Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vincent the lonely student and by my father's request

For some of you this may be a stretch. Bear with me. Before Friedrich Nietzsche started showing signs of insanity in the year 1889 he produced some pretty unearthing ideas that weren't widely popular. His most resonating idea, by my understanding, is his idea of the Superman, which literally translated from the original German ubermensch is Overman. This superman is not one who can fly faster then a speeding bullet or leap tall buildings in a single bound (although, he may believe he should be treated as if he could). Nietzsche's superman, we'll call him Vincent, is privileged enough to be leaps and bounds beyond mortal toil's subsidiary hindrances, such as "pity, tolerance of the weak, the power of the soul over the body, the belief in an afterlife, and the corruption of modern values (Nietzsche had an inherent dislike for Christianity)." Vincent rejoices in the fact that he is responsible for his own happiness. He does not rely on religion or the effervescence of society to dictate what is good and evil; he decides this on his own. Vincent is in a constant state of flux, much like the world and he finds great joy in this, so there is little room for suffering. Compassion, he believes, is the greatest weakness of all because it allows the weak to disrupt the potential prosperity of the strong. Nietzsche would teach Vincent that Man is something that he will surpass and overcome. Nietzsche says, "What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman [superman]: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment." It might be interesting to note that Vincent would be the bizarro version of the Superman of DC Comics, at least when you compare their values. Jor-El, Superman's father left him a recording with instructions on how to use his powers on Earth; "They can be a great people Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all their capacity for good, I sent them you... my only son." For the sake of Comparison, let's say Neitzsche is Vincent's father and Vincent has all the same powers Kal-El does. It's relatively safe to assume that Neitzsche would advise Vincent to use his powers in an opposite way, not necessarily to conquer man-kind but to know and find great joy in being much, much better then them as he surpassed them on his way to his ultimate destiny.

"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him!" An infamous line from "The Happy Science," by Nietzsche. When I read this, the first thought that came to mind was; "well..., that means that God was once alive." But, what did Nietzche actually mean? Did he believe that God was once alive? Did he ever believe in him? Historians and scholars alike agree that Nietzche was describing Europe in the 19th century where belief in the all-mighty wained. Weather or not that was Nietzshe's intended observation, he would not want Vincent to place his faith in something he couldn't touch or see. Nietzsche was a naturalist; he believed that no more than what was in nature existed and that humans were advanced forms of animals. Anything beyond that was delusional. All Christianity was, Nietzsche believed, was a religion of depression and pity, the great weakness of man...; Vincent would be above this. Vincent wouldn't have to rely on anyone. Anyone who challenged Nietzsche's rhetoric were fools, as far as he was concerned.

The more and more research I have done on Nietzsche has made me more and more angry with him. I respect him as a one of the great defining thinkers of our time but no more of my energy shall be spent.I wouldn't be a fan of Vincent; in fact, I wouldn't be above pouring a beer on him. I have let my passion get the best of me..., as I am a passionate person and I don't care that, at times, my passion defines me. And, some of the best experiences in my life have come out of compassion. Compassion is the highest virtue a human being can have. The things that separate us are nothing more then the things we've created. A human is a human is a human. A state of mind or a superior education does not change that; I'm reminded of that daily.

I find it quite Ironic that Nietzsche depended on the care and compassion of his sister and mother during his final days, as a result of his bout with Syphilis.

Everyone loves someone bringing them chicken soup when they're sick. No one is above that.

Hi Mom.
Hi Dad.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Sceptics' world

"We need proof that the proof is reliable. And so on ad infinitum."

Any given person at any given time may say they're sceptical of any given thing, beit a presidential candidate, a new neighbor, a movie with shaky reviews, one social networking website over another, or even a new brand of detergent never previously used, but when it comes to the actual definition of a Sceptic and the roots of it's origin, I've personally come to realize that to live a true Sceptic's life you would be disliked by all, but your Sceptic friends and be placed in endless self-inflicted loops of existential break downs brought on by the canon of Scepticism.

In its creation and ideal state, a Sceptic followed a specific doctrine about our cognition and knowledge and also about the way to live; A Sceptic was someone who examined things very carefully.

The first philosopher-Sceptic who troubled himself to write anything down (around the 2nd century AD) was a man by the name of Sextus Empiricus, although the school of Scepticism existed centuries before him. The founder of Scepticism was a Philosopher by the name of Pyrrho of Elis. He was so important to the school of Scepticism that people would often speak of "Pyrrhonism" as apposed to "Scepticism." I digress. In Sextus' writings there are myriads of arguments against our perception of reality. We are challenged to acknowledge that what we think we know beyond a shadow of a doubt is uncertain at best. Reason being, our perception of the world and all things in it is based on our senses and our senses, according to Sextus, do not penetrate to reality. For example, both animals and humans perceive the world through the given senses but what makes what we perceive over the animals "more" right then what they perceive over us. Another example he uses is honey. Honey certainly appears sweet to us but there is no proof that honey is sweet inherently by itself. At risk of sounding too "heady," A true Sceptic believes that perception of reality is based on various external traits that differ from person to person such as age, sickness, and so on; the things we see and experience are based on the stimulus of our senses, only.

Scepticism, of course, can be applied to metaphysical and theological claims as well; now I won't go into this too deeply, respecting the risk of offending anyone and/or their religious beliefs if applicable. In fact, I will leave it up to a legitimate author. Here is a passage from a book I'm reading, Why is there something rather than nothing? 23 questions from great philosophers by Leszek Kolakowski; "In order to be convinced of the truth of an opinion or belief, we must have the signs with the help of which we can tell if something is true or false; in other words, we need a criterion of truth. But how can we tell if a given criterion is reliable? In order to be able to assess its reliability, we must have another criterion according to which we might judge it. And so on ad infinitum. Thus there is no criterion of truth; there are no signs that could tell us what is true and what is false. Similarly, in order to be convinced by a proof, we need proof that the proof is reliable. And so on ad infitum."

There are so many other things that Sextus talked about in his life time. I will not bore you with all of them and let you look him up yourself.

I've always enjoyed philosophy and reading about the great minds who have shaped the thought process of the modern world. I hope you can enjoy this chip of the ice berg.

you're beautiful.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Persuading Melinda

So for the last week or so I've been trying to convince my good friend, Melinda, that she should read the first entry of my newly-created blog, "cup of joe." She was hesitant to do so asking only one thing, "why?" Why, indeed, should she have to read my blog? My knee-jerk response was "because you're my friend and you should support my writing." Guilt-drawing as my response was, I couldn't think of a more concrete reason for her to willingly read my blog. "Just tell me what's in it," she said. "That's not the point. You have to read it to find out...," I responded. Her response to this prompted the entry you're reading now; "But what's the point? What's the point of blogging?" I had nothing to say to that because I was unclear what the point was. I'm still a little unclear. Certainly, there are reasons why I've chosen to start blogging, but what reasons would anyone have to start reading any blog, let alone mine?

Let me be a little selfish and begin with my reasons:
1). I like writing
2). I like people reading what I've written
3). I'm a recent playwright and I would like to explore other modes of writing.
4). As a writer, I think it's important to write all the time and what better way to do that and
still have other eyes read it then by creating a blog?

There are probably a few other reasons but these are the ones that pop out the most. Generating reasons why someone should blog are significantly easier then finding reasons why someone should read them. Of course every blogger thinks what they're writing is important and interesting. I would like to think what I'm writing is interesting; as far as it being important, that has yet to be seen. And as my blog ages, reasons for people to read it will hopefully be revealed.

As a blogger I have a responsibility, not only to hard-to-convince Melinda, but to all the other readers, if there are any (I'm still working on pooling readers). I believe I should provide a service, a driving reason for people to go out of there way while surfing the web and partake in my blog. Even if the service is creating the catalyst for laughter in a reader, the reader has to leave the blog with something they didn't have before they went to it. One of Melinda's concerns was what she would get out of reading my blog that I couldn't tell her in person. The answer lies in personality. My personality as a writer and in person are certainly apples from the same tree but I prefer the version of me on paper a little more then the one in person.

This entry was geared towards convincing Melinda to read my blog. I may have not succeeded but I do promise this. I will always leave the reader with a small nugget of knowledge or opinion, even if it involves the philosophical break-down of blogging..., according to me.

Thank you for your time and here's to persuading Melinda.


On more of a silly note, if you are ever interested in hearing a Jewish story over the phone, you can dial 718-467-7800. it is a service called "dial a Jewish story" and I found it in my planner. Enjoy.

You're beautiful.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

orange juice with calcium +vitamin D

In the morning before work and every morning in general, really, I stop by my not-necessarily-favorite, but always reliable coffee shop, Europan. There is always a decision to be made while I walk from the bus stop, passed the synagogue and the ABC building, to my final destination. Do I get a bagel? Further more, if I get a bagel do I get it with jam or with creme cheese? I usually default to creme cheese but they put so much on it and it's very fattening. I could ask them not to put so much on it but for some reason I don't. I can just get a croissant and not have to worry about creme cheese at all..., but the croissants are kind of oily. I don't usually eat anything for breakfast so if I am indeed going to get something in the morning it has to be worth it because it has the potential of throwing off my whole day. Anyhow, these questions and concerns go through my head As I walk and I haven't even reached Europan yet. I get there and the decision's made. I walk through the door with my head high, I hang a left after the second table, walk to the back and grab a Tropicana pure premium orange juice with calcium and vitamin D (I don't drink much milk at all so I need to get my calcium from other sources) from the third shelf, the bottle not the carton. I approach the register and order my normal orange juice side kick, a cup of coffee with milk and no sugar and then I throw everything out the window; not literally. I get myself a blueberry muffin. Today was the very first time I have ever ordered a blueberry muffin from that establishment. It will also be the last. I'll stick to the bagels from now on; the muffin had an airport snack shack quality to it which bummed me out. I was really excited for the muffin. As human beings, we are creatures of habit. I hate that about us but it's true and familiar and comfortable. Often times creating new habits can be like pulling teeth. For example, I try to eat a little something in the morning now since I hardly ever eat anything until three or four in the afternoon. I know it's not healthy but I've been doing it for years and I'm trying to change that; I just wont change it with blueberry muffins from Europan.

Speaking of breaking habits, this is my first blog that is not on myspace. I'm going to try and stick with this and update it on a regular basis. As I start this I know the blogs wont be that good but I promise to improve them as I continue. Bear with me. It won't be every day but it will at least be once a week. General themes will be apart of the entries and I will try and make them interesting for the reader.

I salute you

You're beautiful.