Re: midfullness and freedom

Joshua F. McMichael (
Sun, 6 Jul 97 08:32:10 -0500

"Kathryn Aegis" <> wrote (in response to the
Richter/Rand quotes):

To expand slightly:

>I quoted Richter as someone who has quite succinctly captured within
>verbal parameters that mental place to which I have arrived, after
>many years of shedding various ideologies, some imposed, some not.
>(As such I didn't meant to indicate that his thinking is in any way
>superior to anyone, Rand included, but merely that I relate to it.)

I must admit I don't understand where you're coming from. I get that you
identify with the Richter quote (a VERY depressing utterance, IMHO). But
then you state that you are unsure if this type of thinking is superior
to any other. I don't know about you, but if I feel that my way of
thinking about things (my philosophy) is inferior to any other, I set
about trying to find the superior theory - so I can learn it and
integrate it. You also said you relate to his quote - meaning that you
respond in a favorable manner to it. My reaction is the exact opposite -
I feel that the ideas which his quote represent are depressing,
frightening, and even a bit dangerous.

If anyone wants to find out why, I've decided to spend the morning
explaining exactly why below. This is the first time I've done this
(polemics), so I hope I don't bore anyone...

Here's his quote again:

>>'I have committed myself to thinking and acting without the support
>>of any ideology. Nothing can help me, there is no idea I can serve
>>or which, in exchange, could suggest what I must do. No regulation
>>determines how, no belief points the way, no construction or vision
>>of the future provides an overarching meaning. Ideologies are always
>>the seducers and exploiters of ignorance, they justify war.'

OK - immediatly in the first sentence I know something is wrong: "I have
committed myself to thinking and acting without the support of any
ideology." To commit means to pledge one's self to a *position* on an
issue, right? An ideology is a group of issues, ideas and opinions (and
*positions*) about abstract ideas (a philosophy). So in essence, Richter
is saying he doesn't commit himself to any philosophy - except the
philosophy that that it's beneficial to operate without a philosophy. Or
at least to deceive one's self that one operates without a philosophy.
Smoke and mirrors, right in the first sentence!

Next one. "Nothing can help me..." Uh-oh. "... there is no idea I can
serve..." He believes WE should serve IDEAS? "...or which, in exchange,
could suggest what I must do." First of all, he says nothing can help
him. Fine. But then why are we listening to this guy talk about
philosophy - a set of ideas that is supposed to help man live a better
life? If he can't help himself with his own ideas, why are we listening
to him? They he goes on to destroy the concept that abstract principles
exist which can help guide our actions. In other worlds, he doesn't
believe that something called ethics even exists. I don't think I'd feel
comfortable being alone an elevator with this guy...

"No regulation determine how, no belief points the way, no construction
or vision of the future provides an overarching meaning" Oh, for crying
out loud. This one speaks for itself.

Is this guy still alive? He sounds so lost, it's almost pitiful. Is he a
philosopher or does he work in some other field?

"Ideologies are always the seducers and exploiters of ignorance, they
justify war." Seems like he looked around and found that when people
fight, they often are fighting about the ideas that they believe in. OK.
But does this simple fact indicate that ALL idea systems are "seducers
and exploiters of ignorance" and justifiers of war? No. That's a logical
fallacy. One needs an ideology - a set of idea of how the universe works
- in order to integrate new experiences. One must built abstract ideas
about how to act to achieve one's goals. Richter is a crippled skeptic -
so afraid of abstracts that he denies the value of philosophy itself.

On a small tangent: I've been interested in fringe beliefs for many years
- especially cult behavior. One of my favorite study subjects is
Scientology - one reason why is because so much information is available
about them on the Internet. Another reason is that Scientology's belief
system and processes are without a doubt the most efficient and
debilitating way to remove a person's ability to think rationally. It's a
very interesting process to link up many of SCN's philosophical beliefs
with those of modern philosophers(?) like Richter. SCN is an
opportunistic parasitical organization. Many of our society's beliefs are
so close to what SCN needs in order to exploit its members that all new
converts need is a push in the right (wrong) direction and SCN has
themselves another cult member/slave.

SCN, in its introductory indoctrination routines, attempts in a very
sneaky manner to internalize the belief system that Richter explicitly
endorses. Richter encourages the removal of any and all belief systems -
in other words, abstract concepts are bad, philosophy is bad, trying to
think and apply abstract concepts to one's life is useless, etc. Trying
to follow this philosophy is impossible - people must form abstract
concepts in order to exist. What these ideas encourage is the appeal to
emotions and feelings as the arbiter of the true, the correct, and the
good. If one is prohibited from system-building, from thinking about
abstracts, from adopting a philosophy, all they are left with is
feelings! Prove me wrong. If a person can't or won't use reason (an
abstract *systematic* method of knowledge acquisition, which Richter
opposes) ALL they are left with is their FEELINGS. The only difference
between skeptics and cultists is that skeptics muddle about in their own
heads and feelings for truth, and cultists look to their leader and
fellow group members for truth. For skeptics like Richter, what FEELS
true to them IS true. For cultists, whatever L. Ron FEELS is true for
them. Danger, Will Robinson, danger!

>The utter purity of mental exploration without any principle to guide, no
>belief to take refuge in, nothing to separate me from the rigors of
>self-examination--that, to my thinking, forms the basis for true
>freedom. I renew that commitment today, and welcome anyone's thoughts on
>the concept of freedom.

How can you explore without constructing a map? Beliefs are refuges? How
can you examine yourself without any MEANS of examining yourself? How is
the *direct* perception that you desire even possible? Our consciousness
must perceive by *some* method, right?

I'm genuinely curious about your attitude towards the points I've brought

I was going to write a bit about E-Prime, but I've run out of steam.

'Till next time!


Joshua McMichael
email: web:

Random quote of the day:
"The future exists first in the imagination, then in will, then in
reality." -- B.M.Hubbard