Pragmatism versus Fun

Have you ever come across those people who when you talk about art, philosophy or any such subject always say “But what’s the point of it?”

Now what they are really asking is “what work does it do?”

Work is defined as doing something for a purpose. The best definition of work I have heard (from myself (hello ego!)) is “The thing that we do; that we don’t want to do; so that we can do what we want to do”

To make the pragmatic value the value par excellence is silly.

Imagine you have completed all the work and have fulfilled all pragmatic necessities. what activity are you left with? Nothing. You’d just sit there waiting for another bit of work to come along.

Really the pragmatic concern is the least important. What is important is what you are working for. For some people this is material to produce art; for others it is to buy games to play on their computer.

The activities we do for their intrinsic value are the really important activities because they give meaning and purpose to our work. They are the reason for which we work.

I believe philosophy to be hugely beneficial; but I don’t practice it for its benefits. I do it because I happen to find it fun.

It is of collateral benefit that it gives me a greater perspective on experience. That it has enabled me to see the limp shackles that loosely bind us. These would be good reasons to practice philosophy even if you didn’t enjoy it; but they are not the reasons I do it.

I clean 12 hours a week so I can buy books on all sorts of subjects because I enjoy learning and the different perspectives on experience learning gives. That is the reason I work the minimum amount of time so I can spend the maximum amount of time doing that for which I work.

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No More Fixing

Let go of the impossible! People don’t change life-styles based on beliefs (they use them to justify life-styles) and people don’t changed beliefs based upon rational argument.
Plus I want freedom and for me to be free I have to give other’s the freedom to not be free. Knowing all the while – with a mischievous grin on my face – that they are free despite their belief to the contrary!

Source of Inspiration

fairy house4

Whew, what a relief!
I finally understand
that it is not my job
to fix or save anyone.
Each of us must give space
for others to find
their own answer
just as I must do
with each thought, word
action leading to a life
well lived if I so choose.

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Why I think people are stupid!

The thing is… I don’t think people are stupid; People think people are stupid.

 

Obviously they don’t think this explicitly but subconsciously. It is something that is inculcated into them from a young age.

Primary and secondary school (If I remember correctly and I may not) was mainly concerned with learning facts.

Picture the set-up: You are in a class room with a teacher.

Pause.

Now what is the teacher? The teacher is an authority figure. That is; if you have a question you go to the teacher. This is another way of saying “If you have a question do not go to your classmates.” The implicit reason for which – and because it’s implicit it’s the reason the sub-conscious gets its greasy mitts on it – is that teacher is clever and your class-mates are stupid.

Play.

 

The teacher writes stuff up on the board and hands out text books. Often the teacher is incapable of answering a lot of the questions that he/she is posed. This shows that the source of the facts is so far removed from the child that the teacher becomes almost a priest. She dishes out the facts that are required for passing a test like a priest dishing out sermons from the bible.

The teacher even has a pulpit:  the desk behind which she sits.

 

All this encourages the sit down and shut up because what you have to say is worthless ethic in the children. It is this that has tricked people into thinking they are stupid.

 

Of course the child grown to adulthood doesn’t think he is stupid! He’s got exam results to prove he isn’t. Nevertheless an exam result is a measurement of obedience and not intelligence!

 

We all have the capacity to produce valid facts/opinions (I think the only difference between the two is that facts are opinions accepted by many people). The scientific method is open to all. The methods philosophers use to create systems of thought and theories are open to all.

 

But because of the manner in which most are taught this capacity is hidden from them.

 

This is of course because you don’t need slaves to ask questions you just need them to be able to operate machinery.

 

 

 

Problems with the Phenomenological Rebuttal of Free-Will cont….

The other way it could be is that all that you call your actions, intentions, emotions and experiences are all the actions of a kind of performer. You are just watching the performer do its thing and this performer has tricked you into thinking you are it. Much like a good movie or theatre company can make the audience forget themselves for a bit.

This would account for why we don’t know what we are going to choose before we choose it; what we will think before we think it. It would account for the opaque nature of the black box out of which all our experiences (I include intentions and decisions within that category) come.

Though both these pictures could be the case I genuinely believe we are merely passive observers in our lifes.

We have become so caught up in the drama on the stage that we have forgotten that it isn’t us up there.

Just like a play has a beginning and an end; life has a beginning and an end. Maybe at the end we’ll get to take our masks off and discover we were the same entity playing or the parts.

Or we might just go into oblivion knowing nothing forever which ain’t that bad if you think about it.

Problems with the Phenomenological Rebuttal of Free-Will

I have a number of prongs in my attack on the traditional conception of free-will (the conception that states that if two worlds were identical in every way then it would be possible for a person x in one world to make a different decision to person x in the other world).

Recently I have thought of an analogy, or model, to show the problems in the phenomenological rebuttal of free-will.

If you try to distinguish between what you have control over and what you don’t have control over you will find that the closer you look the less you have control over; until it becomes apparent that you are nothing but a passive observer.

Your thoughts just pop spontaneously into your mind. Intentions I would say are thoughts to and like thoughts they just spring up out of no-where. But it is intentionality (that is the feeling of intending to do something) that we use to distinguish between what we have control over and what we don’t have control over.

The will to act upon an intention is no different. It’s not as if you will to will to will to act upon an intention. The will just appears magically.

Now this could be the result of a necessary bifurcation in our being brought about by our self-aware nature.

It is a bit like watching your reflection in the mirror. Whilst you are aware of yourself and your reflection you know that your reflection raising its arm is caused by you raising your arm.

If all you had available was the reflection then you could be forgiven for thinking it was moving itself and not being moved by your own actions and in a phenomenological analysis we may be just looking at the mirror and nothing else.

Naughty Communication

Arbitrary expressions of affection (or any emotion for that matter) come closer to displaying the true purpose of communication than say the form I am now engaged in. We don’t really communicate to convey information; we communicate for the sheer hell of it. But because we’re silly billys we have to create elaborate justifications for communication such as “to convey information” which is a bit like the teenagers caught fucking who said they were testing what they saw in biology class as justification for engaging in their activity.

 

Both with smirks on their faces too.

New Atheism (aka that movement with a door-kin at the from)

I watched a documentary called “The Unbelievers” on netflix recently. It followed Richard Dawkins and Lauwance Krauss as they toured various auditoriums and rallies.

One thing I quickly noticed was the religious fervour of these atheists. I saw how dogmatical and evangelical they had become.

These are the signs of belief systems that have lost their kernel of belief. They are the death-throes of an ideology.

That ideology is Positivism.

Man stubbornly clings in his deluded pride to the belief that he can know everything. As he loses the faith in his pride he clutches out to others to confirm that “Yes, yes! I’m right aren’t I? We can know can’t we?”. To confirm that he is who he thought he was.

This is why the Atheist doesn’t just enter into combat with the theist but both theist and atheist join forces against philosophy.

Philosophy points to both naked emperors and says “None of you are wearing clothes you buffoons!”

Philosophy says “To answer the question “where did the universe come from?” you would need to step outside before the event and watch the fucking thing”

Philosophy says “Empiricism is your base assumption! All you can do is observe and describe. What you call an explanation is merely taking a description to a more general or specific level”

And Philosophy finally says, gritting it’s teeth and wiping the sweat off it’s brow “Atheism is a meta-physical claim. You are actually making a claim about what came before the big bang. A claim you have no means of falsifying!

“And sure Hawkins picture of how you could dig something out of nothing was pretty. The story it presented was one among many non-falsifiable stories. No different in verifiability to the God hypothesis.

“Oh begone from me you myth-mongers! All pushing your tales on me and swearing their true”

But these enlightenment fossils stamp their feet in childish tantrums; screaming at reality “YOU ARE KNOWABLE!” As if tantrums ever got ice-creams off a good mummy 😛

Stimulants vs Alcohol

I went to a party the other week. At this party half the people were only consuming alcohol and the other half were taking stimulents.

As the party progressed I began to notice a marked difference between the two groups (on-alc = GA, on-stim = GS):

The difference was that GA became louder but made less sense; they became less and less intelligible. Not just due to slurring but also the content of what they said became less and less coherent.

Not only this but they also become more and more concerned with getting their point across and getting the other’s agreement. Squabbles and issues of violence tended to result as the inevitable misunderstandings arose.

The other group (GS) did indeed become louder, more animated, but their speech lost none of it’s intelligibility or coherence. In fact they became better at communicating. They were talking about deep, abstract and philosophical topics at an amazingly competent level given how they normally are.

When disagreements arose within GS they didn’t squabble; they sought to understand the other opinion. If at the end neither agreed they amicably agreed to disagree and just moved onto another topic

It was like a room full of dolts consumed two different drugs and one group became incredibly more doltish whereas the other incredibly less so.

Surely the world would be a better place if instead of people using alcohol to celebrate special occasions they used stimulants. Alcohol gives the illusion of togetherness but the reality of separation; stimulants enable one to (much more competently than usual) disclose themselves through their mouths thus giving the reality of togetherness and sociability.

Language as virtual reality.

A thought occurred to me the other day whilst out with my friend Martin AKA Merzer.

I was thinking about how we exist in a 3 dimensional representation of the 2 – dimensional representation that is what we actually see.

Anyway I was thinking about how language acts as a kind of virtual reality.

You have experience and on top – or underneath (I don’t really know what direction best fits) – of that you have language.

Now we don’t have a word for every feature that is or could be.

So even if we had some kind of semantic superman who had at his disposable every word in the English language; even then he wouldn’t be able to communicate every aspect of his experience.

Words are a means of communicating experience from one mind to another but because words cannot cover every facet of reality our communication of our experience is going to be necessarily selective in what it conveys.

The virtual reality created by language exists in the conversations we have with ourselves and others.

It is virtual because it is constructed out of mental images.

Imagine I tell you that “I went to the shop and passed a child stuck in a tree and helped him down”. From this you construct an image in your head that is very likely to be radically different to the one I intended to convey.

But even if the image you constructed exactly corresponds to the verbal information given a lot of the components that made up that experience for me will still not be there. The green of the grass, the size of the child, and the way the tree looked.

I selected certain features I thought relevant to the information I was attempting to convey but left out features I considered irrelevant.

Just as a computer game doesn’t exactly mimic reality so the constructs we create from language in-put approximates reality to an even lesser degree.

The problem is that most academic pursuits are an attempt to render in language that which is experienced. This could well be one of the reasons for the failure philosopher’s have had in created an indisputable over-arching description of reality; coupled with their insistence that reality must be consistent.

The disabled and our reaction to them – plus a tangential bit on bullying

There’s a woman who works at a shop I go to sometimes; She has a disfigured face.

 

A lump protrudes above her eye-ball and there is scarring down her cheeks.

 

She’s also small; almost a midget.

 

I don’t really look at her because I worry that by doing so I will offend her.

 

I do this despite knowing that by not looking at her I am labelling her as something not to be looked at.

 

That I am depriving her of the fundamental human necessity of being recognized as a fellow human being; the most basic form of which is eye contact and a look in the face.

 

It’s just to make eye-contact; or to even look at her face, feels like taking a dive off a cliff.

 

Not because she is ugly but because I am worried that it’s not socially appropriate to stare at deformed people.

 

Plus I don’t really know when a normal “looking at” becomes a “staring”.

 

She must be constantly reminded of her face in the eyes of others.

 

Downcast like mine or staring like someone braver.

 

It must be an inescapable fact of her life.

 

In the morning she must look in the mirror and think “I am ugly” on a verbal or non-verbal level.

 

Was she born like it?

 

The first gift from God, right after life begins: ugliness.

 

Growing up, going through school and puberty knowing that you are not attractive.

 

Looking at everyone else and marking yourself as inferior.

 

Children can be beastly.

 

I don’t mean  that in the Edwardian aristocratic sense: “Oh, you are beastly.”

 

I mean it in the sense that children can be cruel.

 

They will happily spend hours methodically dismembering one beetle after another; without feeling any sympathy or remorse.

 

Children would physically dismember each other if only they had the strength.

 

Instead they do it psychologically.

 

They mentally dismember the object of their cruelty; when that object is another human child.

 

Like piranhas swarming round a thrashing monkey they bite and they bite; until the monkey’s form is revealed in it’s skeletal decrepitude.

 

You will never gain mercy from a child.

 

I think it’s because they have this belief; somewhere deep down and hidden from the lens of language.

 

A belief that they are the centre of the universe.

 

Maybe even that they are the only person that really is.

 

The only Being in a Being-less world.

 

That everything and everyone is a mere fiction created for their pleasure or pain; depending on what context the child is in.

 

I know this from experience.

 

And sadly I don’t have the solace gained from the moral high-ground; I was bullied and I bullied.

 

I revelled in the cruelty endemic to youth.

 

I can’t hide behind the fact that I was just trying to fit in.

 

It’s that very drive that causes the bullying in the first place.

 

It’s like saying I’m not responsible for the bath over-flowing I just turned the tap.

 

 

 

(I’m going to have to re-hash my opinions on free-will; it’s not that I believe we have free-will. It’s just that I don’t think free-will or determinism are appropriate terms for human actions)