Category Archives: philosophy

>Religion and its influence on society


You probably know this one already: Tom Cruise, famous Scientologist, is quite scary in this clip – and he’s not acting… It pretty much shows how indoctrination rules in religion. Nothing new, but it seems like a lot of us need to be reminded about this blemish on humanity every once in a while. I’m not saying all religions are crap, they might be of good use to a lot of people, but when religion and faith becomes business and tools for power we’ve failed once again.

A pretty good documentary on the subject of religion and faith is The Root of All Evil? where biologist Richard Dawkins, author of the very readable book The God Delusion, takes on religion and its influence on society.

>Intelligent misanthropy – Part 2

Jan Stenmark: Some people are too stupid to feel anxious. That’s smart.

First you might want to read Intelligent misanthropy – Part 1.
Then you might pose the question: Is being misanthropic really such an intelligent thing?

Well, misanthropy is a way of looking at humanity that probably will emerge over time. The more you learn about this world and its inhabitants, the more you would want to distance yourself from its craziness. At least that’s how I look at it, because I see no change to the better in the long run.

Alain de Botton writes in his book Status Anxiety:
“The disadvantage of this otherwise usefully clear-eyed view of humanity is that it may leave us with few friends.” I don’t necessarily agree with that few friends thing. I’m more in agreement with what Chamfort said:
“Once we have resolved only to see those who will treat us morally and virtuosly, reasonably and truthfully, without treating conventions, vanities and ceremonials as anything other than props of polite society … the result is that we will have to live more or less on our own.”

To spend time alone is essential to me. That’s what keeps me going. But:
“It is sometimes said of a man who lives alone that he does not like society. This is like saying of a man that he does not like going for walks because he is not fond of walking at night in the forêt de Bondy”, as Chamfort said. In other words: I have a desire for company, not just 24/7.

What disappoints me though is that I often have to wage wars alone as well. People may agree with what I say, but I’m the only one saying it. That’s awfully tiresome sometimes, the lack of support. And people say I am the one who’s lost all hope! At least I’m still fighting/writing. Seems to me like you – the passive masses – are the hopeless ones…

>Intelligent misanthropy – Part 1


”Intelligent misanthropy” is a way of looking at people that I stumbled upon when reading Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton. I believe it suits my personal philosophy perfectly, since it’s free from pessimism and pride. After all, I’m a pretty happy guy, you know.

Once you start dissecting the opinions of others you’ll soon realize that the vast majority are very confused and most of the time in total error on the majority of subjects. “Public opinion is the worst of all opinions”, as the great philosopher Nicolas Chamfort put it.
Common sense is actually common nonsense, since it suffers from simplification, prejudice, unintelligent thinking and a supreme lack of knowledge. People usually tend to rely on emotions, old habits and intuition, instead of rational examination. Thus “one can be certain that every generally held idea, every received notion, will be an idiocy, because it has been able to appeal to a majority”, in Chamfort’s words.

In today’s sick society it’s obviously very important to be looked upon with love and respect from just about everyone you meet. If people despise you, you will not feel great. It will hurt your status. This is when the intelligent misanthropy philosophy comes in handy.
Before you let them hurt you, examine their opinions, their behaviour, their intellect, and most certainly you’ll come to the conclusion that they are fuck ups not worthy of your respect. Only when their words are damning and true is when you should start worrying. If they curse you with false and unintelligent bullshit, why bother? Instead, without aggression or pessimism, just sit back and let misanthropy rule. They suck.

Arthur Schopenhauer said: “Whoever attaches a lot of value to the opinions of others pays them too much honor”.
When we realize that most people’s values in life are futile, superficial and plain stupid, we’ll become uninterested in what’s going on in their minds and concentrate on our own thoughts and what people we respect are discussing. As Voltaire put it: “The earth swarms with people who are not worth talking to”.
Schopenhauer again: “Would the musician feel flattered by the loud applause of his audience if it were known to him that, with the exception of one or two, it consisted entirely of deaf people?”.
In short, why take the majority of people seriously? Why waste the energy and space? They are the ones who rely heavily on traditions and shallow thinking, and yet they ask themselves “Why do the Hottentots eat grasshoppers?”. Because it’s tradition, baby. Once again it’s you who are the ignorant fool.
As the old saying goes: “Never underestimate the power of people in large groups”.

>E.M. Cioran: The Lure of Disillusion


In the Talmud, a stupefying assertion: “The more men there are, the more images of the divine there are in nature.” This may have been true in the period when the remark was made, but it is belied today by all one sees and will be still further belied by all that will be seen.
E.M. Cioran, The Lure of Disillusion

To withdraw indefinitely into oneself, like God after the six days. Let us imitate Him, on this point at least.
E.M. Cioran, The Lure of Disillusion

>Into The Wild and the ego

Photo shot in Sweden, way up north, summer 2006.

Sean Penn’s latest feat, the beautiful and astonishing film Into The Wild, really gets your mind going. In itself the movie might not be that amazing in what it shows (even though there are some truly breathcatching scenes revealing Mother Nature in her true majestic pride) – it’s what the film plants in your mind that’s the most interesting aspect, I think. But in a way, there’s nothing new here. People have always broken up from their daily lives and sought out a more meaningful existence. I guess it happens everyday, with the exception that most of us who have those wild ideas of living alone in the middle of nowhere never turn those ideas into reality…

Based on the book Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer the film tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young gifted university graduate who leaves everything behind (parents, sibling, friends, money) to live alone in the Alaskan wilderness. This is his reality and this is his choice – as opposed to enduring the Spectacle, a consuming reality chosen by others. Freedom and moral inquiry are the keywords here, and Chris was widely influenced by the works of Henry David Thoreau, Jack London and Leo Tolstoy – like so many others before and after him. Hell, I’m reading Thoreau every now and then and every time I start to think about life in a cabin besides a pond in a forest unknown, where I can read, write, walk, listen and explore my freedom. I guess everybody have those thoughts when reading that book.
However, I’m so deeply rooted in the consumer’s society I probably wouldn’t make it through the first night, but I’ve made some choices that will sort of pave way for a more genuine life style a couple of years ahead. That’s my great plan anyway.

After having rented shitty apartments in shitty neighbourhoods and shared flats with friends for over eight years (which was kind of hell for me at times, since I enjoy being alone, not having to socialize and attend their parties) I decided to get my very own place. When the opportunity arose – money! – I bought an apartment in an area which suited me perfect. It’s close to the city, but it’s got all the nature you could ask for and that’s a good start when slowly trying to get away…
Also, I quit a lot of things which mostly brought me headaches. I quit doing the film club, I quit my stupid job and got another one which is awesome. Recently, even though my job is awesome, I decided to cut one day so now I work four days a week instead of five to be able to do more reading, writing and the stuff that really matters to me. I quit a lot of other shit as well, just time consuming mindless crap that I could do without. A visit to the Northern parts of Sweden living the life I’m seeking for five days also made it very clear to me that that’s the way one should live. I want to devote more time to reading, writing and exploring, preferably in an environment where I can live and dwell alone.

All this, in conjunction with the film and the books I’m reading, naturally makes me think a lot. It raises a lot of questions. Is breaking away from humanity the same as escaping from reality? Is it taking the easy way out, escaping all the problems? The ultimate egoism? Well, since I have no hope for humanity, and truly believe in a dark, sterile, dead future, why should I care about others? Well I do, because I’m a humanist as well. A misanthropic humanist. Wow…
But I guess it’s my way of dealing with reality; to be creative, dynamic and to constantly develop and nurture new “skills” and ways of thinking. To do that, one certainly needs time alone.
But hey, looking at how deeply rooted I am in this consumer’s society it’ll probably take me another thirty years to get my cabin and pond. Still, that’s what I’m hoping for. I’ll have to learn to cook first, though.

In an upcoming article I’ll hopefully relate all this to Spengler and modernity. Meanwhile, in case you missed, here’s some stuff I wrote earlier that kind of connects with these issues:

Living with the dying
Oswald Spengler – The Decline of Cultures
Här finns inget varaktigt och allmängiltigt (about Spengler in Swedish)
Great movies of the 80’s: Threads
Society’s sickness
Situationism – Part 1
Situationism – Part 2
Situationism – Part 3
Planet Earth and misanthropy
The art of psychogeography

Relevant blogs:

To buy the best swedish translation of Thoreau’s Walden, click here for more info.
And to watch another great movie, check out Grizzly Man.

>…show me a man who is good…


This quote is from one of the greatest works I know, Les Chants de Maldoror, The Songs of Maldoror, by Lautréamont, written between 1868-1869.

Throughout my life, I have seen narrow-shouldered men, without a single exception, committing innumerable stupid acts, brutalizing their fellows and perverting souls by all means. They call the motive for their actions fame. Seeing these spectacles, I wanted to laugh like the others but I found that strange imitation impossible. I took a knife with a sharp steel cutting-edge on its blade and I slit my flesh where the lips join. For a moment I believed I had achieved my object. I looked in a mirror at this mouth disfigured by an act of my own will. It was a mistake! The blood flowing from the two wounds prevented me from discerning whether the laugh really was the same as others’. But after comparing them for a few moments I saw clearly that my laugh did not resemble that of human beings, i.e. I was not laughing at all. I have seen men, ugly men with their eyes sunk in dark sockets, surpassing the hardness of rock, the rigidity of cast steel, the insolence of youth, the senseless rage of criminals, the falseness of the hypocrite, the most extraordinary actors, the strenght of character of priests, beings whose real character is the most impenetrable, colder than anything else in heaven or on earth; I have seen them wearing out moralists who have attempted to discover their heart, and seen them bring upon themselves implacable anger from on high. I have seen them all now, the strongest fist raised towards heaven, like a child already disobedient towards its mother, probably incited by some spirit from hell, eyes full of the bitterest remorse, but at the same time of hatred: glacially silent, not daring to utter the vast ungrateful meditations hidden in their breasts, because those meditations were so full of injustice and horror; I have seen them grieve the God of mercy in his compassion; and again at every moment of the day, from their earliest childhood right up to the end of their old age, I have seen them uttering unbelievable anathemata, void of all common sense, against everything which breathes, against themselves, and against Providence; prostituting women and children, thus dishonouring the parts of the body consecrated to modesty. Then, the waters of the seas rise up, engulfing ships in their bottomless depths; hurricanes and earthquakes level houses; plague and all kinds of disease decimate families. But men do not realize this. I have seen them blushing, or turning pale for shame at their conduct on this earth – rarely. Tempests, sisters of hurricanes; bluish firmament, whose beauty I refuse to acknowledge; hypocritical sea, image of my own heart; earth, who hold mysteries hidden in your breast; the whole universe; God, who created it with such magnificence, it is thee I invoke: show me a man who is good… But at the same time increase my strenght tenfold: for at the sight of such a monster, I may die of astonishment: men have died of less.

>The art of psychogeography


Psychogeography is about understanding and exploring the urban landscape. That specific term (“the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals”) was defined by Guy Debord and the situationists in the late 1950’s.
In an age where cultural and environmental degradation and commercial interest reign supreme, the need for something more and spiritual arise within the souls of the damned. Public space is for everyone, it’s the heart of democracy, and not only for those in power, for those with cash, for those with superior positions in society. But we all know that democracy is a scam and not to be trusted, so to break free from this everyday slaughter and outright meaningless traditions should be in everyone’s interest.
Pyschogeography speaks to the intellect as well as the act. The act is the beauty. The act of walking out there, drifting, finding, exploring and possibly even changing. Famous opium eater Thomas de Quincey when strolling around in the cities had no other goal in mind than to satisfy his curiosity about what might be discovered around the next corner. Some of the situationists navigated through the Harz region in Germany using a map of London. Stuff like that. To break on through to the other side.
You know how easy it is to stroll the same old paths everytime you go somewhere. Try another path (the Left Hand Path maybe?) and think about where you are, where you’re going and what the surroundings mean and how they guide and control your ways.

Cause And Effect – created by Akay, Klister-Peter and Made.

The psyche, the place and the relationship between the two. That’s pretty much what it’s all about. What effect the urban landscape have on us, especially when we’re not guided by commercials, when we choose randomly. And that random choice is what makes it so exciting.
Because we surely must admit that we are being controlled by various forced options every single day, everytime we choose to walk the streets – even though most of us don’t care about that. We want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, not having to think, preferably without moving at all. But if you do care about the shit that’s being tossed at you, then this psychogeography thing can be pretty interesting, because in my mind it many times exposes the manipulation, and only then are we able to subvert that very manipulation and make our own choices.

This is the critique of urbanism.

“Only an awareness of the influences of the existing environment can encourage the critique of the present conditions of daily life, and yet it is precisely this concern with the environment (in) which we live which is ignored.”

Are you also unconcerned? – created by Akay and Klister-Peter.

>Is world peace possible?

>Oswald Spengler answered that with the following text, originally published in Cosmopolitan 1936:

“The question whether world peace will ever be possible can only be answered by someone familiar with world history. To be familiar with world history means, however, to know human beings as they have been and always will be. There is a vast difference, which most people will never comprehend, between viewing future history as it will be and viewing it as one might like it to be. Peace is a desire, war is a fact; and history has never paid heed to human desires and ideals.

Life is a struggle involving plants, animals, and humans. It is a struggle between individuals, social classes, peoples, and nations, and it can take the form of economic, social, political, and military competition. It is a struggle for the power to make one’s will prevail, to exploit one’s advantage, or to advance one’s opinion of what is just or expedient. When other means fail, recourse will be taken time and again to the ultimate means: violence. An individual who uses violence can be branded a criminal, a class can be called revolutionary or traitorous, a people bloodthirsty. But that does not alter the facts. Modern world-communism calls its wars “uprisings,” imperialist nations describe theirs as “pacification of foreign peoples.” And if the world existed as a unified state, wars would likewise be referred to as “uprisings.” The distinctions here are purely verbal.

Talk of world peace is heard today only among the white peoples, and not among the much more numerous colored races. This is a perilous state of affairs. When individual thinkers and idealists talk of peace, as they have done since time immemorial, the effect is always negligible. But when whole peoples become pacifistic it is a symptom of senility. Strong and unspent races are not pacifistic. To adopt such a position is to abandon the future, for the pacifist ideal is a static, terminal condition that is contrary to the basic facts of existence.

As long as man continues to evolve there will be wars. Should the white peoples ever become so tired of war that their governments can no longer incite them to wage it, the earth will inevitably fall a victim to the colored men, just as the Roman Empire succumbed to the Teutons. Pacifism means yielding power to the inveterate nonpacifists. Among the latter there will always be white men — adventurers, conquerors, leader-types — whose following increases with every success. If a revolt against the whites were to occur today in Asia, countless whites would join the rebels simply because they are tired of peaceful living.

Pacifism will remain an ideal, war a fact. If the white races are resolved never to wage war again, the colored will act differently and be rulers of the world.”


>Nietzsche – Morality as anti-nature

All passions have a phase when they are merely disastrous, when they drag down their victim with the weight of stupidity — and a later, very much later phase when they wed the spirit, when they “spiritualize” themselves. Formerly, in view of the element of stupidity in passion, war was declared on passion itself, its destruction was plotted; all the old moral monsters are agreed on this: il faut tuer les passions (“One must kill the passions”). The most famous formula for this is to be found in the New Testament, in that Sermon on the Mount, where, incidentally, things are by no means looked at from a height. There it is said, for example, with particular reference to sexuality: “If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out.” Fortunately, no Christian acts in accordance with this precept. Destroying the passions and cravings, merely as a preventive measure against their stupidity and the unpleasant consequences of this stupidity — today this itself strikes us as merely another acute form of stupidity. We no longer admire dentists who “pluck out” teeth so that they will not hurt any more.
To be fair, it should be admitted, however, that on the ground out of which Christianity grew, the concept of the “spiritualization of passion” could never have been formed. After all, the first church, as is well known, fought against the “intelligent” in favor of the “poor in spirit.” How could one expect from it an intelligent war against passion? The church fights passion with excision in every sense: its practice, its “cure,” is castratism. It never asks: “How can one spiritualize, beautify, deify a craving?” It has at all times laid the stress of discipline on extirpation (of sensuality, of pride, of the lust to rule, of avarice, of vengefulness). But an attack on the roots of passion means an attack on the roots of life: the practice of the church is hostile to life.

From Twilight of The Idols (1889).

>Situationism, Part 3


Isou believed that the engine of all human evolution was not the survival instinct but the will to create.
Mankind, he said, does not live by bread alone, but also by poetry.
…the situationists attempted to introduce poetry into everyday life understood as something beyond work and economy.
The real revolution would take place beyond need, somewhere closer to desire.

From Guy Debord – Revolution In The Service of Poetry by Vincent Kaufmann (2006)

Click for Part 1 and Part 2.