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Why would you want to be a philosopher?

 
 
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 12:17 am
Why..wha--- I just can't fathom it, I just can't. I mean, a philosopher?! Couldn't you be a systems engineer or cancer researcher or chief financial officer? A philosopher?! My god, man. You know those guys think a priori? Geez. No, don't you dare give me that look. Don't you dare--- stop that! Stop that now! Now, listen. You are going to be a M.D. or a LL.B or CEO, you will NOT throw your life away and become a philosopher.... I don't CARE if it's your life to throw away, it's for your own good. Hey.. where are you going? Hey, come back... come back! If you leave, I'll... I'll disown you! ... I... COME BACK!!!!

--------

A pivotal moment in America's history, the young individual who ran away from home did go to school to become a philosopher. After earning his doctorate in philosophy, he worked as cook at the McDonald's in Times Square, where he was lucky enough to serve a Quarter Pounder to the President of the United States. He was later promoted to White House Chef, and served food and offered advice to six US presidents, influencing the course of world history.

-- United States Heritage Moment.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 2,375 • Replies: 39
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Grimlock
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 12:10 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Because I want to study kung fu later on, and I figured I'd get the hard part out of the way first.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 09:19 pm
@Grimlock,
What's want got to do with it. You must muddly must muddly must muddly must do doodly do doodly do doodly do what you must muddly must till you bust bodily bust. Anyone setting out full of curiosity to learn as much as they can about the workings of the world cannot help in time becoming a philosopher of some sort depending upon their effort and resources. I am a terrible slow learner, and have been burned as retarded, when I am not, though perhaps ADD, and persistent. Many a dead friend left me the fruit and wealth of their lives for my food and treasure. I know I do not give much credit, but if I am drawing the wrong conclusions the blame is mine. Thanks
Grimlock
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 10:36 pm
@Fido,
This raises the question whether desire is a decision, simply that which constitutes us, or some combination of the two. Can you "want to want" something? "Why would you want X?" may have no answer other than "Because."
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Sep, 2008 05:14 am
@Grimlock,
Grimlock wrote:
This raises the question whether desire is a decision, simply that which constitutes us, or some combination of the two. Can you "want to want" something? "Why would you want X?" may have no answer other than "Because."

We are born who we are, and parents and self can direct the path of character but little. An old woman who watched us, my brother and I, when we were young, said I was the serious one. And that is strange, since my happy go lucky brother was 80% paralyzed, which sort of cast me in the role of a beast of burden; and who would expect cheer from a plow horse? Now that time has passed we have sort of reversed roles. I am less bitter, and he is more so; and still there is an element of fate in life in that every situation demands its own intelligence. Life has presented me with more questions than answers, and the answers religion supplied to me where clearly wanting reason for back up. Trust me on this. Nietzche was not alone in questioning the character of God as a child.

Yet, I have discovered that everyone pays for their life with their life, rich and poor, crone, or infant all die as the price of life, and it would be nice if, as Jesus said, that the hypocrits have their reward. Ultimately it does not matter. We live, and we die, and we give to life or take from life all or more than it has given us. I wonder if it will surprise those who see me die if I should say to them: Isn't life wonderful. And it is! Whatever you may desire, detest, fear is in life all rolled up together like a great amusment park. Do you have an answer? Find the question. Have a question? Find an adventure. Thanks
Grimlock
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Sep, 2008 11:54 am
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
We are born who we are, and parents and self can direct the path of character but little.


I am no transcendentalist, but I believe the choices we make determine a great deal about our lives, for better or worse. With respect to character - to what we are - perhaps one sedentary life is as good an another, one dullard the measure of his brother (this is not a jab), but there are enormous differences between a man who can walk the hard path and one who does. For those lucky few who have a choice, the essential matters are a matter of choice, I think, not fate, except in the broadest sense.
William
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Sep, 2008 01:46 pm
@Grimlock,
Why would you want to be a philosopher? Who would want to be a philosopher? No one wants to be a philosopher. Either you are or you are not. Now to understand what I am about to say you need to concede your immortality. You must for a moment or two believe you are eternal. It is rather easy for me, I did that 30 years ago. You are "THINKERS" because you were once "STINKERS". It is your karma to fix up what you screwed up and you will not rest until you do. Makes sense don't it? In all our history the mind of a very few really screwed up the lives of many. It is your obsession of which you have no control. Now I am going to have to really think about what I just said for I never know what I am about to say until I say it. If one of you can offer testimony to the contrary as to your obsession, I would love to here it.
Sometimes I amaze myself at what I say. HaHa.
William
Grimlock
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Sep, 2008 11:19 pm
@William,
William wrote:
It is your karma to fix up what you screwed up and you will not rest until you do.


Insofar as you are arguing in favor of some kind of deterministic fate (outside of the broadest Nietzschean sense) or a predetermined rebalancing of some metaphysical values, I would need a good while to express just how much I disagree.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 06:24 am
@Grimlock,
Grimlock wrote:
I am no transcendentalist, but I believe the choices we make determine a great deal about our lives, for better or worse. With respect to character - to what we are - perhaps one sedentary life is as good an another, one dullard the measure of his brother (this is not a jab), but there are enormous differences between a man who can walk the hard path and one who does. For those lucky few who have a choice, the essential matters are a matter of choice, I think, not fate, except in the broadest sense.

I don't guess I disagree. I think we all have fate, generally. The world is set in motion before we get here. What anyone does with it is their business, and is also a measure of what, and who they are. But even what they are is set to an extent, so to change the world people must first change themselves, as the Muslims noted. If you have ever known anyone from the moment of birth, and you think back on the course of their lives, you will see they were always themselves, and that this is not something the living give to the born. And personality, attitude, all the words by which people are decribed might fully decribe infants at birth were the judgement not thought premature. And yet fate molds the personality some, just as every personality changes or accepts fate. Ultimately, we all have an effect; so the question is a moral one: will our effect be good. If everything outside of each of us, including other people, may be seen as fate; in our acting as fate in our turn for others, are we going to be a good fate, or an unhappy one?
0 Replies
 
William
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 01:33 pm
@Grimlock,
Grimlock wrote:
Insofar as you are arguing in favor of some kind of deterministic fate (outside of the broadest Nietzschean sense) or a predetermined rebalancing of some metaphysical values, I would need a good while to express just how much I disagree.


Grimlock, I didn't post that to encourage a debate on whether one agrees of disagrees. It was just a thought that came to me as I recall my own obsession with seeking answers to those questions we have been asking for thousand's of years. I have a family who could care less about the tnings I think about and I have asked myself many, many times why I think the way I do. It is not something I choose, it just is. Sitting around a coffee table discussing the meaning of life is not exactly on the top ten list of of the most popular social subjects. I thought it had merit in the over all scheme of things. Interesting thought, though. I thought. Ha.

William
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Sep, 2008 04:42 pm
@William,
I think Socrates has the answer to this hardest of questions as well: 'Because yo married a bad wife!'

Socrates wrote:

By all means marry. If you marry a good wife you'll be happy. If you marry a bad wife you'll become a philosopher.

It can be no secret what Socrates thought of his Xanthippe....
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Sep, 2008 08:24 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
I think Socrates has the answer to this hardest of questions as well: 'Because yo married a bad wife!'


It can be no secret what Socrates thought of his Xanthippe....

Socrates was a dumasss. Most of the philosophers I know of were incapable of mature loving sexual relationships, and it is for this reason that while dealing with forms, none of them caught the simple fact that all forms are forms of relationship. No one can really understand forms without reference to relationships, and no one can understand relationships without reference to forms. Marriage is a form, so is society, and so is knowledge, truth, and virtue forms. There is safety in forms, and stability. People who cannot adapt to the dynamics of life, of love, and uncertainty dwell in the contemplation of forms without ever grasping their meaning. Their meaning is the life we live while in them. Take the life out of forms, and they are dead, dead, double dead. Do you think Socrates understood his own society? No. But if he had understood the form of relationship called marriage there is a chance he might have.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 12:28 pm
@Fido,
That's a bit strong, to call Socrates a dumbass because he didn't get along with his wife. Let's stop to consider the social circumstances - he was married long before we are introduced to him in the dialogs of Plato and Xenophon. Should he have divorced his wife? Would this have been an option?
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 01:15 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Well, you have to realise that Socrates did say of himself that he knew that he knew nothing, much to the contrary of Fido...
Laughing

Only kidding Fido, but it was a shot before an open goal...
Smile
William
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 04:57 pm
@Grimlock,
Deleted post. I am sorry. I already answered this post. i am getting old.
willam
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 08:43 pm
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
Well, you have to realise that Socrates did say of himself that he knew that he knew nothing, much to the contrary of Fido...
Laughing

Only kidding Fido, but it was a shot before an open goal...
Smile

Well thanks. In fact a book I read recently said that we know more about the Greeks than they did. I may have read it wrong. I could check it out to make sure. They were curious about other cultures and ethics, and they wrote a lot about that apparantly. Yet we have the same problem in our society where people within, all their lives, hearing only one side of the story have no means to judge their own behavior, or the behavior of their society. So, if it were possible to disregard all the poor arguments and contradictions present in Plato's Socradramas, you would still have to say he did not know much about his own society. He was a Lover of Sparta. He did not understand his own democracy, and he certainly did not understand the transition from an honor society and economy to a money economy. To suggest anyone could better govern any man than he himself could is criminal; and while it is difficult to divide Plato from Socrates, we might fairly say that each suffered a contempt for the average citizen of Attica. Socrate's inability to make his own marriage work is a miniture of his inability to make the larger form of his society work for him, so that he so badly mismanaged the relationship as to forfeit his life.

All these people misunderstood so much about human kind that their ignorance is remarkable. They actually believed a person could be taught to be virtuous, that knowledge is virtue. What standard of judgement of their own kind did they bring to bear when measuring virtue? Wealth, intelligence, industry, merit? If they were truly ethical, they would have found themselves unable to judge their fellow citizens. As in our own society wealth in few hands creates two societies, and he judged the wealthy one to be good.

And, it was not just women and wives who had been reduced to nearly slaves, but poverty was so wide spread that you could not strike a slave for fear that you might hit an Athenian in destitution. And for that reason these oligarchs loved Sparta which did not suffer much democracy. But it was the poor of Attica in hopes of glory, plunder, and opportunity that dragged Athens to war with the Peloponese, not once, but twice, and on to defeat. As in our land, the poor express the injustice they suffer in war. Injustice is not dealt with at home so much as exported. It is the hope less who hope for opportunity in the military. So yes, Plato's Socrates was a dumass. I can't believe the original was quite so stupid, but his wife might have felt differently. And if he can be forgiven it is because there was no anthropologythen; but it is as much a mistake to think man can be remade, as societies.

Societies, like people, grow into what they are, and the ancient forms from olden times may have a purpose even thinking people cannot discern. If his society was in transition, it was put in that transition on the path to self destruction. If he understood how his people had reached their present because he understood their past then he would surely have pushed for less wealth, and a more general democracy where wealth, and equality, and risk were evenly shared.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 09:04 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
That's a bit strong, to call Socrates a dumbass because he didn't get along with his wife. Let's stop to consider the social circumstances - he was married long before we are introduced to him in the dialogs of Plato and Xenophon. Should he have divorced his wife? Would this have been an option?

I would like to know why we all read so much into philosophers who want to tell us how to live our lives, when they could not manage relationships in theirs. It is not truth that we all need to know, or how to be virtuous, or how to be a sofisticated logitian. The most essential knowledge is not even thought of normally as knowledge because with most people it is natural. Even for philosophers, the natural relationships were perhaps much easier than ones with distant, or foreign people. The thing is, that we are all thrown together with strangers. There are few natural societies that are not already swallowed up in nation states. We are a nation in name only because there can be no nation of individuals. So, living like philosophers, distant and lonely, we need knowledge they seldom possessed: how to relate. Relationships- from a philosophical point of view, looking only at forms, seeing through forms, weighing forms for truth and use, -have no meaning. Yet, all meaning is in the relationship because that is where the life is. Relationships are the key to our survival. The same may be said of forms. In fact they are opposed sides of the same coin with which we buy happiness one day, and on another, survival. Clearly, while Socrates got much right, he could not relate, and for that reason dared death knowing he would be no lonlier in the grave.

If we can no longer have natural relationships with our neighbors we will need to have formal relationships with them, with ground work, structure, and rules. It is a necessity for our survival since so often strangers and enemies have been thrown together without benefit of a peace treaty. If we understand forms, and understand relationships, we can create them as needed, writing our own peace treaties as we go; but neither form nor relationship will make good sense or last without the other.
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 01:03 am
@Fido,
Fido, let me guess, you read Poppers 'enemies to the open society'? The only thing I am going to say on this matter is that Aristotle is the dictator and slave owner, not Socrates.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 07:23 am
@Arjen,
Arjen wrote:
Fido, let me guess, you read Poppers 'enemies to the open society'? The only thing I am going to say on this matter is that Aristotle is the dictator and slave owner, not Socrates.

No. I have not read Popper. Would you recommend him?. My guess is that while Aristotle brought medieval philosophy to a head, that Plato had the larger influence, and earlier. I have read a lot of Plato a long time past, but I have never fully read the republic, but what I did read all in all supported the organization of the Catholic Church, and European feudalism generally; but that has hardly been a good considered as a whole. I have read Das Capital from end to end. And I pile of other books, but I am uneducated, so bear my faults for fun as I must bear them for pain.
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Sep, 2008 08:02 am
@Fido,
In reality the medieval society has a lot more in common with Aristotelian philosophies since slavery and casts were glossed over by the hypothesis of the 'good' end'goal' of a cretain state within oneself (eudaemonia). By looking at the 'goal' one does not look at the act-in-itself. Plato Does the opposite and does look at the act-in-itself, but with the intent to create something which is beneficial to the entire polis. He looks towards Sparta (Athens had just been defeated by Sparta) to find strength and discipline. He is no dictator however because of the fact that his intent is to benefit the entire populace, while Aristotle has the intent to benefit only the elite.

This is often confused because of neo-platonism, which 'somehow' seems to focus on finding simularities between Christianity and Plato's works. Another confusing factor is the fact that the church of the dark ages is the christian church in the Greek tradition (thereby signifying that it has a lot of simularities with Plato), while in reality preaching the devision between the divine an dthe worldly as in Aristotle's works. When Aristotle's works surfaced again and certain facts become more well known the church rejoiced because of the oppurtunity to actively pursue what it had done covertly all along and that is the inquisition of all people, populaces and countries which understood the difference between intuitions and cognitive thoughts. Genocide was committed on a large scale because of this.

I think the difference I mentioned between the hypothetical 'goal' and examining the act-in-itself is quite thoroughly examined by Immanuel Kant. I wrote a little something on it which I think might benefit you (and everybody else that is interested). It can be found here.

Hope this helps.

p.s. No, I do not advise his work. He has not understood Plato, as he has not understood researching.
 

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