• Activity
  • Votes
  • Comments
  • New
  • All activity
  • Showing only topics with the tag "philosophy". Back to normal view
    1. ... The very insistence on the one historical incarnation as a unique step in a course of events leading to the future Kingdom of God reveals the psychology of Western culture most clearly. It...

      ... The very insistence on the one historical incarnation as a unique step in a course of events leading to the future Kingdom of God reveals the psychology of Western culture most clearly. It shows a mentality for which the present, real world is, in itself, joyless and barren, without value. The present can have value only in terms of meaning—if, like a word, it points to something beyond itself. This "beyond" which past and present events "mean" is the future. This the Western intellectual, as well as the literate common man, finds his life meaningless except in terms of a promising future. But the future is a "tomorrow which never comes", and for this reason Western culture has a "frantic" character. It is a desperate rush in pursuit of an ever-receding "meaning", because the promising future is precisely the famous carrot which the clever driver dangles before his donkey's nose from the end of his whip. Tragically enough, this frantic search for God, for the ideal life, in the future renders the course of history anything but a series of unique steps towards a goal. Its real result is to make history repeat itself faster and more furiously, confusing "progress" with increased agitation.

      —Alan Watts, Myth and Ritual in Christianity. 1954

      11 votes
    2. I've been thinking about this a lot recently. All humans are guaranteed some degree of suffering. As non-persons cannot give consent, are we not in a sense forcing this suffering on non-consenting...

      I've been thinking about this a lot recently. All humans are guaranteed some degree of suffering. As non-persons cannot give consent, are we not in a sense forcing this suffering on non-consenting sentient beings by bringing said beings into existence? In addition to this, there is always the risk that, no matter how good the environment of his upbringing, one may lead an utterly miserable existence. Does procreation not also expose those produced to this risk? Add on to this the toll that new life takes on our society and the environment, and it seems to me that there is no good reason at all to procreate, and that it is probably always wrong.

      28 votes
    3. 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
    4. 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?

      8 votes
    5. 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
    6. 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