No More Philosophy

There will be no more explicit philosophy on The Moral Individual site: first because Ayn Rand said, "Never Take Any Of It Seriously," (expanded on here), and, second, because H.L. Mencken explained why no one is interested in it. Of course Ayn Rand never meant philosophy itself was not to be taken seriously, but that whoever understands true philosophy never has to take anything else seriously.

[NOTE: When I say I will write no more philosophy, I mean I'll write no more for my site. My little experiment criticizing Dr. Harry Binswanger's How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation has been the proof.

Not all of my philosophy is included in that book, but virtually all of my ontology and epistemology are. As for ethics and politics most of my philosophy in those areas is included in the two articles on Tathagatagarbhaianism. Of course those articles are metaphorical, but the principles are there, and principles do not change.

The only branch of philosophy not covered in any of my online articles is aesthetics. It is included in my complete philosophy, but since I will probably not publish that, now that I have proved no one is interested in philosophy, it will remain uncovered. A pity, really, since it is the branch of philosophy for which all the others are only the prelude, and the one which I most love.

Why No One Is Interested In Philosophy

It is not really surprising that most people are not interested in philosophy. As H.L. Mencken said, "So long as there are men in the world, 99 percent of them will be idiots, ..." [The New Mencken Letters] Idiots are not likely to be interested in philosophy, and even if they were, they would be incapable of understanding it.

What is a little surprising, or perhaps more exactly, disappointing, is the fact that not one of the remaining one percent of those who are not complete idiots are interested in philosophy either. Some of them claim an interest in philosophy but it is always some academic perversions of philosophy, written and taught by those who use the methods of philosophy, not to discover the truth, but to evade and obfuscate it.

Even those who might be able to understand philosophy hate true philosophy because it describes reality as it actually is and it is reality the sophists and cynics, passing themselves off as intellectuals and philosophers despise.

Reality is immutable, absolute, and ruthless. Immutable means the nature of reality cannot be changed or ever be other than what it is. Absolute means reality is complete and unconditional; it is all there is and is not contingent on anything. Ruthless means reality determines what is true and not true, and no human feelings, desires, choices, acts, beliefs, fears, or wishes can change it.

No one wants to learn about that kind of reality, but it is the only reality there is. No one wants philosophy because the reality it describes is not nice:

  • The real world is a very difficult place in which to live.
  • There are no shortcuts to life, success, or happiness.
  • You must earn everything by your own effort.
  • Anything less than your best is failure.
  • You cannot do wrong and get away with it.
  • There is no forgiveness.
  • There is no mercy.
  • Neither your feelings nor your desires matter.
  • Reality is all there is, the way it is.
  • The truth is whatever correctly describes any aspect of reality, and everything else is a lie or a delusion.

What Human Beings Prefer

One reason I will no longer write philosophy is because there is no point in attempting to teach philosophy to those who can neither understand or appreciate it. Philosophy is for the exceptional. Everyone else, those Mencken called, "the common man," but today are referred to as the, "TV viewing public," are ignorant, stupid, superstitious, and choose to be stuck in that condition.

It's not a necessary condition. People choose to be what they are. They are mostly poor, unhappy, and always in some kind of trouble but never make the connection between their misery and their beliefs.

No one has to be ignorant. They could all learn more than they do. Ignorant does not mean not knowing everything, it means not learning all one can learn.

No one has to be stupid. Stupid doesn't mean unable to think, it means not thinking as well as one can and not bothering to learn how.

No one has to be gullible. They could all see what they believe cannot possibly be true. Superstitious does not mean being afraid of black cats and Friday the 13th, it means believing things without evidence or reason, based on nothing more than one's feelings, sentiments, irrational fears, baseless impressions, or credulity in some experts or authorities.

[NOTE: Ignorance does not mean knowing nothing. Everyone knows enough to live from day to day, but they make little or no effort to learn any more. Stupid does not mean unable to think at all. Everyone is able to think well enough to get along if there are no really difficult problems to solve or decisions to make. Some of the things people believe are true, but about all the major issues of life, what they believe does not even resemble reality.]

It Is Impossible To Teach Others

H.L. Mencken used the example of religion to illustrate the hopelessness of changing others by means of "teaching." Mencken believed, I think correctly, that human stupidity and gullibility was nearly universal. In a letter to Upton Sinclair he wrote:

"So long as there are men in the world, 99 percent of them will be idiots, and so long as 99 percent of them are idiots they will thirst for religion, and so long as they thirst for religion, it will remain a weapon over them. I see no way out. If you blow up one specific faith, they will embrace another. [The New Mencken Letters {1977}, edited by Carl Bode, p.76]

It should be obvious to anyone of average intelligence (which is not actually "average," but very rare) that what Mencken observed is true. The majority of mankind is stupid and helplessly gullible and totally incapable of an original thought. He said the same:

"The average man never really thinks from end to end of his life. The mental activity of such people is only a mouthing of cliches. What they mistake for thought is simply a repetition of what they have heard. My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought." [H.L. Mencken, Minority Report]

It Doesn't Really Matter

So, I'll write no more philosophy, because it is a hopeless cause. Almost no one can understand it, and those who might, are not interested in it. Mencken was right: "The majority of men prefer delusion to truth. It soothes. It is easy to grasp. Above all, it fits more snugly than the truth into a universe of ... complex ... phenomena, defectively grasped." [The Anti-Christ]

It is not very important anyway. Most of the things people take seriously, and devote their lives and energies to do not matter at all, as I explained in the article mentioned above: Never Take Any Of It Seriously.

Only Individual's and Truth Matter

Almost all that goes by the name, "philosophy," is actually some kind of "program" intended to make a society the kind of society some crack-pot "philosopher" and as many sycophants he can garner, think a society ought to be. Philosophy is not social any more than mathematics is social. Philosophy pertains only to individuals and all collective (social) views and attempts to "organize" are anti-philosophy. While I can understand how so-called libertarians can fall for such collectivist views, I am somewhat amazed that those who call themselves "Objectivists" are some of the most collectivist, since their high priestess, Ayn Rand, totally rejected it:

"Individualists have always been reluctant to form any sort of organization. The best, the most independent, the hardest working, the most productive members of society have always lived and worked alone. But the incompetent and the unscrupulous have organized." [The Letters of Ayn Rand, July 20, 1941, to Channing Pollock.]

The moral man or woman is too busy being a creative productive individual to waste their abilities, time, and effort on the organized efforts of others. Organized efforts are for, "the incompetent and the unscrupulous." The truly moral human being wants no part of them.