Another One Rides the Bus

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Reply Wed 2 Jun, 2010 08:58 pm
Greetings, all. I'm joining the Philosophy Forum because I have a lifelong interest in philosophy and enjoy talking about it with people who don't always want to turn it into some sort of political argument. From what I've seen, that doesn't seem to be a problem here.

I consider myself a Neo-Plotinian Platonist and am also interested in other varieties of mystical philosophy and religion, especially Buddhism, Taoism and Sufism. I also have a blog that I update somewhat erratically; the link is in my public profile, if anyone's interested.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 02:40 am
@Mad Mike,
Welcome to the philo forums mike.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 05:17 am
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;172353 wrote:
Greetings, all. I'm joining the Philosophy Forum because I have a lifelong interest in philosophy and enjoy talking about it with people who don't always want to turn it into some sort of political argument. From what I've seen, that doesn't seem to be a problem here.

I consider myself a Neo-Plotinian Platonist and am also interested in other varieties of mystical philosophy and religion, especially Buddhism, Taoism and Sufism. I also have a blog that I update somewhat erratically; the link is in my public profile, if anyone's interested.

As it was in the time of Plato and Socrates, an idiote was one who held himself aloof from the politics of the Polis... Socrates was subversive at the same time that he held back because while doing so he advanced an anti democratic opinion which has usually been popular among philosophers...

I do not hold with such rubbish opinions or with those who hold them...No one is more able to express the needs and desires of an individual than that very same individual, and democracy as we know it, majority rule, is designed to deny all people their voice and needs...

So; I do not expect you to be non political... In the atmosphere in which we live, with old forms failing us so that people are looking toward their own spiritual well being, there is no safe harbor for thought... Freedom might lie in the shadows, and tyranny might roast in the sun...

I would not be paranoid, and yet say that we live in dangerous times, and if the military or police, heavily influenced by reactionary religion could, with the help of this sort of technology we use to talk, and in a short time, fill death camps to the brim... Or they could show up where you are and squirt a chemical up your nose and you would have taken your last breath... They have the power, and it is illusion to expect that dark forces are not at work, since the more irrational the thought the less reason can be brought to bear upon it... So; hold back from politics, and why not since few of us have the perspective needed to express an opinion..

and welcome
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 07:38 am
@Fido,
Quote:
Welcome to the philo forums mike.


Thanks, happy to be here.

Quote:
As it was in the time of Plato and Socrates, an idiote was one who held himself aloof from the politics of the Polis... Socrates was subversive at the same time that he held back because while doing so he advanced an anti democratic opinion which has usually been popular among philosophers...


"Idiote" literally means "simple," so I can't honestly say I've achieved that yet, but I'm working on it.

I didn't mean to say that I refuse to discuss politics in any sense whatever. As a self-acknowledged Platonist, though, I'd rather keep to general principles and stay away from transient phenomena like specific people, parties and policies. In keeping with that perspective, I'll say that this "democracy" thing sounds good, maybe we should give it a try sometime.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 08:25 am
@Mad Mike,
In what sense do you think Plato was correct that you would then call yourself a Platonist???...
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 10:53 am
@Mad Mike,
In a very general way, I'd say the thing I find most attractive about Platonism is the understanding of our ever-changing perceptible existence as the manifestation of the timeless activity of something unchanging. I find the same general understanding in Buddhism and Taoism, but perhaps because of my upbringing it comes across the most clearly to me through the Western formulation.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 01:18 pm
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;172469 wrote:
In a very general way, I'd say the thing I find most attractive about Platonism is the understanding of our ever-changing perceptible existence as the manifestation of the timeless activity of something unchanging. I find the same general understanding in Buddhism and Taoism, but perhaps because of my upbringing it comes across the most clearly to me through the Western formulation.

Care to prove any of that metaphysical claptrap??? If so my heart is always open...
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 01:34 pm
@Mad Mike,
Quote:
Care to prove any of that metaphysical claptrap??? If so my heart is always open...


From what I can see, it proves itself every moment.

Now let me ask you one: What was the very first thing to exist?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 01:47 pm
@Mad Mike,
Whatever happened to the old school Plotinists?


cheers and welcome,
Russ
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 02:15 pm
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;172546 wrote:
From what I can see, it proves itself every moment.

Now let me ask you one: What was the very first thing to exist?

Not what; but who; because if I did not exist to find the meaning of things they would have no meaning, so my being is their meaning, and that is the essential element of them, their meaning made possible by my being....

other than that; prove the claptrap
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 02:23 pm
@Fido,
Fido;172571 wrote:
Not what; but who; because if I did not exist to find the meaning of things they would have no meaning, so my being is their meaning, and that is the essential element of them, their meaning made possible by my being....

other than that; prove the claptrap


So you're saying you were the very first thing to exist? Geez, that makes you billions and billions of years old, doesn't it?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 02:25 pm
@Mad Mike,
OH BTW Mike have you met our resident guard dog?
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 08:06 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;172577 wrote:
OH BTW Mike have you met our resident guard dog?


Well, as Orpheus showed, even Cerberus could be charmed.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 09:16 pm
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;172575 wrote:
So you're saying you were the very first thing to exist? Geez, that makes you billions and billions of years old, doesn't it?

I was correcting your question; but I am as old as the universe, made of star dust, and more importantly, I give all meaning to all the rest of matter in the universe...As schopenhaur said: the world dies with me... In fact, it comes into existence with me...

---------- Post added 06-03-2010 at 11:18 PM ----------

Mad Mike;172768 wrote:
Well, as Orpheus showed, even Cerberus could be charmed.

Charmed, perhaps; but never charming..
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Thu 3 Jun, 2010 09:48 pm
@Fido,
Quote:

I was correcting your question; but I am as old as the universe, made of star dust, and more importantly, I give all meaning to all the rest of matter in the universe...As schopenhaur said: the world dies with me... In fact, it comes into existence with me...


"Correcting" my question, eh? Well thanks for the clarification; I thought you were just "avoiding" it.

What set this rather goofy semi-dialogue in motion was your claim that I was spouting "metaphysical claptrap" and your demand that I "prove" it. I asked you what was the first thing that ever existed and you went off into the ether.

Okay. Let me see if we can put this on a rational basis. Your "metaphysical claptrap" phraseology leads me to believe that you might agree with Bertrand Russell that "all metaphysical statements are meaningless." I know Russell was a super-smart guy, but that was a remarkably dumb thing to say: What is a metaphysical statement but a statement with a metaphysical meaning?

In any case, your comment leads me to suppose that you reject all "metaphysical" principles or explanations. Which I would take to mean that you accept the materialistic model of reality: All objects, processes or phenomena in the universe can be explained in terms of physical cause-and-effect.

Fine. So what was the first physical thing? And more importantly, if it was the first physical thing, what caused it?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 01:19 am
@Mad Mike,
Does anyone else see essences as Forms? Fido and I tend to agree on the importance of essences, but I don't know how he or others relates these to Forms.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 04:45 am
@Mad Mike,
Mad Mike;172786 wrote:
"Correcting" my question, eh? Well thanks for the clarification; I thought you were just "avoiding" it.

What set this rather goofy semi-dialogue in motion was your claim that I was spouting "metaphysical claptrap" and your demand that I "prove" it. I asked you what was the first thing that ever existed and you went off into the ether.

Okay. Let me see if we can put this on a rational basis. Your "metaphysical claptrap" phraseology leads me to believe that you might agree with Bertrand Russell that "all metaphysical statements are meaningless." I know Russell was a super-smart guy, but that was a remarkably dumb thing to say: What is a metaphysical statement but a statement with a metaphysical meaning?

In any case, your comment leads me to suppose that you reject all "metaphysical" principles or explanations. Which I would take to mean that you accept the materialistic model of reality: All objects, processes or phenomena in the universe can be explained in terms of physical cause-and-effect.

Fine. So what was the first physical thing? And more importantly, if it was the first physical thing, what caused it?

Yes; I would not agree with Russle, either; and I do believe people should push back against metaphysics to see if there is any there, there...

Metaphsics is a moral reality as opposed to the physical reality, and since there is no being in the sense of a physical being in metaphysics it is all meaning without being... As I said of the cosmos is equally true of moral realities, that it is our being that gives them meaning, and we share out that meaning out of our lives, which to us are all of meaning...

The reason we give greater or lesser meaning/value to all manor of qualities without being is that they have a power over our lives... We cannot prove the existence of justice, or love, or goodness, or freedom... These are moral forms without being; and yet we sense in their want, or their excess a certain effect on our lives that results in more life, or less life, and more meaning with life or less life and less meaning...

Since our conceptions of the physical world are spiritual, like our conception of self and of each other, and we live in these spiritual and moral worlds, and because these worlds present us with all our intractible problems -we cannot explain all by way of materialism... And that does not mean we have to accept the metaphysical rubbish of bygone ages to explain poorly what can better be explained today... It is not the spiritual which is real, and which has power... We are real and we have power, and it just happens that we cannot carry the things of life in our minds except by way of spiritualizing them, but that does not make the spirit real, but this method has helped humanity to be real, so that those who could best conceive of problems could best solve them, and so survived...
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 05:05 am
@Mad Mike,
If I may interrupt for a moment the discussion, welcome to Philforum!
It does seem that in today's world politics is the dominant force, even to capturing language; more and more, the solution to any problem is habitually sought in political thinking or action, much as in the last century, men looked to science.
Now while either horizon is productive, they also enforce a certain limit to thinking that philosophy avoids because it includes all perspectives under its aegis.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 05:07 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;172866 wrote:
Does anyone else see essences as Forms? Fido and I tend to agree on the importance of essences, but I don't know how he or others relates these to Forms.

Yes... I see all concepts/forms/ideas/notions; what have you as essences... And they are not exact by any means... They stand in a certain relation to the thing, yet the thought is never the thing, but we have it as analogy, and we see our worlds -the physical and the moral- by way of analogy...

That is one thing I have had clarified by Rudiger Safranski's book on Heidegger... The difference between thought and thing is heterogeny, and the points of agreement are homogeny, and we resolve these differences through analogy...

In the moral world we have no thing to compare with our thought, so what is the meaning of the thought in question is the question... We cannot ask what is justice because there is no such thing, but we can ask: What is the meaning of Justice; and if we do so we find a confusion of subjective life experiences, so the homogeny of thought with thing eludes us... Of moral reality all we have is analogy... We do not see the essence of justice, which does not exist, but we instead see our essence, how we conceive of ourselves spiritually reflected in these forms of meaning, like justice, or goodness, or virtue, or their counterparts...
 
Mad Mike
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 11:26 am
@Fido,
Fido;172904 wrote:
Metaphsics is a moral reality as opposed to the physical reality, and since there is no being in the sense of a physical being in metaphysics it is all meaning without being... As I said of the cosmos is equally true of moral realities, that it is our being that gives them meaning, and we share out that meaning out of our lives, which to us are all of meaning...

The reason we give greater or lesser meaning/value to all manor of qualities without being is that they have a power over our lives... We cannot prove the existence of justice, or love, or goodness, or freedom... These are moral forms without being; and yet we sense in their want, or their excess a certain effect on our lives that results in more life, or less life, and more meaning with life or less life and less meaning...

Since our conceptions of the physical world are spiritual, like our conception of self and of each other, and we live in these spiritual and moral worlds, and because these worlds present us with all our intractible problems -we cannot explain all by way of materialism... And that does not mean we have to accept the metaphysical rubbish of bygone ages to explain poorly what can better be explained today... It is not the spiritual which is real, and which has power... We are real and we have power, and it just happens that we cannot carry the things of life in our minds except by way of spiritualizing them, but that does not make the spirit real, but this method has helped humanity to be real, so that those who could best conceive of problems could best solve them, and so survived...


Can't say I agree with much of what you said, but that's what a dialectic is for. I'll start from the fact that I do definitely agree that "we cannot explain all by way of materialism." As I indicated previously, the existence of a physical universe can't be explained by its internal laws or properties, so there must be some meta-physical laws or properties that do explain it.

As to meaning, I'm of the school that holds that the meaning is "there" in the order of the cosmos, so it's for us to discover, not to create. And we can discover it because (and only because) we are that order, along with everything else (analogous to a hologram, maybe).

Reconstructo;172866 wrote:
Does anyone else see essences as Forms? Fido and I tend to agree on the importance of essences, but I don't know how he or others relates these to Forms.



Fido;172911 wrote:
Yes... I see all concepts/forms/ideas/notions; what have you as essences... And they are not exact by any means... They stand in a certain relation to the thing, yet the thought is never the thing, but we have it as analogy, and we see our worlds -the physical and the moral- by way of analogy...

That is one thing I have had clarified by Rudiger Safranski's book on Heidegger... The difference between thought and thing is heterogeny, and the points of agreement are homogeny, and we resolve these differences through analogy...

In the moral world we have no thing to compare with our thought, so what is the meaning of the thought in question is the question... We cannot ask what is justice because there is no such thing, but we can ask: What is the meaning of Justice; and if we do so we find a confusion of subjective life experiences, so the homogeny of thought with thing eludes us... Of moral reality all we have is analogy... We do not see the essence of justice, which does not exist, but we instead see our essence, how we conceive of ourselves spiritually reflected in these forms of meaning, like justice, or goodness, or virtue, or their counterparts...


This strikes me as getting pretty technical for a thread that's really just a personal introduction, but what the heck. From a technical Platonist point of view, Forms are not essences; rather, they have essence. In the doctrine of the One and the Indefinite Dyad, in Plotinus' version at least, the dyad is Nous and Ousias. The latter is Being, Substance and Essence, depending on the context. In effect, it's "being-as," or the simultaneity of "is" and "what it is." So it's there from the first "moment" of emergence from the indivisible One, while the Forms follow from the further differentiation of the "what it is."

Naturally, as a Platonist I disagree firmly with your suggestion that "In the moral world we have no thing to compare with our thought, so what is the meaning of the thought in question is the question... We cannot ask what is justice because there is no such thing." So I won't argue the point, because Plato et al. already have.
 
 

 
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