Summarize your philosophy in a few sentences

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Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:14 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Reality is a possibility dynamo. There is a need for every possibility to be manifest. Each event creates more possibilities.

All meaning arises from the relation of opposites.

Life is made out of ideas. We forget that they are our own ideas... as we do when we're dreaming.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:35 pm
@Arjuna,
We are more than just the results of personal agency. We are integrated cogs in integrated living systems natural and memetic, such as but not limited to, biology, language, psychology, culture, chemisty, physics, and spirit.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:07 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;169194 wrote:
We are more than just the results of personal agency. We are integrated cogs in integrated living systems natural and memetic, such as but not limited to, biology, language, psychology, culture, chemisty, physics, and spirit.
I was going to put "E Pluribus Unum" on my list.
 
LordScroop
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:47 pm
@Arjuna,
To summarize my philosophy I would use a quote. "Nothing be good nor bad but thinking makes it so" Thats one of the most profound and easily understood axioms of our lives.

__________________
Rogere Sarge, Wilco
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:48 pm
@Render,
Render;168831 wrote:
I see users post a lot of meaningful content and have intellectual debates and I couldn't help but wonder what they would say if given only a few sentences to describe their own personal philosophy towards life.

Thank you for asking this interesting and challenging question. I hope that these two sentences don't count towards my total! (Alas, it makes little difference whether they do or not. I am afraid you have opened the floodgates here!)

I don't yet have a philosophy. What I do have is a large 'philosophy-shaped hole' in my mind. I will therefore try to describe the shape of this large and painful mental hole, hoping that such a description will partly suffice in lieu of a proper answer to your question. Even if it doesn't, I'm afraid it's the best I can do at the moment.

People tend to think of themselves as conscious, free, rational, ethical, realistic, sexual, curious, inventive, and uniquely individual beings. It is clear, however, that some things exist in the world of mind which are other than conscious, free, rational, ethical, realistic, sexual, curious, inventive, and uniquely individual human beings. If this is not already evident, it is suggested by the existence of algorithms which in limited contexts can almost pass the Turing test. Automatic computation now provides us with a simplistic model of psychological and social processes already going on in the world of mind (a simplistic model which cognitive scientists sometimes seem to come unfortunately close to mistaking for reality).

People conform to social norms; they suppress their own thoughts and feelings; and in extreme cases (not even necessarily very extreme) develop so-called 'mental illnesses'. It is impossible to comprehend actual human behaviour on the naive hypothesis that it all proceeds from conscious, free, rational, ethical, realistic, sexual, curious, inventive, and uniquely individual human beings - people who actually know and care what they are doing. However, nothing is more important, at least to a human being, than the welfare and companionship of other conscious, free, rational, ethical, realistic, sexual, curious, uniquely individual human beings.

How much, then, in the world of mind, is actually understandable on the basis of what I called the "naive hypothesis"? How does one actually live with other human beings without being taken in by a mere hypothesis as if it told the whole truth about ourselves and our relations with each other?

To what extent is it possible, by acting as if the "naive hypothesis" were true, to make it come true, thereby in a small way helping to bring about a better world, in the midst of what so often seems to me to be a Man-created Hell of insanity, indifference, cruelty, irrationality, callousness, hostility, stupidity, ignorance, absurdity and destructiveness? Can the "naive hypothesis" become a truth, rather than self-deception and blissful ignorance? Can naivety become wisdom, perhaps through being loved and cherished as if it were a child growing up?

This is a 'philosophy-shaped hole', as I have called it, because it seems to be almost impossible even to discuss the problem in ordinary language, and anything which strains so hard at the boundaries of ordinary language is, I submit, a philosophical problem. If I am mistaken in that belief, then perhaps someone will kindly direct me to where what I have called "the world of mind" is described, in such a way that we can recognise our own presence in it, as conscious (etc.) individuals, along with whatever other entities (perhaps gods, demons, ids and superegos, societies, concepts, 'mental illnesses', languages, theories, mathematical objects, ideologies - and even philosophies!) inhabit the mental world alongside us.

In one sentence (because I know I have failed to be brief enough, although that can't be helped): what, then, exists in the world of mind; what are its flora, fauna, and ecology; and where do we fit in, as (to whatever extent we really are) conscious, free, rational, ethical, realistic, sexual, curious, inventive, and uniquely individual human beings?

In eleven words (will that do?): do we really exist, and if so, where do we exist?

What this description omits is a secondary philosophical problem. In my youth, tormented remorselessly by my family, and almost totally isolated elsewhere, I escaped from the primary problem, which I have tried to describe here (with how much or how little success I cannot guess), by retreating from actual lived and shared human life altogether, into dreams, science fiction, endless silent thoughts, secret cross-dressing (a horror of homosexuality seems to be the main way I have kept myself from relating to other people), and an obsession with pure mathematics (at which - please excuse me for boasting - I was talented enough to take part in an International Mathematical Olympiad, and to obtain what were officially described as "phenomenal" marks in the Cambridge open scholarship examination, at least twice as many marks as were needed to win a scholarship). Of these retreats, pure mathematics alone offered a genuine way into the human world from which I seemed so profoundly and wordlessly alienated. But my belief in mathematics and in myself as a mathematician collapsed (when I first experienced sexual desire, at the age of 20), so I am left with the secondary philosophical problem of explaining to myself, even if to no-one else, what mathematics is.

Platonism is no mere academic question for me; it is a question of life or death. Having, so to speak, glimpsed and then lost the Forms, I have lived in a suicidal Hell for nearly 39 years. I have tried all the obvious ways out, including suicide, and including putting my trust in people who gave me to understand, in one way or another, that they knew something relevant and could help me in some way. At the end of virtually a whole lifetime of such mistakes, I know nothing better to do than to ask in whom and in what I can reasonably put my trust. I am back with Socrates, asking all the obvious questions, being repeatedly disappointed in my search for wisdom, but never giving up. I'm trying to find those Forms again.

I have learned a lot about the negative side of life, and now I am trying to find what I truly believe to be its positive side, even though I still feel that I am a zero (and I am certainly no hero, not even to myself).

I expect a loud and resounding silence to follow this post. I'll get me coat.

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 10:56 PM ----------

Reconstructo;169164 wrote:
As human beings, we largely live in our abstractions. When we are walking down the street, we see the street, and we call it real. But how far does our vision extend? And yet we know that we live on something like a giant sphere. This knowledge is an abstraction. A perfect sphere is something intuitional even. We also know that the sun is a fusion reactor, to speak metaphorically.

Have you ever felt this as a reality (so to speak)? Have you ever pressed your back against this spinning ball of rock and mud and felt yourself burned by an unthinkably hot nuclear fire an unthinkably long way away? It is scary.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 04:26 pm
@Render,
I don't think anybody should underestimate the importance of physical wellbeing as one foundation for philosophy. Not for nothing did the Platonic academy emphasis gymnastics and athletics. Indian philosophy has its systems of physical yoga, and Chinese has qi gong and the whole martial arts tradition. A worthwhile philosophy engages the whole body and all of your faculties, not just electrical impulses racing around the cerebellum.
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 04:50 pm
@jeeprs,
Every academy should have its gymnasium. We shouldn't have our heads stuffed with all that Cartesian dualism. Smile

---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 12:28 AM ----------

(This isn't a thread for debate, but having already transgressed, I suppose I might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb!)
Reconstructo;169164 wrote:
We have this strange abstraction "mind" which is really a tricky concept. We have never experience "mind" without "matter" or "matter" without "mind." Both abstractions exist within a unified conceptual system-- and this conceptual system integrates all of our thoughts about our "selves" and our "world." Both of these terms are abstractions which can be and often are edited.

Beware premature syntheses! In the preface to the 1988 edition of A Sense of the Cosmos, Jacob Needleman writes:
Quote:
The fact remains that we do not understand: both the modern scientist and the spiritual seeker in us are unsure of themselves. What I argue is that it is under such conditions that a creative encounter can take place within the individual man or woman of today. New outer syntheses, new philosophical systems and world-views, no matter how inspiring, cannot take us far without that inner encounter of forces. And a teaching that guides us towards that encounter is far more necessary than a new synthesis on the plane of ideas. [...] A merely conceptual synthesis of the spiritual and materialist impulses can blind us to the structural divisions of our nature which can work harmoniously together only under submission to a far higher interior energy than that of the cerebral intellect. A merely philosophical synthesis would only be substituting one dream for another - the dream of inner progress for the dream of outer progress. [...] My aim in this book, therefore, has been to speak not of the convergence of science and spirituality, but of their separation. [...] In human life [...] there can, I think, be no real unity except through the awareness of real divisions.
Reconstructo;169164 wrote:
Objectivity is grounded largely on language. What we consider "real" and not just a "fantasy" or a "dream" is largely determined by the conversations we have with others. We simply aren't islands and never have been.

That half-truth is a necessary corrective to the half-truth of egoism (and is probably the main reason why I mean to get down to reading Heidegger, Real Soon Now), but you're lucky if the sense of yourself that is derived from conversations with others doesn't leave a part of you, perhaps even the best part of you, irreducibly alone and shivering on its cold desert island. Have a care for it!
 
harlequin phil
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 06:49 pm
@Render,
my personal philosophy -

Lighten up, none of this matters, stop taking things so damn seriously. it's all pretty easy if you let it be. you can accomplish "great things" and do what needs to be done, take care of necessities, and have fun at the same time. play is more important than we give it credit for, and is too overlooked.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 06:54 pm
@Render,
Good point. I think there's a lot to be said for reaching a state of mind where nothing matters, but in a good way. Not like 'life is meaningless, soon we'll all be dead, nothing matters', but 'I am not the centre of everything, life goes on as it will.' Detached rather than nihilistic.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:05 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;169235 wrote:

Have you ever felt this as a reality (so to speak)? Have you ever pressed your back against this spinning ball of rock and mud and felt yourself burned by an unthinkably hot nuclear fire an unthinkably long way away? It is scary.

Honestly, not exactly like that. But I have been struck by it in other ways. A ball of nuclear fire roaring its heat and light from 91 million miles away. (?)
I know that "miracle" is not an acceptable word for something that is always there, but....there is a f*ing giant fireball in the sky!

Still, this mania is for dramatic effect. Like others, I go about my business all too often like life isn't unutterably strange. (Strange in relation to what? It must be because we can negate the given conceptually. Why this way? Why this world? Why these 3 primary colors? You know old Blake's description of the sun...


---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 08:12 PM ----------

Twirlip;169252 wrote:

Beware premature syntheses! In the preface to the 1988 edition of A Sense of the Cosmos, Jacob Needleman writes:

That half-truth is a necessary corrective to the half-truth of egoism (and is probably the main reason why I mean to get down to reading Heidegger, Real Soon Now), but you're lucky if the sense of yourself that is derived from conversations with others doesn't leave a part of you, perhaps even the best part of you, irreducibly alone and shivering on its cold desert island. Have a care for it!


I agree with all of this. It's just one of those things about communication. If one over-qualifies, one is not understood. Let's take Marx. An exaggeration of the economic to balance a certain neglect of it. That sort of thing. As to the dominance of abstractions, that's my pet theme right now. The threads "ineffable" and "insignificance of qualia" are attempts to look at the conceptual sensual-emotional aspect of life.

I have had such an island-tendency in my life, that I'm not worried about the corrective over-correcting me. But there's no telling how one's abstractions, which are beads on a string, will be interpreted by others.
I think there is a sort of self-fetish that is even encouraged in us, because it makes us eager consumers of identity-markers, etc. But one could always swallow the identity of the man beyond identity. Ah, abstractions and their twists and turns. There is deep beauty (and sorrow) in life beneath the layer of our self-obsessed abstractions, I think. The self-idol demands eternity either from an afterlife or an artistic accomplishment, etc. But I'll shut up now, because this is all just still abstractions/metaphors.Smile

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 08:14 PM ----------

Twirlip;169252 wrote:
Every academy should have its gymnasium. We shouldn't have our heads stuffed with all that Cartesian dualism. Smile

I agree, even if that remark is aimed at me. :sarcastic:
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:17 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;169243 wrote:
I don't think anybody should underestimate the importance of physical wellbeing as one foundation for philosophy. Not for nothing did the Platonic academy emphasis gymnastics and athletics. Indian philosophy has its systems of physical yoga, and Chinese has qi gong and the whole martial arts tradition. A worthwhile philosophy engages the whole body and all of your faculties, not just electrical impulses racing around the cerebellum.


But what about the people that just want to stay armchair philosophers... literally?
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:22 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;169323 wrote:
If one over-qualifies, one is not understood.

You're right; I understand you. (No irony intended.)
Reconstructo;169323 wrote:
I agree, even if that remark is aimed at me. :sarcastic:

It's OK, it wasn't! I was ruefully acknowledging that jeeprs was probably right about the danger of neglecting the body for the mind - and I was throwing in a Monty Python quote for good measure.
The Piranha Brothers
Quote:
Interviewer: Was it a terribly violent area
Mrs Simmel: Oh no......yes. Cheerful and violent. I remember Doug was keen on boxing, but when he learned to walk he took up putting the boot in the groin. He was very interested in that. His mother had a terrible job getting him to come in for tea. Putting his little boot in he'd be, bless him. All the kids were like that then, they didn't have their heads stuffed with all this Cartesian dualism.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:29 pm
@Render,
Zetherin;169332 wrote:
But what about the people that just want to stay armchair philosophers... literally?


It is just a recommendation. Speaking for myself, I didn't discover the importance of physical fitness until in my late 20's. I discovered that it definitely assists with emotional stability - less highs and lows - your heart rate drops a little when you are fit, which makes you feel more calm. I did a martial arts class for a couple of years also - I never advanced very far with it, but that Japanese discipline of 'moving from the vital centre' stayed with me. Plus Zen meditation - that helps harmonise the mind and body. Western philosophy is often overly intellectual, as per the handy Instructional Video from the Python team....

YouTube - Monty Python Philosophy Football
 
Twirlip
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:38 pm
@jeeprs,
"Nietzche has just been booked for arguing with the referee."

Wonderful!

Who'd be on the French team, I wonder? Camus in goal, obviously.

The Frogs would probably cheat and have Cantona.
 
LordScroop
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:45 pm
@Render,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reconstructo http://www.philosophyforum.com/images/PHBlue/buttons/viewpost.gif
As human beings, we largely live in our abstractions. When we are walking down the street, we see the street, and we call it real. But how far does our vision extend? And yet we know that we live on something like a giant sphere. This knowledge is an abstraction. A perfect sphere is something intuitional even. We also know that the sun is a fusion reactor, to speak metaphorically./Quote end.

Are you also alliding to the fact that what makes us and all thigs are atoms. Because they are at super speed , we seem to be what we see with the un aided eye. If we could slow the atoms down enough on a person we would see traight through him becuse he is mostly vacante realestate Smile But even if we cannot see him , he is still there.

I wonder if we sped up the atoms in this poor subject5s body, could he then turn and see us or through us ?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:50 pm
@Twirlip,
Twirlip;169252 wrote:
you're lucky if the sense of yourself that is derived from conversations with others doesn't leave a part of you, perhaps even the best part of you, irreducibly alone and shivering on its cold desert island. Have a care for it!

I am pretty damn lucky, because my wife is an angel, a heart of gold. And I have a few friends that I say anything to, no conversation limits.And even if I don't always get my abstractions across, it's never a problem of certain territories being off limits. Smile

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 08:54 PM ----------

LordScroop;169347 wrote:
Quote:
Are you also alliding to the fact that what makes us and all thigs are atoms. Because they are at super speed , we seem to be what we see with the un aided eye. If we could slow the atoms down enough on a person we would see traight through him becuse he is mostly vacante realestate Smile But even if we cannot see him , he is still there.

I wonder if we sped up the atoms in this poor subject5s body, could he then turn and see us or through us ?

Well, I'm saying that "atoms" are abstractions, that they are made of concept. But "concept" is also an abstraction, and so is "abstraction." And these two words, "concept" and "abstraction," are biased towards "idealism," but my own view includes, at times, a different division than the familiar mind-matter one. Human experience is largely but not completely by any means conceptual, and our idea of the world and the self are part of this conceptual experience. Concept is prior to either, and prior to "concept." It's hard to express. One has to look at things in a vaugely Kantian way and then see that noumena or the reality-behind-our-experience-of-it is still just our experience of reality, and one more concept among the others. There is no "outside" to life. We have sensations, emotions, concepts....In a practical sense, atoms exist. In a more strictly logical-philosophical sense, they are abstractions, mental-models.... but that is just one human's concept game...."mine":flowers:
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:55 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;169348 wrote:
it's never a problem of certain territories being off limits.


Strangely enough, this does not come as a surprise:rockon:
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:56 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;169350 wrote:
Strangely enough, this does not come as a surprise:rockon:


I'll take that as a compliment, my good friend Jeeprs. :detective:

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 08:57 PM ----------

LordScroop;169347 wrote:

I wonder if we sped up the atoms in this poor subject5s body, could he then turn and see us or through us ?

This is an interesting thought in itself. The word is, as I understand it, that we live mostly in empty space. But this is also an abstraction, although admittedly poetic. Smile
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 07:59 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;169342 wrote:
It is just a recommendation. Speaking for myself, I didn't discover the importance of physical fitness until in my late 20's. I discovered that it definitely assists with emotional stability - less highs and lows - your heart rate drops a little when you are fit, which makes you feel more calm. I did a martial arts class for a couple of years also - I never advanced very far with it, but that Japanese discipline of 'moving from the vital centre' stayed with me. Plus Zen meditation - that helps harmonise the mind and body. Western philosophy is often overly intellectual, as per the handy Instructional Video from the Python team....

YouTube - Monty Python Philosophy Football


You make an excellent point. My wife and I have decided not to replace my dying car. We've walked more, spent more time together, talk with our hearts beating away as we walk uphill thru the park. And it feels pretty great. Don't forget sunscreen.Smile
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 10:06 pm
@Ding an Sich,
Damned if I do,
Damned if I don't
Damned more if I don't try.

Not damned less if I do try?
 
 

 
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