on paradoxes of our time

In this previous post, my friend Ron wrote, and I think it needs further discussion

One man’s sheer waste is another man’s treasure. That’s the beauty of the free market: everyone votes with their wallet.

and I am sure among other things, he knows about information asymmetry or planned obsolescence or even protectionism  that many countries, including the US do.

And while it would be argued that what one find as waste another would find as treasure, this argument doesn’t rule out the fact there is so much waste being produced and that the energies involved would be used in producing more useful stuff.

For as long as I can remember, and that’s a really long time, there was no Halloween celebrations here. In the last few years, some parents have been forced to buy costumes for their children and maybe for themselves, money that would be spent in other useful ventures but thanks to ads and TV shows, it is being spent on useless, from where I sit, expenses.

So while Ron would like to praise the free market, I would be careful to do so. It depends on deception and in some cases, government help to keep afloat.

paradoxes of our times

that we live at a time when the accumulated wealth of the species is unfathomable and we have people who are desperately poor.

Kropotkin writing in the 19th century opined then that had everyone been engaged in producing useful stuff, we would address world poverty. he also said an economic system that was a trifle reasonable would not permit a few people, who by limiting production, increase prices of goods and services.

In his own words

[..]But over and above this, we must take into account all the labour that goes to sheer waste- here, in keeping up the stables, the kennels, and the retinue of the rich, there in pandering to the caprices of society and the depraved tastes of the fashionable mob; there again, in forcing the consumer to buy what he does not need, or foisting an inferior article upon him by means of puffery, and in producing on the other hand wares which are absolutely injurious, but profitable to the manufacturer. What is squandered in this manner would be enough to double the production of useful things. (The Conquest of Bread by Kropotkin)

right of reply

In this article, Adipo says of atheists

The atheist traveller on the hand contrary argues he knows there exists no such bridge and challenges the theist traveller to prove otherwise.

and while i don’t claim to speak for all atheists, I can say without fear of contradiction that most atheists would argue they have no belief in the existence of god(s) but would generally revise their belief should evidence be made available. The above does not equate to saying no gods exists, which is  the point Adipo is making in his argument. It can actually be argued that agnostics live their life with the belief that sufficient evidence for gods have not been proven, that is, like atheists.

And while he seems to avoid discussing the gods, he seems to me, in his final comment to make a species of the gods, creator gods, irrelevant. He says

Space and time are both metaphysical and infinite – beyond anyone’s cause.

and I don’t disagree. This position puts paid the argument of a god living out of space and time.

And I think there are good reasons to mock religion.

god’s will

I have mentioned elsewhere I am reading a book by El-Saadawi titled Diary of a child name Souad, which was her first literary work. It is presented as narrative, interposed with dialogue in various places, but of a child. And at some point, the child wonders

what the benefit is for a human to think and choose good, for example, if God has decreed evil for him?

Is not everything god’s will? She continues to ask

can a human do good against God’s will?

And we have her father respond thus

God decrees evil for evil people and for good ones, he decrees good

the Souad asks a follow up question

God is the one who creates the evil and the good, can the evil become good against God’s will

and finally in anger, her father responds, and it could be any believer in DCT or any of those millions who justify the Canaanite massacre

this is God’s wisdom in his creation and he is free to do what he wants with his slaves. He gives to who he wants, and denies who he wants, and he bestows gifts on who he wants, and leads astray who he wants. Everything goes according to his will. He is the wise knower.

and this reminds me of the book by Boethius, Consolations of philosophy, where Fortune is portrayed as both blind and capricious, favouring whom she wills and reminding Boethius he has no reason to complain about his situation.

on human intellect

Nietzsche writes

There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no further mission that would lead beyond human life. It is human, rather, and only its owner and producer gives it such importance, as if the world pivoted around it. But if we could communicate with the mosquito, then we would learn that he floats through the air with the same self-importance, feeling within itself the flying center of the world. There is nothing in nature so
despicable or insignificant that it cannot immediately be blown up like a bag by a slight breath of this power of knowledge; and just as every porter wants an admirer, the proudest human being, the philosopher, thinks that he sees on the eyes of the universe telescopically focused from all sides on his actions and thoughts.