13.3 e) From the Black Book

From the black book, 13.3 e) through to 13.7. Conclusions written after my original writing are written in red text.

13.3 b) Label – a descriptive term or phrase used to classify a certain type of subculture within society.

c) My definition: a method of segmenting human personality types and preferences into easily identifiable categories. Even being ‘not labeled’ defines you into one of those groups, a demographic.

d) To label someone is to place them in that demographic, depending on ones judgment (analysis) of that person

e) Labels are very important for people as they provide a feeling of association with something larger than ourselves.

13.4 Considering 13.3 e) it could be said that labeling ourselves removes responsibilities, much in the same that subscribing to religion does.

13.5 Why do people feel the need to subscribe to labels? “I dress this way, I’ve been called this, therefore I must act this way.”

13.6 To subscribe to a certain mode of thinking limits free thought, or the capacity of free thought. Therefore labels are dangerous and inhibit original and free thinking.

13.7 Considering 13.6, people accept servitude, and considering 13.3 e) do not wish to accept responsibility. Therefore people like to be lead (even in this society of artificial freedom, apparent and yet non-existent choice, and where our opinions seem to matter, but don’t.)


4 thoughts on “13.3 e) From the Black Book

  1. first, well put. all of it.
    second, the numbering is wonderful, allowing the continuation of a thought with just a numerical reference is great!

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  2. “To subscribe to a certain mode of thinking limits free thought, or the capacity of free thought. Therefore labels are dangerous and inhibit original and free thinking.”

    This is the part where I somewhat disagree with you. I don’t disagree with your definition of a label, although I could say that it is also a mode of identification, in which we use to classify symbols into easily identifiable markers for ourselves. A label in-and-of-itself is not a negative thing, it is the way people use labels that is what is bothersome, that, you get into and is well put, but lets talk about the above statement.

    I would not say that subscribing to a mode of thought automatically either: limits my thought as a person, or limits my capacity of free thought as a free thinking individual who made the conscious choice to subscribe to a mode of thought.

    Lets say I subscribe to Ayn Rands objectivist epistemology. I believe in my life that her philosophy of how things are in the world, or her views, is the closest thing to the truth that I have read thus far. Therefore I subscribe to her idea of things, her logic and her general mode of thought. I then, when people ask me of my philosophy, will tell them, “I like Ayn Rands objectivist epistemology,” and proceed to explain it under my own interpretation of her mode of thought.
    This happens until I either find a flaw in it, and either fix it with my own view, abandon that view and go on to read other things (of course believing in objectivist epistemology doesn’t prevent me from reading other things, which I do), or come up with my own “original” philosophy, believing it as my own, until I read something similar.

    You see, those who are intelligent find that which is closest to what we believe, and instead of giving a long-winded explanation of what we believe every time we are asked, we go with the closest thing, and then add in our own modifications. A label in this sense in not a negative, it is not a thing to avoid. To say that labels are in-and-of themselves a dangerous thing, is in itself a biased label of an abstract concept that is free to be used by all even if they aren’t capable of it.

    “Even in this society of artificial freedom, apparent and yet non-existent choice, and where our opinions seem to matter, but don’t.”

    My friend, this is very disheartening to read. This society as any other society will inhibit our freedom as long as we choose to let it. What is freedom here? Is it the ability to choose what we want in life? And if there isn’t anything that we like to choose from, we are free to make it and make it better than what others offer. We are free to make choices, and are free to identify what we want as something we agree or disagree with, and act accordingly. I don’t know what “artificial freedom,” is, I can look objectively at things, and know what is my own belief and what isn’t. What is truly my choice and what isn’t. I have a mind that thinks, and if I don’t know where my thoughts come from, then I’m not truly thinking. Nor am I taking responsibility for my thoughts. Freedom is also one of those abstract concepts that I’m not sure what completely means. I am free to kill someone, but must suffer the consequences, I am free to own property, but must pay taxes, I am free to wonder off into the wilderness and not deal with society, but must deal with solitude and the task of making everything for myself.
    When we stop looking at others as judges for ourselves, we wont worry about freedom, and labels. If you look at yourself, and say that you can honestly know that you don’t do what it is you are criticizing in society, then society takes a back seat. You are what matters, how you yourself deal with things, and whom you chose to deal with.

    We must worry about ourselves here, and what we value, if you value what others do in society, that is your choice, but you will forever be frustrated.

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  3. First of all, I would like to apologize for the language and prose used in my writings. A lot of what I say is built up from previous writings, and therefore certain terms, such as ‘artificial freedoms’ is a heading for a larger description (I’m sure there’s a word for that, the Buddhists do it with ‘the ‘awakened heart’, it’s a description title, meaning a lot more than the words itself, but saving a lot of conversation to get to that conclusion every time.) Artificial freedom: When we surround ourselves with choice that have no real consequence, and convince ourselves that we have true freedom.

    On to what you said.
    I would like to subscribe to the line of thinking that says we are free to do as we please (consequences aside) but we do not live in that society, and we do not allow ourselves to subscribe to that freedom.

    Every day you walk out of your door you are a prepared individual, a person who has spent probably several minutes, upwards to an hour pruning yourselves, combing your hair, washing your face, choosing your uniform, wearing your scent. You are from the beginning to the end of the day utterly concerned with what the rest of the world thinks of you. From the words you say to the things you eat, from the music you listen to, and the CD’s you don’t listen to, even if someone paid you. From the opinions you hold, to those you reject. Most of it is for show. Some is individual, but at that point it’s very hard to distinguish what we do for ourselves, rather than how we wish it to appear to others. We are slaves to judgment.

    So the rest of society that I concern myself with is the one that bought my thoughts and took my image and turned me into a demographic, and so subtly altered my consciousness that I don’t even know who I am anymore unless I can define myself through products and ‘self expression’ (which is really just a oxymoron, self expression concerns itself with a projected ‘me’ and how that projection is perceived by others). The society I look at and pain for is the one that lacks it’s own identity, that is owned by image, or ‘self expression’. The world you look at is one where people think independently of that, and I’m not sure where you’re looking, because I don’t see that, and the economy and increased spending levels in consumers don’t know where that is either.

    You begin by saying that labels in themselves are not dangerous. At the end you say that the label is unimportant if we don’t allow others to be judges of ourselves. I agree with both statements, provided we lived in that perfect world where we could think for ourselves. And to ‘label’ oneself is utterly redundant, regardless of the mode of thought you agree with. There is no such thing as self-labeling. If you are something, you just are. As the Oracle said (excuse the awful reference here) ‘it’s like being in love, you just know it.’ Labeling comes in when others try to quantify and categorize you, so you could say ‘well, I guess I’m an Objectivist’. But deep down you know that the application of your own feelings on the inspiration provided by someone else ideas, is no longer Objectivism, it’s just you. It’s another block in the building that makes you, you. Labels are, as I said, dangerous because in the nature of human beings, we try to subscribe ourselves to that mode, even subconsciously. Have you ever been told you act like, say, a Libra, regardless of how you feel towards astrology, then act a certain way and somehow feel that, yes maybe I do. Now imagine the effects that label is having on your subconscious. To subscribe to something, open mindedly, that you are inspired by this mode of thinking, is okay. But the natural primeval nature of our brains seeks association, acceptance. The brain, separate to you, may lack the desire to deviate from this label, for that very reason. That’s how people, especially those of religious inclination, will be blinkered to even the most obvious truths for fear that that they will feel alone, responsible, vulnerable.
    So in the end labels are either at best redundant, at worst, dangerous and confining.

    “I would not say that subscribing to a mode of thought automatically either: limits my thought as a person, or limits my capacity of free thought as a free thinking individual who made the conscious choice to subscribe to a mode of thought.”

    I would agree with that, in your case, because we are having this conversation, and it’s been a pleasure.but as I said, self-labeling is pointless, but it should be said that you must watch what labels even you, obviously someone of high awareness, subscribe to.

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  4. On artificial freedom; I guess, when I hear you speak of choice and consequence, you must then be speaking of action, or some sort of action that happens in between these two contingencies. I cannot think of an action based on a choice that is without consequence. And I guess a consequence is as important as we make of it. But also, do you see how you used a term that symbolized a greater meaning, and at first glance I thought it meant something else?
    This is a symbol that has a greater meaning than was known, it is a label you use to signify a meaning that you don’t feel like getting into every time you mention it. This is perfectly fine, but it’s a good point in looking at how our minds work, (as you pointed out, I believe) but also how it is easier over time to use these labels for ourselves to help in identification (something I’m going to get into here in a minute).
    Now say when you use that meaning, and someone catches on to it, and realizes its meaning, appreciates it, and lets say they publish it for sake of example; now we have this symbol, and in front of this symbol is the label “artificial freedom,” we can say that more than one definition now exists in the world for this label. We have the first definition, the “true” one, the one you created, and we have the interpretation of the definition. When others read it, some might get what you said, others won’t, and each will take their own meaning from it, some true, others distorted. Then we have the face value definition, the one when people see the word at first glance, have no clue that it has a deeper meaning, and take it for what it is and in the context its presented.
    We now have all these definitions and interpretations of this label, some of them are wrong, some of them right, yet all of it represents some of what we are speaking of. I would agree with you on how many people take things at face value, and worse yet, let that face value image define them as individuals, they live for the purpose of being defined as “a person who is such and such as seen by how he wears this type of clothing.” This I agree is not healthy. Yet we also see, lets take the brand name Nike for an example, that some labels can honestly have more than one meaning, and not all are wrong.
    Nike, the shoe, uses an ancient Greek symbol that represents a god that is fast, he is identified as such by the wings on his feet, it’s a clever way to market a shoe. Now this shoe became popular for a number of reasons, but lets say that the company had a desire to put out a comfortable shoe that people can wear for sports, they want people to buy their shoe, so they try to make both a quality product, and a practical one. An athlete sees this shoe, likes the symbol on the shoe, not necessarily knowing what it means, he tries it on and likes the fit, and so he buys it. He wears it at his basketball game where other people go and watch him play. The company sees that other people will see that this basketball star likes their product, and it might get others to try their shoe, so they pay the basketball star money to wear only their shoe so that he can influence others to try Nike as well.
    Now I’m not trying to talk to you like your stupid, I’m just mapping out an example here so that everything is clear. For one, there is nothing wrong with a company wanting to be successful and sell their product. There is also nothing wrong with people who wear Nike shoes. What is wrong in this example is who im not talking about. Nike wants people to buy their shoe, so they take a public figure and pay them to wear their shoe, which isn’t bad in itself, what is bad is that, when people interpret the marketing techniques of Nike, they believe that in order to be good at sports, they must wear Nike. Or in order to be popular, they must wear Nike. People interpret fame, for product and desire to be popular without the hard work the athlete did to get where he is, playing basketball, getting companies to pay him for wearing their shoes.
    Were also not mentioning the people, who when picking out a good running shoe, don’t care what the brand name is, and just want a shoe that holds up and is comfortable for running.
    So we see people wearing Nike, and how are we to know who is doing what in terms of their interpretations of the advertisements Nike puts out, or how do we know that they even see those advertisements and just like the comfort of Nike shoes?
    The point is, we don’t. And it would be impossible to know unless we talked to them and found out their reasons.

    “I would like to subscribe to the line of thinking that says we are free to do as we please (consequences aside) but we do not live in that society, and we do not allow ourselves to subscribe to that freedom”

    On the above statement, how so?

    “You are from the beginning to the end of the day utterly concerned with what the rest of the world thinks of you. From the words you say to the things you eat, from the music you listen to, and the CD’s you don’t listen to, even if someone paid you. From the opinions you hold, to those you reject. Most of it is for show. Some is individual, but at that point it’s very hard to distinguish what we do for ourselves, rather than how we wish it to appear to others. We are slaves to judgment.”

    I think its honestly, really hard to say if this is true or not for everyone. To some extent it is true that everyone has thoughts concerning their appearance. But to say that I like a movie, or a book, or a CD because im told to, or others like it, or because ive been brain washed by corporate, public marketing, is a bit far fetched to say. Yes im not saying that people don’t see something popular and like it because their friends do, this happens all the time. But to say that all of my opinions are the way they are because of others judgments, isnt really true, and it cant possible be true all the time for everyone.
    Is it so wrong that we make decisions based on judgment? This isnt only a human thing to do, its in nature as well. There is a species of bird (I cant remember its name) that for its mating ritual, does a lot of pruning, it then spends days making a small hoop between two shrubs, this hoop is very important for the bird, it spends a lot of time making it pretty, with flowers, fruits and whatever it can find. It then stands in front of the hoop and makes a mating call, when a female bird comes down to answer the call, the bird does a dance, showing off both its skill and its pruned feathers. If the female likes the dance, the feathers, and the hoop, she will, after careful consideration, walk with the bird under the hoop of sticks and flowers. Then they will mate.
    All of this seems very silly, yet its true, and yet it happens with creatures who don’t anylize at all about why they do what they do, nor do they have corprate marketing ploys to influence them on the type of dance and hoop to use.

    When you say we are slaves to judgment, it’s a matter of degrees. Some are more than others, but all are to some extent. And this is a natural thing. We are social beings, that take (some of us) life mates who both enjoy the company of, and look to for, judgments. Sartre talks about this, and makes a good point, he says that for the most part, we, when we are alone, arent aware much of ourselves outside of our heads. Its when we come across other people that we are then aware of our existence in the world of co-existence.
    He uses the example of someone spying on a key hole, this person is by themselves, and there is no one around to judge them, they simply heard a noise through the door and decided to take a look through the key hole to see what it was. Another person comes across them in the hallway, and all of a sudden, the person looking through the key hole becomes aware of their actions, they become aware of what it looks like their doing to the other person. They now are aware of reality through the eyes of other interpretations of their actions. This is important because, although this person isnt a peeping tom, he/she is now seen by this other person as one. And rightfuly so. I believe this is his philosophy of being-for-itself and bieng-in-itself.
    We are a certain way, in our heads, and our actions for ouselves are percieved only one way for us, which is through our own eyes. This can be distorted for various reasons. When other people become present in our lives, we then get outside feedback about who we are, and how our actions are interpreted to others. This is important. Of course taken to extremees, is unhealthy, but so is everything.

    “The world you look at is one where people think independently of that, and I’m not sure where you’re looking, because I don’t see that, and the economy and increased spending levels in consumers don’t know where that is either.”

    It seemed as if you were grouping all people into the catergory of not thinking, and so I grouped them in the category of thinking, only for the sheer example of the fact that we truly can not know who is independently thinking and who isnt, and because their spending money doesn’t say their not thinking. We cant say any of this for sure in universlas, we must assume.

    “And to ‘label’ oneself is utterly redundant, regardless of the mode of thought you agree with.”

    I agree, but then when we communicate with other people, how do we explain ourselves? Isnt it through various labels? Its like the above example of the term “artificial freedom.” If I had known what that ment, you wouldn’t have had to explain it to me, nor would I have interpreted it wrong.

    “Labels are, as I said, dangerous because in the nature of human beings, we try to subscribe ourselves to that mode, even subconsciously. Have you ever been told you act like, say, a Libra, regardless of how you feel towards astrology, then act a certain way and somehow feel that, yes maybe I do. Now imagine the effects that label is having on your subconscious. To subscribe to something, open mindedly, that you are inspired by this mode of thinking, is okay. But the natural primeval nature of our brains seeks association, acceptance. The brain, separate to you, may lack the desire to deviate from this label, for that very reason.”

    I don’t really believe in a subconscious. It seems as if people talk of the subconscious as if it is a separate entity aside from themselves, that sucks things into it and then controls us without us knowing it. Although I agree with people overtime making something an instinct, to the point where their body just reacts because of conditioning, I don’t believe that our brains posses an “other,” that is a subconscious, which we can not control. People do emulate things, this I agree with, but for as much as something affects me when someone else tells me how they think I might act a certain way, is up to me and my awareness of how it affects my actions and judgments. And if I pay attention to it, this is the key, a lot of people are not in tune with their bodies and minds, and don’t pay attention to slight things that play a part in their lives.

    “…that you must watch what labels even you, obviously someone of high awareness, subscribe to.”
    Thank you for the compliment, and I agree with watching for what we subscribe to. Is it the true quest for originality that is the issue here? I often find this notion troublesome because it can lead to a life consumed with the quest for originality, and this in itself isnt original.
    I once spent three days thinking very deeply about the existence versus essence problem. I wrote many pages on it, and came to a conclusion I was very proud of. Months later I was reading Sartres Being and Nothingness, and I came to a small paragraph where he addressed the same issue, he had come to the same conclusion, and had done so far more eloquantly, and effeciently, as it had been done in a small paragraph and not three or four pages of philosophic thought.
    I then realized that although I might have original thoughts, that for big issues, ones where some conclusions can alter my very life, its likely that other people in the past have already articulated it and put it in writing. This doesn’t mean I should stop thinking, or writing, or coming to my own conclusions, it just means that for me to quest after original thoughts and feelings, could very well mean that I spend the rest of my life in a library, doing nothing but reading about ideas I might have and seeing if I agree with them, hoping that I could have had them one day…
    You see what im saying?

    Sorry this is so long, its just a very interesting topic, and its been a while since ive had an good debate with someone who thinks about things.

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