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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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LanDroid wrote: Tue Feb 13, 2024 10:13 pm I doubt I would have picked up on the Buddhist element given the "Right Speech" step on the Noble Eightfold Path. 🤣 I'll start looking for more now...
The occasional profanity in this book should be read as euphemistic, as a way of saying that we should detach from things that are unimportant and focus our energies to care about things of genuine value. That is a sentiment entirely in accord with the precept of right speech, conveyed in a way to break through the machismo of popular toughness.

Here is the Eightfold Path to end suffering. Mara is the Buddhist concept of delusion.
Use These Steps And Leave Everything Mara Causes
Understanding
Thought
Speech
Action
Livelihood
Effort
Mindfulness
Concentration
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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I hadn't heard the phrase sub specie aeternitatus before, but I think that's what Carl Sagan called "the cosmic perspective" and wrote about in The Pale Blue Dot.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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LanDroid wrote: Wed Feb 14, 2024 10:57 pm I hadn't heard the phrase sub specie aeternitatus before, but I think that's what Carl Sagan called "the cosmic perspective" and wrote about in The Pale Blue Dot.
Actually Sagan's perspective is rather different. Pale Blue Dot is about spatial extent, showing how tiny our planet is on cosmic scale stretching toward infinity. Under the Eye of Eternity is more about temporality, how the popular view of time fails to connect to durable values. Typically, scientists like Sagan only respect as real whatever can be proved by objective evidence. Eternal moral values require a different type of analysis, integrating a visionary picture of what humanity has to do to flourish. That looks more to a religious wisdom tradition than to the mere facts of science.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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Yes at first it seems Sagan focuses on our infinitesimal place in the infinite space of perhaps multi-trillions of galaxies. But he also examines the history of human activities in the context of deep time and concludes it is ALL up to us, there is no one coming to save us from our own potential destruction. This flies in the face of what most altar building apes believe. So yes we must focus on the long term view, but it does not appear we are capable of doing so. Here's a 3.5 minute video of one of the most famous excerpts from Sagan's book.



You mention "eternal moral values," but that doesn't make much sense given the billions of years the universe existed prior to life emerging and additional billions before sentient intelligent life arose. Even the brief summary of humanity in the above video makes me doubt there are long term values let alone eternal ones.

Sorry for the distractions, I'll get back to Chapter 1 shortly.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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LanDroid wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2024 12:18 pm Yes at first it seems Sagan focuses on our infinitesimal place in the infinite space of perhaps multi-trillions of galaxies. But he also examines the history of human activities in the context of deep time and concludes it is ALL up to us, there is no one coming to save us from our own potential destruction. This flies in the face of what most altar building apes believe. So yes we must focus on the long term view, but it does not appear we are capable of doing so.
It seems the subtle art of not giving a fuck turns on this problem of ability to focus on the long term view. We should ignore what is only of passing interest so we can attend to what is lasting. However, human instincts are relentlessly short term, so caring about what is important calls us to listen to reason rather than instinct. Our reason tells us that for humanity to flourish into the future, moral values such as truth and justice need to be taken more seriously. These eternal values are crowded out by whatever pushes our emotional buttons, enabling mass delusion to grow.

Our solar system is eight light hours across, about 0.02% of the distance to the nearest star. This observation of our cosmic isolation has prompted my research into the stable and durable structures of our solar system that provide the orderly context for the evolution of life on Earth, as something worth caring about.
LanDroid wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2024 12:18 pm You mention "eternal moral values," but that doesn't make much sense given the billions of years the universe existed prior to life emerging and additional billions before sentient intelligent life arose. Even the brief summary of humanity in the above video makes me doubt there are long term values let alone eternal ones.
My view is that ‘eternal’ has a triple meaning, corresponding to the three subjects taught in Plato’s academy, geometry, physics and ethics. In mathematics and geometry, eternal means outside time. Mathematical relationships are true by definition and therefore cannot change. In physics, eternal means permanent, lasting forever within time. Physical laws of gravity and relativity are examples.

Ethics is the most complex and important field for discussion of the eternal. It is true that ethical concepts are constructed by culture, but they are not purely imaginary. Our moral values have a grounding in natural selection, with the values that are most conducive to long term flourishing having adaptive status.

That means the concept of the eternal within ethics should not be seen in the same objective standard as in geometry and physics, but rather that the human perspective should be accepted as caught between a temporal instinctive attitude and an eternal rational attitude.

One idea from Richard Dawkins that particularly caught my attention was that evolution itself has core values, primarily stability, durability and fecundity. Therefore any moral value that is intrinsically stable, lasting and productive should spread through the meme pool. Just as it is an eternal truth of evolutionary science that these qualities work in genetics, the same applies to cultural evolution.

The problem is that humanity is headed for extinction, so people do not care about anything durable, instead preferring what is fun. This failure to care about the future is a primary moral weakness in modern culture.

Now I am wondering where Manson lines up on this question about caring for our destiny.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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In “The Feedback Loop From Hell”, TSAONGAF explains that people are way too susceptible to the influence of our imagination about how happy other people are. People tend to think others are less anxious, angry, emotional, neurotic and sad than themselves.

This is partly due to the influence of mass media and advertising which deliberately create false impressions about what is normal. As Manson says, our society has bred a whole generation who believe that having these negative experiences is totally not okay.

Systematic public deceit leads to pervasive delusion, which people cope with using Fentanyl and Prozac and other similarly delightful ways to put a Band-Aid over reality.

If we instead exercise a strong dose of suspicion about what is presented as common sense, the problem arises that we become conspiratorial, imagining that people are deliberately manipulating us to make money. Of course, that is entirely true, given the known facts about tech algorithms and other forms of public deception.

So the art of serenely rising above attachment to the lies of consumer culture is very difficult.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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See, despite the book sales and the fame, Bukowski was a loser. He knew it. And his success stemmed not from some determination to be a winner, but from the fact that he knew he was a loser, accepted it, and then wrote honestly about it. He never tried to be anything other than what he was
I guess, it is a direct way to how not give a fuck about unimportant things. Acceptance. Not only of yourself (with all of the pluses and minuses), but others also.

Indeed, it requires a certain level of self-revision, introspection and honesty, but how else could you differentiate the important things from unimportant, if you don't have your own previously accepted place as a starting point?

Like my friend once said: "When I accepted that my ugly face is not a bug, but a feature, my life became much easier".
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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Mark Manson’s analysis of how to be happy asserts that “the desire for more positive experiences is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” (p9) To support this paradox, he cites the philosopher Alan Watts - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Watts - , famous for popularising Western Buddhist psychotherapy in the 1960s. Watts explained happiness in terms of personal satisfaction, recognising that we can't get satisfaction.

This leads to the sage advice from Yoda, “Don’t Try”, recognising the psychology of flow, that conscious thought about an objective harms our ability to achieve it, that instead we must get into the zone of being rather than reflection on being.

All this looks to be squarely aimed at Kim Kardashian and her acolytes, as false prophets who preach a delusional path to happiness based entirely on the assumption that appearance is reality. Popular culture seeks to cultivate instinctive responses of envy and pleasure while excluding contemplative virtues of equanimity and understanding. The Buddha taught that such popular instincts are the primary cause of suffering, and that enlightenment can rise above the suffering of the world into a perspective of bliss and love and joy through a meditative detachment from sensory pleasure and desire.

To my mind this raises tensions between personal coping, social responsibility and transforming the world. If we believe that worrying about what other people think does not matter, we do risk veering off into an unaccountable and delusional personal space where we ignore the need to listen to and respect the perspectives of others. Saying you could not care less about what other people think is a recipe for isolation and depression and failure. Fretting about appearance and reputation is often central to worldly success, but such fretting can easily take over from an ability to understand reality.

This all leads to some central messages from Christianity. According to the Bible, Jesus spent forty days in the desert, on a total fast in order to focus his attention on problems of temptation and vision. The church commemorates that fast each year in Lent, the forty days before Easter. At the end of this long fast, Jesus tells the devil that he does not give a fuck about political power, personal reputation or performing miracles to impress people. Instead, his focus is entirely on the long game of planetary transformation, understanding what the real problems of the world are and how they can be fixed.

The theoretical distinction that Jesus is raising here is between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the World. Jesus says we should care totally about the Kingdom of God, understood as a transformed future vision of what our world could become if we focused properly on moral values. By contrast, the Kingdom of the World is in a fallen and corrupted state of depravity, preaching seductive Satanic lies. It is essential to detach from the false and delusional values of society in order to concentrate on articulating a sense of the possibility of change, how humanity can evolve into a state of grace, with the goals of universal love and flourishing. The subtle art of not giving a fuck requires the ability to distinguish what is durable from what is fleeting, to care about what is lasting while ignoring what does not really matter.

These issues were hinted at in the famous Buddhist song "I Can't Get No Satisfaction", where the delusions of advertising are critiqued.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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Mark Manson implicitly compares his philosophy to the famous book by M Scott Peck The Road Less Traveled, saying “like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.” (p12). This leads to a sort of impeccable warrior accomplishment discipline, able to focus and prioritise on what is of value and disregard everything else. This struggle for personal discipline often fails, and yet provides the basis for growth, overcoming egoic bluster. Far from the serene indifference of psychopathy, the goal is comfort about difference, an ability to focus on what is important.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Scott_ ... s_Traveled explains all this as follows.
The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978, is Peck's best-known work, and the one that made his reputation. It is, in short, a description of the attributes that make for a fulfilled human being, based largely on his experiences as a psychiatrist and a person.
The book consists of four parts. In the first part Peck examines the notion of discipline, which he considers essential for emotional, spiritual, and psychological health, and which he describes as "the means of spiritual evolution". The elements of discipline that make for such health include the ability to delay gratification, accepting responsibility for oneself and one's actions, a dedication to truth, and "balancing". "Balancing" refers to the problem of reconciling multiple, complex, possibly conflicting factors that impact an important decision—on one's own behalf or on behalf of another.

In the second part, Peck addresses the nature of love, which he considers the driving force behind spiritual growth. He contrasts his own views on the nature of love against a number of common misconceptions about love, including:
• that love is identified with romantic love (he considers it a very destructive myth when it is solely relying on "falling in love"),
• that love is related to dependency,
• that true love is linked with the feeling of "falling in love".
Peck argues that "true" love is rather an action that one undertakes consciously to extend one's ego boundaries by including others or humanity, and is therefore the spiritual nurturing—which can be directed toward oneself, as well as toward one's beloved.

In the third part Peck deals with religion, and the commonly accepted views and misconceptions concerning religion. He recounts experiences from several patient case histories, and the evolution of the patients' notion of God, religion, atheism—especially of their own "religiosity" or atheism—as their therapy with Peck progressed.

The fourth and final part concerns "grace", the powerful force originating outside human consciousness that nurtures spiritual growth in human beings. To focus on the topic, he describes the miracles of health, the unconscious, and serendipity—phenomena which Peck says:
• nurture human life and spiritual growth,
• are incompletely understood by scientific thinking,
• are commonplace among humanity,
• originate outside the conscious human will.
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Re: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Ch. 1: Don’t Try

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“How to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values.”

This is the less salacious and eye catching possible title for this book, from page 13. It has the advantages of accuracy and clarity, and the disadvantages of being long, dull and boring. Manson says this is perhaps the only struggle in one’s life.

I remember reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to my daughter, where the following exchange takes place
Lewis Carroll wrote:`What do you know about this business?' the King said to Alice.
`Nothing,' said Alice.
`Nothing whatever?' persisted the King.
`Nothing whatever,' said Alice.
`That's very important,' the King said, turning to the jury. They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the White Rabbit interrupted: `Unimportant, your Majesty means, of course,' he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him as he spoke.
`Unimportant, of course, I meant,' the King hastily said, and went on to himself in an undertone, `important--unimportant-- unimportant--important--' as if he were trying which word sounded best.
Some of the jury wrote it down `important,' and some `unimportant.' Alice could see this, as she was near enough to look over their slates; `but it doesn't matter a bit,' she thought to herself.
How we hone our personal values to assess what is important to us confronts the problems of confusion and uncertainty that beset the art of decision. As the King of Hearts lampoons in this discussion, many people in authority have no idea about anything, and just go which ever way the wind blows, a recipe for failure. As Aristotle argued, taking things seriously is rare. But we have to take life seriously in order to determine coherent values. Most people don't care about coherence, they would rather just get by each day. So to argue that coherence is important involves a whole series of assumptions about life and ethics.

In my own reflections on this confusing question of importance, I have found much wisdom in religious concepts. For example, the Bible includes the paradoxical idea that the most important things of all are generally rejected by society. I wrote about this here. That is really a confronting suggestion, that the scale of delusion is so great that people could systematically ignore what is most important. Partly this is because few people can explain important things with any clarity. For example, there may be genuine value in believing in God, but this is so badly explained, and combined with such a high level of nonsense, that the credibility of its advocates is widely doubted.

So if the precondition for knowing what to care about is knowing what is important, how do we know what is important? One distinction in Mark Manson’s comment is about what matters to me. It is entirely possible that we can take a narcissistic approach to what matters, ignoring what matters more broadly to the world in favour of a purely selfish short term attitude.
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