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The Philosophy of Real Human Moments

FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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2/22/2013 2:23:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
As many of the great thinkers here have grown aware, philosophy has a way of being completely irrelevant to our lives. It's not often we stumble upon a decision that rests on our philosophical leanings. For the most part, people just go about their business and mostly do the same kind of things as everyone around them and how they've been doing things all their life.

This thread is dedicated to all philosophy which defies this norm.

It's something I've been thinking an awful lot about lately, as well as working hard to turn into a reality.

It's a funny thing that prompted me to make this thread. I just saw the movie Warm Bodies. I loved it, of course. If for no more reason than the power behind it's metaphor. People are zombies but can become alive again through experiencing real human moments. The reflection of this in the real world is startling.

It brings to mind a clip from the fantastic independent film called Waking Life. See the video. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an original clip.

It seems apparent to me that people are naturally hardwired to pursue desires. But that people confuse desires as something that gives them a sense of fulfillment. It's pretty cliche. Which reminds me of the lyrics in Tim Minchin's Not Perfect, which go "every answer that you find is the basis of a brand-new cliche". And it's pretty normal sage advice too. You can fulfill what you may see as all your basic desires and still feel completely "empty inside". Religion has been attempting (and failing) to address this issue for eons. One thing I'd agree the bible got right (unfortunately, not without contradiction) was when James said "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." And this directly relates to my premise here. That the key to self-fulfillment lies in the choice to make certain actions. But not just any action. Defining what those kind of actions are can be tricky. Some say stepping out of routine and being spontaneous. Some say it's simple love for your common people. I think it defies definition. To have a real human moment is to breach a new frontier; to kick into a more involved state of mind; to reach out and hold onto the sentimental, the romantic and the artistic. I think this is what the Law of Thelema means when it says to embrace your "true will".

And this all makes sense. For pleasures will last while they can. Our work may gives us self worth but the goals which we so idealize and use to justify the work, once reached (if they are ever reached) end up leaving us feeling no different. Yet it is our perception of our selves which seems to last. What are we doing to truly make us feel good about who we are? Ideas certainly have a way of changing people but I look around and I see Christians and Atheists, young and old, rich and poor, liberals and conservatives, all equally lifeless. The world is a nearly continuous shade of grey interrupted only occasionally by a flash of color. But it is not an unhopeful existence, as the power exists in all of us to create this color any time we wish. The source of the color? Someone actually took a step back, widened their eyes, thought about what they were doing and their place in life and did something unexpected, often as a social experience. That requires a huge amount of creativity to live out continuously.

I'll offer a few examples in my own life of how I've been trying (and succeeding) to be in touch with this more vibrant existence.

One day I was walking along the sidewalk and I decided to ask a group of people if they would like to play duck-duck-goose with me. To their surprise, I'm sure. To my surprise, they accepted. And it was the best fucking game of duck-duck-goose that I ever had.

I've begun interacting more. Saying hello, waiving, making a joke, laughing, starting conversations, even hugging, all with complete strangers. Spontaneously dancing and singing in public.

Of course, it doesn't all have to be social. Long walks. Relaxation. Play. Creating something original. These are things I've done what I can to find more time for, and to great affect.

I've discovered that these little things, these tiny moments in the whole of our lives, really truly do stick with you. They often seem so hard when the moment comes because your instinct tells you to avoid embarrassment. Perhaps you've been simply too lazy. But then a year or two has gone by and you look back on these things, realizing that they've become very sentimental to you. It turns out that it's these sort of little, crazy, simple--unequivocally human--moments that will end up popping into out heads just moments before we know our end is near. Not all the things that we thought made us who we are. Not our jobs, not our nationality, not even our religion. Just these tiny moments in the history of a lifetime. If we think about anything else, it may just be to wonder why all the rest of it wasn't like those moments; how you could just let it waste by.

This is about asking what you're doing here and actually creating a new path for yourself based on that answer. Is there anything for you more than that?
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
Vi_Veri
Posts: 4,487
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2/22/2013 2:32:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Wait, you can't see how philosophy effects your every single living moment? I'm shocked you are so un-applied.
I could give a f about no haters as long as my ishes love me.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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2/22/2013 2:35:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/22/2013 2:32:48 AM, Vi_Veri wrote:
Wait, you can't see how philosophy effects your every single living moment? I'm shocked you are so un-applied.

How did you get that out of my post?
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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2/22/2013 2:49:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I had the same thoughts after watching Warm Bodies. Definitely sparked philosophical contemplation, or rather connecting it to other concepts.

To have a real human moment is to breach a new frontier; to kick into a more involved state of mind; to reach out and hold onto the sentimental, the romantic and the artistic. I think this is what the Law of Thelema means when it says to embrace your "true will".


Yes. And I believe that state can be brought about by thoughtlessness, eliminating the mind chatter of self-conscious thoughts, what will others think, what if this, what if that, all the various thoughts that race through people's heads. Of course, then there's the thoughtlessness of the zombie state.

I suppose it could be said there's two modes of thoughtlessness, zombie mode and awake mode.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Cinco
Posts: 63
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2/23/2013 8:04:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/22/2013 2:23:00 AM, FREEDO wrote:

It seems apparent to me that people are naturally hardwired to pursue desires.

I have nearly come to the conclusion that that's what "life" is - the constant reaching for something more - desire.

The universe seems to have a profound affinity for desire. I've been playing with this and with the idea that the observer creates its own version of reality, as these things relate to time, but what if desire is the impetus behind existence, itself? What if the observer "reaches" and the mechanism simply delivers, "no questions asked"? Certainly, if there was no delivery, nothing would reach. I suspect that if "delivery" didn't take place in every instance, there would be no existence.

There is a mathematical proof that if free will exists, in anything, then it exists in every particle. And, consequently, that if anything is predetermined, then nothing has free will. (John Conway and Simon Kochen's Free Will Theorem).

After enough thought and "if/thens" to fill a trilogy of 12 volume works on the subject, I am currently examining the possibility that every single thing "reached for" is delivered and that it is a misconception regarding "how life works" that actually creates "time". So that, rather than time being wasted, time IS a sort of "waste" created by misapplied "reaching" - i.e. reaching for the purpose of getting the desired experience from an "unauthorized" source. For instance, seeking "fun" from a perceived "distance" of however long you think it takes to get to the ballpark. I other words, a desire for fun and a misconception of how the universe works may cause one to reach for a way to some far away, preconceived notion of fun rather than merely reaching for fun, directly. Which is where "time" comes in - being created by the misconception that there is distance between you and what you want. Which isn't the experience of observing a ball game, but simply the experience of the fun you associate with that activity. The result being that you reach, reach, reach as you plan, leave and commute to the ball game, at which "time" you stop and reach for the fun. Which you could have simply reached for, initially, wherever you were.

Your duck, duck, goose adventure was an excellent example. You reached for fun and the universe delivered with the group, the idea and the result. Boom, boom, boom.
If your time, to you,
Is worth savin',
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone.
For the times they are a-changin'. - Bob Dylan
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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2/25/2013 1:34:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/22/2013 2:49:22 AM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I had the same thoughts after watching Warm Bodies. Definitely sparked philosophical contemplation, or rather connecting it to other concepts.


Did you notice the eye and pyramid in the background of one of the scenes? I watched it in the theater and it popped right out at me.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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2/25/2013 1:40:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/23/2013 8:04:11 AM, Cinco wrote:
There is a mathematical proof that if free will exists, in anything, then it exists in every particle. And, consequently, that if anything is predetermined, then nothing has free will. (John Conway and Simon Kochen's Free Will Theorem).

There are no such certainties when dealing with such plainly abstract concepts as free will. It means whatever we make it mean. Which may be contradictory. But the greatest of life's answers are revealed in paradoxes.

There are two types of truth in this world.
Casual Truths which are true because they are simply the opposite of false.
And Profound Truths which are true because they are also false.

Boom, boom, boom.

Boom, boom, boom.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
Cinco
Posts: 63
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2/25/2013 8:42:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/25/2013 1:40:29 AM, FREEDO wrote::
There are no such certainties when dealing with such plainly abstract concepts as free will. It means whatever we make it mean. Which may be contradictory. But the greatest of life's answers are revealed in paradoxes.


And of course, saying "there are no such certainties" assumes its own impossible certainty. You can say "I'm not certain" but "there are no such certainties"? No way of knowing what can and cannot be known or understood by any other and, of course, if there are others who know, then you've automatically dismissed them and your chances of ever "finding out" are practically nil. And the really interesting part is that you are perfectly "free" to choose that perspective.

I love a paradox. It's just a point at which two perspectives meet, where an object appears one way from one perspective and another way from the other. Personally, I jump to the new side and run. It's how I get my jollies!

Here's a quote from Conway and Kochen's later "The Strong Free Will Theorem" (Notices of the AMS, Volume 56, Number 2)
http://www.ams.org...

"Although, as we show in [1], determinism may formally be shown to be consistent, there is no longer any evidence that supports it, in view of the fact that classical physics has been superseded by quantum mechanics, a non-deterministic theory. The import of the free will theorem is that it is not only current quantum theory, but the world itself that is non-deterministic, so that no future theory can return us to a clockwork universe."

That's just about the sexiest thing I've ever read. The philosophical implications (and applications) are enough to keep me happily busy for the rest of my life. Granted, a lot of folks - physicists included - don't like it, but they haven't been able to do anything about it other than call it "irrelevant".

I may disagree with the last bit of that quote, as I suspect a more fundamental, all-encompassing and profoundly simple mechanism still lies at the heart of it all, but I agree that it cannot be the convoluted, complicated, self-contradicting "clockwork" mechanism that "old" science keeps wanting it to be.

Quantum Physics is a sort of "big bang" unto itself.
If your time, to you,
Is worth savin',
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone.
For the times they are a-changin'. - Bob Dylan
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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2/25/2013 7:07:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/25/2013 8:42:32 AM, Cinco wrote:
At 2/25/2013 1:40:29 AM, FREEDO wrote::
There are no such certainties when dealing with such plainly abstract concepts as free will. It means whatever we make it mean. Which may be contradictory. But the greatest of life's answers are revealed in paradoxes.


And of course, saying "there are no such certainties" assumes its own impossible certainty. You can say "I'm not certain" but "there are no such certainties"? No way of knowing what can and cannot be known or understood by any other and, of course, if there are others who know, then you've automatically dismissed them and your chances of ever "finding out" are practically nil. And the really interesting part is that you are perfectly "free" to choose that perspective.

I love a paradox. It's just a point at which two perspectives meet, where an object appears one way from one perspective and another way from the other. Personally, I jump to the new side and run. It's how I get my jollies!

Actually, I don't think that's a paradox. Saying "nothing is certain" means logic would not be certain, which means the statement would not need to be bound by it.

I make an important distinction between "illogical" and what I call "paralogical", which is to say "beyond logic" rather than "against logic".

Here's a quote from Conway and Kochen's later "The Strong Free Will Theorem" (Notices of the AMS, Volume 56, Number 2)
http://www.ams.org...

"Although, as we show in [1], determinism may formally be shown to be consistent, there is no longer any evidence that supports it, in view of the fact that classical physics has been superseded by quantum mechanics, a non-deterministic theory. The import of the free will theorem is that it is not only current quantum theory, but the world itself that is non-deterministic, so that no future theory can return us to a clockwork universe."

That's just about the sexiest thing I've ever read. The philosophical implications (and applications) are enough to keep me happily busy for the rest of my life. Granted, a lot of folks - physicists included - don't like it, but they haven't been able to do anything about it other than call it "irrelevant".

I may disagree with the last bit of that quote, as I suspect a more fundamental, all-encompassing and profoundly simple mechanism still lies at the heart of it all, but I agree that it cannot be the convoluted, complicated, self-contradicting "clockwork" mechanism that "old" science keeps wanting it to be.

Quantum Physics is a sort of "big bang" unto itself.

I'm a strong indeterminist. I think the basis of the universe is pure randomness and chaos. It is only through the randomness building up upon itself that our pattern-seeking minds build an idea of order and structure.

The "heart of it all" is quantum fluctuation. Essentially, things popping up for no reason whatsoever. This is observed in the study of quantum physics. The creation of the universe as we know it was one giant quantum fluctuation which, although highly unlikely, is inevitable given the inherent infinite opportunity.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
Cinco
Posts: 63
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2/25/2013 8:33:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/25/2013 7:07:58 PM, FREEDO wrote:

I make an important distinction between "illogical" and what I call "paralogical", which is to say "beyond logic" rather than "against logic".

My comment about paradox was just a comment about paradox, not related to anything other than the mention of paradoxes. Interestingly, I call the perspective one experiences when viewing a paradox from the threshold between the two perspectives a "paraspective".

I'm a strong indeterminist. I think the basis of the universe is pure randomness and chaos. It is only through the randomness building up upon itself that our pattern-seeking minds build an idea of order and structure.

The "heart of it all" is quantum fluctuation. Essentially, things popping up for no reason whatsoever. This is observed in the study of quantum physics. The creation of the universe as we know it was one giant quantum fluctuation which, although highly unlikely, is inevitable given the inherent infinite opportunity.

I've not explored "chaos" or "things popping up for no reason", to any great extent, and neither is relevant to my current perspective or exploration and I don't ascribe to the "law of conservation of energy". Mainly, due to its dependence on "time". I understand that, for the most part, Quantum Theory, currently, has no problem with it, but Quantum Theory is still gathering forces. When those rockets fire, she's not going to be able to hang back to let everybody down easily and "catching up" with her's going to be a profound bitch for folks who cherish their beliefs. She's already quite the little bitch, for a lot of scientists, sitting around in neutral, only occasionally revving her engines.
If your time, to you,
Is worth savin',
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone.
For the times they are a-changin'. - Bob Dylan
RyuuKyuzo
Posts: 3,074
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2/25/2013 10:39:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't talk about my religion often, but the Taoist in me has something to note on this topic. There are seven basic areas in one's life.

7. enlightenment
6. Wisdom
5. Knowledge
4. Love
3. Food
2. Sex
1. Life

Point 1 just means the spark of life in general it can also be called the "root". As you move up the pyramid of life to more and more complicated creatures, you see more and more of these aspects come into play.

For example, prions are misfolded proteins with the ability to evolve via natural selection, but they have no DNA and therefore cannot have actual sex (which is defined by the exchange of genetic information). The have the spark of life, but nothing else. Move up one level to viruses. They have adaptability and can exchange genetic material, but they don't eat (or acquire material goods in any way, which is another way to interpret point 3). Move up another level to some bacteria, and now you have adaptability, genetic exchange, and the ability to eat. It is at this point that everyone agrees the thing in question is a living thing. Prions and viruses are disputed as living creatures because they haven't reached the third level of complexity.

From here, there's a long - loooooong list of living things that only go as far as point 3 until we reach animals capable of meaningful emotional connections (point 4). The first three are too vital for biology to allow the animal control over, so adaptability is automatic, sex drive is involuntary and the need for food is unavoidable. However, there's no biological necessity to fall in love, learn about the world, or think philosophical thoughts. These aspects are not vital to the continuation of life, so developing them is a choice left up to the individual.

One can argue that as humans, we must make meaningful relationships, least we become emotionally unstable and develop mental disorders. This is certainly arguable, and it's why the fourth point is considered the bridge between the vital and the non-vital, but this is a digression. My point is that philosophy is typically "irrelevant" to our lives because it's not vital. Philosophical inquiries exist 2 orders of magnitude above the nearest vital point.

Philosophy doesn't have anything to do with finding food or having sex. You can come up with philosophical conclusions on acquiring material wealth and scoring with the local hunnies, but doing so doesn't actually get you those things and so from an evolutionary standpoint, it's a waste of time.

Of course, to be human is to be rebellious, so we say to hell with that and we take the time to waste. As it turns out, there's some pretty valuable pay-offs to gearing resources towards building a larger, more powerful brain capable of such seemingly useless things such as developing a theory of mind and abstract thought.

I could ramble on for a while, but TL;DR, philosophy doesn't typically match up with the practical aspects of life because the ability to philosophize itself is largely an impractical.
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.