Archive for Philosophy

Socrates, Jesus, & MLK

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, History, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Military, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2020 by Drogo

Social Martyrs of History – Socrates, Jesus, & MLK 

Remembering Leaders Who Risked Their Lives for Civil Rights

 

For all the famous leaders there are countless common martyrs who sacrificed their health and well being for the sake of others and the pursuit of virtuous truth. In remembering the lives of great figures we know about, we can also reflect on their human flaws or imperfect traits.

The main three figures I want to talk about are Socrates Jesus and Martin Luther King Junior. The stories of Socrates, Jesus, and MLK (Martin Luther King Jr.) will always be relevant so long as there is an ambitious and hungry military, supported by plutocrats and a population that mocks peace and philosophy. Their stories are very similar, except that MLK wanted to actually have political change. They were despised by those in power for raising too many questions, and they were put to death for their influence. I will also mention Simon Bolivar and Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation in reference to the topics, although they were not put to death by authorities. These are figures which were influential obviously in the annals of history, but more importantly they were people who questioned civilization. They bothered society as social gadflies. Simon Bolivar was more of a political-military leader and I don’t really know his biography so I’m not going to talk much about him; but he is largely unknown in North America although a local town is named for him.

Socrates (circa 400 BC) was a veteran and a retired stone-mason, who taught young men of Athens philosophy for free (unlike the Sophists who charged to teach legal rhetoric). Socrates was such a public nuisance about asking questions, that he was written into theater comedy plays as a ‘clownish fool’. Religion, plays, and politics were all wrapped up in each other as democracy allows; although with the growth of population these extensions became more specialized fields over time. Cultural systems were blended as they are now actually; but we tend to want to try to keep social functions separate. We might say “I don’t want to talk about politics”, but meanwhile our money is spent to kill people; and issues in politics, religion, and entertainment cross-over. However even back in ancient Athens people would say “Why are you asking me these stupid questions? I’ve got business to do, excuse me, but get away.” Socrates would insist on asking people what they knew about their business, life in general, and whether that applied to politics.

Socrates was getting people thinking, and the plutocratic military establishment did not appreciate it. Their industrial complex may not have been like factories with our modern mechanized technology; but there were workshops making weapons and leaders of armies who wanted to boss soldiers around, conquer other people, and get rich as an official leader. Athens had been at war with its neighbors, and had seen massive defeats. Ironically during a period that had despotism and imperialism, it was their democracy that put Socrates to death (see Plato’s writings).

One of the perennial problems of democracy is that it gets tricked by the oligarchy into voting against worker interests, to favor conservative benefits for the few. There will always be some people that want to hurt and bully others to extract resources and wealth from them, and selfishly take it as their personal property. War culture is part of male patriarchy for sure, and the ethics of that ‘might is right’ domination is now being questioned more than ever before by progressives. It took a long time for women to have civil rights in civilization. It took thousands of years for large countries to grant women the same power and influence that men were legally allowed. I am not sure why it took so long to recognize women as adults officially in public, they say it has to do with babies, muscles, and testosterone but this is not an essay on gender issues. My point is that many of us hope that democratic society is slowly becoming more compassionate every century, with a few massive steps back in some ways, some decades.

The problems of society were addressed by Socrates, Jesus, and MLK; and they were punished as enemies of the state. Socrates, Jesus, and MLK may have been peaceful, but they also threatened the establishment by wanting individuals to ask questions within the society. Philosophical questions threaten authoritarian control. Socrates bothering people in the market was stirring up the pot and getting people wondering “What is best? What do I know? What can I know?” We want to usually have will-power and self-esteem and confidence. We want to know that we have answers to problems. It was frightening for Greeks to think that they might not actually know how best to vote. They did not want to be blamed when they invaded somebody else; even when they got their asses handed to them and their soldiers maimed, crippled, and killed. Their most important leaders had told them that war was justified, so it must have been right; right? Who was this old foolish man to harass them with questions? So they put him on trial and sentenced him to death. 

Later Jesus came along from Galilee, Israel. So Jesus was Jewish, but he was questioning the laws defended by conservative Pharisees, Sadducees, King Herod, and of course the Imperial Roman overlords. These popular stories of Jesus are perhaps the most common myths in society today, although no remaining period records noticed him while he was alive. We certainly have Jesus around us almost every day, with churches on every road. We are constantly reminded of Jesus probably more than the other figures, but yet if we go into a church and ask Christians what it means to be Christian, it is really hard for them to answer.

Most Christians do not give up their wealth and follow the holy spirit. Jesus never said we should go to Church and worship him, instead his example was to live communally with friends and practice religious compassion. Modern Christians want their property and their capitalist profit; that’s how most of us live our lives. Most Christians would not ‘turn over tables’ even in metaphoric churches, because Fox News and other corporate media conditions them in their homes as consumers. Commercial propaganda keeps people silent about politicians who keep spending our money on weapons and taking us to war. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus spend more on the military than all other countries? I don’t think conservatives have asked that question enough; if they want to spend so liberally on authoritarian budgets, they are not progressive on social issues like Jesus was. My New Testament understanding of Jesus is that he was profoundly anti-establishment in mostly passive ways. Now yes he did proclaim (according to the Bible) that he was the ‘son of God’, but he also said that we are all the ‘children of God’. Jesus also didn’t put much stock into earthly class systems or elite nobility. Our ability to love each-other was most important to him, which meant loving our enemies as well as our neighbors, as well as our family, as well as ourselves.

The Emperor of Rome (coincidentally also son of a god) would have considered accounts of early christians much like how Nixon reacted to hippies, but with less interest or subtlety. The Kent State shooting and the MK-Ultra project were sensitive compared to the more formal crucifixions and arena events; although I expect there were many undocumented tactics used unofficially in the streets by Roman soldiers too. Sharing wealth of property and goods was crucial for Jesus and gang, in between healing the poor and not chasing profit. Authorities mocked that hippy rebel and his proclamations of peace and love as the king of the Jews, with the crown of thorns on his head and the procession of pain carrying the cross.

His lessons were about helping those less fortunate, rather than giving wealth to the rich who ‘earned it’. Ask the Jesus in your heart “who deserves help the most; those greedy hoarding wealth already, or those who could use some and will spend it?” Collective compassion flies in the face of corporate assholes like Trump and those who want to be selfishly ignorant because “god damn it we don’t give a f@ck.” Everyone knows that making martyrs who people later worship defeats the purpose of killing them; but cultural ignorance is perennial even among elites. Reflecting on past mistakes is weird while still doing them. We might feel it was stupid and cruel that those people in the past killed Socrates, Jesus, and MLK; and we’ve come such a long way like when the FBI says MLK was such a great guy historically, although we know their boss wrote that death threat to MLK and probably had him assassinated (if it wasn’t some other covert militant agency that most don’t hear about because they redact most of their official public documents when they actually do release information).

  • to be continued…

 

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Time & Physical Reality

Posted in Psychology, Science & Math, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 23, 2018 by Drogo

Interesting metaphysical questions: What is Time? What is Existence?

Here are some aspects of those big questions:

Is ‘existence’ only definable by science in terms of physical reality, or must we use metaphysics only to deal with its aspects of consciousness and archetypal presence?

Does ‘yesterday’ exist?  Did it before, when it was now?

According to some theorists, no yesterday does not anymore than unicorns exist. Can memories be said to exist? If they do, they must exist in a different way than most ‘physical things’ if a memory is able to be defined in physical science way.

Many people might say something like i would, which is – “Yesterday only existed physically when it was now, but now is the only moment that exists, and now is not then.” which is funny to hear it regardless of whether someone agrees or not with what most of us probably intuitively feel.

Ok, but memory exists right?  Depends on definition of ‘existence’, but yeah sure.

What does it mean for a memory to ‘exist‘ in one’s mind?

“Memory is the faculty of the mind by which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved. Memory is vital to experiences and related to limbic systems, it is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action.” – Wikipedia

“Defining memory is about as difficult as defining time. In general terms, memory is a change to a system that alters the way that system works in the future. “A typical memory is really just a reactivation of connections between different parts of your brain that were active at some previous time,” says neuro-scientist Nikolay Kukushkin.” – Wired, [Your brain doesn’t contain memories. It is memories]

Neurologists can describe electronic impulses between the neuron cells in our brain, and the cells and the energy certain exist and are measurable.

Time is weird, and certainly seems bound up with ‘space’ (aka physical reality), which is called the ‘time and space continuum’ when physicists try to explain reality or existence.

“Dean Zimmerman lays out the two main philosophical conceptions of time (i.e. the A-theory, which is a dynamic conception of time, and the B-theory, which is a static conception), and argues that a certain theological view, called “open theism”, is committed to the dynamic A-theory of time, and hence to the reality of objective temporal Becoming. He then goes on to discuss what is regarded by many to be the decisive objection against the A-theory of time: namely, its apparent incompatibility with relativistic physics. Open theism is motivated by an incompatibilist or libertarian conception free will, which is inconsistent with God’s infallible foreknowledge of our future actions. According to open theism however, God can still be considered omniscient despite the fact that He doesn’t know what His free creatures are going to freely choose since, given the A-theory of time, the future has no genuine existence or reality. And given this indeterminacy, the future remains open rather than eternally fixed and settled ahead of time.” – Philosophy Overdose, Youtube

Gods of religion of course are a way of non-scientifically avoiding the questions, if there is no way to prove that gods exist. So we can talk about time in terms of History; History as a subject tends to say “things happened in the past”, even if physicists might disagree with that phrasing. History is not just a subject of what we think happened in the past, but it can also mean events that took place before now.

Heraclitus’s ‘River of Time’ flux concept ironically still seems as fair a way as any to view change in time, or rather how things change within time.

(to be continued…)

Corruption Trials Can Create Change

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2017 by Drogo

Some people fear holding officials accountable, in fear of another corrupt vice politician hypothetically causing more problems, or that it would mean endless hearings and trials about corruption, thus grid-locking government more than usual. Having more public attention about corruption, could force restructuring of democracy for functionality. To me it seems irrational to allow a terrible leader to continue causing harm, by any illogical reasoning that allows abuse instead of ethics. To be fair it would be interesting to hear a scenario where oligarchs would allow our change to happen; which might well be impossible so long as corporations and plutocrats control the economy and campaign finance aka bribery. Perhaps the ultimate conclusion is that people en mass create the social change that years from now facilitate economics and politics for small people and all people. How grassroots change happens is first by compassionate communication for the less fortunate poor, with at least some frequency and sympathetic rationality using arts and sciences to reflect egalitarian goals and aspirations. Over time systems become run by people with the collective core values that groups of people expect and demand, even if their words and promises fall short of actions. Needed actions tend to happen when individual people feel empowered enough to carry out the activities that give them rewards (see Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’). If individuals can run large groups democratically with enough members to fill offices and run accountability rules, then Plato’s need for a Philosopher King would be overturned by the majority of masses joining Socrates and Diogenes in noble quests in common spaces using dialog instead of only fixed rhetoric and abuse of power. Perhaps democracy can hold leaders accountable, rather than jail or execute public nuisances.

Stoicism

Posted in History, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 7, 2017 by Drogo

Stoicism was founded at the Stoa in Athens by Zeno of Citium circa 200 BC. Stoics stressed moderation of emotions, with solemn contemplation of options. They believed it was better to accept Fate as Reality, rather than wasting time fighting it with free-will. Our will (prohairesis) can be cultivated from ‘tabula rasa’ (clean slate) in harmony with Nature, for better contentment.

Stoicism is a conglomerate of personal and social ethics informed by logic and nature. We all will die, and so philosophy should prepare us for that destiny. We have little control over our fates, but should accept the responsibility for our own emotions and decisions. Detachment from emotions is one way to be responsible in our thoughts and actions. Stoics are skeptical about extremes of desire or fear. We should seek to understand our purpose in life, in relation to society and human nature. Seneca and Epictetus believed virtue was sufficient for happiness, a wise sage was immune to misfortune. Stoics tend to have a solemn demeanor, with a trust-worthy seriousness. Remain calm and think about it.

From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular during the Roman Empire, and influencing the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Cicero. Stoic pantheism influenced Christianity, and Stoic God as Reason blossomed in the Renaissance. Over the centuries, stoicism became very important for self-reflective poetry, literary naturalism, and stalwart pragmatism.

Appearance & Reality in Art

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Music Reviews, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 11, 2017 by Drogo

The best media that expresses the theme of appearance and reality, is the wide wonderful world of Art! One can assume that there are four sub-divisions of our sensorial existence in reality: visual reality, physical reality, olfactory reality, and audio reality; which are all dependent on each-other, and inter-connected with individual and group mental realities. There are also appearances of all our senses. A fifth sense could be considered to be our metaphysical imagination (spirit mind). Through drawing and painting visual arts, one experiences visual appearances and then mental appearance. Mental neocortical impressions of fantasy or reality, can be perceived in various combinations. That appearance can be taken to be the reality of what the art represents, until a later meditational analysis of our brains produces a different interpretation of our visual and mental reality, that we believe about the work of art; including what the art actually is, what it represents, and what it means to us or others.

For example, Pieter Bruegel the Elder based his detailed drawing work upon realistic observations, to represent figures and landscapes; however like Bosch, his art combines very surreal and fantastic aspects to what we can identify as figures and landscapes. Mental reality sinks in later, that his art cleverly pokes fun at the Christian Catholic Church. In fact, Bruegel ordered his wife to burn certain drawings because he thought they were “too biting and sharp”. Bruegel’s reality was hidden within the action, setting, and characters of his art works; because he was reluctant to openly admit his surreptitious views on the evils of society.

Bruegel earned his living producing drawings to be turned into prints for the leading print publisher Hieronymus Cock. His great successes were a series of allegories, which adopted many obsequious style mannerisms of his predecessor Hieronymus Bosch. In Bruegel’s works his sinners are grotesque, while the allegories of virtue wear odd head-gear. Imitations of Bosch sold well, like ‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish’ (Albertina), which Bruegel signed but Cock falsely attributed to Bosch in the print version.

Another example of a famous surreal artist is M.C. Escher. Maurits Cornelis Escher was brilliant for drawing impossible shapes, that appear to be possible 3-D objects at first due to his skillful rendering, but then reveal aspects of themselves to be mathematical line trickery upon further examination. Escher’s realism has 4 basic levels: structure, content, contour, and event integration. Structures in a drawing means 2-D surfaces are rendered with 3-D appearance, creating illusions of forms and spaces. Link structure with content phenomena, and form texture contours. Lastly, characters interact and integrate with setting events in a pluralistic world concept with recognizable motifs.

Salvador Dali is still the epitome of a modern surreal artist, even years after his death. Like other surreal artists, Dali leads the viewer’s mind through a maze, and then a sieve. Often his work is presented as being real in appearance, but in actuality is a painting, or photo, or film of dream-like illusions that are disturbing on a sub-conscious level. Dali creates appearance of fantasy, but the deeper Jungian subjective meanings are disturbingly hidden from casual glance.

Appearance and reality in music is strange to talk about, as we do not usually refer to sounding ‘realistic’, as we do with art appearing ‘realistic’. When music sounds real, we mean it sounds like a live orchestra or a real instrument, rather than an electronic synthesizer or recording. However music does create dramatic mental illusions with sound. Composers like Wagner, Mascagni, and Carl Orff were masters of telling audio stories to our hearing senses. Various musical instruments or voices can summon angry gods, peaceful landscapes, bold shining knights, beautiful flowers, and other associative feelings.

In poetry each verse gives an appearance to the reader or listener, and the reality derived is subjective. John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem ‘Snow Bound’ descriptively portrays New England life and structures during snow days. One can almost feel the cold of the snow, yet is kept warm by the brilliance of the writer’s passionate imagination. Lord Byron makes clear the emotions in many of his poems, creating ideal or realistic images within the reader’s head. Poets manipulate emotions with words, to engage the audience.

 

  •  [ from SCOD Thesis Philosophy Theories ]

SCOD Moral Philosophy

Posted in Military, Psychology, Rhymes & Riddles, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2017 by Drogo

The ball or the sword, a tale of two opposites

when I was a boy, I had a very important moral decision to make, and I knew by the time I was an adult, I needed to make up my mind which political polarity side I was on (Left or Right). I remember trying to be either extreme Right or extreme Left. I first tried being as Right-wing as I could be as a teen, wearing military uniforms, school uniforms, business suits, racing fast cars, and glorifying violence and military might; and to this day I have very militant or strict law-abiding attitudes towards things, and severe punishments for the slightest offense. After trying to follow the best corporate pioneer and team role-models I had observed over the years, I decided that competition at all costs was not for me; but it took becoming abusive to others to understand that for me, that way of thinking was poison for which there was no immunity to. I chose the side that wanted to control through Peace and Love, over the side that was for an Abuse and Violence or Predator and Victim system. Happy lives use less poisons, and for some there may be psychological disorders that result from capitalism. The choice of the ball or the sword (Lone Wolf & Cub) falls to all of us, at various phases of life, and as different metaphors as obstacles to our intention to lead a good or happy life.

Socrates and the Problem of Democracy

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, History, Philosophy with tags , , , , , on February 28, 2017 by Drogo

A generation before Socrates; Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus; practiced their philosophical teachings, laying the foundation for social dialectic epistemology. In just a few generations, philosophers went from theorizing about Nature (primal elements), to focusing on human mental and social abilities to know truths. Philosophers were often used by leaders to build theories and machines to wage wars against other leaders. In this way philosophers were similar to priests, in how they often were paid to sway public opinions for political support using ideas. However, rather than using the traditional pantheon of magical mythologies as priests did, philosophers used new ideas that could be embraced by practicing an eastern love of Wisdom (Goddess Sophia), that involved rhetorical talk persuasion, and mental reasoning aided by inner spirits called daimons (acknowledgment of self-ignorance and commitment to continual self-knowledge through dialog). Knowledge is virtue, not because of any power it earns, but because self-aware humble piety is good; as with the best comedy, the virtue of knowledge is that it can save us from ourselves, if we use it wisely. This is where we ended up with Socrates, and his conclusions about epistemology still resonate today on the streets and in the minds of many people regardless of class.

Few scholars take the time to investigate how events led up to the earliest, best form of government by the people, democracy, being responsible for putting to death one of the greatest philosophers in history. I will attempt to reconstruct how popular events and ideas may have resulted in official public conviction to execute a man who’s main crime seems to be that he asked too many questions of too many people, which bothered the existing system too much. Put simply, Socrates was killed by democracy because he was annoying.

This is a summary of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Socrates and the Sophists. Our main focus will be on how their philosophies related to their Greek politics and economics. Afterwards we will consider Plato’s Republic, and how the lessons of history can improve our current democratic government; based on the theory that ‘We the People’ can govern ourselves, and maintain civil rights economically and politically. This is why philosophical theory matters, because all our political and economic systems are based on people believing and practicing theories. Law and currency work because enough people agree that they have value. Laws are only suggestions unless they are enforced using ‘real’ actions. Money has symbolic mental worth to lives, which is used to get ‘real’ material property and control the minds of those that want it, so that they do ‘real’ work for a boss or client.

I’ve never heard anyone frame a talk on this before. To clarify the issue, it may be a conflict of disciplines is to blame for our collective ignorance on the subject. History, Politics, Philosophy, and Psychology are now treated as separate disciplines that should be legally kept divided so that a few professionals can make all the money, while keeping the public safe from those that might install ‘unsafe systems’ (AIA). Do not believe those false authoritarian dictates, whose laws mainly serve the elite few, and do not allow that even the poorest person may make good designs.

Professors usually skip through the ‘pre-socratics’, cover the basics of Socrates, and then move on to Plato’s responses; which of course was to propose the Oligarchy of the Republic because democracy had killed the wisest man, and because Macedonian emperors would soon rule Athens. Plutocrats tend to think they know best, simply because they have money which is power in a corrupt Capitalist system. The story of the trial of Socrates, should really be an invitation for all of us to put democracy on trial in a much larger way, and begin to resolve the problems of self-governing; which is not just about demagogue representatives, but more importantly about what ‘We the People’ want.

Democratic problems might be described as mass commercial competitive propaganda, and unethical majority mob bigotry; which can perpetuate cycles of unbalanced emotional vengeance. Those problems are not exclusive to democracy, but what makes democracy better than oligarchies is rule by the many, that everyone has a vote, and at least the majority rules. Why is it good for all people to have a say in how they are governed? It is important to empower people with the evidence that their vote matters, otherwise they will lose interest in supporting the government, and ‘representative’ government can easily fail to care about the majority of the population, regardless of whether those representatives were elected by the people or installed by only a minority of elites (oligarchy). Direct vote elections by the people needs to have power at the highest levels, not just the lowest levels, or risk complete system failure due to internal apathy and deceit. All people having a vote in democracy means that all people have a value in society, even if they are mentally or physically sick or disabled, homeless, or cannot provide for themselves in normal ways. Good political leaders are inclusive and represent proportionately majority and minority agendas, by proposing democratic laws that can get popular support from a majority of the actual population, not just corporate business campaign donors.

Ethical fairness and justice for all, means that progressives must challenge existing laws which conservatives think are working fine. The Left Wing must constantly beg the Right Wing to not be so abusive to the majority, while the Right Wing must constantly tell the Left Wing it should be grateful that the majority are not abused more, because free-thinking liberals and war veterans are hard to restrain, and liberals and veterans do not have the economic power of corporate business campaign donors, so they should shut up and stop causing problems for the current oligarchy that got entrenched by laws they said were good for all, but lied about or were wrong.

The philosophical problem of democracy, or any political governing system, is also the psychological problem of individual minds. The natural self-destructive urges we feel, are also related to the problems of larger social systems (Freud). This truth is why Socrates not only put his accusers on trial, during his own trial, but he also put himself and everyone he met on trial, every day, for many years. Socrates was dedicated to the concept that we could make things better by actively and constantly pursuing knowledge, by admitting our own ignorance. This process was called philosophy, or loving Wisdom.

The historic context that set the stage for philosophy, was a Greece recovering from a dark age after the fall of the Mycenaean Empire. Whatever the reasons for the Greek system collapse, it happened. A society can be judged by comparing the property and power of their leaders with that of their people, regarding fairness and equality. Empires are not considered ‘just’ civilizations, because they tend to have plutocracies that perpetually wage war to keep the masses enslaved to their unfair system. Smaller countries tend to hold their leaders more accountable for their actions, and therefore successful leaders may be upper-class, but they can not own much more than average people, if they want to be beloved by the people as one of their own. Tyrants in city-states can be overthrown quicker than those controlling vast Empires.

During this dark age, Greece probably was dominated by constant violent despotic regimes, plagues, and famines. The diminished populations of the Dark Age abandoned writing, transitioned weapons from bronze to iron, many cities and towns vanished, and the redistributive economy collapsed. The Trojan War was long past, and the subsequent Western (Aeneas in Italy) and Eastern (Philistines in Palestine) settlement colonies by migrant veterans had dissolved into ‘native’ populations.

Most of our knowledge of the Greek Dark Age comes from burial sites, weapons, and geometric art on pottery, with no written records. Eastern empires began to grow and threaten Greece again, around the time that Greek writing was reborn (from Semitic), and philosophy began in Eastern Greece. Persians were just the latest large group of migrants that had come to power in Mesopotamia. Greece was a collection of city-states (polis) run by kinship groups and family households (oikoi).

Greek History leading up to Classical Age Athens

900-700 BC – Dark Bronze Age ends, Archaic Iron Age begins: Homer

600 BC – Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes – World Prime Element

500 BC – Classical Age begins: Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides

400 BC – Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus – Universal Powers

300 BC – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics

Chieftains were the main leaders of villages, and they were buried in heroons (hero shrines). the main economic resource for each family was the ancestral oikos plot of land, the kleros (allotment); without which a man could not marry. Greek culture was very bardic, as so much of their lives revolved around mythical and legendary stories, songs, and plays at community theaters.

Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes created theories of the primary elements of Nature. Then Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides argued about change vs non-change with Math as religion. Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus addressed universal powers like the elements of nature and love and discord. They were upper-class Classical Age humanitarians dedicated to education and love more than war. The groundwork was laid for the Sophists, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to talk about laws, careers, epistemology, virtue, and metaphysics. The world was about to get weirder.

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Now let us review: Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and Democritus. (click on names)

So to summarize all of these pre-socratics, they were very dedicated to the first scientific inquiries that we have on historic record; and then suddenly, shit got weird, and the first democracy in the history of human civilization put a retired mason, an unemployed teacher by the name of Socrates, to death for wanting to learn the Truth. Next we will revisit the story of the famous Socrates.

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Socrates was from Athens, Greece circa 400 BC. He was a philosopher, stone mason, soldier, and mentor. He was considered a public gadfly because he would stand around the stoa and engage random people in his pedagogy by a ‘method of dialogue’ (elenchus) which involved asking questions to arrive at truths. Socratic dialogue uses deductive reasoning to advance epistemology. Although the Delphi Oracle said that “None was wiser than Socrates”, Socrates believed this was only because he was more aware of his own ignorance. Socrates annoyed prominent Athenians so greatly they put him on trial and sentenced him to death; which he eventually accepted, despite his suggestion that they pay him for his public services instead.

His ‘dialectic method of inquiry’ supported his assertions that knowledge equals virtue, questions lead to excellence, and knowledge of self, friendships, and community was more important than pursuit of material wealth. He refused to be a career politician because he did not feel comfortable telling others how to live, when he himself was not sure. He called his intuition on matters of courage and honesty his ‘inner daemon’.

Golden Rules of Socrates:

“I only know that I know nothing.”

“As the Delphi Oracle says: Know thyself.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

4 Virtues: Justice, Wisdom, Courage, & Moderation

“Everything in moderation. Nothing in excess.”

“Do not do to others, what angers you if done to you by others.”

“Be kind to everyone, as though they are fighting a hard battle.”

The Oracle at Delphi seemed to support Socrates. Apollo was the main god of Delphi, but the older tradition of interpreting the Pythia prophet was an ancient religious power which once dominated from Egypt to Crete, Greece, and Indo-European lands where priests and priestesses worshiped horned bulls and snakes. Christianity eventually destroyed Delphi, and Snakes were ‘chased out of Ireland’, but many religions still consider those animals sacred; and the history of those animal cults is very long.

Wisdom according to Socrates meant the use of knowledge, but also knowledge of ignorance. Even Socrates had habits and repeated or contradicted himself hypocritically as humans do. Yet he asked “what is the way we ought to live?”, and consciously and socially contemplated social norms, to improve life and gain self-knowledge (which is akin to self-love and ability to love others). We should examine life, and find out for ourselves ‘what good is happiness’? Wrong doing, even willful wrong doing, is a result of serious ignorance. Knowledge was virtuous if it could be used to balance courage and temperance, and Socrates believed that knowledge used wisely was equal to virtue.

A veteran of the Peloponnesian wars, Socrates had lived through the horrors of battle, famine, and plague. He had witnessed hoards of his fellow soldiers, men of Athens, be shipped to their slaughter abroad and massacred here at home. The greatest hero of Athens, Pericles, his mentor Anaxagoras, and the military generals too, all paid for their political ambitions which had built Athens up, and taken Athens to war, and brought it down. Socrates was not a fan of the rich Acropolis glitz that Pericles had insisted was needed to make Athens great. He had gone to war to serve his country, and the wisdom he was teaching appealed to the young men of Athens, who once ‘corrupted’ with a love of wisdom began resisting authority.

Review Plato’s writings about Socrates (click on link)

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It seems there were always economic incentives for political wars, and they are almost always based on irrational greedy ambitions, that far out-weigh any practical humanitarian morality or ethics. How do greedy people convince others that their ambition is better than being humble? Three main reasons for the success of Corporate greed spring to mind: first they use envious bigotry; then they use loyal patriotism, and finally it is obvious to all rational citizens that war reinforces the economic driving force of the system that employs most workers. Those reasons for war and torture however, pale in comparison with the reasons based on the best things in life which to the wisest are love, happiness, and peace. The best national dreams cannot be tied to a heartless, soulless system.

The system of ‘Progress’ defined as ‘always taking more and more’, is destroying our environment and causes wars. Call it ambition, greed, corporate marketing, commercial consumerism, or corrupt Capitalism. No laws yet tried seem capable of constraining beasts who are successful at the cost of countless others, and no free-market theory seems realistic at a large scale (ironically much like Communism). We know that unbound competition breeds hateful resentment in losers, and ruthless monopoly or egotistical pride in winners. It is proven that companies prefer to hire thugs like the Pinkertons or call in law enforcement, rather than bend to the will of the people. The natural truth of this can be realized when one considers how twins from birth may become like Janus opposites, if nurtured diametrically. The twin that is taught that they are good, and given rewards, becomes convinced they are good; and the twin that is taught that they are bad, and taken from, becomes convinced they are bad. Whether the twins are actually good or bad, may not matter if they are convinced they are those things, and they convince others that they are ‘truly’ those things. This is why to every above-board system, there will be an under-ground.

Yet we allow our rulers to wage war, and worse yet, we allow them to make us do it too, with purchases we make and taxes we pay. All it takes for bad things to happen in politics, is for good people to take no responsibility and allow bad leaders to make them complicit in national crimes against humanity. The tools of teaching and communication are available to the masses more now, than ever before in history; therefore it is more possible to have a more informed public than ever before, that is also more self-aware through network-hive complexity. It may be necessary to deconstruct our addiction to industrial consumption, commercial propaganda, and corporate consumerism; and relegate those obsessions to children’s cereal boxes, toys, and sports paraphernalia.

NEXT LECTURE: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics

Also let us not forget about Diogenes the Cynic (circa 410-320 BC)!

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Why this lecture is relevant now in 2017 – Trump

I had been putting off writing this essay because the complexity of the setting, subject, and topic kept me exploring the mysteries involved. Mysteries lost in time like myths, are hard to grasp. The legends of Socrates were certainly told in different ways when they were first written. The comedy plays that depicted him were caricatures, similar to our political cartoons in newspapers, comedy shows on television, and tabloids all wrapped up into live theater performances. This essay means only to introduce novices to these mysteries, and suggest that an epic movie could be made that covers this period in Greek history. Every area of human life could be addressed in the telling of this story.

SCOD member Sir Jeffy the Psychologist Astrologist, said he was getting more interested in ‘street epistemology’ and the art of dialectic or philosophical dialog. I told him that is the reason that Socrates is so famous and loved by people continuously; his dedication to challenge people to share what they think they know with others, ask others what they know, then to reconsider what they think they know, and to think for themselves by repeating this process as often as needed. This dialectic method makes for intensely deep conversation, and is not just playing ‘devil’s advocate’ by arguing opposing ideas for no reason, the goal of true knowledge is important. We should not just accept what others tell us is true. Thinking and evidence was not even enough for Socrates, as his search for truth led him to actually confront others face to face, and directly challenge their intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom on any issue, and at any time they were in public. This dynamic socratic theory does not allow its practitioners to successfully submit to authorities, like average industrial age workers are expected to, as is the case in modern Greece where workers continue to unionize against bosses.

The problems inside humans are often the same problems in politics. Problems manifest socially, often before leaders catch on, just as internal problems in an individual go undetected and then avoided. Then of course, there is the problem of Power, and the tendency for psychopaths to be attracted to power. Psychopaths are too egotistical and vain to care about other people. Sociopaths at least care about those they can control. There are hybrid psychopath-sociopaths, like Dexter, and they can be highly functioning politicians. When the psychopath cannot handle their own psychosis, we might call them schizophrenic, as their ‘break with reality’ becomes evident and unacceptable to themselves and other people. Internal discord is the root cause of narcissist tyrants like Hitler, Stalin, Nixon, and Trump. They cannot be nurturing or loving for long enough to convince anyone who has a free-will, that they should give up their freedoms to serve them, so they must use bully words and brute force. These worst of demagogs of mankind, must be questioned publicly using socratic method, and exposed as frauds. False and untrue leaders should not be allowed to rule, and democracy must meet this challenge by constantly striving to be correctly informed, and question its own perceived truths.

THE END?

*   AUDIO RECORDING of Lecture

References:

Encyclopedia Britannica*, Socrates to Sartre, and other philosophy books

Dr. Sadler’s Philosophy videos on Youtube – thank you Greg!

Jeff Milette – SCOD “psychological astrologer” aka rehabilitation counselor

West Virginia Coal Mine Wars – Corporate war against workers is real!

Socrates’ criticism of democracy*

“Socrates’ analysis of the hatred he has incurred is one part of a larger theme that he dwells on throughout his speech. Athens is a democracy, a city in which the many are the dominant power in politics, and it can therefore be expected to have all the vices of the many. Because most people hate to be tested in argument, they will always take action of some sort against those who provoke them with questions. But that is not the only accusation Socrates brings forward against his city and its politics. He tells his democratic audience that he was right to have withdrawn from political life, because a good person who fights for justice in a democracy will be killed. In his cross-examination of Meletus, he insists that only a few people can acquire the knowledge necessary for improving the young of any species, and that the many will inevitably do a poor job. He criticizes the Assembly for its illegal actions and the Athenian courts for the ease with which matters of justice are distorted by emotional pleading. Socrates implies that the very nature of democracy makes it a corrupt political system. Bitter experience has taught him that most people rest content with a superficial understanding of the most urgent human questions. When they are given great power, their shallowness inevitably leads to injustice.”

SCOD-cast Audio Shows

Posted in Education / Schools, POB Audio, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 27, 2016 by Drogo

SCOD Pod-cast Audio Radio Shows:

Philosophy Lecture Series:

600 BC – Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes – World Prime Element
500 BC – Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Parmenides. Change vs Non-Change with Math as religion.
400 BC – Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Democritus – Universal Powers
300 BC – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle – Sophists, Society, & Politics
200 BC – Epicureans, Aristarchus & Library of Alexandria – Happiness, Science, and Scrolls
100 BC – Caesar, Cicero, Anthony & Cleopatra – Politics & War vs. Love & Peace
0 BC-AD – Jesus, Augustus, Boudica – Roman Empire vs The World
100 AD – Marcus Aurelius & Stoics

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SCOD-cast Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Parmenides Lecture – 500 BC

SCOD-cast on Thales the Ionian 600 BC 

SCOD Radio Show on Philosophy

SCOD-cast Audio Show 1

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Some Thoughts on Appearance

Posted in Health & Fitness, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2016 by Drogo

For those that are too hard on themselves, but are able to be good to others; be content that you are ok as you are now. Growth and death are natural organic processes, that will happen with or without our conscious help. This is the mystery of internal will-power and external ‘higher’-powers. The secret to this mystery is if we are empathetically connected with life around us, our subconscious will do the hard work for us, of growing our mind ; it comes with open expanded awareness. Winning or losing need not disrupt our peace of mind and happy contentment, that we can already have; in part by our ability to be good to others, because other people may want to return our favors in order to keep receiving from us or reward us for giving. Not all promises can be kept, however. Therefore, self-generated happiness is critical to sustained contentment and joy.

Take time out to smile for yourself.

Many of us spend hours working on how we look, or thinking about how we look, or worrying about how we feel about how we look to others. All of that matters less than who we are to ourselves, and who we are to people that love us for who we are.

The cover of your book may look good, but the real book is in the inside content. People may judge your book on your cover, and may even buy it because of the cover art; however it is the people that love the book because you wrote it that matters most, even if there is no cover.

The Problems of Philosophy

Posted in Philosophy, Spiritual, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2016 by Drogo

Drogo’s Memoirs on Philosophy

SCOD Theory & Interpretation

Philosophical problems of the individual and community – fear, doubt, shyness, anger, language, context, willingness, depression, possessiveness, annoyingness, drama

Drama – Drama can be considered ‘fake’ or an artificial production of emotion. It is better to express drama in a place where it is desired (theater), rather than in private life, as that often proves problematic to harmony and happiness. The word ‘drama’ is associated with acting, but a good actor brings out and expresses real emotions, and so real emotion and drama are not exclusive terms; but for the purposes of relationships, all emotional expression (real or fake) should be kept minimal for functionality, but given a modest due in when it is useful, such as empathy and therapy sessions.

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Pre-Socratics: Thales, Anaximenes, Anaxamander, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Pythagoras

Seven Great Greeks: Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus – 7 Greek Sages ETC > SCOD Video

socrates-plato-aristotle.jpg

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle > SCOD Video

Diogenes – I view myself as a dog, but am really more like a wolf. “Diogenes was Socrates gone mad.” – Plato. anarchist punk / Oscar the Grouch. “If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.” – Alexander the Great > Video

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Philosophical problems of the individual mind (psychology) – soul division (reason, appetite, and spirit; id, ego, superego)

Nietzsche, Freud, Marx > SCOD Video

Nietzsche – “Will to Power”; “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.”; “God is dead, and we have killed him.”

Existentialist vs. Nihilism  (Dualities: Manic vs. Depressive, Master vs. Slave)

Will To Power – Ubermensch “Superman”; self-make; “the Hammer”; over-coming box walls; Truth = Power; defines power relative to social propaganda to control physically and mentally; redefined the sophist old maxim ‘Might is Right’

 

Human, All Too Human [1878> v1]; Thus Spoke Zarathustra [1883> v1]; Beyond Good & Evil [1886> v1]; On Genealogy of Morals [1887> vid1 , vid2, vid3]; Antichrist [1888]; Will To Power [RIP]; Summary vid; Superman vid; 12 Minute Biography;

Freud

Marx

 

 

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Important Philosophers

Posted in Philosophy with tags , on November 16, 2015 by Drogo

The Most Important Philosophers in History

Drogo’s favorite philosophers

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Ancient Pagan 700 BC – 200 AD

Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus,

Ancient Greek Sages, Cicero, Caesar, Aurelius,

Medieval Christian (Islamic Golden Age) 200-1300 AD

Augustine, Francis, Aquinas, (all the rest are Muslims)

Renaissance Christian 1300-1600 AD

Luther, Machiavelli, More, Bacon, Descartes

Enlightenment Christian 1600-1800

Hobbes, Locke, Newton, Voltaire, Hume, Rousseau, Diderot, Kant, Jefferson, Franklin

Industrial Age 1800-1900 (subdivision of science, politics, theology, and psychology)

Schleiermacher, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Emerson, JS Mill, Darwin, Kierkegaard, Thoreau,

Marx, Engels, Nietzesche, Freud, Buber, Husserl,

Space Age 1900-2000

Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Popper, Sartre, Godel, HLA Hart, Einstein, Wright, Fuller, Quinn

Do What You Want To Do

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization with tags , , on April 10, 2015 by Drogo

2013-01-08-alanwatts

Artistic Success

Posted in Crafts, Economics, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2015 by Drogo

To an artist ‘success’ is always secondary to the inner need and desire to create. Even when artists are driven by desires to be rich and famous, determining their success is always an after-thought of hind-sight. The purpose of deciding what is successful is not just to apply award praise or sad regret, but more importantly such analysis concludes sustainable functionality or repetition of similar models. Insanity can be defined as repeating the same failed efforts again and again but expecting different results. To be sane we evaluate our efforts that work to achieve goals. Achievements are real success; however the problem with prioritizing success, is that inventors often fail over and over in order to innovate. This is why a practicing artist must push aside the ambiguity and hypocrisy of past and future labels and problems; and just be and do what they want. Artistic Success is part self-evaluation, part opinion of critics, and part completion of work itself; all of which matters less than our ‘will-to-make’.

Why I do anything regardless of Success – 

Most of the time I have always felt like a failure financially. I always keep working on what I can simply because i can. It is not because I am better than others that I do things, it is because people have told me that I am better at those things than I am at other things, and I am able to enjoy doing those things more than other things. Comparing myself to other people at things always makes me feel like a loser. The pipe-dream of my work being even as important as a common product was not why I enjoy doing art or writing, my joy (which is my main motivation that keeps me wanting to do anything) comes from wanting to share what amuses me inside that is influenced by others, with others. I write about ‘success’ to ironically come to terms with something usually reserved for those with above average incomes, not for those of us who insist in doing what we love regardless of market fortune. There will always be snobs in any field, or rich critics that cannot do better but are greedy so they put others down for profit, but then there is reality of what something is beyond labels.

‘Will’ or willingness to do something, aka ‘motivation’ for me seems to be a mix of emotions, sometimes one more than another. Anger is a driving force that aggressively compels me to action, or willpower to do. Joy is a blissful reason to want to do things without being told that I must, which is in celebration of freewill. Fear makes me want to do something, or else I will suffer more than I am currently. Sadness makes me re-evalute what is worth doing, and why I think something is important.

Creation is success.

Yes, You are an Artist Too! (audio recording)

Emotional Impulsive Disorder – EID

Posted in Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2012 by Drogo

This mental (or personality) disorder is based on several sources including “Stop Walking On Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back” and ‘The Unquiet Mind’.  This article uses EID to re-label and re-organize BPD, because the abv. BP could be confused with Bi-Polar, and the original 9 criteria are repetitive and confusing.

BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER – BPD

BORDERLINE SCHIZOID DISORDER: Neurosis & Psychosis

EMOTIONAL IMPULSIVE DISORDER – EID

mood shifts (manic-depressive more frequently than bipolar), overwhelming anxiety, unpredictable impulsive actions, frustratingly poor decisions, perplexing behaviors, control issues, manipulative tendencies, “party” or “player” relationship attitude, overly distrusting, delusions, paralyzingly sensitivity to surroundings, behaving irrationally, having a chaotic life.

People with this intense emotional and impulsive disorder need to take responsibility for their own behavior, but often simply cannot no matter how much they try or say they want to. Codependent friends and relatives need to define and keep their boundaries, to limit enabling wrong behaviors.

Emotional Roller-coaster: what it is like having EID.

  1. feel more intensely emotional ups and downs

  2. act more extreme because of over-whelming emotions

  3. difficulty regulating emotion and behavior – mental & physical chaos

Most people have all the same types of thoughts and almost all the feelings as EID, but the line is drawn at the frequency and intensity of irrational EID behaviors. As with addicts, it is intense destructive behavior that tends to demand diagnosis.

EID cannot be changed through force, because they will always tend to rebel against any authority (even role-models that they chose), just as they rebel against self-control. EID uses their will-power to resist addressing stresses that most people use their will-power to address on a regular basis. EID resistance and avoidance ironically creates more stress for them, if not immediately, then later. Many of these symptoms are also used as coping mechanisms, and so they are very difficult to change. Everyone is different, and a mental diagnosis does not explain everything.

In dealing with EID it is not only important to explore possible CAUSES of actions, but it is vital to realize the RESULTS of actions; because EID actions often have very sad consequences. By assessing the results of behaviors, we can set limits.

EID Criteria  (Diagnosis should be dependent on meeting all 8 symptoms)

1.  Isolation – intense fear of abandonment or feeling alone, depressive tendencies

2.  Emptiness – intense apathy, lack of self-esteem, psychosis tendencies

3.  Self-Destructive / Suicidal Behavior – psychotic including dangerous life-threatening addictions

4.  Impulsive / Unstable Moods – paralyzing stress and anxiety from a range of intense emotions always changing back-and-forth within minutes or hours in a day.

5.  Impulsive / Unstable Regulation – intense anger resulting from moods

6.  Impulsive / Unstable Relationships – refusal or inability to take responsibility for their own actions regarding other beings

7.  Impulsive / Unstable Identity – social chameleon w/ schizo-breaks, no clear ‘self’

8.  Delusions – re-occurring irrational paranoia, or intense dis-associative attitude

Recovery is possible but not probable. Combined therapy and medication will improve cases.

Psychotherapy Psychotherapy is the core treatment for borderline personality disorder. Two types of psychotherapy that have been found effective are:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT was designed specifically to treat borderline personality disorder. Generally done through individual, group and phone counseling, DBT uses a skills-based approach to teach you how to regulate your emotions, tolerate distress and improve relationships.
  • Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP). TFP centers on the relationship between you and your therapist — helping you understand the emotions and difficulties that develop in that relationship. You can then use what you have learned in other relationships.

Medications Medications can’t cure borderline personality disorder, but they can help associated problems, such as depression, impulsivity and anxiety. Medications may include antidepressant, anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medications.

Emotional Spectrum Chart – mammals have complex combinations daily. It is difficult dealing with anyone who has EID, because many of us have some of the symptoms, but not all of them so intensely; so their moods affect ours, and vice versa, which tends to make things worse, as even our positive moods may not affect them in a good way.

Emotion Chart

Psychology and Mental Illness Disorders

Posted in Psychology with tags , , , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by Drogo

“Of the major Psychological schools of practice: dynamic, humanistic, behavioral, and family systems; I tend to be of the Humanist camp in my mercenary social work. The humanist approach is the most natural approach for friends to use in my opinion, from what i understand of it. But for professionals i agree with the conventional use of behavioral-cognitive etc work better, because there is a distinct separation of social relationship…”  – Drogo Empedocles

Psychologist – a psycho-therapist that treats clients with philosophical dialogue.

Psychiatrist – a psychologist with a medical license, tends to see client as a patient with an illness that needs to be prescribed medicine.

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PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPIES

Dynamic (psychodynamic) – developed from Freudian psycho-analysis to make the unconscious conscious / to awaken awareness of primal drives (sex and aggression), childhood, and various defenses and coping mechanisms.

Humanistic (Philosophical) – developed from Existential and Phenomenological philosophies to supply congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathetic understanding from one person to another. Humanistic seeks to glimpse the whole person, not just the fragmented personality parts, then help individual potential via therapeutic relationships.

Behavioral (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) – based on the relation of how we think (cognition), how we feel (emotion), and how we act (behavior) and environmental interaction.

Family Systems – based on family structures, and the importance of roles and relationships

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Many different facets of human thought, behavior and personality can become disordered.

Disorders are called so in relation to perceived social abnormalities and dysfunctions.

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Mental Illness Disorders

Anxiety – phobias, general anxiety, social anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive, post-traumatic stress

Mood – depression, bipolar, attention-deficit, hyperactivity, mania

Personality – schizoid, borderline schizo, anti-social, impulsive, histrionic (dramatic), addictive, dependent / codependent, eccentric, haltlose (aimless, irresponsible), immature, narcissist, aggressive, passive-aggressive, neurotic, pathological, sadistic, masochistic, anxious (avoidant)

Schizophrenic – paranoia, auditory and visual hallucinations, delusions, psychotic, psychopathic, dissociative identity / multiple-personalities, impaired speech, severe anti-social, sustained confusion, destructive decisions, warped will-power,

Addictions –  over-dependence on sex, drugs (including alcohol), eating, behaviors, people, etc…

Mixedborderline schizophrenia, schizophrenia, bipolar, make your own! …

*    http://youtu.be/fMW8AzHpRAw

Psychology 101