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Your eyes, ears and mouth

Posted 14 April 2003, 3.24 am by Winter

To begin with, an argument against the senses:

Anyone who has witnessed an optical illusion or seen a piece of trompe l’oeil cannot trust their senses. Fooled once, and recognized as fooled, the eyes become potential conveyers of false information; they must be regarded with the same degree of suspect as a habitual liar. The same goes for the other senses, having burped and tasted food not eaten for decades or heard a noise whose source could not be present (feel free to drop acid if these effects have never been witnessed but you desire them to be). At the very least, the eyes will bring about the down fall of the others, if you cannot believe what you see wholeheartedly, you cannot know that what you hear is caused by something there. (on a side note, Descartes can get fucked with his ‘clearly and distinctly’ bullshit)

This seems to be an unquestionable point to me, though I would love to hear any argument against it as it would likely keep me from weeping myself to sleep every third or fourth night.

A contradiction is present here in that once a distrust of the senses is established upon the evidence of memory, that evidence becomes untenable, as does any knowledge of the argument against the senses. This does not seem like a good reason to abandon the form of the argument, as this paradox will always crop up and the alternative is to ignore the issue like it were Arabs in front of an Israeli bulldozer. That any damage done to the senses is also done to memory must be kept in mind, the paradox must be allowed to exist as a thing to be studied, though it destroys our world.

Consequences (besides the madness of it all):

Expressing and acting become a matter of hope, not belief. Belief is impossible. Anything that is learned cannot be taken as wholly true, only as one possibility that happened to be presented. The self is the only thing that can be said to exist with certainty. Depression and drunkenness become a way of life (drunkenness as self-delusion, not the imbibing of liquor… though that of course works as well). The self becomes something that must be medicated against. Death, though uncertain, remains one of the few possibilities that seem to offer any hope of permanent escape. The desire to become the anti-christ, to seek freedom in meaninglessness, becomes ever-present. The possibility of an end itself becomes meaningless, it is no long sought. The self closes its doors.


Possibility must be held onto, as even the possibility of an outside world can be seen as better than nothingness (I looked into the void and nothing looked back, for I was nothing at last). Because the self is known to exist, the aesthetic sense may be promoted above a faulty rationality, the world is datum that must be sorted. The real may not exist, but the false and experienced do. Selfishness develops. The world is inconsequential shit which must either be devoured for the benefit of continued existence and the vain hope that the world is at least partially inhabited or be avoided as something that is worthless.

Remaining Question:

Does it matter what is done? Even if there is an exterior, does the self matter? Can trying ever be worth it if time is endless and destruction inevitable (these are the products of our ‘real world’ so far)?

on 14 April 2003, 3.28 am
if you continue this to its conclusion, are you advocating solipsism? if we cannot trust our senses, what is there to keep us from believing that there is nothing more out there than our own minds?

on 14 April 2003, 4.01 am
I'm not advocating anything. I'm stating an argument that I'm unable to contradict. Soliphsism seems to be a distinct and likely possibility. It's like determinism, most philosophers (as I've gathered) seem to believe in it, though they may not like its consiquences (i.e. rolling up into a ball and weeping).

The Green Mamba
on 14 April 2003, 8.40 pm
Does it really matter if our perception of the world is an extention of the global mind or whether it exists separately from the self?

The world will remain as it is until we change our perception. Only then will it change ... for better or for worse. We have built a society where we change our environment to suit our perception thereof whereas all other life on the planet does the exact opposite ... adapt to changes in its environment.


on 14 April 2003, 9.25 pm
Mamba/Rudi: It matters for our psychological well-being. This seems, to me, to be the first problem that must be tackled before any action can be accomplished.

The Green Mamba
on 14 April 2003, 9.37 pm
If we can find a cure for our twisted perception of life ... then surely psychological well being would follow naturally?

on 14 April 2003, 9.50 pm
Unless there is no cure. And to call our perception of life is to condem it without reason, 'twisted' may be too negative.

The Green Mamba
on 14 April 2003, 10.01 pm
Really ... then what do you think all the species we have killed off in the name of progress would call our perception of life?

on 14 April 2003, 10.07 pm
Our perception of life states that those species killed off can't say anything about anything, they're lower life forms.

Rationally, it's unnecessary and destructive and we should be capable of better. The fact that we continue as we do either means we're not rational, rationality doesn't work or we're not capable of better.

On that note, extinction of a species isn't some crime against nature, nature does it all the time.

The Green Mamba
on 14 April 2003, 10.22 pm
In other words you're saying that everything begins and ends with rationality. But is our rationality not determined by society?

As for the natural extinction of species.
Yes, it happens all the time in order to maintain a balance between life and death ... but man does it for personal gain. Nature diversifies itself for self preservation while we are systematically narrowing the field.
We are not maintaining the natural order of things as is the case with natural extinction ... we are merely destroying whatever doesn't fit into our perception of the world only to discover afterwards that those species actually served a purpose. How long can we continue to do this before we drive ourselves to extinction?

on 15 April 2003, 2.26 am
Rationality is determined by society, but we'll never escape that cage. Do you have anything to put in place of rationality?

Man is a natural creature, therefore everything man creates must be natural. This must include ideas and culture and genocide. Selfishness is the quality most often instilled by nature and the world, it only relaxes in the face of parenthood and certain higher mammals.

Nature doesn't diversify for self preservation (it doesn't seek to preserve itself, it doesn't seek to do anything) or bring about extinction for any reason beyond 'this is what happens.' If we drive ourselves to extinction, i don't really see any great loss. If the earth becomes a lifeless rock before everything else is destroyed, so what?

Ben Gates
on 15 April 2003, 2.49 am
If someone lies to you once, you treat them as a habitiual liar then?

Ben Gates
on 15 April 2003, 2.50 am
On a personal note, I think Descartes is hack.
I really don't see what difference it makes if things are real or not. I mean, whether it really exists, it's still your reality.

on 15 April 2003, 2.53 am
If it's 'your' reality, do something about it.

on 15 April 2003, 3.10 am
"If someone lies to you once, you treat them as a habitiual liar then?"

No, but when they lie to you consistantly and often, as your eyes do when presented with the thousands of tricks they play yearly you should consider them faulty.

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