Purpose is what generally defines a preface for any author of any type of text, and I found it to be an important part of this text; what could be the intention behind a writing, what’s perhaps the need for it. For the matter that I am going to draw attention towards in this piece of writing, which I’ve been meaning to write for a long time now, is going to be an annihilation of ideals, structure, meaning, intent and purpose, or perhaps for some few, an affirmation of all that which they’ve previously dealt with. I am not sure if I should provide trigger warnings or not, but I could say that a lot of extremely controversial things are about to be read by you if you decide to continue. The questions that I hope to bring up in this composition should, for all intents and purposes, destroy the system of governance of you as an individual to then be able to (hopefully) pick your broken pieces back up with all sincerity for the answers to those objections that killed your soul.
An object in space
Affirming Rene Descartes’ conclusion of “I think therefore I am”, we well and grounded find ourselves in existence on an object in space, a solid sphere, roaming around a burning sphere that could take up 1.3 Million of our climate-changing, polluted, evil, arrogant, miserable and wealthy planet. It roams at an insane speed of 107,226 km/h to an unknown destination, with thousands of objects, thousands of times bigger than itself in its vicinity creating a space full of solids, and churning and colliding mass.
You’re asleep in your soft bed, after a long tiring day, but you wake up on a train, naked, it’s moving and you don’t know where towards, you see people around you dying, giving birth, ageing, in flamboyant youthfulness, in childhood, in misery, in victimhood and pleasure. You’re covered, you’re given a name, “Just another soul (Jas)”, you’re told that you’re going to go through the same process as the ones around you, your mouth is filled with food, you’re made to eat, next is your institution at the back cargo area, you’re told to come out of there after 18 years. You stop, you bite the hands dragging you to the back corner of the moving train, and then jam your head between the bars of the window, “where are we going!?”, you ask, “nowhere” is what you receive. “How did I come here?” you protest, “randomly” you get. “Why am I here?”, a slap is what you feel, a nightmare is what is wake up from, wetness is what your mother’s laughing at.
“Fundamentals” is what I was previously going to title this text, but the reasons for the current one will be clear as this ends. The questions Jas asked in the moving train are the ones that apply to the moving sphere that we’re on. The answers to these questions will quite literally define life itself, although a seemingly mammoth task, but these fundamentals have for ages made the matter clear to whole civilisations, it’s just now that we face a dilemma with it. Be it Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Wordsworth, Schopenhauer or your barber, all have at some point faced these fundamentals. A particular kind of encounter with these is infamously known as “existential crisis”. The former part of the phrase being defined by the fundamentals, and the latter being a resultant encounter with those definitions in actuality in a particular form. The matter at hand is to deal with them, as without them being answered nothing truly is true, not even this statement itself.
You’ve existed an anvil’s existence; things are just constantly beaten upon you, you’re just there, appreciated till you’re broken and disfigured, all the swords you’ve taken hits for took the glory for more anvils to be made. This is the existence if we default to a particular kind of answers to the fundamentals. Although I must admit that I am skipping over a vast canon of literature to land on this juncture i.e. from “thought therefore I” by Nietzsche to a conceived notion of reality, of earth, of meaning, of value of truth. However, going over those to reach to this landmark would take volumes of books to be written, an anvil is too busy being beaten on. Basically I will be assuming that the reader values Truth, sincerity in search, other humans, bio-life, and most importantly logical consistency in conclusions.
You’re, I am, all are, at some point in their lives, no matter the point, as you read this text, a girl might be in the moment of being raped, a person is about to be slaughtered, a child about to be sold, a person is buying ropes for their suicide tomorrow, you thinking when will this essay end and the list keeps going. Bringing the point that that sexual assault is complete, somewhere, someone, but it is (statistically). A track is already laid out, fuzzy or clear but it is, that women was going somewhere for something, that person was there also for a reason, the child was born because there was a track between the lady and the man. But the question is why is there a track at all? More importantly how did we come to have the tracks that we’re on and why did we accept it?
The woman raped just a few moments ago was on a track of living, be it that she was coming back from an exam or she was getting groceries, same goes for the person being slaughtered or the person about to commit suicide, the reason is irrelevant because there is no escape from a track. However, why are we discussing these matters, why does it matter? Why does it matter that a woman is raped or a person is killed or a child is sold or someone is going to commit suicide? Human rights? Why do those matter? This is exactly what’s going to be the beginning of the end of your mental structure and reality.
Going back to the fundamentals, I want to bring the main course right away; the answers to the fundamentals as we experience reality’s working in the modern era are incredibly inconsistent and a solid breeding ground for the so-called “existential crisis”. I’m sick of literary theorists going on about the forms and structure of literature, of the apparent utility in literature, of the literal need to sustain literature and its factions of art, without ever talking about the fundamentals. Reading over the hot headed debates over what constitutes modernism for instance and who should get to decide its definition and core is pitiful in the light of the rotting bodies that laid foundations of most of the discourse around the matter, with particular answers surrounding their ideals of life, its fundamentals and thus what constituted this apparent gift of literature to the human society. The point of scrutiny would be what answers have we got to sustain anything at all.
There have been loads of books written on the purpose behind literature, purpose behind life, purpose behind nuclear weapons et cetera. Purpose defines actions, and actions towards that purpose are something ‘ought’ rather than ‘is’. To reiterate, just because something is a way, doesn’t necessitate that it ought to be that way; “you cannot get ought from an is” said David Hume, the Scottish Empiricist Philosopher, and I agree with him on this point. This goes for everything, you thinking that rape is bad, and me thinking that rape is also bad, just because we think, or society at large has thought or thinks, doesn’t necessarily mean that it ought to be the way that we consider rape to be wrong/bad. To go towards ‘ought’ philosophers have rammed their heads against each other for thousands of years, to answer those fundamentals. Most recently in the West, Fredrich Nietzsche was on an endeavour to find the answers to those fundamentals, and unlike many who continued with political and social regulations regardless of their answers to the fundamentals, Nietzsche realised his answers’ gravity when he became a harbinger in his Parable of the Madman (1882) declaring “God is dead! And we have killed him!” Nietzsche was no amateur in the philosophical scrutiny of his time, he even criticised Rene Descartes’ famed quote “I think therefore I am” as a starting point, rebuking him in Beyond Good and Evil for presupposing “I”. His “God is dead!” realisation is something people widely misunderstand, thinking it as an achievement of glory, freedom and enlightenment, which couldn’t be far from the truth (according to Nietzsche himself). It was rather a petrifying discovery emerging from the answers to the fundamentals that he reached. Although the matter of fundamentals doesn’t suffice itself with just Nietzsche’s realisations, however his was an important one; without intentionality (purpose) morality is an illusion. Thus, the values, which are ultimately based on morality are also defunct.
To explain this point I’d want you to think about a car. What is the intent behind a car, its purpose? Transportation, from point A to point B. When you sit in your car, and it takes you, transports you, from the point A to the point B, you call it a good car, on the other hand, if it fails to transport you, you say it’s a bad car, those identifiers occur only when there was an intention behind that being/existence we call car. You can apply it to any being (‘being’ philosophically simply means something that exists) in the universe, only after there is an intention behind something from which purpose is defined, is when you get morality, this is the fundamental starting point of ethics (or it should be). I can say it with full confidence that no matter what theory of normativity you subscribe to, you will never be consistent and honest, thus neither will it be the Truth, as it will always be contingent on the resultants you gained from answering the fundamental questions of existence, all talk about morality will be nothing but – in the words of Richard Dawkins – “pitiless indifference”. The core of the task at hand is simple in its formation; without an intention in the coming into existence of a being nothing about it inherently matters. No doubt we can apply our codes of conduct, we can sign a Geneva Convention of Human Rights, we can use salaried police officers to keep that conduct adhered to by the laity, but it will be, as I said in the beginning, an illusion.
I study literature, you may be studying mathematics, physics, biology, computer sciences, AI, psychology, it doesn’t matter, all your studying and “aiming for something in life” is a well-rounded and sophisticated lie, unless you’ve concretely reached conclusions about the answers I’ve asked from you.
Over the thousands of years of recorded human history, that a story is formulated of by the historians about that apparent “history”, we’ve gotten a lot of answers, too much to cover in a lifetime if we go over the details. We have, in essence, a fever of the developments in morality of western sensibilities that simply has never left us. I wouldn’t call them conclusions that are reached in the ethics of today’s global-world, they are simply agreements over what fits the taste of the man (sometimes women) in power. Bloody Mary I am, killing the Protestants; Elizabeth, come take over, Catholics I walkover; math-women are witches, atone me for my enlightenment, did you notice the Nuremberg embarrassment?
This text could require a continuation exploring the basic answers to the fundamental questions of existence, and before you get bored of me mentioning “fundamentals” a dozen times now and go to Instagram Reels to soothe your mind, I will be roughly giving an outline of all the answers that I’ve come across of the major two paradigms that will ever exist in the world; atheistic and theistic.
Rape is not wrong
Please welcome one of the most honest, yet devastating realisations of a particular set of answers to the questions I asked in the beginning: nihilism, or more specifically, moral nihilism. You may search what it means online and get a basic definition, however it’s much more true to the tone, to allow it be explained by the answers it grounds itself in. You might not agree with the answers, but the point will be to take it seriously, as it is not simply the case that the conclusion reached is that “rape is not wrong” (in this particular example), but that the conclusion of something conceived of as ‘rape’ doesn’t exist. A harrowing reading might be what you’ve just experienced, but moral nihilism, to put it simply, is no joke, it is a consistent paradigm and most truly honest philosophers that have ever existed, or do exist, were nihilists. Before we go into the answers that were generated by them over the centuries, it is important to understand that the juncture of moral nihilism was not reached as an answer but as a resultant from the consistency that they adhered to in their logic and paradigm of the answers to the fundamentals. The answers were “nowhere”, “chance/randomly”, “there’s no such thing as why” respectively, essentially no intention behind the being that we call ‘human beings’. Their consistency particularly I am an admirer of, I may or may not agree with the answers that they’ve reached, but the brutal consistency is admirable at the least. Over my research on the topic, I have found it (moral nihilism) as a necessary conclusion, that which is the most consistent for the former major paradigm. ‘Rape is not wrong’ isn’t a conclusion that I am deriving by forming a morally nihilistic conception of the world, it is a necessity that emerges from logical consistency of the answers provided to the fundamental questions of existence. It isn’t the case that a “wrongness” can be applied onto something called “rape”, but that nothing like “wrongness” exists, neither does “goodness” which in turn breaks the conception of “rape” altogether, it therefore becomes (although incredibly crude) nothing more than a collision of two beings, in an act of one subverting the other at most.
“God Delusion” tops the chart in the god or not debate almost everywhere in the world, although this article is not apt to go over my scrutiny of the book, but I must applaud Dawkins for not copping out of a really difficult thing to affirm. “You could say that, yeah” attesting to the fact that “ultimately, your belief that rape is wrong is as arbitrary as the fact that we’ve evolved five fingers rather than six”. “No evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference”, that “you have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, the only way, it does not exist” is a proper overarching summary of moral nihilism. Someone thinking rape is not wrong or rather there is no such thing as ‘rape’, another thinking rape is the worst thing of all, will end with the carving on the stone of that statement which’s wielder’s physical power is more brutal, violent and resourceful than the other. Just as the man raping the woman turned out to be more powerful than her, which’s the reason that it was technically happening, the person being slaughtered had to submit to the overpowering might of the doom above him or her – the good old game of might is right. Contemporary philosopher John Gray, even though he an atheist himself, is a big critic of the Four Horseman; Dawkins, Harris, Dennett and Hitches, and even though Dawkins has admitted to nihilism and so has Harris (to an extent) when he said “there is nothing more natural than rape”, Gray nonetheless takes jabs at all of them for their apparent claims to morality. Now I know you might think that why should we care about them when we can make up own minds, to that I say, more power to you, that is to the extent of when someone else has more than you. Making up your mind is not enough, theists make up their mind, atheists make up their mind, so do deists, the point is to be consistent in the conclusions that come with the answers that you’ve reached. The consistency in conclusions is what will set apart one of them from the other two, otherwise all we have is, again, just “pitiless indifference”.
I will not be going over deistic and theistic paradigm for this article, the reason being that I am not trying to give you a lecture on history and philosophy or even convince you of anything. The matter, as I explained in the preface, is to give you trouble, because we live too care free, engage in mindless and phony discussions in spheres like humanities without ever dipping ourselves into the dark and muddy waters of fundamentals. It’s unfortunate that we’re taught since childhood about science but never philosophy when the former is derived from the latter, no wonder we’re so inept in our understanding of the world and ourselves most importantly; we don’t even have an agreement on the worth of ourselves. Another reason is that most of the world lives under secular democracy, which’s answers I find to be more vague than Nostradamus’ apparent prophecies, and so I am presupposing you, as a secular mind, and trying to wake you up from the slumber of its hegemony and institutionalism into the really hard and literally mind-breaking questions about existence.
Exams are near
Or maybe it’s a job that you dearly want, maybe the parade of activism that you need to take a part in, how will all those things make any sense at all, if you can’t make sense of rape, or rather I should say “being overpowered by another human into submission so that a penetration occurs”. I am aware that many of you have been speaking in your mind, under your teeth against the notion that I’ve been putting forward and making claims at it. I assure you regardless, that although you may get a sense of morality, a code of conduct rather, the logical consistency will simply never be there under certain conclusions that I am certain you hold in your heart. Sure we all agree on the ‘badness’ and ‘goodness’ of some or many things but I hope an awareness arises that democracy doesn’t hold a consistent value of legitimacy on ‘badness’ or ‘goodness’.
All the branching ideals, of higher goals of humanity, are puny in front of the mighty fundamentals that smirk at the phoniness of the answers that are hammered on the anvil that we are to create swords on, which we never see or the smith whom we never understand. A moment, an hour, days, weeks, months, years or decades, today or tomorrow you will have to rip yourself apart to seek the answers with sincerity. Enough of the illusion, your body knows it, no wonder the dissonance, no surprise the existential crisis; today or tomorrow, but never never.