Posted by martinknox
If you answer ‘no’, welcome to the company of non-materialists whose members eschew unnecessary consumption.
Socrates said “we should eat to live, not live to eat”.
Eating is necessary, but Epicureans eat abstemiously. Epicurus drank only water and ate with others.
Minimalists do without cars and clear their homes of clutter. In their view most products lack beauty, utility and real value. Conservation minded non-materialists believe acquiring things uses scarce resources and pollutes the environment.
Kaczinsky is opposed, violently, to industrial technology because it is created as a surrogate by inept technologists with corrupted goals. He is an extremist included here to show the anti-technology end of a spectrum. Train and plane spotters could be at the other.
Stoics are materially frugal because maintaining luxuries takes a lot of time. It is acceptable to enjoy wealth as long as one is careful not to cling to it.
According to stoic Marcus Aurelius:
‘Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.‘
For Marx and Engels, materialism meant that the material world, perceptible to the senses, has objective reality independent of mind or spirit. According to Hegel the world is to be comprehended not as composed of ready-made things but as a complex of processes, in which things apparently stable go through an uninterrupted change of coming into being and passing away. These socialists thought that things define the social order:
The master is in possession of a surplus of what is physically necessary; the servant lacks it, and indeed in such a way that the surplus and the lack of it are not accidental aspects but the indifference of necessary needs.
Things can have importance beyond objectivity. People have real affection for certain things and take good care of them. They are fond of the tools they use to make other things in crafts and arts.
Robert Persig cared for his motorbike, often taking it to pieces and reassembling it, the way people care for their horses. In his book The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance he demonstrates his Zen philosophy of ‘quality’ living, with care as a compromise between mechanical classicism and romantic spirituality.
My book Time is Gold is a story about a marathon runner who tunes up her body and mind like a complex technology, in the Zen way, with her attention on goals and processes but not outcomes. When the thing is you, self-care causes liking. https:/martinknox.com
Posted by martinknox
ON USA ELECTION EVE IS SELFISHNESS WORSE THAN LEVELLING?
Not according to philosophers Ayn Rand and Jordan Peterson. They regard self-responsibility for family, kith and kin as paramount. It does not deny the need to care for others but opposes collective responsibility, socialist levelling and altruism. Attitudes are entrenched, for example in Britain’s class system, illustrated in the photo from a Montepython skit.
It has taken a long time and many social experiments to forge minds of modern men and women. Aristotle regarded our ultimate end as happiness, by virtuous living, which existed in a mean state between excess and deficiency. Prodigality was excessive, stinginess deficient, but liberality was virtuous. Selfishness would have been excessive.
John Stuart Mill acknowledged that individual freedom, of which selfishness is an aspect, has to be limited in the interests of the community. Nietzsche saw individual achievement as daring to oppose and endure hardships, such as social inhibitions, by the exercise of an iron will. It was the apotheosis of selfishness and when demonstrated by Hitler and Stalin, wilful selfishness lost popularity.
Simone de Beauvoir regarded freedom as requiring respect for others’ freedom, as if selfishness had a responsibility to others. The notion of ‘selfishness’ encapsulates a priori individualism and opposes collectivism without implying a dearth of social responsibility.
Individualism has levelling as a secondary concern, with the social problem being the have nots, rather than the haves, who are derided as selfish. Selfishness, in these terms, is therefore better than levelling, because self-care does not make claims on others’ responsibility and care.
This issue could be resolved by individuals taking responsibility for and helping disadvantaged persons, rather than by labelling others’ behaviour as selfish or needing to be levelled.
What is your view?