What remains

by Jon Sullivan - 2023-12-13 - Jonism

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One of the things that got me to where I am, here in Oregon, spreading kindness, taking photos, is pure logic.

When I was crazy my mind ran very fast and hard. I learned A LOT. So now that I'm sane and hobbled by normalcy again, what are the things I learned? An amazing madman took over my brain. What twisted shit did he squirrel away in my neurons? Maybe something good? Maybe something bad?

I've often said my religion is just faith in the scientific method. The idea that through a formal process we can prove, for anything, what is and what isn't. There will always be wiggle room for things science hasn't settled on. But in general it's a faith that is sort of the opposite of traditional religious faith. God may work in mysterious ways. Logic and science do not. And while the domain of science might not include things like virtue and morality, some systems of philosophy do. Of course...... since we're on Jon's blog..... we're talking about Stoicism here.

Let me first wrap it up with a concise little bow - With the scientific method we can prove, for anything, what is and what isn't. If we bolt on Stoicism we can prove what is right and wrong. How? Like this -

The Stoics defined our purpose in life as living in agreement with nature. And they build a logical framework explaining how humans are designed by nature to develop reason, which transforms their understanding of themselves and their own true good. Thus we've connected a faith in reason/wisdom/science with all emotion and action and virtue. We've used propositional logic to position morality and compassion on the same foundation as E = mc2. Jon is not virtuous because it will get him to heaven. Jon tries to always practice virtue because doing otherwise would be bad math. Doing otherwise would waste a million years of evolution. I'm not trying to sell anything here. I doubt many will find this compelling in any way. It certainly sounds like complete bullshit. But it remains beyond the crazy. It still makes sense to me. Our purpose is virtue and compassion. Whether we live in a deterministic universe or not, we all make decisions and react in the moment, and must live with our choices. Jon chooses kindness.

I picked a weird time to adopt a science based life of kindness. Was all this just a powerful rejection of Trumpism and economic injustice and anti-science and the current global shift to hatred and bigotry? Hmmmmm..... Interesting idea.

I learned things I won't forget or diminish. But it's hazy right now. I feel like I need to deep dive again and reevaluate it all. I have questions I don't know the answers to. Example - As a bundle of particles evolved to be kind and compassionate, is it okay for me to laugh at humor involving people being dumb and hurting themselves??? If someone is cruel to me, am I compelled by the universe to be kind in return??? I know Marcus Aurelius or whoever must have the answers buried in a journal somewhere. But I'm neither a Roman emperor nor a Greek slave, so I kind of need more pedestrian conclusions.

This weekend I'm going to go to the coast, to camp in my car, and eat fish & chips by the beach. I'll watch the sun set and rise and think. I'll work out my new relationship with virtue. My new relationship with the universe.

Tangential - Since I'm no longer crazy I no longer listen to BabyMetal much. These days my joy music is more in line with the EDM music of the German composer Christian Buttner, and specifically his more recent sci-fi, glitch-hop song arc. Tomorrow I'll be singing to his songs as I make my way across the farms and valleys, over the mountains, and to the sea.

Watching seasons change. Our roads were lined with adventure.
Mountains in the way, couldn't keep us from the sea.
Here we stand open arms. This is home where we are.
Ever strong in the world that we made.
- TheFatRat

Today's photo - Jon is a pizza guy. No place I've lived is truly home until a pizza is cooked from scratch there. And if I was asked to describe my favorite "style" of pizza it would have to just be Jon style. I find proper Neapolitan style to be far too limited by the cooking method. New York style is yummy but boring. And of course Chicago style isn't pizza at all, it's a casserole. I like my pizzas to be more creative and adventurous. So.... Al Pastor pizza with big chunks of marinated pork, pickled onions, charred sweet red pepper jalapeno crema. Of course it must also be photogenic to be "Jon style".

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