Monthly Archives: November 2017

Only the Dead May Speak the Truth

(Note: I originally posted a draft of this article here. Below is the final version, edited for the purpose of communicating the same ideas to a more general audience.)

I admit that I spent many years agonizing over the prospect of death, looking at the stars and wondering why the reality of human existence includes the inevitability of complete mind annihilation. Trying to wrap my head around what it would feel like to be dead of course didn’t work; the state of death is the state of absolute nothingness. No, even a description like “absolute nothingness” is too lively. Death is… There are no words. Any attempt to describe it will fall short of the fact that in death there ceases to be anything that could be described, anything that could engage in the action we call “description”.

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The True Meaning of, “Your Japanese is Great!”

Almost every Western person who spends a long time in Japan trying to learn Japanese encounters the slow progression from slight distraction to overt frustration in the face of the constant knee-jerk compliments that Japanese people launch their way. You speak a single short phrase, often in a way where you’re not very satisfied with your pronunciation or delivery, and then they say something to the effect of, “Oh wow, your Japanese is excellent!” The first several times you’re complimented, you might find it enjoyable; but once it’s happened thousands of times, accompanied with fake-sounding emotion, both after you speak in a way you’re proud of, and when you speak in a way you find deeply unsatisfying, it starts to get grating, until eventually you end up triggered every fucking time a Japanese person replies, “Oh, you speak Japanese! You’re incredible!”

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Grammatical Acquisition: The Opposite Paths of the Native and the Foreigner

When a child learns the conjugation system of their native language, they start with isolated language forms and then move onto subconsciously distilling the patterns into a systematized tacit understanding of how to conjugate any given verb. For example, they may hear “eat”, “sleep”, “sit”, “slept”, “lie down”, and thousands of other verbs, all as individual cases; upon determining the individual meanings through context and subconscious reading of the intentions of the speaker(s) communicating with them and others around them, they begin to pick up on patterns, and are eventually able to use not only the exact linguistic components that they’ve directly experienced, but also form ones that they’ve never heard. At first, “jumped” is a floating disconnected word that refers to a certain thing, but then later it becomes understood that it’s the past tense version of “jump”; at that point the child may convert “chase” to “chased”, without ever having heard the latter. Most important to emphasize is simply that native speakers learn by (1) taking a pile of unconnected linguistic forms, and then (2) subconsciously distilling the data into a system.

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Pornography: A Toxic Bulwark against Violent Revolution

Many people are able to make the commonsense observation that the prevalence of pornographical content, especially the great swathes of high-resolution videos containing super-stimuli versions of naturally arousing visuals, along with depictions of what in traditional culture would be considered “weird fetishes” (to say the least), has led to an epidemic of psychologically hazardous addiction, where men lose their orientation in reality, end up with standards burned into their arousal systems which are exceedingly unlikely to manifest in physical reality without turning to prostitution, and so forth. And of course one needn’t understand the underlying psychological and perhaps physiological mechanisms to merely notice that men who are addicted to pornography often slip into unhealthy behavioral patterns. While the actresses who appear in the videos generally do so out of desperation and to their own psychological torment, and the utility for the men who watch the videos doesn’t seem to extend past a sort of hedonism reminiscent of sinking ever lower into a fluffy couch while gorging on ice cream and the latest sitcoms, without being addicted yourself it’s difficult to come to any other conclusion than: The directors and marketers are morally corrupt or apathetically nihilistic profiteers, the women who appear in the videos are to be pitied, and the men who watch the content are fueling a disgusting capitalistic machine that exploits psychologically damaged women while digging themselves into a hedonistic hole.

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