On Human Self Worth - Book index

I am elated to be part of this society. I feel honoured to be one of them. People here are righteous and honest. Their actions are perfectly aligned with their exhortations about the propriety of certain kinds of behaviour. They are fully devoted to this belief of theirs that material things are ephemeral and that only the spirit matters. Sometimes they call it “mind” or “soul”. We understand it through this inner agency of willfulness. Basically, it amounts to this true self we all have. This transcendent presence that sets us apart from beasts, plants, and the rest of the true self’s prison cell—what we call “nature”. They are refined people. As their teachings go, they do not attach value to their possessions, nor do they compete for scarce resources. These are pointless activities of lesser cultures. My people are different. They truly have ascended, as their tradition demands. Now they just wait to move on the next domain of existence.

There are many personas in this social milieu that I venerate. One that stood out recently is the PhD holder. That translates into Philosophy Doctor in case you thought something funny. They stand up to this title. Their ability is peerless. Their knowledge vast. All of their statements are precise, insightful, and unambiguous. Their intentions pure. I find it remarkable how higher education, with the seemingly disproportionate value it attaches to administrivia, can turn an ordinary bloke into such a fantastic specimen of higher intellect. It truly is a wonder, akin to training a monkey into becoming a master dialectician in the mould of Socrates.

As an aside, one should not use the term “administrivia”. It might carry negative connotations. We do not want to imply that formal education has a misplaced sense of pride and duty in its cumbersome bureaucracy. A more appropriate description is “criteria of excellence”. They ensure that fraudsters are kept away from universities.

Take, for example, the case of this random fellow who submitted their website as proof of their language skills. Years of writing on different topics. As if that even comes close to having a language certificate! Thankfully, the people in charge outright reject the uncertified. They even have programs in place where it is impossible to even submit something that would be subject to qualitative assessment. Brilliant! Fraudsters have all sorts of tricks up their sleeve. They might cheat their way into a Doctorate. That would be the equivalent of poisoning the well.

So no more “administrivia”. My mistake.

Education of that highest order deserves all the accolades it can get. For it delivers splendidly on its sole objective of emancipating people from ignorance and prejudice. Riches and reputation are petty concerns among ignoramuses.

I would argue that we are in the PhD holder’s debt for their service to society. They instruct the rest of us. Their mere presence inspires us to the point where we need not act for ourselves.

Here is a case in point: a hotly contested topic is discussed on TV. By the by, “TV” in this society signifies “True Vision”, enlightenment. It has nothing in common with the junk food of information diet other peoples get from their television. Again, this society is different. Back to the story then. Politics is inherently controversial. We all have our views and predispositions. Thankfully, there is the Philosophy Doctor to resolve the tensions; tensions caused by ignorance. Their input in the discussion is catalytic. They tell us their opinion and, bam, as if by magic, we all assume this to be the default view.

And I note this phenomenon because there can be no other explanation as to why years of study equip one to state the conventional wisdom in slightly different terms. It must be that we retroactively change our view to match that of the Philosophy Doctor. It cannot possibly be that they are just acting as the intellectual vanguard of the establishment. No, that does not befit an exalted intellectual agent such as the PhD holder you see on TrueVision.

And this why I truly love this society and would do everything within my power to be of service to it. Here social status is not about pretences and titles. It is about merit. We respect the Philosophy Doctor. Period. It is not because of their awe-inspiring CV, remarkable though it may be. It also has nothing to do with their esoteric terminology and tangle of conflicting meanings that can only hint at profoundness. Don’t be silly. We only value their wisdom, the very essence of their Doctorate. For that is what education endowed them with: not status, just the prowess, nimbleness, and clarity of mind.

Now, to be perfectly honest, there are some naysayers, a fringe group, who are suspicious of such personas. They claim that a PhD is only tangentially about science. Most of it has to do with conditions outside the realm of philosophy and research. Such as competition within the academic world. Funding and their economic starting point. Their conformity with the rules, norms and expectations of the powers that be. Their cultural background and how that influences people who vouch for them. And so on. Those despicable nihilists even have the temerity to suggest that they respect Philosophy Doctors—Philosophy Doctors—only after they have proven their intellectual worth, never in advance. In other words, they do not care about the title; the title that the highest and most noble of educations has bestowed upon them!!!

Such blasphemy. Fortunately, I am not part of that lot. I try to emulate the good people in my society. The honourable folks. Learn from them all the secrets of proper living. Currently, I am working on this unique skill where you mean something completely different than what you state. Usually the exact opposite. That way you can preach humbleness, humility, simple life, and the like, while ignoring the minutiae, such as the fact that you have the most expensive car possible—and not just one—, or that you accrue material possessions with unparalleled obsession, or even that you boast about your achievements in the workplace, by words and/or actions, and insist that your wealth is proof of your merit.

This is the best aspect of this society. It knows where its values are: in what you say about yourself, not who you are. Hence my infatuation with its Philosophy Doctors on TV. All of them! This society has decided to attach a special value to their very status as PhD holders. That is what matters. Ignore the naysayers. Everything they do is in vein, like having a healthy meal at a fast food restaurant.

The Philosophy Doctor speaks the truth. We retrofit our conventional wisdom to it. And then the naysayers interpret this in reverse, i.e. that, by and large, the PhDs are just parrots of their paymasters or slightly less crude ignoramuses who repeat in chorus the absurdities of some greater, more respectful, ignoramus. Ha! How foolish can you be to not see the obvious. The title is no coincidence. They truly are Philosophy Doctors and they guide us on the path to intellectual ascendance.

To this end, I fully endorse this society’s binary thinking about intellectual achievements. You do not have a PhD? Then you obviously are an idiot, an oaf, a charlatan, a dishonourable opportunist, and must also be a malevolent person and an eccentric, who defies the zeitgeist and who openly questions the criteria of excellence this society has put in place. You do not hold a PhD, ergo you are no Philosophy Doctor. You are a misguided moron for thinking that your opinion matters without the rubber stamp of authority. You are pathetic, as you have chosen to speak your mind despite the fact that you are not a Philosophy Doctor and cannot possibly have anything meaningful to add to society’s stock of knowledge. Shut up and accept what your ability—your merit—renders possible. Toil at the sweatshop for hours on end. No, no talk. No thinking. You cannot be ruminative. Get up and do something. One, two, one, two, one, two. Up, down, sit, stay, heel. Good.

I am the greatest proponent of this society and will answer the call to defend it with alacrity. Being a hero for this lot is a great achievement. It perpetuates it. And I would do that. For I truly believe that the establishment’s power is derived solely from their inner superiority. Such meritocracy has to be upheld at all costs. Less worthy beings, such as myself, who cannot fully grasp the workings of this society can at least perform the honourable task of sacrificing themselves for the rest to be allowed the freedom to advance the most enlightened of civilisations.

Oh, but I cannot help but be reminded of those naysayers, insignificant though they may be. Their call is like a siren’s song. Alluring, yet deceitful. They put up those posts: “heavy burdens on broader shoulders”, “break the symbiosis between the state and the oligopolies”, “bring back the real bread”, “homeland presupposes justice”, “patents engender trolling, not innovation”, and similar fancies.

But I know better because I heard on TrueVision a Philosophy Doctor who elaborated at length about the virtues of this society. No, their pontifications were not unfamiliar. They were reformulating that which the naysayers call “conventional wisdom”, embellishing it with their oracular wisdom. Only fools pay attention to the naysayers. There is no conventional wisdom. We are buffoons by default. The Philosophy Doctor is performing an act of genuine altruism: that of moulding the public opinion in the interests of enlightenment, of Philosophy, of goodness for its own sake. There are no ulterior motives whatsoever.

Here is why I am writing this: today I saw the light like never before. But unlike the other people, it left me blind to pretenses. Now I can no longer believe in appearances. They are meaningless. I must touch things to assess their verity. Or at least have some objective means of confirming their presence and of understanding their features. This has made me pedantic, some may say annoying and acerbic. Impossible to work with. I feel no excitement about things as they are presented. Fortunately I had the luck to have had prior experience of this society. I already attained knowledge of the true value it attached to social status, before this nagging tendency to ask for evidence and to question conventions. Today, it would be impossible to provide credence to the advances of the Philosophy Doctor. Imagine my predicament, my misery! I was lucky to be indoctrinated. Just as I have always been blessed to be immersed in this milieu.

Make no mistake! This society is different. I can only pity the naysayers who do not cherish what is given to them.