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  • Showing only topics in ~humanities with the tag "philosophy". Back to normal view / Search all groups
    1. I've been interested in meditation for some time now - tempted by the insight into the human condition that it purports to offer - but I haven't yet experienced any kind of 'breakthrough' moment...

      I've been interested in meditation for some time now - tempted by the insight into the human condition that it purports to offer - but I haven't yet experienced any kind of 'breakthrough' moment that has brought any clarity, let alone insight.

      I have read Sam Harris's Waking Up, and have done some of the course in his app. The most I've been able to achieve is to observe (and subsequently limit, control) getting angry. This has proven pretty useful but doesn't feel profound.

      Anyway, I'm now about half way through D. E. Harding's On Having No Head, and I am struggling with it.

      I keep telling myself to stick with it because what he's saying might become clear, but I'm finding the reasoning behind it to be wilfully obtuse at times. I fear I'm exposing myself as some kind of idiot in even asking about it, but can someone help me see his point?

      He talks about looking at what you're pointing at. Makes sense. I can see those things, therefore they're there.
      And then to point at your face. You can't see that. Ok. Makes sense. I can't see that, therefore it's not there?
      I can vaguely see a blur of my nose, but that isn't anything worth worrying about?

      But I can demonstrate that it's there. I can photograph it. I can look at it in a mirror. I can touch it and feel it (and it can feel).

      I feel like I'm the fool staring at a metaphor and screaming about it not being real but I can't see the bit I'm missing!

      Does anyone have any insight they can share?

      4 votes
    2. If reality is a simulation, then why is evil allowed to exist, or why did our creators let evil exist? I know that the point of having a simulation is so that we can learn about life, but why is...

      If reality is a simulation, then why is evil allowed to exist, or why did our creators let evil exist?

      I know that the point of having a simulation is so that we can learn about life, but why is it more likely to be in a simulation with 'real' characteristics rather than one where everything is utter happiness? Why didn't our creators make infinitely more simulations where people are just happy all the time?

      Of course this brings us to the question of whether you can know happiness without pain. If reality is a simulation, couldn't it be possible to make people happiness with only the memory of pain (or just knowledge of pain) without actual pain? I would think so.

      What do you think?

      9 votes
    3. I'm interested in patterns and culture. I think it's a fascinating topic from many perspectives. Mathematically there are many tools for pattern analysis and formation, but at the same time...

      I'm interested in patterns and culture. I think it's a fascinating topic from many perspectives. Mathematically there are many tools for pattern analysis and formation, but at the same time philosophically our minds try to make things fit into patterns generally (maybe because it requires more energy to remember a whole thing than a set of rules that describe the thing). A mathematical example of cases where order arises from pure disorder (or maximum entropy) would be Ramsey theory.

      I'd like to discuss the cultural influence on our pattern analysis/synthesis, but also explore a bit what is a pattern, whether everything is a pattern or nothing is a pattern, whether patterns are interesting in themselves or not, etc.

      I was wondering if anyone has recommendations for readings in this area, or if anyone has an opinion on it. I know of many works regarding a single pattern (for example the different theories of linguistics, the different theories of music, the different theories of cooking... you get the idea) but I've never seen a meta-perspective on why are we so interested on patterns and whether our approach actually makes sense.

      Thanks!

      9 votes
    4. I read some things about the philosophy and I'd really like to go deeper into it, but the book is so hard for me to read! I can't make sense of much of what I'm reading, maybe it's the vocabulary...

      I read some things about the philosophy and I'd really like to go deeper into it, but the book is so hard for me to read! I can't make sense of much of what I'm reading, maybe it's the vocabulary I'm not sure... Is there a more accessible book about absurdism?

      7 votes
    5. I enjoy reading and in many books I see references to philosophers: Sartre, Schopenhauer, Marx, Thomas of Aquino, Socrates and so on. I recognise their names, and often know the "main points" of...

      I enjoy reading and in many books I see references to philosophers: Sartre, Schopenhauer, Marx, Thomas of Aquino, Socrates and so on. I recognise their names, and often know the "main points" of their philosophy, but I still feel like I'm missing a lot of references.

      What can I do to learn more about philosophy in general and famous philosopher's most known arguments in particular? I suspect reading their books without any pre-knowledge would be fruitless, or at least very boring. Is there a good recommended reading list where I can learn the basics of philosophy from the ground up?

      13 votes
    6. For example, 500 people working long hours in dangerous conditions for terrible pay, but they make it possible for 5000 others to live in a utopian society. What about 50 workers and 50,000...

      For example, 500 people working long hours in dangerous conditions for terrible pay, but they make it possible for 5000 others to live in a utopian society. What about 50 workers and 50,000 benefactors? I think everyone can agree that it's wrong for there to be less benefactors than workers, but what about 50/50? What if it's 500 blue skinned people and a million red skinned?

      I usually find myself internally preferring the species level ethical decisions, but I've never been brave enough to admit to it out loud because I know it makes me sound like a socio/psychopath.

      15 votes
    7. After seeing some interest in philosophical discussion threads in this group last night, here's one for all of you. Ever since I watched the movie Arrival and saw this quote, I've had this set of...

      After seeing some interest in philosophical discussion threads in this group last night, here's one for all of you.

      Ever since I watched the movie Arrival and saw this quote, I've had this set of questions about humans and how our minds and our perception of reality is influenced by language. I'm going to throw some of those questions out below as a discussion starter and see where we end up. Sorry they're a bit general, feel free to restate any of them to be more specific or more interesting to you.

      How does language limit us? Is our inability to really understand and explain concepts such as quantum reality, existence past an event horizon, or a scenario without spacetime (e.g. prior to the big bang) a product of the limitations of language or is it a fundamental limitation of humanity? Can language evolve to be able to capture such concepts? If language does evolve, how will it affect our perception of reality?

      13 votes