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Tue, 29 Nov 2022
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


The day Dostoyevsky discovered the meaning of life in a dream

© Getty Images
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
"And it is so simple... You will instantly find how to live."

One November night in the 1870s, legendary Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky (November 11, 1821-February 9, 1881) discovered the meaning of life in a dream — or, at least, the protagonist in his final short story did. The piece, which first appeared in the altogether revelatory A Writer's Diary (public library) under the title "The Dream of a Queer Fellow" and was later published separately as The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, explores themes similar to those in Dostoyevsky's 1864 novel Notes from the Underground, considered the first true existential novel. True to Stephen King's assertion that "good fiction is the truth inside the lie," the story sheds light on Dostoyevsky's personal spiritual and philosophical bents with extraordinary clarityperhaps more so than any of his other published works. The contemplation at its heart falls somewhere between Tolstoy's tussle with the meaning of life and Philip K. Dick's hallucinatory exegesis.

The story begins with the narrator wandering the streets of St. Petersburg on "a gloomy night, the gloomiest night you can conceive," dwelling on how others have ridiculed him all his life and slipping into nihilism with the "terrible anguish" of believing that nothing matters. He peers into the glum sky, gazes at a lone little star, and contemplates suicide; two months earlier, despite his destitution, he had bought an "excellent revolver" with the same intention, but the gun had remained in his drawer since. Suddenly, as he is staring at the star, a little girl of about eight, wearing ragged clothes and clearly in distress, grabs him by the arm and inarticulately begs his help. But the protagonist, disenchanted with life, shoos her away and returns to the squalid room he shares with a drunken old captain, furnished with "a sofa covered in American cloth, a table with some books, two chairs and an easy-chair, old, incredibly old, but still an easy-chair."

As he sinks into the easy-chair to think about ending his life, he finds himself haunted by the image of the little girl, leading him to question his nihilistic disposition.


The impossibility of Christian transhumanism

stained glass ceiling
So-called "Christian transhumanism," or the attempt to blend the transhumanist agenda with the precepts of Christian theology, has been around for some time. But there has been a recent resurgence of interest in the project. The book Religious Transhumanism and Its Critics, published in 2019, claims to offer "first-hand testimony to the value of the transhumanist vision perceived by the religious mind." The volume includes contributions from a number of Christians. The "Christian Transhumanist Association" (CTA), formed in 2014, is actively dedicated to promoting transhumanism as a means of "participating with God in the redemption, reconciliation, and renewal of the world."

The problem with these efforts is that the transhumanist worldview and the Christian faith are incompatible. One cannot be a "Christian transhumanist" — any more than one can be a Christian Buddhist or Christian Muslim.

Transhumanism is a futuristic social movement. Its adherents believe that immortality is attainable in the corporeal world through the wonders of applied technology. The goal is to become "H+," or more than human. Transhumanist proselytizers include academics like Oxford's Nick Bostrom, Big Tech gurus like Ray Kurzweil, and popularizers like 2016 presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan. They promise that "the singularity" is coming — the time when a crescendo of scientific advances will make the movement unstoppable and transhumanists will transform themselves into super-beings who can enjoy physical life without end.


Breaking the cycle of hurting others when you have been mistreated

I grew up with difficult and hurtful parents who spoke critically, with the intent to demean.

Each word of sarcasm, each thinly veiled joke or put-down undercut my self-esteem. Each knocked me down a rung in life and kept me from my potential.

Rampant comparisons to other Indian kids succeeding academically, attacks of my mediocre performance at school, and harsh language were my mother's weapons of choice.

Comment: The above is easier said than done, but essentially, the author is asking you to adopt a more Stoic approach to life. See also:

Book 2

The Science of Evil: A Personal Review of Political Ponerology

new edition political ponerology
A new edition of Political Ponerology, by Andrew M. Łobaczewski, edited by Harrison Koehli, is now available on Amazon.1 This strange and provocative book argues that totalitarianism is the result of the extension of psychopathology from a group of psychopaths to the entire body politic, including its political and economic systems. Political Ponerology is essential reading for concerned thinkers and all sufferers of past and present totalitarianism. It is especially crucial today, when totalitarianism has once again emerged, this time in the West, where it is affecting nearly every aspect of life, including especially the life of the mind.

When I first encountered Political Ponerology, I had been struggling to understand just how totalitarian leftism had effectively taken over the United States of America. Ever since my encounters with the rabid social justice warriors as a professor at New York University — recounted in my book Springtime for Snowflakes — I began to note, with no little alarm, the totalitarian character of the contemporary Left. Then the emergence of "woke" ideology and its metastasis from academia into the entire social body set me on a mission to understand the rise of totalitarianism — because I believed, and still do, that "wokism" is totalitarian. Far from being "liberal" in the classical sense, woke ideology is akin to the Jacobinism that fueled the communist revolutions in Russia, China, and elsewhere. It aims to tear down the established order in its entirety, and to remake the world in its image of utopia.

I began with the study of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and continued by examining the exportation of Bolshevik variants to Eastern Europe and Asia. Communism was more interesting to me than Nazism and a much more neglected terrain in the US academy. Further, it was more relevant in the current context. In attempting to research leftist political criminality, I was both amazed and enraged at how the academy had buried much of the history. For example, searches for the practices of "struggle sessions" and "autocritique," which were so prevalent during the Cultural Revolution in China, yielded next to nothing. These and related topics were either not treated or else simply disappeared. I suspected that a vast coverup had been undertaken.

Comment: In these times, where most of the world's leaders are openly displaying their pathology, this book could now be considered essential reading. See also:

Light Saber

How to deal with a sociopath

sociopath definition
The following are 13 rules for dealing with sociopaths in everyday life by Martha Stout in her book The Sociopath Next Door. I thought we could look at these in regards to the sociopaths who rule over us (and are probably not next door, but neither are they far away from our everyday lives).

1. The first rule involves the bitter pill of accepting that some people literally have no conscience

I'm not sure that this is such a bitter pill given what we now know about the sociopath, although it is a difficult thing to come to terms with - after all, they do seem to be a lot like us, yet at the same time very different. For our purposes of dealing with the sociopath in the White House (or the UN, WEF, NIH, take your pick of institution) I think the first rule is accepting that they are there, in those places of influence, and they have no conscience whatsoever (and that's exactly the way they want it).


Eye 1

Origins of sociopathy: the etiology of guiltlessness

sociopath (bigger size)
© Men's Health
I'm returning to Dr Martha Stout's book The Sociopath Next Door as a basis to explore the origins of sociopathy (antisocial personality disorder).

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a deeply ingrained and dysfunctional thought process that focuses on social exploitive, delinquent, and criminal behavior most commonly known due to the affected individual's lack of remorse for these behaviors.1

As I've mentioned before, the causal factors for sociopathy are likely to be a combination of genetic predispositions and environmental factors. In other words it's both "nature" and "nurture". Heritability studies have found a very strong correlation2 between identical twins who show psychopathic traits in contrast to fraternal twins who do not demonstrate the same degree of correlation. This doesn't mean we can test for a certain "sociopathic gene" as personality traits are underpinned by a complexity of genes in conjunction with the unique neural architecture of the individual that's partly shaped through experience (the environmental factors). But we do have some hints at what is happening at a neurobiological level.
...sociopathic subjects showed increased blood flow to the temporal lobes, relative to other subjects, when they were given a decision task that involved emotional words. To enable our concentration, you or I might exhibit such an increased cerebral blood flow if we were asked to solve a mildly challenging intellectual problem. In other words, sociopaths trying to complete an assignment based on emotional words, a task that would be almost neurologically instantaneous for normal people, reacted physiologically more or less as if they had been asked to work out an algebra problem. (Stout, 2021, p.125)

SOTT Logo Radio

MindMatters: Beyond the Schizo-Autistic Worldview: Introducing the Matter with Things

brain matter things
Our understanding of each other, ourselves, the world, science and philosophy is in a sorry state. Ratiocentric, transactional, materialistic, and narcissistic assumptions dominate over a more coherent and understanding. We're living in the left hemisphere. But what is the alternative? And if the left-hemisphere view of the world is so often destructive, what place does it hold in the broader, right-hemisphere picture? And what does this imply about the nature of man, and of reality? Iain McGilchrist has written a remarkable book in which he answers these questions: The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World. Today on MindMatters we are again joined by Lucien to introduce the book's many important insights.

Running Time: 01:14:16

Download: MP3 — 102 MB


The colors of Ukraine stay mainly in the brain

Color Revolution
© Substack/The Good Citizen
The social engineers are everywhere. We are ruled by psychopaths who use teams of behavioral psychologists to nudge society in one direction or another. Those charged with this grotesque duty in Britain even apologized for using totalitarian methods of propaganda to create fear and hysteria to subdue the population during the plandemic. This UK government psyop group is known as the "Behavioral Insights Team" or the "nudge unit". Laura Dodsworth, a fellow Substacker wrote a bestseller on this: A State of Fear: how the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic

These psychological managers have piles of research and data on what's effective in moving the masses. Sometimes this happens through intentionally coordinated lock-step political policies like lockdowns and social distancing, other times through intentional economic pain like high gas prices to alter consumer behavior (buy EVs), and the most obvious nudging, if one is capable of seeing it, occurs with intentional lies and propaganda to manipulate thoughts and feelings about events that are also often intentionally prepared in a way to affect our view of them.

The lesser known manipulation happens at the subconscious level.

Twenty years from now a retired British man will sit at a park bench next to a young couple he overhears talking about the great pandemic of 2020-2022 and how they had to wear masks in preschool. He will eventually interrupt them and say:

"I remember those years. I remember them very well. Those were the blue and yellow years." They will look at him suspiciously before he asks them, "What do you young lovers know about colors?" He will not offer them chocolates or ask about bus schedules.


Acceptance of and Commitment to Freedom

commitment to freedom
There are many things we can do to liberate ourselves, and each other, from the tyranny of government. Unfortunately, for generations, we have been educated to believe we are powerless. Supposedly our voice can only be heard through the ballot box, through our extremely limited ability to lobby and through whatever protests we are allowed.

This is a deception. We have all the power, government has none and we can change the world whenever we choose.

All we need to do is realise our collective agency and strength. The good news is that if we consistently work toward freedom, achieving it is a nailed-on certainty. The bad news is that very few of us are even aware of the need to change our behaviour and fewer still know how to do it.

Our broad lack of awareness leaves us at the mercy of those who do understand how to misuse behaviour change techniques and applied psychology for nefarious purposes. This mistreatment has led a sizeable minority to rail against applied behavioural psychology. Yet, should we decide to use these strategies ourselves, the potential for positive social change is immense.

This article is written in the hope that we can all learn how to use behaviour change techniques for our benefit. Behaviour change is a skill that can be learned and, with practice, become a powerful tool for personal development. We can use it to defeat the plans of those who would use it against us and construct a free society.


Creative Imagination and Mystical Experience in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabî, by Henry Corbin

God as Imagination: the Image and the Imaginer in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabî

angels mural
michaelangelo 1
da vinci man
angels mural