Monday, June 28, 2021

The Liar Paradox

- Have you watched the ex-president's speech at his rally yesterday?
- A few seconds.
- After our talk* about evil I wanted to see what evil looks like.
- And what does evil look like?
- His laughably incompetent, fragmentary imitations of male and female characteristics, the positive ones of ambition and love, and the negative ones of aggression and vanity** were on display as usual. But otherwise I didn't know where to look for how the group act of attempting to enslave everyone else looks in an individual.
- You're familiar with these words from Aristotle's Ethics:
The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.
- Yes. What about them?
- American evil takes the form of doing what Aristotle said no one would want to do except under compulsion: making-money as an end in itself, all other human qualities made to serve that end or sacrificed to that end. 
- But when I observe our ex-president I don't see this sacrifice of human nature, selling out one's own freedom to be fully human to the act of money-making. I don't see much of human nature at all. I see imitation.
- Remember that capitalism is the form of enslavement that requires the slaves to buy the products they themselves have made. Capitalism can be further defined as the form of evil that involves money-making as an end in itself. Maximum efficiency in money-making requires the ability to represent yourself in a way that gets others to do what favors your interests.
- Do you mean imitate in the sense of make a image that will be useful to strangers to know what to expect from you, or do you mean lie?
- I mean both. Our ex-president made millions playing a businessman on TV when in fact he was in his incompetence hardly a businessman at all, was in action and intention nothing but a criminal.
- I don't see those evil actions and intentions when I watch him.
- Maybe you see despair and paranoia?
- Yes, I do.
- As the worker in capitalism is a slave who has to buy back the products he himself has made, so the slave to money-making has to buy back, at the cost of his humanity, the unwanted image of himself he has been forced to make. Money-making become an end in itself, unlimited by nature, the moment it pauses forces upon the money-maker the sight of the self constructed to fit the requirements of the moment, the self which is not really self in a world of people not really themselves. Despair is a cycling awareness of self as wrong, which awareness is fled from, which flight shows a character that is incapable, which sight of incapacity is fled from.... Paranoia a cycling awareness of a threatening world, flight from which shows the self to be unequal to the world's danger, which sight then must be fled from....There is a third cycle, that of doubting the truth of self and other selves, involving both self and world, involving the self about the world.***
- Which is?
- In the Liar Paradox the declaration is made, 'Everything I say is a lie.'
- So the statement itself, as something said, is a lie, which means that statement is true, true that it is a lie....
- The cycle moves from the world of lies, to the self making a statement about lying. If I had said, 'Everything I say about the world (but not about statements) is a lie' there would be no problem.
- You think you can see, together with despair and paranoia, an awareness of the Liar Paradox in our ex-president's behavior?
- 'I am lying you know I am lying so I am not really lying which means I am lying when I impress upon you I am always lying....' Though a pathological cycle like despair and paranoia, his audience eats it up.
- Why?
- Like the ex-president they practice money-making as an end in itself. They suffer the same distortion of human nature to meet the needs of money-making as he does, revel in his show of god-like freedom from the pain and confusion consequent to unreality of self. The ex-president appeals to his crowd, in all the glory of his erotic masculine / feminine fakery, 'Come share with me my beautiful freedom from reality!'

Further Reading:
* Good Vs. Evil
*** See: Sex For Success, UCLA Libraries and Collections, N7433.4.M617 A74 1989, Special Collections