The Fallacy of the Void

In technological society, there have been few ideas more poisonous to the general uplift of Man than the notion that the fundamental materiality of existence is invariably devoid of meaning, when, indeed, precisely the opposite is the case.

A popular view: (Naive) nihilism is the only possible outcome of a materialist, matterological or otherwise ‘naturalistic’ ontology.

Naive nihilism is here utilized to distinguish the position ‘there is no meaning’ from cartographic displacement. Cartographic displacement is used for brevity as a encapsulation of the system-wide phase-out of previously instrumental mental maps key to the generation, development of human behavior; engendering a dearth of epistemological tools, and thus ontological tools, by which to chart out the course of one’s life in a manner concurrent with those essential qualities of the organism that, for sufficient functioning, must be sated, repressed, or exercised.

The proposition (naive nihilism) literally asserted, is self-refuting, for it requires, at the first, the affirmation of meaning to substantiate itself. Meaning subtends the whole of its structure; indeed for the declaration to even be rendered sensible to its generator, it must be inscribed with meaning. To declare that the affirmation of materialism is naive nihilism, is to, at the same time, assert the meaningfulness of the supposedly negative assignation, thus engendering a conceptual paradox.

For meaninglessness to be true, meaninglessness must truly mean something.

This can be substantiated without falling into any kind of lengthy, barbed discussion of the ultimate derivation of meaning itself; it is axiomatic. Either there is meaning (invariant intelligibility given a particular matterological formation), or there is not — in the understanding of this conceptual schema one already demonstrates meanings’ existence and conversely, the nonexistence of non-meaning, for whatever would the shape of non-meaning be? How would it assume a character when its generation requires conception and its expression, linguistic inscription? This we shall call, for the sake of brevity, the fallacy of the void which is: the assertion of a true lack of thingness, or, the assertion of the true presence of nothing. The problem with such an assertion is obvious: In the mere identification of that which is not, one has already lost it, that is to say, one has already posited that which is (that which is not). As such, there can be no that which is not, without a corresponding that which is.

Thus, if nihilism is a description of one who is unable to generate meaning, nihilism, in this naive formation, is impossible, for it is to say that one is generating a nothing, yet, one cannot generate a nothing, only nothing as a conceptual placeholder for a space between some number of things. One cannot grasp a geist. One cannot obtain that which is not. There can no more be nothing in terms of value (for a valuer) than nothing in terms of material composition, as value is itself a function of material configurations. Just as darkness is not a absence of material spatiality, but the appearance of a void due the absence of light, so too are values (conditional functions) present within the organism, regardless of whether or not they are immediately apperceptible thereto. Void is a lack of clarity, not a real presence beyond conception; that is to say: it is real only in the perceptual-conceptual matrix of the observational subject-object.

There is, in short, no nothing. Or rather, every perceptible, conceptual thing is something.

To think of nothing is not to not think. Every act of being is, and is not, not. Thus: Every negation is a positive displacement of another thing-which-is. That is to say, true negation is, in the actualization, true displacement. Thus, it is the displacement of meaning (for some other) which is (or should be) the true referent of the critics of ontological nihilism (which requires no criticism, because it is impossible). Focalism, here, is of key import.

This being said, the circumstance under which one’s milieu’s meanings are insufficiently navigated, excavated, articulated and directed, is a situation well-capable of arising (and indeed, has, is and shall continue to arise); however, the problem, in such a arrangement, is not a void of meaning, but rather, a insufficient ability to mediate meaning, to soften its coarse and perpetually undulating folds. To focus upon it.

Mechanical correctives are here appropriate. That which passes as the differentiation between the mechanical and the organic, and as a consequence, the well-navigated milieu of meaning and the ill-navigated milieu of meaning, is a matter only of degrees of configuration (of both specific type, placement, interconnection and complexity) — of architectural specificity. All are expressions of particular configurations of matter, amenable to the laws of the universe, such as they are understood, all are, at every moment, undergoing change in the movement towards new forms (even if that which subtends the forms under interrogation does not, in the change, displace the form itself), whether by intensification or dissipation, which is merely intensification in a different direction than the viewer-mediated one.

Dionysus or Aphrodite? The Porn/Erotica Distinction, Prt. 2

In part 1 of this series we firmly established a useful linguistic categorization which well encapsulates and differentiates porn from erotica. Thus, it is now crucial to examine the ways which both forms of sexual expression are treated in contemporary America. Such a investigation cannot be conducted without first mentioning the landmark court case, Jacobellis v. Ohio. The case arose when Nico Jacobellis, a manager at the Cleveland Heights Art Theatre in Ohio, was convicted under state law of possessing and exhibiting a “obscene film.” The film in question was Louis Malle’s Les Amants (The Lovers, 1958), a fairly risque flick for the time which told the story of a young woman in a passionless marriage who seeks affection outside the sacral bonds of matrimony. The two most questionable scenes from the film are, respectively: a scene where the protagonist, whilst coupling with her secret lover gasps with increasing intensity as she climaxes (the camera shows us only her face) and (what was most shocking to 50s Americans) a half-second long female nipple shot. Gasp!

Les-Amants-Los-amantes-Louis-Malle
Poster of the erotic melodrama, Les Amants

Whilst that might sound incredibly tame by today’s standards it was quite the big deal, as was evidenced by the conviction of Mr. Jacobellis. One should recall that the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 (Hays Code), The Catholic Church and their motion-picture monitoring group, The Legion of Decency, all held considerable social capital at the time (certainly far more than they do today). The Hays Code is far too lengthy to be here included in its entirety, however a sampling of sections relevant to our inquiry will help grant a modern viewer better insight into the social mores of The Fifties.

The Hayes Code as Regards Sexuality in Film:

  • Impure love must not be presented as attractive and beautiful.
  • It must not be the subject of comedy or farce, or treated as material for laughter.
  • It must not be presented in such a way to arouse passion or morbid curiosity on the part of the audience.
  • It must not be made to seem right and permissible.
  • In general, it must not be detailed in method and manner.
  • Dances suggesting or representing sexual actions or indecent passions are forbidden.
  • Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden.
  • [Rape and seduction] are never the proper subject for comedy.
  • Complete nudity is never permitted. This includes nudity in fact or in silhouette, or any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture.
  • Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races) is forbidden
  • The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.

As one can not fail to observe, religious stricture and racial/tribal in-group loyalty are strongly at work within The Code. Curiously, these strictures failed against Jacobellis and his defender, Justice Potter Stewart who, upon finding the court opposed to censorship but failing to describe precisely why, declared,

“I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

The case was subsequently overturned, the film (and Jacobellis) unscathed by proscription and all that follows with it. It was truly a landmark case, one which put the First Amendment front and center of all such related cases proceeding above any and all other prevailing social mores. These trends would only intensify post-Sexual Revolution; that is, both extreme deference to the First Amendment in place of a broader social contextualization and the continued inability to properly define Justice Stewart’s that.

It is precisely the that which Mr. Stewart was referring to that we are here attempting to get to the bottom of. It is, broadly speaking, the point at which a ostensibly public (generally artistic) depiction of sex “goes too far” and transgresses the collective’s moral orthodoxy. The fact that, not just moral orthodoxy, but social standards generally, have fractalized markedly since the sexual revolution (though there are some rollbacks – on that another time) only intensify the confusion surrounding discussions of the subject. However, one thing is quite clear, most American do not consider pornography to be a moral good which numerous studies have shown, such as the 2016 Statistica Poll, Americans’ moral stance towards pornography in 2016. The poll (see graph below) is fascinating; only 34% of Americans find porn morally acceptable, whereas 61 % find it morally wrong with a meager 4 % making up the remaining apathetic or undecided total.

Statistic_2016_StanceOnPornographyUS
Survey from Statistica, 2016

Now there are a plethora of such opinion polls, studies and surveys investigating America’s relationship to pornography but very little committed to erotica. This is primarily because there is very little effort made by most academics to powerfully differentiate the terms. This is a shame because it is absolutely essential to have a embedded descriptor for upward moving sexual art. If the same question would have been asked but in place of “pornography” the words “contemporary romance novels” was inserted (which can be, by and large classed as erotica) instead, I guarantee the results would be far more favorable towards the medium. For one might put a adult romance novel out of sight of ones children but in familiar company one is unlikely to blush (especially woman who make up the vast market share of the romance fiction industry) given the mediums fundamentally Aphroditic qualities. Yet these very same individuals would be aghast to have a friend walk in on them watching the Dionysian displays of “hard-core” pornography; there is a very potent distinction here which bares further elaboration, a inherent impulse, instinctual and deeply rooted understanding of what constitutes a healthy and socially conducive sexual-artistic fabric, even if it is masked by hypocrisy.

What hypocrisy? You might rightly ask. We’ll tackle that in part 3.


Jacobellis v. Ohio

The Hayes Code of 1930

Reviews of Les Amants: [1][2]

America’s Moral Stance Toward’s Pornography (Statistica, 2016)

Precepts of the Terrestrische Lehramt, prt.2

Ontological Machinism

It is touted by those who disdain the terrestrial, by those who high-handedly dismiss the si quis ferro, those who seek to master temporality rather than remove one’s self from it, that all which is or can be mechanically defined is of a lesser inherent value than that which is of a supranatural ordering. Thus, let us consider the following hypothetical.

It has come to light that all those principles and precepts and effects which had previously been attributed to any and all sources outside of the tangible and terrestrial have been discovered as being part and parcel of but a single, unifying, mechanical process.

This is obviously not the case, but if it were, would this in any way deprive such precepts of their power or importance? No – quite the opposite! For what, after all, is a machine but a method for the magnification of human force and will! For if our conscious minds are the product of ethereal souls then they are likely beyond the reach of tinkering. If fallen, we remain fallen forever. But if our minds arise solely as a mechanical process then they are amenable to modulation and if they are amenable to modulation they are amenable to improvement.

Understanding this we come to a realization – there are few enough men who seek anything other than improvement. All questions regarding the improvement of what within or surrounding Man as well as all queries regarding how such improvements can be carried out are initially immaterial. Bridges, after all, can only be crossed upon their completion.

Such is our guiding purpose.


In mechanical improvement there is an objective grounding for not just the individual, but all of Mankind. With these precepts in mind our tower has both foundation and purpose. Let us build it to the sky.

 

Having thus found both foundation and general purpose a question then arises – improvement of what and to what end? The answer is surprisingly simple and only this: the first and most important trajectory of improvement should ever lie upon the individual, for the man that can not improve himself can in no wise improve another. One does not charge a fool with the education of the sage.

Axiom: Improvement can only be achieved through purpose.

Even if one’s purpose is only to generate or discover a purpose then time is wasted not. But if one knows not what one’s purpose is, befuddled by meaning entire, then such a being is truly lost. He swims upon the surface of a stormy sea, fearing no thing higher than the roiling blackness beneath, for despite its hidden wonders the swimmer knows nothing of swimming nor the holding of breath!

The clever swimmer, in contrast, knows how to swim, how long he can hold his breath and how deep he can dive before ever submerging. Improvement through purpose to further purpose. Such things are not static to man.

Previously we have employed “Mankind” – a hyperbolic oversimplification.

All projects are contained under the rubric of value alignment. Most all of that which a man might recognize about himself can be changed, but only through the rigorous process of sanding. For man is like a great and unwieldy slab of granite, heavy, hard but unseemly and purposeless – to him we take the chisel! For it is not enough to be but cogs and gears and granite without form. From the granite – a statue. From the whirling gadgetry – a machine. Again, these are not static in their dimensionality, despite all appearances to the contrary. Cometh a predictable outcry of opposition, “What about the value of life? All men value life!” To which I would reply: All men, for however brief a time, wish to live. They do not, all too often, know why. Here impulse is suzerain. Even the suicidal take their life with utmost hesitation. The problem to be solved then is whether or not impulse is akin to value. The answer is that the valuing process is an impulse.

Precepts of the Terrestrische Lehramt

Conceptions of Self

~

Any philosophy which attempts to build its bedrock upon the conception of that which is beyond or devoid of the self is much like a castle constructed over a marshen bog. For those seeking divinity the concept of the Transcendence of Self is all, whether through their own will or through the will of some supreme force or being. There is nothing beyond or above the achievement of this goal to such individuals. But what can transcendence mean but the severing of all ties to temporality, a high-handed dismissal of this world as abject and inherently unsalvageable. If one’s goal is to ascend to some purely celestial realm then definitionally one must abandon the terrestrial – this is axiomatic. Such is escapism.

To the seekers of divinity that which is conceived as temporal, mundane and material is generally boring, debauched and of only nominal value or absolutely none at all. For, to them, those star-seekers, there is nothing within the material world worth pursuing – all is a carnal whizz-bang of impulse expulsion and subsequent stimulation – here, lives are petty, vengeful things.

Such men walk a different path than those like as us, we Men of the Earth, we who would champion Mankind. Their methodologies and value alignments are inherently celestial. All too often, those who disagree with the proclamations of the faithful fall into bitter ideological combat, as if the internal differentiation of celestial/terrestrial orientation were some kind of zero sum game. This, the upright man of the earth should ardently reject. Of what concern is it to us which internal path the star-seekers wish to tread? If the “Spirit of God” moves within a man, such movement is manifest and worthy of laudation, regardless of the ultimate derivation of such forces.

Problems manifest only once one begins the process of externalizing their conceptions of the self in an attempt to destroy or extricate it. In this way, Islam and Egalitarianism share much in common – the former would have all individuals sublimate their egos before Allah, the latter would see all men rent of identifying appendages until they are but one great, limbless mass of worker-drones, a triumph of meaningless mechanization. Nothing but ants in the colony of global commerce. Their egos sacrificed at the altar of supreme equation – homogeneity as deity.

That being said, such notions should be dispensed with for those who have the sacral appreciation for the self, you et lapidibus, understanding that it is the fountainhead of all that we cherish and hold dear and that it is the only proper vehicle for the improvement of those attributes of life which our keen and teeming legions find in discord, the only axiomatic tool by which the myriad branches of reality can be trimmed and kept in check. All that opposes the self in its infancy must be dispensed with.

The self is, in no uncertain terms, the genesis of the world. The et de stellisconception that those who hold fast to the only world apparent, those which they delight in deriding as “materialists,” is one of endless and randomized stimulus, a gaudy parade of ravenous appetite, is quite manifestly true. What we, viri ferreis, reject with utmost furor is that the fulfillment of carnal desires must be base and sordid – for after all, is your love towards your wife somehow devalued by the explanation that the genesis of such bonds resides – in as far as has been discerned – solely in the action and reaction of bodily stimuli? No, learning this, one values one’s wife all the same. What is more, one would be of rather shallow character to do otherwise.

In the Muslim tradition there is a saying, “Kill the ego with the swords of self discipline” – or, as the Prophet said, “Your most hostile enemy is yourself.” There is great truth in this but the one fundamental flaw which this view contains is the notion that one can kill one’s ego without the application of the ego. It’s a methodology which functionally operates like a dog chasing it’s tail; vigorous movement, just like futility, is assured. It is only through a deep attempt at mastery of one’s own self, a profound contemplation of one’s innermost terrain, that one can even begin to attempt to overcome the impulsive and slaggish facets of one’s own nature – to say nothing of the nature of others. For the man that can not master even himself can surely master no man other.

A harder objection to tackle in our quest for the hard, the earthly and upright, the Chemin de l’horizontale vertuese, is that of those who cry, “The self is but an illusion! There is no true self!” But in as far as one can conceive of one’s self as a self in what way is this an illusion? Concepts are as real as a rough hewn pebble or the blood-red dawn, but emerge only when we, cognizant mankind, will them into existence and cleave to them; existing so long as we afford them a semi-sacral character. This does not mean that we should will those ideas which are counterpoised to reality into it – rather we should will those ideas which are symmetrical to the endless curvature of manifest existence.

Such should be our guiding and principal doctrine.

An Empirical Analysis of ‘American Exceptionalism’

I would like to briefly cover the notion of ‘American Exceptionalism’. This topic has become progressively more and more contentious and now hovers like a spectre of death over public discourse within America like the malevolent khefts of Egyptian folklore. Public opinion has clearly, unquestionably turned. In place of the heroic nationalism of old the public now prostrates itself upon the alter of diverse corporatist internationalism. This paradigm shift has led most, normally level-headed and parsimonious US citizens to believe that to hold the United States of America as exceptional is to call for a return to the dark ages or some kind of jingoistic fascism. This is manifestly untrue.

Indeed, it is not even the crux of the argument. To argue against American Exceptionalism one must assess whether or not the idea holds water. We must endeavor to see if this notion is empirically true. It should here be noted that exceptional does not necessarily mean better or worse, in either a moral, spiritual or material dimension, just wildly, notably divergent. Thus, let us tackle the topic along four main lines, that of military might, economic success, scientific advancement and cultural development. These four attributes are widely held as those most important and crucial to accurately discerning the totality of a nation, state, empire, ect.

 

First up, then, is the united states military which is currently the largest and most powerful in the world with a massive budget of 601 million dollars, which is larger than the next nine nations listed on the Credit Suisse’s index, combined together. In terms of troops the US boasts an active military personnel roster totaling 1,400,000, as well as a formidable array of technologically advanced armaments including 8,848 tanks, 13,892 aircrafts, 72 submarines as well as 10 air craft carriers and the most airpower of any other nation in the world. Not to mention the enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons, which is, again, bigger than any other single countries nuclear arsenal. But not only is America’s military prowess dominant, currently, it has also boasted world wide military dominance since the end of World War 2.

Next let us look to economics. Currently, the United States of America has the world’s largest economy in terms of GDP with a aggregate value of 17.9 trillion dollars total. This accounts for 24.5 percent of the world’s total gross product, a staggering sum which is widely disproportionate to the actual size of the country and it’s relatively small population density. It should here be noted that though China does indeed produce a slightly higher gross national product, in general, sitting at 19.4 trillion dollars, the united states still has a far higher rate of GDP per capita, with 55,805 dollars per capita in the US as opposed to China which offers only around 14,107 dollars per capita. Thus the United States, which accounts for approximately five percent of the worlds total population creates nearly 25 percent of the world’s total wealth.

So what about science? Well, according the Scimago Journal & Country Rank, a popular aggregating website dedicated to the analysis of the dissemination of scientific journals by country and density, as of 2015 the United States of America has published 567,007 scientific peer reviewed papers, far more than China, the second highest ranked via the website, which has released around 416,409 during that same year. But, of course, scientific research papers are not everything, what about actual technological advancement? Well, here the US is still quite manifestly exceptional both currently and historically. For instance, US researchers, innovators and scientists are responsible for the creation of such technological marvels as: high yield disease resistant crops, nearly all of the life saving pharmaceuticals currently being used all around the world, the invention of refrigeration, the electric telegraph, anesthesia, the airplane, the bull dozer, deep space astronomy, the liquid fueled rocket, the integrated circuit, EEG based brain topography techniques, nylon, trans uranium elements, the transistor, nuclear weapons, the laser, as well as the personal computer. The US is also to thank for completely mapping out the human genome. The list of empirically useful and often life saving scientific advancements just goes on and on. And again, this was done by only five percent of the world’s population.

americanexceptionalism
Add “Proposition Nation” to the list of exceptions.

So lastly, let us look to the most difficult of the four attributes to quantify: culture. Art is a potent signifier of culture so let us begin there. The top fifty highest grossing films of all time were all made by American studios, the top six best selling albums of all time are also all american. The United States is also still heavily relied upon as a basis for the still developing “international culture” which arose out of post enlightenment values. Also, contrary to the popular opinion held by people such as Bill Maher, who state that the world quote “hates america” the global opinion of america is still highly favorable as numerous polls, such as those done by the PEW research center have shown.

We could go on for days but all I really want to convince you of, my fellow Americans, is that the exceptional nature of the united states, whether you love it or hate it, is largely, objectively traceable. So I would encourage you, my fellow countrymen, when next someone says that they are quote, so damned tired of American Exceptionalism, end quote, to tell them that, in essence, what they are really saying is that they are tired of manifest and empirically demonstrable reality.

 

Editor’s note: This article was originally published earlier this year, exact figures and budgets may have altered slightly since the writing of this piece.

Follow Kaiter online here