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Preface for Paschaltide

It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, holy Father, almighty, everlasting God; but chiefly are we bound to praise thee for the glorious Resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the very Paschal Lamb, who was sacrificed for us, and hath taken away the sin of the world; who by his death hath destroyed death, and by his rising to life again hath won for us everlasting life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Brain: A User's Manual

El Sueño de la Razón Produce Monstruos
‘The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters’
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, 1799

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Welcome to your very own Brain™! Please read the entire manual before use, as this will help to ensure a long-lasting enjoyment of your Brain™ and its many proprietary features.

Your Brain™, in addition to running all of the processes of living that you currently enjoy, is also an organ of thought, and in fact, your only organ of thought (although your Heart™ and your Genitals™ will valiantly attempt to convince you otherwise). Although painful, especially for beginners, thought is a highly beneficial and useful exercise, especially if you wish to lead a life that has any kind of meaning, which you do (don’t lie).

The primary purpose of thought is to discover and apply Truth®, i.e., an intellectual statement of what reality consists in. The following uses of your Brain™ are accordingly strongly discouraged:
(a) As a means to nihilism, relativism, &c.: any system that excludes either the existence or the obtainability of Truth® is necessarily detrimental to the use of your Brain™.
(b) As a means to determinism, &c.: any system that excludes the existence of free will is, ipso facto, useless, since there is no such thing as use if there is no such thing as action—and if determinism were true, then it wouldn’t matter what sort of argument we used to avoid it.
(c) As a means to suicide: this has not been proven to impair your enjoyment of your Brain™, but we recommend that you refrain from finding out for certain.

In order to obtain Truth®, strict honesty must be observed about literally everything. To the extent that the user does not observe this recommendation, the manufacturer cannot be held responsible for impaired functionality or breakdown on the part of the Brain™.

Further guidelines:

1. Make sure your Brain™ has been properly relaxed before intensive use.

2. To enjoy its unique abilities at their best, try uploading any or all of the following to your Brain™’s memory bank:
(a) How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler
(b) The Organon and Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle
(c) On Bullshit and On Truth by Harry G. Frankfurt
(d) A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
(e) The Abolition of Man and Studies in Words by C. S. Lewis
(f) Lost In the Cosmos by Walker Percy
(g) Apology, Phaedo, and Protagoras by Plato
(h) The World’s Religions by Huston Smith
(i) Language Is Sermonic by Richard Weaver
The contents of the Oxford English Dictionary, the Chicago Manual of Style, and Roget’s Thesaurus are too extensive for most Brain™ units to upload, so keeping hard copies readily available is recommended.

3. Do not allow your Brain™ to overheat. Faulty syllogisms, tendentious inductions, fallacies, and spoilt friendships are likely side-effects of overheating. To avoid this, keep the following guidelines in mind:
(a) Anger is the commonest cause of overheating. Common sources of anger include reading comment boxes, pursuing clickbait, and negative experiences of the preceding few hours unrelated to current Brain™-related activities, though there are other causes as well. Anger must normally be allowed to dissipate over thirty to sixty minutes before your Brain™ can be used again at peak performance.
(b) Another frequent cause of overheating is the desire to appear up-to-date. This can sometimes be dispelled by analysis of fashionable wedding photos from the eighties, but many cases require the addition of our Perspective™ extension. A free but incomplete version of this extension can be obtained by reading the epilogue to The Discarded Image by C. S. Lewis.
(c) Pride is a third common cause of overheating. If you suspect that pride is an issue, try saying “I don’t know” to someone you dislike. If you find this difficult, your systemic problem is probably pride-based. Contact your Brain™’s manufacturer for treatment possibilities.

4. Do not use unsourced material with your Brain™, as this can cause problems similar to overheating. Common repositories of unsourced material (which often include viruses and trojans) include:
(a) Buzzfeed
(b) The Daily Beast
(c) Digg
(d) Gawker
(e) The Huffington Post
(f) Upworthy
(g) Anything with the phrase “you can trust” (exclamation mark optional) in its tagline
Addendum: The following sites are not technically unsourced material, because they are parodic; however, for this reason, they are frequently mistaken for sourced material by the unwary:
(a) Babylon Bee
(b) Clickhole
(c) Eye of the Tiber
(d) McSweeney’s
(e) The Onion
(f) The Toast

5. Be sure to maintain contact between your Brain™ and reality. This will help prevent loosened connections and lopsided reasoning, which are common complaints among the acquaintances of beginning Brain™ users. The following maintenance techniques should be performed at least monthly:
(a) Going outside
(b) Chatting with friends about non-Brain™-related matters
(c) Reading poetry and/or fiction
(d) Reading and/or talking to someone whom you significantly disagree with, solely in order to understand what they think
(e) Ordering/making, and attentively eating, a really nice meal
(f) Reading and/or talking to someone with difficulties you don’t have, preferably difficulties caused by trying to adhere to intellectual or moral principles you accept
(h) Doing something you have not done before (including but not limited to reading a new book)

6. When discussing any proposition, avoid thinking of it in terms of an Us Versus Them dialectic, as this impairs full Brain™ functionality and has a marked tendency to cause overheating. Instead, think of it in terms of a Coöperative Discovery dialectic, in which both you, the user, and the other Brain™’s user are engaged in a paired endeavor to discover more of the Truth®.  This can help prevent overheating, and maximizes the return of time and energy that you devote to the use of your Brain™.

7. When discussing any proposition, always seek to define the key terms of the discussion. This helps prevent both overheating and cross-purposes, a common complaint in Brain™-to-Brain™ activities.

8. Do not machine wash, as this can damage your Brain™’s functionality.

DISCLAIMER: THE OWNERSHIP AND USE OF A BRAIN™ DOES NOT GUARANTEE CORRECTNESS ABOUT MATTERS OF FACT. ANY GIVEN CONTINGENT FACT MAY BE UNAVAILABLE TO THE USER OF A PARTICULAR BRAIN™ UNIT, HOWEVER RESPONSIBLE AND EXPERT. DISCRETION IS ADVISED TO THE USER VIS-A-VIS ALL SYLLOGISMS AND CONCLUSIONS. THE USE OF A BRAIN™ IS PROPRIETARY TO THE USER AND CANNOT BE EXPROPRIATED TO ANY OTHER USER ON ANY GROUNDS. DEFECTIVE OR DAMAGED BRAINS™ CAN BE REPAIRED AT THE GENERAL RESURRECTION, SOMETIMES SOONER.

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1 comment:

  1. Love it!

    My one concern is the emphasis on truth and total honesty.

    The way I see it, the brain is a sort of data *filter*, and there is such a thing as too much data.

    Sometimes, too much awareness is maladaptive.

    I had a friend who claimed his problems were just because he was a "symptom of society."

    Well, maybe so, I said, but why do *you* have to be that symptom, given that many of us aren't? "Well, maybe I'm just more tuned-in to these cross-currents somehow" like a seismograph or canary in the coal mine.

    Well, for godsake and your own sake, I told him, figure out psychologically how to LOSE your attunement and TURN OFF your sensitivity to these cross-currents, these social "fields", because it's killing you!

    But he never did :(

    Sometimes too much light is as obfuscating as too much darkness. Sometimes ignorance or delusion serves flourishing...

    ReplyDelete