I am Scott Hoge, and welcome to my website. Hoge-Essays represents my effort to express new and occasionally controversial ideas to the world of academics, politics, and government. The subjects of the essays contained on this website include philosophy, mathematics, theoretical physics, biology, politics and psychiatry. One essay details an unusual incident in my personal life and examines what might have led to it. The essays are aimed collectively and largely at a consideration of the problem of world suffering and of its possible resolution.
About me: I am a philosophy and computer science double major. As a child, I was a precocious mathematics student, teaching myself calculus at age 13 and proceeding to learn tensor calculus (the mathematical language of Einstein's theory of general relativity) the following year. Hoge-Essays began in 2009, following my repeated confinement in behavioral facilities after I had brought up the subject of suicide. It was during this time that I began to question the role of psychiatry in my life as well as challenge the diagnostic labels that had been applied to me since childhood. I suddenly realized that my surrounding culture's view of life was full of common prejudices. These prejudices range from handed-down phrases, which constitute flawed ways of speaking about the physical world, to deeply ingrained convictions about the nature of right and wrong.
The content of some of the essays is so shocking that I was once pulled out of class and goaded for almost an hour by a faculty member who turned out to be a Virginia Tech alumnus. He had found the essays on my website and expressed a concern that I would go on a shooting similar to Cho Seung-Hui's. He further threatened to have me expelled from school and placed back into a behavioral facility. Despite his efforts, I avowed not to become angry during the meeting and now look toward graduation (with 35 straight A's to boot).
The idea that the masses' view of life is awash with prejudices is not new. In his essay On Liberty, John Stuart Mill writes:
"[On] any matter not self-evident, there are ninety-nine persons totally incapable of judging it, for one who is capable ... How has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was fallacious. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this ... [He] has a right to think his judgment better than that of any person, or any multitude, who have not gone through a similar process." (Chapter II)
In my reflections, I aim to live up to this expectation. Rather than merely "pick a side" in a controversy, garner a network of friends on that side, and inveigh against those on the opposing side for all the wrong reasons, I attempt to probe the source of a controversy, giving it all the due care and attention that a mathematician gives to a delicate math problem. In the case of politics, this typically leads to a realization that individual policies are in themselves neither "good" nor "bad," but derive their significance from their participation in an entire system of policies contributed to by the actions of many individuals. In such a system, there may turn out to be a dearth or an abundance of happiness, however happiness is so measured. The exact level of happiness is dependent upon millions of variables and almost never adjusts concretely with the adoption of any single "good" policy. But that is just one example of the way in which, through the avoidance of fallacy, careful judgment is arrived at. People commit all sorts of fallacies when they pretend to know what they're talking about, and that includes many professionals, politicians, and political activists today. 2 pp. 1 p. 2 pp. 2 pp. 20 pp. 3 pp. 2 pp. 8 pp. 2 pp. 2 pp. 8 pp. 13 pp. 5 pp. 11 pp. 1 p. 4 pp. 5 pp.
It needn't be added that some people will be provoked upon reading my essays. Any time someone comes along to challenge what "everyone knows," they are met with unanimous hostility, as Einstein himself noted. He further added in a time capsule note that "the intelligence and character of the masses is incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce something valuable for the community." Sadly, this has been the truth in my society. In the United States, I find a preponderance of citizens who lack a heart and who refuse to question their base cultural prejudices. Yet there will be some who will identify with what I write, understand my frustration with all those who promote suffering, and perhaps find the courage to speak out on issues that the majority has been too shallow to confront.
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My website is also home to the Yahoo! Chess Game History Watcher.
At the time of writing, 2009, I'm a 26-year-old philosophy major. My hobbies include reading, writing, math tutoring, environmental protection, playing my keyboard, gaming, and having fun (when possible!). I have a photo gallery with only one picture, but I might get others.
What Are These For?
These are serious essays, some of them devoted to controversial subjects. They are absolutely free to download, print, and exchange, and I've made an effort not to balloon them up to a size larger than needed. Where copyrights occur, you may do the same and exchange them, as long as you do not write the product off as your own. I don't want a single word of my poem to be altered!
What Makes Them Special?
Aside from their brevity, most of them I have written in suffering after a five-month-long project of continuous labor ('trying for God') ended in nightmares and hallucinations. Frighteningly enough, I've also been retching in response to social maltreatment, and while there are numerous times I would have liked to commit suicide, some of my experiences while 'trying' were so horrific that I have stayed alive, in part to protect others. You may read more about these experiences below.
Notice to Police, Clinicians, and Psychiatrists In Case of Baker Act
My written letter to those who would Baker Act me, which I carry with me and have included here for reference, free for download, alteration, and personal use.
Why I Choose Not to Take Medication
My written letter to the psychiatric community and others who would tell me to take medication, also included for reference and free for download, alteration, and personal use.
Why I Haven't Simply Committed Suicide
A defense of my decision to remain alive despite suggestions that those who suffer should kill themselves.
Before You Call Me Delusional
Recommended reading for those who would challenge my claims in the following essay.
Am I a Victim of Intellectual Sabotage?
I describe what was possibly the most frightening coincidence I have ever encountered in my life.
The rest are written mostly on the subjects of science and philosophy. Each essay can be downloaded in .doc format to print in Microsoft Word. If you have any comments at all, you may mail them to me or write them in the Guestbook. I've provided links at the bottom of this page and each essay for that purpose.
In Defense of Animal Rights
I refute four arguments against animal rights.
The Weaknesses of Competition for Individual Strength and the Evolutionary Value of Small Size
I show that being large and muscular has consequences in addition to benefits.
Supernatural Numbers and Undecidable Arithmetical Statements
I give a proof of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and a short intuitive description of ZFC + ~G.
Many-Worlds and the Origin of Life in the Universe
I discuss the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and some of its explanatory power.
I outline several definitions of trust, one based on the theory of reward expectation.
Rejection and Asperger's Syndrome
My thoughts on Asperger's Syndrome as someone who has been diagnosed (though I do not claim to have it).
Expected Reward and Psychosis
A theory of psychosis in terms of social reinforcement
and reward expectation.
Darwinism and Sexual Selection
A survey of Darwin's theory of evolution and an associated theory of sexual attraction.
Christianity as Deliberate Lie and Political Dominance Strategy
A theory of Christianity as a lie used to dominate Christian servants.
Poem: If God Were a Bully
I wrote this poem before the above-mentioned essay to depict the cruel possibility of a God who tortures ugly people.
The Role of Genetic Adaptation in the Creation of New Ideals, Societies, and Political Systems
I describe how we may adapt over time to laws and political systems, such as socialism.
Drug Use: Anecdotes and Fallacies
I detail my experiences on several drugs and examine some key issues associated with drug use.
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