Thursday, December 14, 2006

Light, perception, mind and consciousness

"Trialogues at the Edge of the West," Chap. 5, part a: Light and Vision
by rjon on December 13, 2006 05:49PM (PST)
I'm posting this portion of Chap. 5 of "Trialogues at the Edge of the West" because I think it may relate to the discussion presently under way re the article titled: "Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies." My hope is that some of the new theories now surfacing in contemporary science may support our work in deconstructing the insights presented both in traditional Hindu and Buddhist texts and in Sri Aurobindo's more recent writings. For example, the initial section of "Trialogues" that I quote below raises some interesting ideas about the possible relationship between light, perception, mind and consciousness. (ron) more » Leave Comment Permanent Link

Monday, December 11, 2006

Interim World Philosophy Congress

Dear Colleagues, We are sending herewith the Programme of the Interim World Philosophy Congress for your information and perusal. We look forward to your joining the Congress and to your participation. With best wishes and regards,

Yours sincerely, Bhuvan Chandel
Interim World Philosophy Congress
Programme 15th December, 2006
Day One Venue: New Convention Centre, Vice Regal Lodge,
Delhi University, Delhi, India. 09.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. Registration of Delegates
(Conference Centre Complex) 10.00 a.m. to 11.15 a.m. INAUGURAL SESSION
(New Convention Centre) Chairman: D.P. Chattopadhyaya

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nietzsche was a philologist, after all

You'd think that Heraclitus, who tried to articulate an ethics, ethos, aesthetic, physical science, and metaphysics all at once, would be regarded as the king of the integral cats. At least the one at the top of the family tree (arborescence implied, for those who've read D&G). Dig:
"The way up and down is one and the same."
Nietzsche was a philologist, after all. He didn't just self-medicate and rant, he knew what he was doing. And one thing he did was quote Heraclitus, a big kahuna indeed for philologists. This statement looks an awful lot like a dismissal of verticality, no? Heraclitus probably would have laughed if this faire soule offered him a personality test. No ladders for me, thanks."The fairest order in the world is a heap of random sweepings." Take that, Spinoza. posted by DGA at 1:26 PM

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Archaic, the Magical, and the Mythic

The Integral movement in social and historical context: Integral Esotericism - Part Two Alan Kazlev 2-ii. The "Premodern" worldview
Human knowledge as a series of isolated and specialised disciplines is a result both of the sheer complexity and detail of the modern world and the mundane physical reality as revealed through empirical knowledge and understanding, and the current absence of an esoteric "wisdom tradition" in academia (there are indeed profound esoteric teachings in the West - Hermeticism, Anthroposophy, etc, but these are not accepted and often not even known by the mainstream).
But traditional and pre-modern cultures and worldviews understood reality in a holistic way. Astronomy and astrology, alchemy and chemistry, myth and history, magic and science, were not differentiated, but part of a single all-encompassing vision of the cosmos. This type of worldview and intuitive as opposed to empirical methodology is still retained today in its exoteric (outer, and often literalist) form by traditional religions, in a more syncretic manner, by the Perennialist or Traditionalist movement, and by the modern New Age movement.
According to Wilber, this "premodern" worldview represents an earlier stage in the history of human evolution, and hence in his holarchical view a more partial and incomplete understanding. I assert the exact opposite, that modern secular thinking is more incomplete, because it only understands a single reality (the external material), whereas premodern, traditional, and perennialist worldviews embrace many realities. This is not to deny the numerous facts and insights gained by western empirical method.
So certainly the modern understanding of the external mundane reality in all its precision and detail is far far in advance of anything the ancients could ever dream of, and increasingly, seemingly exponentially, all the time. And certainly no integral paradigm or meta-paradigm can afford not to take this material into account. But this is quite distinct from the varuious supra-physical and inner physical realities. Our external mundane reality - including the vast observable cosmos with all its stars and galaxies, is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg (to borrow Freud's evocative metaphor). This is why it behooves us to respect what other cultures, traditions, and also for that matter western esoteric traditions and teachings, say.
Evolutionary philosophers such as Steiner, Julian Jaynes[2], and Wilber, make the error of assuming that because people in the olden days lived in a society which taught a mythological worldview, their consciousness was of a dream-like nature, they lived in the unconscious and and they couldn't think as we do. This fallacy can be easily disproved by talking to anyone from a premodern culture; it can be seen that they are just as rational as a modern person. Conversely there are many modern westerners who are just as irrational as a premodern (consider Fundamentalist Evangelism).
Gebser presents evidence to show that what is here called the premodern actually includes three distinct stages or historical structures or mutations of consciousness: the Archaic, the Magical, and the Mythic. (In contrast to later developments such as Wilber's early evolutionary psychology (beginning with Up From Eden) and Wilber and Beck's interpretation of Clare Grave's Spiral Dynamics (A Theory of Everything), Gebser did not see these as evolutionary developmental stages.)
But one could equally, or even more appropriately I believe, interpret these structures as being parallel perspectives of consciousness equivalent to the different chakras, say, in that anyone can access all these stages. Of course, a great deal of this is enforced and reinforced by the collective culture and mindset, and this is what Gebser seems to be describing.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Unconditional and undeconstructable

Edward Berge Says: November 16th, 2006 at 9:10 am You’d probably find much agreement with Derrida Ned (Alan, Tusar), if you look deeply. He also shows how our culture emphasized the self over the other, autonomy over communion, male over female, intellect over feeling. And he shows a way to go behind such hegemony of one over another by pointing to that which is unconditional and undeconstructable. If you choose to box him in as “intellectual” of course you’ll miss this.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Vitality and change, openness for question and experiment

Indian Philosophic Prose in English Dr. Sumita Roy
The source of inspiration in the case of Devendranath Tagore was his own heart, in contradistinction to the privilege given to revelatory scriptures by other Brahmos. Here the fourth of Veeser’s assumptions comes into play because both imaginative and archival discourse shows the alterable nature of truth. Keshab Chandra Sen borrowed from Christianity, while Vivekananda categorized the West as materialistic/ pragmatic and the East as spiritual/ impractical.
Aurobindo attempted to establish the identity of Hinduism not by return to the past nor by asserting its timeless validity; for him it was the source of vitality and change, openness for question and experiment. Coomaraswamy spoke in defence of tradition in Hinduism through his criticism of Radhakrishnan, who, he felt, had failed in the task of actualizing and modernizing the tradition, as had several others. Krishnamurti did not show allegiance to any particular philosophic system or tradition and spoke of spiritual truths as lying deep within oneself, to be realized by one’s own effort.
It was the unique privilege of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi to bring an experiential dimension to the expression of philosophic truths. The tolerance and universal dimension of Ramakrishna’s spiritual message and the silence of Ramana, which is as eloquent as his words of wisdom, bring new levels of truth to philosophic discourse. But, of course, this was not the last word. It has been said that Vivekananda’s use of the teachings of his guru Ramakrishna was styled in his own peculiar way to suit his purpose, for his ideas of mass-education and philanthropy were not directly mirrored in the teachings of Ramakrishna...
Radhakrishnan, notwithstanding his alleged lack of originality, was one of the most successful spokespersons for neo-Hinduism in the West - as memorable as he was persuasive. His relentless crusade began with his objection to the European verdict of ethical deficiency in Hinduism in addition to its unsuitability to scientific progress. B N Seal went a step further and upheld the potential of Hinduism to bring about a European renaissance.
Bhagavan Das articulated the opinion that philosophy should not be an end in itself as it was in Europe - a more or less intellectual engagement. He advocated the need for a practical philosophy helpful to man and society. P R Damle viewed the future of Indian philosophy as one of revival and constructive exposition of non-monistic and non-idealistic systems of thought. In all of these, the attempt is to make philosophy acquire a saleable value and the oft-repeated attempt to justify it in scientific terms of reference is just one more attempt in this direction.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Computers are no longer just tools but complex systems

Disappearances chapter 1 (code and the pentecostal condition) by Richard Carlson by Rich on Fri 17 Nov 2006 10:53 AM PST Permanent Link
The similarities and differences of speech to writing to code are complex and are still being discovered and defined by theorist. Below are some instances of the differences between the speech, writing and code which N.Katherine Hayles highlights in her book “My Mother was a Computer” (2006)
In contrast to Derrida's critique of writing, machine code can not endlessly defer and differ for it has precise meanings in terms of binary systems of 1s and 0s. Code however, must be unambiguous and therefore can not tolerate floating signifiers.
Code also assumes the semiotic relationship of signifiers to signifieds . In machine code voltages can be seen as signifiers which are interpreted by a higher level language (compiler) as a signified.
Codes can not be transposed into other systems of codes. e.g. Unlike written language in which an older version can be translated into contemporary language (ex. Old English- e.g. Chaucer - can easily translated into modern English) one can not run out dated versions of software on new hardware, or have it interpreted by the newest operating systems. For example, one can't run a program for DOS on Windows software.
Unlike other forms of language codes exists in clearly differentiated versions which are executable. They are subject to processes contingent of the interpretations by higher level languages of binary code, and their execution on hardware platforms.
The community of speakers in a code largely determined by the operating system they use, e.g Microsoft or common networking languages they use such as HTML or Java
Although code may inherent little of baggage from metaphysics (it does not contain signifiers which only refer to themselves e.g. transcendental signified )it is permeated throughout with the politics and economics of capitalism along with embedded assumptions, resistant practices, and hegemonic re-inscriptions. Although the historical context of code does not present a troublesome metaphysical problem, it present a troublesome problem in the way assembly codes rely on historical practices to be created. For example, ASCII is encode in bit patterns which are physically presented in the shape of a teletype bell. The form of the teletype bell was created years ago when teletypes were state of the art technology however, the physical form of the code has not evolved because it is less troublesome to adapt subsequent versions of the code to the actual form as to change the historic form of the code itself.
An aspect of code not mentioned by Saussure and Derrida is digitization or the transmission of information in discrete packets. All code must be discrete by the process of rectification the voltage errors are rendered in terms of discrete ones and zeros.
As Derrida argues writing exceeds speech, Hayles argues that code exceeds writing in that in its compiling ability it enables communication between the natural languages of human and the electronic language of intelligent machines.
Like speech and writing computer behaviors can be interpreted by human users at multiple levels and in diverse ways, but this activity comes after the computer activity of compiling code and executing programs
Not all codes are alike and some mirror more closely natural languages than others. Unlike procedural languages such as FORTRAN and BASIC which relies on modularize procedures as can be represented in a flow chart (ex. Put the grommet in the bin,,, “set the bot in the chip that means the relay will close) C++ however, instantiates a shift in that as an object oriented program it uses code in terms of more natural language. C++ uses the same language of translating machine behaviors and human commands. C++ uses late binding in which the compiler ensure the function exists and checks its form for accuracy but the actual address of the code is not used before the program is run.
Code is not a system of differences but the calculation of differences. (eg. The differences between 1's and 0s)
Computers are no longer just tools but complex systems that increasingly produce the conditions , ideologies, assumptions and practices that help to constitute what we call reality. As true for other forms of ideologies the interpolation of the user into the machinic system does not require his/her conscious recognition of how he or she is being disciplined by the machine to become a certain kind of subject.
References: Abram, David (1997) The Spell of the Sensuous, Random House Books, Vintage Books New York

Thursday, November 16, 2006


An excerpt from Twilight of the Clockwork God: Conversations on Science & Spirituality (1999) which some might find interesting: The interviewer, John David Ebert, comments in the end-notes: Posted: 10/19/06, 1:02 pm Post subject: William Irwin Thompson on Ken Wilber and Jean Gebser
Quote: It occurs to me that Ken Wilber and William Irwin Thompson are modern incarnations of an archetypal dichotomy of intellectual temperament. Aristotle and Plato are perhaps the earliest manifestation in Western culture, but it has continued right down the line in such pairs as Newton and Leibniz, Kant and Goethe, Hegel and Schopenhauer. The Wilber type is the Systematist for whom the world is capable of reduction to a single clear architecture. There is one set of truths, eternal and unchanging, which the Systematist, whether he is Kant or Hegel, Newton or Aristotle, believes he has been uniquely privileged to discover.
Everything is assigned to its niche, like the saints and apostles in a Gothic cathedral, and one system contains all the necessary answers for any question that should arise. For Wilber, consequently, there is only one theory that is articulated over and over again in each of his books, all of which repeat the same schemas and diagrams endlessly. His work can be neatly divided in two halves, for Sex, Ecology, Spirituality marks the birth of his new Final Theory, in the light of which his earlier works are to be taken as precursors. Everything since that book contains a carbon copy of the same four-fold diagram of quadrants, as though consciousness can be mapped as neatly as the trajectory of a parabola on a Cartesian grid.
For the Thompson-Schopenhauer-Goethe-Leibniz-Plato type, the world is in flux and its truths are changing along with it. The ideas of these thinkers are never finished, always subject to revision, and constantly undergoing transformation as new truths are tested, or new theories acquired. The world is a state of perpetual Becoming and no system or body of knowledge can ever hope to be complete, capturing all that there is to know at last. No scholar has ever succeeded, for example, in capturing the fine nuances of Plato's ideas as they evolve through the course of his dialogues. Nothing but actually reading them through chronologically can replicate the experience of watching his thought ripen to its full maturity.
Plato, like Nietzsche, was not afraid of contradicting himself, for the two were alike in their manner of constantly trying out new ideas on themselves to see what the resulting points of view would look like. Something of this dichotomy is embodied, also, by Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. For the former, working in the medium of stone meant the production of complete masterpieces. Michelangelo almost always finished what he started--until later years, that is--and consequently we possess only a handful of unfinished works. The Sistine Chapel constitutes a veritable System of the Christian cosmos, complete in every respect from Genesis to Apocalypse.
For Leonardo, on the other hand, the world was ever changing and so were his views. Rarely did he finish what he began. Each painting is a sort of test of an entirely provisional theory. His notebooks are unsystematic and no one has ever really managed to capture their full complexity in a synopsis. Thompson, likewise, must be read in his entirety, every book, in order to grasp the substance of his vision, which is always changing. He is unsystematic, but always innovative, incorporating fresh insights with each new volume. Every book is a unique experience. For him, consequently, Wilber personifies that which Thompson most dreads: the Final Theory Engraved in Stone.

Pluralistic relativism

Jeff Meyerhoff
Pluralistic relativism could mean many things. The many meanings of relativism are described by Michael Krausz and Rom Harre in their book Varieties of Relativism and by Maria Baghramian in her book Relativism. I will name some major theorists who could be, and sometimes are, called pluralistic relativists. Nelson Goodman, one of the great philosophers of the second half of the twentieth-century, defended what he called a “radical relativism.” Paul Feyerabend, one of the five most important philosophers of science could be described as a pluralistic relativist. The philosopher and translator of Nagajuna, Jay Garfield, gives a strong relativist reading of Nagajuna's Buddhism in his book Empty Words.
The philosopher Richard Rorty, while denying the label relativist, is very often accused of being, what could be called, a pluralistic relativist. The Princeton political philosopher Philip Pettit, while perhaps not wanting the label relativist (no one does because it is more an epithet than a description), has defended what could be called a pluralistic relativism in his essay “A Sensible Perspectivism.”
We learn from the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy that “moral relativism is a standard topic in metaethics, and there are contemporary philosophers who defend forms of it: The most prominent are Gilbert Harman and David B. Wong.”[3] David Bloor, Barry Barnes and their strong programme in the sociology of science are accused of relativism. And these examples are all from the Anglo-American tradition. The Continental postmodernists are even more notorious for their alleged relativism.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The widely and rapidly spreading devastation of language

Jaques Derrida, in his insightful interpretations of Heidegger, has provided an important key to understanding this essential, problematical feature of Heidegger's conception of Being, which seems to have led Heidegger quite naturally to identify with, and possibly to take his cue from, Nietzsche's tragic sense of the eternal return of the same and will-to-power, as adequate definitions of the essence of Being. And the same problematical feature seems to have led Satprem, in his interpretation of the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, to characterize man's fate as one of 'only destruction and death.' But these 'conceptions' of Being -- at the highest range of mental understanding -- are still only human conceptions.
Derrida points out that "Heidegger's thought (in Being and Time) is guided by the motif of the proximity of Being to the essence of man," and he makes this important and relevant observation: "It remains that the thinking of Being, the thinking of the truth of Being, in the name of which Heidegger de-limits humanism and metaphysics, remains as thinking of man. Man and the name of man are not displaced in the question of Being such as it is put to metaphysics. Even less do they disappear. On the contrary, at issue is a kind of reevaluation or revalorization of the essence and dignity of man. What is threatened in the extension of metaphysics and technology -- and we know the essential necessity that leads Heidegger to associate them one to another -- is the essence of man, which here would have to be thought before and beyond its metaphysical determinations.
The widely and rapidly spreading devastation of language not only undermines aesthetic and moral responsibility in every use of language; it arises from a threat to the essence of humanity. Where else does 'care' tend but in the direction of bringing man back to his essence? What else does that in turn betoken but that man becomes human? Thus, humanitas really does remain the concern of such thinking. For this is humanism: meditating and caring that man be human and not inhumane, 'inhuman,' that is, outside his essence. But in what does the humanity of man consist? It lies in his essence (from Heidegger's, 'Letter on Humanism,' in Basic Writings, p.198-202)." (Margins of Philosophy, p. 128-129)

The tales are individual descriptions of an internal journey

ray harris Says: November 10th, 2006 at 5:29 pm Hi Alan, I have great sympathy for the revelation of the Heart and we could wax lyrical about the Heart as THE organ of realization, in Sufism, Kashmir Shaivism, etc. The difficulty I have is that in the end nothing can be said about the opening of the Heart, other than tell one’s own tale. And that is the ‘heart’ of the problem, the tales are individual descriptions of an internal journey.
I’ve mentioned it before but it’s worth mentioning again, and that’s the concept of ta’wil, found in Shia philosophy and elaborated by Ibn Arabi and that is that the Divine reveals itself to individual in a unique hermeneutic. The problem with any system is that it can dull the individual’s own unique understanding. A key event in Ibn Arabi’s life was the meeting of a young girl called Nizam, which he understood to be a visitation of Sophia. Ta’wil, being individual, means that this experience was unique and it certainly fits with my own experience. In my case it was a beautiful Italian/Brazilian girl I’ll call Gulabi. The goddess appeared through her and I had an overwhelming experience of the goddess through her that no one else, not even Gulabi, could understand. (Gulabi had a different experience).
It may be possible to create a more definitive map but it will be difficult. I believe much more needs to be done in the field of comparative mysticism amongst genuine mystics freed from any need to defend a particular map. I’m writing this at the same time as I’m revisting the various Platonic variations in the Abrahamic traditions, Sohrawardi, Ibn Arabi, Gnosticism (several variations thereof) etc. Ray’s Integral Blog Integral Metatheory

People don’t even have the language to address it in its own terms

Matthew Newsham Says: November 11th, 2006 at 6:57 pm I would say that Ken is toeing the line myself- and doing it well enough that we’re writing and thinking about it. Invoking tradition works both ways. Yes, your language and thought is built out of component social parts, but those parts can push and pull you across boundries you might otherwise miss. “Orienting generalizations” aren’t there to make Ken look big (we all bow to yet another not-so-subtle zing at Ken with the moth to streetlamp comparison)- but to actually create a free flow of information across disciplines.
That’s the main issue that most people have with deconstructivepostmodernism- it doesn’t connect or resonate with their inherited traditions. Most people don’t even have the language to address it in its own terms, all they see are things like “political correctness,” which they rightly view as an outgrowth of the pomo movement (Derrida creating his own tradition?), but they don’t see it as a radical expirement of freedom (which it is) but rather as cultural rules that have to be obeyed. The I has to be meaningfully tied into the equation- which will always bring traditions with it. This is where new emergence comes from- the inside as well as the outside of a single holon made up of other holons- which continue to build upward.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Nietzsche, Bergson, Samuel Alexander, Teilhard de Chardin, and Sri Aurobindo

Evolution - A Metaphysical Discussion by R.Y. Deshpande by Debashish on November 10, 2006 09:39AM (PST) This is a chapter on Evolution from R.Y. Deshpande's just published book based on Book III of Sri Aurobindo's Savitri, The Book of Fate - which deals with Narad's Arrival at Ashwapathy's kingdom of Madra. Deshpande reviews here the philosophical approaches which try to explain Becoming in the Cosmos, the meaning of Time and human destiny. His wide-ranging contemplation includes the nature of Time as seen through determinism and probability in the debates of Science, early Greek phulosophy in Heraclitus and Paramenides, Kant's reflections on the limits of rational knowledge and empirical experience and more recent evolutionary thinkers, such as Nietzsche, Bergson, Samuel Alexander and Teilhard de Chardin, before settling on Sri Aurobindo's philosophy of Integral Non-Dualism. more » Leave Comment Permanent Link

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Althusser links his ideas about ideology to Lacan

Louis Althusser's "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses" Dr. Mary Klages, Associate Professor of English, University of Colorado, Boulder, November 6, 2001
Althusser makes some final points about ideology working this way to "hail" us as subjects, so that we think these ideas are individually addressed to us, and hence are true. He says that ideology, as structure, requires not only subject but Subject. In using the capital S, he invokes an idea similar to that of Lacan (whom Althusser studied and wrote about), that there is a small-s subject, the individual person, and a capital S Subject, which is the structural possibility of subjecthood (which individuals fill). The idea of subject and Subject also suggests the duality of being a subject, where one is both the subject OF language/ideology (as in being the subject of a sentence) and subject TO ideology, having to obey its rules/laws, and behave as that ideology dictates.
The interpellated subject in the ideology of the home gym commercial would thus order the gym, behave as if bodybuilding or rigorous exercise was a necessity, something of central importance. The Subject here would be some notion of physical perfection, or body cult, the rules that the subject is subjected to. Althusser uses the example of Christian religious ideology, with God as the ultimate Subject--the center of the system/structure.
On p. 248 Althusser links his ideas about ideology to Lacan directly, noting that the structure of ideology is specular (like Lacan's Imaginary, like the mirror stage). There are a couple of things worth noting about Althusser as a "bricoleur" of other theorists. Althusser was enchanted by Freud, and even more enchanted by Lacan; the ideas of the imaginary, the mirror, the specular, and the subject/Subject are all gotten from or parallel to Lacanian notions. Also, as a Marxist, Althusser privileges SCIENCE as a form of knowing that is outside of any ideological structure, a type of knowledge that really IS simply true, because objective and material--hence his comment on 246 that the only way to know when ideology is ideological is through scientific knowledge.
Is this theory useful to literature? Yes, because it enables us to talk about how a literary text, as a subset or transformation or production of ideology (or of specific ideological formations) also constitutes us as subjects, and speaks to us directly. The most obvious form of how a literary text might interpellate us as subjects is one that uses direct address, when the text says "dear reader" (as Uncle Tom's Cabin does with annoying frequency). All texts interpellate readers by some mechanism, in some ways; all texts create subject positions for readers, whether that construction of subject positions is obvious or not. We will look at this idea of subject positions within literary texts further with Foucault.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Romanticist "escape from reason"

Soren Kierkegaard - Existentialism, Nominalism, and the Three Spheres of Existence
The dawning years of the nineteenth century were indeed years of great historic change. The Age of Reason was slowly disappearing over the horizon and the Romantic era was gradually rising to the fore. Moreover, it was a time of momentous social change and industrial progress, an age of revolution and powerful human expression. While Rousseau and Jefferson assailed the divine right of kings and proceeded to carve out their respective revolutionary ideals, great artists such as Beethoven, Goethe, and Goya were offering to the world their timeless creations. Meanwhile, the engines of the industrial machine were set in motion by the inventive genius of the age, creating a momentous force which has not ceased to this day. Thus the dawn of the nineteenth century was pervaded by the spirit of optimism and human ascent, and it was posited for the first time that the "theoretical possibility of uninterrupted human progress might be concretely realized."1
But as contemporary historians have observed, the Romanticist "escape from reason" was nothing more than a "fallacy of hope,"2 an imaginary dream of utopian ideals from which the European man would awake in horror.Perhaps this shattered dream is best represented by the story of Beethoven and Napoleon, a story which seems to encapsulate the death of political idealism in nineteenth century Europe. As the story goes, Beethoven, though not a political man, but a grand admirer of Napoleon as an apostle of revolutionary ideals, dedicated his Third Symphony (Sinfonia Eroica) to the French general, inscibing "Buonaparte" at the very top of the manuscript's title page.
However, in 1804 when the orchestral master heard that Napoleon crowned himself Emperor in the cathedral of Notre Dame, Beethoven flew into a rage and said, "Now too he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge in his own ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men and become a tyrant!"3 Infuriated, the master stormed to the table upon which his work of art lay, and tore the title page into shreds, the name of "Buonaparte" being committed to the hearth and flame. The resulting imperialism of Napoleon, then, would cause much dismay and disillusionment in the hearts of the European people; the intellectual edifice of Romanticism was doomed to collapse and a new context was being formed in which a new philosophy might emerge -- indeed, the philosophy of existentialism.Perhaps more than any other system of thought, the existential worldview is dependent on the socio-cultural context of the age. Unlike any form of transcendental idealism, existentialism envelops and engages troubled civilization, responding to the predicament of the existing individual.
Thus, we can say that existentialism is a philosophy which is attentive to the anguish, aspirations, and needs of the people, a philosophy which moves the existent to realize his "ultimate concern,"4 and thus attain an authentic existence. So, when we reflect upon the societal conditions which prevailed in post-Napoleonic Europe, and then take into consideration the fact that rationalism and higher criticism had already contributed greatly to the erosion of biblical authority, it is not difficult to see how the philosophy of existentialism could have taken root, even though it would not flourish until the twentieth century. In truth, a concrete definition of existentialism is elusive, indeed a difficult assignment. For, it is not a philosophical system or school of thought per se, nor can it be reduced to a series of propositional truths or tenets. # posted by Mysterium Dei : 7:46 PM Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kant, Herder, Schopenhauer, and Duns Scotus

Andy Smith Says: October 11th, 2006 at 2:53 pm Here it is: Socrates or Muhammad? Joseph Ratzinger on the destiny of reason. by Lee Harris 10/02/2006, Volume 012, Issue 03 To the memory of Oriana Fallaci
This was the question taken up by one of Kant’s most illustrious and brilliant students, Johann Herder. Herder began by accepting Kant and the Enlightenment, but he went on to ask the Kantian question: What were the necessary conditions of the European Enlightenment? What kind of culture was necessary in order to produce a critical thinker like Immanuel Kant himself? When Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason, methodically demolished all the traditional proofs for the existence of God, why wasn’t he torn limb from limb in the streets of K√∂nigsburg by outraged believers, instead of being hailed as one of the greatest philosophers of all time?
Herder’s answer was that in Europe, and in Europe alone, human beings had achieved what Herder called “cultures of reason.” In his grand and pioneering survey of world history and world cultures, Herder had been struck by the fact that in the vast majority of human societies, reason played little or no role. Men were governed either by a blind adherence to tradition or by brute force. Only among the ancient Greeks did the ideal of reason emerge to which Manuel II Paleologus appeals in his dialogue with the learned Persian.
A culture of reason is one in which the ideal of the dialogue has become the foundation of the entire community. In a culture of reason, everyone has agreed to regard violence as an illegitimate method of changing other people’s minds. The only legitimate method of effecting such change is to speak well and to reason properly. Furthermore, a culture of reason is one that privileges the spirit of Greek philosophic inquiry: It encourages men to think for themselves.
For Herder, modern scientific reason was the product of European cultures of reason, but these rare cultures of reason were themselves the outcome of a well-nigh miraculous convergence of traditions to which Ratzinger has called our attention as constituting the foundation of Europe: the world-historical encounter between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry, “with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage.” Thus, for Herder, modern scientific and critical reason, if it looks scientifically and critically at itself, will be forced to recognize that it could never have come into existence had it not been for the “providential,” or perhaps merely serendipitous, convergence of these three great traditions. Modern reason is a cultural phenomenon like any other: It did not drop down one fine day out of the clouds. It involved no special creation. Rather, it evolved uniquely out of the fusion of cultural traditions known as Christendom.
A critique of modern reason from within must recognize its cultural and historical roots in this Christian heritage. In particular, it must recognize its debt to the distinctive concept of God that was the product of the convergence of the Hebrew, Greek, and Roman traditions. To recognize this debt, of course, does not require any of us to believe that this God actually exists. For example, the 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was an atheist; yet in his own critique of modern reason, he makes a remarkably shrewd point, which Ratzinger might well have made himself...
For Schopenhauer, as an atheist, the rational Creator worshiped by Christians was an imaginary construction, like all other gods. For Ratzinger, as a Christian, this imaginary construction is an approximation of the reality of God; but for Ratzinger, as a critical thinker, there is no need to make this affirmation of faith. In offering his “critique of modern reason from within,” it is enough for his purposes to point out how radically different this imaginary construction of God is from the competing imaginary constructions of God offered by other religions–and, indeed, from competing imaginary constructions of God offered by many thinkers who fell clearly within the Christian tradition.
For example, Ratzinger notes that within the Catholic scholastic tradition itself, thinkers emerged like Duns Scotus, whose imaginary construction of God sundered the “synthesis between the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit.” For Scotus, it was quite possible that God “could have done the opposite of everything he has actually done.” If God had willed to create a universe without rhyme or reason, a universe completely unintelligible to human intelligence, that would have been his privilege.

Not the spirit of Pius IX; it is the spirit of Socrates

Andy Smith Says: October 11th, 2006 at 2:53 pm Here it is: Socrates or Muhammad? Joseph Ratzinger on the destiny of Lee Harris10/02/2006, Volume 012, Issue 03 To the memory of Oriana Fallaci
On September 12, Pope Benedict XVI delivered an astonishing speech at the Uni versity of Regensburg. Entitled “Faith, Reason, and the University,” it has been widely discussed, but far less widely understood. The New York Times, for example, headlined its article on the Regensburg address, “The Pope Assails Secularism, with a Note on Jihad.” The word “secularism” does not appear in the speech, nor does the pope assail or attack modernity or the Enlightenment. He states quite clearly that he is attempting “a critique of modern reason from within,” and he notes that this project “has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly.”
Benedict, in short, is not issuing a contemporary Syllabus of Errors. Instead, he is asking those in the West who “share the responsi bility for the right use of reason” to return to the kind of self-critical examination of their own beliefs that was the hallmark of ancient Greek thought at its best. The spirit that animates Benedict’s address is not the spirit of Pius IX; it is the spirit of Socrates. Benedict is inviting all of us to ask ourselves, Do we really know what we are talking about when we talk about faith, reason, God, and community?
For many, it will seem paradoxical that the Roman pontiff has invoked the critical spirit of Socrates. The pope, after all, is the embodiment of the traditional authority of the Church, and the Church is supposed to have all the answers. Yet Socrates was famous as the man who had all the questions. Far from making any claims to infallibility, Socrates argued that the unexamined life was not worth living, and he was prepared to die rather than cease the process of critical self-examination. Socrates even refused to call himself wise, arguing instead that he only deserved to be called a “lover of wisdom.”
Socrates skillfully employed paradox as a way to get people to think, yet even he might have been puzzled by the paradox of a Roman Catholic pope who is asking for a return to Socratic doubt and self-critique. Benedict must be perfectly aware of this paradox himself, so that we must assume that he, too, is using paradox deliber ately, as Socrates did, and for the same reason: to startle his listeners into rethinking what they thought they already knew.
But why should Pope Benedict XVI feel the need at this moment in history to emphasize and highlight the role that Greek philosophical inquiry played in “the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe”? Christian Europe, after all, was a fusion of diverse elements: the Hebrew tradition, the experience of the early Christian community, the Roman genius for law, order, and hierarchy, the Germanic barbarians’ love of freedom, among many others. In this cultural amalgam, Greek philosophy certainly played a role, yet its contribution was controversial from the beginning. In the second century A.D., the eminent Christian theologian Tertullian, who had been trained as a Roman lawyer, asked contemptuously: “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” For Tertullian, Athens represented hot-air and wild speculation. Many others in the early Church agreed, among them those who burned the writings of the most brilliant of all Greek theologians, Origen. Yet Benedict’s address can be understood as a return to the position of the man who taught Origen, the vastly erudite St. Clement of Alexandria.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Superman and transformation of man

NIHILISM The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose
The Nihilist rebellion and antitheism responsible for the "death of God" give rise to the idea that is to inaugurate the "new age": the transformation of man himself into a god. "Dead are all the gods," says Nietzsche's Zarathustra: "now do we desire the superman to live."[63] The "murder" of God is a deed too great to leave men unchanged: "Shall we not ourselves have to become gods, merely to seem worthy of it?"[64] In Kirillov, the Superman is the "Mangod," for in his logic, "if there is no God, then I am God."[65]
It is this idea of the "Superman" that underlies and inspires the conception of the "transformation of man," alike in the Realism of Marx and in the Vitalism of numerous occultists and artists. The various conceptions of the "new man" are, as it were, a series of preliminary sketches of the Superman. For just as nothingness, the god of Nihilism, is but an emptiness and expectancy looking to fulfillment in the revelation of some "new god," so too the "new man," whom Nihilism has deshaped, reduced, and left without character, without faith, without orientation--this "new man," whether viewed as "positive" or "negative," has become "mobile" and "flexible," "open" and "receptive," he is passive material awaiting some new discovery or revelation or command that is to remold him finally into his definitive shape.
Finally, the corollary of the Nihilist annihilation of authority and order is the conception--adumbrated in all the myths of a "new order"--of an entirely new species of order, an order which its most ardent defenders do not hesitate to call "Anarchy." The Nihilist State, in the Marxist myth, is to "wither away," leaving a world-order that is to be unique in human history, and which it would be no exaggeration to call the "millennium."
A "new age" ruled by "Anarchy" and populated by "Supermen": this is the Revolutionary dream that has stirred men into performing the incredible drama of modern history. It is an "apocalyptic" dream, and they are quite correct who see in it a strange inversion of the Christian hope in the Kingdom of Heaven. But that is no excuse for the "sympathy" so often accorded at least the more "sincere" and "noble" Revolutionaries and Nihilists; this is one of the pitfalls we found it necessary to warn against at the very beginning of this chapter. In a world thinly balanced on the edge of chaos, where all truth and nobility seem to have vanished, the temptation is great among the well-meaning but naive to seek out certain of the undoubtedly striking figures who have populated the modern intellectual landscape, and--in ignorance of genuine standards of truth and spirituality--to magnify them into spiritual "giants" who have spoken a word which, though "unorthodox," is at least "challenging."
But the realities of this world and of the next are too rigorous to permit such vagueness and liberalism. Good intentions too easily go astray, genius and nobility are too often perverted; and the corruption of the best produces, not the second best, but the worst. One must grant genius and fervor, and even a certain nobility to a Marx, a Proudhon, a Nietzsche; but theirs is the nobility of Lucifer, the first among the angels who, wishing to be even more than he was, fell from that exalted position into the abyss. Their vision, in which some would see a profounder kind of Christianity, is the vision of the Reign of Antichrist, the Satanic imitation and inversion of the Kingdom of God. All Nihilists, but preeminently those of the greatest genius and the broadest vision, are the prophets of Satan; refusing to use their talents in the humble service of God, "They have waged war against God with His own gifts."[66]

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Liberation from colonialism, chauvinism and capitalism

Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY By Debashish Banerji by Debashish on Mon 09 Oct 2006 11:33 PM PDT Permanent Link THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY - Chapters XXXII - XXXV: Internationalism, Internationalism and Human Unity, The Religion of Humanity, Summary and Conclusion.
Certainly, in Sri Aurobindo's vision, the liberation from all forms of oppression, the oppressions of colonialism, of chauvinism and of capitalism must constitute any acceptable form of future society, but the peril of the oppression of individual liberty by machinery of whatever kind is a defeat of the human spirit and its destiny. On the other hand, alternate to the World-State, the principle of free variation that has developed as nationalism may be maintained in the form of a federated world-union. The idea of voluntaristic federation appeals to our sense of Liberty, just as the idea of Socialism answers to the sense of Equality. However, the idealism of a loose voluntary federation of national or regional social/cultural groupings of humankind rests on the assumption, once again, of the clear perception by each constituting unit, of the "common good" as the "common goal". Such an assumption could only be justified under prevailing conditions of conscious psychological development, which present world-conditions do not evidence.
A persistence of the federal idea, under existing conditions, could not maintain itself on a basis of free choice and would inevitably transit in a direction of greater central control, as has happened in national federations, such as that of the U.S.A. Thus, "a federal system also would tend inevitably to establish one general type for human life, institutions and activities; it could allow only a play of minor variations. But the need of variation in living nature could not always rest satisfied with that scanty sustenance". [SABCL, 553] Attempts to ensure the free variation, on the other hand, would, under present conditions, tend to a breakdown of unity; "a looser confederation might well be open to the objection that it would give too ready a handle for centrifugal forces, were such to arise in new strength. A loose confederation could not be permanent; it must turn in one direction or the other, end either in a close and rigid centralization or at last by a break-up of the loose unity into its original elements". [Ibid]
Thus, whatever the political turn the urge for world-unification might take, however idealistic, its engineering and maintenance by rational and mechanical means is demonstrated by Sri Aurobindo to lead to failure, without the corresponding development of the principle of psychological unity in the peoples of the world. The ideal of Internationalism seems at first sight to provide the foundations for such a psychological basis. Sri Aurobindo points out that this ideal was a child of the French Revolution, with its triple call for "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" for all human beings. Of these, the mechanical solutions to world-union have rested, as shown above, on each of the first two principles predominantly. But it is the third, the principle of fraternity, which if it can be made real and active, can provide the necessary psychological basis for a durable union. This is so because fraternity takes its origin in the spiritual truth of Oneness which is the Power that seeks realization through world-union. Moreover, it would seem that just as the ideal of Equality is linked closely to the idea of the State; so, the ideal of the brotherhood of all human beings would be bound to the idea of Internationalism. If an international sentiment could awake in the peoples of the world, replacing the narrow separative and genocidal nationalisms which prevail, the necessary psychological conditions would have been laid for the eventuality of world-union.
But can an international sentiment develop anywhere near the same passion and effectuating power that makes people die for their country? Sri Aurobindo points out that nations have come into existence, serving territorial and cultural commonalities, which give them a basis of vital necessity less evident in the case of a world-union. Moreover, nations define themselves as identities and acquire power through a double process of amplifying factors of internal unity and external difference; whereas the international idea could not derive the strength that comes from opposition and resistance. "[T]he collective ego created would have to rely on the instinct of unity alone; for it would be in conflict with the separative instinct which gives the national ego half its vitality". [SABCL, 539] It also suffers from the danger of the rooting out of free variation and cultural diversity, if made into a dogma and applied prematurely. This is more obvious today than when Sri Aurobindo was writing, though his prophetic thought shows ample indication of its possibility.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Maurice Blondel, Martin Buber, J.F. Ferrier, and W.E. Hocking

True philosophy is the quest for Truth. Philosopher is the seeker of Truth. Religion is the embodiment of Eternal Truth. The mind of the Philosopher is the vehicle through which the religion is revealed. True Philosopher is a True prophet and his word is the true scripture. Philosopher mystics can rediscover true religion by mystical religious experience, similar to the experiences of the prophets of the world religions.
Man can mystically make the final leap to the Idea of the good, or to the Idea of the Absolute is made by Socrates, Plato, Hegel. German Lutheranism of 16th century asserted the right of priests to reinterpret the Bible in terms of Christian theology and opposed Papacy’s claims for monopoly over interpretation of Bible. The death of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in 1804 formally marked the end of the European Age of Enlightenment. The 19th Century ushered in new philosophical problems and new conceptions of what philosophy ought to do. Philosophers of German idealism studied religion as a valid field of philosophy. In Hinduism and Buddhism most of the philosophic writing had been in the realm of religion.
Hegel from 1816-1831 and Hegelians from 1816-1848 waged war on Papacy, intolerant authoritarian religions, Catholic Church and Judaism during 19th Century’s Clash of Civilization. Philosophers of the world should unite to foil the conspiracy of priests to rule the world. The dictatorship of the Philosophers would rid the world of the predatory religious intolerance and authoritarian religions in the 21st Century Clash of Civilizations. Religion is the field of philosophy. Philosophers not the priests should have the final world on religion, theology, dogma and doctrine...
Philosopher mystics can rediscover true religion by mystical religious experience, similar to the experiences of the prophets of the world religions. Man can mystically make the final leap to the Idea of the good, or to the Idea of the Absolute is made by Socrates, Plato, Hegel, Hindu Vedanta philosophy, Sankara’s Monism (9th century), Ramanuja’s Dualism (12th century), Asvagosha (1st century), Asanga 94th century), China’s Hui-neng of Ch’an school in Platform scripture (7th century), Persian Sufi Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (13th century), Friedrich Schleiermarcher (1768-1834), Henri Bergson (1859-1941), Maurice Blondel (1861-1949), Martin Buber (1878-1965), James Frederick Ferrier (1808-1864), and William E. Hocking (1873-1966).
In man’s most immediate experience, that of his own subjective awareness, the intuitive self can achieve a direct apprehension of ultimate reality, which reveals itself to the man as spiritual experience. The final leap to the Idea of the Good is mystical in nature. Philosophical religious idealism has dominated the philosophy of India, China and Japan for thousands of years. Hegelian dialects can help clarify the Zen Buddhist doctrine of nothingness. Idealism has been one of the most dominant phases of Indian thought in metaphysics, epistemology and dialectics. Idealism has also very largely influenced the growth of Indian ideal.
Sri Aurobindo Ghose replaced the Hindu Maya doctrine of illusion, with the concept of religious evolution of mind. Inwardness of the subjectivity of Indian idealism contrasts with the outwardness of Western objective Idealism and synthesis of the tow would create a new world religion a new world civilization. Philosophic Idealism will result in the mergers of world religions and world civilizations and help usher World Religion, World Scripture, World Philosophy, World Civilization, and World Culture. Then Clash of Religions would wither away and Merge of Civilizations would take place instead.
DiplomatKalkiGaur@Yahoo.Com http://360.Yahoo.Com/diplomacyofcivilizations/ Chapter 3 Clash of Hegelianism Philosophy- Sword of Idealistic Hegelianism of NeoConservatism Protestantism. Author: Kalki Gaur, “Manifesto of Neo-Conservatism”. Posted by Kalkism Kalki Gaur at 16:38 in MANIFESTO OF NEOCONSERVATISM Link

Saturday, September 09, 2006

To philosophize is not to read philosophy; it is to feel philosophy

To philosophize is not to read philosophy; it is to feel philosophy. The raw spikes and jagged edges, the sour-tasting dust and wind-blown debris of superficial real life have to be deliberately comprehended, or at least evaded, before the more secret rhythms, the more recondite patterns of Nature, her humours, her tragedies, her poetry take shape in the mind.
What real culture can do for personal happiness is to simplify existence down to bed-rock, to heighten in fact those great permanent sensations which belong, as Wordsworth puts it, to "the pleasure there is in life itself". John Cowper Powys Quotations

A philosophy for living on earth

Ayn Rand Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York - March 6, 1974
Most men spend their days struggling to evade three questions, the answers to which underlie man's every thought, feeling and action, whether he is consciously aware of it or not: Where am I? How do I know it? What should I do?
By the time they are old enough to understand these questions, men believe that they know the answers. Where am I? Say, in New York City. How do I know it? It's self-evident. What should I do? Here, they are not too sure--but the usual answer is: whatever everybody does. The only trouble seems to be that they are not very active, not very confident, not very happy--and they experience, at times, a causeless fear and an undefined guilt, which they cannot explain or get rid of. They have never discovered the fact that the trouble comes from the three unanswered questions--and that there is only one science that can answer them: philosophy.
Philosophy studies the fundamental nature of existence, of man, and of man's relationship to existence. As against the special sciences, which deal only with particular aspects, philosophy deals with those aspects of the universe which pertain to everything that exists. In the realm of cognition, the special sciences are the trees, but philosophy is the soil which makes the forest possible...
That nonsense deals with the most crucial, the life-or-death issues of man's existence. At the root of every significant philosophic theory, there is a legitimate issue--in the sense that there is an authentic need of man's consciousness, which some theories struggle to clarify and others struggle to obfuscate, to corrupt, to prevent man from ever discovering. The battle of philosophers is a battle for man's mind. If you do not understand their theories, you are vulnerable to the worst among them...
In physical warfare, you would not send your men into a booby trap: you would make every effort to discover its location. Well, Kant's system is the biggest and most intricate booby trap in the history of philosophy--but it's so full of holes that once you grasp its gimmick, you can defuse it without any trouble and walk forward over it in perfect safety. And, once it is defused, the lesser Kantians--the lower ranks of his army, the philosophical sergeants, buck privates, and mercenaries of today--will fall of their own weightlessness, by chain reaction.
There is a special reason why you, the future leaders of the United States Army, need to be philosophically armed today. You are the target of a special attack by the Kantian-Hegelian-collectivist establishment that dominates our cultural institutions at present. You are the army of the last semi-free country left on earth, yet you are accused of being a tool of imperialism--and "imperialism" is the name given to the foreign policy of this country, which has never engaged in military conquest and has never profited from the two world wars, which she did not initiate, but entered and won. (It was, incidentally, a foolishly overgenerous policy, which made this country waste her wealth on helping both her allies and her former enemies.) ...
Today's mawkish concern with and compassion for the feeble, the flawed, the suffering, the guilty, is a cover for the profoundly Kantian hatred of the innocent, the strong, the able, the successful, the virtuous, the confident, the happy. A philosophy out to destroy man's mind is necessarily a philosophy of hatred for man, for man's life, and for every human value. Hatred of the good for being the good, is the hallmark of the twentieth century. This is the enemy you are facing.
A battle of this kind requires special weapons. It has to be fought with a full understanding of your cause, a full confidence in yourself, and the fullest certainty of the moral rightness of both. Only philosophy can provide you with these weapons.
The assignment I gave myself for tonight is not to sell you on my philosophy, but on philosophy as such. I have, however, been speaking implicitly of my philosophy in every sentence--since none of us and no statement can escape from philosophical premises. What is my selfish interest in the matter? I am confident enough to think that if you accept the importance of philosophy and the task of examining it critically, it is my philosophy that you will come to accept. Formally, I call it Objectivism, but informally I call it a philosophy for living on earth. You will find an explicit presentation of it in my books, particularly in Atlas Shrugged.

Heaven help the person that gets his doctorate in the subject

Has studying philosophy ever made you feel as though you might lose your sanity?
Shannon W I remember when I was about 25 I started really thinking about absolute universal truth and questioning reality, and I remember one day my whole reality sort of started crumbling before me, I felt the abyss of infinity, and my new perceptions of the world blinded me with truth that I could hardly manage mentally. I can just imagine the lightning storm that must have been occuring in my brain as a multitude of synapes made new connections and my neural network expanded. I think perhaps a good portion of my brain was undergoing a transformation, a realignment of sorts. It was really hard to bring myself back to this world, hard because it is difficult to do and also because I half didn't want to. It was seeing the light at the end of a long tunnel and knowing that I had to turn back, that if I didn't I might forever lose touch with the reality that I've known. So I came back down from that plane, but I think of it often and have such difficulty functioning here amongst these illusions. Aug 19, 2006 at 10:53 pm
Maria T Best Answer - Chosen By Voters I know what you mean...I thought it's more like an "Alice in wonderland" or kinda like the matrix and taking the green pill or what ever color it was, and wishing you hadn't...When the ugly truth comes out, it's like all the time we were walking around in some fantasy land. I honestly wish I could of stayed dumb and happy. It was like an awaking that happened.......things got serious and then I seen the world for what it truly is - it's so sad.It is very difficult living in this masquerade - you wonder who's behind the next mask. Is what we are living in actually real? I sometimes think that dreams are real and fake is the living functioning world we live in - does that make sense.....
gloria_brown20 I only had to read a few philosophy books and I thought I would lose my mind, I tried concentrating on Jung, but I even found him to be difficult. Heaven help the person that gets his doctorate in the subject.
Mithra Oh my, has it ever! Luckily it was just a passing phase of readjustment. For several months many years ago there was so much input and so many odd experiences that I truly began to doubt my sanity. As it is now, I take it as it comes and while I always seek more insights, I've learned not to be so cocky as to think I can handle too much at once. While it is so beautiful to see and experience what lies out there it also creates such a sense of imbalance that it is difficult to function in the mundane world again for a bit.
Rosasharn When I started meditating, my instructor told me that one day I would be meditating and my head would open up. And I thougt he was pretty crazy.So one day I was meditating, and my head opened up. I freaked out and closed it and it's never opened again.I think that feeling like you're going insane is fear of going places you've never been.
The Dude Firstly - sorry no spell check, its down again I very much know what you are talking about. It has happened to me several times and in several diferent forms, some natural and some induced. But that first time, the real one when I first saw what it is we all seek to see, that will stay with me forever. There have been times when it has definately chalenged my sanity. The first year after I started observing my internal dialogue was one of the craziest times of my life, and certainly the most paranoid. That calmed down in time. It always seems to, in time I had new realiseations that allwed me to move on from the last and hopefuly keep moving forward. For me now the journey, the ilusions as you call it, has become part of the fun. Shying from them or worse judging them really wont get you anywhere. Being thankful for them, that really will get you closer to living the reality you want. Dont look internally for what your outside world senses can provide in abundance if you use them. I will leave you with this. Why is it that we look inside ourselves, ponder and meditate on how to bring ouselves closer a oneness with the universe, knowledge of it and to feel part of all its glory as if it were a seperate thing to us? Surely it is more effective to look outwardly to our senses, the tools we have to conect with the universe for knowledge of it and to feel oneness with it. That and, how is it possible to feel seperate from all the greatness of the universe when you are the universe as a wave is the sea? I hope that makes sense to you. Have a good time with what you have been given, that's why you were given it...... Yes, and the experience was so overcoming I had to quite in third grade and go back to it the following year.
trucker girl I like this topic. I studied philosophy in college and have studied the bible for the meaning of life and the questions of how to obtain happiness and contentment in life. I think it is good to think on these deeper things. I think it is a life long journey and a continual search for truth and meaning that goes on in the soul. It feeds the mind and the heart to search out truth. Life is complicated on one side and simple on the other. A good hard days work can make you happy - even though we seek out constant comfort in American society and can be very unhappy. I'm not a drinker, but sometimes a few drinks and laughing with my friends is a great break. You need to have balance in life. Work hard - play hard. Think deep thoughts sometimes and then enjoy the stupidity of a movie like Dumb and Dumber.
Blissbug Half the time I think philosophy as a whole is a cruel means of driving an typically normal individual to ask stupid questions while consuming large quantities of coffee. On the other hand, it's an addiction I can't seem to quite my self of, hence the reason I'm answering this question. But hey, I'm only 21. I still have years worth of realignment to experience. Here's to asking all the wrong questions and finding that right answers! Source(s):
I'm a writer...
pilgram92003 In one of H.Hesse's books he said "to create a world you must destroy the old", that is what I feel philosophy does. Question every thing even your own sanity and opinion of reality. Stay on the path with a sense of adventure.
Jon Sort of. At first, studying philosophy was really fun. Each time I began to think of something I'd never thought of before, it was like a brand new rollercoaster ride.(or maybe a spaceship ride--imagine floating to an unknown destination of unknown distance, feeling very isolated, wondering if you were going in the right direction, arriving somewhere you never could have predicted, and finally questioning whether you really needed to go there.)I never seriously questioned my sanity (except in a purely theoretical way), but I did question whether it was actually a good idea for me to study philosophy. I felt like I was becoming something that I didn't want to be... obsessed with being right all the time. Solving abstract problems instead of doing enjoyable things with my life.It's hard enough to keep my ego in check and get my sh*t together without immersing myself in an academic atmosphere and trying to solve the "greatest mysteries". Ultimately I ended up pursuing other things, but secretly I still love to philosophize. Although it probably has some negative side effects, I love the fact that learning a new "strange yet apparently true" theory is like being transported into another world.
libertarian_... The tricky part of studying philosophy is in separating the truly wise and profound stuff from the belly-button introspection. Also, beware of "Eureka" moments or of feeling like you've stumbled upon some deep truth. These are just emotions, and can cause people to latch onto some pretty silly notions that don't hold up in reality. Mystics and pseudoscientists are very convinced of their correctness, even though what they believe may be full of logical fallacies or contradicted by evidence. In other words, just because you FEEL like you've reached enlightenment, doesn't mean you have!As for your original question, I would say that reading "Thus Spake Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche was pretty sanity-testing for me. I rather admire his concept of the "uber-man" or superman, that we are far less limited in our potential to be more than we think we are. But his actual prose and writing style are, let's just say, very trying. Think Shakespeare on an acid trip.
jaxmiry I've been experiencing a bit of that myself. I've read several books on several different subjects in the past six months in the beginnings of my journey to find my ultimate truth. I say "my" because I think the path and the end are different for each person.I have been having trouble some days at work focusing on tasks. It's tough when you begin to feel that the things we say and do each day are actually insignificant. Especially if you buy in to theories such as Richard Dawkins "Selfish Genes". I've also become very disillusioned with organized religion. That sort of started with me in college and has continued now in to my "adult" life. Reading books like Sam Harris' End of Faith has really solidified my belief that organized religion must go in order to preserve the essence of humanity and harmony. At least the ideas of the major religions of the day (being Islam and Christianity). They seem to cause more strife than good anymore. I'm beginning to believe the Eastern thinkers may have had it right all along. For now I'm reading on quantum theory and eastern philosophy. It seems to most accurately describe what is "reality". I'm taking it in smaller doses though. Jumping in so quickly overloaded my senses and I felt a need to step back so I could enjoy the "real" world I live in more while I'm here. I don't see much sense in completely deconstructing, there's too much good here to leave it all behind before it's time.
davidi In my experience with this it does fade with time, but leaves us with something we wouldn't otherwise have. Since simplistic ideas or beliefs no longer work, the mind is kept open to the patterns that reality can reveal. The world then opens up, and the mind functions in the way it has evolved to operate. To me, a philosophy is something we create naturally by staying curious and in every situation keeping the mind open, even if only a crack. The unconscious part of the mind is an amazing ally that subjects itself entirely to our will*, so when we solidify a concept it closes up shop (on the subject) and waits for further direction. when we go through a mind shattering experience maybe it is just our unconscious mind putting us in our place so it can be free to proceed with its real work!* To verify this think about how a memory is recalled, for example; then think about what goes on in the conscious mind when a memory can't be found. it has no idea where to look for it and can only hope the unconscious will find a way. The conscious mind controls the will but the unconscious does the work, in most cases. When a sudden emergency arises the unconscious can bypass the conscious will and cause an appropriate reaction before we have time to think about it.Thanks for this question. It's amazing that so many of us have had similar experiences, and it seems that most have an ongoing interest in philosophy!
Roadkill I studied it formaly so I never experience the trauma of just studying it on my own. I did feel that everything became a little more clear to me. I found it more useful to study ethics, and logic than the what is real stuff. You can get stuck in an endless loop on that stuff and never get anywhere.
Cogito Sum Philosophy should be something that tells you how to live and how to live well. However, philosophy died the day we became a random quirk of nature. If we are a random quirk of nature, then it is impossible to justify that life is meaningful. So, philosophy became introspective, or existentialistic, or worked in the realm of political philosophy to create cookie cutter citizens that could be controlled by society, since society was going to lose the moral basis that religion brought. Marx and Dewey and many others are typical. What happen. Hedonism, ethnic cleansing, class warfare, polarization, and the deterioration of civilization. I fear godless societies, that have been justified by political philosophy, like, Nazi and Marx. They have been brutal. What about philosophy? What good is it? Does it have a body of knowledge? Or is it anarchy where anything goes? Philosophy does have an eternal body of reason based, realistic, life affirming knowledge, it is just not very public yet. There are answers, good answers, so keep looking. Take care! Source(s):

When they immerse themselves in the world they live in

What is philosophy? defines it as a "Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline." However we feel philosophy cannot be labeled with such rigid definitions. Philosophizing is what a person does when they immerse themselves in the world they live in. They wonder, observe, and try to explain the cosmic truths around them. Each man has a unique view of the universe, and a yearning to communicate it.
The most effective learning occurs when people communicate ideas with one another. Even throughout the history of philosophy, this has been true. The great minds in history did not earn they're respect through a vast library of texts alone. They had to communicate with others and establish their ideas through a medium of dialogues. That is where this web site comes in. It is intended as a portal for those who wish to expand their own knowledge and understanding. Ideas are presented to the user to investigate. You may read about the historical significance of an idea as well as apply in modern situations.

Too much of 20th century philosophy had been of the Sunday crossword variety-- it was not felt

pragmatic ignorance
maprovonshanoesisPosts: 1387
Posted:Feb 22, 2005 - 08:40 PM
The quintessential American proverb is "ignorance is bliss." Though to philosophy, it seems heretical; for many people, it's practical. The more we learn, the more we know there's more to learn. The more we seek and obtain knowledge, the more unsure we are about the knowledge we've hitherto gathered. Today in school as my mind wandered from my bullshit classes, I wondered if there's any point to our hopeless search for wisdom. Again, I know this sounds bad in terms of philosophy. Philosophy is the search for wisdom, but is the search for wisdom a lost cause? Aren't careless people happier than we are? Shouldn't happiness be the benchmark from which we value actions? If that's true, shouldn't we be careless like most happy people are (ignorant people that, when something bad happens, they say 'everything happens for a reason, and when something good happens say 'I've been blessed')?I know this isn't good philosophy, but since rational philosophy is all about the theoretical, isn't it better that societies are based on ignorance and bullshit? Would the world be a better place if we were all miserable and smart, or blissfully ignorant?NOTE: This is just theoretical; I know it seems anti-philosophical, but it's just a thought._________________"so pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's bugger all down here on earth." --Eric Idle

jaspernoesisPosts: 1271
Posted:Feb 22, 2005 - 08:52 PM
Ha ha ha. I have often thought the same thing. The only point to life is what you make of it, unless you are religious. So, if philosophy is overall fulfilling for you, then you should continue pursueing it. If not you maybe shouldn't. Do some soul searching perhaps. It sounds cheesy, but it's better than therapy.There is no higher purpose to it though. Many of the theories in philosophy are distortortions of reality created by the human mind. There is no meaning to things except what we humans attach to it. So, ask yourself if you should attach meaning to philosophy as a fulfilling hobby and or practice it so that you can attain higher understanding and be a wiser and hopefully more intelligent person, which will help you in many areas of life.Ignorance may be enjoyable for some, but most do not like the side effects of ignorance, such as atrophied intelligence or memory or just plain poor understanding of the world. We no longer live in a society that is condusive to ignorance. We live in the information age. And many technological tools we use require some degree of intelligence and knowledge. Politics is continually getting scarier around the world. That is why we need to keep up on important situations happening around the world so we know who to elect to different offices...It really depends on what you mean by being ignorant, doesn't it? I mean if you are talking just being like the average person then you could definitely live like that without many side effects. If you mean ignorance like Billy Bob who has lived in the remote mountains since he was 16 that's a different story.There is no right answer perhaps. The preference and which lifestyle will be best for which person varies greatly from person to person. It is relativistic.

DiotimamoderatorPosts: 1737
Posted:Feb 22, 2005 - 08:56 PM
MaprovI'll ignore the latter part of your post as I realise you are only a high school student.But you should read J S Mill.Try "Utillitarianism" first.Then, before you writeit off. explain to me why he is wrong to say:happiness is importantPS: just saying this is utilitarian is not an objection. PPS: I'm a consquentialist_________________I'll teach you differences.

jaspernoesisPosts: 1271
Posted:Feb 22, 2005 - 09:10 PM
There is nothing wrong with happiness as long as it does not produce ill effects that outweigh it significantly. However, there are different gradients of happiness. There is intellectual happiness, spiritual or moral fulfillment, social happiness, and competitive happines, relationship happiness, etc., these all being higher forms of happines. Next we have the lower forms that everyone associates with utilitarianism too much: sex, addiction, good food, petty status recognition, enjoying mindless activities or easy mental stimulation (TV), power, enjoying being lazy, leisure, etc.Now, if you associate the higher and lower forms of happiness with utilitarian happiness, then really what you are saying is redundant, because of course humans should do what makes them have a good life without doing so at the expense of others.

heroic_dictatorPosts: 76
Posted:Feb 22, 2005 - 09:55 PM
The quintessential American proverb is "ignorance is bliss." Though to philosophy, it seems heretical; for many people, it's practical. The more we learn, the more we know there's more to learn. The more we seek and obtain knowledge, the more unsure we are about the knowledge we've hitherto gathered. Today in school as my mind wandered from my bullshit classes, I wondered if there's any point to our hopeless search for wisdom. Again, I know this sounds bad in terms of philosophy. Philosophy is the search for wisdom, but is the search for wisdom a lost cause? Aren't careless people happier than we are? Shouldn't happiness be the benchmark from which we value actions? If that's true, shouldn't we be careless like most happy people are (ignorant people that, when something bad happens, they say 'everything happens for a reason, and when something good happens say 'I've been blessed')?I know this isn't good philosophy, but since rational philosophy is all about the theoretical, isn't it better that societies are based on ignorance and bullshit? Would the world be a better place if we were all miserable and smart, or blissfully ignorant?NOTE: This is just theoretical; I know it seems anti-philosophical, but it's just a thought.
I made a topic similar to this, I believe lower intelligence levels give peace easier and the most knowledgeable person is the one that suffers the most with a few exceptions.

nousskiaPosts: 166
Posted:Feb 22, 2005 - 11:57 PM
We have all heard Socrates' famous quote: "The unexamined life is not worth living." It recently struck me that this does not entail that "The examined life is worth living." In fact, the truth of the matter is "The examined life is also not worth living." Ignorance is bliss. After all, what's the point of thinking about things you cannot change?

MelchiorskiaPosts: 192
Posted:Feb 23, 2005 - 08:38 AM
I don't really see eye to eye with you hereDo you enjoy "searching for wisdom?" Have you had a passion for it since you were my age? What makes you think you'd be happier on a less enlightening path?You can't be pickey with your lifelong pursuits. You need to pick and choose one and streamline with it. Ultimately your going to live a wasted life. If your bored in pursuit of your passion, your gonna be bored no matter what you do. But at least be bored, in something that you know you can do well. Even if you believe it's meaning is fruitles, there's no turning back.How do you think all those women softball players deal?_________________"Rosseau was mad bu influential, Hume was sane but had no followers"

maprovonshanoesisPosts: 1387
Posted:Feb 23, 2005 - 04:25 PM
Have you had a passion for it since you were my age?
What's your age? I'm only 17._________________"so pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's bugger all down here on earth." --Eric Idle

MelchiorskiaPosts: 192
Posted:Feb 23, 2005 - 08:54 PM
In that case 16. Pardon my ignorance._________________"Rosseau was mad bu influential, Hume was sane but had no followers"

nousskiaPosts: 166
Posted:Feb 23, 2005 - 11:22 PM
Maprovonsha, MelchiorAge has nothing to do with it. Citing age is an ad hominem argument. If at 16 and 17, you already know you like philosophy, you're doing a lot better than I. At that age, I had no idea what philosophy was. It took me a very long time to realise that my destiny in this life is to be a philosopher --but better late than never, as they say.Melchior, I agree with you that we can't be picky about our lifelong pursuits. We must do what we must do. The problem is: we somehow (perhaps following Plato or Aristotle) think that wisdom will lead to happiness. There is no such necessary connection. It is entirely possible that wisdom could lead to misery (when we realise what a horrid state the world is in), and that ignorance could lead to happiness (when we look at the world through rose coloured spectacles).As a philosopher, I enjoy the pursuit of wisdom. As a philosopher, I refuse to look at the world through rose coloured spectacles. As a human being, I don't like to be miserable all the time. Hence, I also choose to be (mostly) ignorant of world affairs. It's pragmatic ignorance.

maprovonshanoesisPosts: 1387
Posted:Feb 24, 2005 - 08:50 PM
In that case 16. Pardon my ignorance.
Melchoir, no offense intended.Nous, this is, if I understand you right, quite troubling...
As a philosopher, I enjoy the pursuit of wisdom. As a philosopher, I refuse to look at the world through rose coloured spectacles. As a human being, I don't like to be miserable all the time. Hence, I also choose to be (mostly) ignorant of world affairs. It's pragmatic ignorance.
If by world affairs you mean politics, I think that's a huge mistake. Politics should be a primary area of concern for all intellectuals. In Germany in the 1930s it wasn't fashionable to be into politics either, they'd say, "leave politics to the politicians." We should learn from their mistake. As far as happiness goes, maybe I just have a disproportionate amount of reason to be unhappy, or maybe it's just a stage in life, but I can't reason rationally on being happy (long term) because I can almost never manage to be myself. The sad fact of the matter is that it seems with clearer consciousness comes depression. P.S. If anyone else stuggles with depression as I do, perhaps you would like to know what I do find solace in. Movies, music and drugs. If you especially need something to pick yourself up watch an old comedy movie that you always laugh at. The Big Lebowski!!!_________________"so pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's bugger all down here on earth." --Eric Idle

jonlishmandianoiaPosts: 458
Posted:Feb 24, 2005 - 09:17 PM
Unfortunately, it seems in your case, maprovonsha, the genie is out of the bottle. So embrace the genie and train the tricky sprite up so it starts to do some good for you, instead of being a nuisance that seems to go out of its way to make you feel ill at ease. The one thing in the world that an analytical mind with integrity can't abide is contradiction. It creates unbearable tension - similar to the powerful sense of injustice you felt as a child when someone told a lie against you.'Ignorant' people are just people - but you aren't one of them.Bon chance_________________As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

mrinal_ktPosts: 17
Posted:Feb 25, 2005 - 02:47 AM
The quintessential American proverb is "ignorance is bliss." The more we learn, the more we know there's more to learn. The more we seek and obtain knowledge, the more unsure we are about the knowledge we've hitherto gathered. Today in school as my mind wandered from my bullshit classes, I wondered if there's any point to our hopeless search for wisdom. Again, I know this sounds bad in terms of philosophy. Philosophy is the search for wisdom, but is the search for wisdom a lost cause? Aren't careless people happier than we are? Shouldn't happiness be the benchmark from which we value actions? I know this isn't good philosophy, but since rational philosophy is all about the theoretical, isn't it better that societies are based on ignorance and bullshit? Would the world be a better place if we were all miserable and smart, or blissfully ignorant?
I guess these thoughts must have crossed the minds of most of us. I am not very sure what exactly you mean by "the search for wisdom". Philosophy, or for that matter any search for truth is frustrating the moment we realize that the search is an unending quest. That is, we are always on uncertain footing, and unsure. And the more we know, the more there seems to be to know. If our search is for certainties, some kind of final truths then we must restrict ourselves to tautologies. Anything else will be uncertain. This realization is the first meaningful realization that any philosopher or scientist or a human being should have before he/she sets on the path of any enquiry.Thus, if we are looking for certainties, we are on a wild goose chase. But if we realize that ours is going to be an unending quest, the frustration of pursuing a "lost cause" will not set in.The pleasure of philosophy is not in discovering, but in the process of discovery. Other uses may exist, and they are perhaps very important too. But I think that the pleasure of philosophizing or doing science comes from pursuing a path even though one knows that it has no destination. We have our own wits to tell us where, on this path, we may pause to pursue again or even stop. But every stop is merely a convenient resting place. Despite there being directions in which to pursue, there is simply no destination to aim for. So if one loves travelling along this road, then one loves it despite knowing that the journey will not end at a destination. The best one can hope for is to build a comfortable resting place (a theory, a model, etc.) at the end of one's journey. For those who find such pursuit hopeless, they are perhaps looking for more than just travelling. Before starting they should be clear as to what they expect. For those who find it useless, it is possible to enumerate some uses and advantages of the journey. Regarding "ignorance is bliss" mantra, I think there are some people who cannot manage to remain ignorant even if they think that it leads to bliss. The curiosity embedded into their minds perhaps leads them to attempt discovering and unravelling mysteries. These are the people who will philosophize even if they suffer. For the others, they can judge whether they are prepared to walking down unending roads, many of which are without any signposts. Let us, however, remember that a mind once exposed to philosophy cannot get back to starting point provided it feels the philosophy. To make this statement clear, I will give an example. If you philosophize on time and space, you can do from the point of view of a person sitting with a paper and pencil and trying to arrive at a consistent model in order to solve a puzzle in a manner similar to that of solving puzzles from the leisure section of a Sunday newspaper. This is philosophy but without having felt it. But when one attempts the same solution because of the bewilderment that this world, this universe poses then one feels the philosophy. I have given this example to make the following statement:Those who are amazed by this world, and then "feel" philosophy have no hope of returning to bliss that comes from ignorance even if philosophizing is painful to them. edited by: mrinal_kt, Feb 25, 2005 - 02:50 AM _________________MrinalTry these:1. The Concept of Time2. Thoughts Unclassified

SummerianPosts: 48
Posted:Feb 25, 2005 - 08:18 AM
pragmatic ignoranceDoes get the mind working, doesn't it.Think this might be relevant.http://en.wikip...e_dissonanceCognitive dissonance is a state of imbalance between cognitions. For the purpose of this theory, cognitions are defined as being an attitude, emotion, belief or value, or even a mixture of these cognitions. In brief, the theory of cognitive dissonance holds that the human mind tends to adopt thoughts or beliefs so as to minimise the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions.The experimentIn Festinger and Carlsmith's classic 1957 experiment, students were made to perform tedious and meaningless tasks, consisting of turning pegs quarter-turns, then removing them from a board, then putting them back in, and so forth. Subjects rated these tasks very negatively. After a long period of doing this, students were told the experiment was over and they could leave.However, the experimenter then asked the subject for a small favor. They were told that a needed research assistant was not able to make it to the experiment, and the subject was asked if they could fill in and try to persuade another subject (who was actually a confederate) that the dull, boring tasks they had just completed were actually interesting and engaging. Some subjects were paid $20 for the favor, another group was paid $1, and a control group was not requested to perform the favor.When asked to rate the peg-turning tasks, those in the $1 group showed a much greater degree of attitude change in favor of the experiment than those in either of the other two groups. Experimenters theorized that when paid only $1, students were forced to internalize the attitude they were induced to express, because they had no other justification. Those in the $20 condition, it is argued, had an obvious external justification for their behavior -- they did it for the money. But with only $1, subjects faced insufficient justification and therefore "cognitive dissonance" which they sought to relieve by changing their attitude in order to really believe that they found the tasks enjoyable.Two kinds of dissonanceTheorists have identified two different kinds of cognitive dissonance that are relevant to decision making: pre-decisional dissonance and post-decisional dissonance.Pre-decisional dissonance might be analogous to what Freud called "compensation." When a test showed that subjects had latent sexist attitudes, they later awarded a female a larger reward than a male in what they were told was a different study. Researchers hypothesized that the larger reward reduced dissonance by attempting to show that they were not sexist in the later decision.The more well-known form of dissonance, however, is post-decisional dissonance. Many studies have shown that people will subjectively reinforce decisions or commitments they have already made. In one simple experiment, experimenters found that bettors at a horse track believed bets were more likely to succeed immediately after being placed. According to the theory, the possibility of being wrong is dissonance-arousing, so people will change their perceptions to make their decisions seem better. This is the basis of the foot-in-the-door technique in sales, and possibly confirmation bias.Post-decisional dissonance may be increased by the importance of the issue, the length of time the subject takes to make or avoid the decision, and the extent to which the decision could be reversed.

nousskiaPosts: 166
Posted:Mar 02, 2005 - 02:28 AM
Let us, however, remember that a mind once exposed to philosophy cannot get back to starting point provided it feels the philosophy. To make this statement clear, I will give an example. If you philosophize on time and space, you can do from the point of view of a person sitting with a paper and pencil and trying to arrive at a consistent model in order to solve a puzzle in a manner similar to that of solving puzzles from the leisure section of a Sunday newspaper. This is philosophy but without having felt it. But when one attempts the same solution because of the bewilderment that this world, this universe poses then one feels the philosophy.
Precisely. Too much of 20th century philosophy had been of the Sunday crossword variety--it was not felt. But when we feel philosophy, and when we look at the world, then dissonance sets in. Sometimes very serious dissonance. We must escape. Movies, music (please, not drugs--why would a philosopher deliberately seek to wreck his mind?) are some methods. So also is ignorance a method.I have two tests to determine if I want to be involved in something: Does it affect me? Can I affect it? A double negative entails I ignore it. If it affects me but I cannot affect it, I consider it and choose my best option among those available. If it does not affect me but I can affect it, I try my best to do what is right. If it both affects me and I can affect it, that's when I put on my best thinking cap. I am pragmatic about my ignorance.