Sunday, May 15, 2011

Commitment and Time

Commitment is a force we use to project our own lives onto the continuum of events and objects we find in the world. I don't say, "at hand", here because the force of commitment, because it is extended through time, allows it to affect those things which are not "at hand" for us, and even possibly multiple things and events in the extended world, which are not yet, or are never revealed to us.

Committing oneself to child rearing, that is, one's children, or "the children of tomorrow", in a pedagogical sense, is generally a normative and good commitment, vocational or not. It causes the children to feel trust and security and cements ones vocation as parent or teacher. The only downside of the parental relationship is when parents are badly behaved or when parents are unable to respond appropriately to changes in their grown up child as they become adolescents and adults. When parents and children are both adults, they have years of experience together and each person in the relationship already should have a good idea of the type of person they relate to, and thus stand in the correct relationship to that person.

There are many exceptions to this, such as when someone has raised, either through neglect or inheritance someone with sociopathic tendencies, or when a child is a victim to a parent with sociopathic tendencies, in which case the relationship is more one of guilt to greed, and whatever commitment exists and persists becomes one of suffering.

Another similar commitment is one between adults. This can happen when one attempts to "mate for life". Because it can be difficult for some people to socially adjust to changes, a combination of conditioning and convenience may find them wanting to "mate for life", instead of following the normal social path of investigating and managing the "objects at hand" during relationships.

Of course, one of the objects-at-hand, at least when one is very young and hardly an adolescent, is the parent of the individual in the relationship. This new individual imposed in the relationship may have demands, such as commitment for marriage, as a precondition of permitting the relationship to exist, notwithstanding the recently acquired adult status of their dependent child. Some parents have very high standards in this regard: They will not allow their child to engage in a sexual relationship unless the partner is already self-sufficient and is not a student. Of course this type of inter-generational control is considered old-fashioned by many, in light of multiple methods of birth-control having been available for generations. It nevertheless still exists in many parts of the world and provides a backdrop to this tendency for developing relationships quickly into engagements or even one-sided commitments.

I suppose the upshot of this is that commitments between adults should never be one-sided, they should always be seen as a contract; in other words, the commitment shouldn't exist unless there is an agreement in place to reciprocate. One should not commit to a relationship with another human being when that human being does not comprehend the reason for your commitment and may even for sociopathic reasons accept the one-sidedness as a strategic advantage. One can not merely lead by example.

An antidote to all of these problems, the inappropriate parental control of adult children, which only harms their relationships, the inappropriate "mating for life", could be a symptom of marriage. If there were no marriage, only commitment would stand, and the enablement provided by genuine, free commitment will be the natural order. Perhaps that is something to consider in the year 3000.

Friday, May 13, 2011

An attempt at dialectic

Sitting here isn't pretty. Siting here without a device is worse. Simply existing on the earth doesn't justify anything. Sitting in a parlor by yourself justifies even less, since most of the good part about the earth is missing from view. (It is nighttime.)

Going to the next level and realizing that the the Earth is available through your fingers if you operate a device is a great achievement. The Earth is realizing itself right now through your fingers. What a great brag! But it's worth it, even if people do think me arrogant, or misguided, the fact remains that sitting here with a device is yet so much greater than idolatry. So how do I escape from this idolatry? (I learned how Idolatry was a sin, since I grew up Catholic, and that was one of the only lessons they taught that could be considered an ethics lesson, plus it stuck with me.) I now consider myself and unabashed workaholic, especially when I'm working for money.

Dialectics - What is that? I mean that I've read enough about it. I almost have a degree in it. I've read Marx, Hegel, Heidegger. I definitely understand what it is and what one can get from it, but have I really ever practiced it? Have I really ever expressed myself through it, instead of through the limitations of my "Self"? Self is so limited for some of us as to be an unproclaimed disability. We can live with it because it is ourselves, but it stifles us even to the point of stifling our creativity, which make one wonder if it were possible to do without it. Of course, it's not; it is not possible to not be a self. We self-orient ourselves all our lives, and for good reason. We are not those others; we are selves quite different and we have to pinch ourselves and wonder sometimes how it is that these others have become so different from us.

So I like to sit and philosophize and wonder how things could be better and how it is that individuals waste so much of their wastable lives and come to the conclusion that the possibility of circumventing a lot of it is approachable - if I only embrace my self. How does one's self become the reason for progress? After all, wasn't it just a couple of paragraphs ago looking like it was the main obstacle to becoming part of the better part of humanity?

It is through will, of course, that we become something hoped or wished for. If we will it, often good things, previously unconceived or unrealized can become accomplishments already in our past - like this post wanting to be a dialectical exercise or treatise, yet really standing as a commentary on the limitations of self, and self-consciousness. Self-consiousness is fine when it leads us somewhere, but it can also cause us to accept our being hamstrung and limited to a repeated vision and pattern of what may be possible for us going forward.

Forward may seem like a dirty word, but there is no backward, not in time anyway. Backward in time covers a wonderful place where our ancestors lived (more people who are not us) and ourselves when we were kids and various gradations of younger. Forward says we are going someplace else, not necessarily where we have been, or where we are now, but where we might go in a while.

Dialectics is an art in which we discover the contradictions in a thing and try to destroy it. Simply destroying something is not yet and act of Love, so we may need to destroy it two or more different ways to really experience what were the possibilities of that imperfection or contradiction. For example the contradiction of Inaction.

Inaction is terrible, not only because it can lead to or constitute idolatry, but because it causes self-doubt. When we lose our velocity or vitality, it starts to show in ways that are troubling and we feel we need to compensate for these shortcomings in various ways. Some of the ways we do this will not necessarily lead to good ends, for example, we may even dig ourselves deep into a state of depression or physical degeneration rather than try to recover from the stigma of this loss directly.

Fortunately, society is a panacea. Simply looking at how other people live, can give us the opening we need to become active and vital again and accomplish the breakthroughs that were needed. Depression is useful, but we can only tolerate so much of it without looking for relief, and when we find good relief, the ejaculatory feeling of accomplishment is parallel to a cognition of perfection.

Perfection is, in a way, is an antonym of Inaction, since apparently nothing is made perfect though Inaction, but there are some dissenting points to be mentioned: We can say, "If it's not broke, don't fix it." Engineers and Technicians say this all the time. The downside of this shibboleth is that when something is not fixed preventively, it will likely fail anyway sooner or later and eventually need fixing.

So the avoidance of unnecessary maintenance does not shield us from the danger of failure later; it merely defrays unnecessary current costs to an unknown time in the future, or at the very least, to a probability. Unnecessary fixing, or "repairs" as we might call them, did not seem inappropriate, can cost money and effort, and may actually end in failure. This is why Engineers avoid it. If you fix something, there is always a probability that your repair can lead to further breakages and repairs, which were unforeseen.

"Rust never sleeps", however, so if you can avoid inaction to the extent of repairing all the parts of your life, or those around you, or whole groups of people, you will have accomplished a little bit of dialectical wisdom and have kept yourself busy, as well.