When I look at Las Vegas, I see a concrete and flashing neon message to the universe that humanity won’t settle for caves and foraging. Both the churches and casinos are decadent monuments in the desert saying we are so highly evolved that we can afford to devote large amounts of time to indulging ourselves or morally policing those who do. Our beliefs and the specifics of our rituals may differ, but at the end of the day, the instincts that drive us are very much alike.
Source: Vice Magazine
I do not expect us all to agree about everything. But I would much rather have you believe in something I don’t agree with than to accept everything blindly. And that begins with thinking rationally.
I think the human condition is just baffling for everybody. We are alive for a few decades in a universe that is 15 billion years old and vast beyond our imagining. We define ourselves as having a fixed age of 30 or 40 years when the truth is that at a quantum level there is no part of you that is less than 15 billion years old.
Music provides us with a strange self-generated celebration of the human condition in the face of a universe that is ancient and vast beyond our understanding.
For me, music is an end unto itself but also a way of representing every aspect of the human experience. You can represent joy, despair, confusion, anger and so on.
A fantastic speech from the late Bill Hicks.
Be the change you want to see in this world.
I love how he has horns and a halo.
That gets to the heart of why his commentary was/is so brilliant and incisive… because we all have horns and a halo. :)
Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.
Because if the universe is beautiful to us, then what better model do we have for Justice than that which we find beautiful. That IS our ideal, sitting right in front of our noses. The most Just life decisions, social organizations, etc. are those that we could all agree would be most beautiful in the way that other things are beautiful to us. The reflexive offense we take to homelessness, for example, is rooted in the fact that it makes no sense, that it is deeply disorganized, deeply un-beautiful. And as Elaine Scarry has pointed out, we can notice in the history of our own moral philosophy that our ideals for justice (symmetry in distributional schemes, for example) mirror our aesthetic predilections. I agree with her that this isn’t coincidental. So this is just to say, that I don’t believe in a priori, external, eternal, transcendent, substantive justice. I believe that we have a bottomless impulse to figure out how to live best, individually and together. We variously call the imaginary end-point we are aiming for “justice,” “beauty,” “truth,” etc. But they are all just references to the same desire to live well, which is inescapably tautological, because to live well really just means to live justly, beautifully, truthfully.
I’m happy to have friends who wrestle with this stuff. Truly grateful.