Some interesting things to note would be A) William James once said, “Wisdom is knowing what to overlook” which is very interesting, and I’ll go on to explain why below and secondly, B) Lao Tzu who advised leadership that was supposedly in harmony with nature.
Regarding A) There is a very serious condition called (I’m not sure if this is formal or informal) Hamlet Syndrome, which resides in an individual who is so intelligent and so aware of the many things around him, that he/she is unable to take decisive action. I think there are many examples of this. It is the reason controversy exists. It is the reason things get very, very hair numbingly hair-spliiting, and it is the reason why a talented debater can beat his opponent in taking pro and do it again by taking the con side. This is because there is literally an infinitude of factors to consider, pros and cons to list, exceptions to be made, and so forth all because black is not inherently better than white and so forth. What I think William James said is very relevant because without wisdom, we would fall into Hamlet Syndrome. With the wisdom he speaks of, the wisdom a leader would ideally have, he/she would know when to break the rules and when, though he may be opposed by all people in either case, uphold them.
In regards to B) Lao Tzu had a very different perspective of the world. It was all about “going with the flow” and not trying to make life solid, unchanging and stagnant. The principles of Daoism were modeled after the universe. In my eyes, it was/is the ultimate usage of credibility— the universe has been doing its thing (you know, being in harmony in such a perfect way that, despite impossible odds, has managed to create and sustain life.. the list goes on forever) for, well, eternity which must mean that it’s doing something right! So he thinks a leader should be so closely related to the people, that he is actually indistinguishable from them. In this way, Lao Tzu says, what happens is so natural that no one presumes to take credit! It reminds me of another Daoist concept WEI WU WEI, which is doing without doing. The best example I’ve heard is from a philosophy professor named Seth Tichenor on youtube. He explains that in his swimming days, his best coach would, rather than telling him what to do, ask him to dive. When Seth would swim back up, he would ask Seth how it felt. Seth would go on to explain this. And this went on time after time, and each time, he would only ask Seth to explore his own self. By not acting, by not imposing, Seth became a better swimmer. Maybe the coach knew what Seth had to do, but maybe he didn’t. One thing is for sure though — Seth did, which is why the coach focused on him.
This is surely one of the qualities I see a fit leader having, probably because no one man has the answers, but when he has ears that hear more than himself, he can find the way (though it he might lend the power to something outside of him, a fit ruler knows his boundaries, and knows that the trust he places in others when the time is right is what makes his versatile and adaptive).
I am still striving to understand the totality of Lao Tzu, but so far I’ve got the William James part down.
Though I suppose I still have not answered your question the way you would like it answered. To do so: I do not have an answer. The reason why I typed such a lengthy passage is because that is how I am trying to find an answer in the here and now of my life. What do you think, wondering wanderer?
Some interesting things to note would be A) William James once said, “Wisdom is knowing what to overlook” which is very interesting, and I’ll go on to explain why below and secondly, B) Lao Tzu who advised leadership that was supposedly in harmony with nature.
All my life I have asked questions. I have wondered and wandered in thought. My questions have made me friends and my questions have costed potential friendships, I’m sure, though I’m not aware of any of them since they did not become friendships then end. I was born to a father who as a simpleton never asked these questions himself; to a mother who was not so much herself a thinker but a supporter. A supporter of whatever it was her children had interest in. For me, that turned out to be philosophy. The questions got deeper and deeper, the pictures bigger and bigger, more and more complex they grew over the years. I was able to make references to works like the Allegory of the Cave, among many others, to use it as a vehicle to understand the dangers of those who do not think. I come to you now to present the dangers of those that do.
We cannot think too much, but like all things, we can abuse any privilege; any tool is subject to the will of the user, whether they want to use it for one thing, or another. Intellectuality, the search for truth, philosophy and so forth is no different. I have realized, quite honestly, that it is no different than a hobby. It is a hobby, among other hobbies. It also happens to be promoted by the general population and enforced as a norm.
“Sports are great, having fun is nice, working is good, but being intellectual is the ideal. Studying can never be looked at with a frown— he/she is simply trying to better themselves, and perhaps the world, through an education!” That is how I perceive the norm in plain language, though it is seldom put forth in such a way.
In my search for college, something that will change my life not just by virtue of itself, but by many other things, such as location thus whom I will contact, form friendships with, the challenges I will face and the life I will live, I have discussed my wonders and concerns with quite a few people. “It’s kind of a selfish thing— you can get lost in your studies, forget about the outside world (that is, the world beyond those beside you in your intellectual journey) and let it consume you,” is what a woman named Audrey told me. Over conversation with a fellow prospective student, Elizabeth, she said “you can’t forget to live in the midst of everything,” and she was onto something.
You see, learning and education is a hobby, as previously mentioned, but the enforcing of the norm is what makes it so easy to justify putting aside the people we love, and the things we are passionate about in order to keep satisfying the obsession for learning, whether or not we actually enjoy it. I am in love with learning, but just because I can always think critically does not mean I should. I often (and I do mean often) find it hard to put the brakes on and just enjoy something for what it is, or as it seems to be from my point of view without breaking it down, analyzing it in relation to others things, going on and on about not that which I have experienced, not the world around me that I should be present to, but the thoughts about them. I leave the world in that ponderous time, and I leave the people I love. I do not think that anything that can consume you to such a degree, that can control you to the point that you cannot say no or stop you when you try to can ever be a good thing.
Today, March 3rd, 2013, I thought about that prospective student and how I replied to her with a quote from one of my favorite philosophers, David Hume, “Be a philosopher, but amidst all of your philosophy, be still a man.” I searched for the quote and found the longer excerpt that goes like this: Indulge your passion for science, says she, but let your science be human, and such as may have a direct reference to action and society. Abstruse thought and profound researches I prohibit, and will severely punish, by the pensive melancholy which they introduce, by the endless uncertainty in which they involve you, and by the cold reception which your pretended discoveries shall meet with, when communicated. Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.
Hume was right. I do not know if it was his wife to tell him this, but it would make sense to have an outsider do so. I have experienced the profound thought and have been punished by the pensive melancholy, the endless uncertainty, and probably, too, by the cold reception the abuse of philosophy brings. “Be a philosopher, but amidst your philosophy, be still a man.” That will forever ring in my ears. I have made a very important discovery: intellectuality can very well consume an individual and blind them to what is beyond their inquiries, to neglect those around and generally live in the endless aspects of the world, the world of thought, the world about the world, rather than the world itself.
Stop and smell the roses. Look up at the night sky. Philosophy, just like science, often shows us how lucky we are to be alive; how we are here despite all odds; how we experience, despite not really being sure there is anything to experience, that anything is real, or any of that. The deeper we go into thought, into science and philosophy, the more we recognize the mystery of existence itself. It’s a hobby, among all hobbies. But like all hobbies, it has its limitations; the mystery is in the world, not in the world of thought we use to recognize it mentally. The roses and stars are out there, not in the words we write about them. Go out there and be that mystery, rather than sitting and thinking about it… all the time.
Thus, “be a philosopher, but amidst your philosophy, be still a man.”
Through my love of philosophy, I have come to discover the beauty in/of life. I am a part of something a lot bigger than myself. We are one, and my destiny is a fraction of this whole. We all are. The universe follows very complex yet simple patterns, much like a fractal. Every piece within that fractal represents the entire whole and we are those pieces. My entire life is just a small part of this grand pattern, and even my life is a compilation of other people, things, experiences which together all model that very same pattern. No matter how infinitely large, or infinitesimally small the scale, the pattern persists. This pattern is life.
Life always finds a way to re-establish itself even in terrible circumstances: forest fires, plagues, droughts etc. Life is redistributed over and over again because an ecosystem always emerges from the remains of such catastrophes in the same way a phoenix is reborn from its own ashes. But why is it so persistent? From bears to plants without motility, that drive is there. Wherever life is found, it is always in a state of reorganizing itself, and by doing so, reflecting the complexity of the fractal pattern. In other words, it is always reflecting itself and acting upon itself. It increases in complexity just by being what it is, like an endless rabbit hole. Like science and philosophy develop more and more questions as they discover more and more. It is for this reason that life must act upon itself. Its very nature is to model itself, and it does this by acting upon itself. The stages of birth and death are themselves the static, self-modeling complexity, and the complexity manifests itself as the birth and death of everything, among many other manifestations. Life’s very activity is to persist through these very relationships of birth and death, forest fires, droughts, plagues etc. and be one with the cosmos.
All of our lives are models for the whole, every piece in our lives, every piece of those pieces and so on and so forth. The galaxies model the universe, in some way, though there are many different universes modeling the different forms of life. Some theoretical physicists even think that the universe is but one of many, which would be yet another manifestation of the pattern. Everything is infinite, and we are the infinite fulfilling ourselves, by acting upon ourselves (people, plants, animals, the universe, etc). There is just so much beauty, I can hardly keep myself from exploding with happiness and almost instant fulfillment. In fact, I am fulfilled moment to moment, just by following my nature. Everything is. I want to help everyone and everything around me grow. Not just because of how beautiful it is, not just because it is the shared nature among everything, but because I can. I truly believe that I can help people, and I want to with all of my heart, on behalf of myself, and on behalf of the universe, because me helping another would simply be the universe aiding itself like an individual cares for themselves.
I exist. We exist. That is a gift, a destiny I have no greater honor than to appreciate and fulfill.
A little point said if you ought to find me, you ought to know where
Indeed, I am here, but I am not there
My brother went for a walk somewhere over there
You may know us by the differences we share
A little girl said I cannot bare how my brother does not care
We are close, but differences make us similar, not a pair
You can know us by our differences in philosophy
Because we differ in how we ought to be
Black said to white, how do I look?
White said to black, how do I look?
Together they stood, and at once it made sense
They could live only by each other existence
Difference is the space shared by the each point in between
The road of the point on all its walks
The brother’s and sister’s philosophy creating space in between
The space that hosts all their talks
It is the space and relation between black and white
Both existing because of the other, ever so tight
We know these relationships because we can see
Because eyes are the tension between darkness and light
Life is possible because of the tension that creates
Life is the line that is thus made
On it we rest between the extremes
In between life and death, wake and rest, arrogance and humility
In the seams of all possibilities
I have been dissecting the idea of “justification” lately, but that is really another discussion in itself. I do, however, think that people are, by default, dealing in terms of themselves. What I mean by that, is when someone says “cool” for example, they might assume that person is using it the same way they do (using the same connotation), but upon further thought, I might realize that this may not be the case. So you see, I have still reacted (without justice?) without knowing all there is to know.
In a nutshell, my argument against justification is that if we really did know all, there can be no “right” or “wrong” because, for example, the glass is both and neither half-full and/nor half-empty.
This is wonderful, thank you!
I do think that patterns are not known to be inherent in the world; that patterns are objectively “out there.”
I usually say that it’s not that patterns are out there, it’s just as if they are whilst it’s not that patterns aren’t there, it’s just as if they aren’t.
In the same way a pessimist sees the glass half empty and says it’s only as if the glass is half full, an optimist sees it half full talking about how it’s as if it’s half empty.
I remember one day you told me, “I like feelings.” I’ve always liked the mind and the ideas of it, but to some extent, which has substantially grown since then, I feel & love feelings, too.
I think one thing I will always remember is when a girl told me she saw some documentary, article or something along those lines about a study done involving children and feelings. These children were given the opportunity to develop feelings of love, fear or anger.. whatever. We often think that children are unable to love because of their ignorance of the world when really the knowledge attainable of the world has nothing to do with out feelings. We forget that both an educated and an uneducated person can be angry, can fear and can even love. Children are merely uneducated in general terms, but feel, nevertheless.
I think it’s a beautiful thing, really. It’s like a gift that’s given right from the start. I admire the feelings between your girl and you, because, really, who doesn’t want that? Who can help but aspire that & be inspired by it? Not me, certainly. Other people might think the same of you and your girl as we think of children, but without justice.
You see, there are really many ways of arriving at feelings, so who are we to question the feelings of the two of you? Likewise, I think it’s a misunderstanding to approach my feelings for her, her feelings for me or our feelings together in this way. I know that I’ve arrived at something marvelous. Where this goes, who knows? But I think this means nothing for the feelings themselves. They exist now regardless of hat the future holds, yes? Even if my day turns upside down after a wonderful morning, was my morning not still wonderful?
Thank you for making me take the time to contemplate and thus appreciate feelings for their nature, not just their inherent effect on me. Right now, I’m happy. I don’t fully understand how, but I am. Just as a child may be happy to simply get his favorite candy and us look at him as if his feelings of happiness aren’t genuine, I am happy because this is the girl that does something for me. It might be simple for someone like you, who has been in a relationship measured in years but we’re both happy in some way, you and I. Maybe I can be happy in the way you are with a certain girl one day. You inspire me, man. She inspires me, too. That’s just how it is.
Don’t just survive life, take advantage of it and enjoy it.
An elevated plane of existence awaits those that unlock their minds, that is, if they manage to become trapped in the first place…
I’m sure as wonderful as the world is, I shall be taken care of
hahaa, I’m not sure I understand?
Well, that was my fault because i didnt explain enough. I’ve been thinking about the politics lately, and not even the really complicated stuff, just generally the direction of it all. It’s making me sick.. but as sick as it makes me, the universe is just to damn brilliant to not have a perfect plan for “me”. The way energy can never be created and destroyed and all? It’s all so self-containing and all, it’s wonderful and I trust in it completely.
I hope so, I really do. But really it’s all “speculation” as someone once told me
I’ve come to this really lovely conclusion with all that Socratic wisdom business, because even though Skeptics believe we can never know anything, that itself is a belief, so in the end, all of it is! So why not believe in something that gives your life meaning? Some people believe in a god, or the god (and all the other stuff) and they swear their lives have meaning because of it. Some people swear their lives are bereft of meaning, but they still believe that. Like I said, it’s a belief, but some leave a human being happy, others just in desolation. If I believe my life has meaning and it turns me into this beautiful person that acts in all things with purpose and passion, it doesn’t matter if it “really” does have meaning, because i have already transformed.
But I want to know the TRUTH. And my belief is if there is no truth, I won’t be very happy.
lol, Dr. Philosopher, what should I do? ( :
You have to believe.
“Life is but a dream” they say. I like to call everything in life a metaphor. Meaning that it isn’t to be taken literal, just like the Buddhists say to not attach yourself to anything. But there’s not one answer…In a way, we can go Buddhist and say: don’t attach yourself to “your” things! If “your” car gets stolen you will be angry and create needless suffering because the car wasnt yours in the first place- you didnt own the elements making it up! You were just using it until someone else wanted it more!
However, these things can also bring us joy.. so what do we do? Do what you want.
The mind likes to get exact answers, to hold onto things, to find THE Truth, although there is none.
“the glass is half full- fact. The glass is half empty- fact.” Whats the truth? It’s both…
The thing is, life gets more and more ambiguous as you start adding more and possibilities to the truth, until you wind up with this ginormous book called The Truth but it’s just as ambiguous as life itself.
The point is that there are many truths, so you are free to choose yours. To choose. To believe. To live. To love and what not. Life may be a dream, and all may be just be metaphors, but does that stop food from tasting great or jokes from being funny? From friendship feeling amazing and connecting being beautiful? From the world spinning and people being born? Absolutely not!
but of course.. those are just my words for it.. you are free to choose yours ;)
hahaah no I completely agree. Being an analytic of everything is great, but so easy to become insane. Hopefully though events and creation are objective, something outside our minds! I hope…
Who cares if they aren’t? That doesn’t stop people from believing their life has meaning? This effects them! Just like a norm does- completely made up but too real somehow. I think the brain is like a child, fascinated with numbers and what not and looking for fun, for a story whether real or not. The heart, or whatever one may call it, knows the way. Like a mother to the child who lets the child entertain himself but does not let the child get hurt.
And the child almost knows no difference- since he doesn’t understand the world yet, he thinks in terms of The Truth as if there is one. He wouldnt understand the glass being half full and half empty. When he does he will become confused with another problem of the mind, and it’s just a matter of how deep in the rabbit hole his brain would like the go. But the mother always knows the way, there is no confusion.
But Alec, if events aren’t objective, this is definitely some dream we live in. I can’t live with settling onto one belief and believing everything I believe is just a lie I tell myself. Like said before, words are arbitrary and so are memories which capture events. But events, the past- what is happening in time- I still hope it’s there without our interference. And so I don’t want to live in a dream, I want to live in reality- that yes is possibly skewered because of how I capture the event, but still the event has to be able to exist on its own!
Does not this dream have to exist somewhere ? In other words, you must be living in reality in some way, evening if it means dreaming, if that makes sense.
This is happening! Or is it? Who knows, but it is either happening or the illusion of it is, either way something is happening and some thing exists! There IS existence ! We exist in some way, as metaphors I believe but I also believe a metaphor is just as valid as bother equivalent metaphor and an idea is just as real as an object
Ya, but that means living with a film over your eyes, because A. either scared to face the truth or B. being too naive to realize it or maybe even C. not even ever being capable of truly knowing. So maybe we just don’t have the mechanisms to capture events in their entirety. Maybe thats what makes us human and primitive to more advanced organisms… like aliens haha.
What do you mean by metaphor?
Like the idea of people ha many examples, me you .. Many ways to express it right? Like a metaphor. Everything is all interconnected that’s why life can be compared to so many things and all things can be compared to each other, but side there is not one way to express it, us 3D creatures are experiences ideas such as friendship and such as many parts- different examples while still being an example - a 3D creature
I see, but I’m not sure I’m getting the bigger picture?
either way, sounds like an interesting idea/object!
It’s all about not one truth, the bigger picture isn’t better than the small details. How boring would life be if there was one truth? One way to be , one boringness.. But anywhere you want to see it it’s yours! That’s why people are so different but yet we cherish our differences ! Just like we can cherish different truths. I like to say that we are wrestling with the complexity going in all directions for all of time.. Ah idk I probably make no sense
I can see what your saying. I think me and you though are talking about different types of truth. I’m trying to say it’s there, but misjudged by humans. I’m specifically talking about physical objects existing in time and something happening to them, not what type of person is good, which hairstyle is better, or other things that defiantly should have different truths because that is our individuality. However, I don’t think we invent the world- I only think we interpret- or misinterpret it. I think you’re trying to say we invent it out of nothing, the possibility of everything being a complete illusion-with everyone then sort of on a different wave seeing different things. And actually, possibly, however, why do people then see similar things in the first place. I think realty is there without our discretion but it’s our inability to properly take it in because of how flawed our senses are.
Although not true for the example I gave, your still truly right in saying; as long as you can still enjoy life’s pleasures and use the invented mindset to prosper, then why not keep on believing?
“I’m specifically talking about physical objects existing in time and something happening to them”
I hope I make sense in saying this: I believe there is object and idea as one, but we will call one object x. We will call the other object/idea object y. In some way they are physical objects, and reality is objective… but it’s as if the universe is illustrated *again* in the minds of humans. Because we have a particular way of understanding, we think a statement, truth etc is either true or false and we create this duality, but really there is only oneness. The oneness of the object and idea, which is free to be made into a metaphor of me or you, but really it is just a matter of object x and object y, and really, those two are one, separating is itself creating a duality, which itself is like a metaphor to it all. My point is there is no way to tell the metaphors from the things themselves but this is one of the ways life has such beauty and richness.
?”However, I don’t think we invent the world- I only think we interpret- or misinterpret it”
I think it’s like yin and yang.. think about it. They, in their rawest, purest form cannot be described. the way we go about doing so is giving *examples* of them such as left and right, beauty and ugly, and so on- this is what i mean by metaphors and ideas having many manifestations. There is not one way to explain them, so life allows them all to exist. In order for us to understand we need those examples; a child needs to see M&Ms to understand the raw idea of 2+2! but whether we use M&Ms or chereos, it does not matter, and neither way is superior to the other.
Alec Chapa ?
“why do people then see similar things in the first place”
Cheerios or M&Ms.. take your pick! … different, yet the same.
?”I think realty is there without our discretion but it’s our inability to properly take it in because of how flawed our senses are”
I think you are right some way, but if our senses are flawed, how can you assign reality as having image? How can you assign it as palpable, audible, visual or any other kind of humanly sensation?
It, to me, is like the yin and yang as i said, and these senses are like metaphor detectors, we cannot take them for face value but the ideas behind them are what matter, in some way, more than the objects themselves. But the objects themselves create diversity and beauty, so in their own way they also matter more than the ideas. Object and idea, yin and yang.. it is the same idea behind the two- they complete each other.
Wow Alec, thank you for the extensiveness.
And I appreciate your words! : )
I’m guessing you’re a Pantheist??
um.. never heard of that, so i had to look that up.. but I mean.. I guesssss? Well, maybe God is just a metaphor, or poetic expression of the oneness, Nature, etc . It’s not necessarily that god is a being, but that’s a way to express it.. like a metaphor expresses an idea but there are many sufficient metaphors.
Like a tree, I follow my nature
As a tree, I’m free to follow the love of light
And indeed, I let nothing block my sunlight
I grow old, beautiful and mature, with a mind of might
There are no boundaries in growth, at least none in sight
Like a bird, I’m free to all things
with your head on my chest i grew wings
with your hand in mine our relationships grows with time
The freedom is manifested each time we meet
like a sparrow, i live for you as the wind at my feet
There’s an eternal connection- the wind knows no retreat
Each time we chase the feelings into the realm of action
As a bird, i return home only to swim in the wind again
Over the miles, we’ve become the best of friends
Like the sea of stars with no limit in space
consciousness clashes with the love and light at infinity’s pace
It is the birthing of all things, like the universe without a trace
together, we engage in a metaphysical, philosophical dance
in the intangible realm, we live eyes closed
Here there is but one consciousness and no position being supposed
With the desire to sense, we animate matter
eyes open, we “see” the metaphors in their physical manner
the philosophy endlessly divides, like a book with endless sub-chapters
“here” there is “time”, the dimension of “before” and “after”
But so does the Consciousness divide- here others lurk
reality is split into perspective each with positional perks
Because we operate on the same physical level to make matter work,
we are given unnatural boundaries..
but still I have the tendencies of a tree
Our nature is still to seek the suns heat
but here harmony is “crime” to political pawns of the street.
We all animate matter to experience Beauty physically,
so why do some allow it to be slaughtered criminally?
The Beauty to harvest still lies in every kiss and laugh
It is still in the sunset and the memories of the past
It still awaits further manifestation as our wishes
It still lives in each moment as they pass
The physical metaphors of Beauty have connected “us”
So let’s keep walking the light crystals of life, there’s no rush
Avoiding the pawns is easy as redirecting our steps
the motion needn’t interrupt our mutual trance
there’s enough room in the cosmos to continue our dance
so close your eyes and I’ll join you
As to the means, I’ll leave it to chance
As I wait for you like the tree awaits morning light,
I wonder, “What shall be in the philosophical life tonight?”
Closing the distance between, you came flying
I thought it was a dream, that you were lying.
The first 10,000 steps-timeless to compare
Slow were mine to you but oh the memories we’d share
Inkless feelings- that night of winter weather
It was just as I thought, we were driving our lives together
Attracted to each other by frosty weather
a blanket to close the space would’ve been better.
But oh, how nervous you made me!
Could I gather the courage to kiss _____?
With your beautiful face, a baffling sight
you’ve tied me to only that night
Darkness filled the room, our voices the air
I so long to return, to go back there.
Take me away, put life to my years
But the number on all things nearly brought you to tears
You say you want things to last forever
but live with me now, let’s do all things together
and in our minds memories never weather
…life is but a multitude of memories we can live in forever