Does anyone of you think the world can change?

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Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 05:57 am
I mean, of course, if there is anyone in here that thinks that thinking is the way to discover how to redirect society to improve it.

Or if you think that philosophy's goal is just to understand what happens, not to modify it.
 
TheSingingSword
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 06:13 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
Yes, philosophy changes the world. It doesn't do this by enlightening the masses, however. One man, with a given worldview, can change everything. They have, many times.
 
BeatsMeWhy
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 06:30 am
@TheSingingSword,
TheSingingSword;89965 wrote:
Yes, philosophy changes the world. It doesn't do this by enlightening the masses, however.


Do you think it is impossible to "enlighten the masses"? I don't fancy the idea of the masses following a leader. I sometimes think a real change in society is a matter of everybody understanding an working for it.

TheSingingSword;89965 wrote:
One man, with a given worldview, can change everything. They have, many times.


Alas, those changes tend to last only till the leader is dead. Or even less. It's difficult to expect that a lot of persons that support something they don't understand will really achieve to maintain it working...
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 07:03 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
I would say yes, yes, no.

I think the world is what it is, in the sense that it is full of opposites. One flows from the other so I accept it all.

On the other hand, it is constantly changing. Everything seems to be in a state of flux.

But no, I don't think my job is to change anyone. Everyone changes themselves as they explore and learn. However, I do feel I am there to answer questions if someone asks. I am part of the flux and I can influence the flux, but it is not my job to change the flux. The flux is changing itself all the time.

I do remember always that whatever I do has unintended consequences to whatever I do, I try to do in a moderate way, so that the pendulum does not overreact and move too much in the other direction.

Rich
 
TheSingingSword
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 08:46 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW;89966 wrote:
Do you think it is impossible to "enlighten the masses"? I don't fancy the idea of the masses following a leader. I sometimes think a real change in society is a matter of everybody understanding an working for it.



Alas, those changes tend to last only till the leader is dead. Or even less. It's difficult to expect that a lot of persons that support something they don't understand will really achieve to maintain it working...



I think it very unlikely to enlighten the masses at any given point. An idea, like a seed, however, can blossom and multiply over the centuries, changing the paradigm.

Major changes do tend to die with the leader, but there is always a residue left over. No one can doubt the effect of many major figures on us, including Christ, Buddha, Hitler, Aristotle, Alexander, Marx, Blake, Luther, Gandhi, MLK, Aquinas, Paine, Tolstoy, and on and on.
Human history, for good or ill, is defined by the great ones.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 08:49 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
Philosophy by its thinking can change the world and society, although at a distance from direct influence as its perspectives filter down through the chain of intelligence.
Philosophy, by teaching how to think and forcing us to do so about important questions or by providing different perspectives with which to view the world, can change the individual completely.

In another sense, philosophy provides the intellectual ground for the sciences, for politics, for all human endeavor. No other thinking does this, nor does any other attempt to provide a whole perspective upon which the individual can make sense of his world and act in it.

Philosophy, moreover, "disturbs the peace" as Jaspers writes, by questioning common assumptions and beliefs as it introduces am attitude of healthy skepticism and as well by refusing to accept unwarranted answers as it applies its critical perspective.
 
Justin
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 09:30 am
@jgweed,
BMW;89964 wrote:
I mean, of course, if there is anyone in here that thinks that thinking is the way to discover how to redirect society to improve it.

The world is in constant change and always has been. To improve society I think we have to improve our view of it.

BMW;89964 wrote:
Or if you think that philosophy's goal is just to understand what happens, not to modify it.

Philosophy engages thought which changes the person which modifies that person's reality.

BMW;89966 wrote:
Do you think it is impossible to "enlighten the masses"?

Sure it is. The problem is that if our focus is to enlighten the masses we're missing the most important thing of all... Enlightening of oneself. As we turn the focus from the masses towards the enlightenment of self, then we will see the changes. However, more are too concerned with helping or leading others rather than leading themselves. This is typical of most religions, that's why it's not working.

BMW;89966 wrote:
I don't fancy the idea of the masses following a leader. I sometimes think a real change in society is a matter of everybody understanding an working for it.

Real change comes from still waters within not from marching on the streets to convert, influence, or manipulate others into a certain way of thinking or understanding. Again, it goes back to understanding it on the inside and seeing the reflection of it on the outside.

BMW;89966 wrote:
Alas, those changes tend to last only till the leader is dead. Or even less. It's difficult to expect that a lot of persons that support something they don't understand will really achieve to maintain it working...

It depends on the leader too. If the leader is leading for or against something in society with the hopes of causing change, then it's like putting a band-aid on cancer. How are we supposed to change the world when we don't even know ourselves or change ourselves? See what I mean.

So, I think that changing the world and enlightening others is strictly relative to the enlightening of self. Once we understand that portion of it, our light will shine brightly and others will see the light and be curious. This change starts inside not outside. As one is enlightened and others become so. As others are, more are. The change coming not from the physical but from the spiritual oneness that lies within.
 
richrf
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 10:00 am
@Justin,
Justin;90000 wrote:
So, I think that changing the world and enlightening others is strictly relative to the enlightening of self.


Yes, I agree. Before trying to change others, let's first see if we can change ourselves.

Rich
 
manored
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 11:21 am
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW;89966 wrote:
Do you think it is impossible to "enlighten the masses"? I don't fancy the idea of the masses following a leader. I sometimes think a real change in society is a matter of everybody understanding an working for it.
I think its not impossible, just not easy.

richrf;89968 wrote:
But no, I don't think my job is to change anyone. Everyone changes themselves as they explore and learn. However, I do feel I am there to answer questions if someone asks. I am part of the flux and I can influence the flux, but it is not my job to change the flux. The flux is changing itself all the time.
But, you are part of what can be explored and learned from, so you may choose what will be learned from the exploration of you =)

Justin;90000 wrote:
So, I think that changing the world and enlightening others is strictly relative to the enlightening of self. Once we understand that portion of it, our light will shine brightly and others will see the light and be curious. This change starts inside not outside. As one is enlightened and others become so. As others are, more are. The change coming not from the physical but from the spiritual oneness that lies within.
Indeed, I think this is the best way to change the world, and its how I try to change it: Not trying.

The main problem in my country is corruption: we have the resources to solve all our problems and become a first world nation, but we dont because our government wastes too much time being corrupt, inneficient and caring more for its maintenance on power than for the nation. But that problem comes from our very people wich is generally dishonest: No matter how much we try to change the government, it remains the same because the governants are replaced by equal people: The only way to end corruption is to change the national mindset: "money is everthing that matters and the rest of the world can go to hell"

Basically, people have to understand they dont need money to be happy, rather than just pretending they understand that, like they do nowadays. If you ask any Brazilian he will say he knows and agrees that you dont need money to be happy, but if you check what professions the youth dreams of taking, there are crushing amounts pointed towards those who give more money: Clearly, many of those are not searching a profession they will like, but one wich will give out a lot of money.
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 12:08 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW;89966 wrote:
Do you think it is impossible to "enlighten the masses"? I don't fancy the idea of the masses following a leader. I sometimes think a real change in society is a matter of everybody understanding an working for it.


Just look what happened with Ken Keasey and Timothy Leary.

If drugs can't do it, what the hell could?
 
BeatsMeWhy
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 01:40 pm
@Justin,
Justin;90000 wrote:
The world is in constant change and always has been. To improve society I think we have to improve our view of it.


What do you exactly mean? That we should understand better what society would ideally be? Or that we should be more aware of what it is now?

I mean, it's after all no more than a complex system of thinking items. Given that each of us is able to be quite aware of his relation with society, it doesn't seem impossible to deduce a set of rules so that the system improves. What we call moral, probably.

But it's a complex system, and so far there seems to be little agreement about the set of rules that would lead to an optimal configuration.

Justin;90000 wrote:
Sure it is. The problem is that if our focus is to enlighten the masses we're missing the most important thing of all... Enlightening of oneself.


Yes, to enlighten the masses sounds pretty unachievable and time consuming.

Anyway, probably it would be enough if someone was wise enough to enlighten two people, thus allowing those two to enlighten two more each... Of course, it's easier for a leader to get a lot of followers that admire him but are unable to achieve the same as him.

And, as you say, a leader able to teach others to lead themselves would have had to do a lot of self-enlightening to start with. I at least know of no such leader.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 05:53 pm
@Justin,
Justin;90000 wrote:

So, I think that changing the world and enlightening others is strictly relative to the enlightening of self. Once we understand that portion of it, our light will shine brightly and others will see the light and be curious. This change starts inside not outside. As one is enlightened and others become so. As others are, more are. The change coming not from the physical but from the spiritual oneness that lies within.


But what if we are enlightening ourselves incorrectly?

Years ago, I used to think I was enlightened when I was chemically modified, if I may resort to a euphemism.
I later found out I had confused being loaded with being deep, and stopped thinking that way.

False enlightenment can occur all on its own as well, that is without the aid of externally introduced chemicals.

How can one know, at the time, that their feeling of enlightenment is not false?

One man's enlightenment is another man's belly-laugh, to paraphrase a source I have forgotten.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 06:09 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
I guess enlightenment is a path not a sudden revelation, it's a long hard path.
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 06:43 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
Ideas are the most powerful transforming force in human society.
The pen really is more powerful than the sword.
The idea of "human rights" and "human dignity" is transforming the world, albeit slowly.
The idea of "representative government" versus "the divine right of kings" has transformed the world albeit imperfectly.
The idea of "god as love" instead of "god as lawgiver, ruler and judge" will transform the world, albeit not yet.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 15 Sep, 2009 07:51 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline;90456 wrote:
I guess enlightenment is a path not a sudden revelation, it's a long hard path.


There is a school of buddhism based off sudden enlightenment. It does not have to be a "long hard path".

I think of Buddhism like an onion. There are different layers to the teachings. A majority of people never get below the first layer and these teachings are the most widely known. However; since most never go any further with it the rest of the onion is missed. Ultimately the purpose is to penetrate to the core center of the enlightened mind. But that requires going through each layer.

The process of training is to give you the tools necessary to make your way to the core of the enlightened mind. Without these tools, all attempts will fail.

This comment by Dogen backs up my claim:

There is a saying: lacking wisdom, doubt and suspicion then is an eternal loss.

You prepare the mind for awakening, which is then sudden. Nothing hard about it.
 
manored
 
Reply Wed 16 Sep, 2009 02:18 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
BMW;90383 wrote:
Anyway, probably it would be enough if someone was wise enough to enlighten two people, thus allowing those two to enlighten two more each... Of course, it's easier for a leader to get a lot of followers that admire him but are unable to achieve the same as him.

And, as you say, a leader able to teach others to lead themselves would have had to do a lot of self-enlightening to start with. I at least know of no such leader.
Its hard enough to be enlighted, knowing enough about both the world and the people to teach others about the world seen... super-human =)

Reminds me of a cool phrase by Douglams Adams: "The problem of governing people is that those who should govern dont want to, and those that shouldnt govern want to"

Maybe teaching children is possible though. Minds develop by thenselves, so I suppose if we teach the right things to children while they are children, they will grow to be smart by thenselves. Then I look back to my childhood I notice a lot of things contribuited for my interest in philosopy, even unespected things. For example: I had that disease whose name I forgot that makes you get difficulties to breath then you do exercise. Because of that I couldnt run much, couldnt play with other kids very well, and, therefore, spent more time thinking.

TickTockMan;90454 wrote:
How can one know, at the time, that their feeling of enlightenment is not false?


Cut the wire, if the bomb explodes in your face, thats because you were wrong =)

Either that or study the situation more, unhappyfully there is no better way.

Caroline;90456 wrote:
I guess enlightenment is a path not a sudden revelation, it's a long hard path.
Enlightenment oftenly comes in sudden revelations for me. As I get ideas I fell they converge, and then I find the idea where they met its a shock. I took years indentifying what kind of eletronic games I like or dont like, the one idea that united all my tastes and made then clear to me was a shock =)

In the end, I like games related to the creation/organization/fiddling it of complex systems, in most part. Explains my folder filled with games about evolution and ecosystems =)

prothero;90461 wrote:
Ideas are the most powerful transforming force in human society.
The pen really is more powerful than the sword.
The idea of "human rights" and "human dignity" is transforming the world, albeit slowly.
The idea of "representative government" versus "the divine right of kings" has transformed the world albeit imperfectly.
The idea of "god as love" instead of "god as lawgiver, ruler and judge" will transform the world, albeit not yet.
I think the idea of human rights its not really gonna work, humans cant really have rights. How can I give someone the right to live if I cannot assure that right?

Dont like god as love either, I prefer god as "Invisible stuff creating thing you shouldnt really care about" =)
 
BeatsMeWhy
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 12:07 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline;90456 wrote:
I guess enlightenment is a path not a sudden revelation, it's a long hard path.


Well, I think Caroline is right. I think that it does take an effort to learn wholly new things, no matter how smart or intelligent you are [0].

Nevertheless, no matter how hard one has to work to understand something or to solve a problem. When the understanding or the solution finally appears, it does have a flavour of revelation (maybe because that feeling is what we associate to the word revelation). Which doesn't mean that there has been no previous work.

I think the hardest part is to learn things nobody knows and that therefore can't be taught [1], that is complicated. It usually is once the discovery is made when it is possible to look for the best way to employ or explain it and, somehow, to make it more natural [2]. Even if the process of resolution of a problem is not optimal or if the results are wrong there might be a worthy question left.

When just searching for knowledge in a general direction, without a clear notion of what you are going to find, it seems very easy to get lost. We want an outcome, but I'm not sure we know what exact knowledge will lead to it.

Regardless of the degree of success of Mankind attempts to understand itself, maybe everybody so far has just been searching in the wrong place.

Maybe we are too used to things that are not true but that sound familiar and spend most of our time searching in the wrong direction.

Moreover, there seem to be things that need not only to be understood, but to feel right [3]. What I'd really want to know is what do I have to do to feel right what is right if ever I finally discover what it is.


--------------------

[0] Probably when we are able to understand something comparatively fast it's just because we already had some information about it. I think that possibly intelligent people just have more information of the right kind.

[1] Although no teachers means as well no bad teachers imposing you their errors and forcing you to learn by heart things that you don't really understand or care about.

[2] For example, take something like the multiplication algorithm. From an adult's point of view it's among the easiest things he's able to do. It can take time for a child to fully understand it, even if most of them memorize it quite easily. But there are lots of resources developed to make easier the task of understanding it (those blocks representing units and those containers with ten holes, and those bigger containers with ten bigger holes for the smaller containers and so on...).

I mean... in Ancient Rome, multiplying was certainly not so evident. I've been told somewhen that someone able to multiply in Ancient Rome had a profession. I'm not sure of this, but it makes sense...

[3] For example, smoking is very probably bad for human health. Lots of people know this and smoke. Because the feeling of smoking is right, it causes pleasure (apparently).

I don't think a perfect world's design would include smoking, though. I think the best and absolutely unachievable solution for this is that smoking causes displeasure. But no understanding of the effects of tobacco can possibly annulate the physical pleasure of smoking.

So instead we use anguish or fear. A lot of people, including me, has never tried a cigarette because of the possible consequences. More incredibly, people who likes smoking succeeds in quitting. And it seems there are more chances of success when family and friends are aware of the intention of quitting... which means that possibly pride and shame work as well.
 
manored
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 12:19 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
Hum, this thread is getting confusing, what are we discussing the possibility of finding/searching/discovering/learning again? =)
 
Caroline
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 12:19 pm
@BeatsMeWhy,
You'll know if it's right because it will feel right and if you take it from there and think about it, a process, you will see if it does infact seem right and you go on to learn things and explore, if it doesn't feel right then you know what to do, stop, and think about things. That BMW was beautifully written. Thank you
 
BeatsMeWhy
 
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2009 02:32 pm
@manored,
manored;90963 wrote:
Hum, this thread is getting confusing, what are we discussing the possibility of finding/searching/discovering/learning again? =)


Sorry, I may have got carried away.

I think that it's very likely that the only thing that can make the world change is understanding of what we are and our possibilities. Of course, I can't just assume that and go on discussing possibilities without warning and at the same time keep the thread clear.

What really worries me, given I think no Deus ex machina is able to take all of us out of the present mess, is whether it is possible or not to reach the essential knowledge (even if it exists) that would allow us to fix things.

Even if we know how to fix things, I'm not sure about our ability to transmit the knowledge to as many people as necessary to really change something.

Even if everybody knew what to do, I'm not sure if we would be capable of doing it.
 
 

 
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