Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill

This fairly short book has struck me with how John Stuart Mill absurdly contradicts himself every step of the way. Perhaps that sounds harsh, but I honestly expected more than what the contents provided given how lauded this philosophy is and how celebrated John Stuart Mill is in history. This work was suppose to be his main philosophical driving force for many of his progressive ideas, but at every point there is a contradiction that makes it more vacuous than it seems at first glance. I fear that such a charge will be given the worthless accusation of hypocrisy because I suggest Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy is open-ended and adaptable, so why should John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarian philosophy not be seen as malleable? The difference lies within the respective aims; Friedrich Nietzsche dedicated himself to preemptively ending nihilism in the West which has become part of Existential Philosophy while John Stuart Mill aimed to provide a philosophy for communities and a perfected form of a social system. As such, I assess his philosophy by different criteria and I find no issue by judging each by different standards when their aims are not the same.

My first criticism is that John Stuart Mill deliberately conflates utility and happiness; those aims aren’t always the same. They surely overlap a great deal, but they aren’t the same and pretending they are can lead to negative drawbacks. This issue broadens throughout the book since Mill seeks to apply the principle of happiness to everything from the social order, to justice, to wealth disparity, and even to the concept of self-sacrifice. I fear that he broadens it to the point where selfish aims like rich people gaining more than the rest can be qualified as part of Utilitarianism while paradoxically social systems like Communism and Socialism which are about a more equal distribution of wealth can also be called Utilitarianism. He doesn’t answer the question of how Utilitarianism can work with economics except to argue that ether position is meant for maximizing the happiness of all people. He insists that an ideal society is one where people only seek to further the happiness of others without any personal regard for themselves and to the objection of selfish or hostile people existing for their own narrow-minded aims, he argues that it can be enforced through the influence of inducements. Inducements seem to be his suggested enforcement method and these inducements include public opinion of individuals as a censure of their harmful actions to the community in order to impose the community’s collective will upon all individuals within it. Unfortunately, for people who support John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarian philosophy, I think this shows the limits of Western Philosophy where modern psychological studies (not necessarily the hard sciences) have absolutely shattered antiquated notions about the rational model of human beings and the expectations therein. Inducements are secondary and don’t work to motivate people towards a philosophical outlook like John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarian philosophy; what is crucial, according to modern psychology, in understanding how to motivate people is their self-conceptions on what their group orientation is (their social identity) and more importantly, their intrinsic desires. Their intrinsic motivation is of paramount importance to their happiness so if they don’t desire to strictly help others and don’t agree with helping other people as being beneficial for their happiness despite the benefits that it affords other people, then we have a clear discord in the conflation of happiness with utility.

J.S. Mill argues there is a qualitative element to judging experiences for the community. The quality of experience arguments struck me as peculiar. John Stuart Mill argues that people who have experience with a subject matter should give their opinions on that subject matter for whether it is positive or negative for the community as a whole. Essentially, the majority view on any specific experience should be directed by the community in determining whether the quality of an experience is worthwhile for everyone. J.S. Mill insists on going by whatever the majority of people say is for the best for this determination, but he doesn’t seem to acknowledge the obvious problems. What if the people who experienced a particular event like a film or eating a particular food were evenly split on adapting it into the community or throwing it out? There couldn’t be a reliance on the will of the majority should such situations occur and it shows the failings of this idea despite how often we may rely on reviews before making an decision in the information age. A more devastating issue, part of the many self-contradictions of this philosophy, arises when John Stuart Mill first claims the majority view shouldn’t be imposed to destroy personal liberties of individuals, but then he argues that people should vote on whether to discard people’s personal liberties should the will of the majority find it fitting to do so. This opens societies up to vigilante justice and mob violence being a go-to method to enforce societal rules as a consequence. John Stuart Mill never tackles mob violence or the mob mentality in any of his assessments on happiness being the founding principle. At best, all he says is that we should pursue pleasures (he distinguishes intellectual pleasures as higher and more worthy than the “animal” pleasures of physical intimacy) and decrease to the best of our ability what causes pain. The quality argument creates problems with this since quality is assessed as what the majority opinion is, therefore the pros and cons are decided by a popularity contest. Why should this be problematic? Well, let me give a hypothetical, consider if a community decided shooting heroin was good for all people because of the quality of happiness despite the horrible health effects, the health risks and early deaths weren’t as important to the community as the feeling of happiness experienced by doing heroin, and the majority view didn’t budge from this issue despite the horrific social consequences. According to John Stuart Mill’s philosophy, this isn’t wrong so long as the majority agree that the feeling of elation from heroin is much greater to the happiness of the community than the negative health effects. Consider the real world example of Jim Jones’s leading his flock to mass suicide in Jonestown, the justification being conspiracy theories about the US government intelligence agencies including beliefs that the US would torture their children upon capture, the strong faith in Jesus Christ as their forgiving Lord and Savior, and the belief the world was too inhumane to continue living in. If we apply Utilitarianism to the Jim Jones mass suicide, then nothing they did was morally wrong under the maximizing happiness principle since they believed that they would go to heaven due to their unyielding faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior which would be the highest happiness attainable for any Christian. Even excluding the Christian element, all that is required under John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarian philosophy is the majority agreeing that the quality of happiness in committing suicide is greater than the negative drawbacks of continuing to live. John Stuart Mill explains that personal liberties should be removed in favor of the majority opinion which further reinforces that what happened in Jonestown is indeed permissible under his form of Utilitarianism.

In my own personal opinion, I think that perhaps the worst failing of Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill is that at no point is the truth a factor in his assessment of maximizing happiness. Utilitarianism is far removed from the supposedly cold logical stereotype that it is given because the truth of a belief as any sort of qualitative value is never brought up by John Stuart Mill in his book. The assessment is focused narrowly on how happy a belief or experience makes a person and what the consensus of such a belief is. I had initially thought that perhaps the shared experiences among the majority of people who had taken part in a particular subject matter was somehow related to following the truthfulness of a claim or expertise, but I realized it was not so upon reading further since it is based upon majority sentiments instead of facts. The veracity of a claim or an experience is never once considered in the book. As already established, this leads to far too many dangerous and counterproductive consequences. Truth itself is valuable for its own sake and understanding fact from fiction is incredibly beneficial in preventing harmful behavior and horrifying tragedies like Jonestown; where the horrifying consequences of the doubtless flock of people with their faith in Jesus Christ ran amok and caused a mass suicide in which the Christian faithful believed they would go to an eternal paradise in heaven to be with Jesus. Obviously, John Stuart Mill couldn’t possibly have accounted for such scenarios, but the existence of such scenarios when applied to Utilitarian philosophy bears merit in questioning the very matter of the utility claim. If it can’t prove useful against such modern objections, then has the Utilitarian philosophy aged well and can it truly benefit modern times or have we already bore witness to its limitations due to the incompatibility with modern situations? Of course, an objection could be raised here that no philosophy can truly do that, Jonestown itself is an extreme example, and the point of progress is to add onto existing ideological structures, but J.S. Mill himself tried to depict this as the perfect philosophy, so I think these criticisms of mine are food for thought that people should explore and ponder. Jonestown might be an extreme example, but it happened and if Utilitarianism can’t tell us that it is wrong, then is it really useful as it claims to be? It is my belief that no system can truly benefit humanity without a rational outlook based upon fact-finding research.

Not all of this is purely negative regarding the contents of the book, John Stuart Mill excels at criticism of other philosophies and viewpoints just like in his mostly excellent work of Three Essays on Religion. In his book Utilitarianism, he makes an argument about justice that I agree with insofar as he recognizes that all the pleasantries and social enforcement are but a means of revenge to enforce societal consequences upon an individual who has violated the society’s norms and ethics and uses the example of the crime of murder. Insofar as he doesn’t try to add his own paradoxical view of the principles of Happiness and Utility as being the core of Justice, I can largely agree with his summation. His argument against a Hobbesian outlook where he points out that narrow-minded interests would be paramount because absolute power is easily lost against whatever destroys the one holding the reins of power at the very next instance of social upheaval is a solid argument. It gets directly to the point of the failings of a Hobbesian outlook. However, I was most intrigued by his arguments against the social contract; I hadn’t expected this one at all and I was truly blindsided because I had believed that Utilitarianism was built upon the premise of the Social Contract. To my astonishment, John Stuart Mill completely repudiates it; he seems to present Utilitarianism as an alternative and not an additional support structure as I had assumed. John Stuart Mill maintains that the Social Contract is an argument of pure fiction. At no point did anyone who was birthed into a society that maintains the social contract ever actually agree to anything that the social contract claims, J.S. Mill argues that there was never a point where we joined together as a whole society to agree to the Social Contract so it can’t be considered legitimate because nobody consented to it. Furthermore, this fiction of the Social Contract is simply maintained because people grew up with it and were taught it from their adult figures and parents, but that isn’t the same as consenting to it and instead it is accepted after the fact that it is taught. J.S. Mill argues that the Social Contract as a form of “justice” was imposed upon people by creating make-believe consent by court systems to punish perpetrators for crimes in court trials in order to pretend that the criminals somehow agreed with the rule of law despite never once being asked for their consent in actuality.

To conclude, despite my misgivings, I did enjoy the book and I’m glad he wasn’t going on a random racist tangent against all Asian people like in Three Essays on Religion. I enjoyed Three Essays more despite that major failing because J.S. Mill seems to excel when making criticisms of other philosophical or theological arguments. He definitely had a sharp wit and I do enjoy reading him despite this book being so excessive in verbiage, sometimes I had to re-read sentences because he would go on lengthy run-on sentences about an array of topics before getting to the point. Nevertheless, Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill is a very short read of only five chapters and two of which are barely a few pages in length. I can’t agree with his philosophy after reading his explanations and justifications though. I think I’ve made it sufficiently clear as to why that is. Utilitarianism can’t possibly function as intended because it bases itself on mob mentality and not the validity of the arguments made. Oddly enough, the cold logical calculus as a stereotype for this philosophy is entirely unjustified because at no point is fact-based information ever a factor at all. I think that was the strangest revelation for me when reading J.S. Mill’s book as there is nothing preventing mob violence or mob rule so long as the majority believe violating personal freedoms maximizes happiness. J.S. Mill was certainly an intelligent person, but I think that the obvious drawbacks of his book is the paradoxical arguments, the generalization of any action (including martyrdom) as a form of maximizing happiness, and the lack of safeguards for personal freedom of individuals. I would personally rate this book as a 3 out of 5, but I would recommend, especially given how quickly this book can be read, that people read it on their own and draw their own conclusions.

Why Should You Consider Reading Faith in Doubt: Do You Question Your Faith?

I’ve written about how Faith in Doubt was a 4-year project and about why you shouldn’t be daunted by the page count, so I’d like to go into more details for people who might still be on the fence despite such assurances and explain briefly what each section has to offer so I wanted to explain in more details what each section contains for both Part I and Part II.

The book itself is actually 1034 pages with the approximately 1000 other pages being copious citations. I made sure to read and re-read several chapters of the many books that I cited for my research to make sure that I gave the most accurate information to make sure it is applied correctly. That can still be daunting, which is why I made split editions. Part I is 269 pages in total with approximately 12 pages of citations for the Preface and first 5 chapters. Part I is about the general issues of how religion is applied to everyday life such as the belief that personal luck is due to a God’s intervention or a critique of the usage of prayer. Part I applies psychological research from books such as Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman for cognitive psychology aspects, Influence: Science and Practice by Robert A. Cialdini for social interactions regarding some religious behavior, and the social theory of Alexa Ispas’s Politics and Identity: A Social Identity Perspective to apply to in-group/out-group social dynamics of religion. For certain chapters within Part I, I apply Friedrich Nietzsche’s criticisms and perspective such as the chapter on belief in the afterlife and making my own commentary on the research of the mentality of suicide bombers that are cited. I’ve read all of Nietzsche’s main works and apply aphorisms from different books throughout both Part I and Part II to give a different philosophical perspective on religion. For instance, one of Nietzsche’s thorough critiques was that the concept of the afterlife being the purpose of this life was a worship of death over life as a form of meaning. Nietzsche argued ancient people couldn’t find other more healthy purposes for their existence because of all the suffering and confusion that they went through so a hatred of life and worship of death became their meaning, which is what most present-day religions are based upon. I use this perspective in concomitant with the psychological research and analytical philosophy whenever applicable in order to make the most thorough refutation of common religious beliefs and practices that most theists participate in, within the US and across the world.

Part II is broken into separate sections beginning with Original Sin. Original Sin is often vaguely thought of or defined by most Christians and Jews in modern times. Sinfulness’s applicability to Islam is dependent on an Imam’s perspective on how it relates to Islam’s purity theology. As such, I thought it necessary to share my own perspective on the term and Nietzsche’s sharp criticisms of the concept. Sinfulness is interpreted and analyzed as a hatred of human existence and I apply Carol Dweck and Heidi Grant Halvorson’s psychological research on beliefs in rigidity and fixed personality traits to sinfulness because it really does seem to apply accurately. Most people probably wouldn’t make the connection but the very vague idea of Original Sin is ingrained to people through indoctrination. The next chapter focuses on research related to the problem of Free Will likely having been debunked by modern science and the concept of Sin’s failure to measure-up to what we see as a nonsensical view of Free Will. For instance, I cite Beau Lotto’s Deviate to point out that the mind is a statistical distribution where too often you need to unlearn untrue beliefs before you can learn true ones and how much of your beliefs are pre-determined by the quality of your education, the language you speak, and too often how other people treat your ethnic background or religious background. I don’t mean specifically Western countries in this context, but rather apply it to countries like Lebanon where such backgrounds really determine your quality of life because the society is split so heavily on religious grounds. Lastly, I point out how even the defense of Free Will by neuroscientists effectively debunk the vague concept of Sinfulness because the application of the term is the reverse of what people expect. For instance, people who can fight off addictions would have more Free Will than those who are addicted to drugs and can’t fight them off and therefore the very concept as it is believed by most Abrahamic theists doesn’t work with real life circumstances of human experience. It would therefore be a useless fantasy and not an important moral teaching. I cover how the use of human violence to justify the concept sin falls into unjustifiable cognitive illusions where we as people put too much stock in negative events without comparing positive events.

The section on Abrahamic religions in Part II is a different approach for each of them. For Judaism, I cite the archaeological evidence debunking the Bible such as the lack of evidence that Moses was anything more than a fictional character. The lack of evidence of Israelites ever having been slaves, how their true origins are a breakaway group of Canaanites that had a cultural revolution to name themselves the Israelites, and takeover another agrarian plot of land separate from their erstwhile group. I cite news articles about how these myths negatively impact the contemporary rights of Jewish women and the LGBT within Israel. I further argue Nietzsche’s own critique where he pointed out that Judaism’s main problem is that it looks for an infallible cult leader referred to as the “Messiah” and how such a theological concept will always create harsh divisions where some Jewish folk will argue the new converts have been deceived by an imposter away from the Abrahamic God, while the new converts to the infallible cult leader’s faith will see their erstwhile community as having been deceived away from the Abrahamic God. Does that sound ridiculous? That’s the entire legacy of Christianity and arguably Islam. Which brings me to the sections on Christianity and Islam in Part II. With Christianity, I cover how the entire religion is a thorough self-contradiction that splinters off into thousands of smaller sects because of every aspect of the religion is based on self-contradictory beliefs. From the Sermon on the Mount’s self-contradictions, to the differences in interpretations by Christian soldiers and Christian pacifists, and to Jesus’s own claims on fulfilling or abolishing the Mosiac law depending upon what denomination of Christianity that you’re part of. If you probe more deeply into the theology, the self-contradictions of Christianity worsen to the point that people have to use open interpretation because the Bible at face value loses any coherence with reality. Christianity is Monotheistic yet follows the Pagan practice of 3 Gods in One (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are copies of ancient Mother Goddess and Father-God polytheism likely stolen from Roman mythology), Jesus is meek and mild while raving like a narcissist about being God and the Son of God, Heaven is a free gift but if you don’t accept Jesus then you go to hell forever, and doing sinful acts like murder or rape are morally bad but Jesus will forgive you regardless of how much you harm other people. In effect, Christianity is a bucket of self-contradictions that actually doesn’t have any moral values to teach people and I make my case more thoroughly in my book. By comparison, Islam is the dumbest religion of the major religious faiths. The entire project is a anti-intellectual cult where the Prophet Mohammad is celebrated as the perfect human being who can do no wrong and every Muslim must strive to be like him, so when Mohammad raped and murdered then Muslims must view that as self-defense or pure perfection beyond conventional morality that goes into an argument from ignorance. Western Muslims make excuses, while people in Muslim majority countries ignore child rape and torture because Mohammad proscribed them or because the Quran teaches such behavior as morally good for Muslims. Islam is also a purity cult, where non-belief is seen as going against the in-group purity and so Muslims are called upon to murder Ex-Muslims to protect the purity of the Ummah (Islamic nation). It’d be more correct to say that Islam is sophistry upon sophistry with its utterly nonsensical belief structure that uses its history and ascetic practices to appear deep and meaningful, when it is sheer madness made by a warlord who said whatever that he wanted off the top of his head because he made a successful cult that perceives everything that he does as infallible. It’s likely that Islamic success in war is what helped it encroach itself across multiple countries; Islam is built upon the success of human genocide and cultural genocide in tandem as it made its bloody mark upon the world. Moreover, people in ancient times believed that people fighting and dying for something must’ve meant that the religion therefore has a deeper meaning of profound truth for why their followers die for it. The success of Islam likely facilitated belief there was a deeper and underlying cause to the success and once you add cultural genocide, the worship of Mohammad as the perfect human being is completed. Islam’s internal theology is categorically against Enlightenment values of Free Speech and Free Expression; to be a Muslim, you must accept the Quran as unquestionable fact with no open interpretation like in Christianity. The Sharia isn’t a proscribed set of instructions that Muslims can pick and choose from, this is a lie taught by Western news media and it devastated my trust in Western corporate news organizations to discover that this was a blatant lie. It really broke my implicit trust in the mainstream media’s authenticity when I discovered how deeply they lie about Islam’s internal theology. The concept of Sharia in particular is somewhat like a theological pyramid that Muslims must follow; the Quran is on top which all Muslims must accept as unquestionable fact, then the Sunnah which teaches about Mohammad’s life, then the companions of Mohammad and the first followers of Islam are all explicitly used to dictate everything that a Muslim can or cannot do according to Islamic jurisprudence. Internally, Islam is taught as equivalent to science with Imams and Sheiks being words meant to designate “Islamic Scholars” — meaning the only people allowed to comment on Islam are people who accept the Quran, that Mohammad was a prophet, and the nonsensical beliefs in flying horses, pens that write on golden tablets, and talking hands and feet. Imams and Sheiks accept Islam as unquestionable fact and never contest these nonsensical beliefs. This theology of Sharia is why Muslims argue that any outsider who criticizes Islam – including Ex-Muslims – have no right to an opinion on Islam; many actually believe that this is deep and meaningful and equivalent to scientific discoveries. There’s so much more which I can’t delve into within just a blog post; a thorough critique on Islam would probably be longer than even all my longest blog posts combined as there is ample material on how insane Islam actually is. If you want to know more, and wish to separate what Islam teaches from what the Western mainstream media explicitly lies about its teachings, I’ve written it all in my book.

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Free Sale September! From September 1st to September 5th, Faith in Doubt Split Editions Are Available For Free

In the hopes of gaining more traction for my ebook, I’ve made this freely available from September 1st to September 5th, 2019 so if you’re interested and like a good deal, please think about obtaining my book for free:

Other Ebooks are also available for free. My fantasy story criticizing Neo-Nazism, the book I’m no longer proud of criticizing New Atheism in case anyone is interested in how my views have changed over the years, and my pamphlet opposing Christian conversions in India:

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The Kindle Version of my book, Faith in Doubt, Is Live!

 

For some reason, the physical version is still “in review” and it could take 3 days for Amazon to make a decision. But, since the Kindle version is now live, I don’t think I have to worry about the contents being an issue. If anyone has a Kindle, it’s now available!

If you feel skeptical about it, it is available on KDP Select for people who are subscribed to that.

Progress Note: Finite Incantatem

Note: ALL FINISHED! I’ve sent it to Amazon for review.

I’ve finally finished my book, Faith In Doubt: Do You Question Your Faith?

I completed the penultimate chapter earlier today and with that I’ve completed everything I needed to write down. I had spend almost an hour with Amazon’s Physical self-publishing preview checker, I had pre-prepared and made sure to change any Georgia font, but for some reason some portions with Helvetica font kept showing up, even though I had thought I changed it. Evidently, Microsoft Word 2008 changes the font when loading up documents slowly. The preview system kept showing one issue that needed fixing each time instead of all of them. Eventually, I could click approve and made sure to check over everything before doing so. I’m still in a state of disbelief that this journey may finally be over.

There’s been an issue with pricing that came-up that I hadn’t expected at all. But I’ll wait to go into details if Amazon approves both the Kindle and Physical edition that I’ve sent. I’m worried that the Political Correctness climate and the ridiculous difference in pricing between the Kindle and Physical copy could cause them to reject them, but Amazon is open enough towards Free Speech to allow Nazi books so I’m hopeful. I really have to commend them for sticking to Free Speech as much as possible unlike other companies. Their only sticking point is not having any hateful content in the description and obviously not advocating for violence, which is reasonable since they are a private company that sells merchandise and can’t have that representing them.

I’m hoping there’s no issues. I’m pretty sure that, should I see both versions available, it’ll just be pure giddiness at finally having one of my personal dreams turned into a reality thanks to my dedication over the years. I’m cautiously excited, but if its self-published then I can start leaping for joy.

Overall, this has been quite the journey. Below is the finalized version of the Table of Contents:

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Intellectual Cowardice: Western Indology is Promoting Genocide Denial Of India’s Past

I feel this is an important issue to highlight, because Western Academia seems poised to just ignore painful truths of history, even if it means genocide denial for the sake of treating all religions as equal. After learning more about the issues within Islam, I had to re-evaluate what I thought was true from US Indology books and so I made this post to highlight a perturbing trend of genocide denial by US Indology departments that seem to be extending across Western Indology and it may be branching into other portions of Western academia as well. That is why I feel it was necessary to make this post because what I thought was fairly innocuous information in Unifying Hinduism is now incredibly alarming when I reflect back on it.

Claims by US Indologists from Chapter 10 of Andrew Nicholson’s Book “Unifying Hinduism“:

“HINDUISM: A MODERN INVENTION? “Hindu” was not originally a Sanskrit word but a Persian term used by Muslims to describe a regional or ethnic identity: the people living near the Indus, or Sindhu, river.44 Only at a relatively late date was the term adopted by Indians to refer to themselves, typically as distinguished from outsider groups known as turuskas (Turks) or mlecchas (barbarians). Cynthia Talbot has recorded the earliest usage of the word “Hindu” in an Indian language from inscriptions in mid-fourteenth-century Andhra, in which some Vijayanagara kings were described with the epithet “Sultan among Hindu kings” (Hindu-raya-suratrana).45 Talbot cautions, though, that in these inscriptions, “Hindu meant Indic as opposed to Turkish, not ‘of the Hindu religion’ as opposed to ‘of the Islamic religion.’”46 In Gaudīya Vaiṣṇava texts written in Bengali in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, “Hindu” was occasionally used to distinguish natives from yavanas or mlecchas.47 Although the context makes clear that these foreigners were Muslims, Gaudīya Vaiṣṇava writers did not state this explicitly until the eighteenth century, when the term musulmāna fnally became common usage in Bengali. In this case too, the word may have designated ethnicity generally and not a specific set of religious beliefs.

Further on in the chapter:

“Unlike later Hindu nationalist intellectuals, who sometimes recorded their fantasies of heroic and violent resistance to Muslim oppression, Sanskrit intellectuals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries responded with silence.28”

Source: Nicholson, Andrew J. Chapter 10: Hindu Unity And The Non-Hindu Other (4806-5293). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History (South Asia Across the Disciplines). Columbia University Press, 2010.

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Progress Note: Very Close To Completion, But Hiccups Remain

Note: Two chapters left, but it seems I wasn’t able to make it by the deadline of today, but I am so very close.  

Part of my issue has been that I spent far too long last year on reading and considering the views of US Indology, which I had believed to be of credible academic value, only to learn, upon reading The Oxford Handbook of Indology, that they don’t actually do anything else but interpret Sanskrit and other Indian languages to their own subjective opinion. I was astonished to later learn that they had a complete ignorance of Islamic doctrines, which they purportedly aimed to compare the behavior of Hindus in the Medieval era to, and even more astonished to read Will Durant’s book to fact-check Far-Right claims and . . . well, facts didn’t care about my feelings. I learned to value Free Speech upon discovering the truth from credible historians that I could trust like Will Durant much later on. I had purchased and read all of Siva Gita by Andrew J. Nicholson and then several chapters of his other book Unifying Hinduism only to compare to Will Durant’s historic fact-finding research and conclude that Nicholson and the Indologists that he cited in his book were entirely ignorant of Islam’s actual impact in India. He even refers to Hindu intellectuals arguments against Islamic invasion as mythic. I had to spend so much unnecessary time re-evaluating my information and came to unsettling conclusions that I didn’t want to be true, but soon recognized was the truth based on factual evidence and a greater understanding of Islamic theology thanks to the College panel discussions by Ex-Muslims of North America. I feel I owe a great deal to them for opening my eyes to problems that were right in front of me, but for which I didn’t notice.

This may sound odd, but I feel a sense of oddness when reflecting how far my views have been reshaped and changed by doing my utmost to go on fact-finding for my book. I hope there’s no issues – and there shouldn’t be – with Amazon’s guidelines once I’m able to self-publish it. It’ll probably be about a week more; if anyone has been eager to read, then I sincerely thank you for your patience. I really am trying to do my utmost in making this a book full of useful information and critiques for all who are interested in a critique of religion through social and cognitive psychology, Nietzschean philosophy, and my own views and thought experiments added onto it. I hope for the best, but I have no idea how good or bad the book will do in terms of sales and generating interest. When I’m done, I feel like hibernating for a month, because my brain feels like it is on fire and melting as I go through the process of writing, editing, citing, re-editing, and then probably editing once again. My main issue is keeping the word count of the remaining two chapters of Hinduism within the 828 page limit of Amazon’s self-publishing physical copies. I hope I can write concisely and informatively enough to squeeze it in.

Overall, writing this book has been one of the most thrilling and satisfying experiences of my life.

Progress Note: I Am An Idiot

Upon nearing the final portions of Part II of my book, I decided to check my word count and page count by making a separate file to place all that I have written into one word document, I found that, to my own chagrin, that I had undervalued myself and overshot the lengths I had already written… to the point that I will have to make this 4-year book project into a series. If you would like to read portions from the actual book to better understand what it’ll contain, here is a sample draft of chapter 6 which doesn’t reflect the final version, but it is still mostly the same.

At the time I decided to check, I found that my word count for Part II was 325,718 and combined with Part I which was on a separate file, it became 404,444 words. It amounted to 881 pages in word. For comparison, my first and terrible attempt at an ebook is around 18,000 words and takes up 203 pages double-spaced on Amazon’s ebook page count. As of now, my word count is 406,958 words and 1,001 pages in what has been completed thus far. So as you can plainly see, I have indeed worked on this book for four years. I will have to change it into a series and I wonder if I should scrub all references to Part III that were made to allude to that portion so that readers would look forward to it, or if I should keep it there so people get interested in future book releases… I really don’t know. It is intended to be a Two-Part Book series now though. I feel a strange and confusing feeling of pride and self-contempt that I’ve done this to myself.

I will now need to make two separate conclusions and I am struggling to think of what would even be appropriate for this book, since the intention was to finish Part III and make a conclusion for what was to be a single book. I’m contemplating a few ideas on how to conclude the entirety of the book as of now. I still haven’t finished the section on Hinduism, but I’ll probably do that one last because I really want to be sure that I can provide a satisfying conclusion that challenges people. I’m not sure if I’ll succeed on that point, but I’ll try with what I have thus far.

For those of you who might be curious, here is my Table of Contents. I wish to take down any notion that I’ll be going soft on Islam and harsher on other religions. I wish to show my ruthlessness upon all of them out of my compassion for the victims of religion:

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Progress Note: Writing A Book Is A Second Job

Fully completed revising and citing all of Part I, finished revising and citing the sections on Original Sin and Judaism, and currently in the process of revising and citing the section about Christianity for Part II. I spent too much time on revising the section on Islam for the third time, but admittedly I did think it was necessary because it helped for me to write further clarifications on the problems of Islam. I haven’t spent as much time on the section of Buddhism and I didn’t even begin Hinduism, but I do have the outline set and after researching further, I haven’t found any reasons why the outline would need revision before I begin writing the chapters down for the section on Hinduism.

It feels surreal that this four year journey of writing, revising, and trying to improve will finally be coming to an end soon. I had felt bad about it taking so long until I read that most authors take 4-10 years to finish a book, read up on the book Getting Things Done and realized writing a book wasn’t easy, and recalled the difficulty of the entire endeavor from Hank Green’s explanation on distinguishing tasks from projects. A book is a long-term project. People who believe it is easy probably don’t think about the numerous steps required for writing an exceptionally good book. It requires knowing your audience for the book, selecting a fitting genre that hopefully won’t drown out your book from the tens of thousands of others, it requires knowledge of copyright so you don’t get scammed out of your money both in your own country and overseas, possibly hiring an editor to fix your grammar mistakes (I won’t be doing this and instead rely upon my essay writing abilities from years of college — potentially to my detriment), paying someone to make a good cover that’ll attract readers (I used fiverr.com), and purchasing a ISBN from your home country. All of that is before marketing your book, which I’m not sure I have a good plan for. The most daunting prospect throughout all of this is that you can spend so much of your time and effort and you may not even make a single sale. The three books I’ve written, the political ones I could have admittedly done a better job in, didn’t really sell much beyond $60 combined throughout all the years they were available up to the present moment and I spent over $50 on advertising. Alternatively, when I released my first ever book for free, it was downloaded just above 100 times, but the moment it was on sale, there was maybe 5 or 6 sales at best over several years. And only one review which didn’t go into any details on any criticisms they had about the book and gave it a 3/5. The dystopian-comedy fantasy novel I wrote to mock Neo-Nazis and their ilk did marginally better since it made 4 sales within the first year and got 2 positive reviews. To be clear though, I don’t really mind since I didn’t put in my best effort, but rather just wanted to prove to myself that I could write about such topics. I think it was probably a detriment overall and I wonder whether I should just pull all the books I’ve written thus far off of Amazon permanently and have only this specific book I’m writing to be the only one available for sale. The only reason I don’t is because if a reader ever gets curious as to how much I’ve changed in my thought process over political issues, they can read about my previous beliefs and compare them to my contemporary ones.

I’m not sure how many of you who are unfamiliar with the habits of writing will believe this, but I honestly feel that writing a book is harder than most mundane physical labor jobs and even the job I had at the Veteran’s home as a Health Unit Coordinator for patients with dementia. I’ve been an unloader, taking palettes off of trucks, and I think that writing a book is several orders of magnitude harder. As an unloader, I had to physically pull things, flee whenever a badly formed palette off a truck began to fall near me, and move it to specific locations in a store. It’s quite a thoughtless job. By contrast, writing a book requires making an outline, researching several topics at great lengths to give an informed opinion, and possibly making additions or changes. For fantasy or Sci-fi writers, its several orders of magnitude more difficult since you have to make a culture that feels authentic or possibly multiple cultures that feel authentic to readers, focus on other aspects of the setting, make interesting subplot points, foreshadowing specific twists in stories, making realistic characters, pinpoint an entire journey and the overarching theme of the journey, write everyone’s dialogue, and provide an engaging motivation to hook readers. Moreover, regardless of if its non-fiction or fiction, you’re competing with every other book in your genre. And even after all that, you may not make a single penny for all of your effort. George R.R. Martin is right to say that writing a book is a gamble. In fact, according to fictional writers who report on their experiences, the average fictional novel may take anywhere from 4 – 10 years to complete. People really underestimate the difficulty. For example, if you’re working two jobs and one of your free days from one job overlap with a day you’re off of work in your other job, then you’ll probably find it practically impossible to work on a book. Laundry, possibly taking care of kids, groceries, and so forth will all take time. And you need time to unwind especially if just one of your jobs is physically or mentally taxing and demands a high level of work performance. It may not seem important, but writing a books table of contents, chapters, and even taking free time to think over the book (especially if you’re writing a fantasy or Sci-fi novel) is important. You can’t concentrate and think over such aspects when doing rudimentary chores or when doing tasks at your job. Even free time at lunch isn’t enough to think over concrete stories or methods of researching new information. At best, you’ll be jotting down a couple of notes that you could never get to or potentially could forget. Writing takes concentration and habit; it is a job all on its own and its one that you may never get paid for and possibly never even finish. You really do run the risk of wasting so much of your time and effort on something that yielded nothing valuable as a return of investment.

Despite all that, I really do feel what I’m working on warrants the risk and is vitally important to write. At best, it’ll hopefully inspire others. I’m sure every author who has ever written a book wishes to become famous and I’m not going to pretend I’m an exception as that would be dishonest. I do hope it is financially successful too, but I doubt it judging from my own track record and some of the responses I get for some arguments I share online. I hope religious believers at least give the book a shot and that it gets decent reviews at least. I want it to be the sum-total of all my arguments against religion and a critique of different religions methods and assumptions about the world. I suspect that all I’ll be seen as is arrogant though, but I hope not. I’m still focused on trying to finish this and hopefully it’ll be done by either this month or early next month.

Thus Spake Zarathustra Review

He who said ‘God is a Spirit’—made the greatest stride and slide hitherto made on earth towards unbelief: such a dictum is not easily amended again on earth!” – Thus Spake; Zarathustra,  Chapter LXXVIII: The Ass-Festival. Thomas Common translation.

Nietzsche’s philosophical novel was an amazing read. At the time I began to read it, I hadn’t really been captivated by a novel since the Harry Potter series (which I love) and I found most fantasy stories to be really boring. I had first become familiar with it after reading a philosophical analysis of one of my favorite video games, Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. I knew Nocturne was conveying some philosophy, but I didn’t know what at the time. I discovered Nocturne is a spiritual re-telling of certain portions of the novel.

I didn’t expect much at the time, it was mostly curiosity in relation to the game. I suspected that I’d find it boring. To my surprise, it was initially quite a laughable read. Zarathustra is humiliated in front of a crowd whom he tries to speak with as equals. The crowds throughout the novel are always seen as hateful and resentful of anything outside of their small town or village community, they resent and fear any change to better themselves, and spend their days not having a clear opinion on what they want from life or any direction on how they seek to motivate their own improvement, but rather live in indolence seeking only self-gratification and nothing else. This is one of the recurring themes of the novel when Zarathustra travels. Zarathustra seeks to be honest with himself and philosophizes his views, but doing so means he’s ridiculed, ostracized, and labeled dangerous for criticizing core beliefs that are held as sacrosanct. People just don’t want to listen to him and instead make spurious personal attacks based upon the most haphazard of claims.

Nevertheless, the beginning portion goes from particularly inspiring with his evocative words about teaching people of the Ubermensch in the beginning of the novel to a bizarre sort of tragicomedy immediately after. Zarathustra speaks to a crowd that doesn’t wish to understand him and instead ask him about the Last Man which he warns about; the Last Man being the aforementioned indolent dweller who doesn’t care about anything but self-gratification. The tightrope walker falls off from their circus act and severely injures himself which scares the crowd into fleeing. Nobody from the crowd helps the dying tightrope walker except Zarathustra who listens to his dying request to be buried. Zarathustra takes his body, which people in other parts of the village use as shortsighted “evidence” to accuse Zarathustra of grave-robbing, and leaves it up a tree to avoid wolves eating the dead man’s flesh. He sits down and gets absorbed into his own thoughts for awhile before leaving the dead body in the tree. I had laughed at this at first because Zarathustra clearly misunderstood the man’s request and didn’t really follow through with it despite convincing himself that he had. It was really peculiar and apart from being comical, I don’t see much on what that specific scenario was meant to convey. By contrast, the chapter immediately after about making good habits was immediately clear and brought back the interest.

Throughout his journey, Zarathustra extols some very interesting perspectives, but it’s always with the pernicious culture of vitriol and hatred for his teachings by various small town or small village communities who refuse to engage and don’t care to change their habits. Zarathustra points out that people prefer simplistic narratives of good and evil based on their culture or community instead of evaluating right and wrong for themselves. This is particularly evident in religious cultures. They claim to be about their own justice and goodness, but put their brains to sleep when faced with corruption or just blame humanity in general instead of fighting back against such corrupt individuals and corrupt institutions. He guides the reader into asking, if these religious teachings of your community are truly so moral and wonderful, if their values are universally correct as your religion might claim them to be, then why doesn’t it stop abusive behavior from happening? And on the charge of blaming humanity in general when they fail, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra argues that this is responding to genuine criticisms with pure hatred. Theologians and the herd who argue that humans will always be violent or abusive by nature in this circular reasoning argument that “humans are humans” are actually expressing pure hatred for humanity. It doesn’t challenge or confront people who harm you or who harm those you love, it’s just a way of throwing away an argument by refusing to listen and instead opting for a nihilistic hatred for all of humanity as a sort of divine answer.

His criticisms of religion, which are his most salient and paradoxically his most ignored contentions, seem to have gone completely unchallenged. I’ve looked for critiques online and nobody mentions his criticisms on religion. In fact, when I join Nietzsche groups online (which usually have 2000+ members) and begin discussing his criticisms of religion, I am immediately banned from such groups. So-called Nietzsche fans like saying that he contradicted himself or didn’t really say anything, but no one ever seems to be aware or brings up his criticisms of religion. So-called readers of Nietzsche never once speak of it. The closest I’ve seen to an honest critique is Alain de Bottom and a lecture video by Jordan Peterson in one of his classes. By contrast, Christian theologians are notoriously dishonest; repeatedly claiming Nietzsche said things that he never did. I even read an online book in which the author cited Nietzsche by cutting out half the words in a aphorism to claim Nietzsche said something that he never advocated for. I’ve seen Nietzsche quotes pages on facebook full of quotes that Nietzsche never once wrote. Most other scholars of Nietzsche, even on Quora, seem to have read critiques of Nietzsche but never Nietzsche’s actual works. They don’t read to form their opinions on Nietzsche, they read criticisms of Nietzsche and believe those criticisms to be absolute fact and never bother to actually read Nietzsche. Some might argue its due to the confusion over Elizabeth Forster-Nietzsche appropriating his works for her Nazi ideologies, Heidegger’s own appropriation in which he created a Strawman, or perhaps the strawman delusions of Bertrand Russell; but in all honesty, these sorts of strawman depictions exist for every famous person. Even the US Founding Fathers are constantly misinterpreted. I think what underlies all this confusion is the human capacity of heuristics. People believe they can judge and know everything about a single human being from a few short excerpts and judge their entire life based on a few short sentences they read. This does have evolutionary benefits like spotting really dangerous people like Adolf Hitler, but it can be misused and people can be manipulated into seeing hatred, dishonesty, or evil from people who want to criticize bad beliefs. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi seem more like exceptions than the rule, where the character assassinations against them eventually backfired. But for people criticizing ideas without civil disobedience or in a context where civil disobedience isn’t a factor, it becomes much harder to be listened to from others.

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