Banksy Sorry

 

Progress is the realization of utopias.
Oscar Wilde

Progress is made by stepping on the toes of giants.
Brian Cantwell Smith

The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man's right to his body, or woman's right to her soul.
Emma Goldman

A libertarian politics unveils an inverted perspective: economics is subordinate to politics and politics is subservient to ethics; the ethics of conviction preranks the ethics of responsability and structures are restricted to their only role, those of machines to serve individuals and not the other way around.
Michel Onfray

Les plaisirs d'amour sont les seuls vrais plaisirs de la vie corporelle.
Michel de Montaigne (1533 - 1592)

Il faut cultiver son jardin.
Voltaire

Not having heard something is not as good as having heard it; having heard it is not as good as having seen it; having seen it is not as good as knowing it; knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice.
Xunzi

La politique est l’art d’empêcher les gens de se mêler de ce qui les regarde.
Paul Valéry

Two Cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three.
E. M. Forster

If it is worth doing, it is worth doing badlly.
Chesterton

The recent failure of democracy to take hold in many African and Islamic states is a reminder that a change in the norms surrounding violence has to precede a change in the nuts and bolts of governance
Steven Pinker

Scandals are manure for western democracy.
Dario Fo

No democracy for the enemies of democracy.
Alain Badiou

Les fruits sont à tous, et la terre n'est à personne.
Rousseau

It is the business of the rulers of the city, if it is anybody’s, to tell lies, deceiving both its enemies and its own citizens for the benefit of the city; and no one else must touch this privilege.
Plato

We either need to be incentivised by money and self-interest, or we need to be harassed by targets, league tables and other simulated market-conditions. What is missing from this picture is one crucial fact about human conduct, which is that everything we’ve ever done of any value, we’ve done neither for money nor to avoid censure, but for the joy of discovery and the exhilaration of sharing it: everything we’ve ever built, of note, we’ve built together.
Zoe Williams

Property rights are not like other rights, contrary to what … a lot of modern political theory says. If I have the right to free speech, it doesn't interfere with your right to free speech. But if I have property, that interferes with your right to have that property, you don't have it, I have it. So the right to property is very different from the right to freedom of speech. This is often put very misleadingly about rights of property; property has no right.
Noam Chomsky

 

Wu Shu

Be formless, be shapeless ... be water, my friend.
Bruce Lee

 

We are fortunate – we have good food. We are fortunate – we have clean air to breathe. We are fortunate – we have the beautiful sea to swim in. ... And for all these reasons and more, we may just forget to die.
Patrick Leigh Fermor

La seule autorité possible est fondée sur la compétence.
Les puissants supposés qui s'adressaient à des imbéciles supposés sont en voie d'extinction. Une nouvelle démocratie du savoir est en marche. Désormais, la seule autorité qui peut s'imposer est fondée sur la compétence. Si vous n'êtes pas investi de cette autorité-là, ce n'est pas la peine de devenir député, professeur, président, voire parent. Si vous n'êtes pas décidé à augmenter autrui, laissez toute autorité au vestiaire. L'autorité doit être une forme de fraternité qui vise à tous nous augmenter. Si ce n'est pas ça la démocratie, je ne connais plus le sens des mots !
Michel Serres

The attitude that one ought to believe such and such a proposition, independently of the question whether there is evidence in its favor, is an attitude which produces hostility to evidence and causes us to close our minds to every fact that does not suit our prejudices.
Bertrand Russell

It is by losing ourselves in inquiry, creation & craft that we become something. Civilization is a continual gift of spirit: inventions, discoveries, insight, art.
Paul Goodman

Good artists borrow; great artists steal.
Picasso

When a thing has been said and well said, have no scruple: take it and copy it.
Anatole France

Le plagiat est nécessaire. Le progrès l'implique.
Chenu

Jones’ directive: “Never do by law what you can do by engineering, particularly if the law doesn’t work”.
D. Jones.

It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.
John Andrew Holmes

Only when you are aware of the uniqueness of everyone's individual body will you begin to have a sense of your own self-worth.
Ma Jian

 

Dance revolution

If I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
Emma Goldman

Dance is a physical and mental workout. Once you get your body moving, you'll see a difference.
Kathryn McCormick

Movement can replace many drugs, but no drug can ever replace movement.
Avicenna

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
Rumi

… the little lesson that life sometimes rams home with a stick: you are not the only one watching the world, other people are also people, while you watch them they watch you, and they think about you while you think about them. The world isn’t just about you.
... you always get ideots who don't move with the times.
Terry Pratchett

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Isaac Asimov

If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.
Samuel Adams (1722 - 1803)

 

Civil disobedience thwarts the ultimate violence against democracy, the claim of inevitability.
Isabelle Stengers

Henry-David Thoreau (1843 - 191):

Thoreau

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
Oscar Wilde

 

… the period that shall put an end to the system of coercion and punishment, is intimately connected with the circumstance of property's being placed upon an equitable basis.
... It is clear then that war in every horrid form is the growth of unequal property. As long as this source of jealousy and corruption shall remain, it is visionary to talk of universal peace.
William Godwin (1756 - 1836)

Anarchism is order without authority.
Pierre Joseph Proudhon

Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
Frédéric Bastiat

The call for self-management in society mirrors the self-regulation and self-organization of nature itself.
Peter Marshall

To be committed to universal human rights is, in some sense, to be committed to world governance.
Nicholas Boyle

Basically, the Internet allowed me to experience freedom and explore my full capacity as a human being.
Edward Snowden

The Internet is truly God's gift to the Chinese people.
Liu Xiaobo

Of my experience spending three years in jail so far for writing open source code (mainly), I can tell you how much authoritarian regimes feel the dangers of technology on their continuity. And they should be afraid of that, as code is much more than tools. It's an education that opens youthful minds, and moves nations forward.
Bassel Khartabil

Moderation presumes enjoyment, abstinence does not. Hence there are more abstainers than moderates.
Lichtenberg

In a dictatorship, taxation is theft. In a true democratic community, people make decisions, including decisions about how to deal with problems of concern to the community, like schools, health services, transportation, etc. Insofar as this leads to expenditures, they make decisions about taxes or some counterpart. There is no theft. Societies like ours are somewhere in between. To take your case, suppose your neighbor never uses a road or a bus at the other end of town. Why should he fund it? Maybe we should each just pay for the roads we use -- and that means, of course, that we have to prevent others from using them, so we hire private armies, and if someone comes along with a bigger army we get nuclear weapons to keep them from using our road, and... Actually, proposals like this are made, in all seriousness, in literature that is taken seriously. And it extends to everything else, leading to a world in which no sane person would want to live, even if it would be possible to survive in it.
Noam Chomsky

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
H. L. Mencken

Epicuri de grege porcum

Zodiac pig

Yes, I want to argue, because everything should be argued.
Ai Weiwei 艾未未

 

Fear believes—courage doubts. Fear falls upon the earth and prays—courage stands erect and thinks. Fear retreats—courage advances. Fear is barbarism—courage is civilization. Fear believes in witchcraft, in devils and in ghosts. Fear is religion, courage is science.
Robert G. Ingersoll

The revolutionary idea that defines the boundary between modern times and the past is the mastery of risk; the notion that the future is more than a whim of the gods and that men and women are not passive before nature. Until human beings discovered a way across that boundary, the future was a mirror of the past or the murky domain of oracles and soothsayers who held a monopoly over knowledge of anticipated events.
Peter Bernstein

 

Graffiti in Xanthi

... εκτός της Αφροδίτης
No gods no masters. Graffiti (2002); the ancient slogan on a wall somewhere in the capital of Thrace, the country that produced Democritus.

 

[William Reich] relates the allure of fascism and reactionary politics for low income workers to an innate fear of social responsibility – stemming from the authoritarian child rearing styles that characterize industrialized society.
Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

It has been said, only too truly, that Plato was the inventor of both our secondary schools and our universities. I do not know a better argument for an optimistic view of mankind, no better proof of their indestructible love for truth and decency, of their originality and stubbornness and health, than the fact that this devastating system of education has not utterly ruined them.
Popper

How to protect children from ideology
... make children conscious of their responsibilities to others, help them to be clear-eyed and to think, question, always ask for the evidence and arguments in support of any proposition—and explain how the legacy of mankind’s ignorant past survives in religious beliefs and practices, and what role these have in social life as a result of their historical embedding.
A. C. Grayling

Why does the curiosity of a child born into the lowest classes have to overcome everything put in his or her way to mute that curiosity, when a child born to parents with access to the advantages of life will have his meager curiosity kindled and nurtured? The unfairness is horrifying when it is properly understood as an unfairness meted out on children, on infants, on babies.
Is this the best we can do? We have sent men to stand on the moon and claim it for mankind. In fewer than five clicks I can speak to my two-year-old godson in Paris. I can see the moving image of his face as I make him laugh and he can see mine. We can make works of art of such stupefying beauty that grown men stop and weep. And yet. And yet we do not seem to have the heart to be fair.
Zia Haider Rahman

The assumption of the new surveillance state is that we the citizens are all potential enemies of the government. This reverses the US Constitution’s assumption that it is the leaders of our government who should be viewed with a deep suspicion—an assumption based on the notion that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Robert Scheer

The right to be left alone [is] the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people.
Louis Brandeis (US Supreme Court Justice)

Ethics, like natural selection, make existence possible. Aesthetics, like sexual selection, make life lovely and wonderful, fill it with new forms, and give it progress, variety and change.
Oscar Wilde

Turn off the TV and learn differential calculus.
Matthew MacDonald

You practice and you get better. It's very simple.
Philip Glass

What shall we think of the ideocies propagated by our sociologists and the atrocities regarded as 'critical productions' by our artists? They can palm off their ideas on us with impunity unless pupils start checking out their teachers just as patients have started checking out their doctors: the advice in all cases is to use experts, but never to trust them and certainly never to rely on them entirely.
Paul Feyerabend

All existence is built on sand, death is our only certainty. Don't try to tame death, despise it. Hedonism is the art of that contempt.
Michel Onfray

Well, I mean, yes idealism, yes the dignity of pure research, yes the pursuit of truth in all its forms, but there comes a point I’m afraid where you begin to suspect that if there’s any real truth, it’s that the entire multi-dimensional infinity of the Universe is almost certainly being run by a bunch of maniacs.
Douglas Adams

 

Mammon on Wall Street

It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.
Oscar Wilde

I remember the philosopher Bertrand Russell was asked why he spent his time protesting against nuclear war and getting arrested on demonstrations. Why didn’t he continue to work on the serious philosophical and logical problems which have major intellectual significance? And his answer was pretty good. He said: “Look, if I and others like me only work on those problems, there won’t be anybody around to appreciate it or be interested.”
Noam Chomsky

Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible. Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions and comfortable habits. Thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages.
Bertrand Russell

It's never the idea; it's always the execution.
Bill Sahlman

Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.
Albert Einstein

What we must do

We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world - its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is, and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence, and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past, or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time towards a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.
Bertrand Russell

 

Taiwan has a Trees Party

Tree 12000 years old

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A materialist utopia

It remains a perennial problem: how to engineer the world to make it "a good and happy place in which no one would have to get nailed to anything". The question which manners, morals, and organization to adopt in order to optimize the always changing community has produced contrary answers. Many arrangements have been tried, all of them based on idols and none of them a success for a very simple reason: idols and their guidelines for a lifestyle have never been chosen to neutralize harmful instincts. Invariably oligarchic systems that satisfy lust for power and violence have been tried to organize society with well-known results.

A different approach might work better to improve life: ignore verbal idealizations as guidelines (Ideas always lie) but return to the body instead for inspiration (the body cannot lie). Something like that has recently been tried without success: socialism was quickly destroyed by stalism and original liberalism by neoconservatism; ideals turn easily into authorities. A truly materialist utopia would be a community in which no sacred transcendency or hero imposes morals but where the characteristics and limitations of the body suggest how best to live together. But bodies are no match for sacred authorative idols. Arguments may be heard again only when idols fall silent. If all ideological (racial, patriotic, religious, financial) justifications for killing and robbing others could be removed, it would make life less stressful as there are no more weapons industries, less psychiatrists, no financial institutions, and no social and ethnic inequality based on weird ideas about authority and property. It would cause unemployment in many industrial sectors and there would be more leisure time. It would mean the end of poverty because capital would no longer be destroyed and gigantic funds would become available.

After 2600 years of effort to do something about the ills of oligarchic society, things now appear to be happening: wholesale killing each other, which was the norm in world history, is said to be gradually decreasing (but not in islamic regions where violence increases). Moreover an increasing number of people finally seems to have seen enough of commercial swindlers such as Fifa managers and option sellers. The recent defacement of at least a few idols is sluggish but something like it appears to be happening. We cannot rid ourselves from our taste for violence which our ancesters developed in millions of years; it might get out of fashion only if we stop deforming our children as Presscott has shown. What we can do, is discard all the dismal habits which we have adopted in the last 10 000 years because these have not yet had enough time to become second nature.

Utopias are fantasies which always fail because they are ideologies. It is generally assumed that utopias, even mild ones, are impossible because aggression is an essential feature of human nature. Utopias are impossible because they are fixed, detailed platonic blueprints rather than imagined goals to be pursued. Aldous Huxley explained in Brave New World that if some ideal forces everyone to be happy, nobody is. A strict model happiness applicable to all, irrespective of individual variation, kills play, curiosity, creativity, excitement, and therefore happiness itself. Misery can have positive effects as survivors of a war know who say that their life used to be so intense and genuine at wartime. Moreover, peace is known to re-introduce psychosomatic illnesses in survivors. Many efforts to introduce local utopias resulted in genocides like those in China, Germany, the Soviet Union, Turkey, Cambodia, and Indonesia to name only a few recent ones. There is nothing to be deplored about making victims if that helps to establish an idealized world according to Harry Lime who noticed that during permanent war between city states in Italy the renaissance flourished, while the peace which lasted for centuries in Switserland produced nothing more interesting than the cuckoo clock (the Swiss didn't even do that). That there actually have been collectives which approximated a materialist utopia (without being forced to it) does not fit well in such narratives. However, story tellers need not fear a real utopia: enough tragedy would remain in it to inspire their dreary novels even if we stop annoying each other with idolatries.

Living in ideocracies

Clearly, platonic utopias are not possible or desirable because the ideologies that utopias install are invariably inhumane since their designers invariably are. What can be done to make life less miserable in our dystopia, that is said to be inevitable? Accept my idols, the ideots keep repeating; they always promise a better world but never deliver. Changing only a few conditions (and leaving others the same) in an existing complex system such as a society in order to improve it may have unexpected and usually negative consequences. In many cases it would be better but very difficult if not impossible to try something more coherent and comprehensive. A utopia as an imagined beacon for small corrections on the present situation is a different possibility. As all the ancient axials suggested (few listened), a first step in a gentle and gradual improvement would be to become an infidel. The axial freethinkers could only suggest an outline of the basics before they were wiped out. They could not supply the details because the world was too unknown at that time. Now we are less ignorant about our body and we are (hopefully) better able to manage our hereditary antisomatic instincts; now it is certainly easier to understand and follow the advice of Carvaka, Yang Chu, and Aristippus and see where that leads us. Even our inherited xenophobia can be disarmed if we want to do so.

However in all societies the ideots still have the majority and they will make sure that life for everyone matches their norms. Materialists have never been able to convince them to mind their own business. Idealism has been less oppressive only when and where the ideots relaxed. The axial revolution, the enlightenment, and on a minuscule scale, the Arab springs and Occupy Wall Street movement have shown that the impossible sometimes seems to happen before the powers that be intervene. If the density of enlightenment supporters would become high enough, a phase transition to something approximating a utopia might happen. The question is then how nuclei of temporary enlightened zones can be formed, even if only temporarily. First three basic materialist suggestions must be considered that are somewhat counter-intuitive because they go against two developed instincts, antagonism and the urge to explain everything.

Dematerialisation

Paradoxically, a materialist avoids consuming (wasting) matter (unless necessary for existence or for play) and also avoids damaging or soiling anything in the environment in order not to prevent others to use or enjoy it. Dematerialisation is not a biological requirement, organisms are quite wasteful if that helps adaptation and competition. For humans, dealing frugally with matter has become an ethical need and even a survival tactic under present conditions; it is also unavoidable since overpopulation strains the ecosystem to a breaking point. Exhausting the oceans by the fishing industries, mining gold with cyanide and mercury, or exterminating whales "for science" is wasteful materially but for ideots they merely mean efficient business optimization. It benefits commerce to destroy the environment. Such optimizations that prevent dematerialisation clearly have to stop. Or else: evolution rigourously eliminates unfit species.

Dematerialization is an ancient advice. Taoism and Zen preached simplicity, Anacharsis, Diogenes, and Epicurus frugality. For materialists dematerialization counters our inborn disposition to greed that fuels habits such as plunder, rape, and murder. In all societies with strong ideologies stealing is a main activity (Hermes is the god of trade, communication, and theft). To depopularize stealing, our concept of property needs to be radically revised first, which is not easy. However, experiments with gift economies were quite promising. A global introduction of dematerialization would result at least in a delay of our extinction and it would immediately increase our personal freedom.

All words have more than one meaning. In a positive sense, dematerialization is about eliminating waste. Dematerialization in a negative sense is a word used by Richard Sennett for the loss of a sense of matter induced by modern consumer behaviour.

Personal autarky

A second tendency of materialists, which is related to dematerialisation and freedom, is to seek a certain degree of personal autarky and privacy or less dependence on others and on possessions. In the following, autarky is supposed to be an attribute of an individual, not a group. Autarky was proposed by the ancient cynics. The main reason to favour it is to avoid becoming a prey of some principle or victim of obtruding others. It is true that humans are social animals but if they make their interaction too strong their individual freedom suffers. Autarky does not restrict collaboration but collaboration makes sense only if it involves free and more or less independent individuals. Increasing consumption to inflate the ego increases dependence on others, increases inequalities, restricts personal freedom, affects others negatively, and tends to be physiologically unhealthy. Enough reasons to avoid it and to choose more autarky instead. Another incentive for having more autarky is the realization that the ego is part of the exosomatic cloud of others and the I may therefore reduce the freedom of others; I am the Sartrean hell for others which makes me immoral according to the golden rule of Pittakos. More autarky loosens the strong ties between people, reduces the cloud (or fog) around the individual and frees the ego. Diogenes of Sinope made that very clear. The advice of Democritus is still useful (we have hardly changed since 400 BCE): visit pubs with friends, choose agreeable company, avoid the ideots with their gods, make love not war, make music and jokes, study everything and by all means, play. And for self-defense against meddling ideots, stay sufficiently anonymous. More can be found here.

Desacralization

A third advice is to desacralize and dedemonize concepts and persons, existing or fictive. Both verbs can be combined to one, profanize, or in other words, bring down to earth. Again, to do so is contrary to intuition and takes some effort. By declaring his ideas and sources holy, an ideot pre-empts criticism. Sacred books and saints are untouchable. The divine is a basic feature of all ideologies: the emperor is the son of God, the party secretary represents the People, the pope is infallible, the glorious flag stands for the glorious Nation. Dictators have their portrait all over the place to rub in their omnipresent power. As the sacred is best communicated with words, language is the favorite tool of the ideot (after the secret police). "Newspeak" is as essential for the powerful as reifications are for philosophers. Idols are language artefacts or nouns inspired by instincts. Because it is merely a card house of words, platonism may be neutralized by using words to banalize all and everyone having pretensions; stand-up comedians live on it. In a desacralized society only psychopaths would be fundamentalists and suicide terrorism would be pointless.

Desacralization is a crucial part of the process of detribalization, therefore there are some ethnic differences in the type of desacralization that is most suitable for each region. For the West, definancialization is now most urgent since money (a postmodern incarnation of god) ceased to embellish life but imperils it. In the Middle-East desacralization would primarily be secularization. In Europe number two on the list would be decommercialization, and in the USA, demonsantization. Cartoonists have observed that humour does not help desacralization: as a convincing counterargument the taliban use decapitation and the ayatollahs hanging or a fatwah. Killing opponents is more effective to win a debate than arguments or jokes; Putin and the islamists can supply examples from their own practices.

Act in three domains

Spreading knowledge is the best tactic to promote hedonism according to enlightenment thinkers; knowledge on how to deal with three different domains or ecosystems. The first domain is the animal body of the individual, everything under the skin. It needs nutrition, pharmaca, motion, and sundry arts to drive body chemistry. The other domains are the environment of the body which has two parts, the exosomatic part of the ego, and the commons. The exosomatic part of the renormalized person is the cloud of clothes, prostheses and relations with others, in short, all embedded external things and links that are seen as part of the individual. For three excellent reasons people spend most ot their time and effort to maintain and to cultivate this domain, also called personal bubble: it determines the social person, shapes the link to others, and is the source of ataraxia. What remains is the medium outside the individuals, the commons, or the public domain, the place where they live in, also called their niche, which they cannot be said to own. The common domain has a material part, managed for the community by engineers, and a virtual part, the domain of ideas, rituals, symbols, laws, and political norms, managed for the collective by lawyers and politicians. How vulnerable the public domain is to abuse should by now be widely known; and ignorance causes suffering, as the Dalai Lama said.

The three domains of things and methods have no sharp boundaries and are not independent. They may even be so strongly linked that a second renormalization would be justified to consider them separate games. The body is their hub and purpose. A heart and a thighbone are truly endosomatic things, they are formed out of food and behaviour which are not. Pacemakers and hip joint prostheses are endosomatic objects but also linked to an exosomatic infrastructure. A coat, glasses, and a university degree are exosomatic things having extensions into the body as well as into the environment. So is whatever you create. Your car and house are in your exosomatic part with a strong component in the common domain, your job is in the commons but is more endosomatic (in your mind) than one of the many jobs of others.

I. Back to the body

That the body is not just the core of existence but existence itself is a platitude but a forgotten one; the world ends when the body dies. Body techniques are basic for maintenance of the self and therefore of society. Everyone knows very well, even if only unconsciously, how to keep the body in shape but conscious methods are less well known or at least less well taught or followed so these need some mention here. Materialists say that those methods basically involve minding one's synapses: neutralizing counterproductive synapse patterns that are produced by cultural education, keeping the other ones working, and growing more of those that boost ataraxia and well-being in general. Nerve tissue is chemically like muscle (but even more vital for body functions). It withers away if not used. Hence the need for constant action that keeps the nervous systems busy. Hence therefore the need to avoid passivity. Awareness of the way the body operates has consequences.

1. Food makes the intelligence of the body and creates the ghost in the machine. You are what you eat as Feuerbach said. You are also what your ancestors and parents ate. In other words, the body forms itself and its own epigenetic soul from food, a fact recognized by the designers of materialism. Consumption of the right mix of compounds, from amino acids to zinc, is crucial for your health and well-being, it determines your moods, prurience, immune system, gene expression, and even affects your relation to others. Everyone knows that, from Somali refugee to obese westerner but spiritual customs from mohammedanism to capitalism obstruct access to the proper food and prevent lust. Poverty and hunger, which are structurally maintained for economic or other platonic reasons, are forms of postmodern genocide.

Nutritionists are specialists who are not like other medical specialists; their main job is not to cure sick organs but to prevent illness. They have shown that the composition of the food that is needed, differs for the fifteen types of human. Proper food during the first years of existence is crucial for the rest of life. The effect of food profiles on body functioning is still widely underestimated although the body is a chemical process as every schoolboy knows. Physiological processes are largely inaccessible; control of the chemistry in the liver, in the manner of a process manager who controls a chemical factory, is impossible; however, body chemistry can be affected by adapting concentrations of nutrients.

Besides swallowing chemicals there are other ways to improve body chemistry. Motion, meditation, and play stimulate organs in the body to produce compounds necessary for life. Moving is primary for the acting animal body, secondary are sensing and conscience. Play is action for fun:

2. Play by juggling. Rapid complicated activities generate neurotransmitters and hormones and are sources of eudaimonia, also called flow. Juggling is done not only with balls and knives (as in ball sports and martial arts) but also with sounds (making music), coloured spots on computer screens (gaming) or on other surfaces (painting), one's own body (dancing), or words (rapping). Here are links to that sort of play.

3. Play by doing, the slower activities that are vital for body maintenance. Use it or loose it: three recent decades of neuropsychology have shown how the mind works as the body moves. There is no lesson for those who try to survive in poor contries; there is for alienated occidentals. Learning manual skills, meditation, yoga, tantra, massage, and biofeedback builds new synapses and stimulates production of receptors for endocrine juices (such as oxytocine, vasopressine, dopamine, acetylcholine) at the right places in the body. They collectively may produce the ataraxia that was the ultimate goal of the classical hedonists.

Communication by means of pheromones and other expressions of body language instead of words, cannot be controlled like words. Lying is virtually impossible with body language which makes it imperative to learn that language; moods are a continuation of posture or facial expression with other means. Body language can be learned from stage actors.

Other activities benefit the body. Meditation and do-it-yourself psychotherapies are necesssary to repair the physical damage caused by the platonic education that everyone has been subjected to. Self-therapy is also needed in order to adapt habits in a changing world. Travel is indispensable (it expands associations) and sex strenghtens the immune system as well. Study also generates valuable synapse patterns; becoming multilingual with second and third languages such as C++, Chinese, or another one has life-long cognitive benefits and will open up vast sectors of the world. Simple language activities such as translating a book and digitizing it are preferable to reading a book or visiting a theatre, if only because they are less passive. Playing with shapes on some plane (painting and drawing grafitti), with things and materials (visual arts), with sounds (making music), with concepts (philosophizing), or with symbols (puzzle solving) are excellent personal entertainment and good for hormones. Moreover, in primary school, hacking should be taught as a basic skill in addition to reading, writing, arithmetic, and music. Also, many symbolic subjects should be replaced in curricula by skills in matter and body techniques. The significance of reading a lot of books is generally overvalued: bookworms are known to have questionable second-hand wisdom. Links can be found here.

II. Dressing the body

The second set of methods is for construction, maintenance and use of the external part of the individual, the part just outside the skin but close to it, their personal bubble. It consists of the strong relations with others that are assigned to the person as well as the embedded objects that is personal property according to current cultural customs.

The libertarians say that you are what you have. You do not have a body but are one, but they have a point: the I inflates by being dressed up. Clothes, jewelry, certificates for a degree, personal tools such as spectacles, camera, pocket knife, toothbrush, cell phone, and other prostheses like computers, pacemakers, implanted artificial joints, musical instruments and a bicycle (all branded with a fashionable logo for who craves to impress others), boost the individual. Skills may be developed to enable desired actions. Personal possession of parts of the commons (house, capital, real estate) also helps to inflate the ego. Personal felicity is strongly determined in this domain, by the degree in which the exosomatic part allows to realize personal needs and ambitions as Edward De Bono in his book The Happiness Purpose has shown. Buddhists and objecivists draw two radically opposite conclusions about ways to improve life: increase happiness by respectively annihilating craving or increasing the personal means to satisfy ambitions (even at the cost of others). If exaggerated however, dressing up the ego becomes counter-productive and even antisomatic; freedom suffers and equality vanishes. However, we must dress ourselves so we'd better do it in a way that maximizes self-sufficiency and minimizes dependence on consumption and submission to others. This also increases survival and comfort when disasters strike, public utilities fail, or when these are destroyed for commercial reasons by ideots.

III. The public domain

The third group of methods is in the field everyone exists in, their niche. Protecting the health of the commons with its public services is the mother of all social tasks. The material part of the public domain for people is the work of civil engineers, agrarians, mining engineers and other technologists in the public utilities. It concerns energy conversion, control of water, mining, transport, trade, agriculture, fishing, ecology, housing, communication, information infrastructure and use of land. The public domain is a cauldron of conflicts between grabbing individuals and institutions which inevitably leads to violence and even ecocide. To counter those, political action is extremely urgent.

The public domain is populated by individuals, not by rationalists. Their activities may produce hormones and neurotransmitters that cause fear, hatred, guilt, shame, stress, depression or pain in others. As such activities are unnecesssary, harmful, and immoral they should be made illegal. Verbal and somatic violence in public is imitated from behaviour that is seen in TV-series and in popular films that in turn activate antisomatic instincts. Even in affluent societies there is a lot of vandalism and tribalistic aggression aimed at minorities such as women, foreigners, homosexuals, dissidents, and the homeless. To make the commons suitable to live in for minorities is another urgent goal for political action at a grass-roots level.

Government

Organization is vital for social animals, a single human without others is even hardly able to survive at all. Political action is aimed at the organization of citizens allegedly to help them to live safely, to protect and control the public domain including information and technology with laws, justice, police and other utilities, and to help other activities beneficial to citizens such as education and care. All of that as a "body without closed organs", a coherent collective without any coercing specialized authorities. The main function of the administration is preventing the tragedy of the commons and keeping the commons open and safe. It sounds like a platitude but the reality is that no administration does that because civil servants in power are people having the usual instincts and are moreover controlled by lobbies of proprietors. Oligarchic government is a haven for power seekers and it is inevitably an institution not for but against the citizens; it should restrict its own power but that is impossible. Existing governments always subjugate their subjects, they are prepared to eliminate anyone if it suits them and if it helps to maintain the status quo. In the 20th century they have killed many hundreds of millions of their own citizens according to historians. That governments have other interests than their subjects is shown by the perennial revolutions that always fail, usually because the authorities in power control the army and have a monopoly on violence. Exceptionally a revolution is initially successful but even then, the old regime is replaced by one which is worse; freed people want to be told what to do next. Feodal empires and churches first create anarchists and freethinkers and then destroy them.

How to make government do what needs to be done and convince it to stop meddling with affairs of individuals which is not what they were ever meant for? Joining the usual brawl between parties that push their ideology in the political arena is impossible since a materialist ideology is an oxymoron, it is as unthinkable as an anarchistic political party. Political parties for the human body, for animals, for plants, for fungi, for viruses or for things do not exist (see below). However, recent movements such as the brights, the geeks, creative commons, open knowledge foundation, as well as green and pirate parties, may perhaps slightly change that. There seems to be another possibility to do something useful: speed up the change of public opinion by removing propaganda for all ideologies from school curricula. "...without [catholic] schools, there would be no Catholic Church in two generations because their doctrines are so insane that nobody in his right mind would accept them." according to Gore Vidal. Yes, but catholics are not unique; when all ideologies (not only theistic but also secular ones such as capitalism and nationalism) are removed from school curricula, government has to change its behaviour; the public gets what it deserves. It will take a few generations to change how we see each other and then a few more to convince civil servants to do so as well. When finally our present personal and political idols are desacralized, our old and obsolete institutions, laws, and habits will be replaced by less harmful and more functional ones. Perhaps a ministry of metaphysics control can be useful in a novel organization of the administration, a kind of public prosecutor, independent of the legislative. Its job is to guarantee the strict separation of nationalism and state, religion and state, economics and state, and science and state. That would make sense if a state exists, since we already try to separate crime and state. And when we start to reorganize we should also consider to separate education from metaphysics and economics from science. There is more about materialist politics for humans on the do-it-yourself page. Timothy Snyder provided some pertinent advices for political action against fascistoid social developments.

The flexibility and neutrality of citizens determine the harmony in their society. The materialist conviction could only take root in multicultural collectives because those are more likely to have circles that appreciate the advantages of tolerance or indifference for alternative convictions. Censorship is difficult to implement adequately if dissidents are easily able to escape from suppressing tyrants or populists to more liberal areas if trade or information exchange with those areas exist. Huguenots and jews could avoid annihilation and continue to develop their ideas by escaping thanks to a fragmented Europe. Well-organized totalitarian states kill all innovation that is suspected of being damaging for the status quo if interaction with surrounding countries can be suppressed. All strong centralized hierarchies have banned materialism and enlightenment values.

Is materialism possible in political party programmes?

If atomism is the only sensible and comprehensive ontology, shouldn't materialism rather than idealism determine politics and values in a liberal democracy? Probably not, politics is the exercise of conviction, a match between groups having contrary ideologies, a tournament in which the players are favoured that have the most supporters. A traditional political party is organized belief. As a materialist mindset unites rather than divides, replacing the idealist basis by a materialist one in party programmes, which is technically feasible, would completely wipe out politics as we know it. There is more inconsistency in this trade. The limitation of politics to human affairs makes them incomplete as human society is not only based on exploitation of humans but also of non-humans. Following the usual logic, this points to four novel groups of materialistic political parties that could be devised. Imaginable parties for humans, animals, plants, and things cannot possibly coexist. Absurdity is a basic feature of poliltics.

Parties for humans

Political parties for humans are parties that advance benefits for humans only and do not exist to promote exclusively ideals and ideologies, which is what ordinary political parties do now. The novel political parties for humans would work in a quasi-materialistic utopia. Fifteen parties are possible, one for each type of human. Maybe more, maybe less, the number has to be agreed upon. Those fifteen types of humans have many interests in common, there are few differences in morals, and existing conflicts are about pragmatic issues (radical feminism remains useful to phase out patriarchal remnants). Parliaments, in which the parties meet, would therefore be more like municipal committees than national legislative organizations. Humans have language so their parties are easier to form than those for animals or plants. Other animals, plants, and things are considered subservient to humans in the programmes of these parties.

Parties for animals

Political parties for animals are parties that promote benefits for animals (including humans) but not for humans that claim to be privileged animals (no rights for those who ban rights for others). Existing parties for animals are a good start but different animals have conflicting interests that need to be sorted out in a parliament. Do animals that must kill in order to exist have a right to do so? Are only carnivores proper food for carnivores? Conflicts between parties for animals are likely to be more violent than between those for humans. Animals consider that plants and things are subordinate to them.

Parties for plants

Political parties for plants are parties that improve living conditions for plants. Emancipation of plants is urgent, they are materially vastly superior to other organisms. They should defend themselves, as they have nothing to lose but their present bleak existence as food for animals. Plants eat only inorganics and light not living organisms; fungi consume deceasedß plants. Fundamentalistic plants would like to eliminate all animals. Things are cherished and cultivated by plants as inorganics are vital for the existence of all organisms.

Parties for things

There is no need for political parties for things or objects in this thought experiment. Things look very well after themselves and care even for plants and animals which are after all only other things. Things have no unattainable desires. They are absolutely free, only things exist. Things are not made by humans, humans are made by things. Plants and animals are composite objects. Things do not compete with each other, but some special aggregates of things do, as is well known. If animal and vegetable composites cannot agree with others, that is their problem, it does not worry other things that maiy be their components. Other composites such as galaxies, black holes, volcanos, hurricanes, or oceans do not need a verdict from a supreme court to justify their existence. Utterly different near neighbours like carbon and silicon atoms or magnesium and calcium ions easily coexist, like other things they never fight each other (molecules sometimes disagree on minor points) and are always prepared to collaborate in compounds. A political party for objects is pointless. If people take the behaviour of the things they are composed of as a lesson, their revolutions will fail less often and might become as succesful as those in the sciences.

Given that we are maladjusted to our environment by the instincts that our ancestors have developed for us and given that we are not able to get rid of them, there are two things we can do to attenuate their adverse impact on our life. To begin with, these two are enough as follows from the results of many social and personal experiments.
1. Don't feed the trolls. Ignore or reject just-so stories and bogus explanations, they usually justify aggressive instinctual behaviour. This may be difficult to do because inventing fake causes and alternative facts is a common and strong habit. However, it can be done, all atomists through the ages have shown that, as set out in the pages of this site.
2. Train our marvellous brain to gradually improve analysis and use of limbic fear and rage. Our neocortex has produced all efficient technologies and arts of living, it is the source of our biological success. It takes some efforts to use it properly because it is rather young and perhaps not yet strong enough for routinely controlling limbic interference. Still, its materialist advice is unmistakable: make love, not war; and: no gods, no masters, except afrodite.