Monday, July 4, 2011

On Philosophy, the Revised Edition

Here's a food for thought. How would you live your life... alone? Completely alone? With food, shelter, water, yes, but no other people to interact with? To some of you, it may first seem a blessing, others just not preferable. But in reality, it is an absolute curse for humans.

Is it possible to do philosophy without using science? ANY form of science? Most of you will say no, some of you will say possibly, and few of you will say yes. Here's the answer to my question; you're all wrong. It is absolutely possible, if probable, to explain all philosophy in terms of some science... just not yet. Interesting, isn't it? Let's look back at the philosophers of the past.

Aristotle was a materialist, and focused on the practical and physical. Can that be explained in terms of the science in his day? Mostly, but he had a few correct ideas that were not feasible to understand using that science. What about... today's science? Most of his ideas are basic and could easily be understood by most of the people living on Earth. Let's take it a little further back in time. Aristotle was Plato's shining and preferred student at his academy. Yet, their ideas were completely different. Plato believed that there was an ideal realm that preceded that of the physical and was all the more real than the physical, while Aristotle believed just the opposite. Can Plato's ideas be explained through today's science? For the most part, no. His ideas refer to something more spiritual than what science can currently handle (although isn't everything in science a spiritual goal?). Although it is intuitive that in the future, maybe tens to hundreds of years away, it will be able to be partially explained through some terms of science. Possible, and probable, correct? But let's go back to the stone age. Plato was the pupil of Socrates and Socrates preferred him to all others. Socrates focused little on the creation of the universe, and usually did not listen to much to new theories about it. He concerned himself with more pressing matters. Here's a alteration of what he once said, vulgarized into a more understandable form. You want knowledge? Know yourself first. Then you may dream about the gods. What he meant by his quote, know thyself, is that most knowledge has little value to implementation if the holder of the knowledge has no knowledge of himself. He who cannot rule himself, cannot rule Asia. - Anonymous.

Back to the subject at hand. Was the science of the time a viable tool to decode Socrates's sayings? It was no where near what was needed. He was a complete master of himself and understood himself and humans so well, that people might confuse it with something Buddhist. Is today's science closer to something viable of decoding Socrates's knowledge? No, in fact, it would be even harder today, because we are using (and this may sound strange) a better method. Though we are advancing towards the right science, this science is too much focused on the physical to understand something so complex as that of the human mind, or rather, whatever goes on in there. Is it possible for a perfect science to emerge as a dark horse and create a perfect theory of the mind? Possible, just not probable.

Here is what I have seen in all my years of research and trials. The meaning of life... is but an illusion. It is unique to every person and completely abstract in the minds of others. A few of you wise ones may understand yes, but that is not the complete meaning of life. A fewer number may understand that it is also part of being human that implants us with other parts of the meaning of life, but there is an even more mysterious part to it that at first, may seem irrelevant. What I have understood is that while there are three main mental activities which we form our entire lives around, there is a fourth mental activity 'pulling all the strings'. Something that is not touched by neurology, psychology, or even memetics. It is not a conscious activity (although it seems possible to make it so), it is not a subconscious activity, and not even an emotional activity. It basically is that human drive to live and want things. Now, I know what your thinking. It's a survival skill, its related to genetics and biology, etc. But its not the same thing. It's, in a more detailed way of expressing, it's a combination of drives that let us humans pursue things just for the heck of it. The main three drives are (in descending order): 3) The pursue of knowledge. 2) The pursue of happiness. And 1) The need of being acknowledged by others. Perhaps not in a positive way, although preferable, but simply being acknowledged.

In the 2000 movie Cast Away, directed by Robert Zemeckis, Chuck Noland becomes stranded on a cay with little resources, little fruit, and no people when the tourist airplane he's on crashes into the ocean. While he has a few basic necessitates, flashlight, lighter, etc., he has only one other thing. A volleyball, who he then paints a face on and dubs Mr. Wilson. He talks to him every day and lets himself pretend to believe that Mr. Wilson is a real person. He seems completely eccentric, correct? Alas, not. You would have done the same thing. The human need for interaction, as I listed above, is not only necessary for our physical survival, but our mental one. As we slowly lose all interaction with beings of any sort, our mind starts to deteriorate. We either die, or go insane. It is a sad truth, but one we must understand and accept it in order for us to understand us and the rest of the human race.

While it is possible to create personal proportions of the three drives, it is always best to find a balance. Especially the most dangerous one, which is also the most useful. The drive to interact with humans. If you go too far into this, your life is consumed, by what else? What others do, and what are teenagers doing the most nowadays? Facebook, electronics, etc. That which we consume, is that which consumes us. - Anonymous.

What is philosophy? Is it... a tool? A science? The word comes from Greek, philosophia, meaning love of wisdom. While the categories of philosophy are far too large to judge as a whole, there is one basic principal in philosophy. Namely, do it yourself, for yourself. To one man's ability to that of his needs. Of course, this isn't true in all cases, but most philosophies, including the one I regard to be the most important, follow this principal. To base beliefs on knowledge, and to polish it to fit new evidence. In this way you feel spiritually satisfied, wise, and healthy. Of course, this may sound very strange to you, do it yourself, but what it means is that all of us focus on a different form of philosophy, all of which are potentially true. Different, incomparable most of the time, therefore, all valid theories.  I live for others... not for myself - Anonymous.

The basic point of this essay was to make humans understand our spiritual needs and wants and to help truly, and absolutely, become the ruler of yourself.

- Alejandro Rocha

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