There's an aspect to our common interest that's long hit me with some measure of irritation and I'm curious if others see the danger also, or if perhaps I'm just getting it wrong. I'm going to couch this in an intentionally-exaggerated manner to illustrate the point
and ask some questions at the end. Here we go..
[INDENT] You arrogant fool - you can't absolutely *know* anything. Don't you realize that you are a prisoner of your own mind? In this, your little universe, you sit completely subordinated to your perceptions, preconceived notions, biases, personal experience and the undeniable fact that; well, you don't *have* all the facts - none of us do. That chair that sits in the corner, may not be at all. What you did this morning: Well that's very likely something you just *thought* you did. Don't trust your eyes, ears, nose, mouth or touch because they too only give you input, not necessarily reality.
[INDENT] You didn't do that by your own decision, you were lead to. You might have thought you made a decision to pick that orange from our tree, but you didn't really
. Your actions were simply a part of a complex set of variables; actions and reactions that inexorably led you to that particular next-step. If you think, for a moment, that you have done anything of your own free will you're an arrogant puss. You can't do anything of your own volition - you are a product of all that has taken place before you; but a link in the chain towards what will occur after. All actions are but reactions.
[INDENT] You're here one day and gone the next. There's nothing you'll do here that wont, over time, be washed away by the passage of time, the actions of others or the elements. It's futile and fool hearty to try and make any difference since no effects of your actions will persist. So, you think (and) therefore you are? Think again, that's just a construct of your own ego, prove to me you actually exist; you can't, hah!
[INDENT] Bill is a great guy. He helps us all! From his place on high he dispenses justice according to his own ideas. No, you can't see him, you can't hear him, you can't touch, taste or feel him, but I tell you he's there! If he wasn't there, then how could we have birds, snickers bars or goat cheese?! Ok, well prove to me he isn't - prove to me you never read "War and Peace". You can't! See? I win. Besides, the Holy Book of Snufflelufugus
says says that W=I and E=S.
[INDENT] "Air" doesn't really mean air. It means <this>, the dictionary is wrong. Sure, I know we used established dictionaries to define the terms in our world, but they're wrong. Fortunately I am here to give unto you the *real* meaning of this term. Further, since both an apple and an orange are both fruits, you shouldn't have any problem selecting when I ask you for a bite from that fruit bowl. They're both fruits and are therefore the same thing. What are you, dumb or something? Cows chew cud therefore cows and cud are the same thing.
[INDENT] God means whatever you want it to. Let's not talk about actual existence; because, well, that doesn't really matter. What's "right" isn't what's best for us as humans, it's all contingent on culture - they
define what's right and wrong. So what's right for Sally or Arnold isn't necessarily what's 'right' for Sharon or Karen. Live and let live!
[/INDENT]What's really embarrassing, is that each of the above statements has some element of truth
(some more than others!). Yet in philosophical circles, for years now, I've seen these pedestals proudly stood on in opposition to common experiential assertions. Now, don't get me wrong, I'll be the first to stand up for the principles that:
I say these should be concessions that temper and make malleable the hard line stances we take. They should not - not every - be used to summarily execute concepts that keep us grounded in everyday reality
- We should admit to our flaws of knowledge
- We should acknowledge the fleeting nature of our existence
- We must understand our actions aren't only a product of will
- We need to admit there may be something greater than ourselves
- All philosophers should appreciate the differences in word meanings
. I fear that we, as armchair philosophers, do damage by constantly grabbing at these titillations of life that should reasonably only modify, not decimate, the foundations of common, every day human experience.
"Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground" - Hell if I know
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
- Do you feel that, as philosophers, we use such disqualifications too much?
- Many believe that such disqualifications lie at the heart of philosophy; am I throwing out the baby and the bath water here?
- Could the over-reliance on such "murky-ing" concepts actually hurt the everyday benefit from philosophical inquiry?
- Should I have my keyboard taken away and sent to bed without dinner?
Thanks, I appreciate all your indulgence and patience in such an iffy, murky, conceptualized post. I shall now don my catcher's mask and stand up against the wall.