The Spook Meme

How do we get rid of the spook meme? The notion of "spooks" is not something that makes for good intellectual habits. It's pure epistemological relativism. Truth has its own life, whether or not it is perceived to.

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We don't, spook is a great meme and the only downside is that people haven't read Ego or Stirner's Critics to know what he was talking about.


A lot of people who use "le sp00k meme" haven't read Stirner and don't know what he meant by it. His idea was not that one should abandon all ideas (spooks), but that one should subordinate the ideas to his personal interests. He said that denying all ideas and focussing only on actual existing things was proper for children, and not for mature men.
Ironicaly, the people who say "spooky" in response to someone using an idea are doing precisely what Stirner identified as infantile, and applying his philosophy poorly.

Maybe i'm being nostalgic but i miss the earlier days of Holla Forums when it felt like more people understood Stirner instead of just posting memes.

Don't forget that with the word spook it isn't just about it being an abstract idea, but an idea that haunts and subordinates you to itself.

You get rid of the spook meme by actually understanding the reference behind it.
Spook doesn't mean "it's doesn't exist because it's in your head" but "you're enthralled to an abstraction"

Right, but the notion that all abstractions can be weighed against the preferences of the individual is relativism.

I wish we could get rid of it as a kneejerk term; understand that the term may have value as a tool against the genuinely "spooked", but that beyond that the term is worthless and that the notion of "despooking" for example is absolutely pointless. As OP said denying the following
is basically standpoint epistemology; a method of avoiding universalist discourse and theory. It's not outright denial but defacto denial in the sense that when you say "I don't believe in that and consider it illegitimate, so it's not real!". You're basically back to the derelict hovel of the German idealism from almost 200 years ago. Truth persists outside of the boundaries of ideology and the mind.

What the fuck are you going on about? Standpoint epistemology reduces knowledge to positionalist a la one's standpoint. I'm arguing for literally exactly what you're saying: Truth persists outside of the boundaries of ideology and the mind.

The spook meme is intellectual laziness and political convenience, much like your attack on it as supposed "relativism" (neither Stirner, nor any thinkers attacked as epistemological relativists held that truth is something that exists solely in the mind). It provides the cover for doing the actual work and exposing the contingency of a practice, notion, etc while at the same time allowing the poster to both maintain a political position accepted on this board (vague egoism) and attack certain hierarchies (race, gender/sex, etc) without actually associating with any of the intellectual traditions that provide actually elaborate critiques of said hierarchies and the knowledges that sustain them and so avoiding the inevitable reactionary outcry that follows assuming such positions; one can safely decry biological determinism in terms of gender as a "spook" without having to explain why or having to associate oneself with the feminist tradition. It affords a feeling of intellectual superiority and edginess without doing any of the actual intellectual work that would justify it.

Reading comprehension man.

So what alternative metric do you propose to weigh the value of an abstraction then? I honestly can't think of a better one fam.

Max looks like the singer from Mungo Jerry in this pic.

That's pretty fucking idealist mate, you're being a shitty materialist if you actually believe this.


Reason is only important insofar as it allows an individual to understand and enact their desires in the world. Why do you think reason is important in-itself?

What do you think materialism is? When you perceive reality as shaped by belief and ideology?

Materialism is the belief that everything in nature is material. It follows from this that immaterial things like "truth" don't exist outside the boundaries of the mind.
Reality isn't shaped by belief and ideology, it's our perception of reality that is shaped by belief and ideology. The real is inaccessible fam.

leftcoms everyone.

is materialism true?

Materialism is the belief that everything is material or is traced back to it. This includes things that go beyond nature, and indeed materialism posits that such non-natural things like consciousness are the product of matter in motion with other matter.

What kind of notion of Truth do you have here? In philosophical discourse, Truth refers to invariant truisms about the real material world and its ways. For the idealist, who believes reality is shaped by an always a priori ideology and perception, reality is the product of this in its own isolation, produced spontaneously or within the chain of ideological evolution separate from its true origins matter.

This is embarassing. Stop trying to botch Lacanian psychoanalysis and read Badiou and also actually read Lacan.

This is some pretty vulgar materialism.

Stop being so spooked and it won't bother you.

reducing the physical to basic dynamics / kinematics is what's truly vintage here. define motion and matter. also actually read some "german idealism", totally unfairly maligned. how do you account for the ontological gap? you have at least understood zizek on this, correct? badiou is almost hard platonist with mathematical truth from what i recall, and zizek has also attempted to recuperate Platonism to vindicate eternal Ideas such as Justice.

I'm not a Spinozist, I'm a Hegelian with a heavy Cartesian bent.
I believe it to be true, sure.

I misunderstood what you were trying to say, I thought you were making claims about transcendent truth existing in the world.
How exactly is this embarrassing? It's not untrue.

Vulgar materialism is the best materialism. But more seriously I didn't feel like being nuanced here and my post is roughly what I believe.

I'm interested how you reconcile res cogitans with your monistic description of the material. Is it true you believe it to be true? You are a Spinozist you just don't know it, seriously read Ethics past the ontological argument. Hegel said Descartes was "dry land at last", bringing us the foundation of absolute knowledge = truth.

this is what i don't get about the materialism discussed on this board. beliefs and ideas influence and direct human action and behaviour, which go on to produce real, material consequences. is that 'idealism'?

No, but some will wrongly call such things 'idealism'. This idealism is pretty much the strawman of feels > reals, which is a total oversimplification.

It's more that these beliefs and ideas cannot be there without being shaped by the material realm. There is no such thing as ideas and beliefs a priori, but there are ideas and beliefs, and they can influence the world.

ok that makes sense. so what is idealism as discussed here?

For most of Holla Forums it seems materialism = faith-based scientism with Marxism as science made unquestionable because fuck Popper tho. Idealism = any idea I don't like.

Of course ideas are "shaped" by the material "realm" otherwise there would be no connection between them at all. To understand the materialism of Marx and Engels you have to look at the historical context. Descartes solution to the problem of skepticism was of course to speak of clear and distinct perceptions (or ideas) inborn and implanted by God, as atheism was coming up hard then from Feuerbach and the like, this had to be challenged. Romanticism in a huge variety of forms was also a major current in Germany at the time, concurrent with and often conflated with Idealism. Yet Jacobi was a romantic and utterly opposed the idealists writing polemic after polemic. At the same time there was the feeling Germany had avoided the French revolution's (which everyone in Europe was completely obsessed with for obvious reasons) violence and tumult by having its own "intellectual and spiritual" revolution which negated the necessity, due to differing national character or whatever. Then you had the other Hegelians running around coming up with all kinds of elaborate systems, some competing with Marx like Stirner's, which he couldn't have. He saw them as a bunch of petit-bourgeois liberal snowflake faggots lost in meaningless poetic gibberish, who went around thinking they were so epin and dangerous with their bullshit, high on their own farts, but never had to put their money where their mouth was because they lived sheltered and pampered lives, much like the ones we have today. That's really all it was about.


get the fuck out of here the idea of the spook the purest piece of thought maybe ever. Don't do anything which doesn't benefit you, BUT, what benefits you is an extremely nuanced idea and is not so simple as being tyrannical. Conscious egoism is the communist mentality. Stirner represents only the self interest of the working class.

I maed this post on another thread

Skepticism is as old as philosophy and basically its entire reason for existing. Socrates and Diogenes trolled people directly about their spooks with differing posting styles.

So what the hecks going on? I'm a huge pleb who started with Stirner, and know nothing of real philosphic terms. Is there substantial argument that Stirner was an idealist as Marx supposedly says? I always thought that since The Unique and Its Property is just a massive ironic joke on Hegelianism that it was bound to be rooted in a materialist conception of the world. But I have nothing concrete of Stirner adhering to materialism or idealism.

For Spinoza being is univocal and eternal. But for Hegel being is negative; it's an aberration that requires resolution. The res cogitans is a negation of the Absolute. I feel like this is a very important distinction to make tbh. I haven't read much on Spinoza, but what I have read gave me the impression that he'd take issue with the idea of history as the process of man becoming absolutely sovereign.

I meant that reality itself isn't shaped by ideology, ideology's effect on the world is always mediated through subjects interacting with the world.

Spinoza is much richer than you may have heard. He argues that it is impossible for anyone to even be "wrong", ever, because all our ideas are just the result of material processes, such as atoms bumping into each other. That's like calling atoms incorrect. He goes much further into the consequences of materialism, even with a dual aspect of sensible consciousness (nature apprehended as idea), than most since.

I disagree with the details of your reading of Hegel here but I don't want to derail too much. I'll just state this:

yeah but concepts like reality, mediation, the world, interaction, subject, and etc are all finally just ideas aren't they? especially if as you claim, there is no unmediated access period. Why do you get to elevate some ideas over others (such as world and idea) in order to sketch out their ultimate and final interrelationship in toto?

You're probably right tbh, the only real contact I've had with Spinoza was from Zizek's critique of D&G through Spinoza. Ethics will probably be the next book I read tho.

Elevating some ideas over others is necessary because some ideas are more fundamental than other ideas. If you can express an idea in the terms of another idea then it's less abstract and more fundamental. Mixing different levels of abstraction can easily lead you to making inconsistent conclusions.

Yeah I could sort of tell you've been getting into him, with the focus on the "negative" and univocality of being. You really shouldn't take him so seriously as a thinker in his own right imho, he's really uneven and i feel like he is better taken as a curator of leads to others to follow on your own.

To abstract means to take away. As in you subtract all the "contingent" features of an idea to come to purer concepts with only "necessary" features (essences). But there is no guarantee what you are left with going to be truly general, rather than just an empty container housing your old naive ideas, leaving you with more flexibility but not truly much wiser than before. (Contrast with generalization.)

Your illicit move is abstracting so far that you strip out the part of "world" or "reality" that is its essence is still merely an idea, so you somehow have come to an idea that is simultaneously NOT-idea, rather its diametric opposite. Contradiction. Which is really at the core of what Hegel was trying to deal with.

Ya dun spooked.

This is your brain on Stirner, kids.

being skeptical for the sake of Skepticism is a spook.
Socrates whole "might doesn't equal right" thing was spooky af.
Diogenes self-flagellated by living in a barrel. seems pretty damn spooky, my man.
If you think these people are the same as Stirner, ya better make an argument or git gon.

isn't a belief system or ideal, it's just what it is, de-spooking yourself. capitalizing it doesn't make sense. are you afraid going the full mile will be corrosive to your spooks? fear is spooky tbh
nigga lived exactly how he wanted to and didn't give a solitary fuck what anyone thought, turned down patronage.
your assumption of hedonism being good is a spook.
"masochism is bad because i dont like it" p spooky
so what? he said what he felt like, was a shitposter and got iced for it. while respecting people is spooky, claiming you're somehow better than socrates as a retarded annoying faggot that you are, is just plain gay

Spooks aren't measurable against truth values though.
There is essentially no calculable truth value for "gay marriage is wrong" or whatever, unless you assign further criteria, and even then those criteria can be meaningless and arbitrary. ("Gay marriage is wrong according to the standards of SocDem post #158181" - well yeah, that's what the post's standards say - but why apply any weight to that?)

if that posts twice i'm going to be real mad

lol I can use skepticism to justify being spooked, tho. It literally has nothing to do with busting spooks, since it's a double edged sword .Also, there are groups that hold it on an altar. The """Skeptic Community""" is proof of that.

He glorified his austerity as a virtuous act. That's textbook spooky af.

Who said it was bad? The point was that he wasn't flagellating for himself, he was flaggelating for a fixed idea, and he even admitted it. Apparently he didn't value his autonomy. He would be considered one of the possessed men, as Stirner would put it.

That still doesn't make him any less spooked tho.

lol no one is saying they are better than Socrates, just that suggesting Stirner is the same as all those guys is insane if you've actually read him.

le stirner face

yeah, well that's what people do right? doesn't mean it makes sense.
lol, just because they can call themselves skeptics doesnt make them anything like it. what they hold up as an altar is scientism which is nothing to do with actual skepticism, almost all stirnerites ive encountered are spooked af (muh egilitarianism! muh veganism! etc) as well - and made stirner himself a spook. i agree the "skeptic community" are spooked out of their ass. caring about normies "appropriating" ur precious words tho… why? anyone can shit on anything by doing that. which means you're controlled by the arbitrary actions of idiots… very spooked.
got a quote? its been a while tbh. i dont think it was a common idea at the time to live like him fam. being spook free doesn't mean all your conclusions change constantly, where ever the wind blows. that's just being le dice man and spooked by chance itself.
not how it works at all. if you were really fully unspooked you wouldn't care either way, would you? "muh philosophers" is a spook. including of course stirner. so is "muh books", "history of ideas" etc.
well of course not but im saying he isnt nearly as unique or notable as his dick riders would have it. anyway alexander was fucking with diogenes life choices, socrates is held as a great example of a legendary gadfly/troll, whereas no one wants to be a literal cuck with no libido who opens a failed, flamboyantly fancy chocolate store and got absolutely slammed for all posterity by his ex bff karl.


Just because they are applying skepticism to things that don't make sense to you, doesn't mean it makes sense to them. You can argue it's shallow, but I don't see reason to say it's not legitimate.

Scientism is just the mode they use. They are skeptical for the sake of science, yes, but they also see their skepticism as its truest form.
You can argue that, but I don't know on what grounds, considering they are using skepticism, it's just not applied to their positivism.

On the contrary, truth does required a knower of truth, if truth was just what is out there, it would just he reality itself. You cannot separate truth from the individual. Sure saying everything is relative and I don't believe that so it's not true is infantile, but that's also not what stirner was suggesting. The fact is, most people care more about what is made up, what is abstract, then what is really out there. It is often the individual who tries to assert this true out there against the mass of people who care more for the abstraction within them.

Egoism is not saying that that there is no outside world, it takes the truth that man is the measure one step further. The unique one is the measure.

they aren't
no it makes a sense to me, in that i understand science and scientism, i mean i used to be literally 12 and an edgy internet atheist once. skepticism isn't "the truth is no more than whatever science says, check mate theists". they aren't skeptics, they are true believers and probably insecure about it. i mean how could you not be with such an empty, cheap and meaningless world view?
"legitimacy" is a nice ghost story kiddo
scientism is not a "mode of" skepticism. it's reflexive dogmatic credulity with respect to an already massively prestigious establishment, with the arbitrary exclusion of all else outside the perceived demarcation line. i have no idea how they see themselves, but i have no reason to give them the benefit of the doubt about their earnest beliefs either, nor do i see why its relevant how they justify it to themselves. might as well call young earth creationists skeptics as well. means about as much applied to them.
positivism is not a flavor of skepticism, and falls apart easily upon examination. skepticism is all or nothing. you can't just pick and choose on the basis of (how do they justify again?) really, while pretending to be a skeptic. what they try to label themselves as is of no concern to me. im sure you dont consider most of the Democratic People's Republics to be really socialism or as advertised at all either.
lol, but he completely chose to live like that. you need to read some actual existentialism, which covers this. skepticism opens your eyes to a radical freedom, but you still have to make choices. the point is YOU make them, not someone else. like most stirnerfags you appear to be using as a reflexive justification for your lifestyle and beliefs, a crutch. stirner is best read as a mind cleanse, getting rid of all the cobwebs, like any good skeptic. it's absurd it's been turned into this self-contradictory infinitely elastic church.
spooks are fixed ideas about conduct or belief you haven't really thought about and so pull your strings on someone else's behalf whether for good or ill to yourself or others, mostly without you even realizing. stirner's point is "question your preconceived dogmas". if any ideas after you have done that are still to your liking, then use them, but do so knowingly and of your own will. it's not about throwing the baby out with the bath water. that's just being a slave of another kind. you are defined then by what others make you reject. going up against dogma is exactly what socrates did by example. perhaps he didn't go all the way, according to you (i'm sure he would have disagreed), but literally no one can, ever. certainly not most stirnerites lol

Again, your only real issue so far is that you find their skepticism shallow and stagnant.
Hey, I'm not the one arguing there is a special metric for skepticism, you are.

Scientism is the host that carries their skepticism. Maybe I worded it better this time.

That still doesn't mean they aren't skeptical though. It's just skepticism in service of a master. I can see how it's upsetting to you, because their scope is so narrow, but that doesn't really add anything.

It's relevant if you care about nuance.

They are lol.
It's just not comprehensive or concrete.

They usually justify it by saying that science critiques itself because it is built into the method. Positivist do believe they are skeptical of themselves. I mean, you're probably right that if you inspect it harder, it falls apart, but I still think that's besides the point. Still looks like an argument for bad/good skepticism.

I don't, but I also think this is a false analogy.
The DPRK can be called a democracy by very few, if any, metrics. A much better analogy might be bourgeois democracy and direct democracy. Yes, we could call the U.S. a democracy, but only in a narrow sense compared to the Athenians. Likewise, you could say the same goes for scientism, but its skepticism only goes so far.

Sure, but the point was that he chose to give up his autonomy to a fixed idea.

I honestly justify nothing, since I openly admit I prefer my autonomy from social fixations. If others aren't inspired to, there's nothing I can do to change that. I also use skepticism, but only because it's something I value, not because of some higher existential reason.

Partially true, but I think this is just one form they take. The girl on the train example Stirner uses would fit this description, but he also points out people who believe themselves free from dogma, i.e. atheist. So it's entirely possible that people believe they are skeptical of all things, but somehow miss something in the process. That's why I think it's fair to say Socrates was spooked, because I do think there were things he overlooked, as far as what makes something "right" is concerned.

Wasn't suggesting it was, my dude.

It isn't that he didn't go all the way. He went all the way he could. I don't think he was some kind of failure.

Maybe you could start by actually understanding what is meant by the term "spook". I'm an egoist, and I tend to prefer to avoid the term because nobody actually bothers to read Stirner to know what it actually means. Instead, I prefer to use terms like "fixed idea" and "sacred construct" that basically capture the meaning of "spook" without all the lazy misunderstood bullshit around it. Basically a spook is a 'fixed idea', a concept that someone makes "sacred" in their mind despite their actual best interests. Like insisting to obey laws out of a sacred sense of duty instead of acting out of your true desires and self-interest. In this scenario, laws would be a "spook".

well we don't disagree that much, it's just a matter of nomenclature now. i hold skepticism as a philosophical attitude of ruthless criticism of all prefabricated ideas to the extent possible, and place Stirner in that vein. And he's definitely an overlooked proto-existentialist. There are many paths to skepticism, Stirner ventured down one in response to Hegel's systematics and the climate of political radicalism around him, as did Kierkegaard.

But I do not think the "scientific rationalist" ecelebs qualify, who i find to be the incurious lapdogs of an establishment institution who do not really do anything except compare outsider claims for correspondence to an accepted body of documentation produced by that institution. Which is pretty much unnecessary as they are effectively running extra PR for the most well funded and universally accepted human enterprise of all time, and doing it for free. But if you wish to call them skeptics then fine.

Anyway who cares? If you want an amazing read check out "Scepticism and Animal Faith" by George Santayana:

philosophy is fucking worthless tho, you can debate philosophy till you are blue in the face and you would still be standing exactly where you started from

say what you want about the free market, but at least it produces results, there is a reason you wont find philosophers in the private sector, its because they are fucking worthless
if all philosophers suddenly died, no one but their family would notice, but if all the actually productive, problem solving folks out there suddenly died, like doctors, engineers, innovative businesses, builders, solution providers etc etc we'd all be in the woods hunting squirrels with rocks, dying from starvation and disease in utter misery
i honestly dont even fucking know, but free market is doing this shit insanely well itself, find one worthless, pointless, bloated, unsustainable, inefficient business in the private sector and you quickly realize you cant, even if you do it quickly gets replaced by a much more efficient one

tl;dr philosophy is irrelevant and unproductive

Thanks, I'll give that a look through. Looks interesting.

I like what this thread has become

why is leftypol so full of pseuds?

you should read kant's essay 'what is enlightenment' and foucault's response with the same title, you might find it interesting and it's important for understanding the historical context of 'skepticism'

lol the kant and foucault on aufklaurung are like day one 101. thanks for ur contextualization though.

read it because Whitehead said it was the apex of the skeptical 'genre', was not disappointed. everyone should read it imho