ExternalIncoming Links📰 A Nihilist’s Guide to Meaning | Melting AsphaltNow we can't all be Jesus or Harry Potter, of course. But if meaning is pointing, then the meaning of one's life must reside in the arrows that point outward from it, influencing the External world. That's why we so often talk about meaningful activities in generic terms like "connecting with others," "paying it forward," "having an impact," "leaving a legacy," or participating in something "bigger than oneself."But the bigger reason to separate meaning from pleasure is that pleasure is a strictly subjective experience. You can close your eyes and bliss out as hard as you like, and the pleasure you experience will be no less valid because it's "just in your mind." Meaning, on the other hand, is entangled with External reality, making it possible to be wrong about it. And thus the pursuit of true meaning requires an outward orientation to the world.Every action you take to benefit someone else is an arrow pointing outside yourself and influencing the External world.📰 Objects, Objectively | Meta-RationalityWe put indefinite messes (cell cultures, for instance) in containers to give them External boundaries, and to shield them from External influences. Rationality works because we’ve engineered the world to more nearly conform to definite ontologies.📙 All Things ShiningPerhaps this is a lesson about the sacred that we are now in a position to appreciate: when things are going at their best, when we are the most excellent version of ourselves that we can be, when we are, for instance, working together with others as one, then our activity seems to be drawn out of us by an External force. These are shining moments in life, wondrous moments that require our gratitude. In those episodes of excellence, no matter the domain, Odysseus’s voice should ring through our heads: “Be silent; curb your thoughts; do not ask questions. This is the work of the Olympians.”As described in the Gospels, Jesus is a successful reconfigurer. Like a god, he let a new world be. In that new world people are defined by their Inner desires and intentions, not their External actions.📙 The Body in PainThe human imagination has its collective expression in civilization: it is the thing created. But this created thing contains within itself the process of its own creation, the system of production and reproduction by which it comes into being, sustains and perpetuates itself. It is civilization conceived in this way—not as a stable and completed object to be Externally assessed in its freestanding activity but as something that seems at once Interior to that thing, the process residing within it that brings it about, and yet Exterior to the thing, the vast artifact in which all other artifacts (pitchers, plates, cities, and systems, all objects collectively designated “civilization”) are made and modified—that is Marx’s subject.The general distribution of material objects to a population means that a certain minimum level of objectified human compassion is built into the revised structure of the External world, and does not depend on the day-by-day generosity of other inhabitants which itself cannot be legislated.📙 The World of PerceptionKant saw clearly that the problem is not how determinate shapes and sizes make their appearance in my experience, since without them there would be no experience, and since any internal experience is possible only against the background of External experience. But Kant’s conclusion from this was that I am a consciousness which embraces and constitutes the world, and this reflection caused him to overlook the phenomenon of the body and that of the thing.Honey is a slow-moving liquid; while it undoubtedly has a certain consistency and allows itself to be grasped, it soon creeps slyly from the fingers and returns to where it started from. It comes apart as soon as it has been given a particular shape and, what is more, it reverses the roles by grasping the hands of whoever would take hold of it. The living, exploring, hand which thought it could master this thing instead discovers that it is embroiled in a sticky External object.