Continuing from part 5 of the Dune Book Club, run by Comic Book Girl 19.
Notes Before the Twitch Stream
Not much I’m going to write about for this session, so I’m just going to focus on a few philosophical lines and what they mean to me.
My father once told me that respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. “Something cannot emerge from nothing,” he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable “the truth” can be.
Bing definition for morality:
Morality: a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society; principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
Truth and morality. How unstable the truth can be. I believe this all comes down to what one believes the truth to be, and if they can handle it. For instance, religion. Most, if not all, religions are based primarily on faith rather than fact, though the amount of fact each religion contains varies. Religions preach what principles one should hold, what matter of conduct they should exert. Yet the truth of the religion is unstable because it is uncertain.
But religion aside, many carry on their lives with their own beliefs, their own way of seeing the world. But what if they discover something that can shatter their perceptions? What if they discover they have been living a lie? Some are unable to handle that, and forcefully reject truth in order to continue living with what they are familiar with. Others may live without ever learning that they live a lie.
And then there’s propaganda. Of course, not all propaganda is a lie. But we have seen instances where it very much is. Like in the news, their opinion pieces, and what facts they leave out when reporting on a story. Some news organizations have no respect for the truth. It means less than the narrative they wish to push for the sake of power. They can twist the truth, which does anything but respect it.
Lies exist for the sake of power and comfort. The truth exists regardless of whether or not it brings power and/or comfort. Some don’t see a benefit to the truth if it brings neither power nor comfort. And that is what can truly test how one values the truth, how one perceives morality. Is it ever ok to lie? If so, when should one lie as opposed to not lie?
Going into spoilers here for the film Dunkirk, there is a scene where a shellshocked soldier accidentally fatally injures a boy, but doesn’t know how badly he has injured him. He is already under an incredible amount of stress, on the brink of losing what sanity remains. So the boy’s friend lies, telling the soldier the boy is alright, that he is fine, that he will recover. It should be noted that the quote states “respect for the truth,” not necessarily always telling the truth. One can lie while still being respectful towards the truth. Treating the truth with respect means handling it with care. The truth must be used with care. But in so treating it with care, that also means lies shouldn’t be used carelessly either. But there are also times where, even if it hurts, someone must face the truth for a better long-term future, for an eventual improvement in life.
“Something cannot emerge from nothing.” Guess that means there cannot be truth and lies without morality.
He tells us that a single obscure decision of prophecy, perhaps the choice of one word over another, could change the entire aspect of the future. He tells us “The vision of time is broad, but when you pass through it, time becomes a narrow door.” And always, he fought the temptation to choose a clear, safe course, warning, “That path leads ever down into stagnation.”
The limits of Paul’s power. The limits of seeing into the future. The care one must take when making decisions. Once a decision is made, prophet or not, there’s no going back to change it. That limits certain paths. Wisdom and knowledge can help with making the best decisions.
And he realized with an abrupt sense of shock that he had been giving more and more reliance to prescient memory and it had weakened him for this particular emergency.
“If you rely only on your eyes, your other senses weaken.” It was a Bene Gesserit axiom.
This is my favorite part of the entire reading session. The dangers of relying on only one sense. This can be extended beyond just the human senses. There are technologies we shouldn’t be entirely reliant on either. Cars. The Internet. Nooks. Cell phones. One news source. While they can be useful, there is a danger to only using one.
For instance, the Internet. Sure, it’s a great and powerful tool that can be used for communication, entertainment, and research. But what if something would happen that prevents you from using it for a while, such as a blackout, issues with the service provider, or God forbid some law that gets passed that limits how it can be used? If it’s the only thing used for research, you would be helpless. That is why there should be libraries, and physical copies of books. At the same time, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to use other means of accessing knowledge besides just the library and physical books. Variety doesn’t hurt. And on top of that, you could discover things unexpectedly with variety that you normally wouldn’t get using only one source (yes, this includes the Internet; as vast as it is, it doesn’t contain everything).
But back to human capabilities independent of technology, one could be very smart, very intelligent, very wise, and use their wits constantly to get themselves out of trouble and to help others. But what if they get put into a situation where that’s not enough? Where they need physical strength too in order to get out of (or survive) a situation? At that point, if they haven’t been working out, they may regret never doing so and being helpless before a physical force.
Exercise all senses, all potential, and you will have other options should one fail.
After the Twitch Stream
Fuck it, no youtube video. Just go to the Twitch.tv link if you want to see it.
Some interesting stuff mentioned on fate and karma. Bits of what she discusses (start at the 20 minute mark, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain of getting through the lag and bugs with the stream) go over my head, even if I’ve heard some of it before in my philosophy class. It’s stuff to ponder.
Free will is about becoming more aware. Aware of things you do subconsciously. Aware of things happening in the world around you. You cannot be free without awareness (ala The Matrix).
Sexism. “There’s no such thing as sexism unless you give them that power.” If some guy makes some joke at you, brush it off, don’t get upset, otherwise they will gain power over you. There is sexism, but you can let people talk shit to you and believe them, or you can let it roll off your back. Men don’t give women their power, a woman gives herself her own power.
When she was young, Comic Book Girl 19 was a bit authoritarian. When on the subject of God, she’s like, “Why should he be a man? What makes you think he’s not a woman?” You know, I bet somewhere in the world someone is asking, “Why should he be a man or a woman? Why can’t he be a tranny?”
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