Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I've moved into heavy editing mode, and began with part one of book one of the the perfect idius. This section is entitled "Necessity" and is about 20 pages. This includes the introduction to the work, the first thing written; I penned it in 2001, adapting it from my first diary entry in 1999. This section represents the first thoughts I've had on what would lead to allism. I've edited the work many times since 2001, giving it a thrice over right now. Editing is endless, and one can't be cruel enough. Any feedback on this section you have will be interesting to me.






                Every man and woman is a monarch. The monarch caterpillar eats the poisonous milkweed which will make him, when adult, poisonous to the devouring birds. Likewise, each of us spends the beginning of his life enthralled in lessons, learning, growth, and the creation of personality. We enter our chrysalis, metamorphose, and emerge a monarch butterfly.

                A lick of flame through the stark blue sky, he fears no attacking bird. Weaned from sour milk, he freely sips sweet nectar. But first, the chrysalis. How silent broods the caterpillar within his palace of jade! You would think him asleep. He lies within the unblemished jewel of a prince's tomb, a hobgoblin made vile during his own transformation. He is not remotely asleep. This exhaustive labor of self-birth epitomizes his struggle. He endures these subtle degrees between fat land worm and flower of the wind. The exchange of earth bound legs for majestic wings and coarse jaw for delicate spoon of honey crown this Monarch as a new creation.

                It is no surprise then that few of us wish to endure this reform, with its stages of ugliness, with its uncertain identity, with its renouncing of habit and custom. Yet the freedom of fulfilled purpose is worth the labor, the life is worth the death. The ancients tell us "know yourself." The moderns return, "be yourself." These are two steps of three: know yourself, change yourself, be yourself. We choose the self we want to be, and from our own become. First, we must know ourselves: the goal of introspection.

                Like the plump caterpillar, we contain everything needed to introspect and transform; no new lesson, no new teacher, no new text is required. The common experience of every adult suffices for metamorphoses. Indeed, common sense is most common, for if blind to some, we see the other, and clearly. And what we see, we systemize: we pattern our knowledge, acquire understanding, and prepare new habits. Further education is noble, but let us sharpen our knives before we cut; let us inspect our inspection, judge our judgment, contemplate our contemplation, and discipline our disciplining.

                Introversion is the labor; extroversion the birth. Do not rot within that chrysalis! The mature man has a dog-eared soul; he returns to introspection as needed, but seeks also the world. The joy of introversion is not enough; it ultimately isolates us, and isolation is the root of unhappiness. The introvert must turn from himself and take in the world. Through immersion in such a love he will finally transcend again into the everblessed All. He becomes the Psychic God, and never ceases becoming.

                This text is redundant, a reminder of what we know to be true, an identifying and formalizing of what is already in us. The monarch looks from his highest height at Book One, The Life of Allism, then flies into the thick of the field, skating over the field of Book Two -- All-Reading -- and the dance of Book Three -- All-Writing -- approaching the Eternal Blossom at last in the universal Book Eight -- Religion of Religions. This flight defines Allism, a simple truth swaddled in complexity.

                Let us now discover what we know to be true.


Map of the Universe





*  ************************

*  *world

*  *  *********************

*  *  *body

*  *  *  ******************

*  *  *  *mind

*  *  *  *  ***************

*  *  *  *  *habits

*  *  *  *  *  ************

*  *  *  *  *  *assumptions

*  *  *  *  *  *  *********

*  *  *  *  *  *  *memories

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  ******

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *NEEDS



                All men and women live according to the life of their mind, a life in accordance with their philosophy—the systemizing of ideas. System emanates as personality, personality as character. A hedonist seeks joy in his attitude, seeks joy in his thinking, seeks joy in his personality, seeks joy in his actions. Even the most carefree and thoughtless laborer harbors a humming engine of ideas beneath his skin. Insofar as life is to be lived, and lived well, one must think well, and so understands his own philosophy. To do this, each must consider his philosophy in its basic assumptions. My assumptions are graphed in the Map.

                In the garden that is a man, Need grows up like a seedling in the soil of memories, putting out roots of assumptions to nurture its purpose; our habits carry the force of this purpose into the flower of the mind and the leaves of the body, which blow in the world's breath, and drink in the sun of the universe.

                In other words, the schema breaks down like this: Man needs; these needs imprint memories, these memories systemize into assumptions, these assumptions blueprint habits, these habits incite the mind, this mind moves the body, this body senses the world, and this world presents the universe.

                Man is his needs and is his tools for fulfilling these needs. We need food, air, shelter, relationships, love, knowledge, achievements, and many other things: lacking some, we suffer; lacking others, we die. Since all our concerns—love, play, work, art—depend upon us living, needs insist themselves as primary.

                Needs record as memories. A memory reexperiences events mixed with our need's reaction to those events. We remember a ruddy sunset, we remember a tearful loss, we remember a clever idea. Memories lump into episodes and abbreviate into event-names. We remember “last summer” in a few minutes; it does not take a whole other summer to remember.

                Memories crystallize into assumptions. Without order, memories would be useless. We assume truth from memory, the truth of what we should do. I may remember touching the flame, but unless I assume it will again burn, that I ought beware, then that memory will only taunt and distract. Memories are the concrete things we experienced, assumptions are the abstract things we pull from them. We abstract the concept of blackness from seeing night, cats, and charcoal pictures. A child perceives blackness, abstracts black, notices that black can be beautiful, and decides she ought to use a black crayon to color a night sky.

                Assumptions build habits. We assume what is true, and decide what to do; having decided, we desire. We assume music pleases, assume we ought to please ourselves, and habitually listen to music. Acting wants repeating: the more we do something, the more we want to do it. Habits desire to feel, think, talk, and act in certain ways. We habitually laugh at comedies, habitually consider the plots, habitually discuss them, and habitually go home afterwards.

                The desires of habit influence mind. Mind is not how we think, but that we are aware. Awareness is an eye within a palm: what it sees, it may grab with focus. Mind can view the narrative of memory, the concepts of assumptions, the desires of habits, the sensation of itself moving and of the body's placement in the world. By focusing on a habit, we enact it; by moving across ideas, we connect them.

                The mind moves the body. We will our body to dance and it dances; we will our body to speak and it speaks. The body is limited to five main senses, bound by shape and perspective. By the strength of its muscles, bound by their shape and vigor. Through our senses and muscles we master the world.

                The body lives in the world of the senses. In this world, we see our friends move, hear them talk, but we can neither see nor hear their mind. The people we love, the facts we incorporate, and the objects we possess, inhabit our world.

                The world of the senses is but a small part of the universe as a whole: all history, all matter, all geography, all people, all that exists in the absolute moment.

                An infant needs food. She feels hunger, remembers asking for her bottle and so getting it, assumes that asking again will win her the bottle again. and develops the habit of asking. The habit incites her mind. Her mind moves her body, and so she approaches mom, asks, and receives. She so masters the world.

                Man needs; to meet these needs he uses the tools of memories, assumptions, habits, mind and body; he applies these tools on the objects of the world, and so, on the universe as a whole: needs, tools, objects, whole.

                This "Map of the Universe" stacks up symmetrically. Needs are primary; the experience of needs are part of what is memorized, memories are part of what makes up assumptions, assumptions are part of what makes up habits, habits are part of what makes up a mind, the mind is part of what makes up the body, the body is part of what makes up the world, the world is part of what makes up the universe.

                From this system, all else follows.




Needs are foundational


                To understand ourselves, let us consider existence. To exist is to need, for essence implies need, in that we need what is essential for our existence. Whatever exists has requirements for it to continue to so exist: a rock requires cool temperatures to remain solid; an idea requires a mind to think it; a fish requires water to breath.

                Need is the core of human existence and the starting point for all else. Reason, awareness, and the unconscious are mere its tools. Needs, fundamental to the being of man, are the requirements for man's psycho-biological existence, and so also for health and happiness, which his functions seek to fulfill. The "needs" of nonliving matter are passive, the needs of life dynamic: they guide its functions. In this, the needs of life are not essential or intrinsic, but fundamental. They are fundamental in that they found what exists in man, and insofar as we are to exist, we must fulfill our needs. Needs are fundamental in that our psycho-biological functions imply an objective (food for the stomach and the stomach for life); our faculties serve necessity, for if they existed for something unnecessary we could freely dispense with them, and this is clearly not the case.

                Of all objects of awareness, need insists itself as most real, most immediate, most important, allowing no other focus its airs except in reference to necessity. Whatever doubts a skeptic may entertain about the world, mind, or self, his need demands constant consideration—presupposes consideration—and therefore need necessitates itself the most certain and meaningful reality of human awareness. All people in all places at all times attend their needs. Whatever doubts may come out of a man's mouth, food must go in it; whatever a man may say about man, he must speak to men; whatever a man may doubt about reality, he must relate to it. To seek a first principle implies a lack -- one needs it. Seeking presupposes consciousness, consciousness presupposes need. Man's first principle: life lives. For living means acting to fulfill needs. The infant understands this first, the adult understands this best.

                Necessity is a sun which pulls in its fuel and keeps memory, assumption, habit, mind, and body orbiting. Need is a centering center.

                In sum: man, at heart, is his needs.

Needs and life


                If man, at heart, is his needs, what is man? Since he creates via reason, man is the ratio-creative life form. A form of life? What is life? Life is productive and reproductive organized energy. It is productive in that it produces a body, an environment, and in the case of humans, thinking patterns, interpersonal relationships, art, philosophy and technology. It is reproductive in that the body continually reproduces its parts and through childbirth reproduces its whole. It is organized energy in being a melody of movement. Life is fulfilled through liveliness. The essence of life is needs.

                Needs are the requirements for life. Why search for the meaning of life when life is meaning? Meaning is life. All meaning enhances life and every fulfilled life is meaningful. There is no meaning to life outside of the life that it is. For if we needed something beyond life, why do we need but for life? Meaning is the eye of life. Life needs.

                What does life need? Goods. A good is an object or objective which fulfills a need. To be good is to fulfill your needs. To be bad is to deny your needs. To be evil is to willfully deceive yourself, and thus thwart your basic means to survival: creative reason. Evil is not a privation of good, but a mismatch movement of reason. "The only thing that is really good is a good will"–-but good for what? Goodness is not primary. Life is. The delicatessen's will for food is no good if he starves. Will must find purchase; beyond that it is useless.

                What is the will of the needs? If life contains various needs, what is the shape and bent of them all? Do they bow to a greater purpose? What is the sum and summum bonum of the needs? How is life most fulfilled? What more than by Creativity? Man's overgoal is Creative Greatness. For creativity centers all goodness.

                Man needs creativity more than he needs humanity. Passion is greater than love. If only one childless couple appeared every thousand years, to write, till, talk, converse, love, and experience creativity, though they left not a scrap behind them, they would be fulfilled. As would be the next pair, with no reference to the former. Life would be fulfilled in this: my life suffices to itself. I need no priors to bequeath me fortunes, I need no posterity to lap up my honey. That we have these things merely deepens what every living person already owns: a mind to focus on his circumstances and to create his choice. No person, however destitute, lacks this; every man is consciously creative, and that is the full meaning, purpose, and glory of his life. Poverty, disease, decrepitude, and still he holds that burning ball. Every man wears his halo: every man holds his awareness.

                Is life to live under any and all conditions? No, the will to life is not survival by any definition, for life is not primarily concerned with survival, but with a certain mode of survival, namely, as a doer of lively activities. Beyond that, life need not continue. Conditions arise inimical to life: the life of my justice may call me takes risks I may fulfill my life through death. Life is always worth living -- conditions improve. Suicide denies life, but risk I welcome when the prize is worthy.

                If needs are one, is will one? The will to perfection, the will to power, the will to productivity, and the will to life are synonymous. Life acts, and activity allows life. Life is the only end, a constant beginning and becoming. A life-form has aim, and aim aims at life, for nothing can aim but life, and nothing can be aimed at save life. Every motive, every desire, every lust, longing, sadness, joy, depression, and exultation is a sublimation of  the will to life. The energy of self-production is the energy that that flows into all activity. Creativity is a value for life; what then is the value of life?

                Life is not a value, but the purpose of value. There is no value to my life, but everything has value according to the standard of my life. For an economy cannot be bought or sold, but determines how things are bought and sold. The economy has no value to itself, but attributes value within itself.

                Life elects goods, but does goodness exceed life? Goodness fulfills need, but can goodness exceed it? Does a starving sculptor exceed his need? One need sacrificed for another. We need certain goods in degrees, others, as much as possible; we need only so much calcium in our diet, but we always need more beauty, more truth, more kindness, more justice, more politics, more productivity–the unlimited goods. These we ought to seek with our full vigor-–indeed, vigor exists for this-–yet what is this "ought"? Why "ought" a man do anything?

Needs versus duty


                Morality is doing what you ought; it refers to actions, and the action of creating habits. Why ought a man do anything? Because it fulfills him. Given it is self-evident we ought to do what is really good for us, and given what is really good for us is to fulfill our needs, then it is our moral obligation to fulfill our needs, at all costs and without consideration to anything else. Motivation, which inspires all actions, is a function of necessity. Needs are duty, duties are needs.

                How is it self evident that we ought to do what is really good for us? Self evidence means the opposite is inconceivable. Indeed, the opposite here, that we ought to at least sometimes do what is really bad for us, is inconceivable. Whenever it is taught that we ought to do good for others without considering our own happiness, the justification alleges some reward that outweighs the loss. "Self-sacrifice and selflessness are moral, even if this harms you, or costs your life." Why? Who is it good to? Good is relative to persons. How is it good to me to die for you? Never deny a need unless that fulfills one greater. No morality has ever and can ever prove self-sacrifice good, for man can only be good to himself; man can only be a good to others.

                Yet, a man may fulfill his own life by dying for another. Let us assume there is no afterlife. Is it right to die for another? If you value her, and you value yourself loyal, then it is life-fulfilling to die for your loyalties and values. For to live life knowing yourself a coward tortures and denies life. Life is only worth living if lived right. Sometimes dying is the only moral act possible. For life needs not to persist in any character, but only in a good character.

                One may die for his own sake, for the sake of being loyal. No act is good for its own sake. Men have sakes, and the sake of meaning is my own. I do not give for your sake, but for mine as giver.

                If there is a hell, would it be good to die for my sake as a lover if in the afterlife I would go to hell, to burn in her place, where I would feel no pride for my decision, but panic and dread for all time, becoming a coward, grazing in the flames? Hell annuls my self-value, ripping away my virtues. How could it fulfill me to suffer for all time? By the morality of self-sacrifice, however, this would be the highest good.

                Dying for another may fulfill even as it ends your life, just as letting another die, while you persist, may also fulfill, depending on your values and situation. Either way, you need to be true in life and death to your values; as long as your mind lives, you must consider what is in your long-term best interest.


                So let us first and foremost, and to the exclusion of anything else, fulfill our needs. Let us also fulfill our need to be kind. Abuse is not self-interested. We need to kindly love. The miser shivers on his money pile, the bully bleeds with his victims, the gossip deafens herself. Given this need to love, an extension of self love, emphasis on our own needs necessarily directs us to care for others.

                "That is selfish." Would that men were more selfish, for they would be kinder and greater. Selfishness is love for one's own life. Its opposite is suicide, the fear of life. Selfishness versus suicide. Selfishness respects all selves. Abuse then is a form of suicide, a concern for a certain set of needs denying our need to love. A loving heart is a selfish prize. Where your treasure is, there also is your heart. And, truthfully, your heart is your treasure.


                "Your life was a gift. You don't own it." If I am my life, then this gift has no receiver. I am I. Our parents do us the favor of “giving” us life, giving us a self, we return this favor by living our life, by being ourselves. I did not need to be created, therefore life gave no benefit. There was no one to benefit. Life is no gift. Being raised and loved was good and for that we love and respect our parents. However, our life itself is the only thing we fully own because we never didn't and never won't. Gratitude would be meaningless here.

                "Your life is a gift from God." If there were a God, he would create our needs according to how we ought to exist, she would responsibly command us to do what is good for us, and if she rewarded and punished, these too accord with our needs.

                "Man's purpose is to benefit mankind." Rather, the species exists so individuals may live. Species is abstract. Individuals reproduce and enculturate one another to express themselves ("I will raise my children my way.") We benefit "mankind" for reciprocation.

                "Man needs to belong to a group." Belongingness is a relationship the individual seeks for selfish fulfillment. My life owns itself, is for itself, and cannot be owned by anybody else. What I choose to trade from love or fear is by choice and not by duty.

                Why should I do this or that thing? Why should I do anything? Should shoulds exist? Isn’t this very question a paradox? We must answer, shoulds exist, and so are objective, they have being, and can only be imagined to exist using the function they serve. Unless the should  commits suicide (“there shouldn’t be shoulds”) then we must ask further, “Why do shoulds exist?” They are ideas, and we know what ideas are for: to empower us to fulfill our needs. Shoulds exist for this. There can be no question “To be or not to be?” or “should I exist at all?” since that very should is already in reference to the should-er, the one who shoulds for a purpose, for personal fulfillment. Suicide, in an ultimate sense of absolute extinction, should never be sought.

Needs versus happiness


                If duty is need, and happiness is felt when need is fulfilled, then it is our duty to please ourselves; indeed, this is our only duty. Nevertheless, pleasure is not the goal.

                Some have used the word "happiness" for what he seeks for its own sake, and not for the sake of anything else. How should we complete the sentence, "I want to be happy because…"? What do we say? We say, "I want to be happy because then my needs are fulfilled." That is not to say that we need to be happy. Happiness is to keep us living right, but we do not live to be happy. We exist to exist and our purpose is to choose our purpose, realizing our fullest potential. Therefore, immediate pain is no evil, as happiness is good, for both are tools. We may use inevitable sufferings for good. Needs are smarter than water, which seeks its downward goal stupidly, getting caught in cups, lakes, and dams. Needs know they must deny themselves, must go against gravity a little to find a better path. Suffering can be good. Pain is an impulse with a strong sense of immediacy -- a strong motivator.

                But what if pain and joy were reversed, and good health meant pain, and poor health joy? Would one pursue health? Perhaps an adult knowledgeable of the situation would survive, but this would require staunch will and firm reason. Yet what if staunch will felt like morbid weakness? What if firm reason ached the head? Could one survive? True, if our tools were different, we would die, for we need them as they are. Yet though we cannot imagine life without joy, that does not mean life is for joy. Joy is for life. We are happy to meet our needs, needs being the end, happiness the means. However, the two are one when we say that, whether we feel happy or not, happiness is fulfillment.

                "Virtues do not make happy. Happiness makes virtuous. Those who are full in themselves must cast their joy abroad for––relief! Unshared joys revenge themselves. The depressed man takes antidepressants. Back on his feet, he smiles and helps others. His joy lead him to kindness. Happiness makes virtuous, not the visa verse.”

                Yet Aristotle says, "Happiness is the chief good of man, the activity of his soul in accordance with virtue. Happiness is the end of action."

                Happiness is the state of being good, of achieving goods and good objectives, not a feeling only, but an activity. We must recognize goodness in order to seek it; our reason is enough goodness to dampen even the driest seed; one needs but a germ to achieve virtue's germination. Happiness makes virtuous. A good fulfills life, a virtue seeks goods, and happiness is to gain the good. Virtue makes happy.

Needs versus wants


                If need is duty, and if our duties must be known to be performed, then man must know his needs. This is the agenda of introspection, first to know one's needs and second to understand the tools that fulfill them.

                We feel our needs through the running commentary of our mood. If I am depressed for weeks, I know some need is wanting. Pleasure is need met, suffering need denied.

                Yet, does introspection fail us? For though we may know our wants without mistake, our needs elude us. What we thought a need was merely a want, and what we wanted we did not need. Man is a labyrinth, walled over with conflicting desires, and the call of Need echoes within, though we know not where from. As we search, we must make the crucial distinction between natural needs and conscious wants. Yet wants imply need. Every want is a habit which at some time fulfilled some need to some degree, for we made the habit to want in accordance with that need. A man may smoke cigarettes because this initially fulfilled his need for peer acceptance, or for a unique identity, though now it alienates him from peers and stereotypes him as a "smoker." As for addiction, he only "needs" to smoke based on a disease of the body, as a heart patient "needs" a pacemaker, for his body has become dependent. His greater need is usually to quit. Likewise, each of man's wants imply some need or needs. So introspection's first considers is our wants.

                Man needs to fulfill his wants. For if one failed to get everything he wanted, though somehow his other needs were met, he would nevertheless become first frustrated and finally insane. Frustration denies man's need for potency, self-esteem and independence. If a man were hospitalized, fed through a machine, and attended by nurses, yet could not eat as he wanted, nor talk to whom he wanted, nor move his body as he wanted, he would suffer dearly. Clearly then, man needs to get what he wants. Yet specific wants can negate other needs. For though a need fulfilled pleases and a need denied pains, each want fulfills and denies multiple needs interfering with each other. If I want to avenge murder, I may deny my need for safety while still fulfilling my need for justice. Wisdom pursues the wants that fulfill greater needs, and deconstructs the wants that thwart them.

                With such complexity in each want, it is difficult to dissect which needs are fulfilled and denied. Which wants fulfill which needs? In the long run, right wants bring more joy then wrong wants; they fulfill more needs, and the more important needs. Pain and pleasure signify primary needs.

                Yet this distinction is blurred by the need to value. For we need to value an object more than the natural joy it gives. We love something because of what we think of it. One woman loves being kind to those in pain because she values charity. Another, however, is reminded of her inadequacy to handle her own pain, and seeing a dying man feels good to scorn him. Both are need-driven attitudes, both represent the values built upon different but equally real needs.

                Is it possible to value badness? Consider the happy evil doer. Is he possible? How is he able to avoid guilt if he is cruel? If he was cruel to himself, he would frown. And if he acknowledged his own badness without irony or rationalization he would suffer guilt. However, he may rationalize, and through self-deceit convince himself that his actions are valuable. He will suffer insofar as he unconsciously recognizes his self-deceit, and will be happy insofar as he does not. The honest man feels the full force of needs, identifies them, reasons his actions, and gains full happiness.

                A value, then, is an evaluation of goodness which both recognizes natural goodness and extra goodness of being valued. If I make a sacrament of drink small doses of arsenic, this sacrament may give me a lick of divinity simply because I value it as such, though objectively the act otherwise destroys. Poison is poison, but it may medicate the soul. Therefore, we say “this is my practice, my people's practice, my way of doing by my effort what I think is right." Every value is multiple; every value myriad. A totem dance unites us with a community of brothers, orients us, but perhaps costs us autonomy. The Native American group that believed their morning singing allowed the world a day of sun celebrated a lie, but an ennobling lie. Gods are idols, but they are good anyway: they focus reverence. Yet as good as they can be, there is something better.

Needs are absolute


            Need is both man's ontological absolute and his moral absolute—the basis of what he is and what he does. Yet how can something with a history be absolute? If man derived his needs from a creator or a creative process then the needs are not self-centering, but secondary. Either a God's choice planned them out, or evolutionary chance carved them out; either way, they could have been otherwise, and if they are not necessarily the needs they have to be then how can we know it is good to fulfill them, instead of wrong to fulfill, perhaps even a duty to deny them? If we design a living android, should we not give him a new set of needs, a better set than our own? And what if we could genetically alter our own personal needs? If a man chooses to commit suicide, he disagrees with his needs, and is he therefore wrong? Is a mosquito moral to bite my arm? Is a virus moral to kill me? Why then should we base morality on needs? Does this not assume that a person both wants and ought to live? Does this not ignore the arbitrary structure of needs?

            To reply: not the history of my DNA, but the life I now am contains my needs. To wish my needs different is to wish myself out of existence.

            Duty is an attitude toward action, and attitudes and actions exist to fulfill needs. Since all that a man is is determined by needs acting in the world, it follows that the parts of man, including his attitudes, habits, choices, beliefs, and even despairs, anxieties, and depressions, are tools for need, having no basis, purpose, or direction without them. What of suicide? Suicide is a method to test one’s limits and question one’s purpose. Suicidal fantasies and attempts are never meant to succeed, but to educate, challenge, and determine attitudes. In the successful suicide we see a failure of his tools to aid his survival, like a cancered body, whose system is hijacked and misused. Life or Death is never a choice life can make, because life always aims at life, and fails this only in error.

            Would we make an android different? Would we program him to never choose suicide? Would we prevent him from enjoying violence? Design him to prefer kindness? Imperviate him from our vices? Give him a taste for health food? A pleasure in exercise? A thrill for working overtime and a hate for laziness -- no need for sleep? Rather, life has a logic to it. Whatever life can be, it must need in a certain structure, a structure not arbitrary. It was not created by  divine whim or material chance, but by the logical absolutes of what life must be. This logic of life was fully formed before evolution caught up; evolution necessarily followed the preformed strictures. To be social creatures, we must live by patterns of productivity, kindness, justice and so forth. The various needs accord to the logic of life.

            Is it moral for a virus to kill me? Yes. Given the choices to infect cells or to commit suicide—if it could so choose—it ought to seek life. Every animal and plant acts to survive and multiply. The morality of life is to flourish. However, the specific morals of each species conflict with those of the others.

            Are my own needs and their instincts really able to make me flourish? What about my instincts for sugar, my weakness for alcohol and tobacco, and the other evolutionary blunders which weaken me? Is it better that such "needs" didn't exist? Given that I have an optimum flourish, and that unthinkingly obeying certain instincts prevents that, then it follows that I need to educate my instincts. No, there can be no better needs, since my life is based on the needs I have now. What if I could alter them? What if I no longer had to eat, but managed to live on thin air, no longer needed people, but could survive peaceably alone? What if I altered my needs so I were an angel, needing no sex, food, shelter, but living on pure intelligence? Would my life be better? If I could make this change, should I?

            If a man could so dramatically transform himself, how are we able to call him the same person? Is there identity between  man and angel? A person is a person, and his identity as a person is based on keeping a single set of needs. To transform into something I am not kills me. A man ought not to transfigure into an angel even if he could. Is it better to be an angel than a man? Or if there is doubt, is it better to transform from mouse into angel? No, it is better for the mouse, as mouse, to so remain. It is what it is. There can be no sense that transformation from mouse to angel differs from annihilation of mouse and creation ex-nihilo of angel. It is precisely in his needs and tools that a man can be what he is; to change those needs would kill him.

            What if man changed just a few of his needs? Are they a package, or is there a hierarchy with peripheral needs below and essential needs above? Let's say a man no longer needed food, that he could live off air. Would he not be happier? Couldn't he better fulfill himself without this distracting appetite? There are supportive needs and there are defining needs. We definitely need a body, and this is supported by however we get it. To change so that we no longer needed something would mean that the laws of the universe were different. So yes, if the universe were different, we ought to need different. Can there be no bad need? Bad for what? Can there be no need that denies the other needs, that costs life? By definition, there can be no need that costs life, for then life's need would be to ignore this "need." Needs must obey the logic of life—indeed, needs are the logic of life.

            But don't needs change over life? A baby needs father's protection, but the adult protects himself. The baby needs mother's milk, but the adult may quit milk altogether. Have his needs changed? Has he not lost certain needs and gained others? Rather, the entire progress is a procession of needs inherent to the person since birth--the needs of a lifespan arise as we grow, but the overall system is the same. The person, from single cell to full grown adult is essentially the same life-form, though different potentials arise at different times. Needs are absolute, but they express themselves in an emerging drama.

                Therefore, since man fundamentally is his needs, and owns tools only for fulfilling them, he ought to hold his needs as absolute, and use his reason to create the most fulfilling personality. Needs grant a man identity and allow its growth.

Necessity and Two Needs


                A man’s immediate need is to survive, but survival is to bring him to his central need,  to choose his purpose. Already fated in his body and its situation are the limits of his choice: it is a narrow infinity. Each man has an inner necessity, some aboriginal power in need of expression. The choice of a purpose is the medium of his necessity.

                Health and growth are the ends of man. Happiness is merely an indicator, an external approach to his health and growth. Growth is imbalance, a sort of unhealth, but good. Unlimited growth would be cancerous. Health and growth must balance. Happiness and suffering both serve this end.


                Life holds two needs: the need for rhythm and the need for growth, which balance and complement each other. A child is soothed by rhythms—melodies, rocking, sucking. When growth becomes erratic we resort to rhythm. The asylum is full of twitchers and pacers. The best way to stifle a terror is to breathe evenly, to repeat a phrase, to establish a simplistic rhythm. Yet an untroubled rhythm bores us.

                These two needs expand into every nuanced want. Utopia and heaven fail because they are portraits and not symphonies. The final utopia would have to grow and collapse, would require a wide enough repeating rhythm so that boredom was impossible. However, being caught in such a loop would be the human death, the end of growth. War and peace, love and power, all these dualities are illusory if they are only seen as dualities. See two, but look again and see one.

                These two make the personality, the art of it. Art must be regular enough to reward expectations, yet interesting enough to surprise them.

                Needs can be fulfilled generally, exactly, or metaphorically. When electricity ascends two diodes, it begins undifferentiated, but takes on a unique shape as it ascends. To fulfill the need as soon as it presents is to fulfill it generally. I need sex, I lay the nearest woman who will have me. But if I am intelligent and therefore patient, and I let the need define itself, I can slowly learn the precise way to fulfill it. What seemed at first simple was finally a nuanced and unique. A metaphorically fulfilled need is given an analogous object, such as killing enemy soldiers rather than solving frustrations at home.

The Unlimited Goods


                Life seeks goods. Some goods are limited and others unlimited. We ought to seek the limited goods insofar as they open and allow the unlimited.

                An unlimited good is primary. We do not value it to fulfill something else, as we might value a tasteless diet for the sake of health or drudgery for the sake of bread. Nor do we value it for the sake of self-esteem, like those who work charities merely because charity work seems noble. In that sense, they are seeking their worth in others’ approval, denying themselves the place of arbiter.

                How to discover the unlimited goods? First, look at the untaught desires in children. Second, look at the values of the noble. Third, look at the practice of happy people. The subsequent list of goods falls into six groups: Truth, Justice, Kindness, Beauty, Work, and Politics.

                Man needs to seek truth. Children naturally do so through their incessant questioning. Truth is a quality, not an entity; there is no truth “out there" as if the mind merely needed to get at it, for truth is what happens to an identified fact when we build from it a conceptual “so-what?” Since we do not automatically know which concepts are true, this need is felt as the need to honestly regard one's beliefs to be true, whether or not we always can. Aristotelian astronomy fulfilled many generations in ways it no longer can. We need truth for practical reasons: so we can feel, think, speak, and act effectively. "Theoretical" truth is practical. A child wants to know if a cat dreams, or why the sky is blue. These may have no "practical" value to the child, but they show him the general way to think.

                Man needs to execute justice. Children upon being punished question after what is fair and unfair. Justice is giving each person his due, in part through establishing and enforcing laws. Justice allows for self-protection: we serve justice so it will serve us. Yet we need to serve justice even if it imprisons us, as in a criminal who confesses. Justice in our society is the recognition and respect for human rights. Rights are derived from needs. Man needs life, liberty, and property; man needs to respect the needs of others; therefore, man needs to respect the life, liberty and property of others.

                Man needs to act kindly. Children recognize the pleasure of being treated kindly, and the pleasure in treating others so. Kindness is the improving of those we value, bringing out their best. One must first bring out the best in himself to reproduce his values in others. This is pleasant to do, even for strangers. Kindness gives what is just: it gives happiness to these we are pleased to see happy. Since we are happy, it is due to ourselves to amplify that by pleasing others.

                Man needs to enjoy beauty. Children enjoy lullabies, cartoons, stories, pictures, and dance. Beauty energizes you through your recognition of the sensual presentation of your values. Beauty is self-love, the recognition of your self-worth, your self-potential. This is how art grants peace, hope, and enthusiasm.

                Man needs to work. Children help their parents, make useful artifacts, do useful chores. Work is the production of goods or services for consumption or trade. There is boredom and depression in a man who creates nothing, who earns no bread, who watches television, drinks, or sleeps his life away. Self-esteem comes from achievement.

                Man needs to practice politics. Children participate in the family government, thereby learning how people as a group cooperate their efforts. Families establish right relationships between their members. A child may in fact rebel against the rules, and this still accords to her need for political involvement.

                The needs for these goods complement and support one another. A man may choose to concentrate on one, but this is good insofar as he honors the others. These goods are more than a means to self-respect, they also fulfill in themselves.



                Virtues are habits seeking values. Values are appraisals of goods which fulfill more for being valued, even if they hurt us. Goods are fulfilling objects. A value can be good or bad, though none can be fully bad, since it is good to be valued.

                Life, not death, evaluates. “The good is that which prevents death”—no! If my life were endless, my body indestructible, if I were without “physical” need, being alive I would still need to create, to enjoy beauty, to know, to love; death is no standard, and life is not in length.

                If we are all equally alive and needy, why do values differ from people to people? The Greeks valued cunning and bravery through Odysseus, the Christians valued humility and gentleness through Jesus. Cunning, bravery, humility, gentleness, these all have their use, and so are universally good in their particular situations. Yet who is right, Greeks or Christians? Is it relative? While neither cunning nor humility is universally best, we recognize the universal need to value something as best. For by this emphasis we develop fervor and devotion; to deny reverence because it is partisan evinces malaise.

                Every particular value arises from a universal need. A value is more or less good in accordance with my contextual needs. Cunning may play less importance to me, humility more, especially if my culture values humility, for I value my culture, and so use humility to earn a respectable place.

                Say you face a challenge. Do you go to war to avenge your brother's death or do you stay back to console your mother? There may be no universalized ethic ("always avenge brethren") and so there is no escape from that voluptuous uncertainty. "Morality" is the plot to escape the predicament, to escape the responsibility of choosing, but it is precisely the predicament that allows for glory. There is no castrating "Thou Shalt." One is free to deliberate. Deliberation creates character, whatever our choice, if only it is our choice.

                Is it not our choice, then, to comply with convention? This earns respect from a society  undoubtedly peopled with intelligent and noble persons. For even in America, which values individualism, are we not conforming to individualism when we play the rebel? And indeed, society needs social critics (rebels, criminals, intellectuals), challenging, disrupting, and redirecting our social values, for this creates strengthening tensions. Yes, we may choose to limit our choice. No man is a victim. Personal values are strongest free.

                If needs are universal and absolute, why is there a variety of values across societies? Are they matters of taste?

                Is diet a matter of taste? No. Diet is a matter of need. Every human being needs protein, vitamins, water, fats, minerals–-universal and absolute. Yet each culture eats a unique diet. Diets hold objective value according to the standard of our health. Some are fatty, some poor in protein. In the same way, our moral systems also have absolute value per our moral needs. Therefore, though every people needs autonomy, health condemns bad diets.

                Consider cannibalism. If we value our group who believes eating enemies is good, are we not good to also eat? We'll earn derived self-respect. But if cannibalism lowers our respect for man as man, even willing victims can't salvage the practice. If it lowers our respect for man, and thus for ourselves, it is bad. And if we will ignore this we are wrong.

                Consider incest, the "universal prohibition." All people everywhere have made sex between son and mother taboo. Why? If the aim is not for children, if the father is gone, is it really wrong? Why horrifying, if nobody is abused? Why not amusing, absurd, maybe even tender? If we instinctually oppose it, or if the relationship confuses their self-identities, then the relationship is wrong.

                In these extremes of sex and violence, inborn necessity determines the value; cultural habits tweak that. If society fails to recognize right and wrong, the hero must arise. The hero struggles for his values. The artist glorifies this struggle through art.



                Man feels, thinks about that feeling, speaks his thoughts, and enacts his words. The first feelings were instincts. Later feelings were programmed. The basis of virtue, the habits of seeking and gaining value, begins with thinking, with creative programming. Even an infant thinks a sort of logic that creates an edifice of mind that stands for life. As there are four types of habits – feelings, thinking, saying, and doing – so there are four types of virtue, crowned with the virtue of their union.

                The virtues of mind begin with activity. The mind acts and moves, explores and expands, breathes and leaps, dances and flies. It plays over problems, forces and sculpts them, unravels and unriddles them. Activity begins in children with imitation and ends in adults with independence. Mental activity seeks focus through inquiry. By asking questions one directs the mind towards goals. A child ought to be taught not just to read, listen, and watch, but to question, hypothesize, and how to guide further attention. Questions resolve through sustained focus. Focus dismisses everything but its one object, abstains from every other interest. Focus stays a problem until it is solved, makes activity effective. Focus creates. Logic and reason are patterned creativity: we move from premises to create a solution. Aside from thinking logically, which makes mind obedient to form, we must think spontaneously, which makes form obedient to mind. We think of a problem, realize it is unique and unprecedented, and create a solution unique and unprecedented. We must answer child with child, man with man, sunrise with sunrise, and not refer to a manual of answers. In all a man creates, he prides in his integrity, the unity of attitude, belief, personality, and character. You must be brave enough and strong enough to never forfeit an iota of the truth you have earned, but cling to those convictions and principles in the face of all opposition. This requires not only self-honesty, but also the continual integrating of all knowledge. Integrity is the honesty which accords belief and action. Thus five virtues of the mind: activity, inquiry, focus, creativity, integrity.

                The mind moves the body, and so creates four virtues of action. Work is the habit of producing goods, of producing what can be traded for goods. By work all material and spiritual goods come to man; only by the sweat of your brow will you own anything. If you want it, deserve it. Effectiveness in work comes from strength and skill. Strength is the capacity to force one’s desires into the world. This creates health, competency, and pride. Through repeated production, one learns the skill of efficiency, using the least effort for the most output. This implies both economy and wisdom of effort. One must also have the perseverance through physical endurance and dogged persistence to do the job till it is done. Thus four virtues of acting: productive work, strength, skill, perseverance.

                These actions are inspired and rewarded by virtuous feelings. Sensitivity is experiencing appropriate feelings at their appropriate degree during their appropriate moment. We must program our impulses to serve us best, loving the lovely, loathing the loathsome, fearing the frightening, despising the despicable, and admiring the admirable. Of special concern to goal setting and achieving is ambition. Ambition craves to accomplish greatness. Ambition persists through confidence. Even if I am wrong, it is my ambition to continue until I am proved wrong; and so I will not beg, apologize, nor skulk, but will boldly gain my intent in the face of opposition. If all the armies of heaven oppose me, still I will not flinch until I am thoroughly proven through valid argument to be wrong. To persist, we must cultivate the virtue of optimism, which enjoys persistence, even in the hiss of discouragement and the shame of failure. Failure is merely one more encouragement and promise of success, and optimism is having faith in our goals. Finally, when we have achieved our goals, we are rewarded with pride, knowing we have succeeded, applauding our own power and effectiveness, esteeming our own achievements. Thus five virtues of feeling: sensitivity, ambition, confidence, optimism, pride.

                In all these, there are three basic virtues: activity, skill, persistence. The essence of virtue is health, the form of virtue is unity.

                Unity is the head of all virtues, and brings every element of man, every idiosyncrasy and nuance, into unity with his purpose. Unity is the virtue of virtues. A man must choose, define, and maintain his own unity. Unity sacrifices the vices that upset the singleness of the system, yes, and also sacrifices the virtues that upset the singleness of the system. A perfect person strives for the excellence of a unified self, every part derived from his central principle. Every act, every whim, every feeling, every slip of the tongue, pours from and ornaments this principle. What beautifies man is that he sees his principle and gives it visible structure. For there are laws that spread fruit trees through the fields, but it is a conscious principle that grows an orchard. Even if principles are more conscious to the child, the adult is better at cultivating them. Man as artist makes his soul the canvas.


                Does this make morality relative? "Morals aren't relative." And neither are men, you maintain? Yet there are followers and there are leaders. One law for gods and men is tyranny. "Morals aren't relative." Yet they had better be relative to me, or I have no use for them. "Morals aren't relative." To what? Personal choice? Yet no other choice is moral. "Morals aren't relative." To what? Whim? Yet whim isn't relative either. It also serves need. Thousands of differing diets are healthy, are possible. Yet even diets differ in need from person to person. I need more calcium, you're allergic to peanuts. It is universal that all men must choose their standard, relative to needs and environment. We all need to execute justice. Yet each must do so according to his personal understanding, and with the power and procedures appropriate to his abilities. This is moral for him, for he is able to do so.

                It is morally absolute that “If you believe an action is immoral, do not do it.” That applies to everybody. For if one makes an honest mistake, he is at least honest. Self-honesty is universal.

                Much of morality is personal. I want to study carpentry. Should everyone? I want to be a vegetarian. Should everyone? I want to attend a symphony. Should everyone? What is the general principle behind each  choice? It is this: Every man produces his moral code in accordance with his needs as he understands them. What is imperative? That a man is mindful enough to let this morality grow. Each man ought to cultivate his moral system to better fulfill him. 'Ought' means for life.


                Consider the principled man. His choice: "You may rescue these 500 innocent prisoners if you murder a single man." No. My principle is that you must never sacrifice an innocent. If you were to offer me the cure for cancer, if you were to rescue the entire human race, if you were to lasso the deity and pour him into every man's soul, whatever you could possibly deliver, offer, provide, or save is out of the question, for nothing can dominate a principle. No innocent man should be murdered for another’s well being.

                Likewise, utility ethics are best for utility companies: those who make laws for the masses must assume them to be of the same stuff. No individual should consider others as “majorities” or “the many” or “the greatest number.” Instead, we are  individuals, some greater, some lesser. Let every man define his own virtues.

                Morality is not virtue. Morality is fitting in with the group to avoid being snubbed or imprisoned. Virtue is increasing your power. Virtue stands on courage, morality on fear. And so, family values and community solidarity are morals, not virtues. Virtues are those virile things like courage and honesty, but communities and families are often built on euphemisms, silence, if not downright deceits.

                Virtue is in power. A virtuous woman is by no means a chaste woman. Christianity confuses our terms. A virtuous woman would have mastered her sexuality, not subdued it.




\ ~@M@~ /



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