Philosophy – is it useful?

Brett Stevens recently pointed out to me that one could launch an attack upon philosophy by stating that language is deceiving; it can be deceptive by deliberate use, by inexact use, or by shifting meanings through time. It hopes to describe truth, reality or pragmatic adaptation through symbol, language and structure – these symbols can be easily manipulated.

I had to admit to Brett that it was hard to defend against such an attack, albeit it might not be impossible. The first step is to make clear that in order to accept this argument, one must already have subscribed to the picture that we are taking in knowledge through symbols. Then it becomes impossible to fact-check whether these symbols are really in accordance with the world, because we can only compare our knowledge with other symbols and not with the world directly. This is the Postmodernist’s claim that our knowledge relates to symbols. They basically argued that all language is a web of references in which the distinction between fact and fiction is ultimately severed because our knowledge relates to our narratio about the world. When we think we are assessing the facts of the world, we are merely playing a language game within the very narratios we’ve constructed.

narratio, n.: the statement of facts

The second part of a classical oration, following the introduction or exordium. The speaker here provides a narrative account of what has happened and generally explains the nature of the case. Quintilian adds that the narratio is followed by the propositio, a kind of summary of the issues or a statement of the charge. – BYU

I suppose the instrumentalist would try to save his neck by saying that it doesn’t matter what those symbols are or what they come from, but that the only thing which matters is whether or not our knowledge allow us to achieve our goals. Question then it, what he would mean by ‘ours’, since the goals he expresses are necessarily borrowed from a web of language. The moment we express ‘the self’ we are articulating a construction. Thus the self is fiction.

0-1  for Postmodernism.

However if the accuracy of knowledge is the only thing that matters, then there can also be no objections against philosophy. Since philosophy is concerned with the accuracy of our knowledge.

The next argument that might be mounted is that “contrary to science, philosophy is of no use.” Question is if science and philosophy can be separated. Not only because science’s greatest heroes considered themselves philosophers, but also because every science comes equipped with a set of core assumptions and philosophy is equipped to investigate these.

“Science gave us penicillin, Science invented the lawn-mower. What did philosophy ever do to make our lives better?”

Think about games such as football, soccer, etc. What’s the use of that? That somebody can run real hard with a ball to the goal, and give hard kicks to a ball. What’s the use of Olympic sports? That somebody can pull himself up on two rings because his arms are real strong. Or what’s the use of video games? Maybe that somebody will develop a sense of strategic ability and reflexes. But then what’s the use of all those abilities and strengths? Do we really need them to survive? Euhm, I guess, no? But then what’s the use of fitness, of body-building? Walking around like you’re going to have to wrestle with a bear which will by all probability never happen . . . But even if all these skills and abilities somehow help us to survive or to be more comfortable, it still doesn’t answer the question what the use is of survival and comfort.

Basically, by constantly inquiring what the utility of some thing is we are creating our own nihilism. ‘Use’ is a term that only makes sense if conceived as the relevance of a thing within a plan of steps to reach a goal. But ultimately people have different goals, so if my goals are not yours, then nothing is useful by definition, and I also won’t be able to express the use of what I happen to be doing . . . I suppose it all goes back to a certain sense of satisfaction that can only be had from sharing it with another.

This is where things get tricky, because now we approach the point where we say the value of goals can only be measured in relation to the narratios of which those goals are part. From that it follows that whether one ought to pursue a specific goal can only be meaningfully discussed as long as one partakes in the same symbolic universe.

Then we’d be basically arguing like Hitler did in Mein Kampf, that the question of objectivity should be immediately disregarded the moment the nation, the race, the people was concerned. According to him, the only question worth objectively considering was how one could expand the power of his own people at the cost of that of the others.

But hey, who’s to blame him if there are ultimately no inherently valuable goals but only goals that are subjectively valuable to those who subscribe to the narratio from which those goals are derived? This also explains why the most fanatical Nazi’s at Nuremberg didn’t consider the trial as a form of punishment, but as conquest. They simply felt they were being judged according to the standards of a narratio that wasn’t their own.

At this point we’re tempted to say that might makes right and that there are no universal standards of justice, values and morality outside of the competition between the different narratios that exist on earth. This is how China, since it subscribes to the Marxist doctrine of base-superstructure, regards the Western idea of Human Rights: As an attempt to ‘colonize’ the legal sphere of other nations.

One could see Nietzsche’s claim coming: That the narratio giving account of itself as being backed by values and standards that are universally true or intrinsically superior, is simply pumping up it’s own power further, without coming clean for the sheer rhetoric nature of that attempt.

But another deeper problem that consequently emerges is this: If everything is just a language game and there is no universal Truth or inherent value to anything, then why would we even do what do? Why would we act in this way and not that one? At first we would think: “Oh cool! We can go to the U.N. and deceive others and grab power. We can do anything if we play it smart!” A moment later we would realize that although we could try to do anything, those pursuits would ultimately be vacuous, sterile, empty.

The reader might be getting curious about what I mean by: ‘universal Truth’. So, if asked to the man, I would give the following example:

“There’s a hierarchy of consciousness, and it is a part of the unmalleability of existence that most of the population dwells on the lowest levels, driven by petty motives. Democracy can only work when the population is wise and critical. When that is not the case, what is needed is a hierarchy lead by sharp minds able to perceive clearly, possess knowledge for a thorough understanding of occurring situations, combined with the Character required for steadfast action and resolution.”

The only way to separate Truth from falsehood in the different existing ideologies is through philosophy.

My conclusion is that I’m not sure if defending philosophy on the grounds of its utility would be the right course of action. Because usefulness always indicates going from situation A to desired situation B. But how do we know when we’re right when we embark for B in the first place? One might as well say the whole of life should just exist to make philosophy possible, so that we can ask ourselves the question what the aim of life is – to then take it on in a serious and objective matter. As a species, we rise above ourselves the moment we realize that, although our life has been given to us, we shouldn’t accept it just because we happen to have it. We should be able to question life. Our ability not to accept a life of no value – therein lies the nobility of the human spirit.

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36 Responses to “Philosophy – is it useful?”

  1. EvilBuzzard says:

    A really simple test to gauge the value of a philosophy. If you can live by it, it may well have some merit. If it leaves you broke, useless, and drunk under an overpass somewhere, the results verily speak for themselves.

  2. crow says:

    “My conclusion is that I’m not sure if defending philosophy on the grounds of its utility would be the right course of action.”

    Why defend it, anyway?
    Does it need defending?
    Can it not defend itself?
    If it can’t, then is it worthy of survival?
    It might be far more robust and useful, if the millions of words used to describe it could be pared down to only a few.
    The fewer words used, the less chance of those remaining words being misinterpreted and misunderstood.
    There are definite advantages to simplicity.

  3. Slava M. says:

    Philosophy, what is this? It is trying to answer the question “how to live my life?”. This is philosophy and every man has philosophized at some point in their life; philosophy is not a choice, it is innate.

    • crow says:

      Yes. It is.
      But those overly-interested in it, would have it become an elitist club, with secret handshakes and arcane language. And huge amounts of free time to read, read, read.
      The best philosophy is the simplest. This makes it the most readily assimilated and the most widespread.
      No use having a philosophy that only five people understand.

  4. Kinderling says:

    philosophy is: neither to the left or right go, for narrow is the way.

  5. Meow Mix says:

    Good post Nicholas, but you have to brush up on more recent philosophy. Postmodernism is so ten years ago and new approaches in thought are abandoning the dominant postmodern obsession with language, symbols, signifiers, social constructivism, and so on. This new paradigm is referred to as the umbrella term ‘speculative realism’. Instead of asking questions about how we can be certain of our knowledge of the world (such as epistemology), or how we do not know that we are working with false or fictional terms (social constructivism, deconstruction, post-structuralism), or worrying about whether our symbols correspond to reality (the correspondence theory of truth, etc) these new approaches turn the table and ask: “what would the world have to be like in order for scientific observations to be correct?” In other words, if water always boils at a certain temperature it would appear that the world has some consistency to it that escapes our presumptions or concerns about the ‘social construction’ of water or science. It also rejects what is called ‘correlationism’, or the belief that existence/reality can only be understood as a correlate between thinking and Being and neither term can be considered apart from the other. Kant is a classic example of correlationism when he states that it is impossible to know things-in-themselves independent of human thought. Kant’s successors have created a linguistic and existential nightmare we seemed doomed to never escape from until now. Speculative thought rejects this Kantian tradition as utter nonsense and shows that not only can reality be understood without recourse to human thought, but that science has important things to say about reality and is in fact the primary tool for understanding it’s underlying structures.

    As for the numerous comment on here about a pragmatic approach to philosophy, I must firmly reject them. Philosophy shouldn’t be ‘useful’. If such was the case I would just as easily conclude that alcoholism and sodomy were a great way to live my life, since that’s a useful way of living to the fullest. On the contrary, philosophy means ‘love of wisdom’, which implies that one is constantly searching for new facts and adjusting oneself to those facts no matter how unpleasant or counterintuitive they are. When people talk of philosophy as being useful they start down the same path that Leftist-Marxist college students find themselves in today- they think they are being clever and wise when they are in fact parroting their idols and rejecting anything that doesn’t agree with their insane egalitarian doxa.

    Just some stuff to crunch on.

    • “What would the world have to be like in order for scientific observations to be correct?” This argument heavily resembles the one I used against The Engineer. Also, the argument about Kant, who, as you pointed out, felt he could impossibly know ‘the things in themselves’ (Dingen an sich) will be covered much further in depth. Also I do not think that Postmodernism has been vanquished. Just try to have a little discussion with anyone and before you know it you’ll be going up against statements like; “but that’s just someone’s outlook”, “this is because you’ve been brought up in a Western nation”, “everything is an opinion”, “you can’t say that – that’s generalization. Nobody can be certain about that because everyone is limited by the colourings of his perception”, “no view of life is worse or better than another since nothing can be reasoned all the way down; logic is merely one possible perspective upon the world.”

      If you want to build a thriving civilization, you’ll need to get people on your side, and they’ll need unity, guidance and direction. For that, you’ll require clear arguments. As long as Postmodernism is engraved upon their minds people will never put themselves in the service of an ideal, because they will not be able to be fully convinced by arguments.

      Postmodernism will not easily be vanquished because it provides people with a convenient shield to protect their errors, vices and irrationality. They will not have to recognize inconvenient facts – because those are but selective constructions. By taking refuge to Postmodernism nobody has to accept he’s wrong, and thus preserves the ‘ego’.

      “Who is ‘The Engineer’?” You may be wondering. And life may yet present the opportunity for you to find that out.

  6. crow says:

    Alcoholism and sodomy are a great way to live to the fullest?
    This goes a long way to explaining the crap I see here sometimes.
    Mixed in with incomprehensible nonsense that nobody really understands, because there actually isn’t anything there to understand.
    The South-London blacks say the same thing far more simply:
    “No wot I mean?”

    A mass of large words conveys little.
    Like weapons of war: wise men shun them.

    Wisdom is nothing to do with the popular definition of philosophy.
    Philosophy is what men cling to in the absence of wisdom.

    • Kinderling says:

      Crow: “Philosophy is what men cling to in the absence of wisdom.”

      Comments on The Glory of Philosophy:
      Nicholas Marville: “You too, mr. Crow, are only a human, complete with the quirks of humans, and your passion, let’s say it politely, from time to time guides you from The Way.”

      Crow: “Do you imagine adhering to The Way means I must act politely? You must be confused. Very confused.”

      Please Crow, what is the philosophy and what is the wisdom of “The way?”

      • crow says:

        That’s a very good question.
        One worthy of being asked.
        I don’t have a ready answer!

        For now, I will say:
        There is no “philosophy of The Way”.
        The Way needs no such thing.
        It is The Way: complete and eternal.

        What is the wisdom of The Way?
        That The Way is wisdom, itself.
        The absence of anything except the Way.
        The removal of the unnecessary.

        The result is calm. The eye of the hurricane.
        The only sane place to be, amid the fury and the chaos.

        That’s the best I can do, for now.
        I only just woke up :)
        Thank you for the question.
        Questions like that end up making a difference.

  7. Kinderling says:

    Good morning.

    Thank you for your early morning comments.

    “The Way” What is it?
    Philosophically: “complete and eternal”
    Wisdom: “The Way is wisdom, itself”.

    A “don’t know” would suffice. :)

    The way, is a path out of illness. Healthy people do not need the way.

    The way leads to truth, leads to returned life. To be born again.

    “The Way” therefore does not sit in isolation. it is like saying the Golden Rule is to “love you neighbor as yourself”, when clearly it is counter-balanced to love your god with everything, (both you having never met), but hold with an attitude of fidelity. Your neighbor is the unknown alien, your god the unknown god.

    Children do not need a way out for they have not been tricked to sell their soul for it. Only those in the world need to get out of it.

    This escape-root: way, truth and life, is how a Jew got out of being Jewish. It is how a Muslim/Christian/Hindu/Homosexual etc get out of it. When they do, they all receive death threats, bar none.

    Jesus went up a mountain and in the stillness
    – let go of his vanity
    – faced the demons that demanded his attachments for reward,
    – and came down a free man.

    in his own words:
    – “Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
    – Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
    – Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.

    And a warning: “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.”

    He taught new wine cannot be poured into old wine-skins. Only Apostles of “The Way” live in a Plato’s Cave believing in shadows on the wall and a Universe constructed from metaphor and not reality.

    • crow says:

      If I said I didn’t know, my enemies would mob me :)
      But of course, I don’t know. Knowing isn’t what I aim for.
      I revere The Way. But who knows what that means?
      Not for me, to attempt to define it.

      Wisdom is to not desire.
      The abandonment of questions that need answering.
      The Way looks after itself, and generously includes Man, if Man allows his own inclusion.

      None of this is philosophy.
      That is a tool for an attempted sense-making of bad results. And a refuge for those unable to come up with their own survival-strategy.

      • kinderling says:

        Thank you, Crow.

        “I revere The Way. But who knows what that means?”

        The Way was the ‘way-out’ as I described above, to become as whole as a child again.

        The Way you describe appears therefore to be the removal of attachments, thus the removal of suffering and the removal of worry.

        “Wisdom is to not desire”.

        Desiring realization is freedom. It builds spacecrafts or has plans to defent the planet from asteriods. Every country taken over by Communism had people trained to run away from possession and ownership so the most worldy-attached could walk straight in.

        “The abandonment of questions that need answering”.

        Ignorance is not bliss. There are always right questions.

        “The Way looks after itself, and generously includes Man, if Man allows his own inclusion”.

        The Solar system will one day blow itself up. Just sitting on a rock will not change that. The Kingdom of God is within and not outside. Batteries already included.

        …philosophy… a refuge for those unable to come up with their own survival-strategy

        From nothing, philosophy is a start to build upon.

        • crow says:

          “From nothing, philosophy is a start to build upon.”
          Nothing is where one starts.
          This, alone, makes it a worthwhile thing to attain.
          Freed from the failed way we have, of perceiving reality.
          We may start afresh.
          The goal is to live.
          Anything beyond that is beyond life.
          And living life is the meaning of life.

          • kinderling says:

            Hi Crow,

            “Nothing” is a position of ignorance. Philosophers are torch bearers in a cultural wasteland.

            This, alone, makes it a worthwhile thing to attain.

            This “Nothing” you refer to is of a peaceful, unconflicted mind-state. Peace should never be sought for its own ends. That would be pacifism.

            Pain is not to be avoided. Face your pain and its truth sets you free. Avoid it and you become a slave to happy, positive thoughts.

            Freedom is achived by repentence, the facing of your guilt and your attachment to it, burns away with sorrow before you can laugh.

            To see yourself as a better person by identifying yourself with a victim as a St Paul did, by becoming ‘A Christian’, does not make you a better person. To believe Christ died for you so you don’t have to follow the way, truth and life; is to snatch away your salvation. No person gets to the Father except by this way. St Paul gave you another: by belief you will be saved from conscience.

            Your conscience pricks – you never want to be freed from that.

            Freed from the failed way we have, of perceiving reality.

            Please enlighten me to how you freed yourself from the failed way of perceiving reality.

  8. […] Crow: “Philosophy is what men cling to in the absence of […]

  9. crow says:

    No. I politely decline.

    I tire of your barely veiled air of misplaced superiority.
    Your assumption that I am as you claim me to be.
    Your analysis is light-years from accurate.
    That’s fine with me: I have no need to “set you straight”.
    But don’t expect me to be maneuvered into a position of absurdity by your lack of ability to see what and where I am.
    And why I am as I am. And why I am here.
    You behave as a Pharisee, faced with a perceived threat to a perceived status-quo: I am sure you understand the reference.

    Ignorance may not be what you assume it to be.
    It may have nothing whatsoever to do with our conversation.
    You may, in fact, be supremely ignorant, yourself, and as we know, those who are, are very prone to see their own lack in others, while being blind to it, in themselves.
    This is hypocrisy, and the opposite of both goodwill, and constructive cooperation.

    I actually don’t sit on rocks, or go into denial, or behave in any of the ways you have assigned to me. I am currently building a carport, and am answering you between jointing, driving screws, mixing epoxy and trying not to separate my fingers from my hands on a table-saw.

    If you actually have a genuine wish to further your understanding, then please do drop another of your replies.
    If not, you’ll excuse me, for I really am rather productive in many ways. In spite of what you seem to think. I have nothing to prove, to you, or to anybody. I am what I have become. Such beings exist. Deal with it.

  10. kinderling says:

    Hi Crow,

    I did not mean to veil an air of misplaced superiority. You wrote you revered “The Way.”

    A ‘process to an event’ is what I described Jesus meant in its use. Not a continual path into infinity and Heaven beyond.

    You described that nothing; was something, in isolation, worthy of attainment.

    I put forward that nothing; was achieved without seeking for that very end.

    It would be like marrying someone because you simply wanted to get married. That would be a prostitution of love and truth.

    I had not assigned anything to you personally at all. My use of “you” was meant to be of “one”. My listening for echos of the first Buddhist was just that.

    How you came to your understanding would have been meaningful to me, and yes I would have been rigorous to investigate its robustness.

    Some believe Allah made men above women, some believe nature made women above men. As there are no aboves and belows I enjoy the separation of the illusion from being.

  11. crow says:

    “You described that nothing; was something, in isolation, worthy of attainment.
    I put forward that nothing; was achieved without seeking for that very end.”

    “Nothing” is the stage before the play, the space before the stage, the void before the space. Filled with potential, a canvas awaiting the artist’s brush.
    It is not achieved while seeking it. Although seeking it may set the stage for its realization.
    It is the giving up of desire to achieve “nothing”, that allows it to exist.
    I sought enlightenment. Then I gave up seeking it. In so doing, I experienced it.
    And enlightenment is the “nothing” that contains all things and all consciousness.
    It can not be experienced while one has an identity.
    If you look closely enough at all this, you will see that the Bible refers to exactly this, in the language of the time.

    Supper is on the table. Excuse me.

  12. kinderling says:

    That was awesome.

    Be still and know.

    I’ve just this moment eaten. Thank you.

    • crow says:

      See: we are not adversaries, after all.
      That is why Brett, in his wisdom, allows me to drone on.
      A spiritual base is needed, in order to create a politics that has not been seen before. Or hasn’t been seen in a ‘coon’s age.
      A way of looking at things, that is closer to reality than is currently the case. Seeing clearly is a huge advantage.
      Those able to clearly see are not thick on the ground.
      Not yet.
      Hardly surprising that I am met, so often, with ridicule, scorn, and disbelief :)

      Smoked Halibut, with vegetables from the garden.
      My wife cooks like nobody else!
      I hope your supper was (almost) as good.

      • kinderling says:

        “Seeing clearly is a huge advantage”.

        With a healed mind all things are possible.

        There is no philosophy to life to live “The Way,” because for every moment there are a myriad of responses.

        Wisdom, is perfectly balanced.

        “A spiritual base is needed, in order to create a politics that has not been seen before”.

        Like culture should be transparent so should politics. For example, the war with Lybia is to keep the Chinese and Russians out is more honest than to free the people from a mad dictator who gave the people the highest standard of living out of all of Africa.

        A conscious base is needed. There is nothing mumsy, spiritual or ocult at all.

        “But what about Jeysus?” some might ask.

        Jesus did not need Jesus.

        • “There is no philosophy to life to live “The Way,” because for every moment there are a myriad of responses.”

          Although I agree with the gist of your post, this sentence is sheer sophistry. Not every response brings us equally close to our goal, and our knowledge allows us to see which responses will bring us efficiently towards them, and which will not. This is a matter of understanding causality as well as comprehending the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

          • Kinderling says:

            Hi Nicolas,

            “There is no philosophy to life to live “The Way,” because for every moment there are a myriad of responses.”

            Let’s test it:
            1. A child steals a leg of chicken.

            Reaction: Beat the hell out of it.
            Response: What would benefit the child to learn to respect others and master self-control.

            There is a language much deeper than deeds and words, that of insight and intuition to the very core of another human being.

            Philosophy could dictate “Forgive those who trespass against us” or “turn the other cheek” so the child is never taught self-mastery because those who live by this philosophy on their sleeves have never learned it. it is an attitude of mind, not the release of a criminal onto an unsuspecting public.

            To listen quietly to the chatter of the mind, to say, go up a mountain is to find and forgive your unresolved issues and let them go.

            You deal with that child with an infinite possibility of color, for such is any two-way conversation.

            As you wrote “This is a matter of understanding causality as well as comprehending the circumstances in which we find ourselves”.

  13. […] Nicholas Marville – “Philosophy – is it Useful?” […]

  14. crow says:

    Philosophy, from what I’ve seen of it, tends to create conflict.
    Intelligent people seeing other intelligent people as idiots.
    Wisdom, in contrast, tends to create a more universally palatable view of the earth, its creatures, and the heavens that contain them, as a whole thing.
    Caring for the whole, one is less apt to put self at the centre of everything, realizing that self is only a minuscule part, of a far greater system.
    It is a matter of perspective. Of context.
    Christianity once gave us this context. Now it does not, except for a few, who are at odds with the rest.
    The encouraging of wisdom may achieve what Christianity once did, without the stumbling-block of an Old Man Sitting On A Cloud, judging our every move from the outside.
    This is achieved by a process of reduction. The removal of anything that comes between the living of life, and the one doing the living.
    Whereas both philosophy and Christianity are achieved by vast masses of words that must be assimilated and/or memorized, thereby inserting a layer of insulation between the direct experience and the hypothetical “way it should be“.

    • crow says:

      Wisdom entails contributing to the whole, while taking as little as possible, from it.

      I need a carport. To provide space for it, I must cut down three healthy trees. I decide to compromise:
      I build the carport between these trees, making it smaller than optimal, but still large enough to do the job.
      The structure is unable to fall down, because the trees will support it, if it leans. The trees frame the carport, which now makes an attractive whole-picture.
      It can be built lighter, using less materials, because the trees prevent a large buildup of snow on the roof.
      I have destroyed nothing, while adding a thing of beauty to an already beautiful scene.
      Beauty with functionality added.
      This is wisdom in action.
      It has nothing to do with appearing to be wise.
      It is the result that makes it wisdom.

    • Kinderling says:

      “…the stumbling-block of an Old Man Sitting On A Cloud…”

      On one hand realization sets you free, on the other you become a slave of conscience. You cannot serve two masters.

      What you bind on earth you bind in heaven.

      Jesus moved from philosophy to psychology. A mind healer. Without sanity, wisdom cannot be found.

      • crow says:

        Realization removes conscience, or rather, the need to vigilantly keep that conscience clear.
        The wise man does nothing that he later regrets.
        There is no “service” involved, only freely undertaken duty.
        But there is worship.
        Not the kind one practices in church, rather a participation in the greater design of the thing that one worships: God, the tao, consciousness itself: whatever one decides to call it.

        I’m using too many words here.

        • Kinderling says:

          There is no other master of yourself, but yourself.

          To discover, that one was hypnotized and manipulated in childhood or trauma is to be exposed to truth about yourself and be shown love.

          Then it is to go back to where the fear-violation occurred, to forgive and release the bonds by dying. To let go. Unless a man die to his fear he cannot live.

          To be in awe of the universe is not to be spellbound. To be on the edge of a galaxy is to hitch a ride. Thankfulness for another day without ill and a safe family may suffice.

          The inner and the outer worlds are reached out to, because they are there. Beyond perception who knows, but someone is thinking about it.

          God, the tao, consciousness themselves are representations; the matter in hand is of an animal that seeks to see. This ability is possessed in all healthy humans, and deeper if pursued.

          For some, being demoralized and depressed means they retreat into a primate state induced by alcohol and other drugs, for others it is to hear the competing communist and fascist voices in a dual-brain, that are polarized in the resentfully-justified female or male, and to walk between the two.

          As you write, be vigilant. Be listening.

  15. Kinderling says:

    Before I retire for the nite, let me enjoy this one more time:

    Crow: “From nothing, philosophy is a start to build upon.”
    Nothing is where one starts.
    This, alone, makes it a worthwhile thing to attain.
    Freed from the failed way we have, of perceiving reality.
    We may start afresh.
    The goal is to live.
    Anything beyond that is beyond life.
    And living life is the meaning of life.

    Letting go. Mmmmm. Good nite.

    • Kinderling says:

      Realization removes conscience, or rather, the need to vigilantly keep that conscience clear. The wise man does nothing that he later regrets.
      I took this to mean complacency. A person can interpret Jesus one way and believe that is the only way, thus denominations, thus sects.
      “Nothing has it. I understood this more deeply today.”
      Didn’t Crow tell me this in the beginning…
      <i."The result is calm. The eye of the hurricane.
      The only sane place to be, amid the fury and the chaos."
      …and I missed it!

      • crow says:

        You didn’t miss the most powerful words of this whole conversation. In fact, you supplied them:

        Be still and know“.

        Maybe you didn’t understand those words, simple as they were? Philosophy demands solutions be arcane and wordy, and incredibly hard to grasp.
        But that is wisdom, in plain sight, for those who can see. Too simple for the likes of us :)

        You’re not even close until you can feel like a fool.
        And laugh with delight at your own foolishness.
        Thus, does ego fall away, and all becomes revealed.

  16. Kinderling says:

    I was too busy asking for the definition of “The Way” to see you had already defined the start of it.

    If Jesus had said “I am the life, the truth and the way,” so that the “The Way” was the end result, I could have entered a Zen monastery for the sole purpose of achieving nothing.

    But the end result is life.

    And life is shared.

    • crow says:

      You, Kinderling, are something that has become very rare:
      Most will not even consider anything they do not immediately agree with.
      You started out disagreeing, yet you considered what was taking place, anyway, and considered it at considerable length.
      And at some point decided that agreement was not a necessary ingredient to the process.

      Other readers may learn from this:
      Either agreeing, or disagreeing with something, does not change the thing. It is simply an act of subjective judgement, having no actual value, unless the bypassing of new information is seen to have value.

      Any viewpoint must be subject to modification, pending the arrival of new information. If it is not, it is not a viewpoint at all, merely an opinion. And opinion is rarely the result of actual thought.
      Few people are capable of thinking.
      Although most are capable of having thoughts.

      And what does any of this have to do with Amerika?

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