Saturday, December 29, 2012

Now You Can Download this Blog as an E-Book!

I've put together an e-book version of Rants Within the Undead God, which you can now download. The e-book is located here, hosted at Scribd. (Blogger doesn't let you directly upload a pdf file.) You can also download the e-book at the upper right of this blog (or on the bottom, if you're using a mobile device). I'll add supplementary pdf files as I add more rants.

I've also added a PayPal Donate button in case you'd like to pay me a little something for the e-book.

Happy Holidays (but don't be too happy)! 

P.S. Stay tuned for a novel I'm writing that's set in the philosophical universe of this blog. I'm aiming to write the mother of all zombie apocalypses! The novel should be finished in a few months (and it's intended as the first in a series).


  1. Thanks so much. I just got my Kindle back and am going to work in an hour so your timing was perfect. I gave a little money now and will give a little more later when I get paid again. I happily donate to the bloggers and youtubers whose material challenges me and helps me grow. I consider this a killer deal on my end, because don't we pay $5 for sandwiches and $10 for pizzas, and surely this is adding more value to my life than that. I hope more people turn to my way of thinking if they expect to keep getting good content. However, there is something to the argument that too many incentives destroy intrinsic motivation. Ah, I didn't realize you were from Canada. Sadly, Bush, Bernacke, Obama, and Congress are totally undermining the value of our currency here in the States. You'll hear from me later, take care.

    1. Thanks very much, William! I hope the e-book serves you well in your nightly readings.

    2. Well I've read the ebook (it took about a week of 8 hour shifts), and am now reading certain parts over again. I don't know even know what to say other than "more!" I am extremely curious as to how you arrived at your current outlook, are you an ex-Fundie who saw through it and "kept going" or were you always secular? Very curious about going through 700+ pages of RWUG.

      Also important, I'm kinda starved for book recommendations so I can dive a bit deeper into this. I just put "Lovecraft atheism" and a few things came up. I know you're synthesizing lots of perspectives and information. I have some familiarity with Sartre, Nietzsche, Kant, Schopenhauer, etc. and within that existentialist/post-modern deconstructionist/Nietzschean/naturalistic/Kantian epistemological backdrop a lot this makes sense.

      I'm still kinda shell-shocked with the aesthetic critique of morality. I mean without theistic anthropomorphism, what ground is there for the human rights tradition? I think I fear who or what I might become if I let go of those shoulds and oughts even if they lie atop a stack of cards, what are your thoughts on this?

      So to summarize, (1) curious about your intellectual bio, (2) looking for book recommendations, (3) curious about the inner psychology of the traditional secular ethicist vs the aesthetic EC, and (4) pondering existential and psychological consequences of EC and Lovecraftian mysticism.

      Hope this reaches you soon,


    3. Well, William, you're probably the only person besides me who's read this whole blog. It seems we're more or less on the same wavelength. As to how I came to this view, I've never been a theist, although I was raised as a reformed/secularized Jew. I went to Synagogue on the High Holidays and had a bar mitzvah. I got into philosophy through philosophy of religion, and I started off, I'd say, as a more typical evangelical atheist hacking away at Christianity. As an undergraduate, I read Nietzsche and some other early existentialists, and that was pretty influential. Another big influence is that I've always been the introverted, alienated outsider type, and I'm also a visual artist so I value creativity. I'm familiar with mental disorders (Tourette syndrome and OCD) and I think I went into philosophy to try to understand what sort of world could produce the so-called functional-dysfunctional dynamic.

      As to book recommendations, I give the main ones in my blog banner and also in my blogger profile. On the upper right of this blog, just below my profile, you can click a link to view a larger version of the blog banner/logo so you can read the words on the books. Some of the more influential ones, I'd say, are Saul's Voltaire's Bastards, Drury's Political Ideas of Leo Strauss, Curtis's multipart documentary The Power of Nightmares, Mumford's Myth of the Machine (2 volumes), Gray's Straw Dogs, and Ligotti's Conspiracy Against the Human Race. Of course, I've also had a solid grounding in analytic Western philosophy and I've read some Eastern philosophy as well (although I'm no expert in it). Keller's Asian Philosophies is a good intro.

      (continued below...)

    4. Regarding aesthetic morality, I see this more as a reconstruction of morality. The point isn't that we now have a license to be immoral, but that we need viable reasons to justify our moral instincts. The lame, secular liberal ones captivate only those who are slow on the uptake of the Scientific Revolution. I see my view of aesthetic morality as a synthesis of Aristotle and Nietzsche. Character (virtue and vice) is important not because of any biological function (contra Aristotle) but because that's the basis of aesthetic taste.

      The question you're likely disturbed by is whether morality becomes arbitrary if it's just a matter of taste. For example, the Nazis were influenced by Nietzsche and their distaste for the Jews led to the Holocaust. So does my argument imply that the Holocaust was a fine work of art? If so, that would reduce my argument to absurdity. The underlying question is whether beauty and other aesthetic ideals are entirely subjective. If so, anything goes in art and thus in life and really there are no standards at all.

      As I say in the article, though, "a modern aesthetic reconstruction of morality should value originality, identifying the latter with the progressive genius that artistically overcomes the horror of appreciating our existential predicament." As far as I can tell, the Nazis acted not as original, existential rebels against the natural processes that torture us, but as globally oligarchic avatars of those processes. They didn't detach from nature to create a new level of reality, but embodied the cliched principles of the cult of personality, nationalism, vengeance (against those responsible for the Treaty of Versailles), and scapegoating (of the Jews and others). They rationalized their cliches with Nietzschean rhetoric, but they protested too much.

      So what becomes of human rights from the artistic standpoint? Well, if we value creativity and existential rebellion, we fear and loathe the natural processes for their indifference to our godlike potential (even though those processes created us). That is, we're opposed to unnecessary natural suffering. Also, we're motivated by pity for all people and by humility. These are the core traits of the character formed by a philosophical appreciation of existential cosmicism. Rather than exploiting people as animals who have no rights, we should sooner break down and cry in response to how pathetic all our dreams and efforts are. We are flies on God's carcass and our delusions are childlike. So once you think of adults as having the minds of tortured and deluded children, you can bring yourself to exploit them only if you think you're superior. But that would be just another delusion. From the enlightened perspective, we see the worst and the best in all of us: we're all deluded and childish, but we also all evolved the capacity for some degree of creativity and rebellion against our existential predicament.

      Now, I'm still pondering the implications myself, so my philosophy is a work in progress. I just wrote a short article on how existentialism fits into all of this and more will be forthcoming. This week's article might be on the meaning of death.

      Anyway, thanks very much for reading! And remember, these are only philosophical speculations, artworks thrown up by a lowly mammal who'll die with the rest of his herd and who strives foolishly to make sense of his homelessness in the inhuman world. Maybe that should be my epitaph.

    5. I may have misread you. I did not see you as merely saying that we need to construct morality along these lines due to Christian and secular Christian paradigms not working. I saw you as saying that morality in some sense IS aesthetics and always has been. It's just that with Christian theism, you either have a "might makes right" scenario with God on top or a definition of human flourishing while not normative just because has much practical weight due to God rubber stamping it.

      So without God, we don't have a non-human authority to ground might makes right ethics or a omniscient being to disambiguate the question of how to live or flourish as humans with a kind of de facto authority. So we have no way of living out an answer to the individual vs collective problem that isn't ultimately arbitrary to a large degree.

    6. I think you're talking here more specifically about postmodern liberals. Somewhere I say that they've lost faith in their modern myths which used to justify the atheist's talk of human rights and thus of secular morality. To the extent that they're not thinking merely as instrumentalists or system managers who ignore questions of which goals we should pursue, what's really doing the work in the postmodern liberals' moral judgments is their sense of pity for the weak (minorities, etc), which is a matter of taste. Conservatives have a different taste, or dominant attitude: they're preoccupied with disgust for what's foreign to them.

      But this isn't to say that morality has always just been a matter of aesthetic taste. Modern and theistic myths used to work and they do work for anyone who still believes in them. Those myths can justify moral judgments. Now those myths certainly don't inspire me and I don't see how they can inspire anyone who really understands the spirit of our time. This is why I say we need a new myth, one that appeals to aesthetic taste instead of Reason or God. We should think of morality in light of our existential predicament, instead of succumbing to the modern (scientistic, pragmatic, materialistic) or monotheistic distractions.

  2. Thanks for making this into and ebook! My eyes have been getting tired from reading your blog so much! haha. Have you ever done (or considered doing) a video, or open chat session, or something like that? In any case, it would be interesting to get to know the person behind this blog a little more. The combination of what you write here, and your futurama comics is particularly interesting, as those things seem so incredibly opposite, especially considering what you write about sexuality here. My curiosity is piqued!!

    1. Yes, I'm trying to keep them separate which is why I changed the blog's title a while ago. The erotic comics are just a way to make some money. The comics actually take a dim view of sex, since they hold out sexuality as a reason not to expect the optimist's sci-fi style future. Granted, the comics are also meant to be erotic, and I'd justify that with an analogy to Taqiyya, the Islamic doctrine of justifiable deception. When living in a bad place, you've sometimes got to be bad. Still, my point was to use erotic stories to cast doubt on our carefree attitude towards sex. That is, the comics satirize both sex and science fiction.

      As for a video, I'd rather the focus be on my writings than on me. An open chat session might be fun, though. What software would integrate with blogger, I wonder, or would the chat have to take place off of the blog?

      Another idea would be to make YouTube videos of me reading some portions of my rants with something else going on in the background (so there would just be the audio of me). I'll think more about this. Thanks for the ideas.

    2. I suppose it is up to you whether you want the chat to be on your blog or not. There appear to be a number of Blogger chat widgets available out there, if you want anyone who happens to be on your site to be able to talk to each other. You may get more people popping in if you did it on another site (like reddit or 4chan?), though, and are looking to do a one-time thing.