THE SYSEMATIC PHILOSOPHY OF JOSEPH DARTEZ
What follows is a philosophical framework. This framework is designed to provide a systematic approach to human experience that is simultaneously as strong and as versatile as possible. It is not a religion because it can interlock with any religion, given that you are willing to approach your religious attitudes mindfully. It is also not just a collection of neat ideas, because it is complete and internally coherent. The purpose of this framework is to provide both context for and elaboration of the archetypal nature of the human experience.
Below you will find a synopsis of the moving parts of this framework. As the Muse instructs me, I’ll be fleshing out this synopsis with in-depth explanations of the subtle elements that can’t be covered in a mere synopsis. Each section you see below will be given a chapter, and when the project is complete it will be packaged as a book that you can either download (for free) or buy (when I figure out how to self-publish stuff). My current project, The Architecture, is the centerpiece around which this framework is built. When The Architecture is complete, I will probably have the creative energy and will to turn my attention to this project.
Without further ado:
My Philosophical Framework
You are a beautiful and unique snowflake, no matter what Tyler Durden has to say about it. By virtue of being human, you have your very own subjective perspective, your own unique set of attitudes and thoughts. The content of your inner world is impossible to accurately compare to that of anyone else’s world, so it must but absolutely unique to you. Additionally, you have no access to anyone’s inner world but your own, which makes you special. It makes everyone else special, too.
But you are a snowflake and not a raindrop (or a Mack truck). Although each of us is locked into our own unique subjective vision, we human beings somehow share countless traits in common. In fact, every act of communication, from body language to written word, assumes that we have this shared vocabulary: we can only communicate what is common. And what do we have in common? We share a form of life, as Wittgenstein called it. In physical terms, this means that we have a common genetic makeup; in psychological terms, it means we have a common psychic architecture; and in spiritual terms, it suggests that we have the same kind of soul, though I hesitate to use the already overburdened term “soul.”
Read The Architecture.
Human experience, or consciousness, begins with three fundamental assertions. The first two are opposites: (1) an absolutely subjective experience, or a paradigm, and (2) a traceable objective structure, or an architecture. These two assertions are typically named “subject” and “object,” though we have projected endless misapprehensions upon the “object” and its corresponding “objective” position. Even worse, we are rarely willing to admit that these assertions are complementary to each other: humanists prefer to reject the architecture and scientists prefer to reject the paradigm.
Hence, in addition to these two assertions, a third assertion is necessary if we hope to grasp our very nature: (3) Consciousness is a unified whole split into two inseparable complementary parts. Awareness is defined as two indivisible parts: the subject and its object. This is known as a complementarity.
The Split Self
The most prominent complementarity in consciousness is the split between conscious and unconscious. We, each of us, are divided against ourselves. The vanishingly small conscious awareness, known to psychologists as Ego, explores its paradigm and, by the rules of its architecture, it is always aware of its own emptiness. The “I,” devoid of experience, is painfully aware of its ignorance. And so it seeks. It wants. This wanting is called conscious will.
The unconscious, known in totality to psychologists as Self, is robust and full of possibility—and conflict. That which the Ego and its conscious will seeks always lies somewhere within the Self. The perfect subjectivity of consciousness ensures that we never find anything that we did not already have within us. Hence in every person, place or thing, we see ourselves reflected and distorted, as in a funhouse mirror. This is the principle of holography, a necessary part of the subjectivity of consciousness.
Because the Self has all experience coiled as potentials within itself, any emotion, desire or belief found somewhere in the Self, whether it is in the Ego or in some other persona, has its corresponding opposite elsewhere in the Self. Thus, if you are often frustrated, you are sometimes complaisant. If you desire a promotion, you also desire to stay in your current position. Etc.
But the balance of opposites within the Self is rarely efficient. We have conflicting desires and turbulent emotional rampages. While balance always exists, it is rarely a peaceful balance. Hence, emotional extremes and conflicting desires and beliefs are unbalanced in the way a washing machine with all of the clothes bunched on one side is unbalanced. The machine finds a new balance, but it is not a peaceful one.
Subjectivity grants us the freedom to choose how we see the world. But it does not grant us the freedom to not choose, as all teenage philosophers have no doubt discovered by now. Your paradigm is an expression of your subjective uniqueness. This is what it means to have freedom: to choose how you interpret your experience. Actions, then, are only freely chosen in a derivative way because they are determined by our interpretations. Freedom begins not with action, but with awareness or mindfulness.
Mindfulness is prerequisite to choice and thus to freedom. Discovery can come suddenly, rendering the Ego aware of its Self in startling ways, but these discoveries can only come through careful attention to and recognition of the many elements of Self that are presented to Ego in the normal course of life. Without this careful attention, or mindfulness, what might have been a sudden discovery propelling both Ego and Self to new vistas of experience becomes a shocking tragedy or a horrifying secret.
Emotions, desires, beliefs, and habits left unattended are thereby out of balance. They are the disconnected ends of a unified complementarity, and only mindfulness can reunite them. In addition to these unbalanced elements, our spiritual attitudes also need careful attention in order to prevent them from landing us in a mental ward–or worse. Desires, emotions, beliefs, habits and spiritual seeking all need to be processed, but no one element is processed the same way as any other.
Read about emotional processing.
Ego, or the conscious self, is not mindful by nature. It must be trained to be mindful. It has its own will, its own agenda, which can operate independently of that agenda of the unconscious self. While the unconscious self has many elements and personae, it also has a central core which is present to all elements of Self. This core is the Daemon or acorn self which is holographically reflected into the rest of Self, dramatizing what was merely potential within Daemon, just as the oak grows from the acorn, manifesting the possibility that lay within. The Daemon also has its own will.
Good and Evil
Another persona of Self in addition to the Daemon is the Shadow. The unmindful Ego, in the course of its life experiences, collects a picture of what it prefers not to be. Into this picture is cast that which is considered evil. The Shadow represents the center of conflict between Ego and Self. It is the battleground upon which the agendas of the Ego and the Daemon engage against each other, with the Shadow championing the Daemon’s cause. This unmindful conflict is false good and evil, known as right and wrong—where the Ego, of course, is right and the Shadow wrong.
The Shadow is formed unmindfully and so it is a chaotic blend of traits, many of which are centrally important to the Daemon. When the Ego chooses to mindfully approach the Shadow, genuine Good and Evil are discovered: as the Ego becomes more and more acquainted with the Daemon, it learns that it must either control the Daemon or submit to the Daemon. The choice to do one or the other is great choice between Good (submitting conscious will to the will of the Daemon) and Evil (consciously controlling the Daemon) and, because of perfect subjectivity, neither avenue is right or wrong.
All of these elements of self, including the choice between Good and Evil, are written into the very architecture of consciousness.
The architecture of consciousness always impresses itself upon our experience. As Jung and those who followed him have robustly observed, our dreams and cultural symbols are rife with overlapping structures. These similarities are the signposts that point the way toward the traceable architecture of consciousness.
Because we cannot escape our very nature, we have an inner need to account for that nature, to explain it, to understand it. The mind does not know, but wants to know. Therefore, whether mindfully or not, the human mind assimilates from its environment (culture, parents, peers) a world-view or a mythos. This is the context within which the Ego operates; it is the stage upon which we see ourselves acting. Every human being has a mythos, which is a story of Self, World and Self’s place in the World.
A mythos is ultimately a theory or a model of reality. Because we can trace the existence of commonalities (due to the architecture of consciousness), we assume that an objective reality does, in fact, exist. But, due to our perfect subjectivity, we cannot be certain of what this objective reality looks like. All we can do is invent models to describe the data we collect about this reality. But every model is a caricature, a cartoon picture that cannot account for what we have not experienced. If all you know about China is that the people there have different eyes from westerners, then slit-like eyes will play a disproportionately large role in your model of Chinese people. Your model will be a caricature. Since we will never have a complete data set, all of our models are doomed to being caricatures. Thus, all belief systems are mythoi, mythic stories that grasp at the reality through metaphor.
We form our mythoi, however, based upon our values. Each of us has a unique subjective perspective and therefore we also have a unique sense of value. What we value is, in short, what we want: value is the object of will. As children, we form our mythoi unmindfully, and the values according to which we form this model of reality are conflicting.
If you want to freely explore reality, fulfilling your deepest will, you must revisit your values. You must choose the values by which you define what you accept as truth and what you reject as falsity. This is metatheory.
The mind wants to know and, whether mindfully or not, it invents a mythic model of reality as a means of knowing. Spirit, however, wants to be self-aware, or present, and, whether mindfully or not, it will entrust itself to a course of experience in its will to presence. Unfortunately, we often confuse these two inner drives for each other, mistaking dogma for faith. In our confusion, we take a mythic model of reality to be the object of the spirit’s drive to trust, which we call faith, investing completely in a picture of reality that cannot help but be inaccurate. When we mindfully separate our drive to faith from our drive to mythic modeling, we find that the proper object of faith is the mysterious unknown.
The mind both projects patterns and seeks patterns. Thus, the mythos you choose is the one whose evidence you will tend to see. And if you are committed to a dogma, then you will unconsciously ignore any evidence that contravenes your dogma because the mind will not suffer contradiction. All conflicts and anomalies are organized into opposite sides of the split between conscious and unconscious. Thus, the Shadow is slowly forged.
Responsibility is the measure of freedom and of creative capacity. The fulfillment of your deepest will is achieved through resolving these hidden conflicts. When a conflict is found, it is your responsibility to determine how to handle it—whether through acceptance (Good) or control (Evil). If you refuse this responsibility in any way, then you sacrifice some of your power to creatively determine your own experience. To take responsibility for everything in your experience and to approach it consistently (through either acceptance or control) is to have integrity.
Mechanics of Attraction
The mechanism of creative power is attraction, and attraction has rules. Every thought, action, and emotion you experience attracts more experience to you. Thus, while you cannot access the inner realities of others, you can still be affected by those inner realities through attraction. If you are unmindful, what you attract will be turbulent, chaotic, and confused. To approach self and world mindfully, consistently, and coherently is to become a powerful attractor, a powerful creator. As, for example, a mature adult does not attract teenagers for friends, so the mindful only attract the mindful. Powerful attraction is the honor that comes with the discipline of integrity.
How and why, then, do we strive for virtue, for excellence? Any effort at appearing virtuous or doing virtuous things nullifies the virtue, for it is intention that makes an action virtuous, not posturing. Your actions can only confirm your paradigm, so virtue is the outward declaration of an inward reality; it is the capstone achievement, the final project. Balance is stable and peaceful, leading the way toward ever subtler realms of experience. The cultivation of balance therefore leads to the cultivation of virtue and ultimately excellence or arete, the master virtue.
Virtue is a habit. While virtue rests upon a coherent, stable inner reality whose integrity you guard carefully, it does not come any more easily than chess or piano. Moreover, your inner reality will never be perfectly balanced, so your experimentation with manifesting virtue feeds back into your efforts at stabilizing the inner reality.
Punishment and reward cannot motivate virtue. They can only motivate posturing, or actions that ape virtue. Action and consequence are written into the architecture of consciousness, but they do not serve the purpose of reward and punishment any more than locking your cabinets serves to punish your toddler for playing with their contents.
Karma is the balance between the outer reality and the inner reality. It contains within itself the natural consequences of both your intentions and your actions. Karma is also holographic, which means that the consequences of your actions and intentions reveal to you what you could not have known about yourself had you not met with consequences.
Life As a Schoolhouse and a Playground
In all things, we do what we want. Our values, our mythoi, our desires all flow forth from the unique will with which we are endowed by virtue of being human. Although what we want is often conflicted, we still only do what we want. Hence, all of life, all of experience is but a playground upon which we explore the mysteries, the joys and sorrows, the frustrations and curiosities of Self. We are free to create upon the canvas of our own inner experiences and to manifest this creation as robustly as we like into the outer world through attraction.
But this playground has rules. What happens when we tire of a particular kind of experience? What do we do when we are ready to stop repeating the same cycle over and over? We attempt to balance the inner turbulence. We mature. We grow. What we attract to ourselves reveals to us where our lessons for growth lie. And unless we choose to grow according to the architecture of consciousness, we are doomed to stagnate, to feel restless, to keep failing 7th grade over and over.
The meaning of life is to experience everything you desire to experience, but the method of life is a careful movement from the rough and unrefined to the subtle and polished by means of lessons and tests.