Society vs. the Individual

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Society versus the Individual

We’ve all heard it a million times: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
A thousand times we’ve heard that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. The prosecution is of course some representative of the society. Please notice that in the first cliché, tell the truth, the burden of suspicion is on the witness: please ask how well the second gets realized:

Anything you say can and will be used against you.
2013 08 18 The state is palming itself as the society, is flexing its muscle, is accusing the individual, in advance, of mendacity: needful of scolding, of correction: coercive, punishing correction.
(I’ll yield that the individual is probably lying so long as the society concedes that the state is almost certainly lying.)

We’ve also all heard a million times: a prophet is never heard in his own land; only the good die young; the genius artist is starving in a garret; the Harvard Ph.D. at nineteen is working as a janitor; the curse of the seer is never to be believed … The philosophy that’s touted to us tells the story of the “democracy” we admire and pretend to imitate condemning to death its “best” thinker, its most honest and forthright and imaginative and disciplined citizen.

socrates suicide
good painting! Jacques-Louis David

The religion we pretend to follow in the largest numbers has as its central symbol the execution of its main prophet, claimed to be God incarnate, at the hands of … what? the society’s highest representatives: both secular and sacred.

Shouldn’t there be a constitutional guarantee protecting the individual from the automatic suicide of telling the truth?

Shouldn’t the burden of proof be on the society both that it itself is truthful and that it will not persecute the truth teller?

Of course not. The society doesn’t have to prove anything about itself other than that it controls the guns, the jails, the police, the bombs … the war machine. When society is Church-dominant, then society controls the truth, the evidence, all authority: just like a stage magician. The medieval Christian Church had a branch devoted to preservation and publication. That branch was the monastery system. As the society turned secular a counter-branch formed called the universities. The universities duplicated the monasteries in their poverty, in their austerity … only with a secular emphasis. Its saints are volunteers, you don’t have to pay them, you don’t have to thank them. In modern societies, church and state are one, and, once again, the monasteries are state-funded. The stage magician is more securely ensconced than ever (until nature intervenes). Is any priest/professor going to jeopardize his living by being generally learned and free spoken, “truthful,” on issues of vital importance? Not on your life. Certainly not on his.

Ivan Illich said we must recover language. (I ask when we ever possessed it?) Individuals may be honest, may speak and write responsibly … the Socrates, the Jesus, the Einstein … of the stories. (Those heroes are all myths, of course, regardless of whether there’s historical evidence of their existence: we only know them from reports, and the reports were not made under any strict burden of truth. The public language has never been responsible to any strict standard of truth.)

Jefferson said it was “self-evident” that all men were created equal. Watch out for anything supposed to be “self-evident.” Self-evident to the moron public? Or is this suggestive hypnosis? Equal? What does “equal” mean? Equal has meaning in mathematical tautology. What testable thing can it mean to macro-creatures within a kleptocracy in the macro-universe?

Public language uses words as shape-shifters: they’ll mean whatever the speaker or hearer wants them to mean in a given circumstance. The Bible has God have Moses carve for the chosen people: “Thou shalt not kill.” It was carved in Hebrew but not gathered into a “Bible” till the chosen people no longer spoke Hebrew. Now we read it translated into English by scholars who may have “studied” Hebrew, but they never really spoke it. What does it mean? in Hebrew, or in Aramaic, or in English? Did anyone in the Bible obey it? Has anyone since? Did God intend it to mean anything? Did Moses? Didn’t God demand that Abram sacrifice Isaac? So he stopped him, so what? Hadn’t he demanded it? OK. So that was before the Commandments. Again so what? How about a little self-consistency? So that was supposed to be the last of the human sacrifices … Ah, but now we’re into evolution, change, difference … How does an evolving God square with “Law”?

Didn’t God continue to demand animal sacrifices? Isn’t that killing? Aren’t all creatures who might read this predators? don’t we live by killing? Even non-predators kill. Don’t vegetarians kill plants? leaves? don’t the white corpuscles of the blood kill pathogens? What’s the point of a Law that cannot be obeyed?

Kenneth C. Davis, in Don’t Know Much About the Bible, says the commandment means don’t murder. Then why doesn’t it say so? But even so, that’s just a chair spilled in front of the sprinter. What does “murder” mean? Is murder defined? Is the definition tested? Universally? In all circumstances? How does your sergeant telling you to pull the trigger after the lieutenant told him to tell you, after etc. exonerate you?

In the United States no one can know what’s murder and what isn’t until a jury has convicted for murder. There is no truth until a jury decides what it is. Without a conviction it’s just words. But even then we don’t know: there may be appeals, retrials, higher court overturns … even the Supreme Court can reverse itself. It hasn’t yet reversed itself more than once, but there’s always a first time.

I say that law resides strictly with nature. Real laws operate automatically, instantaneously, without appeal. What isn’t fake in civilization?

I say that language is little more than another cover, another stalking horse, another deception … in a society of large, over-populated, socially-organized-and-camouflaged predators. Law and language may responsibly reside only in individuals, for moments only perhaps, and then only in a drastic minority of individuals. I try far more than is good for me personally. I wear my punishments as badges of honor. But, whether or not such marks are visible to the defrauding/defrauded majority and their bomb- and jail-backed “authorities,” their comatose, aphasic “teachers,” no sign of recognition is given other than the punishments themselves.

I wear my punishments as badges of honor.

There is one complex set of things that ought to be obvious. There’s no way to tell how many individuals recognize it without the society coordinating the counting. I know I’m writing this and other essays. I see the writings of some good thinkers published. It remains to be seen how much will be kept in print, freely distributed. But there’s no published census of dissent. The thing I refer to as “ought to be obvious” is this:

The God of “Thou shalt not Kill” is supposed to have created the universe: about six thousand years ago. That God doesn’t seem to know much about the actual universe. He and his authors seem a pretty ignorant and far from honest lot. That God is supposed to “own” everything. How did ownership come to be associated with the universe? Isn’t that a recent invention? Six to ten thousand years old at the oldest in a nearly five billion year old solar system in a fourteen or so billion “year” old universe? How does ownership come to be coeval with the universe? Doesn’t it reasonably seem as well that creation follows existence? Creation doesn’t precede its possibility. Creation occurs within the universe. First there was Time: then Pleroma, then Creatura, then Sentiens … then creation … then God.

Anyway, this God owns Canaan and everything else. The people who’d been living in Canaan for however long didn’t own it. Sound familiar? We in the US pulled the same trick with the Mohawk, the Lakota, the Cheyenne … The US is founded in theft and genocide, lies and broken treaties, built by slavery … Political repression has existed from the get go of this recent kleptocracy. So what do we have to hear about from the kleptocrats and their colleagues and allies? Theft, murder, genocide, lies, slavery? No: we hear about rights, freedom, democracy, education, law, order … What meaning does any of those words have in the mouth of a kleptocrat (or from one supported by the kleptocracy)? Do any of the meanings match historical usage?

god's property
thanx licenseplates

What does freedom mean? Law? Order? How about religion? They are all covers. For kleptocratic predators.

Please: I am not suggesting for a moment that pre-civilized man was truthful or honest, had freedom, rights, or free speech … Personally, I want no freedom not implicit in the biosphere. If rights can be granted, then rights can be denied. I want nothing to do with rights. Neither do I mean to imply that I am not a predator. I am and I exult in it. note

Free speech? I have it. I exercise it. Look what it’s gotten me. Look what it’s gotten you. The more freely I speak the fewer resources come my way. What good is sending a signal where there’s no receiver? No qualified receiver. Only mind-stunted morons. With degrees. And bombs. And jails. And an epistemology that declares them right by number.

One final reflection back to the beginning: The court glibly demands that the witness testify truthfully. The court glibly assumes that’s its own truthfulness will be assumed (despite the evidence). Who’s in the court to monitor this truthfulness? Is Jesus there? or Socrates, or Einstein? Is there a quorum of independent epistemologists? scientists? philosophers? No. What you see is a room full of lawyers! backed by a chorus of schooled morons. Please. Tell me one important truth ever discovered by lawyers. (Or a single important truth discovered by a school. Don’t be misled by a school’s hiring a thinker after he’s made a discovery.)

Can and Will Be Used Against You : Big Brother Threats

When I was a kid there were no warnings on tobacco packages. There was no warning about mislabeling on the school, nor on the church. Nor at election time. The theater showed movies: you didn’t go in to see John Wayne and sit there and read threats from the FBI, eight years old, sitting there, you weren’t accused of being a pirate, no penalties were scrolled past you. But there was that telltale tone from the authoritarian state, lying through its teeth that you were free, an individual … in charge.

Aged fifty-something I laughed out loud when some bureaucrat told me that the fine for what I was doing was $200,000 per day! I was cutting vines from choking trees by a brook behind my trailer park. Guy said I couldn’t touch anything in a “wet land.” When I laughed in his face, he tried to resume his posture, but fled. Sebring, 1989, Highland Wheel Estates, Hammock Road. (The state could have hung me from the wall of a dungeon, but they could not have collected $2 a day from me, let along $200,000. Neither could the state have collected such a sum from the park owners: it was Dick who pointed out the vines to me, invited me to cut some, if I felt like it. The state would not have hung Dick in a dungeon: he’d been a cop: a state tool. Using me as a slave was part of his retirement, his reward for being a dumbbell.)


Predatory Exultation:

Neither do I mean to suggest that I don’t lie. On the contrary, not only can I lie, I’m a very good liar. Thus I can testify: the courts aren’t receptive to the truth, but are great suckers for lies. I have beaten 100% of the traffic tickets where I was dead in the wrong but bothered to defend. I know what I need to do to get out of it and I do it. In diametrical contrast however, when I am a wronged party, when I tell the truth … I bat zero. Thus far in my life, this is a true ratio: 100% to 0%: in favor of lying over telling the truth.

Backing the Inventor After the Invention:

I admit that one can find examples recently but that too may be at least partly discounted by the fact that so much time is now spent by so many in school. Ivan Illich points out that learning takes place in school because that’s where the young are: you can’t stop learning from taking place. Similarly, if schools gather all the thinkers that the school can tolerate who can also tolerate being in the school, then certainly some discovery ought to take place there. No causal relationship follows. The only reasonable test would be to take a population of thinkers, randomly divide them, put one group in school, and leave the other group alone: monitor the results.

One would also have to discount the schools’ opinion as to what was important. One would also have to discount any additional incentives given by the school.

Of course the sports franchises in the largest markets win more than their share of championships. A basketball player’s local fame and $7 million salary are nothing compared to a Yankee’s Mickey Mantle getting the Wheaties box.

Burden of Proof

Shouldn’t the burden of proof be on the society both that it itself is truthful and that it will not persecute the truth teller?
That’s like expecting Newton to be able to turn gravity on or off by thinking. No, no: society and responsible thought are incompatible, social delusion about itself is a natural law: called homeostasis.


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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