Sunday, November 15, 2015


We have been doing well, training hard and work has been as good as it has ever been.  I have decided to go on and purchase “Being and Nothingness” rather than reading it for free online.  If anything, it is always going to be a good book to have on the coffee table and I just feel better holding the material in my hands than I am with on a computer screen.  Even if you can use some devices to highlight key or memorable passages, the adventure in flipping through pages, finding not only what you are looking for, but also stumbling on other points that may have been overlooked previously is one of the treats that I have always enjoyed about reading a book.  Using a computing device simply lacks the tangibility of a book.

I think that one of the reasons that I have never thought of myself as an existentialist has been the image that I developed of the philosophy in the 80’s.  As a teen, I thought of existentialist thinking of being mopey and one where nothing matter because nothing was “real”.  Apparently, I was guilty of typecasting those who questioned the meaning of life as someone who was simply finding an excuse as to why they were unemployed and still living with their Mom in their 30’s!

What I took for interpretations of Nietzsche back then was shaped by comic book fantasies of what his words meant.  This is not to say that the interpretations of his work that I drew an understanding from were inaccurate… just that my understanding of Nietzsche was not as well rounded and developed (to say nothing of my own ability to comprehend the depth of human character that the works of others’ outlined) it could have been.  There is a very likely chance the same thing will happen as I explore existentialism, but that is precisely the point of it all, in my opinion.


The title of this entry owes itself to the anti-intellectualism that I experienced growing up.  Though I have mentioned it before, particularly when I first began to journal, I came to much of my knowledge through reading, which was dismissed as “trying to be white” among many other insults that were hurled at me.  But was always more troubling was the lack of substantive arguments that were made against what I held as a more fact-based position.  I mean, conformation of your opinion cannot be based solely on the coincidence that you are surrounded by those who believe similarly.  Neither can an opinion be dismissed because it is not shared by those around you, either.  Is there such a thing as “the extrapolation fallacy”?

When you have a question between you and another person, with said person being unable to support their belief and being unwilling to accept your ideas that are more concrete, where do you go from there?  Are you supposed to concede to their articulations because of THEIR ignorance?  Though I understand how a little knowledge can become dangerous, how much more so then, is that same lack of knowledge in the hands of someone without the will to pursue the question further, whose curiosity is done with the first idea that confirms what they were told?  I would rather find the information myself and draw my own conclusions.  And I am going to do this now, very prematurely, with Sartre's idea of Bad Faith.

Much of the collective ignorance that I have ranted on in my journal could collectively, I think, be used as examples of bad faith.  My observation of many walking around in today’s world is one where people carry the weariness of resignation, an inevitability to an image of one’s self or condition that they can’t meet or even bring themselves to believe that they are ever capable of meeting.  Rather than meeting the challenge brought by the responsibility that comes in making themselves into the person that they could be.

Because of my solitary nature, I have no real idea on how close I am to making sense.  All I know is that my theory makes sense to me.  If Sartre’s “Bad Faith” is filled with self-deception and a refusal to accept the responsibility one has in making oneself who they are/could be, then maybe intuitively, there is the projection of bad faith unto others, stitched together by false equivalencies, fear, and anti-intellectualism.  For instance…

Recently I came across a paper from the NIH on “Adult Neurogenesis in the Mammalian Brain:Significant Answers and Significant Questions”.  One of the more significant questions dealt with the possibility that adults can create and grow new brain cells.  Now if this is true, then it is likely that I can grow and create NEW brain cells… and with that, extend the limits of my future possibilities.  But I did not think to save or go into my history and try to find it… though I prolly could keyword search for it and have it auto-fill.  But in a previous era, information that I stumbled across from nigh-unimpeachable sources, such as the paper from the NIH, would always be called into question.  And it left me baffled, especially when it would come from those who knew that I would not repeat something that I could not have verified.  Even were I to do so, would it have matter?  The information I came across was through “something that I read somewhere”, which may have well been something that I conjured to make my tale more believable.  F*ck that.

Now the point of the previous story is to show how I have learned to avoid offending the taste or intellect of others.  The question that I have for myself is, does my behavior somehow fall into Bad Faith, or is the Bad Faith present in the relationship condition more of a projection of the other person’s own illusions? People believe that they are rational actors in a world that is clearly irrational.  Their senses define for them only what their minds can interpret and so, are limited by their own vision of reality... Anywho, I will purchase a copy of “Being and Nothingness” from Barnes & Noble, as well as hopefully find the movie “Nausea” somewhere on the internet.

1 comment:

abbiestreehouse said...

Sherlock Holmes once said of Watson that the most useful service he provided was saying things that were so bat-shit crazy that it knocked his train of thought off of one set of rails and set them down on another. (That's paraphrasing, obviously.)

That wasn't the most flattering thing he could have said, but I think it is important to have a way to see new ideas and new possibilities. We have a lot more options than we typically realize, but miss them by thinking along the same patterns time after time.

On another note, I'm with you on paper books vs. e-books. I download a lot of free books from, but there's something about having it in your hand and marking pages in the physical world that sticks with me more than doing so in the virtual world.