I guess you may realize that recently I am publishing a lot of blog entries. Yes, it is now open season for Tommy, because if I don’t open my idea bank for others’ examinations now at my twenties, more-or-less the golden age of self-actualization attempts, I will be missing something quintessential. I plan to still write about philosophical topics in the coming year or two, but more extensively than before such that topics I did not gave myself up to like gender and sexuality, history and time, politics and law, science and medicine etc. will be explored and treated for the advancement of a developing reality theory I have preliminarily wrote about in my website. I am also starting to identify some key problematics hugely influential in my intellectual and experiential lives. Why the public should be interested in them? Because we have the same set of questions to ask, and holding hands to respond to them is not a bad idea at all. This can lead you to some scary uncharted territories, but don’t be afraid. This is yet, after all, part of our reality.
29 Dec 2017
This is an article consisting of a collection of paragraphs on the various dimensions making up our 2010s zeitgeist, which is still a manifestation of a 500-year-old nationalistic consciousness originated from England after the Wars of the Roses in the late 15th century CE but spread and transformed from Western Europe to all over the globe, bringing about a globalized phenomenon of nationalism. (So globalization does not replace but primarily spreads nationalism.) This consciousness might have its root in the ancient Near Eastern context, but that would be another story. Here it would be enough when we understand that nationalism has brought to us everything we conceive as modern, historically necessarily including the social order of our times, as we are still in such modernity (where the so-called “post-modernity” is only a reactive cultural current since 1960s). Therefore, a discussion of our zeitgeist in relation to nationalistic consciousness is necessitated. Here are some of the puzzle pieces of our 2010s, for now.
[On Kpop/Hallyu (31 Dec 2017)]
In response to this post on the K-pop madness, finally someone is brave enough to say it out loud. K-pop culture, like other modern fandom, is to me a constant strife between dis-ease and ease caused by national/popular (i.e. of people) consciousness or some kind of mass cultic/religious consciousness. (By the way, every culture is by nature about process, symbol and consciousness.) I am not saying that it is diabolical by nature, but it is certainly a phenomenon akin to and perhaps also produced by nationalism globalized. I enjoyed G-Dragon’s K-pop sector and did some anthropological (and ethnographical) reflections on it from an emic perspective. Share later if Kairos allows.
P.S. Written with inspiration from this article.
[On Acting (10 Jan 2018)]
The worst (or best) thing to happen on actors and actresses is not being able to de-role or choosing not to de-role off stage after taking up a role on stage. This can seriously f**k up the distinction of reality and representation in a really really enormous way. (I mean it.) But for better or for worse, it is happening: Life is sometimes seen as a performance. And it does not matter whether we are us or someone else, because that someone else we chose to be would be part of us. In this way, Baudrillard is back. Hyperreality is back. So sad.
P.S. Written with inspiration from this article.
[On My My My! and Troye Sivan (11 Jan 2018)]
I seldom reflect on songs, but this song has really done something to me uniquely. My first impression after listening this song was more of disappointment than excitement. I did not find the answers I was looking for, and I was not fine with the arrangement and the melody. But when the lyrics and Troye’s interview taking about this song were presented to me, they became the point of entry for my changing of perspective. I might not like the song, but it appears to me as existentially relevant to me, that is, as if I need it to deconstruct my charade and in a positive way force myself out of my comfort zone, which I hate but I know I need. Ultimately, I don’t know, as I can’t at this point of time discern, what is the thing to do or the right thing to do. But this song tells me I should keep trying and trying for the sake of self-confidence with reference to our reality.
Troye is in this sense (and probably in this sense only, for now) always seen as a key inspiration of mine.
[A Developing Thought on the Difference between Peoples and Disciples and the Way After Modernity and Postmodernity (28 Jan 2018)]
Modernity fundamentally operates on the idea and reality of people, but Jesus’ contemporaneity has a different operative principle. Whereas peoples retain and exist on their own wills (a notable example would be the American people), disciples (willingly and in a self-determining way, thus rational, to use some modern concepts) follow an external person/people and treat that person/people as the necessary condition for retaining and existing as themselves such that they are fundamentally a people. As far as I know, only Christianity (in its way of letting-be for the purpose of being) ahistorically holds the fittest key to explain the way how all religious and/or political systems which has existed in the world of idea-driven reality can work. This explanation, by its essential people as Jesus Christ, can only be realized and embodied as understood by one’s action of following the people Jesus Christ. To be a Christian is to point to and move towards Jesus Christ no matter initially how distant one is from him. All other religious and/or political institutions have had their vital contributions to the making of our sociocultural order of modernity, but not historically necessarily our existential order of contemporaneity. This existential contemporaneity is externality internalized, as such revealed gradually with the institutionalization of Christianity from its contraposition with the other candidates, giving way for the existence, persistence, progression and evolution of things as a thing and of a thing as things. Universalism, the Pauline and Christian way by which we see ourselves as disciples of an external but internalized universal people more than as peoples, is in this sense our best alternative sociocultural and political order after modernity (which has been caused by nationalism and has developed into globalized nationalism with a cultural current of postmodernity forever postponing an accurate understanding of our own history).
P.S. Written with inspiration from this post.
[On Chinese Nationalism and Our Future (11 Mar 2018)]
The Chinese President Xi can now stay in his his position until he dies. Simply, lifetime presidency if he wants. Read this news report for more.
There is a fundamental existential problem in nationhood, liberal and authoritarian alike, which is basically connected back to representation. Everyone knows that representative democracy is oligarchy, but we would like to use the former word because it sounds lovely. Everyone knows China is not a republic, but we still call it People’s Republic of China. According to the PRC, since I am not represented, I am not a part of the Chinese people. More of the Hongkongers are forcing their modern Chinese national identities away due to how they are not treated as part of the people by the modern Chinese government. But when you ask how Chinese this government is without using Chinese as a designator for nationhood or ethnicity but only for a collective cultural tradition, the Communist Party is even less Chinese than it is modern-German or modern-Russian. But by the way, I must say that I am not modern, because I do not believe that nationalism is a workable operative logic of the social order, despite that most of the West and the East still hold onto that belief. Right now what I am doing is vastly distinctly different. To resist the force of Greenfeldian globalized nationalism, one has to rediscover the Yahwistic and Pauline root of universalism and adopt it and adapt it to our own times. Nationalism has given us modern democracy (or democracy as the mass understand it, as government for, of and by the people), capitalism, modern science, some psychological mental disorder identifiable as madness and love as understood by the mass today, and I acknowledge its contributions, but I would like to see a different future. Robotics, artificial intelligence, big data and the space age is just the technological logic of our contemporary times, irreplaceable when it comes to how we exist, but we need a sociocultural one to allow our self-determination, and to my best knowledge, it can only be found in universalism emphasizing the making of the self in terms of the other and the state of difference-in-sameness we are going to achieve. Read Spinoza, Levinas, Hegel, Heidegger, Barth, Greenfeld, the Pauline letters and Zhuangzi for more.
P.S. Written with inspiration from this news report.
[On the Psychology of Terrorism (12 Mar 2018)]
I cannot understand why some people cannot comprehend the psychology of so-called radical but actually psychologically normal people with whom we of course radically disagree with. ISIS terrorism is as understandable as the Trump phenomenon, the contemporary Chinese monarchy and Nazism. Everyone initially started in their normalcy connectable with the sociocultural sphere of at least some part of the world which we are familiar with or at least can symbolically imagine or intuit, yet it would just be that, developmentally speaking, they were chosen and, more importantly, chose a road vastly different than ours, thus exhibiting radical behaviour. I can perfectly imagine a scenario where I would end up in a similarly radical situation but I choose differently than them, just because I am sufficiently self-determined to not be behaviourally radical even when there is no existential time and space to make my decision. (But of course there is no ultimate guarantee that I will not end up killing someone. Just that it would be unlikely to happen.) Regular philosophizing in search of a reflective equilibrium of course helps, but one has to be faithful to the conclusions of such philosophizing so that they are internalized and become one’s motives for action. Ultimately we should remember that terrorists are just one of us, and we are just one of them. Because though some of us are clinically abnormal (with no ultimate ethical-aesthetical justification, I am sorry to say), we all are existentially normal, normally problematic and problematically existing. This is not our human nature, but sadly is our non-optimal human condition.
P.S. Written with inspiration from this video interviewing a German who has left his country for the Islamic State.
[On a new Platonism: Towards a 2010s Cultural Phenomenology/Zeitgeist (13 Mar 2018)]
Suddenly I feel like I have discovered the secret of our time. In this historical period, our Platonic perfection, or more precisely, the root of our very being at the height of every life aspect, is to be found online, at a very visual imagination realizable only with computer technology. Vivid colours, fashionable tightness and fitness of the body and the background, their integration with our biological senses and, if Baudrillard is right, the on-screen exaggeration of our quotidian reality which elementarily triggers sexuality of all kinds and in all manifestations. Here. For the first time, I feel like I am speaking a voice from my innermost self with the 2010s zeitgeist: This is the Reality (with a big “R”) we count on. We are saved moment by moment because we have K-pop, we have colours and the rainbow flag and we have youth (listen to the song “Youth”!). In the eternally past, irretrievable yesterday, they had simple relationship ties safeguarded by marriage and family units, agreed hidden rules and community bonds, and cultic-religious performance and worldview package. But the problematic of 2010s has gradually replaced this old salvific way. Still, relationship must be special enough to be worth striving for, so daily sex party will be eventually thought to be destructive to humanity however sexually liberal we become. What is special and only partially accessible in our time is our own perfect representation of ourselves (which could have been morphed to otherselves through deliberate cultural imitation) which we imagine. Out of social media, we are hungry and we eat cup noodles so fast that we cannot digest it properly biologically. But we don’t care, as long as the New Biology and the New Spirituality from the Net guarantees our future, re-creates and directly sustains our existence. This is my Tommyean Post-modern Manifesto (or if not, what?). And believe me, you have no way to deny this. Because your own being under your interpretation is the evidence. Welcome to our new DNA! Welcome to the New Platonism! Welcome to our netizen future!
P.S. Written with inspiration from BTS’s song DNA.
Epilogue: Like I said before, universalism would be our best shot for founding our escape plan. But this escape plan is escaping at face value only. Going deeper, one sees that standing face-to-face with this 2010s zeitgeist is the sole way to confront and lead its way to universalism.
Next Station: I am a student of philosophy and archaeology. I sometimes think that I know not enough of historical and archaeological knowledge to even comment on archaeology. But I have a universal tool of analysis: philosophy with logic. Plus a universal means of experience: sensation with intuitions sufficient for phenomenological endeavours. Concepts like time and history were difficult for me to scrutinise, but I am about to crack the code. The task is almost complete. I just need to plan how to make it known to a wider audience. Starting to get impatient because there is no one to talk directly to in this foreign land, but here is also Wonderland where we are to feel at home. If not, we could always excavate deeper into the dreams of our reality. See you there then. So, my next project would be to trace our civlizational root, to pinpoint our present and to offer a concrete version of such escape plan towards our future. And since after detailing it, I will not be escaping, we better not call it an escape plan then. For it will be a plan to trek towards a truly post-modern era away from our modern nationalism, may it be called post-modern universalism, the zeitgeist for the future generations to come!