Hills of Blood

“Since South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected president, there have been more than 500 political assassinations in KwaZulu-Natal”.

Christopher Clark, Guernica, September 4, 2018

https://www.guernicamag.com/ballots-and-bloodshed-the-militarization-of-local-politics-in-south-africa/

Dwelling inside

Were You Born Sad? Can original personality produce chronic sadness? By Eric R. Maisel Ph.D., Psychology Today (How to shed mental health labels and create personal meaning.)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/rethinking-mental-health

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/rethinking-mental-health/201804/abolishing-the-concept-mental-illness

Hereditary trauma: Inheritance of traumas and how they may be mediated: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140413135953.htm

Biological mechanism passes on long-term epigenetic ‘memories’:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160328133534.htm

“According to epigenetics — the study of inheritable changes in gene expression not directly coded in our DNA — our life experiences may be passed on to our children and our children’s children. Studies on survivors of traumatic events have suggested that exposure to stress may indeed have lasting effects on subsequent generations.”- Science Daily (see url’s above).

“Chronic depression is defined as symptoms of major depression that persist for at least two years. There are also two subsets of the disorder: dysthymia, which is defined as symptoms of a lesser severity that last for at least two years; and double depression, which is a combination of major depression and dysthymia… (Chronic) depression is very insidious. People tend to look at these people and say, `Oh, he is so self-centered; he thinks about himself too much.’ Or they might call these people lazy or unambitious. But what it might actually be is chronic depression. Because of this prevailing view, people with chronic depression are not as likely to be diagnosed or seek treatment…”

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1999-01-19/lifestyle/9901180347_1_chronic-depression-depression-is-defined-major-depression

Abusive systems of power depend on a public that is complacent, compromising, passive and distracted.”

SOPHIA A. MCCLENNEN, Salon, SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 | Michael Moore’s terrifying “Fahrenheit 11/9″: Trump is the symptom, not the disease.

 

A philistine optimism

Vilhelm Ekelund | 1880 – 1949 |  Swedish poet and aphorist

“The noble Nazarene … who raged against “the world,” against the philistinism, the halfheartedness, the lack of ideals—if he had guessed that he was forging a weapon for the hands of exactly “this world”—he who sensed the misfortune of humanity so deeply that he didn’t find any other solution to its enigma than to entirely reject and turn his back on all that is earthly, would see his name dragged into the service of an intense philistine optimism.”

The temptation to exist

***
About Emil Cioran, from theschooloflife.com:

“In the age of Walt Disney, this kind of darkness matters.”

Our age is notably optimistic and it makes us suffer hugely from being so. We are all, in private, a lot sadder than we are allowed to admit.

Writers like Cioran provide an occasion for the sadness inside all of us to be communally expressed and thereby a little, but only a little, diminished and softened.

“This is an author to read at moments of despair and melancholy. He doesn’t depress us, merely makes us feel less alone with our sorrows.”¹

***

Against Cioran:

The anguishes of E.M. Cioran by Roger Kimball, The New Criterion:

https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/1988/3/the-anguishes-of-em-cioran

***
Quotes by Emil Cioran

Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?

This very second has vanished forever, lost in the anonymous mass of the irrevocable. It will never return. I suffer from this, and I do not. Everything is unique—and insignificant.

I am detached from any country, any group. I am a metaphysically displaced person.

Man starts over again every day, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows.

Only one endowed with restless vitality is susceptible to pessimism. You become a pessimist — a demonic, elemental, bestial pessimist — only when life has been defeated many times in its fight against depression. Then destiny emerges in man’s consciousness as a form of the irreparable.

birth is a defeat.

The poor, by thinking unceasingly of money, reach the point of losing the spiritual advantages of non-possession, thereby sinking as low as the rich.

The curtain of the universe is moth-eaten, and through its holes we see nothing now but mask and ghost.


 

Peter Wessel Zapffe

We come from an inconceivable nothingness. We stay a while in something which seems equally inconceivable, only to vanish again into the inconceivable nothingness.

The seed of a metaphysical or religious defeat is in us all. For the honest questioner, however, who doesn’t seek refuge in some faith or fantasy, there will never be an answer.

The immediate facts are what we must relate to. Darkness and light, beginning and end.


 

1) https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/e-m-cioran/

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/the-trouble-with-being-cioran-1.521427

https://www.itinerariesofahummingbird.com/e-m-cioran.html

A problem for God

https://reasonandmeaning.com/2015/04/19/finally-the-problem-of-evil-in-two-pages/

Summary of “The Problem of Evil”

From Reason and Meaning
Philosophical reflections on life, death, and the meaning of life By John G. Messerly PhD

“The existence of bad or evil things isn’t hard to explain for non-theists—human beings and the world are imperfect—but they are hard to explain for classical theists.The Problem – The gods are all-good, powerful, and knowing and yet there is evil. Thus either the gods can’t do away with evil—in which case they’re not all-powerful; or they won’t do away with evil—in which case they’re not all good. We can distinguish between:a) The logical problem of evil – gods and evil are incompatible or inconsistent; and
b)The evidentiary problem of evil – evil counts as evidence against the gods.Response to the problem – Theists have articulated defenses, but generally dismiss theodicies (complete explanations for evil.) A defense is easy, you just need to show that it is rational to believe in gods and evil simultaneously. A theodicy is hard, it must show how evil fits into a god’s plan. Most theologians think that the best we can do is to show that evil and the gods are compatible, but they don’t believe they can completely explain evil. In order to defend the rationality of religious belief—to offer a strong defense—philosophers/theologians try to provide reasons for the existence of evil. These include:1. The ideas that pain/evil is necessary as part of the body’s warning systemPROBLEMS – Sometimes we need warnings but there is no pain (carbon monoxide, obesity, etc.); sometimes the pain doesn’t help us (cancer, etc.); sometimes pain may be debilitating. Furthermore, why would gods create pain? What explains such cruelty?2.  The idea that evil is necessary so that we may better appreciate the good – (Logically this implies that we would have no notion of bad without good, or tall without short. Psychologically this implies that we wouldn’t appreciate good things with bad things, pleasure without pain, and happiness without unhappiness. )PROBLEMS – Even if this is true, why do we need so much evil? We have cancer and heart disease, do we really need Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s too? And do you really need to know there are bad things to enjoy good things? (If you believe in heaven or paradise where supposedly you are eternally happy, would you need occasional pain there to appreciate its goodness?)3. The idea that evil is punishment from wrongdoing; we bring it on ourselvesPROBLEMS – This makes sense only if moral character and suffering correlate. But misfortune/evil strikes indiscriminately, as does good fortune. Moreover, do babies deserve misfortune? Do we deserve horrible diseases? Do we deserve cancer? Can one ever do enough bad things to deserve say, everlasting punishment?4. The idea that evil results from free will – Evil results from free will. A world with humans and the evil that results from their free will is better than one without humans even if that world had no evil. War, murder, torture, etc. are worth the price of the positives that derive from human free will.PROBLEMS – We can answer that free will is not worth all the misery that ensues from free choice. In addition, we might wonder why an omnipotent god couldn’t create humans with the freedom to do bad things, but who never do them. Moreover, free will, if it even exists, only accounts for moral evil (evils attributed to free will like murder, rape, etc.) but not physical evil (earthquakes, floods, disease, etc) which have nothing to do with free will.5. The idea that evil is necessary for the development of moral character. In a world without “trials and tribulations” we wouldn’t get to develop our moral characters or make our souls. Such a world wouldn’t elicit generosity, courage, kindness, mercy, perseverance, creativity, etc.If the moral character development argument is combined with the free will defense then we have given the best account of evil possible. This is not a theodicy—a complete explanation—but a defense—a partial explanation. We could even add that since there is another world evil here is no big deal anyway. That is, all this pain will be insignificant when we all enjoy eternal bliss. Of course, even if we can overcome the problem of evil that doesn’t mean the theistic story is true.PROBLEMS –At least three basic problems remain in our attempt to reconcile evil and all good, all-knowing and all-powerful gods.1) Why don’t the gods intervene to prevent extreme cruelty—such as the abuse of an innocent child? The free will defense is implausible here.2) Why is there so much human suffering? Do we really need all these hurricanes and diseases? Do we really need to develop our characters by, for example, accidentally killing children or suffering from cancer? And even if we need to occasionally die in childbirth or from cancer, couldn’t we have fewer cases of this evil?3) Why do non-human animals suffer so much? They don’t have freedom or need to develop their moral characters, yet they suffer. If you look at the entire world, and the entire history of the world, does the evidence suggest that it is the product of all good, all-powerful, deities? Or does the evidence suggest the opposite? At the very least, doesn’t evil provide evidence against the existence of such gods? Of course, it does.”

Man, proud man

“I need to live my life too, not with my head buried in the sand but remembering my old friends the Stoics who taught me long ago to do my duty—love my wife and kids and grandkids, keep learning, write my posts, etc.—but remember that I can’t control the consequences. The world is a very big place and I’m a very small being.

It causes sadness to know what the selfish or ignorant do not, but such is life. Sometimes I think being educated and conscious is the greatest burden of all. I sometimes long for the innocence of childhood when life felt secure, comfortable, and rational. But the fact is that we all barely survive because of a thin layer of atmosphere that shields us from the radiation of an unimaginably large, cold, and dark universe. Life’s fragility and contingency accompany us on our journey. This morning Shakespeare captures my thoughts:

 But man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d;
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep.
~ Shakespeare, “Measure for Measure”

From Reason and Meaning
Philosophical reflections on life, death, and the meaning of life By John G. Messerly PhD