Friday, November 29, 2013

Existentialism and Children

There is no existentialism for children. This is because they aren't deemed worthy of it. Adults are content to consider that life has no objective meaning or purpose, that there may be responsibilities but no guilt or innocence, but only grant such as applicable to themselves. For children, adults always paradoxically and hypocritically permit that this objective meaning, purpose, and guilt and innocence really do exist, but only for their sake. Either they have no confidence in the so-called universality of the non-truth they espouse, or they have too much confidence of which to boast in themselves because of it. For truly, the adult reveres himself for his complexity and reveres the child for her simplicity, but just how legitimate are these characteristics? Is it so much to ask that the adult, in all his so-called glorious "complexity" admit a little honesty and humility (and not that "of a child" so as to glorify children) and say that children are not "simple" because adults are complex any more than they are "small" because adults are tall? The only reason why children are anything is because adults have decreed these things from their adult perspective. It is only for that reason that suggesting adult existentialism also apply to children—to grant an existential indifference "escape clause" exists for children—or at least grant that this existentialism "devoid of despair" that they've reserved for themselves actually applies to no one, and for all the same reasons.  It's my contention that the latter is preferable to the former and therefore probably truer, therefore, there is no true existentialism for anyone.

I believe the only reason children are exempt from so many of the more so-called "relativist" philosophies is because adults who apply relativism to justify their own actions don't want to subject what they hold precious, sacred, and "trainable," to the inevitable deconstruction they have reserved for themselves and their ego. They want something to hold over children, even if it is the same self-granted ability to “hold something over” them itself. They still want to be able to boast in their own glory, in their own divinity as subjective “masters” of their own destiny so long as they can still see fit to deny children to be masters of their own as they used to do with owned slaves in the same manner. Why else would the subjectivist, the liberal thinker, the existentialist, declare complete personal independence for himself from all codes and ethics, including even innocence and guilt, and from all that Camus once called "philosophical suicide," but then turn around and insist that children, who are also human, be bound to those same institutions, philosophies, and structures defined by that same dependence on artifice, pretense, delusion, method, and ethics? Why hold the adult to be free to act without guilt or innocence and then chastise the child when he wrongs? It is clear in that hypocrisy that the existentialist who teaches a child morality cannot present his case without accepting that guilt and innocence, wrong and right, and truth and value exist, at least for someone, and therefore the further argument also—that if these objective realities apply to anyone (ie. children), they must also apply to everyone for the same reasons, otherwise we have to show just why only adults get to be angels.

Is it so hard to conceive that either what applies to child humans should also apply to adult humans, and adult humans to child humans? That what the adult permits himself so that he might glory in the fact of his so-called maturity could just as well serve the child to glorify herself so that she might also glory—not in her so-called immaturity, but her own measure of maturity as well? There is nothing immature until it is looked upon by that which assumes it is "more mature," and likewise, there is nothing "more mature" unless it is looked upon by that which is less, so there is no immaturity or maturity, just maturity in differing amounts. More and less are values, even to the existentialist, until it comes to the matter of age and experience, and then they reassert the prejudices of those they criticize to make it so. It is that assumption I would like to see diminish. Either what applies to the child also apply to the adult, or it applies to neither, which I believe makes the most sense. If anything exists in philosophy that might be deemed "too harsh" to apply to children, like the total independence of existentialism or the so-called glory of humanism, then it may be time to reconsider why it has any application to adults. If an adult can be "human, all too human," I can only ask why children are left out. If we can declare of ourselves "Ecce Homo!" along with Nietzsche, where is the equivalent "Ecce Puer!"? If we can declare ourselves an Über-mensch, where is the Über-kind? It's probably because adults would shudder at such a notion. How dare we drag children down with us! Must we drag ourselves down though?

If the adult truly and legitimately faces the "abyss" and can find it facing back without having to wallow in the despair of the mire after it but instead receive the blessings of complete freedom of action from it (many would also call it the "Absurd" or "God"), what sense does it make to deny those same blessings of the abyss, the Absurd, to children—to deny them this complete freedom only to maintain their so-called "innocence" (which is really to perpetuate ignorance)? If the most hardened absurdist can't look a child in the face and tell them that their life has no objective value, meaning, or purpose, then why do the same to adults? If the most hardened Über-mensch can reprimand the child for doing "wrong" or even just teach the child values (as in discipline) and never decline from doing these things so as to "free" the child from the shackles of slavery to meaning, value, delusion, and suicide (both actual and philosophical), then his absurdism is of no validity and he shouldn't be proclaiming the very same message to adults. If the message of this "humanism" is being expressed in human terms, either the message is fit for all human audiences, or it is fit for none, otherwise we have to explain why children aren't humans. For the same reason there is no existentialism, no lack-of-truth doctrine, which is only for Europeans or Americans, men or women, there should be no existentialism that is only for adults or children, but one that exists for all humans. There is either truth or there is no truth, and regardless of which is correct, the same should objectively exist whether an individual is black or white, male or female, or two or ninety-two. So far, relativism has not done this when it comes to age groups, and its universal failure to do this only calls into question its insistence that there is no such thing as a universal truth to begin with, which it can’t help but admit.

However, there is another side to this. The absurdist who can and does look a child in the eye and tell them suicide is just as valid a choice for them as long life (in a value-neutral sense that is) would be perfectly consistent, and therefore worth what exactly his philosophy espouses: the promotion of suicide as a possible and value-neutral option for escape—a truth that would be fit for anyone. Camus had no qualm reaching this perspective when tacitly providing for the neutrality of this escapism to adults, even if he derided it for being the "easy way out" and the least valuable option in a life where "quantity of experiences" is supposed to matter over "quality." Truly, advancing the so-called value-neutral stance of suicide is absurd, but I guess advancing the same for children was just too absurd, even for Camus. Could we really propose it to children as merely a "valid, though less valuable" option in the same value-neutral way Camus does for adults? How could anyone with a conscience uphold suicide as a possible and therefore value-neutral option for five-year-old children to take if they were inclined as we do for despaired adults? Those who claim to be relativistic and absurdist but can't recommend suicide as a value-neutral option to children out of fear of harming their innocence by the suggestion are without merit and inconsistent. They apply human standards only to adults, who are human, that they can't dream of applying to children, who are also human. As such, the existentialist is faced with a conundrum: either to remain consistent and therefore be able to recommend suicide as a value-neutral option for low-quantity-of-life children (where there is no such thing as "human values"), or be inconsistent and hold adults to a different ontology than children in order to maintain a good conscience and not promote behaviors that are obviously harmful as "value neutral." The choice all comes down on just how human the existentialist is willing to allow a child to be and just how innocent he is willing to accept adults really are.

It is essential to understand just why adults are considered to be any more or less human than children, and while there are many theories adults have instituted to justify applying different standards to either—often conflicting theories—the main thing we have to consider is exactly that: that adults have instituted different “human” standards on young humans than on chronologically older ones. The theories they use to justify doing it I often refer to as appeals to varying criteria: one being age limits, with those who ascribe to them as nothing but superstitious; another being experience, who are nothing but prejudiced and uninformed; and another being duality (innocence vs. maturity), who are guilty of merely assuming these states are opposed or mutually exclusive. It is also essential to understand what it means to be human and how it objectively differs from the adult-centric perspective which has always reigned over reason and even reigns among those who would've criticized it when it excluded other demographic groups from its definition. Children are excluded from humanity, and this popular notion has existed in three principle forms: the idea that children are not human at all (and are therefore completely different from adults, like animals); that children are human in part or in the process of becoming human from otherwise not being human (therefore justifying some measure of their dehumanization); and that children are completely human at every stage of development and don't differ at all from adults, despite their objective and biological differences  (therefore acknowledging human variation, but asserting human equality as already professed by the relativists, feminists, and racial freedom fighters alike, only for children this time around).

Essentially this difference is the determination of whether "humanity" is something (1) adults alone possess and receive upon attaining a certain criterion (listed above or otherwise), (2) whether it is something originally lacking in the creature but due to attaining a certain criterion gradually increases toward completeness, or (3) whether it is something common to all human beings of any age, experience, or difference, expressing itself differently at different times. It is dependent on whether we want to believe that what it means to be human has numerous expressions and that none are necessarily superior to any other, or if we want to continue to think there is only one valid expression of humanity and that it begins and ends with the current adult expression of it. It's the decision we have to make between at least there being one "adult" humanity, two mutually exclusive humanities for "adult" and "child" respective to their age groups or experience, or (as we have already determined on the basis of race, religion, and gender) one common humanity we all possess with only biological differences dividing us that have no bearing on how we ought to divide ourselves. All this being said, is it so much to assert that what applies to one should apply to the other, and if something should not be applied to one (existentialism, example), it probably shouldn’t be applied to the other either? The former asserts bringing children up to the level of adults, which is itself an adult-centric perspective. The later asserts the lowering of adults to the level of children. The later is not something adults are used to doing these days, but that's what makes it all the more interesting.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Happy International Men's Day

Don't listen to the naysayers out there who say such outreach is illegitimate or not needed, because every boy deserves the best start in life and every man who wrongfully suffers anywhere in the world is deserving of our concern, but all over the world there are men and boys dealing with violence, suicide, lack of scholastic achievement, lack of male role models, lack of security, higher rates of mental illness, imprisonment, and unemployment, and and who have no supports to turn to. That is why the issues concerning men and boys worldwide are observed every year on November 19th. This year, the theme is "Keeping Men and Boys Safe." Men and boys have a great number of issues that affect them, and so today is about spreading awareness on these issues.
The theme for 2013 is, "Keeping Men and Boys safe". The nominated target areas are:
• Keeping men and boys Safe by tackling male suicide;
• Keeping boys safe so they can become tomorrow’s role models;
• Tackling our tolerance of violence against men and boys;
• Boosting men’s life expectancy by keeping men and boys safe from avoidable illness and death;
• Keeping men and boys safe by promoting fathers and male role models.

The 2013 Press Release asks, "People all over the world are used to relating to men as protectors and providers, but how often do we consider the actions we can all take to protect Men and Boys from harm and provide them with a safe world where they can thrive and prosper?"

Some other issues worth considering on this day: 

1. Reducing male suicide (currently 80% of all suicides).
2. Restoring educational equity to our boys (who achieve 20% below their female peers).
3. Responding to the crisis in men's greater unemployment.
4. Decreasing the gap in reading and writing for boys worldwide. 
5. Decreasing boys' infant mortality rates (which are greater than girls).
6. Decreasing men and boys' over-representation in addictions and mental health.
7. Eliminating the enormous cost of fatherlessness to children and society. 
8. Eliminating the almost total lack of services for male victims of violence.
9. Stopping the exploitation, mutilation, and death of boys used as soldiers worldwide. 

And here are some websites you should check out and spread on this day include: 

Give boys the best possible start in life! Spread the word!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Four Loves

If C.S. Lewis' "four loves" could even be assumed to be of equal weight, why is "love" often only synonymous with "romance?" As when people say "I have no love in my life"? It seems to me, the easiest way to add some love to your life is to treat your family and neighbors with respect and kindness, shoring up for yourself some "love," in the form of what is called "storge" (affection for those kindred) and "phileo" (friendship) love. Once that is accomplished, those who weep and cry out for want of love would be able to say that they do have some love in their life, and therefore, should be able dry their eyes. But they can't.

The thing of it is, society and culture has become so twisted that people are made to hunger after a particular kind of love, "eros," at the expense of the others, or at least, as they are made to downplay the other, easier, and equally-fulfilling forms of love. Hungering after eros is perfectly fine and human to do, just as all love is, but it also happens to be the hardest love to achieve and maintain. So when people say they "don't have any love in their life," it's because they're being made to beat themselves up for hungering after and not possessing the hardest kind of love there is, whilst being made to ignore the plentiful opportunities around them to give and receive love to the world. They seek the one, and get lost in the crowd.

This is partly because "eros" love is so emphasized, promoted, romanticized, and idolized (and therefore merchandised) in culture and the others are ignored. The plain truth we are left to grapple with is that not everyone can achieve eros even if everyone is made to want it, whether naturally or by constant prompting by modern culture. Promoting eros, erotica, romance, and all forms of "partner love" to expense of the other forms of love, as society does in movies, television, music, and all media in general, actually depresses people whose only fault is being unable to possess what is perhaps the hardest thing to possess. What is the natural remedy often cited for depression? Charitable giving. Research shows that charity plays a large role in people's overall happiness in life. So less love in the world comes about when people are made to think that love is less than it is.

It is said though that society does value all the forms of love, including friendship, charity, affection, and romance, but just in their own "places." It resigns the friendship to the schoolyard, as if children aren't capable of romance or charity, and likewise, as if friendship is too "immature" for adults or charity too "righteous." Thus every child should have a friend, but every adult should have a lover instead, while a child is denied a lover and an adult is denied a friend. Society resigns charity to the church, for being something one only does when they want to atone for themselves or feel righteous. It reserves affection for the family, viewing the family like some kind of affection deposit box for the individual in the rush of their life. For eros though, it reserves for the bedroom, so that those who can't achieve the bedroom come away despaired and "lonely."

Why does there need to be a "place" for these things? Why not try out true friendship? Why can't pop songs be about romantic love and charity alike? Why can't all four, and perhaps even other kinds of love, be celebrated equally everywhere between all people?

Friday, April 19, 2013

No More Hurting People

While the world focuses on and celebrates the capture and trial of the remaining perpetrator of the heinous attack in Boston, let's take a moment to recognize what is at stake always and continually. A final plea for righteousness in a fallen world:

No more hurting people. Peace.

Kids Offer Tribute to Martin Richard. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

All Human Sexuality is Perverse

People shouldn't be kept from having sex, lest we subject all people to the same oppressive rule we forcefully subject children to, but there just isn't any point to sexual intercourse and sexuality, whether done by children or adults. Those among us who are swayed by the "sexual revolution" may be tempted to say that sex and sexuality has a purpose, and that it's for "procreation," but since when is that the case anymore? The ability to procreate is meaningless. Unless all these pornographic websites and films out there are celebrating the act of impregnation, including the homosexual ones, and all these strip clubs are established to celebrate the bearing of children, we're forced to contend that "propagation of the species" factors little.

The sexual revolution in the 20th century had nothing to do with procreation, and everything to do with making promiscuity guiltless and consequence free--meaning, making sex unnatural. Any observation of unprotected promiscuous sex shows us that is that it has consequences, for everyone who partakes in it, if not biologically, then socially. All the "sexual revolutionaries" succeeded in doing was to make unnatural promiscuity seem normal, which is a dangerous illusion. And how do we know? Because we still restrict children access to such acts. Anything we can't stomach teaching to children for fear that it would destroy them has failed the litmus test for acceptability, for everyone, as far as I'm concerned.

So I merely advise rather than demand, not only that adults not have sex with children or that children have sex with other children, but that "consenting adults" not have sex with each other either. They should all spend that time showing love and kindness to one another instead. Maybe at such time a real sexual revolution will take place in humanity, one that favors brotherly love before bodily pleasure. But still people may ask, is not love and sex the same thing? Let's reason about this. Love is about personal sacrifice. Sex is about being personally narcissistic. There's that part of sex that is obviously about self-love (using the other person for pleasure), but even the part that is so-called "selfless" (for the enjoyment of the other person), even that is selfish, particularly if one is pleasing oneself based on having pleased the other person. There is a philosophical argument that humans always act out of self-interest (egoism), whether in charity or in sex, but these are two different self-interests being looked after.

The self-love involved in pleasing someone sexually is different than the self-love involved in benefiting someone charitably or sacrificially, which is to say "spiritually." It may not be something our society often thinks about, since we have become so taken up with the "sex is good" sexual revolution propaganda, but if anyone lives by a creed other than sex, they can testify to the quality of their life, especially respective to those who live under that creed alone. The idea that pleasure is innately good or moral is Epicurean, and if a human wishes to live that way, they ought to be free to do so, so long as they no longer wish to live in this consequential human society with its "laws," "ethics," and "responsibilities." In the same manner, how often are children told that if they want to act like animals, they should go live with them?

There are further differences though. When benefiting someone emotionally, charitably, kindly, and respectfully, you're edifying their spirit of thankfulness, human respect, strength of will, and generosity. When pleasing someone sexually, you are merely giving into their self-love and edifying their selfishness. These are two different positions, one of inward love of self, and one of outward love of humanity. Nothing about sex encourages charity or kindness, for it is about control, pleasure, and being weak-willed.

Sacrifice, which is what love is, is a matter of encouraging and strengthening the will, while sex is about tearing it down and being a slave to desire. The will is of strength and character, while desire is of weakness and animal passion without restraint, for restraint is an imposition of the will. Why else would we encourage the weakening of wills (in sex), unless we had a society that benefited from having a whole group of people in it with a weakness of willpower, or lack of "sales resistance," more accurately? Because sex is profitable and kindness is not, we've been told, and sold, that "sex is love," and that sex has no consequences.

But what good comes from being pleased sexually? Does it make you want to go donate money, volunteer, clean up the environment, and respect other people? Or does it make you ego-centered, engaging in self-love about your own body and its ability to bring those selfish qualities out in another person? Consider what people find sexually arousing to answer that question. Surely, a life spent under the impression that sex creates anything beneficial for "society" is a life spent building earthly treasures in a world where time and nature corrupts all things, instead of storing up for humanity treasures such as willpower, kindness, construction, and love, that time and nature can not corrupt.

That is to say, sex leads to a lowering of the human spirit on its own, while love, on its own, leads to a lifting up of it. Because of the sexual revolution, I'm even tempted to think all sexual acts, even those in marriage, are wrong and perverse, in this age where sex is recreation and procreation is proctored by geneticists more and more. All humans are born out of an activity that commences with a lowering of the spirit necessarily. Now the species perpetuates itself in spite of sex, and not because of it, and that kind of unnatural perversity has consequences.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Loving Children

There is nothing wrong with loving a child. Children deserve love because they exist, from anyone willing to give it, and they deserve to be allowed to show love to anyone who will receive it. It is only wrong to deny them love and attention, and only right to give it to them. It is wrong to spurn their attempts to show love, and only right to receive them warmly. Society is wrong when it works to separate adults and children on a pretense of fear, and only right when it allows them to coexist in peace and harmony, guided by pure love and care. Children deserve love even when their parents are unwilling or unable to give it, just as those who give it are deserving of receiving it. Their love is human love, and humans need love like they need air, water, and food. Children are no different from human.

Love doesn't have to be unrealistically selfless and overly simplistic, for discipline, when authoritatively enforced, is a function of love (whether adults are disciplining children or children disciplining adults), it just needs to be felt that way. To deprive someone discipline is to be depriving them of love, just as to neglect is to deprive, and to abuse is to keep depraved--none of these are expressions of love. Children deserve to be loved by society as much as they need to be cared for by it. When a child is loved by an adult, and it is purely expressed, the child will love back. To gain the child's love in return for love: this is the only legitimately hallowed co-relation between adult and child that can exist, and the most noble arrangement a man, woman, boy, or girl can be blessed with. The truth is often plain and usually simple.

There's nothing wrong with a child loving an adult. Adult-to-child love and child-to-adult love is human love, and human love expressed tenderly in private and charitably in public is an expression of God's love. Children are not only capable of receiving their parents' love or solely capable of showing love toward their parents, but are capable of accepting kindness from anyone, young and old, who is willing to give it, and giving it to whoever is willing, young and old, to accept it. This is the meaning of "good will toward all."

The parental responsibility over their children is only there to be the gatekeeper deciding who may enter and who can not, as is their right to keep their child safe, but children deserve love even from their gatekeepers, and even from those incapable of keeping the gate and are still tasked to do so. If they are unable to receive it from their primary gatekeepers (their parents), then they both need someone else to fill that responsibility and extend to them the warm embrace of love and guidance. Parents love their children because they have to, by nature. Childlovers love children because they want to, by choice. True childlovers are never out to replace parents, but to supplement them. They are not there to strip a child off their family, but to be an extension of child's family. They are not there to further suppress the child, or to spoil them into subservience, but to act as role models working through legitimate channels of outreach acceptable to all capable of accepting love.

Childlovers love children as an adult lover might for their own lover, but the love of the childlover is purer, because it is felt almost exclusively out of interpersonal connection, selflessness, and devotion to allowing the child complete freedom. Adult love relationships, by contrast, are often compounded with expectations of monogamy and sex, but such things would be unthinkably selfish, and potentally hazardous, in a childlove relationship. The childlover never seeks to gain the child solely for themselves for "all eternity" as the primarily self-motivated adult relationships often do as an institution (marriage). The childlover instead only seeks to impart to a child the kindness and charity they are deserving of as human beings, and lets the child alone to live their own lives and pay that love forward to whoever they wish. That is the difference that makes all the difference!

The adult should only be someone the child knows personally for one reason or another, someone his or her parents know and trust, and someone from whom the relationship develops naturally and gradually out of friendship and trust. And because true love is never forced, coerced, or manipulated out of someone, whether adult or child, that which is isn't love and doesn't have any legitimate reason for existing. This is as much true for a child's non-parental lovers as it is for their legal guardians. Anyone who can not love a child genuinely (selflessly, harmlessly, charitably) has no business around them. Those who can will prove themselves worthy if their heart is pure. Psalms were written to celebrate such a love as that!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Thousand Prayers Worth

A repulsive, evil act, and an unspeakable tragedy today. My thoughts and prayers go out for the victims and their families. To God above, Amen. 

"A man opened fire Friday inside the kindergarten classroom at the Connecticut elementary school where his mother was a teacher, killing 20 children [and 6 adults], as youngsters cowered in corners and closets and trembled helplessly to gunshots reverberating through the building, before the gunman took his own life." (CBS/AP)