WRESTLING WITH THE DEAD - Democritus -Transcript

Video: https://dai.ly/k6FcZsFU9aXNU9A731e

Delve into Democritus' atomistic philosophy, contrasting materialism and spirituality. Reflect on moral dilemmas, balancing immediate gratification with consequences, power with ethics, and individual choices with societal impacts.

0:00:00 Introduction
0:06:39 Wrestling with Philosophy
0:10:28 Mind Over Matter
0:14:40 Honoring Categories
0:20:37 Materialists vs. Spiritualists
0:26:07 Time and Movement
0:28:29 Single Mothers and Society's Resources
0:31:22 The Interplay of Doubt and Certainty
0:34:25 Short-Term Pleasure vs. Long-Term Consequences
0:37:29 Gender Roles and Instinctual Behaviors
0:40:47 Sacrifice and Consequences in Decision Making
0:43:53 Consequences and Opinions in Materialism
0:45:22 Immediate Pleasure Over Future Planning
0:48:16 Spiritualists vs. Materialists: Ideals vs. Hedonism

Long Summary

The podcast embarks on a philosophical journey by dissecting the theories of Democritus, pondering the essence of existence as determined by the perpetual motion of atoms. The contrasting viewpoints of materialists, staunch in their belief in the supremacy of matter, and spiritual believers, emphasizing the significance of ideals over physical existence, are brought to light. The discourse delves into the intricate relationship between matter, material possessions, consciousness, and the prioritization of ideas over tangible entities.

A poignant scenario is presented, challenging the audience to prioritize the preservation of consciousness over material creations in a life-threatening situation, sparking contemplation on the value of individual actions versus societal categories like parenthood. The conversation transitions to the moral implications of theft and the complex interplay between principles and material possessions, emphasizing the precedence of ethical standards over material gains. The speaker invites listeners to ponder the deep-rooted connection between consciousness, morality, and ethical principles in navigating the complexities of human existence.

The lecture navigates through the fundamental debate between principles and humanity, prompting reflection on the moral dilemma of choosing between material possessions and human life. Economic arguments are dissected, highlighting the ethical considerations of prioritizing short-term gains over long-term sustainability while scrutinizing the ideological landscapes of communism and capitalism in shaping societal norms and individual liberties.

Through a tapestry of anecdotes and philosophical reflections, the discourse challenges listeners to confront the dichotomy between immediate gratification and enduring consequences. Thought-provoking analogies compel introspection on the ethical ramifications of prioritizing power and resources over moral values, underlining the intricate balance between present actions and future outcomes. The lecture serves as a compelling exploration of individual choices, societal repercussions, and the perpetual struggle between principles and expediency in the complex tapestry of human nature and societal structures.


philosophical journey, Democritus, atoms, materialists, spiritual believers, consciousness, possessions, ethics, immediate gratification, principles



[0:00] Good morning. This is Wrestling with the Dead from Stefan Molyneux at Freedomain.com to help out the show.
Appreciate that enormously, deeply, humbly, gratefully, massively. Thank you.
So here we have right at the core of philosophical inquiry.
Inquiry a statement from democritus democritus was of course an ancient greek philosopher who was a materialist and an atheist he's the one on the nature of things who theorize it all all that you see everything you touch is made up of tiny bits of matter or atoms that were in constant motion, banging into each other all the time.
Aristotle rejected this theory. Democritus accepted that the universe runs on natural laws, not the will of the gods.
Now, he also was known as the laughing philosopher, but he said this incredibly powerful statement, which philosophy has been wrestling with for thousands of years, until, well, recently, let's say.
If you want to know, he said, nothing exists except atoms and empty space.
Everything else is opinion.

[1:28] Ooh, that's so deep.

[1:31] Nothing exists except atoms and empty space.
Everything else is opinion. Now, if that's not right down at the bottom of things, all the way up to the top, I don't know what is.
And we're still wrestling with this.
And there's this pole that you see from the materialists to the religious.
The materialists say matter is the only thing that exists.
Everything else is subjective. subjective whereas the religious believe that ideals are the only things that matter all everything else is immaterial right it's really interesting if you look at the way that these two words interplay we have the word matter which means physical things the matter of the the universe, and we have nothing really matters, right?
Matters. The matter. What is the matter? The level of importance of particular thoughts and ideas.

[2:40] We also have material, material being the physical strata of the universe.
And we also have material, which is the concept of importance.
It's immaterial, he's a material witness.
Send me this material. Well, the material is more the physical thing, but is it material to the case?
These two words are really at the crux of some of the greatest challenges of philosophy.
If you look at Plato, or Kant, or the Buddha, you can see thinkers who believe that ideas are that which exists, and the material world that comes in through the senses is almost infinitely unimportant relative to the ideal world of forms.

[3:30] Ideas, ideals exist, exist in a tangible otherworldly universe.
They exist, and they are infinitely more important than what what we see, touch, taste, and feel.
For the religious, the consciousness of God is all that really exists.
It is superior to material existence because it is perfect, moral, pure, all-powerful.
And, of course, the watch is an effect of the watchmaker.
Therefore, the watch in the category of meaning and importance is lower.
Right, the watchmaker can make the watch. The watch cannot make the watchmaker.
If the watch is destroyed, the watchmaker can make another one.
If the watchmaker is destroyed, there are no more watches at least coming from him.

[4:21] The cause with the optional effect is superior to the effect.
The cause with the optional effect is superior to the effect.
Now, if it's not an optional effect, if you push someone off a cliff, they fall to their death, well, the push, the physics, the fall, the death are of equal importance, which is why we say the murderer is inextricably tied to the push off the cliff, and therefore the murderer is 100% responsible and there's not, well, the push is more important, the fall and the death is less important.
No, because that's material.
But the watchmaker doesn't have to make the watch. God didn't have to make the universe. You don't have to listen to this recording. I don't have to make it.

[5:07] So the optional effect is inferior to the cause.
And the cause is God. The cause is the new communal realm or nirvana or Plato's world of forms.
The substance, the thing, is superior to the shadow because the shadow is an effect of the thing.
Changing the shadow doesn't change the thing. If you shine a light in the shadow, a hole doesn't appear in the statue casting the shadow.
The effect is inferior to the cause and the effect of matter is the mind of God or the perfect world of forms.
Therefore matter is an optional effect of the cause it is the watch to the watchmaker it is inferior so you have the atomists and you have the spiritualists.

[6:00] Mind over matter or matter over mind ideas over things or things over people and it's been one or the other in order to have the value of ideas we have to promote an alternate universe wherein matter is an effect of consciousness consciousness, that there's thought out there, whether you consider it to be the rather impersonal world of the platonic forms or the more personal world of the Christian God.
Mind precedes matter, mind creates matter, matter is an effect of the mind.
What is more important, my podcast or me? Well, I don't think there's anyone who would say that this recording is more important than me.

Wrestling with Philosophy

[6:39] I mean, hopefully in the future, when I'm dead and gone, I want people to focus on the ideas is that the argument's not me and the person.
But right now, in terms of the creation of the podcast, nobody would say that the podcast is creating me.
I create the podcast. And of course, it's a, you know, as we used to say in the old database world, it's a one-to-many relationship.
One philosopher, many podcasts, many arguments, many books, many presentations.
So I create the.

[7:07] Podcasts. I create the arguments. I create the language.
I record and process and annotate and publish.
I am the cause of the podcast.
And if you were to, let's say you care about what I'm doing here, right? I mean, this is just simple priority, right?
So you can understand this viscerally. You care about what I'm doing here.
I think I'm doing good work for the world, which I I am, you care about what I'm doing here.
Because you care about what I'm doing here, I want you to imagine that you see me on a ship. We're both on some ship together.
I do a podcast. I'm doing a podcast.
And for some reason, I fall into the ocean.

[7:54] And maybe I bump my head or whatever it is, and I'm unconscious.
And you can dive in, but you can only save either me or the podcast podcast I'm recording.
So you care about what I'm doing. I've fallen into the water.
I'm disabled for some reason. You dive in. You can save either me or the podcast that I'm working on.
Now, if you care about the podcasts, if you care about the effects of what I'm doing, would you save the podcast I was recording and let me drown?
Or would you save me and and lose the podcast I was recording, right?
You understand that we all know what would happen, right?
You would dive into the water and you would save me and let the podcast sink to the bottom of the sea.
I mean, for reasons that are obviously clear, right?
I can create more podcasts. The podcast can't create me.
If you save me and you care about my podcasting, you lose one podcast, but you gain hopefully thousands more.
So you can bring me back to the ship, revive me and say, Say, good, now make more podcasts, but you can't take the podcast back to the ship.
Plug it in and then say, go create more staffs.
So I'm a higher priority than the podcast. The mind is superior to the matter, the matter being the podcast that I'm creating, right?
The particular configuration of electricity and storage and so on, right?

[9:24] So that view of mind over matter that you would save me rather than my podcast is the spiritualist view.
I mean, we could say the mystic view, but I think that's pejorative.
Spirit, the spirit is superior to the object.
Or in this case, to put it more technically, in the case of me falling over the ship's railing, consciousness is superior to matter.
Consciousness is superior to the products of consciousness.
And of course, it has something to do with the future. We could invent scenarios just by the by. why we could invent scenarios wherein you would save the podcast, not me.

[10:07] Let's say you knew for certain I was about to go mad and never produce another podcast, and I had also just done something terrible and jumped over the road.
I mean, you could concede, oh, this is his last podcast, maybe there's a clue into why he went mad.
You could come up with some scenario, but in general, you would save consciousness before you would save the individual products of consciousness.

Mind Over Matter

[10:28] Consciousness, the mind is infinitely superior to matter, right?
So in the normal scenario, I go over the railing, I'm drowning, you can save me or the podcast I was recording.
It wouldn't be weighed in your mind, right?
It wouldn't be weighed in your mind.
It wouldn't be like, well, okay, it's like 90-10.
It's 90-10. I really want to save Steph, but boy, I bet you that was a great podcast.
I mean, if you hated me, you might let me drown, I don't know.

[11:02] Be, save Steph, forget the podcast, and it would be 100-0. 100% save Steph, 0% save the podcast.
You rescue me, the podcast sinks and is lost forever.
So these two poles, mind over matter or matter over mind, material and spiritual.
By spiritual, I mean that consciousness, Consciousness, ideals, ideas, abstractions, concepts are superior to matter.
My mind is superior to the podcast. The watchmaker is superior to the watch.
And if you don't like superior, higher priority, infinitely higher priority, saving me versus saving the podcast, you understand, right?
Honor thy mother and thy father is honoring categories, not individuals.
If we were to say it is just to honor the moral, it is just to honor the moral, then we are creating a category called morality.
Honor the moral is to create a category of morality morality that's not specific to any other category.
A poor man can be moral, a woman can be moral, a teenager can be moral, early children probably not so much. They don't really have.

[12:27] Standards to compare proposed actions to. They sort of taught that over time. Old men can be moral.
Middle-aged women can be moral. So you're creating an honor morality, right?
And I know we could further break down the word honor, but positive ethical regard, right?
I like to praise Praise you like I should.

[12:53] So, if we create a category called honor thy mother and thy father, we are creating a non-moral category called mother and father.
I mean, to take the usual example, if Hitler and Eva Braun had had a child, I think it would be tough for people to say, it would be very important for Hitler and Eva Sporn to honor his or her mother and father.
If your father was Charles Manson or the son of Sam or Jeffrey Dahmer, should you honor?
Right, so you've got this category called mother and father, and then you have the commandment to honor.
So in that case, the category is superior to morality Morality.
Because it says, honor thy mother and thy father. And I'm just taking, I mean, I say, of course, you honor them by telling them the truth and being honest and not bearing false witness and so on.
But let's just take this sort of standard meaning that you're supposed to morally venerate your mother and your father.
So the category is superior to the actions of those it describes.
The category is superior to the actions of those it describes.
So the category is superior to the manifestation which is a very deep and wild thing to think about.

[14:21] Category mother and father create the requirement for honor regardless of the individual behaviors of individual mothers and fathers.
That the category called mother and father creates the necessity of veneration, of honor, regardless of the actions of individual mothers and fathers.

Honoring Categories

[14:41] It's a form of theft, obviously, a form of fraud, right?
And it of course in no way accords with general christian teachings a general christian teaching is you know all dogs may go to heaven but not all mothers and fathers go to heaven god honors the virtuous with the reward of heaven he or he rewards the pious he honors the pious and the the virtuous with the avoidance of hell and the reward of heaven god does not honor the category called mother and father not everyone who is a mother or father goes to heaven of course we can imagine a priest someone's dying and confesses and and says that he killed 10 people but he does not repent he he enjoyed it he preferred it he got pleasure out of it he's glad he did it he killed killed 10 innocent people.
He's a mass murderer, a serial killer, killed 10 innocent people and he's glad about it. Now, say, but did you ever father a child? And if the guy says, yeah, yeah, I don't know, I think I knocked up some prostitute once in Louisiana.

[15:50] Would the priest say, oh, you're fine. Yeah, you're going straight to heaven because you are a father. Well, that's not how it works.

[15:58] Again, I'm not a theologian, but I'm pretty sure being a father does not automatically get you to heaven.
So God himself does not honor the category called mother and father.
If you want to know, in general, the commandment for children to honor the parents is so that the parents have an incentive to teach the religion and therefore the morality to the children.
It's pretty tempting as a parent, particularly if you're not a good parent, to get some biblical backup as to why your children should obey you.
So it's the reward. In a sense, it's the bribe of obedience that is offered to the parents in return for the parents teaching the children about the virtues of the religion.
By the way, why does Lex Friedman sound so depressed all the time?
It's very sad. He's like the least charismatic speaker in the known universe, and yet he's everywhere. It's wild.
Anyway, Democritus says nothing exists except atoms and space.
Everything else is opinion. everything else is opinion this is bound up in the argument that is grindingly repetitive which is does human need trump property rights guy starving steals a loaf of bread is that okay.

[17:21] Now in the christian universe thou shalt not steal is a commandment and so you should not steal that's superior to everything else because it comes from the mind of God and mind over matter is infinite.

[17:38] Remember me falling over the boat. What should you choose? Principles or things?
I mean, that's Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. I'll give you the whole world. Just give up your principles.
But principles are infinitely superior to things.

[17:55] If somebody said to you, I'm drowning while recording a podcast.

[18:01] And somebody says to you, I'll give you a hundred bucks if you save the podcast and let Steph drown, I hope you'd find your way clear to not take you the hundred bucks if you don't mind i'd really appreciate that principles over people and this is the argument it says well if i'm starving and i steal your loaf of bread are you gonna shoot me do you value your loaf of bread over my life right that's the sort of foundational question do you value your loaf of bread over my life are you going to let me die so that you can hang on in your grasping petty bourgeois way to your stupid loaf of bread.
So that's an atoms-to-atoms comparison. The only thing that exists, back to Democritus, the only thing that exists is atoms in space, everything else is opinion. So what exists?
A human being. What exists? A loaf of bread, which has higher priority? The human being.
Therefore, you take the atoms in the bread and you put them inside the atoms called the human being so the human being can live.
Somebody who would choose a piece of bread in this worldview, right?
Somebody who would choose a loaf of bread over a human life is choosing to save the podcast, not the podcaster.
It's choosing to save an individual argument over the entire mind of a philosopher.
It makes no sense. It makes no sense if you follow. It makes no sense.

[19:29] Space. Now, of course, the economic argument is as follows.
Well, the bread only exists because people haven't stolen it, right? The baker only exists because the products of his labor are not stolen.
So the bread only exists because of property rights, and therefore to say that it is is good to violate property rights to steal the products that only exist because of property rights is to both affirm the value of property rights in that there is even a loaf of bread to steal and to deny the value of property rights in that a hungry man can steal the loaf of bread.
So, if the hungry man had nothing to steal, he would die.
If the principle is that anyone who's hungry can steal, then there will be no loaves of bread and everybody will starve see the people who are the materialists the Adams and Space everything else's opinion are looking at individual manifestations.

Materialists vs. Spiritualists

[20:37] And denying principles I mean so of course communists want to take over the government I mean genuinely I believe communists want to take over government in order to punish the world for failing to recognize the child abuse that the communists were subjected to i mean that's the basic thing right i'm gonna i'm raging at the world i'm raging at society because society pompously pompously goes about its self-satisfied smug business without acknowledging the agony that i'm in and will usually praise my high status parents who were actually abusing me you know this kind of stuff right so it's it's vengeance it's vengeance it's vengeance but of course the communists will say to the worker the capitalist is oppressing you by taking a share of your wages now they never say to the worker usually at least not that i've seen that the government is oppressing you by taking a share of your wages in the form of taxation right i don't say that well but the government provides me roads this that and the other it's like well not really the government just contracts people to do that but also i mean the capitalist is providing you an entire factory and you don't have to pay directly for advertising, marketing, overhead, taxes, right?

[21:51] So the hard leftists generally will look at the factory and say, well, the work is producing $20 worth of value, but it's only being paid $15.
Therefore $5 is being stolen.

[22:03] And it's true that in the photograph, right? Conservatism is a movie, leftism is a photograph, right?
Loaf of bread put the bread inside the hungry man hungry man is saved why would you value the loaf of bread over the hungry man right it's a photograph, it's a snapshot atoms and space bread hungry man put bread in hungry man hungry man lives otherwise hungry man dies it's terrible right so leftism is a snapshot and that's the materialistic thing atoms and space, it's all that exists everything else is opinion, conservatism or rightism and philosophy, right?
Not to unite all of them, but conservatism is a movie, right?
What are the long-term effects?
What is the hidden cost, right? So if we say hungry people can steal loaves of bread or hungry people can eat loaves of bread they don't have to pay for, then, I mean, we can see this, of course, but it's not theoretical.
We can see this playing out in various places around the world where shoplifting has effectively been decriminalized since stores are closing down.
So the snapshot is, put the bread inside the hungry person, he lives, what kind of monster are you if you don't want that to happen?
Whereas, not the photograph, but the movie. The movie is.

[23:22] Okay, we let hungry people steal whatever they want.

[23:26] And hunger is a subjective state, fat people, I assume, are hungry quite a lot, so hungry people can steal, and so they will all descend Then upon the baker's store, they will take everything.
The baker will stop producing bread because he's losing money.
He will try to live on his savings and there's no bread being produced and therefore more people starve, right?
Freeze frame versus process. Long-term consequences, hidden consequences.
Consequences so the materialist who has photographs right atoms move through space but don't leave a trail and don't have a destination right i mean i remember as a kid playing some game it's a pretty common game i also played it on my ipod touch many years ago when i was exercising doing my cardio video ah seated bike for the win and it's a game where you calculate the height of the gun and the strength of the quote gunpowder and you try and shoot your guns over a hill to hit some other tank or turret so back then it was like you type in the degrees zero to 90 and then you type I pin the strength, and then there's a shot. The thing arcs over, right?
And there are trails, right?

[24:56] When they're teaching you the game on touch, right, you drag the strength and the angle and you see the projected trail or you see the projected path of the projectile.
So things move through space.
There's no line that says where they're going to go. There's no abstract line that goes behind them. It's just things moving through space. space.

[25:19] And this goes back to the famous question I was asked as a mid-teen by a friend of mine whose father was an engineer.
He said, well, if an arrow occupies a portion in space, occupies a place in space, yet it moves.
Yet if you take a photograph, the arrow is hanging there.
So if you slow down time infinitely the arrow is not moving and since the arrow is not moving when you slow down time how can it move through time if it's an infinity of not moving how could it add up to the reality of moving and of course i replied that if you stop time you will also stop stopping movement time is a measure of change if you stop time you're stopping movement movement.

Time and Movement

[26:08] It's like taking, saying, somebody's falling from that bridge onto the pavement.
I'm going to save them by taking a photograph of them.
Well, in the photograph, they hang forever, like that guy face-planting off the Twin Towers on 9-11, the eerie, calm descent.

[26:26] Or I remember having a debate with a friend of mine where we were hiking in Algonquin, the three of us, and the debate was, was if you have infinitely long cylinders, they can fit in an infinite universe an infinite number of times.
Therefore, infinity divided by infinity is not one, but infinity.
And I said, well, but by making them a cylinder, you're removing breadth and height, and you're leaving only length.
So it's not infinity divided by infinity, because the infinitely long pipes are not, or cylinders are not infinitely long, wrong because you've stripped two aspects of infinity from them.
Who would have known that all that leads to them? Who would have known?

[27:12] The reason why the photograph, which is, it is real atoms in space, is more important to the materialists than the movie is to the spiritualists, is that the spiritualists are looking at long-term effects, which is a factor of the mind.
But matter is the only thing that matters, and therefore put the bread in the hungry person.
And put the bread. And this is, you know, any time that the government talks about cutting, I don't know, some sort of social program or, you know, the single moms are like, well, who's going to feed my kids?
Who's going to feed my, how are my kids going to get their braces?
How are my kids going to eat? Who's going to put a roof over our heads, right?
There's no principles there. It's just, I need matter. I need food.
I need shelter. I need braces. I need matter.
Who is going to position that matter in a format that I can access it?

[28:01] And, I mean, emotionally, basically, Basically, deep down, the single mothers are demanding that other people cover up to their own children all the terrible decisions they've made.
Because if the single mothers fall into, I mean, assume short-term poverty until, I mean, it would be a very short amount of time until things reorganize themselves in a positive manner.
But the single mothers don't want their children to be aware of just how bad the decisions were.
So they want other people to give them stuff so that the kids aren't poor and get mad at the single mothers.

Single Mothers and Society's Resources

[28:30] Single mothers generally can't handle rejection which is why they tend to preemptively reject the fathers and then demand that society provide resources to the kids so the kids don't reject them for their bad decisions.

[28:43] The famous exchange between Keynes and others, when Keynes is saying, basically, we can just print money, we can borrow, we can this, that, and the other.
And people say, well, but in the long run, he says, I don't care about the long run. It's a photograph, not a process. It's not a movie.
Because there's no principles, there's no paths to matter, there's no concepts that matter. It's just opinion.
I mean, it is predatory, of course.
And so many of my arguments have been not about the photos, but about the movie, right?
And, I mean, of course, we remember this. With George Floyd, you see the officer kneeling on his neck and he can't breathe and crying for his mama.
It's heartbreaking. You just see that little snippet, or the same thing happened with Rodney King.
You see Rodney King being beaten by the policemen, and they have to specifically exclude prior footage to sort of explain, or prior, like, what's the context?
But there's no context in the photograph, in a sense, right?
And it's very easy to manipulate people with photographs.

[29:47] So what is... I mean, this is Trayvon Martin, right?
They showed pictures of him when he was a fresh-faced young 12-year-old or whatever, as opposed to the large and rather aggressive-looking 17-year-old.
So what came before, what comes after, is the spiritualists.
What is are the materialists.
Well, we've got a lot of wealth among wealthy people. We've got poverty among poor people. We'll just take some of the wealth from the wealthy people, and we will give it to the poor people, and that's fine, right?
We're just moving atoms, saying, well, what is the long-term prognosis of that?
What is the long-term prognosis of that?
Well, you're going to end up with people dependent upon handouts.
You're going to end up with a lower motivation to create wealth and create wealth.

[30:36] And you're going to end up with this permanent underclass where children are going to be really harmed.
Single mother households will explode in numbers.
So, but snapshot versus movie. Men tend to a little bit more think in terms of movies.
Women tend a little bit more to think in terms of snapshots, and both have value. Of course, both have value.
I mean, there is the now, and there is the future.
And the now is important, because that's where we live. but the future is important because that's where we survive.
Like you think of a guy gathering nuts for the winter or gathering food for the winter.
He lives in the now, but he survives in the future. And in order to survive in the future, he has to think of the future while acting in the now.

The Interplay of Doubt and Certainty

[31:23] See, the other challenge between the spiritualists and the materialists is.

[31:29] All progress comes from doubt, but all power comes from certainty.
All progress comes from doubt, but all power comes from certainty.
Now, by saying the only thing that exists is matter and space, atoms in the void, you scrub moral considerations from your vocabulary, and therefore the animal world takes over without opposition, without doubt.
I mean, I doubt Genghis Khan awoke at three o'clock in the morning wondering if he was doing the right thing by decimating half of Asia and fathering children with anything that had half a pulse and a vagina. He was certain.
He was certain. All power comes from certainty, but all progress comes from doubt.
So when you say all that exists is atoms in space, everything else is opinion, you have removed moral considerations from your mind.
Now, doubt can lead to certainty.

[32:30] The doubt that leads to certainty is a direct attack upon the animal certainty that comes from the materialist position.

[32:39] So the gaining of resources is good. Having power over others is the good in terms of gaining resources.
It's easier to steal than it is to produce. It is more enjoyable to rule than to labor under being ruled.
And so, if it's matter and the void, then the animal impulse to gather resources without reference to morality overpowers, and those without a conscience rule those with a conscience, and society decays and is destroyed.
It because hedonism replaces morality and photographs replace the movie and continuity is lost which and when continuity is lost future disasters cannot be perceived they cannot be viewed it's the same thing when free speech is lost free speech is foundationally to do with with pointing out future disasters.
But pointing out future disasters interferes with the pursuit of power in the present, right? Hidden costs, right?
Hidden costs. Not the visible benefits that serve those in power.
The hidden costs, right?
I mean, if someone came to power in some debt-ridden country and started savagely cutting government spending, society would suffer, right?
Now, in the photograph, you'd see pictures of people suffering suffering and you'd say, well, we can't let this happen because it's just matter and the void, atoms and space.

[34:06] Whereas in the future, right, if you say, well, if we don't do this in the future, people will suffer a lot more, right? Pay me now or pay me later, right?
I don't want to floss. Flossing is uncomfortable and it might make my gums bleed, but you know, you need to floss to have healthy teeth, right?
So why would you not do that?

Short-Term Pleasure vs. Long-Term Consequences

[34:26] Hedonism and, right, and so on, right? Right. So to take a sort of more immediate example, you have a ruler who takes the seed crop and hands it out to people so they can make bread.
And then someone comes along and says, but if you give away all our seed crop, we're going to die because we won't be able to plant in the spring.

[34:49] Now, the wisdom of the current path and deferral of current gratification to future benefit interferes with the redistribution that is essential to power in the here and now.
So, if you look at the tale of Socrates, of course, he had doubts, right? He had significant doubts.
How do I know what I know? I don't really think that I know anything, but I'm told that I'm very wise by an oracle that cannot lie.
So, what is the story? and his doubt leads to a certain certainty and that certainty interferes with the power, resources, and authority of sophists and liars in the present.
And so, you know, plus the pederasty, they had him killed. This has happened over and over again, right? Throughout human history, particularly intellectual history.
The photograph versus the movie.
The spiritualists look at the movie, thou shalt not steal, get to heaven, end results, end goals, end products, Hidden effects, long-term view.
The materials look at hungry man, piece of bread, put bread inside hungry man, problem solved.
What are the hidden consequences, long-term effects? The seen versus the unseen.

[36:00] If all that exists is atoms and the void, shuffling those around is fine.
There's no moral considerations, right?
The rock doesn't feel guilty if you pick it up and throw it at a dog.
Oh, I shouldn't have scared the dog, right?
Of course my daughter loves birds we i love birds too i absolutely love birds, i think they're just wonderful creatures but of course when my daughter who loves birds we used to go when she would get up very early i would give my wife if she needed her rest, and i would take my daughter and we would go to there was a local a and w that had early morning breakfast they opened at like i don't know six or whatever right so we go to her little little breakfast and then we would go uh walk over to a donut shop where you could see the donuts being made and every now and then we would go in and we would buy a muffin and we would feed the muffin to the birds and you know this happens on you go to beaches and so on whatever right and so what would happen is every now and then there'd be and i i'm sad to report but it is inevitably true that it was almost always a little boy who would go run at the birds right so we want want to feed the birds and the little boys want to run and chase the birds and have them all fly away, right?
Boys. But you know, it makes perfect sense, right?
Women are there to nurture and boys are there to conquer, right?
So the women, the girls feed the birds and the boys run at the birds.

Gender Roles and Instinctual Behaviors

[37:30] Complicated but you know she would be she would be upset of course i mean we get it right i mean by feeding the birds you get more birds by running at the birds you scare them away and you don't get to feed them in the future anyway and of course the boy's impulse to chase away birds comes out of i assume a near infinity of farming where birds being around are taking your crops right so men are used to chasing away the birds that are eating their crops.

[38:01] And the women are there to nurture so there's a little bit of a collision here and there about these things so if it's just atoms in the void there's no morality that will interfere with the free flow of your instinctual preferences there's no comparison of proposed actions to ideal dual standards.
And it becomes hedonistic. You have to guide yourself by something.
It's either principles or pleasure, right?
That's really what it comes down to. You either guide yourself by principles or by pleasure.
And the principled argument is to say that we have to suffer in the present to gain benefits in the future.
Whereas the matter and void people, the atoms and space people, the materialists are like, well, why would I sacrifice pleasure in the here and now? Now, the future, you see, doesn't exist.
The future is an opinion, right? People say to Keynes, in the long run, he says, in the long run, we're all dead.

[39:01] So he's got a snapshot, my life. Other people say, well, what are the long-term consequences? It's a movie.

[39:07] But long-term consequences, ideas, thoughts, fears, invisible costs, they don't exist because those are ideas.
They're not carved into the fabric of matter, energy, and void.

[39:24] So you would live for pleasure. Whether your pleasure is, well, there's a hungry guy.
I'm going to help him take that bread from the baker.
I want that, you know, baker's got to give up the bread because I'll feel better.
I don't like seeing the hungry guy. It's a photograph that's unpleasant to me.
And I'm not even going to think about the argument that if you feed the hungry guy with the unpaid for loaf of bread from the baker, to give the loaf of bread to the hungry guy, that's totally fine.
It's his property. He can give it away.
But if you make it as a principle and say, oh, principles don't exist.
You got a hungry guy, you got a loaf of bread.
For heaven's sakes, just give the loaf of bread to the hungry guy so we can eat.
Long-term consequences, that's just an idea. That's an opinion.
The matter, the facts of the matter are hungry guy, loaf of bread, future consequences, blah, blah, blah. blah, that's an opinion.
And because opinions don't, like everything else, right? What exists, matter in the void, everything else is opinion.
So because opinions don't exist, they can be discarded at will.
And the at will is always to do with immediate hedonism.
And you can see this happening all over the place in the world.
Materialist versus spiritualist. Things versus principles.

[40:44] Everything but the material is an opinion.

Sacrifice and Consequences in Decision Making

[40:47] Opinion I refuse to take as an absolute that which does not exist get the depth the sonorous rolling hell's bells peeling echo of the depth of that statement I refuse to sacrifice for that which does not exist there's nothing beyond the photograph there's no long-term process, everything is an opinion principles are an opinion and I refuse to sacrifice for an opinion, If somebody were to say to you, you need to live on 10% of your current salary because I like the color blue, what would you say?
No, I'm not going to make any sacrifices for your subjective aesthetic preferences.
Sacrifice is about the long term, right? Child abuse comes from, I'm angry at my kid, I'll hit my kid.
Don't think about the long-term consequences. When the long-term consequences show up, you're enraged, even though they were completely predictable.
You know, like the people who, like, yay for government spending and this, that, and the other, and then they're like, wow, you know, it's weird that everything's so expensive, so bad.
All that exists are atoms in the void, everything else is opinion.
And, of course, Democritus was known as the laughing philosopher because he was cheerful. Well, yeah.

[42:11] Easy to be cheerful if you never think of consequences, if you never think of the long term, if you never think of what's happening, going to happen down the road.
Yeah, it's pretty easy. I get that. Pretty easy.
Totally comprehensible, totally understandable that you would not worry about these consequences, right?
I get it. It's tragic, but I get it.

[42:32] And this is the hedonism that is currently gripping, like every other call and show I get, request is from a young person usually a young man who says you know like i'm in my mid-20s i've got an okay job i don't have a girlfriend i spend a lot of time playing video games and i don't know what to do with my life well that's people who don't think of the consequences, what are the consequences what are the long-term consequences of spending 20 000 hours playing video games long-term consequences is you're going to be broke easily distracted and of little little economic value and again no hate on for video games but that's fact right the people who were like and this is the materialist versus the spiritualist are all the people who were like they don't they can't understand the deferral of gratification they can only interpret things in terms of psychology not in terms of principles because everything's an opinion right nothing's It's true. Everything's an opinion.
So because everything is an opinion, if you say to someone, you need to make sacrifices because there's a movie, it's not just a photograph, right?

[43:40] They'll say, well, it's not true that I need to make sacrifices.
That's not true. That's just an opinion.
And so why would somebody be trying to inflict his opinion on me?
It can only be talked about in terms of psychology.

Consequences and Opinions in Materialism

[43:53] And you see this everywhere, right? If you've ever been Then at a party and you refuse a drink or you refuse the proffered drugs, which, you know, I think it's pretty, it's pretty disastrous to, it's pretty, it's pretty disastrous to take drugs these days because they're all so poisoned, right? They're all so poisoned.

[44:17] Don't take the drugs or you don't, you know, some trashy person wants to sleep with you.
Let's say you're a guy and some woman's coming on strong to you and you don't sleep with her. It's like, but there's a photograph called sex.
There's not a long-term movie called stalkers, unwanted pregnancies, STDs, false accusations, right?
There's no consequences because consequences don't exist in the material world.
Therefore, they're just an opinion.
You follow that, right? Consequences don't exist in the material world.
Therefore, or they're just an opinion.
And so why would somebody want to inflict their opinion on you?
Because they have psychological problems.
Because they have a psychological problem called thinking the consequences are real and therefore they have an inability to enjoy the moment.
You know, you've got to loosen up, man. You've got to learn how to fun, chillax. You know, it's no biggie. Just learn how to relax. Learn how to have fun. Don't be so uptight, right?

[45:09] The only thing that exists are atoms in the void. The atoms in the void can configure fun and consequences are just an opinion.
In the long run, we're all dead, right? There's no principles to follow.
There's only the pleasure of the atoms in the moment.

Immediate Pleasure Over Future Planning

[45:23] And in the long run, we're all dead. So why would you plan?
And of course, if you want to take people over, you turn them to materialism, right?
You turn them to materialism so that they will engage in demonic greed in the here and now without any thought to the future, which alienates the generation.
So, you know, this OK Boomer meme, right? And alienates the generations because you bribe people with hedonism and relieve them of consequences, which makes their children have no respect for their moral authority, because they have none, and therefore the continuity of society and the respect that comes from looking at people's sacrifice things collapses, right? And then it's pretty easy to take over.
So this statement by Democritus is incredibly deep and powerful.
And I have, you know, when you're in a game, right, to some online game, right? First person, third person, doesn't really matter.
In online games, you look around and people have their game attacks floating above them, right?
Yeah, the game attacks. The game names, right?
Spartan 1077, whatever it is, right? So what I do, and I would invite you to take this on, is put in philosophical classifications.

[46:38] Philosophical classifications, right? Somebody says, I don't believe in truth, That's just your opinion. There are, you know, consequences be damned.
Have fun in the here and now. And if you try to appeal to consequences to them, they're uninterested, bored, or accuse you, of course, of using psychological tricks to manipulate and control them, right?

[47:01] We all understand that a lot of times, I mean, advertisers will use these psychological tricks.
Like if you don't, I remember like there was some beautiful woman, she had nice eyebrows or whatever, right? And it was like, you desperately need this eyebrow pencil.
Like the only reason you're not loved is your eyebrows aren't thick enough.
And it's like, you've got to be, I get that the eyebrow pencil company wants to make some money, but isn't that just insane?
I mean, it's completely, or you see, you know, Bowflex or whatever it is, right? And I think some of those home gyms can be good, but I think the majority of people don't really use them to spend money and put them under the bed.
But, you know, some super fit guy or some super fit girl on these things.
So we all understand that that's not objective truth.
There's just sales, propaganda, manipulation, commercials, right?
They want you to buy stuff, right?
But there's no objective morality in having, I don't know, So, was it Frida, the woman with the mono brow played by Salma Hayek?
I never saw the movie, but I just remember the poster being kind of vivid, right?
The Arkansas-edged caterpillar stretched across the forehead.
I mean, whether you have one eyebrows or two, I guess maybe it has something to do with personal grooming, but it's not foundational to your moral value, obviously.

Spiritualists vs. Materialists: Ideals vs. Hedonism

[48:16] So, if you see people and you just have conversations with them, which is why it's usually important to have conversations fairly early on about fairly deep matters, at least that's my habit, it so i can find out i can find out are you a spiritualist or a materialist are you into concepts and ideas virtues and values or are you a hedonist who believes only in atoms and the void are all standards impositions from psychological tricksters looking to manipulate you out of resources right i mean this is what the hedonists in the 60s right the hedonists were you have have a hang-up right if you don't know how to loosen up and have fun you have a hang-up or there was i mean a scene that just burned into my brain from the old television show wkrp in cincinnati.

[49:12] Johnny Fever is kind of a, he's sort of a reformed hedonist.
So Johnny Fever, who actually goes through a religious conversion episode, Johnny Fever's daughter is dating some guy who's just a loser. He's just a hedonist.
And the father is trying to instill some virtues and values.
And I just, I remember this totally burned into my brain. I saw this as a teenager.
And the daughter's boyfriend, Johnny Fever says, you know, here's how you should live.
And the boyfriend says, power trip, man.
I just remember that. Burned into my brain as a clue.
So much was going on in my brain that's incomprehensible to me until sometimes decades later. Power trip, man.
All impositions of standards is a power trip designed to subjugate others.

[49:59] Hey man, I got to surrender to gravity. I don't have to surrender to you.
I got to respect respect gravity i don't have to respect you man everything's an opinion and therefore if somebody tells you that something is true they're just tricking you into subjugating yourself to them because if nothing is true all that is left is power pleasure of power dominance submission if nothing is true we can't all conform to the truth we can only dominate others or be subjugated by them and therefore the only reason that you tell someone who enjoys drinking to stop drinking thinking, is because you want power over them.
This is how addictions get hardened in the personality.
So anyway, I hope that this helps. I find it a very, very powerful statement that there's obviously almost an infinity of things to unpack, but I hope this is useful and helpful.
Freedomain.com slash donate to help out the show. And yeah, let me know.
Let me know what you think.
Host at freedomain.com. You can let me know what you think of the Wrestling with the Dead series, but it is a big wrestle.
And it's a little different from my history of philosophy series because I'm going from usually a particular statement to my own thoughts on the statement, hopefully good thoughts, true thoughts on the statement, rather than analyzing a particular thinker's canon of thoughts.
So I hope you find this helpful and useful. freedomain.com. Don't forget to join some great communities.
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And, or, probably or, free domain.locals.com thanks everyone lots of love take care bye.

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May 2024

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