Why study philosophy?

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.
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Matt Gregory
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Why study philosophy?

Post by Matt Gregory » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm

Is anyone here good at explaining why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all about it? No idea about enlightenment, metaphysics, ultimate reality, or anything like that?

I'm terrible at this kind of thing. I end up in a lot of conversations where I'm trying to explain all this abstract stuff to people, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't make sense to anyone but me, and no one knows what the takeaway is. I'll often try to talk about boundaries, cause and effect, freewill. What do you even begin with? How do you set a reasonable goal, such as just teaching someone one thing, or at least to the point where they can attack it and raise objections and just get engaged?

Maybe the ancient Greeks are the best place to get ideas from? The dawn of Western thought. I don't think there's any equivalent to the Greeks in Eastern thought. It seems like all of it was already very old when they starting writing it down.

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Eric Schiedler
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Eric Schiedler » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:59 am

Matt,

It's not possible to tell someone something until they are ready to hear it.

And, going further, it's of little merit to get better at holding people's attention (maybe by cold-reading their interests, for example) in order to get them to agree with a philosophical point.

Occasionally, I do meet a man interested in philosophical subject matters. Just last evening, while reading in a coffee shop, a man walked right up to me and said out loud the name of the translator of the book in my hand. While it was a bit awkward to introduce himself that way, he had recognized the book and it didn't bother me that he wanted to chat me up about it. He proceeded to talk about all of the translator's publishing history and he went on and on about it. He was quite cheery about the whole thing.

That's the way it is with a lot of men who are interested in "philosophy." They get excited to catalog all of the authors, systems, books, and ways of thought. Then they're on to the next book. More than likely, their knowledge of philosophy as a subject will have no impact on their love of beauty, fine wine, travel, women, and pursuit of happiness.



Eric Schiedler

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Matt Gregory
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Matt Gregory » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:38 am

Hey Eric,
It's not possible to tell someone something until they are ready to hear it.
Well everyone's ready to hear something, surely, even if it's not all that profound. And I'm not even talking about random strangers, I'm talking about friends that I know pretty well. I suppose it's not much different from trying to invent a topic to discuss on this forum.
That's the way it is with a lot of men who are interested in "philosophy." They get excited to catalog all of the authors, systems, books, and ways of thought. Then they're on to the next book. More than likely, their knowledge of philosophy as a subject will have no impact on their love of beauty, fine wine, travel, women, and pursuit of happiness.
Yeah, I've actually done that very thing. I went into a take out restaurant one morning and saw a probably 25-30 year old man standing in line with a green, paperback copy of "Human, All Too Human", which was the strangest coincidence because I was reading the same exact book the night before, and I've been reading it for years, just picking it up once in awhile. He mentioned he also liked Kierkegaard and Spinoza and I told him I liked Buddhism a lot and I asked him if he ever heard of Kevin Solway, which he hadn't.

I think the conversation went in that direction because I don't have good conversation skills, or possibly you have to plan what you would discuss with someone about a book while you read it. It's not like there's a lack of ideas in HATH to discuss, but maybe there are too many ideas in there, or they're too subtle and it's hard to extract a solid, concise point out of it.

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jupiviv
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by jupiviv » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:33 pm

Matt Gregory wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm
Is anyone here good at explaining why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all about it? No idea about enlightenment, metaphysics, ultimate reality, or anything like that?
Unless someone already is interested in something, you can't explain to them why they should care about it. Maybe you can try to get them to interested in it as a means to an end. I think children who do well in school view the studying as the way to get the good grades, which in turn brings praise from teachers and parents. But that probably doesn't apply to wisdom, which after all is a solitary activity.
I end up in a lot of conversations where I'm trying to explain all this abstract stuff to people, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't make sense to anyone but me, and no one knows what the takeaway is.
My initiation into Genius philosophy was on Kevin's website, and then from Kevin himself (via youtube pms). In the first pm, I asked him how I should go about seeking wisdom. He replied by saying that if I want to seek genuine wisdom, I can never make a woman happy. I was expecting some noble-sounding abstract stuff but I got that instead. At the time I interpreted it as rejecting WOMAN and embracing truth (had read David's website too at that point) etc., but I didn't understand why he gave that specific piece of advice until years later. The philosophical depth of that statement, or the "takeaway" as you put it, lies in *my* thoughts and experiences, not Kevin's. That's the way to both teach and attain wisdom. One must plant seeds without expecting a crop.

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Matt Gregory
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Matt Gregory » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:36 pm

jupiviv wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:33 pm
Matt Gregory wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm
Is anyone here good at explaining why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all about it? No idea about enlightenment, metaphysics, ultimate reality, or anything like that?
Unless someone already is interested in something, you can't explain to them why they should care about it. Maybe you can try to get them to interested in it as a means to an end. I think children who do well in school view the studying as the way to get the good grades, which in turn brings praise from teachers and parents. But that probably doesn't apply to wisdom, which after all is a solitary activity.
I wouldn't expect someone to drop everything and dive into an intense study of philosophy based on one conversation, but surely great interests begin with small ones. And I don't think wisdom is solitary. If that were true, why would any wise teachers exist at all?

I end up in a lot of conversations where I'm trying to explain all this abstract stuff to people, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't make sense to anyone but me, and no one knows what the takeaway is.
My initiation into Genius philosophy was on Kevin's website, and then from Kevin himself (via youtube pms). In the first pm, I asked him how I should go about seeking wisdom. He replied by saying that if I want to seek genuine wisdom, I can never make a woman happy. I was expecting some noble-sounding abstract stuff but I got that instead. At the time I interpreted it as rejecting WOMAN and embracing truth (had read David's website too at that point) etc., but I didn't understand why he gave that specific piece of advice until years later. The philosophical depth of that statement, or the "takeaway" as you put it, lies in *my* thoughts and experiences, not Kevin's. That's the way to both teach and attain wisdom. One must plant seeds without expecting a crop.
I'm not sure I'm following you. It sounds to me like he really was telling you to reject women and embrace truth. Not just lovers, but ANY woman: lover, mother, sister, cousin, friend, neighbor, store clerk, etc. It's practically the crux of the whole thing.

Yeah, I'm familiar with the parable of the sower, but maybe throwing seeds all over the place where most of them are wasted isn't such a great idea. Maybe burying the seeds with care is the best way to go.

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jupiviv
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by jupiviv » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:50 am

Matt Gregory wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:36 pm
I wouldn't expect someone to drop everything and dive into an intense study of philosophy based on one conversation, but surely great interests begin with small ones. And I don't think wisdom is solitary. If that were true, why would any wise teachers exist at all?
Yes, great interests begin with small ones, but unless the small interests compound into exponentially (infinitely) greater ones fairly early on there is little hope of further progress. Wise teachers can show you what wisdom *is* through their own examples, not *how* or *why* it is. The latter is the essence of wisdom, and it can only be realised in solitude. Of course, solitude doesn't mean meditation or hermitry; it just means being alone, even when living an active life surrounded by people.
I end up in a lot of conversations where I'm trying to explain all this abstract stuff to people, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't make sense to anyone but me, and no one knows what the takeaway is.
My initiation into Genius philosophy was on Kevin's website, and then from Kevin himself (via youtube pms). In the first pm, I asked him how I should go about seeking wisdom. He replied by saying that if I want to seek genuine wisdom, I can never make a woman happy. I was expecting some noble-sounding abstract stuff but I got that instead. At the time I interpreted it as rejecting WOMAN and embracing truth (had read David's website too at that point) etc., but I didn't understand why he gave that specific piece of advice until years later. The philosophical depth of that statement, or the "takeaway" as you put it, lies in *my* thoughts and experiences, not Kevin's. That's the way to both teach and attain wisdom. One must plant seeds without expecting a crop.
I'm not sure I'm following you. It sounds to me like he really was telling you to reject women and embrace truth. Not just lovers, but ANY woman: lover, mother, sister, cousin, friend, neighbor, store clerk, etc. It's practically the crux of the whole thing.
He didn't say "no woman can make you happy", but "you cannot make a woman happy". The two statements are like heaven and hell, literally! Now let me rephrase those two statements in the context of embracing truth: "no woman can make you happy, in comparison to embracing truth", but "you cannot make a woman happy, despite embracing truth". However high the glacier, the stream which issues from it ends up in the sea. In becoming wise, one doesn't so much embrace truth as do one's best to be unhappy for the rest of one's life. The alternative, as Dave Sim put it, is to spend every waking moment of your life being happy so that women don't reject you. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em!
Yeah, I'm familiar with the parable of the sower, but maybe throwing seeds all over the place where most of them are wasted isn't such a great idea. Maybe burying the seeds with care is the best way to go.
The implication was that you are still looking for reward (crop) for all of your efforts, even if that reward is nothing more than the knowledge that you helped guide someone to wisdom. That's a delusion - you can't control how someone interprets what you say. All you can do is to become an example of wisdom and hope for the best.

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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Pam Seeback » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:51 pm

jupiviv: He didn't say "no woman can make you happy", but "you cannot make a woman happy". The two statements are like heaven and hell, literally! Now let me rephrase those two statements in the context of embracing truth: "no woman can make you happy, in comparison to embracing truth", but "you cannot make a woman happy, despite embracing truth". However high the glacier, the stream which issues from it ends up in the sea. In becoming wise, one doesn't so much embrace truth as do one's best to be unhappy for the rest of one's life. The alternative, as Dave Sim put it, is to spend every waking moment of your life being happy so that women don't reject you. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em!
I don't understand all this wasted time obsessing about immature women (or men) who want someone to make them happy. Why would a truth seeker waste one single second thinking about such an ignorant person? All it does is cause an obsession with happiness/unhappiness. If one desires intimacy with another while seeking truth then for truth's sake, tell them the truth and if they leave, they leave. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

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Matt Gregory
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Matt Gregory » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:44 am

jupiviv wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:50 am
Matt Gregory wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:36 pm
I wouldn't expect someone to drop everything and dive into an intense study of philosophy based on one conversation, but surely great interests begin with small ones. And I don't think wisdom is solitary. If that were true, why would any wise teachers exist at all?
Yes, great interests begin with small ones, but unless the small interests compound into exponentially (infinitely) greater ones fairly early on there is little hope of further progress. Wise teachers can show you what wisdom *is* through their own examples, not *how* or *why* it is. The latter is the essence of wisdom, and it can only be realised in solitude. Of course, solitude doesn't mean meditation or hermitry; it just means being alone, even when living an active life surrounded by people.
You can ignore them to some extent, but they're still going to have an impact on your life and your mind, so you need to deal with that in some way unless you're planning on relying entirely on luck.

He didn't say "no woman can make you happy", but "you cannot make a woman happy". The two statements are like heaven and hell, literally!
Not really. It's like saying "don't take drugs" and "don't pay drug dealers" are two different things.

Yeah, I'm familiar with the parable of the sower, but maybe throwing seeds all over the place where most of them are wasted isn't such a great idea. Maybe burying the seeds with care is the best way to go.
The implication was that you are still looking for reward (crop) for all of your efforts, even if that reward is nothing more than the knowledge that you helped guide someone to wisdom. That's a delusion - you can't control how someone interprets what you say. All you can do is to become an example of wisdom and hope for the best.
What would be the point of hoping if you're not looking for anything? We're all here trying to advance our values. It's unavoidable.

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:22 am

Matt Gregory wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm
Is anyone here good at explaining why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all about it? No idea about enlightenment, metaphysics, ultimate reality, or anything like that?
So you are asking to be explained why you should explain your self to people who cannot explain themselves?
I end up in a lot of conversations where I'm trying to explain all this abstract stuff to people
The exact same problem exists for everyone trying to explain abstract stuff to people. That's a lot of fellow strugglers!
How do you set a reasonable goal, such as just teaching someone one thing, or at least to the point where they can attack it and raise objections and just get engaged?
Jesus is claimed to have said "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden".

Think about it, whatever you'd say or do, even covering it up, the truth would still shine through. Don't worry about reception or being a teacher. Worry about if you're carrying any light at all or perhaps just like to think about it a lot while it's dimming.

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Elizabeth Isabelle
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:35 am

Matt Gregory wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm
Is anyone here good at explaining why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all about it? No idea about enlightenment, metaphysics, ultimate reality, or anything like that?
Start by discussing something that they are interested in. Don't get too heavy too quickly.

I find that politics makes a good, though not perfect, bridge. Many people have reactions to politics, and these are the people who have the most willing minds. One can discuss the causes and effects of various things involving whatever specific topic they are interested in, and eventually bring up determinism, which will almost inevitably lead to a debate about determinism vs free will. You can monitor their thinking behind their statements, and name specific logical fallacies as they come up. You can redirect them to The Fallacy Files or some similar site when they seem ready.

Politics is not a perfect bridge because there are people with such strong opinions on things like politics and religion that presenting them with facts will only make them dig in their heels all the harder. Really any topic will do - whether they bring up an incident with their children, pets, job, or any other aspect of their lives, there is an opportunity to gently introduce philosophy. Just go slowly.

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jupiviv
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by jupiviv » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:16 pm

Matt Gregory wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:44 am
jupiviv wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:50 am
Yes, great interests begin with small ones, but unless the small interests compound into exponentially (infinitely) greater ones fairly early on there is little hope of further progress. Wise teachers can show you what wisdom *is* through their own examples, not *how* or *why* it is. The latter is the essence of wisdom, and it can only be realised in solitude. Of course, solitude doesn't mean meditation or hermitry; it just means being alone, even when living an active life surrounded by people.
You can ignore them to some extent, but they're still going to have an impact on your life and your mind, so you need to deal with that in some way unless you're planning on relying entirely on luck.
What I meant by "alone" is that you are the *only* credible judge of your own thoughts. Others will help, but that help has to be *reproduced* within yourself in order to be truly helpful, just like I did with Kevin's advice. Socrates singled himself out as a midwife, but *all* things are midwives for everything else. The true teacher is neither son nor father.

Plato's Theaetetus.
He didn't say "no woman can make you happy", but "you cannot make a woman happy". The two statements are like heaven and hell, literally!
Not really. It's like saying "don't take drugs" and "don't pay drug dealers" are two different things.
Actually it is like saying "drugs are cool, but Jesus is cooler" and "drugs are cool, but Jesus is a suffering servant" are two different things. And they are!
Yeah, I'm familiar with the parable of the sower, but maybe throwing seeds all over the place where most of them are wasted isn't such a great idea. Maybe burying the seeds with care is the best way to go.
The implication was that you are still looking for reward (crop) for all of your efforts, even if that reward is nothing more than the knowledge that you helped guide someone to wisdom. That's a delusion - you can't control how someone interprets what you say. All you can do is to become an example of wisdom and hope for the best.
What would be the point of hoping if you're not looking for anything? We're all here trying to advance our values. It's unavoidable.
But we *are* looking for something, i.e., being wise. That is a constant endeavour. Wisdom is not a matter of reaching a destination and then helping others reach it. It's about burning every bridge you come across and then walking on water, as well as demanding of others they do the same.

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Eric Schiedler
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Eric Schiedler » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:33 am

Matt,
Matt Gregory wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm
Yeah, I'm familiar with the parable of the sower, but maybe throwing seeds all over the place where most of them are wasted isn't such a great idea. Maybe burying the seeds with care is the best way to go.
In particular, what you do not do and do not say has to point to Truth as much as what you do say. To do the Eternal Sowing is to be in Heaven.

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Matt Gregory
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Matt Gregory » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:09 am

Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:22 am
Matt Gregory wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm
Is anyone here good at explaining why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all about it? No idea about enlightenment, metaphysics, ultimate reality, or anything like that?
So you are asking to be explained why you should explain your self to people who cannot explain themselves?
Are you being snarky or something? I'm asking just what I said.

I end up in a lot of conversations where I'm trying to explain all this abstract stuff to people
The exact same problem exists for everyone trying to explain abstract stuff to people. That's a lot of fellow strugglers!
Well yeah, at first, before you get good at it.

How do you set a reasonable goal, such as just teaching someone one thing, or at least to the point where they can attack it and raise objections and just get engaged?
Jesus is claimed to have said "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden".

Think about it, whatever you'd say or do, even covering it up, the truth would still shine through. Don't worry about reception or being a teacher. Worry about if you're carrying any light at all or perhaps just like to think about it a lot while it's dimming.
That is what I'm thinking about. I'm not trying to be a teacher. I'm just trying to have a stimulating conversation. No big deal, I just thought you guys might have some pointers.

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Matt Gregory
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Matt Gregory » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:55 am

Elizabeth Isabelle wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:35 am
Matt Gregory wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm
Is anyone here good at explaining why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all about it? No idea about enlightenment, metaphysics, ultimate reality, or anything like that?
Start by discussing something that they are interested in. Don't get too heavy too quickly.
I think it's hard for me to judge what's heavy and what's not. I only find moral things to be heavy, but I don't think I tell others what's moral for them. I think morality is kind of individual.

I find that politics makes a good, though not perfect, bridge. Many people have reactions to politics, and these are the people who have the most willing minds. One can discuss the causes and effects of various things involving whatever specific topic they are interested in, and eventually bring up determinism, which will almost inevitably lead to a debate about determinism vs free will. You can monitor their thinking behind their statements, and name specific logical fallacies as they come up. You can redirect them to The Fallacy Files or some similar site when they seem ready.

Politics is not a perfect bridge because there are people with such strong opinions on things like politics and religion that presenting them with facts will only make them dig in their heels all the harder. Really any topic will do - whether they bring up an incident with their children, pets, job, or any other aspect of their lives, there is an opportunity to gently introduce philosophy. Just go slowly.
Yeah, I hate discussing politics because I always end up in a discussion where the other person has a strong opinion about something and they've read all about it, whereas I generally don't, so they can't present so-called facts that I know are completely stupid, but I nevertheless can't refute because I won't know all the trivia.

I think going slowly is good advice, but I suppose you'd have to be pretty quick to pull that off, which I'm not.

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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Pam Seeback » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:50 pm

Matt Gregory: Yeah, I hate discussing politics because I always end up in a discussion where the other person has a strong opinion about something and they've read all about it, whereas I generally don't, so they can't present so-called facts that I know are completely stupid, but I nevertheless can't refute because I won't know all the trivia.
Someone having a strong opinion about politics is the perfect place to start, not in the context of debating content but in the context of questioning the nature of the "I" that feels so strongly about this (and not that). Doing so is akin to turning the conversation inside-out -- either the person will catch their first glimpse of identity truth or they won't. If they don't, gracefully exit, if they do, let the fun begin! One of you will know when you've had enough light and the conversation will end, perhaps to be picked up at a later time, perhaps not. If the latter is the case, the seed of wisdom has been planted in the newbie and watered and nourished in you -- a win-win!

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:23 pm

Matt Gregory wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:09 am
Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:22 am
So you are asking to be explained why you should explain your self to people who cannot explain themselves?
Are you being snarky or something? I'm asking just what I said.
No. Perhaps you are not aware what you are asking here? You were literally asking how or why you should explain your self to people who haven't even started to explain to themselves. It's a catch 22 and bordering on being a pointless question unless you just want to strike up a conversation here or something. As for being snarky, isn't it all about striking a match? Or do you prefer boring, clinical, comfortable comments? In that case you should rethink your approach here as well as with others.
I end up in a lot of conversations where I'm trying to explain all this abstract stuff to people
The exact same problem exists for everyone trying to explain abstract stuff to people. That's a lot of fellow strugglers!
Well yeah, at first, before you get good at it.
Being good at explaining abstract stuff just means one understands the stuff as something ultimately non-abstract. It's so real that it can be phrased in whatever form needed without much effort at all. Like talking about the weather or the sky.
I'm not trying to be a teacher. I'm just trying to have a stimulating conversation. No big deal, I just thought you guys might have some pointers.
If you're trying please consider that you're not a stimulating conversationalist. And you don't need to become one. My point is that the nature of wisdom is that it will not be obscured for those looking for it. Just do what you are, say what you are.

Your original question was "why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all" and the problem of "explaining all this abstract stuff to people". The best answer you're probably going to receive here is to completely abandon that line of questioning. It's pretty much self-contradicting and almost implies some kind of weird evangelical outlook on wisdom. If you're really serious about lighting a fire, don't worry about passing the flames along. The nature of fire itself will take care of it. If you're in doubt, study the nature of this fire more closely. Or in other words, do some philosophy beyond what you've been doing already before worrying passing anything along at all.

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Elizabeth Isabelle
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Elizabeth Isabelle » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:10 am

Pam Seeback wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:50 pm

Someone having a strong opinion about politics is the perfect place to start, not in the context of debating content but in the context of questioning the nature of the "I" that feels so strongly about this (and not that).
Sounds good. Basically change the topic to philosophy.

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Matt Gregory
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Matt Gregory » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:16 pm

jupiviv wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:16 pm
What I meant by "alone" is that you are the *only* credible judge of your own thoughts. Others will help, but that help has to be *reproduced* within yourself in order to be truly helpful, just like I did with Kevin's advice. Socrates singled himself out as a midwife, but *all* things are midwives for everything else. The true teacher is neither son nor father.

Plato's Theaetetus.
Okay, so let's get back to this:
jupiviv wrote:Unless someone already is interested in something, you can't explain to them why they should care about it. Maybe you can try to get them to interested in it as a means to an end. I think children who do well in school view the studying as the way to get the good grades, which in turn brings praise from teachers and parents. But that probably doesn't apply to wisdom, which after all is a solitary activity.
A person's wisdom evolves like anything else. Most people start off not knowing that wisdom even exists. Everyone knows the word "wisdom", but the average person thinks it means something akin to being adept at something due to having a lot of experience. Whereas to me, and I presume most people on this forum, it means something more like self-knowledge, or lack-of-self-knowledge, or direct reality perception. I can't even think of a good way to describe it at the moment. Anyway, the area between wisdom's nonexistence and fully-blown enlightenment is a pretty vast tapestry of delusions. Some, of course, are bigger than others, but #1: I think for any given person there's always at least one delusion they are ready to outgrow given the right conditions. And #2: I don't need to concern myself with coming up with some grand insight that will dispel all their delusions in one shot. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step kind of thing. And #3: I'm not even that concerned with the other person. I'm more concerned with myself and trying to stimulate and motivate my own mind.

He didn't say "no woman can make you happy", but "you cannot make a woman happy". The two statements are like heaven and hell, literally!
Not really. It's like saying "don't take drugs" and "don't pay drug dealers" are two different things.
Actually it is like saying "drugs are cool, but Jesus is cooler" and "drugs are cool, but Jesus is a suffering servant" are two different things. And they are!
That's true, they're different, but I don't see the connection you're making. I get the feeling you're overcomplicating it.

Yeah, I'm familiar with the parable of the sower, but maybe throwing seeds all over the place where most of them are wasted isn't such a great idea. Maybe burying the seeds with care is the best way to go.
The implication was that you are still looking for reward (crop) for all of your efforts, even if that reward is nothing more than the knowledge that you helped guide someone to wisdom. That's a delusion - you can't control how someone interprets what you say. All you can do is to become an example of wisdom and hope for the best.
What would be the point of hoping if you're not looking for anything? We're all here trying to advance our values. It's unavoidable.
But we *are* looking for something, i.e., being wise. That is a constant endeavour. Wisdom is not a matter of reaching a destination and then helping others reach it. It's about burning every bridge you come across and then walking on water, as well as demanding of others they do the same.
[/quote]

I can't tell if you're on a different trip than I am, or if you've just said the same thing twice. I'm not sure what your point is.

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Matt Gregory
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Matt Gregory » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:37 pm

Pam Seeback wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:50 pm
Matt Gregory: Yeah, I hate discussing politics because I always end up in a discussion where the other person has a strong opinion about something and they've read all about it, whereas I generally don't, so they can present so-called facts that I know are completely stupid, but I nevertheless can't refute because I won't know all the trivia.
Someone having a strong opinion about politics is the perfect place to start, not in the context of debating content but in the context of questioning the nature of the "I" that feels so strongly about this (and not that). Doing so is akin to turning the conversation inside-out -- either the person will catch their first glimpse of identity truth or they won't. If they don't, gracefully exit, if they do, let the fun begin! One of you will know when you've had enough light and the conversation will end, perhaps to be picked up at a later time, perhaps not. If the latter is the case, the seed of wisdom has been planted in the newbie and watered and nourished in you -- a win-win!
I feel like that's a case of "getting too deep too fast" a lot of the time, unless you inject a lot of humor into it. People hold their feelings in ridiculously high regard, which I think does have some validity, but not moral validity. But I do agree that strong feelings are generally an indication of madness. By that I just mean an error in judgement. One contradiction can lead to an infinite number of false conclusions. I've been trying to stay more aware of my own excitement lately to try to stave off any consequent stupidity. It does help a lot.

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jupiviv
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by jupiviv » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:49 am

Matt Gregory wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:16 pm
#1: I think for any given person there's always at least one delusion they are ready to outgrow given the right conditions.
I agree but wisdom isn't about giving up "at least one delusion". Delusions are incomplete conscious thoughts. Usually very few unconscious things prevent most/all rational thoughts from being complete. Helping someone to complete conscious/rational thoughts individually won't make them wiser. The very best any concerned sage can do is to expose the root and then leave the rest to fate, like Kevin did with that response.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step kind of thing.
But the person on that journey should at least understand that it is of a thousand miles, even from the very first step. If he doesn't, he will likely give up when he finds out later on.
And #3: I'm not even that concerned with the other person. I'm more concerned with myself and trying to stimulate and motivate my own mind.
Then why are you bothering others? Perhaps the selfish character of the conversation is becoming apparent to those others, which is why you can't engage them properly. I'm not criticising you for seeking stimulation, but there are far better ways to do that than discuss abstract stuff with people who probably aren't even interested in the subject for its own sake. Actually, figuring out why you want to be stimulated by such discussions might itself be quite stimulating!
Actually it is like saying "drugs are cool, but Jesus is cooler" and "drugs are cool, but Jesus is a suffering servant" are two different things. And they are!
That's true, they're different, but I don't see the connection you're making. I get the feeling you're overcomplicating it.
That may be, but if you thought about what I wrote some more, you might discover that the connection does exist. Another potential source of stimulation!
What would be the point of hoping if you're not looking for anything? We're all here trying to advance our values. It's unavoidable.
But we *are* looking for something, i.e., being wise. That is a constant endeavour. Wisdom is not a matter of reaching a destination and then helping others reach it. It's about burning every bridge you come across and then walking on water, as well as demanding of others they do the same.
I can't tell if you're on a different trip than I am, or if you've just said the same thing twice. I'm not sure what your point is.
My point is that wisdom cannot be advanced in quite the same way as other things like knowledge, laws, values etc. You can't instill it in others or show them the way to get it, and you can't value it for any logical reasons (let alone explain those reasons to others). Wise is something you become when you simply cannot be anything else - of course, that can also be said about everything else. So what is wisdom, really?

Pam Seeback
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Pam Seeback » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:56 am

Matt Gregory wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:37 pm
Pam Seeback wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:50 pm
Matt Gregory: Yeah, I hate discussing politics because I always end up in a discussion where the other person has a strong opinion about something and they've read all about it, whereas I generally don't, so they can present so-called facts that I know are completely stupid, but I nevertheless can't refute because I won't know all the trivia.
Someone having a strong opinion about politics is the perfect place to start, not in the context of debating content but in the context of questioning the nature of the "I" that feels so strongly about this (and not that). Doing so is akin to turning the conversation inside-out -- either the person will catch their first glimpse of identity truth or they won't. If they don't, gracefully exit, if they do, let the fun begin! One of you will know when you've had enough light and the conversation will end, perhaps to be picked up at a later time, perhaps not. If the latter is the case, the seed of wisdom has been planted in the newbie and watered and nourished in you -- a win-win!
I feel like that's a case of "getting too deep too fast" a lot of the time, unless you inject a lot of humor into it. People hold their feelings in ridiculously high regard, which I think does have some validity, but not moral validity. But I do agree that strong feelings are generally an indication of madness. By that I just mean an error in judgement. One contradiction can lead to an infinite number of false conclusions. I've been trying to stay more aware of my own excitement lately to try to stave off any consequent stupidity. It does help a lot.
Being aware of strong feelings is key, but is expressing them a display of stupidity or is it a case of wisdom 'shining through'? Some of the most potentially enlightening conversations are those between those who 'go at each other' with their impassioned views with one or more coming to an understanding of what is actually happening, that is, that while none of the views being expressed are ultimately true, each view is an expression of the will or desire to consciously exist as-if-true.

You may be correct in concluding that exposing strong wills to the truth of the ultimately empty "I" may be "going too deep too fast", but it is my experience that because will or desire is discovered to ultimately be the lifeblood of conscious existence that those with the strongest feelings are the very best candidates for wisdom's unveiling.

Koriander
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Koriander » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:19 pm

Study philosophy to better understand the animal in man and through this understanding lose your tolerance for and dependence upon the herd, becoming more of a Man and less like a man-imal. It is about refining taste; the system seeks to level taste / awareness / knowledge (because knowledge leads to awareness) etc. in order to order the increasing genetic and memetic chaos within it, a process which necessarily leads to mediocrity, stupidity, and base-ness. It's that which one is moving away from as one becomes more aware; this comes at a price generally referred to as the burden of consciousness, however this burden is solved via action and through action the actualization of the truth(s) which one has come to know.

You need to learn to identify who-is-who around you as you cannot just bring anyone into the fold as most people are too socialized and with that base to even care in the first place; if one's identity is heavily tied up in the herd then leaving the herd behind will feel like death to them. The real difference-maker here is the same thing I highlighted before: awareness. That is, different people have different levels of awareness and those with less awareness are more base, more like animals, than those with higher awareness. The validity of this as the primary factor behind compatibility is obvious even upon a moments reflection. The baseness of the over socialized is caused by over socialization; the more one mingles the more generic and emotionally / feelings-driven one must become as the environment is too fast and complex to allow for real thought, construction, individuation.

If you choose this path then be forewarned that you will ostracized, shunned, dismissed out-of-hand etc. as people don't want to accept the truths of false lives, relationships, past, and so on as it is too painful and would demand too much will power and personal responsibility going forward. Comfort is in the possibilities in chaos, for a man, this is woman, but a man can't order chaos until he is truly a man; if he takes cover in the herd, submits to it pressures in its slavish self-hatred and denial of the real, then he will remain an animal.

Serendipper
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Serendipper » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:47 pm

Matt Gregory wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:40 pm
Is anyone here good at explaining why we should care about philosophy to someone who knows nothing at all about it?
We shouldn't care unless it's fun.
I'm terrible at this kind of thing. I end up in a lot of conversations where I'm trying to explain all this abstract stuff to people, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't make sense to anyone but me, and no one knows what the takeaway is.

"A philosophy is only a philosophy if life has illustrated it". Forgot who said that, but you can google it.

You can't explain what red looks like to a blind person. "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand."
I'll often try to talk about boundaries, cause and effect, freewill. What do you even begin with?
When you jump in a pool, how do you decide where to jump? I started with Reader's Digest when I was a kid because my grandpa had a big collection. I'd go for the Quotable Quotes and the quips after every story. It was fun and interesting; that's all.
How do you set a reasonable goal
Your goal should be to have fun. If it's not fun, then why do it?

I'd go to https://www.aphorismsgalore.com/ and copy/paste my favs into a spreadsheet and then observe how my favs change over the years. As in "Really?!? I used to think THAT was cool???" LOL

I wouldn't force myself to grind through a whole book by any one philosopher because that work has been done and overdone already and the cream of the crop has long-since risen to the top. I'd go cherry picking ;)

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:07 pm

Serendipper wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:47 pm
"A philosophy is only a philosophy if life has illustrated it". Forgot who said that, but you can google it.
The poet Keats you mean? " Even a proverb is no proverb to you till your Life has illustrated it" or "Axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses".

Keats was no philosopher but a Romantic poet of course. Basically believing "what imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth". To me that would say the sensitive soul had no stomach for anything philosophical. And who can blame his tragedy?
Your goal should be to have fun. If it's not fun, then why do it?
But what causes you to experience something as "Fun"? Simple impulses like the animal or some damaged instinct, like a criminally insane clown? Your stated goal is nothing different from the animal or insane clown. Therefore you claim philosophy does not exist or does not matter as it clearly is defined as something leading to a higher goal.

It would help tremendously if you would be more clear in denouncing philosophical thought altogether. Put some effort into it at least! But the drive to fun never amounts too much effort, does it now? That's a simple experimental truth for you! At least a strong, serious delusion would enable at least some sacrifice.

Serendipper
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Re: Why study philosophy?

Post by Serendipper » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:37 pm

Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:07 pm
Serendipper wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:47 pm
"A philosophy is only a philosophy if life has illustrated it". Forgot who said that, but you can google it.
The poet Keats you mean? " Even a proverb is no proverb to you till your Life has illustrated it" or "Axioms in philosophy are not axioms until they are proved upon our pulses".
Yes, I was thinking "Keats", but didn't want to risk posting misinformation. And yes "proverb" was the synonym I couldn't think of :)
Keats was no philosopher but a Romantic poet of course. Basically believing "what imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth". To me that would say the sensitive soul had no stomach for anything philosophical.
I'm not sure... intelligence implies sensitivity.
Your goal should be to have fun. If it's not fun, then why do it?
But what causes you to experience something as "Fun"? Simple impulses like the animal or some damaged instinct, like a criminally insane clown?
I think it's less important to speculate on what causes us to experience fun and more important to illustrate that the goal of the impulse is irrelevant to furthering illusions of yourself (ie the ego); that is the distinction.
Your stated goal is nothing different from the animal or insane clown.

No, that's your spin on my stated goal ;)
Therefore you claim philosophy does not exist or does not matter as it clearly is defined as something leading to a higher goal.
Clearly defined by whom? Any definition of philosophy (or any word) is arbitrary and subjective. Didn't you say, "what imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth"? Seems subjective to me. In order to have a meaningful discussion, or better exchange of ideas, it would seem our imaginations must be first aligned or we may as well be speaking different languages.

If philosophy leads to a higher goal, then what does that get you? "The king and the pawn go in the same box after the game." (google it)
It would help tremendously if you would be more clear in denouncing philosophical thought altogether.

You're asking for my philosophical thoughts concerning the denouncement of philosophical thought? I'm confused at your intention with this direction you've chosen for the conversation.
Put some effort into it at least! But the drive to fun never amounts too much effort, does it now?
That's not true. I bend over backwards to help people, but find it difficult to do the same chores for myself and it took me a while to realize why that is.... helping myself isn't as interesting because "to get the full value of a joy, you must first have someone with whom to divide it." (google it). Instead of talking to you, it would be more efficient to talk to myself. I mean, I can counter-point myself the same as you can and I can play both sides of the chess board just fine, but it's not fun. I need you to make it fun enough to bother with all this typing and because "writing is the means of discovering what you believe" (google it. David Hare I think). And discovery is fun.

It's more fun to read wikipedia about particle physics to satisfy a curiosity than it is to read ebay's requirements to sell a few goofy things for a few measly bucks. I can find the area under the curve, but I can't figure ebay out.

Fun is the motivation proposed for the explanation of why anyone would want to work in a money-less society. And even now, many folks work, not for the money, but because they like what they do; it's fun.
That's a simple experimental truth for you! At least a strong, serious delusion would enable at least some sacrifice.
Yes, the sacrifice. That's an interesting topic of discussion as I've recently been giving thought to "the angel's share" and "the devil's share" where the former is the alcohol that evaporates from the casks in storage on the way to making good whisky while the latter is greed. We sacrifice some of the whisky in order to have better flavor because it's more fun and interesting to perceive new subtleties as opposed to the nurturing of an impulse to irrationally hoard while simultaneously drowning in plenty.

So, the sacrifice isn't a tool to use to get ahead in the world, though often perverted for that end, but is a means to an interesting (or fun) time.

No one should force themselves to endure endless amounts of what they consider as "boring" all for the sake of becoming a fancy-pants philosopher for some sort of bragging rights. Like "I'm smarter than you because I know all this cool stuff!" You do it either: for fun, or you do it because you think you can somehow get ahead in the world (or afterlife or any means of improving yourself). If there is a 3rd possibility, it would be groundbreaking news and undermine Eastern thinking.

Generically, why the desire to improve oneself? How do we know what is good for us? I mean, if we did, we'd already be improved and would have no desire to become improved. So if we don't know what is good for us, then how do we know we want it? Any concept of an improvement will invariably have to be imagined in terms of past concepts and therefore we're seeking to perpetuate the past. If the past is the problem, then how is repeating it going to improve anything? The concept of improving is a complete fabrication that caters to a persona that doesn't exist.

This video may be enlightening https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuUz9lUtPnU

Another angle of attack of the "goal" of improving oneself is to observe that if one isn't happy in the present and plans for happiness in the future, then they will be incapable of enjoying the goal of the future when it finally arrives because they're incapable of living in the present since they've made such a habit of living only with the future in mind.

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