are being one way or the other. I see this problem frequently – and I am certain, it is a biggie.

The Philosophy Behind Functional Programming

The programming paradigm we have always used was Imperative Programming. A series of commands to the computer – do this, do this, and do this. This was enhanced in the Nineties with Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) where software objects were created, with their own internal programming and memory – little minicomputers of their own.

These communicated by sending messages to other objects – including the operating system (such as Microsoft’s Windows) that ran the machine they were on. Large libraries became available (such as Microsoft’s .NET) – that all the little objects could use.

The hardware all this was running also was simplified by the use of Chips (large-scale integrated circuits) that communicated over a data buss and an address buss. Messages were flying back and forth everywhere – and the situation became confusing, because some of these little pieces changed, without the other pieces knowing it.

Keeping everything sorted out became a huge nightmare that doomed many companies. If they fixed one piece of their code – something else broke down.

The solution was simple – all the little pieces had to keep functioning the same way. Mathematically, they had to perform functions, operations that never changed (were immutable). The data could flow through them, from one function to another – and would emerge in the end, as the final result.

This is so different from the usual programming style, most programmers will not use it. They insist on doing things the old way – no matter what. I have worked with these guys (and gals) and I saw this with my own eyes. They want control over their code, to do with as they please – regardless of how this affects others.

I am learning F#, a language Microsoft supports. But to do this I needed a Windows 10 computer. A bought a cheap one, for $180, but it is now in the trash – as I await the shipment of a new one costing $220.

Here I am in rural Costa Rica – but with a new laptop and a fast Internet connection. I get videos every day – giving me the latest software news – some of which are crazy.

I have to discipline myself, to only pay attention to a few of them.

If You Don’t Like the World, You Can Easily Get Out of It

And you might find you have a lot of company – in fact, most of the population, in one way or the other.

I just visited a friend, a middle-aged woman who was outstanding in her youth. She is now a wreck – badly overweight. And satisfies herself by noting the many other women who are in even worse shape.

Her sons survive by keeping out of her way – they do not want to become like her. This is a common strategy for the children of crazy parents, and crazy societies – they know something is wrong, and they come up with ways to cope with it. Often by becoming crazy themselves, but in different ways.

In the Islamic world, they may adopt radical sentiments – and become terrorists. This is explained, rather well, by the 9/11 Commision Report – that few Americans have bothered to read.

They have adopted the strategy is essay is about – being by not being. Plenty of people know what is going on (and teach courses about this) – but these guys don’t want to know.

And are very satisfied with this (unconscious) decision.


Americans are no longer interested in this – why I do not know, and I am not likely to find out – because this is a deep, dark secret of theirs. If I were to venture a guess (and this is only a guess) I would say this is because they already know everything – and knowing more would only mess up their minds – and make them different from their fellow-Americans. The worst situation imaginable!

Let me add an extended quote from The Age of the Crisis of Man:

The first area of concern was with what man was himself, and whether there existed anything fundamental beneath his facade, a human nature, determinate and accessible, when all else was social and unreliable. I will call this level of concern by its traditional name of philosophical anthropology, the “philosophy of man,” or simply the “question” of man and human nature. Was there even such a thing as an abstract, universal man? Was there an individual, freestanding nature that could exist beyond all demands of collectives of men? Should there be such individuality, or was community (of the right kind) a necessary part of human nature?

The second area of preoccupation was with the shape of history. The history question included fears that the twentieth-century cataclysms had shown that the chronology of civilized development was not as people had previously imagined it, that events perhaps had no good order, or that previous fantasies of historical destiny and inevitability had actually led to these violent disasters and therefore needed to be reconceived. Was it possible or desirable to rehabilitate any sense of direction in history?

Third was a concern with faith— a vague word— as a worry about both religion and ideology. What sort of beliefs could and should be maintained in the midst of a world turned upside down? Thinkers wondered whether it was possible or wise to believe in anything abstract, lest it lead to the further abuse of concrete human life, after dogmatic belief— in Germany, Italy, and Russia— had led to the worst disasters. Yet how would they go on without a faith in progress, in God, or simply in a natural supremacy of good rather than evil in the world? It had a concrete political reference, too, in concerns over a “crisis of liberalism,” meaning both economy and democracy, and the fear that even if one felt no temptation to totalitarianism, one possessed no reliable historical model for political order under new global conditions.

The fourth area, finally, was a fear about technology, in the sense that human technologies might be outstripping or perverting humane thought and goals. Technology in this debate included material artifacts like machines and bombs, and factory systems to make them, and also human techniques, especially the forms of technique that would organize men and women (whether in collective “planning,” usually counted as good by the political left and center, and questioned by voices on the laissez-faire right, or in machine control and the de-individualizing propensity of technical efficiency, which was universally accounted bad).

I could not put it better myself – but only add to this, most American’s aversion to understanding – the subject of this posting.

If we cannot understand our situation, we cannot fix it. And indeed, this is what Americans seem to be saying “The situation cannot be fixed, and should not be fixed – all we can do is make it worse! ”

And making it worse, is what they are doing.

Critical Thinking

This is something most Americans no longer want to do.

They can think about the small problems of everyday life – but not the big problems that are doing them in.

They will react indignantly to anyone’s suggestion that their problem-solving powers are not up to the job. That they are in big trouble, because they cannot see what is going on. When this is clearly the case.

Their critical reasoning powers have moved into their unconscious minds – where they can act without being observed.

This discovery of the Unconscious was one of the major discoveries of our time – but this knowledge has been strongly resisted. I can remember my Mother saying, as strongly as she could “I am not an animal!” When she was the mother of four children, formed in the usual manner – by her unconscious body.

If I had access to her unconscious mind, I would have seen some powerful, conflicting forces – that she did not want to know about. The struggle of her entire race was going on there. A struggle reduced to its simplest elements – the life-and-death struggle between Good and Evil. In which I played a minor role.

This universal struggle has been played out in the last several centuries, all over the world – with puzzling results. The most important of which – has been our determination to not see this struggle at all! But to participate in it unconsciously.

In our own lives, we enact the struggle between Success and Failure. And it is not clear which one is going to win.

The Independent Existence of the Mind

We have a body like any other animal – but we also have a mind, that is something different. How to manage this difference is one of the problems of our human existence.

You may be saying “I don’t want to think about it!” Which is a typical reaction for our time. If that is your policy, you will not be interested in what follows.

I can remember the Sixties, when this was a hot issue – although it was not defined this way. Instead, people wanted to know how to make themselves better – it was called Personal Growth. And they could not imagine anything as abstract as – carefully defining what they were. That was too mental – and they were interested in emotional issues.

If they had redefined their problems, and thought about them more abstractly – perhaps the Sixties would have continued – instead of gradually fading away.

How strange, to be not interested in the mental problems that had fascinated people for thousands of years. People had separated themselves from their minds – with devastating consequences!

Perhaps they simply became afraid – they were trying to make fundamental changes to their world – and the forces in charge of their world, were dead-set against that.

Asceticism in Our Time

This notion may sound strange to those who concentrate on getting as much as they can. This pursuit produces people who have a limited existence – not having much of anything! Which they overcome by not noticing anything – including, of course, their own unhappiness.

This is extreme asceticism – not being aware of anything. And is common in America – the richest nation in history.

It is typified by a compulsive attempt to get everything – and a studious effort to not notice they have nothing!

The wealth of any nation is in the quality (not the quantity) its social interactions. 

This can be easily examined by our latest invention – the Computer – with its Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet was first about People – but it is now about Things. And People are not complaining – they know when they have been outclassed. They have been pushed to the background – and now leave the important things to their Things.

This is a shocking situation for me – but perfectly normal for them.

It can be mapped as objects and interactions – where people are some of the objects. Object-oriented programming has become an obsession. Because it seems to be what is going on in the real world. I am now studying functional programming – that eliminates all this noise – but is not popular at all.

Politicians closely monitor the messaging going on between people – their Tweets, and their Facebook comments – and contribute quite a few of their own. Everyone and everything is messaging – and doing their best to manipulate everything else. The noise is astonishing – but the meaning is minimal. The quantity of their social interactions is high – but the quality is low.

Everyone knows the quality of their lives leaves a lot to be desired. But they don’t want to think about it – and believe it cannot be fixed, in any case.

This is quite a change from their optimism at the end of the 19th Century – when their future seemed bright! They want this back – and will support anyone who promises this.

Such as Trump.