Wisdom and Sorrow

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » MetaPhilosophy
  3. » Wisdom and Sorrow

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Khethil
 
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 08:20 am
Forgive the morose tone. But I wonder, is there much sorrow in wisdom?

  • By an appreciation for the complexities of life's questions, the philosopher must confront difficulty and confusion.
  • By coming to realize the relative nature of humanity, the philospher struggles to find clarity in the concepts of right and wrong
  • Through grasping, if only for a moment, the realm of possibilites in an unknown-universe, the philosopher's life thus far becomes small
  • By gaining knowledge of the vast damage done to people; past, present and future potential, the philosopher is saddened at humanity's legacy
  • In grasping the subjective nature of knowledge-gained, the philosopher comes to doubt what he thought he knew - doubts moreso all learned thereafter
  • Upon acknowledging our imperfect state of understanding in the universe, the ground on which the theologan stands suddenly feels less firm
  • As youthful arrogance is eventually supplanted by the humility only the most-honest philosopher will embrace, social interraction rewards that achievement by relegating him to the back of the room in favor of those with the loudest voice, most boistrous claims and most arrogantly-stated claims.
  • After digesting the constituent elements, subjective and otherwise, of the lotus, the philosopher suddenly finds that flower not quite as awe-inspiring. It can never match the 'wonder of the unkown'. Much like the virgin, upon experiencing that which was so oft anticipated; yet now has experienced the thing, the magic is gone.
  • Upon urking through the complexities of political structures, interpersonal relationships and sociological phenomena, the philosopher; now imbued with a greater understanding, realizes that not a soul cares to hear it. The personal reward (not the least of which includes the journey itself) remains, yet no capitalization on that knowledge - for others - is to be had.
I know a good lot of folk who never posit such questions. Still more who, without shame, answer "I don't know and don't really care" when such issues are discussed. No problem...

Enlightment and Wisdom, as much as I'll cravenly pursue such things, I must admit, may never equal the tranquility of mind had such questions never been asked.

I wonder...
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 09:10 am
@Khethil,
"Ignorance is bliss."

On the other hand, from even partial wisdom and knowledge can come tranquility, dignity, and a certain sense of freedom. We suppose Sokrates to have lived unburdened by the heavy weight of sorrow; so too, Epictetus. Nor were such men devoid of courage.
We remark that, despite physical pain and isolation, Nietzsche could attempt to practice a joyful wisdom and tell fellow philosophers to dance.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 10:36 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;26550 wrote:
Forgive the morose tone. But I wonder, is there much sorrow in wisdom?

  • By an appreciation for the complexities of life's questions, the philosopher must confront difficulty and confusion.
  • By coming to realize the relative nature of humanity, the philospher struggles to find clarity in the concepts of right and wrong
  • Through grasping, if only for a moment, the realm of possibilites in an unknown-universe, the philosopher's life thus far becomes small
  • By gaining knowledge of the vast damage done to people; past, present and future potential, the philosopher is saddened at humanity's legacy
  • In grasping the subjective nature of knowledge-gained, the philosopher comes to doubt what he thought he knew - doubts moreso all learned thereafter
  • Upon acknowledging our imperfect state of understanding in the universe, the ground on which the theologan stands suddenly feels less firm
  • As youthful arrogance is eventually supplanted by the humility only the most-honest philosopher will embrace, social interraction rewards that achievement by relegating him to the back of the room in favor of those with the loudest voice, most boistrous claims and most arrogantly-stated claims.
  • After digesting the constituent elements, subjective and otherwise, of the lotus, the philosopher suddenly finds that flower not quite as awe-inspiring. It can never match the 'wonder of the unkown'. Much like the virgin, upon experiencing that which was so oft anticipated; yet now has experienced the thing, the magic is gone.
  • Upon urking through the complexities of political structures, interpersonal relationships and sociological phenomena, the philosopher; now imbued with a greater understanding, realizes that not a soul cares to hear it. The personal reward (not the least of which includes the journey itself) remains, yet no capitalization on that knowledge - for others - is to be had.
I know a good lot of folk who never posit such questions. Still more who, without shame, answer "I don't know and don't really care" when such issues are discussed. No problem...

Enlightment and Wisdom, as much as I'll cravenly pursue such things, I must admit, may never equal the tranquility of mind had such questions never been asked.

I wonder...


I don't know, but I DO care.
At the risk of sounding like I'm proselytizing, give this a read:
The Four Noble Truths

Tock (still looking)
 
nameless
 
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 02:34 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;26550 wrote:
Forgive the morose tone. But I wonder, is there much sorrow in wisdom?....

"Keep away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow (is not humble -n) before children (innocence!-n)" --Kahlil Gibran

("Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius)

Quote:
Enlightment and Wisdom, as much as I'll cravenly pursue such things, I must admit, may never equal the tranquility of mind had such questions never been asked.

This "tranquility of mind" that you mention is personal experience? This is something that you experienced 'before' asking/formulating your questions?
Or are we 'formulating questions and answers' (what the brain does), thereby not manifesting a "tranquil mind".
Is not a "tranquil mind" One without 'thought'?

Quote:
I wonder...

...and there goes the 'tranquility'!
*__-
 
Khethil
 
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 03:59 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
This "tranquility of mind" that you mention is personal experience? This is something that you experienced 'before' asking/ formulating your questions? Or are we 'formulating questions and answers' (what the brain does), thereby not manifesting a "tranquil mind".
Is not a "tranquil mind" One without 'thought'?


Hey Nameless, thanks for the reply.

The tranquility I refer to is a combination of my perception and what I'll call "rational thought". Lemme put it this way, and I'll hope this doesn't sound too ridiculous:[INDENT]We've all known people who seem to just be at peace with their life. They don't talk the deep talk, there are no wondrous questions bouncing about in their heads and they haven't dived into the cauldron that comes when one realizes their own subjectivity. These folks haven't read and meditated over the implications of Descartes, Sartre, Russell, Dostoevsky or <whomever>. These are good people; people with real hearts and quick wits; yet because they haven't dived into this cauldron of doubt, this full-hearted realization of the evil humans can reap, they aren't so troubled. A good cup of coffee, a nice walk, a pleasant lunch and a slap on the back from friends at work and life's good. They'll sleep well tonight while I toss and turn, trying to reconcile today's bill passage with Mill's or Plato's conception of the proper role of the State.
[/INDENT]Once you dive in *that* deeply, *that* honestly into the implications of philosophical inquiry, no longer is the world a simple 'tranquil' place.

Wow, I think I just went off the deep end there. Does this make sense? Is it coherent within the context in which I placed it?

Thanks again - off to have a few drinks with the wife.

PS: Perhaps 'tranquil' isn't the right word. Not unnecessarily troubled might have been better
 
nameless
 
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 02:14 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;26587 wrote:
Hey Nameless, thanks for the reply.

De nada.

Quote:
The tranquility I refer to is a combination of my perception and what I'll call "rational thought". Lemme put it this way, and I'll hope this doesn't sound too ridiculous:
We've all known people who ....

Does this make sense? Is it coherent within the context in which I placed it?

Your definition makes sense to me. And I'd agree that ignorance is most certainly bliss!

Quote:
Thanks again - off to have a few drinks with the wife.

Nice! Have a great time.

Quote:
PS: Perhaps 'tranquil' isn't the right word. Not unnecessarily troubled might have been better

She's ready, GO!
*__-
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 03:16 am
@TickTockMan,
nameless wrote:
At the risk of sounding like I'm proselytizing, give this a read:The Four Noble Truths


This is good stuff. If anyone hasn't clicked this link and checked it out, you outta. The summary of these four truths isn't long and isn't esoteric. They strike me as rationally and experientially undeniable.

For me, such principles sometimes end up laying on my 'faith shelf'. It's a bit hard to deny their wisdom and utility, yet implementation is difficult. Along side them lay all the principles I'll be the first to stand up and praise, but either cannot (or will not) live. Unfortunately, hypocrisy lives in us all.

Thanks Nameless
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 11:25 am
@Khethil,
Good post Khethil... Reminds me of Ecclesiastes, which I've always found to be a very good read:

I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

What is twisted cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.

I thought to myself, "Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 12:31 pm
@NeitherExtreme,
When somebody has wisdom, maybe it is because their wisdom is able to change faster than most others that brings about sorrow.
 
William
 
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 01:48 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Khethil,
Sorry, I have not responded sooner, but I think I know where that sorrow, you speak of, comes from. I honestly do not think that it is sorrow, but a frustration that is felt as we come to the realization the answers that we are searching for cannot be found in the knowledge we have gathered. Let's face it, we have gathered a lot of knowledge over the past thousands of years.

We think that is a long time, but in reality, it doesn't even make a dent on the Universal Calendar, if there is such a thing.

Yeah, there is truth in the knowledge we have gathered, but it is mixed with a bunch of other "stuff" too that throw's us off track as we seem to think "all of it" will make some sense, and that stems from the fact that we have been programmed to think, "the more we know, the better". I think you and many on this forum will attest, that is simply "not" the truth as we consciously try to find that truth amidst all we have learned. It can't "consciously" be done. That's were the term "serendipity" comes into play.

I only learned of what this word meant a few months ago and it tied up a "big loose end" for me. Answers.com online dictionary defines serendipity as:
"The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident",
only I don't believe they are "accidents".
.
I wrote a small scenario of what "serendipitous" thought could mean in another post. I define it as "when you concentrate on others before self, amazing miracles happen. Let me explain. When we are alone we have a tendency to concentrate on the "I" such as your post suggests, as you feel "sorrow" in that you are unable to find those answers we as "philosophers" think we can to eliminate the misery in the world. I think I am correct. Please feel free to correct me if I assumed wrong. Where that frustration and sorrow comes from is, IMHO, a selfishness that leads us to believe if we could just figure it all out, "our" lives could be so much better.

Now in analyzing that statement one would think it has the most altruistic intent. As a matter of a fact to even question it would be construed as "insulting". The truth is if we weren't so selfish, we could have solve the problem's that plague us long ago. We can't solve our problems individually, but others can solve our problems for us. It's a "give, give" situation. "Take" has nothing to do with it.

We have so many terms that identify our concern for "self". Such as self reliant, self control, self esteem, self assurance, self worth, self confidence, etc., etc., etc.. We are so self absorbed in ourselves, we pay little attention and devote little dedication to the welfare of another to the point it is actually "foreign thought" unless we have something to gain from that "giving" which, is IMO the most rewarding of which to be a relief from those pangs of conscience that have a tendency to haunt us.
Here is the quandary in which we find ourselves.

We have created a reality that, in order to be "up", we strive to keep other's "down". It gives us a "warped" sense of meaning and purpose, when it fact it is just "mean". Isn't it amazing how close the words we use are to the truth, it is the usage of them that really matters. So much get's lost in translation. It's not only "mean", it's oppressing and that make's us feel "good". That is the reality we have created and we have concocted rationalization's that deafen the "conscience" that allow us to justify being "mean". This is a global problem. Now please don't forget the broad brush I use to communicate. I am fully aware there are "magnificent" exceptions.

Most of the world is too involved with "self" to realize how truly "dependent" we are on others and have been forced to pattern our live's on being "self sufficient". How so very "isolating" and "lonely" that is when you really stop and think about it. We just do not trust each other, and never have. It's that simple.

There have "always" been strings attached that prevent's "serendipitous thought" and communication to occur. What I have also defined as "Divine thought and communication". Just as "coincidences" and "serendipity" are not "accidents", in that they are Divine.

Here is the truth, IMHO, and that is the more we consider and appeal to the welfare of other's; other's will indeed insure our own welfare. No strings attached. Now here's the catch. It can only work from the "top-down" as those who have in abundance what it takes whether it be knowledge, talent, skill's, labor, wealth (in the beginning) to "lift" those who have less by providing them the freedom and ability to "rise" on their own, in their own time. That is "love" personified and it is "unrequited". Are we capable of such "selflessness"? I choose to believe we are. To consider a "malicious" intent, destroy's my ability to "think clearly".

You will be amazed how rewarding this is. It doesn't matter how small or seemingly insignificant those "selfless acts" are, they will not go un-noticed. Of course as it is now, the ego is constantly in a defense posture that interprets an offer of kindness as a threat as it is conditioned to "look for the strings" and also appearing "weak" in that "who are you to think 'I' need help". This really exacerbates the problem even more. So you see we are between a rock and a hard spot. How do we surmount the problem we have before us?

Time for me to reel in again. Khethil, I just wanted to help in offering what you are feeling is not your fault. I believe in our eternal future, which puts me in no hurry whatsoever. We have a long way to go. The answer that will take your sorrow away rests in you if you can stop worrying about it so much. That keeps you from thinking "straight". Which only adds to the problem. No "one" is going to solve all the problems that face us. It will be a "group" think kinda deal, once we truly come to our senses.

Kindest regards,
William
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 05:19 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;26622 wrote:
This is good stuff. If anyone hasn't clicked this link and checked it out, you outta. The summary of these four truths isn't long and isn't esoteric. They strike me as rationally and experientially undeniable.

For me, such principles sometimes end up laying on my 'faith shelf'. It's a bit hard to deny their wisdom and utility, yet implementation is difficult. Along side them lay all the principles I'll be the first to stand up and praise, but either cannot (or will not) live. Unfortunately, hypocrisy lives in us all


The Buddha once said: "Unless you are as eager to find enlightenment as a man whose hair is on fire is eager to find a pool of water to jump into, don't do it. It's just too hard."
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 07:49 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil;26622 wrote:
This is good stuff. If anyone hasn't clicked this link and checked it out, you outta. The summary of these four truths isn't long and isn't esoteric. They strike me as rationally and experientially undeniable.

For me, such principles sometimes end up laying on my 'faith shelf'. It's a bit hard to deny their wisdom and utility, yet implementation is difficult. Along side them lay all the principles I'll be the first to stand up and praise, but either cannot (or will not) live. Unfortunately, hypocrisy lives in us all.

Thanks Nameless


Khethil, this is more in-depth (and I feel more accurate) explanation of the Four Noble Truths. You might want to give it a read when you have a bit of spare time, if you're interested: The Four Noble Truths
 
nameless
 
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 02:14 am
@Khethil,
Khethil;26622 wrote:
This is good stuff. If anyone hasn't clicked this link and checked it out, you outta. The summary of these four truths isn't long and isn't esoteric. They strike me as rationally and experientially undeniable.

Though I have been well acquainted with Buddhist teachings, I read your link anyway.
I understand the doctrine, but I have some difficulties...


–verb (used without object)

1. to undergo or feel pain or distress: The patient is still suffering.

According to the #1 definition, all living beings suffer, on occassion, throughout their lives.

2. to sustain injury, disadvantage, or loss: One's health suffers from overwork. The business suffers from lack of capital.

Again, another state common to all that live, at times!

3. to undergo a penalty, as of death: The traitor was made to suffer on the gallows.

4. to endure pain, disability, death, etc., patiently or willingly.

–verb (used with object)
5. to undergo, be subjected to, or endure (pain, distress, injury, loss, or anything unpleasant): to suffer the pangs of conscience.
6. to undergo or experience (any action, process, or condition): to suffer change.
7. to tolerate or allow: I do not suffer fools gladly.

To 'undergo', to 'endure', to 'tolerate'; all living 'undergo', all living 'endure' (when they no longer 'endure', they no longer live!), and all, to one extent or another also 'tolerate' (what else can one do?).
To say that anyone can through some practice, with some drug, by some effort of will or body can eliminate any of these 'lifesigns', seems downright fraudulent at worst (convince someone that they are a 'sinner' and sell em a savior) or silly at best. As a 'seduction' to a beneficial 'practice' (such as Buddhism) seems a 'moral' question; ends and means thing.
To redefine 'suffering' as the pain that comes from attachments is ok inasmuch as you are clear that all that you are 'selling' is a way to, perhaps, avoid some of the pains in life.
'Undergoing' any pain is 'suffering', we all do it. Ask any Buddhist that you meet if he knows anyone that has followed the doctrines and became free of all 'suffering'! I have never heard one.
'Enduring' becomes something completely different when not 'attached', but pain there will be. This is life. How we deal with the pain, how we behave while in pain, how we treat others while in pain, how that pain tears us from our 'center' (or 'if' it does!) is, perhaps, a sign of a 'practitioner'.
But live, and pain there will be.
Everything comes and goes.
Re: attachment;
"Sometimes we are so busy hauling our clouds around, that we thereby miss moments of sunshine."
Not 'attaching' will allow us to not miss that sunshine when it shines, or that pain, that is part of a full and multi-dimensional life.

Quote:
For me, such principles sometimes end up laying on my 'faith shelf'. It's a bit hard to deny their wisdom and utility, yet implementation is difficult. Along side them lay all the principles I'll be the first to stand up and praise, but either cannot (or will not) live. Unfortunately, hypocrisy lives in us all.

We are who we are, I have never heard the universe ask our desires!
As for 'hypocrisy', we have no choice in who we are and how the universe is. A cry of 'hypocrisy' is an ego stroke for the cryer; judgement, ignorance, unfulfilled expectations (now there's an 'attachment' that bears no sweet fruit!).
One moment actually has no connections to another moment, quantumly discrete. How can there be 'hypocrisy'? That is why the 'attachments' of 'expectations' lead to 'suffering'. Disillusionment is painful, but a step toward 'truth', no?

Quote:
Thanks Nameless

Namaste'
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 01:57 pm
@nameless,
nameless;26677 wrote:
Ask any Buddhist that you meet if he knows anyone that has followed the doctrines and became free of all 'suffering'! I have never heard one.


Not in this life.

My limited understanding of Siddhartha Gautama's teachings leads me to the idea that the point of practicing the Four Noble Truths in this life is to lead the way to escaping Samsara and finding an end to suffering by reaching Nirvana.

I know . . . WAY oversimplified.

nameless;26677 wrote:
We are who we are, I have never heard the universe ask our desires!


This reminds me of a quote (from Woody Allen, I think) which I have used on this forum before, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."

Namaste to you as well,
Tock.
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 01:56 am
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;26737 wrote:
Not in this life.

So, 'suffering' ends at death? Hahahahaha!!
(Not, of course, if you believe in reincarnation... then, the fun just goes on and on and on...)
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 09:53 am
@nameless,
nameless;26766 wrote:
So, 'suffering' ends at death? Hahahahaha!!
(Not, of course, if you believe in reincarnation... then, the fun just goes on and on and on...)


Yet I somehow manage to get out of bed each morning and go about my day.
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 11:47 am
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;26811 wrote:
Yet I somehow manage to get out of bed each morning and go about my day.

For now...
*__-
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 12:11 pm
@nameless,
nameless;26818 wrote:
For now...
*__-


Yes, indeed. I consider that fortunate. It's a beautiful day here.
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 12:25 pm
@Khethil,
True learning of oneself is the most harrowing experience one can have.

This, I imagine, is the sorrow.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 12:33 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power;26821 wrote:
True learning of oneself is the most harrowing experience one can have.


Perhaps you've never ridden a motorcycle in traffic . . . .
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » MetaPhilosophy
  3. » Wisdom and Sorrow
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 09/28/2021 at 06:53:44