This is the same Sam who reviewed my book, No More Manifestos, many months ago.
Thursday, 14 September 2023
When I was living in Yunnan many (many!) years ago, I bought just two shirts manufactured by Duxpeer —a brand name so obscure that you can hardly get a single google search result for it to this day, and there was no trace of it on the internet at the time— that I have worn in hundreds and hundreds of videos.
I do not identify as a minimalist, but it is a strange irony that so many people preach this doctrine of minimalism while owning and wearing a tremendous variety of clothes (even on camera, etc.) while I've worn the same two shirts (one red, now very pale red after so many years of washing, and one yellow) until they've fallen apart over the last seven years. For me, this is not a case of "practicing what you preach", because I do not preach minimalism: I think both the doxis and the praxis of minimalism is complete bullshit, but nevertheless I would seem to be "more virtuous" in this way than many of the people who preach it, but who have amassed (and worn) so many different clothes on camera in the same span of (shall we say) seven years.
I think the red shirt had its final day on camera today… I do not know if the yellow shirt is quite so close to falling apart… yet… but perhaps for symbolic reasons I should retire them both at the same time. ;-)
I have never owned a car; I have never driven a car; I did not own a cellphone until well past the age of thirty (the first cellphone I ever owned was acquired, likewise, when I was living in Yunnan, long after the start of my youtube channel). I don't think that any of this is worth boasting about: all possessions should be regarded as pens, pencils and paper used up in the production of some book you're drafting, i.e., own things so that you can accomplish things, rather than owning nothing while accomplishing nothing —or owning as little as possible while accomplishing less than you could.
Thursday, 7 September 2023
Tuesday, 5 September 2023
Saturday, 2 September 2023
To be unique is to be an orphan; to be a conformist is to be interchangeable with an approximately infinite number of nearly worthless siblings.
Friday, 1 September 2023
[This is the denouement to an earlier post titled, "I rarely use the n-word, BUT WHEN I DO..." If you haven't seen the correspondence this is a sequel to, here it is: http://a-bas-le-ciel.blogspot.com/2023/08/i-rarely-use-n-word-but-when-i-do.html]
I am not sure why you are speaking to me in this way. "A fucking coward and a pussy" This is not something that inspires creativity or generosity in me. Even if you are right, and even if I have acted out of fear. Your language is proving that fear right.
Given that, I am still willing to discuss your work with you. I also have works that I am producing... it is for these that I have passion and motivation. You have great passion and motivation for your work... as you should.
However, I am not scared off by your behavior. Only because of your giftedness and how you have helped me through your videos. But I doubt I would continue to work with someone who was cursing and using slurs.
Yes, you are right. You are correct. But nothing creative or positive would come from me in such a toxic interaction. That is why I told you the story of the Mayor. She was so gifted and smart about our town. I came to recognize that. But she allowed her pride in her own insight to convince her that she could mistreat people. Even in a noble cause.
Please let me know if some kind of dialogue interests you. A creative dialogue. If something more came from that in terms of me helping you, that would be one lovely outcome. If you're really not interested in that, that is obviously fine as well.
Why can I not give you my name? Because I have completed 300,000 words of my first draft and am now working on the 2nd draft. If you knew my name, my writing future could be in ruins. Even with such a short interaction, I feel your venom.
I want to let you know that I am attending a book conference tomorrow and Saturday and be unable to respond.
Let me ask you a really simple question: are you writing to me, offering to help me…
or are you begging me to help you?
In your mind, the two are one and the same; in reality, they're two diametrically different things.
The purpose of this conversation cannot possibly be to make you feel better about yourself: you've known about my youtube channel for five years, and you've never yet lifted a single finger to help me.
You should re-read this correspondence from beginning to end: there is something important for you to learn from it.
And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, for me to learn from it.
Re: "But I doubt I would continue to work with someone who was cursing and using slurs."
(a) We have not begun to work together: therefore you can't continue.
(b) And you never once ask yourself why it is that I would want to work with you: why do you imagine I'd have some kind of respect for your opinion, in this "creative dialogue" that you're fantasizing about?
Quote: "Please let me know if some kind of dialogue interests you. A creative dialogue."
In the last five years, what has your relationship to me been? You take and take and take; you give me nothing in return. What do you think is going to change in the next five years? Nothing. Nothing at all.
Here is your rather surreal offer of assistance, in your original words:
"As I have been quietly watching your channel for more than 5 years, I am surprised that you do not have a massive following. I would be willing to dialogue with you on how to solve this."
That is not the problem I'm complaining of in my "desperate cry for help" videos. And that is not a solution I could possibly expect you to provide: I am not asking you or anyone to provide me with "a massive following", but it is especially bizarre to imagine how you (you of all people!) would actually be able to provide that —especially through "dialogue". It is a surreal offer that I am eager to refuse.
The problem that I am asking for help with (in my "desperate cry for help" videos) is stated very clearly there, and it has been briefly restated here, along with a few examples.
The difference you can make is what matters more than the difference you can't. You have —presumably— heard me say that many times.
You write to me telling me that my philosophy has given you so much (that it's so meaningful, that it's transformed your life in so many ways). That is what my philosophy means to you, that is what my words mean to you (that is what my books are to you, that is what my videos and podcasts are to you, etc.). And what does your philosophy mean to me? And what is it, now, that you're supposed to give?
Re: "You began this conversation by admitting that you're not even willing to risk revealing your real name. Dig deep. Look in the mirror. Figure out what the fuck you are willing to do."
You have not answered this question: it is a question you must demand of yourself —and without cowardice.
I laughed when I saw this post. Not able to make much sense of it. It's clear that your rage leads you to believe you are above everyone else. I think I will take this time to reevaluate my opinion of your correctness. If you can be so totally wrong (ie using racial slurs, misogynistic language and being verbally abusive), this extremism must bleed through in other ways. Boy am I glad I never told you my name. I am sure you would have blasted me too by now.
Re: "Not able to make much sense of it..."
I know you're being honest:
I know you're genuinely too stupid to understand what's being said to you (and why).
You can spend the rest of your life pretending that your incomprehension marks you out as morally superior to me: it doesn't. It's just stupidity on your part: it's stupidity and selfishness and laziness and cowardice.
Sunday, 27 August 2023
Stuart, [a.k.a. "The Unrepentant Atheist" on youtube]
I've made a few comments on your channel raising the question of, "To what extent do we reason things through WITHOUT evidence?" because you do (so often) say that this matter of evaluating religion simply comes down to "the absence of evidence" for the existence of god, heaven, hell, etc.
When I speak to Communists, they do not hesitate to claim that their plan for utopia can work now, and that the evidence of what happened when the same plan was implemented in the past is irrelevant: they can't be talked out of their beliefs by indicating the evidence —and their beliefs are "materialistic" in a sense that explicitly religious beliefs never are.
Buddhists can say fairly easy, "The world would be a better place if everyone believed this tenet that I believe", and that may be quite difficult to refute in terms of evidence, too —whereas it is very difficult for a Muslim to argue that the world would be a better place if everyone believed in circumcision, jihad, child marriage, [the sexual enslavement of conquered enemies in war,] etc. The arguments for or against Buddhism are unlikely to be on the basis of evidence.
Yes, insincerely, Buddhists will claim there is scientific evidence that supports the "medical" (or psychological) value of meditation. They are not shaken out of their faith when contrasting evidence is presented, or when their evidence is debunked.
What I'm saying here —so briefly— augments (but doesn't overlap with) the critique of stupidity in my book Future of an Illusion. Obviously, that could be a much longer book if it included a generalized critique of religion, or a nihilistic critique of faith (something that's quite easy for me to write about).
In one of the comments I already sent you, I asked about the hypothetical scenario of your older brother (presuming you have a brother) presenting you with an idea for a new business that he wants you to invest in, and you're outright hostile toward the proposal: neither side of the argument is likely to rely on evidence. [Note: implicitly, this is an original business idea that has never been tried before, not something with "a track record" that can be appealed to as evidence.]
People fall in love and get married without evidence: we make judgements about a person's character and trustworthiness (and talent, etc.) very often in the absence of evidence —teachers, co-workers, etc., even more often than inamorata.
A boring but salient example: will my life be better or worse with the compromises that a (permanent) relocation to Japan would entail? The answer to this question doesn't really proceed from evidence: it is in many ways just as speculative as the questions of religion are for the average ἰδιώτης.
I have more experience deprogramming Communists than Religionists: most of my experience with talking to religious people face-to-face is that they find everything I say devastating and they're deeply shaken by even a very brief conversation with me —even when I'm being affable and genial in talking about religion. [Note: Melissa and I spoke to just one "true believing" Communist in New York at length and he, likewise, found the conversation emotionally devastating, and complained directly to me that the discussion was "humiliating" for him, along with several other synonyms for "humiliating".] I think that if I were trying to engage with religious people I would talk about the history and philosophy of each religion in terms of the historical development of the literature: understanding Christianity as the work of authors in a particular setting and language, and understanding that literature as emerging from an earlier literature. In this way, fiction is revealed as fiction.
Can I produce evidence that the story of Noah's Ark is fiction? In a sense the answer is "no": in a sense you can say, "Any moron who exams the relationship between Noah's Ark (in the Bible) and the parallel precedent in the Epic of Gilgamesh must understand that both stories are works of fiction" —but this is not really "evidence" in the sense that I think you presume in your discussions. If someone asks you to produce evidence that Shakespeare's Hamlet is fiction you may be flummoxed, although it would be extremely difficult (conversely) for someone on the other side to produce evidence that Hamlet is non-fiction.