Aesthetics and Reality - Transcript


0:00:00 Introduction to Freedom Aid Radio
0:02:00 Theory of Aesthetics: Conformity to Reality vs. Opinion
0:31:21 Art as Reproduction of Subjective as Objective
0:35:12 Art as Shield from Questioning Subjectivity
0:38:22 Detonation of Emotionality when Questioning Subjugation
0:40:39 Myth of Virtue as Service to Rulers

Long Summary

Stefan Molyneux from Freedom Aid Radio delves into a comprehensive exploration of aesthetics, beginning with the introduction of a new forum for advanced discussions. He delves into the concept of conformity, distinguishing between conformity to reality and conformity to opinion, citing the roots of such behavior in childhood. Stefan reflects on the survival tactic of conforming to the opinions of others, delving into the implications of fidelity to opinion. He discusses the necessity of mythology in obedience and the clash between obeying based on fear and rational self-interest.

Moving on, Stefan delves into the interplay between opinions and reality, highlighting the human struggle to reconcile obedience with fear and the need to reconstitute opinions as reality. He delves deep into the psychological dynamics behind conforming to opinions reimagined as reality, shedding light on the debilitating effects of questioning deeply ingrained beliefs. Stefan explores the role of art in distorting reality to align with subjective opinions, illustrating how art serves to reinforce false beliefs as facts.

Further, he discusses the principles of repetition, gigantism, and benevolent intimidation in art, emphasizing how art distorts reality to support subjective opinions. Stefan delves into the psychological ramifications of questioning subjective beliefs, touching on the emotional turmoil that ensues. He connects aesthetics to the reproduction of opinions as facts and the distortion of reality to uphold false principles. Stefan concludes by underscoring the importance of donations, humorously likening them to water in the desert.


aesthetics, conformity, reality, opinion, childhood experiences, obedience, fear, rational self-interest, psychological dynamics, false beliefs, art, repetition, emotional turmoil, subjective opinions, donations, humor



[0:00] Good morning, everybody. It's Stefan Molyneux from Freedom Aid Radio.
It is 10.45 on July the 5th, 2007, and I hope that you're doing very, very well.
I wanted to start on an ambitious, perhaps the most, perhaps indeed, the most ambitious podcast that I have tried to date, which is a theory of aesthetics, because God knows we need a new topic.
I just wanted to mention as well. I guess you've heard this.
You may not have heard this. You may not have received the email for Gold Plus donators.

[0:38] We have a new forum. It's not available or not visible to the general free domain radio population, and this is not trying to be exclusive or anything like that.
The simple fact of the matter is that we just need a place where the more advanced people, People who've gone through the FDR course, let's say, have a chance to work on more advanced topics without being consistently sort of dragged back to the ABCs by the newbies, which, of course, are more than welcome.
And I will still dip into the regular forum from time to time, but I wanted to have a place where there was progress, right, where you could sort of build on and build on your knowledge and move on to newer topics, more advanced topics.
Topics, and of course, where we can have a trial-free environment.

[1:22] Which would be very nice.
I have noticed that, of course, some of the longer-term listeners have dropped off a little bit of the map for the board, but so I wanted to, and I can understand why, right?
It's like, it's only so much time that you want to go back to spend going back to kindergarten when you got a PhD.
So I wanted to create a separate area so you can go and have a look at that.
If you log in and you're gold or diamond or philosopher king, you get your very own forum, which is invisible to everyone else.
So feel free to drop by and have a look at that. I haven't created any subforums there.
I don't know that it's particularly necessary, but of course the goal is to swell the ranks of these people.

Theory of Aesthetics: Conformity to Reality vs. Opinion

[2:01] So I wanted to start talking about a theory of aesthetics, which is to some degree also a theory of the mind, but the theory of the mind as a whole I'm going to to get into later.

[2:12] So it could be argued that perhaps it would be better to get into it first.

[2:18] But I don't feel that that is to be the case. I don't think that there's much point of a theory of a mind without seeing how it applies.
So let's see if something like it applies, and then we'll see if the theory itself, the underlying theory, has value.

[2:31] So, we know that there are two kinds of fidelity in the world.
There are two kinds of conformity in the world.
There is conformity to reality, and then there is conformity to opinion.
Conformity to reality, conformity to opinion. This is not radically new in this thread, or in this thought as a whole. Of course, Ayn Rand identified it, and other people have identified it.
She called those who identified with opinions to be second-handers, who say not, is this true, but do people believe this to be true?
And I don't feel the same hostility towards the second-handers as Ayn Rand did.
I think she had a great deal of hostility towards the second-handers, and for the most part, I think, felt that they chose their goal and chose their route with options.
I don't feel that that's the case. I have a lot more sympathy because I see the childhood origins of this kind of stuff very clearly, where you're not allowed to think for yourself.
You're not allowed to make decisions based on your own processing of reality.

[3:39] And you're not allowed to have a primacy of your own consciousness with regards to reality.
You are only allowed to obey those who have power over you.
And so you don't say what is true as a child. You say what is approved.
You don't say what is false. You say, what am I punished for?
And this fidelity to opinion is a core survival mechanism.
This is not something that, you know, people just sort of wake up and say, I'm going to be a slave to the opinions of others.
It is something that happens as a result of significant control, abusive control, over children from parents from a very early age.
And it's a survival mechanism. We don't just develop these things for the heck of it.
This is the problem I had with Ayn Rand. I think an insufficient appreciation of and understanding, perhaps, of biology and survivalism.
And, of course, I've had better stuff that's been written. I think the Dawkins stuff was around when she was around.
But better stuff has been written more recently with regards to this, the biological stuff. But the question to me is always, why?
Why would we have developed this fidelity to opinion?
Why would we have developed that? Because it's a survival, core survival tactic.
It's a core survival tactic.

[5:08] Tactic. Parents who believe that their opinions are facts have, of course, must have, we've talked about before, they must enforce those opinions with brutality because it's not backed up by reality, right?
So wherever you have opinions that aren't backed up by reality, you have to enforce them through violence.
And of course, the violence, the twin sort of pillars of violence for children is abuse and neglect, both of which, of course, are violent and abusive and life-threatening.
And we can certainly see empirically that parents are more than capable of attacking children for disobedience and hurting or destroying children for disobedience.
And since physical or emotional abuse is incredibly destructive to children, Children can form before they die.

[6:04] So the gene, let's just say, oversimplify it, the gene that would have children not obey their parents would not have lasted very long.
And, of course, parents do have some good things to say.
Don't eat the flaming red berries. Don't eat the meat that's 19 days old, has been lying in the sun.

[6:28] Try not to get bitten by too many mosquitoes. You know, things like that, that make sense. and don't grab the hot bucket of boiling water off the fire, stuff like that.
Parents do have stuff which children need to obey, as Dawkins has recently pointed out as one of the roots for childhood conformity and obedience in the realm of religion. I don't think that it's quite that way, though.
I don't think that it's quite that way. Because if you tell a child, don't eat the flaming red berries, you'll say, because X, Y, and Z.
And the because appeals to the child's self-interest, because she'll get sick or you'll die or something like that. that.
So it's not that parental authority and telling children what to do is the root of the kind of conformity to opinion that is enforced through brutality of one form or another. It's very different. It's very different.
I mean, if I say to you, you should be good because it will make you happy, that's a whole lot different than saying you should be good because otherwise you'll go to hell.
One is an appeal to rational self-interest. The other is an appeal to fear or the infliction of fear, which then results in a kind of frightened conformity, and it inhibits the rational processes of the mind to motivate people through fear.
So, it's a powerful and important survival mechanism to conform to the opinions that are inflicted upon you as a child.

[7:49] But the question then to me becomes, let's just say, and there are these two kinds of mystical, collectivist, conformist, scientific, empirical, rational, conformity with reality or conformity with opinion, the question is, for me, why do the people who want to conform or who end up being frightened into conforming with opinion, why don't they just be honest about it?
This, to me, is a central question, and it's the core question around, believe it or not, the sort of theory of aesthetics that we'll work towards. Why? Why? Why?
I mean, to take a simple example, if you don't like your family, but you go over for Sunday dinner and somebody says, why?
Why did you say, well, I don't like them, but I'm frightened of their disapproval, so I go.

[8:41] There's no reason, there's no implicit reason as to why you'd have to make up a whole bunch of nonsense about why you go, well, they were good to me when I was younger in many ways, they're nice people, they're a little dull, but they mean well, they did the best they could, you know, all this kind of stuff.
Or, I should like them more, maybe in your heart of hearts you say, well, I should like them more, but I'm just selfish, or whatever.
Why is it that we need all this mythology?
There's no reason that is sort of implicit why we would need all this mythology, right?
I mean, there's a reason why our tooth hurts, if it's infected, right?
It's so that we'll pull it out. You need that warning signal.
So that sort of makes sense. But why is it that people need to make up all this mythology, wherein conformity to opinion swells or morphs into conformity with two other things? things.
Conformity with opinion plus mythology equals conformity to reality slash morality.

[9:47] Conformity to opinion plus mythology equals conformity to reality slash ethics.
So, since there's no God, clearly opinions, everything that's to say with God is a mere opinion.
There is no such thing as God. And the opinion could be, I'm paranoid schizophrenic and I saw God God descending in a chariot of fire, and I took acid, but it's still just opinion. It's still subjective, right?
So since there is no God, and nobody actually gets to talk to God, and God didn't send anybody down, the famous defamed Jewish zombie to rescue the world from the original sin of the talking snake and the rib woman, since there is no God, it's all opinion, right?
So when the priest says, do X, it's just the priest's opinion that you're conforming to, right?
But why is it then that people need to say, well, there are these people who have have authority over me, my parents, my priests, politicians.

[10:40] Teachers. Why is it that people then need to say, well, it's not just conformity to opinion.
I don't just do stuff because I'm told to do stuff. I don't just do stuff because I'm afraid of being punished, or I like to be rewarded.
People can't bear that.
And that's very interesting. That is a really fascinating phenomenon.
And this, of course, is where the salvation of the species lies.
And this is why philosophy exists in the first place.
This is an absolutely fascinating fascinating thing. You take away the mythology from obedience and it becomes unbearable.
This is the whole power of the argument for morality plus the gun in the room.
You take away the mythology and obedience becomes unbearable.
This is an absolutely fascinating aspect of human psychology.
And the question is why? Why? Why should it be unbearable?
There's no particular objective reason as to why that would have to be the case.
Why or why or why should it be unbearable to obey just people.
So when somebody says you need to obey God, why is it that you need to believe in a God rather than just saying, well, I don't care about the, like saying in your heart of hearts, I don't really care about the whole God thing. Like I just obey this guy.

[11:54] So it would seem to me that the survival mechanism, and just trying to work empirically here for what it's worth, the survival mechanism of the species is that we cannot accept obeying another human being just because we're scared or we want rewards.
We can't bear that. You strip away the mythology.
That's why I say, take away the mythology, keep pointing out the gun in the room, and the world will change because it's unbearable. That's why the gun in the room is hidden, because everybody knows that human beings are constitutionally unable to consistently obey somebody based on fear and reward.
They can't admit that to themselves. They just can't.

[12:37] And so the survival mechanism is not conformity to the opinions of others.
It's conformity to the opinions of others that are reconstituted as reality. reality.
Thus, conformity to the opinions of others is transubstantiated or metamorphosed, it's metastasized into conformity with reality plus ethics, right?
So, you don't obey the priest, you obey God, who is real.
You're not just obeying the Ten Commandments, you are obeying the most moral entity and his rules, which are themselves moral and do exist.
And yes, there'll be some punishment and reward in there as well.
But of course, the punishment and reward of religion require you to believe in God.
So, human beings can't obey other human beings, fundamentally.
There's lots of reasons why that just is not something that people can do, right?
That's why Michael Moore in Sicko doesn't say, we need to stop pointing guns at people who won't turn over over their money for a coercive-driven healthcare system.
I need to throw people in jail who disagree with me on this.
No, he says, we all need to pull together. We all need to help those who are in need. All this kind of stuff, right? You have to hide the guy in the room.
Then you look at Michael Moore and say, you asshole. You asshole.

[13:59] You fat son of a bitch. Why on earth would I obey you?
That's the logic that people can't handle, or that people can't look at and live with, because it is too counter to reality.
It's just too counter to reality.
Why should I, a smart fellow, obey George Bush, push the well-coiffed dunderhead.

[14:25] And especially because this kind of aggression against the young, I'm thinking more sort of teenagers, especially teenage boys, right? I could take Bill Clinton, right?
I may not be the toughest guy in the world, but I could do that.
Guys had heart surgery and so on, right? So if Bill Clinton came along, and I'm talking like pre-guns and pre-bombs, it's just sort of hand-to-hand combat, well, it's illogical on every level.
Why should you obey those who are old and doddering when you're young and vital?
Why don't you just pull a Macbeth, right?

[15:01] So you have to have this mythology in order to subjugate yourself to others.
So you have to reconstitute opinion as reality. You can't obey opinion.
You must reconstitute opinion as reality.
That's why you have all of this mythology around the military and the government and parents from fundamental mythology.
The new mythology is pretty sad, right? Not on of my parents, but hey, they did the best they could.
They're from a different time, and that's done.
As soon as you say of your parents, they did the best they could, you're done with them.
That is such a sad and pitiful excuse for people.
Can you imagine if I said of my beloved wife, you know, she does the best she can. in.
I mean, what a crippling lack of respect that would entail.
So, fundamentally, human beings must obey reality.
It is the only thing that human beings are constitutionally able to sustain obedience to.
And thus, when you have a situation where brutal and ugly opinions are being substituted for reality, you naturally have a situation where those opinions need to be reconstituted as reality.
The unfortunate thing, or I guess the fortunate thing in terms of philosophy as a whole, is that that's more or less unsustainable, right?
I mean, that's more or less unsustainable.

[16:25] Because there is no God, there are no countries. Parents are not synonymous with virtue. you.
So, then the question becomes, I think, sort of the next logical step then becomes this.
How on earth are you going to pretend to yourself that opinions are reality?
How are you going to pretend to yourself that opinions are reality?
They're not sustained in the real world.

[17:00] Not sustained in the real world. There is no God. Soldiers do not change their nature. Men do not change their nature when they put on a costume.
Getting medals for murdering people in war makes no sense when you get thrown in jail for murdering them in peacetime.
So reality is constantly undermining you, both in the personal level and, of course, in the longer-term level as well. Look at history.
Governments fail to protect people all the time, continually.
The Pope protects pedophiles, right? The whole structure protects pedophiles.
So, it doesn't sustain itself.
I mean, anybody who's proud, and it takes a long time, right, for a lot of people.
Everybody who's proud of the American Republic, or was, is very aware that it's become a kind of uber-Roman empire overseas now.
And so, it can take a long time for this to occur, but it certainly does happen inevitably and eventually that reality overturns the fantasy that opinions are reality like objective reality overturns that so what happens uh what happens then what happens then what happens when reality begins to intrude well my friends it is my my particular belief, that this is where aesthetics comes in.
This is where art comes in.

[18:23] So, why is it that you need religious paintings, for example?
Why is it that you need iconography or icons? Why is it you need massive churches in stained glass? us?
Well, because in the absence of empirical verification of these supposedly universal opinions, you have to fabricate a reality that supports these opinions.
You have to twist and mutate reality to support these supposedly universal facts.
The reason that you need hymns And the reason that you need icons and the reason that you need endless statues of Christ and the apostles and the reason you need the paintings of the Last Supper and the reason you need all of these things is because God doesn't exist.
So, the attempt, in my view, and we'll talk about rational art a little later, but in my view, art is the attempt to mutate reality to support opinions perceived to be objective, which are not.
Art is the attempt to distort or mutate reality to support opinions considered to be facts, which are not facts.

[19:43] And it's not enough to get everyone together and to chant God is great.
Because that's clearly just like you get everyone in a field just chanting God is great, God is great, God is great. You'd feel a little weird, right?
So art is the attempt to manufacture evidence for the unsupportable.
Art is the attempt to manufacture evidence for unsupportable, quote, facts, which are really just opinions. And this is why you see particular common threads in the realm of propaganda.
You see threads like repetition, because the mind develops principles through repetition.
So if you're going to try and teach kids that God is real or something like that, then you need to keep repeating it over and over and over again. yet.

[20:32] This, of course, is the Pledge of Allegiance. This is the Lord's Prayer.
This is Confirmation. This is the mindless, ugly repetition of stimuli that substitutes opinion for reality as if it were reality.
And that's what this kind of stuff is fundamentally designed to do.
It's to use the senses to manufacture principles in the absence of empirical, empirical, non-interventionist evidence.
Children don't need to go to the church of gravity, right? Children don't need to go to the church of gravity to figure out that gravity is a principle.
They just need to get a bike, if I remember rightly, or find some stairs and take a plunge.

[21:16] The repetitive stimuli that provides principles within the mind comes through the senses and through the actions of external matter on the senses according to objective physical laws.
So, we don't need the international church of remember when it's bright out, it's daylight.
We don't need the international theology of have a drink when you're thirsty, because that stimuli is objective and real. It does exist in the real world.
And so, we don't need to keep manufacturing, keep repeating all of the stimuli to support a principle that is not real, as if it were.

[21:53] So, this is why you get this kind of repetition.
Another principle, of course, of art, along with repetition, is some form or another of gigantism.
Of gigantism, right? So, gigantism is the portrayal of human beings, or to some degree institutions, as if they were larger than they really are.
And, of course, more consistent than they really are.
So, this is why you bring small children to a huge church. so they feel awed, right?
And again, it's a way to try and eclipse reality with mere opinion, as if that opinion were, in fact, reality.
You do that through giganticism as well.
There's a reason why Michelangelo painted the ceiling and not the floor of the Sistine Chapel, and it wasn't just because people walked on the floor, because you have to crane your head up and look at these enormous, gigantic things.
This, of course, happens in the realm of the military, of course, right? masses of soldiers, aircraft carriers, massive planes, huge tanks.
I mean, obviously, there's a tactical value to these things, but there's a kind of giganticism as well that is pretty important.

[23:05] So that's another principle by which art or aesthetics, aesthetics sort of being defined as the recreation of reality, according to particular metaphysical or epistemological principles. principles.
Another principle is benevolent intimidation, right?
This is another way in which propaganda or political aesthetics tends to attempt to substitute opinion as fact for fact as fact, for reality.
Fact as reality is you get this benevolent kind of intimidation, right?
So there's the visible handshake and the invisible fist or the barely visible fist, right? So, we want you to participate in this great republic of ours, but if you don't, we'll shoot you.

[23:53] God loves you and wants the best for you, but if you disobey, you're going to hell.
Or you're just a bad person, or you're non-spiritual, or whatever.
There is a benevolent kind of intimidation that goes on, and that is something else.
That is something that gives people the motivation based on our desire to conform to brutal opinion for the sake of survival, plus our inability to obey it as brutal opinion, but our need to reframe it as objective reality.

[24:25] Sort of benevolent intimidation is something that really hooks into that. It really works.
The intimidation works on an unconscious level and gains our conformity, and we know.
We just know that. I'm not making this stuff up. You may disagree with the reasoning or the framework, but the facts are very real, that benevolent intimidation works beautifully.
Kim Jong-il loves you.
But if you don't obey him, you're going to a concentration camp.
Stalin is the father of our country, which, given Russian parenting at the time and even thereafter, was sadly true.
But if you don't agree with him, you're going to a gulag.

[25:09] So this is how we get conformity.
Benevolent intimidation is another key aspect of art. And And you can even see this in terms of certain, quote, appreciation nonsense for modern art.
So, if, for instance, you feel, or you were taught, or this opinion as a whole was inflicted upon you, that life is confusing, life is contradictory, life is, you can't think, you're not efficacious.
If you have that opinion, then you are torn. Torn. You are torn.
And you're torn because reality doesn't support it.
Human beings are unbelievably efficacious when they use rationality, science, logic, empathy, and so on.
So this opinion that you have, you're going to have a great deal of difficulty supporting this opinion that life is confusing or you're not competent or whatever.
If you identify the the real source of it, which is that this is just how you were brutalized, then you're going to be very unhappy, right?
I mean, in the short run, and you're going to have the whole problem that we all face when we learn to live with integrity and authenticity, that most people will spurn and attack and abandon us, or whatever, and cause us to abandon them, or whatever.

[26:36] So, you're always fighting the basic knowledge that all you're doing is conforming to somebody else's opinion, who was not trying to help you, but in fact trying to hurt and control you. You're always facing that knowledge deep down.
And this is something that the people in charge have a great deal of difficulty with, and it's a very, very fine line that they have to walk.
It's a very fine line that you have to walk when you want to control someone.
You want to break their spirit so much that they will be an effective slave for you, but you don't want to break their spirit so much that they just don't want to live anymore.
Right? You don't want to do that, right?
So, of course, if Christians really believed that this was a veil of tears and if when they died they would go back to God, then they would kill themselves as surely as if I could just hop on a plane and go back to see my wife that I hadn't seen in years who I loved dearly, I would get on that plane, right?
So, you have to both break people's spirits and give them the opportunity to believe in themselves as well, right?
So, So you have to say, well, yes, you're evil and sinful and blah, blah, blah, and you're worthless and right.
But you also have to not do that to the point where they won't even get out of bed or they just go and kill themselves, right?
So it's like, you know, when you got a big marlin on a thin line, you got to play it. Ooh, fishing metaphor. How manly of me.

[27:58] But that's really what happens in these situations. You have to break people's spirit, but not break their spines.
So people are always left with this tension. Like, if you genuinely say to somebody, you're worthless, you're useless, you can't do anything right, and then you say, do the dishes, then you're contradicting yourself, right?
You're a worthless piece of crap, you can't do anything right. Go do the dishes.
Because, of course, then, if you say that to me, Steph, you're a worthless piece of crap, you can't do anything right, now go do the dishes.
Say, well, no, because I can't do anything right.
So I'm not going to do the dishes, because if I can't do anything right, then I'm not going to do the dishes.
Right? right? Because the moment you ask me to do something, if you've told me that I can't do anything right, the moment you ask me to do something, you're contradicting yourself and you say you can't do something right.
I know this sounds nitpicky, but it's very, very fundamental to control, to bullying.
So you kind of have to, at one level, tell people you can't do anything right, but at another level, you have to get them to do your work, to work for you.
That's not easy, right? I mean, you have to have them interface with reality to the point where they will actually pick the cotton that you ask them to if they're your slaves or tell them to.
They have to work with reality to the point where they're useful slaves, but they have to believe in your virtue and their place and so on.

[29:17] They'll obey you, right? So there's this tension. Nobody ever gets, you can't just get rid of reality processing, because then people won't get out of bed, or they'll just kill themselves.
So you have to have reality processing heavily mixed in and corrupted with all this mythology.
It's a very, very complicated, I'm not going to try and unravel it all, it's a very complicated situation.
So this is where I think, in my view, art comes in, right?
So if you believe that reality is confusing, that nothing makes any sense, that, you know, up is down and black is white, all the nonsense that is inflicted upon us, you don't actually find support for that in reality.
Reality is consistent and predictable. Again, assuming no sort of mental health issues, reality is consistent and predictable and all these kinds of good things.
So, this provokes anxiety, right? Wherever we have a contradiction, we have anxiety.
So, the idea that reality is incomprehensible provokes anxiety, because reality, empirically, and, as we can see, is comprehensible.
And so from that standpoint, we have a significant challenge, the core belief that is not sustained by reality.
So if we believe that, what are we going to do? Well, we're going to be drawn to people like Jackson Pollock, and we're going to be drawn to people like Picasso, and we're going to be drawn to people like Paul Klee, and we're going to be drawn to these artists who portray reality.

[30:36] As baffling, multidimensional, incomprehensible.
You know, so you can look at every side of a woman's face through a Picasso painting.
Or you can pretend that a human face is perfectly round, vaguely beige with two little squares for a mouth, as in Paul Klee's, one of Paul Klee's paintings.
That hung in my house when I was a child. It was kind of scary.
You can't. You have to turn to people who are reproducing their own inner states in a way that matches yours. course.

[31:05] So when you stare at one of the subjective spatterfests of Jackson Pollock, you don't stare at that and say, reality makes sense, or say, art prices make sense.
You stare at that and it reinforces.

Art as Reproduction of Subjective as Objective

[31:21] It's a way of attempting to recreate opinion as reality, which is the fundamental need of slaves.
To recreate mythology as reality is the fundamental need of slaves.
So when you feel that life is an incomprehensible horror...
Look at is, you look at Edvard Munch's painting, The Scream, and you identify, you say, that is reality.
Twisted, mutated, deranged. And yes, there are other people on the bridge, but you know, they're bourgeois simpletons who don't feel anything deep or real or whatever, right?
You say, unhappiness is the true state of human beings.
And those who don't feel unhappiness are shallow and empty.
I mean, that's a great temptation, right? Pain is depth.
And those those who don't feel pain are shallow, which is why you see in Edvard Munchen's painting two people on the bridge who are with each other, not in any horror, but have no definition, right?
So, if you'd like to sort of get a more tangible view of what it is that I'm talking about, you can try the following thought experiment and see how it strikes you.

[32:31] You. Imagine this. Imagine that there was the following painting.
And in the following painting, you could see the bridge in Edvard Munch's The Scream. You could see that bridge.
But the bridge was a painting, right? So you've got a painting within a painting.
You've got a painting of the the bridge.
And you've got an obviously unhappy man staring at Edvard Munch's The Scream.
It's a man who's clearly miserable, is staring at this.
And maybe he's even shielding around his eyes like one of those horse blinders.
But he's not looking at anything else. He's just staring and he's miserable.
Now, outside the painting, right, so you've got the painting within the painting of the guy looking at the painting off the screen. And...

[33:25] That scene is a true and accurate reproduction of that bridge, with a happy guy looking at the real world.
Sorry, this would be easier if I could paint.
But you have a painting of two men, a happy man looking at the real world, and a miserable man staring at Edvard Munch's The the screen.
I think if you understand the difference that that painting would have, the difference in the statements about the nature of reality that that painting would have, then I think I could have made this podcast a lot shorter.
But hey, I was at the gym, we had time.
And you're saying that, oh, that painting would be saying that unhappy people are drawn to unhappy happy art. Now, that, of course, is not particularly radical.
I, myself, was not the most joyous of creatures when I listened to Sight Three of the Wall every night before bedtime and the worms ate into my brain.

[34:25] But it's that you need to recreate opinion as reality in order to subjugate yourself to it.
Because this is why people fight so hard about UPB, universally preferable behavior.
This is why people fight so hard about these kinds of things.
It's because they desperately need to rewrite opinion as fact, or to say that all facts are only opinions.
To actually differentiate between fact and opinion, particularly in the realm of ethics, is really, really, really scary.
So when people say everything is a fact, then they're drawn to subjectivist reinterpretations of reality as reality.

Art as Shield from Questioning Subjectivity

[35:13] Can imagine, I don't know, something from Picasso's Blue Period, where you have a tortured and unhappy man staring at one of Picasso's paintings of the women with the nine eyes or the, you know, that Egyptian slanty thing that's going on with the eyes and so on.
And you had a healthy, happy man looking at a real woman.
Or you could do a painting where a man composed of the same nonsense cubism, bad, every ankle bad lighting.
You had a cubist like in a photograph you had a cubist man looking at a cubist woman, and not seeing anything else and you had a real man looking at a real woman that again would be a statement about the need to recreate opinion as reality right what you try and do is you try and dilute the comparators good lord i'm so sorry this is so convoluted i hope it makes some sense.

[36:01] Right the moment that you identify something as an opinion then it becomes open to question question, right?
Physicists don't question the scientific method.
Human beings don't question gravity every day. I mean, there's a flat earth society.
There's no gravity society. Gravity is a farce, right?
So, we need to move opinions into axioms and thus shield them from question, right?
The moment you move something to an axiom, you shield it from questioning.
Art is the attempt to recreate the subjective as the objective and thus shield subjectivity from questioning.
And And questioning subjectivity is very painful, right?
Because if you've been a slave to that which you have perceived as real, which is not real, to that which you have believed is true and universal, that is subjective and mere opinion.
And you can only be enslaved to something that you believe is true.

[36:56] Only choose to believe that something is true when it's false, when you're going to be violently punished for anything else.
So all the punishment, the subjugation, the humiliation, the control, the worship of that which is destroying you, which is all too often what are called family values, all of that incredible subterranean detonation of endless hellish emotions is what comes rising up to the forefront when you begin to attack axiom as opinion, where you say that which you believe to be universal and eternally true is merely an opinion.
Because there's so much scar tissue that is clustered around that opinion.
There is so much scar tissue that is clustered around that opinion as fact.
So much subjugation and humiliation, control, brutality, terror, rage, horror.

[37:48] That when you begin to question opinion as fact, as opinion, you detonate a terrible, terrible, cluster mess of emotionality.
This is why trolls show up. This is why people get so angry.
This is why people get so upset.
This is why they lose all perspective. This is why they become so viciously hostile and just frankly bizarre.
This is why they contradict themselves all the time.
This is why they do stupid crap like...

Detonation of Emotionality when Questioning Subjugation

[38:23] But this is why they need to attack free domain radio. This is why they need to attack philosophy and certainty.
Because what we're saying is fact needs to be reasoned from first principles and have evidence for it.
And all the people who have accepted their own subjugation and humiliation and the worship of whoever destroyed them as fact.

[38:45] All the horror and emotional unease that comes from questioning their subjugation.
Somebody who says, fundamentally, it's good to be a slave, and that's universal and that's a fact. A UPB detonates all of that.
The argument for morality detonates all of that. The gun in the room detonates all of that.
So if you say it's good to be a slave, which is what people are basically talking about with regards to their families, their gods and their politicians.
It's good to be a slave. Say, well, if it's good, then you're not a slave.
It's good to be free. If you're a slave, then it's not good, right?
I mean, so breaking all of this up is really, really tough.
You see this when people have particular opinions about relationships as well, right?
So people who are in happy and pleasant and productive relationships, you know, aren't obsessed with watching Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf 19 times.

[39:35] And people who are interested in independent virtue and not being a slave don't necessarily become attached to star wars and lord of the rings right the mystical medieval and the mystical futuristic epics that are devoted to the myth that virtue is service to the rulers virtue is defined as service to the rulers, and that service to the rulers is synonymous with self-interest, which, of course, is completely contradictory, and this is why it's all mystical, the force and magic and so on, right?
Not that they're not fun tales or whatever, but it's just important to understand, right, that Han Solo is the bad guy because he doesn't obey, right, and King Théoden is the bad guy because he doesn't obey, and these myths are very perpetual and common, right?
That obedience to the rulers is virtue. This is a mythology that constantly needs art to reinforce it because it gets no reinforcement in the real world.
In fact, there is nothing but.

Myth of Virtue as Service to Rulers

[40:39] In the real world that service to the rulers is virtue. Service to the rulers is murder and mutilation.
I don't think you can talk about that, right?
The worst you can talk about is an unjust war, not an unjust soldier, not evil force.

[40:55] So, to sum up, this idea that I'd sort of like to propose, just to try and bubble it down a little bit, is that aesthetics is the reproduction production of opinion as fact.
And it is the distortion of reality to reinforce principles.

[41:15] Emotional experiences that are false, that are incorrect, that are invalid, that are illogical, that are contradictory.
And people cling to this. And of course, rulers subsidize it because when you can substitute opinion for reality, you gain control because everybody conforms to reality.
That's something which we can't let go of or give up as human beings should we keep our sanity. Thank you so much for listening, and I look forward to your donations.
I really do appreciate the donations that have come before.
It's been, oh, so dry. And good thing I'm not crossing the desert.
I would have expired by now if donations were water.
So if you could throw some money my way, I would hugely appreciate it.
Thank you so much for listening.

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May 2024

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