Posts Tagged ‘ontology’

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

May 15, 2018

“I live a little bit on the seat of my pants, I try to be alert and available.  I try to be available for life to happen to me.

We’re in this life, and if you’re not available, the sort of ordinary time goes past and you didn’t live it.

But if you’re available, life gets huge.

You’re really living it.”

— Bill Murray on being present

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

May 8, 2018

Goals, resolutions, targets…

Maybe sometime, it’s better to just play a game.

Not any kind of game, though.  Not something like poker or sports or something we can wrap so much of our identity(ies) around.

But the primordial kind of game.  The kind we made up when we were kids.

Games like “The Floor is LAVA.”

Games that we totally made up, and know we made up, but we play them like they’re real.  Full out.  100%.  All the way, twisting, jumping, balancing, taking risks, giving it all we’ve got.  (And probably laughing a lot too…)

And then we either win – yay! – or not.  Floomph!  Into the lava we went.

The game is then done.  We reminisce about the game, we review what we did, we

Then, we can play the game again, make up new rules for the game, choose to play a different game altogether.

And so it goes.

Our games can be short and simple:  “Today, I will practice being grateful.”  At the end of the day, “Hmm.  How did my game go?  Did I win that game?  Yes, no?  By a little, by a lot?”  Tomorrow, we create another game.

Or the games can be great and long.  “I am playing the game to complete the first draft of my book by the end of the year.”   The year is up!  How’d the game go?

Oh, you want to play again?  Or play this related game?  Cool.  Anything you see missing that you want to add in before you play?  Cool!  Ready… set…

Games are fun.  Games get us going.*  Games can be fulfilling.  And they’re just games.  They propel us forward, and when the timer’s up, they disappear, leaving a clean field for the next one.

So…

What games do you want to play?

 

* The NaNoWriMo is another great example of this:  A game to write 50,000 words of fiction during the month of November.  It’s a game!  Play, write, and either hit 50k, nor not!  Woo!

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

April 17, 2018

Our deep human yearning for certainty

Our deep craving to know

Our deep need for agency

Can all lead us

To great places

And great creativity

Spawning deep musings

Wonderful art

And beautiful acts of community

But they can also lead us

Down dark paths

Of arrogance

Of righteousness

Of hatred

And of force

Ways that are most harmful

 

The desire is real

It will set us off

to travel down those paths

It is only clinging

That can lead us astray

 

Part of being human

Is learning to live with

And dance within

The spaces of uncertainty

 

For there will always be some

And that’s ok

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

March 20, 2018

Many of the lessons we learn early in life are of the quite black and white variety – hard fast rules that never vary.  Touching that hot stove is always going to cause a burn. Leaning too far over will always cause you to fall.  Even the social lessons we tend to learn are quite fixed, for those around us to observe and to learn from are quite limited, and hence present a rather unchanging universe.

So it comes as no surprise that, very quickly, we get the sense that the world consists, solely, of things that only ever operate one way.  There are TRUTHS and RULES, that are KNOWABLE and USABLE.  This gets reinforced even more as we begin school, and we’re literally graded and judged by how well we learn these inviolable FACTS.

And there is, indeed, many things that do operate within rather strict rules: physics*, math, chemistry, and that harsh mistress of gravity (that, natch, is also part of physics…).

Yet there is a whole lot more that does not even come close to being fixed or knowable, chiefly, 7 billion more things, and all the ways that these 7 billion things interact with each other.  People, of course, and our societies, norms, manners, systems, cultures, memes, ethos, nations, traditions, customs…

All not bound by any strict and inherent rules of the universe.

And never mind the 7 billion, this also affects the one.  So quickly, when we meet someone, can we, so eager to continue that notion that things are governed by TRUTHS that we can KNOW and they NEVER CHANGE, decide so much about that person and never give them a chance to be any other way.  Our first thought becomes (our) reality.  We limit them, grant them scant space to transform or broaden or to even have a bad day.

Nor ourselves.  For if things are fixed and knowable, then so must be I.  And with that background, we can anoint ourselves with all manner of unproductive TRUTHS, and any growth faces the extra hurdle of overcoming the impossible: changing the fundamental nature of the universe.

When we can be with that there exists both fixed RULES of the universe, and that there equally exists “rules” and “laws” made from our collective minds, we gain exceptional freedom.  In that space, we become an active weaver of our lives and of our societies, engaging in the work to craft a wonderful quilt of life.

 

* And even our traditional view of physics and similar laws tend to break down and not be so absolute at the various extremes…

 

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

March 13, 2018

“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement.

In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”

Bill Watterson (emphasis mine)

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

March 6, 2018

In the realm of contribution, there is no such thing as a greater, or lesser, contribution.  Contribution isn’t about size, or magnitude.  It is about, and there is only, contribution.  Or not.

It’s worth recognizing this.  Because it can be all too easy to slip into the world of judgment and get hung up on assessing and rating our contribution(s).  It can be easy to see the action that makes the big difference and see things begin to shift and think “Well darn… they did that thing there and now things are altering;  I guess I wasn’t the one.”

Except that you are… you are the one of the many.  Without your contribution, that “final” tipping point that is so visible and seems so momentous may never have happened.  Every bit is a contribution, and every bit makes the next contribution possible, and every bit cements the previous contribution.  Every brick helps build the building.  Your contribution was integral to the big shift starting.

When we keep our gaze only on the capstone, when we limit our view only to that final moment, we lose sight of our power.  Why bother!?  it seems like.  My actions clearly don’t matter.  Things are intractable.  I tried but… it didn’t make a difference.  I knew it!  Might as well move on to other things and cross my fingers.

Which is, of course, the most surefire to ensure that indeed we’ll have no impact.   We will definitively not be a contribution.*

When we focus on contribution as contribution, free from magnitude, we likewise gain freedom to participate and contribute everywhere in our lives.  Opportunities open up.

And we get to aim ourselves.  There is contribution and not contribution.  Aimlessly, without care or reflection, we may be missing out on contribution, or contributing towards a direction we don’t want it to be.  It’s no contribution.  Mindfulness is still vital.

Moments of contribution are a gift.  To contribute is to get the joy and fulfillment of building something. To be contributed to is to receive love and worthiness.  And contribution can be everywhere.  Every moment, every interaction, every choice, can be a contribution.

It’s a big responsibility.  But we’re big people.  Let’s play.

 

* And it’s worth remembering that not taking action is still taking an action that still produces a result – a result that likely will be supporting the opposite of the contribution we would want to make…

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

February 27, 2018

There is a difference between mental health, and mental illness.

Our bodies can be in poor health without an actual illness or pathogen acting up on us.  Poor eating, stress, lack of sleep, overwork, exhaustion, rough environmental conditions, all of these can sap us of our vitality and wellbeing, leaving us weakened.

There’s nothing “wrong” to treat.  We’re just weakened.

So too it is with our mental (to which I am encompassing whole wide realm of mental/emotional/’spiritual’) health.  It is very possible to be in a weakened mental health state without a physical/brain impingement acting up on us.  Stress, environment, lack of sleep, social atmospheres, interactions, exposure, messaging, stories, all of these can sap us of our mental vitality and wellbeing, leaving us weakened.

It is, perhaps, an apt description for one of the ways Buddhism describes the term Dukkha, or dis-ease.

And when we are weakened, we are, in all manners of ways, not going to perform our best.  Our thoughts, feelings, judgments, decisions, and actions are all going to be impaired.  We can act out in ways we truly don’t want to, be rash, get into arguments, make logic errors, buy the wrong things, say terrible things, make poor choices, overreact, get into accidents, be violent, all manners of ways and actions that are far from the noble truths of our authentic desires.

It is vitally important to know this difference between mental illness and mental health.  Because when we focus only on the former, and get into binary “have/don’t have” mental illness thinking, we can greatly miss that which affects us and millions like us.  We can take what’s so and think it is the norm.  We can dismiss our own troubles and unwellness, rendering ourselves susceptible to the fallout of the unwellness while blinding us to the steps we can take to lead ourselves back to health.

Most importantly, without holding this difference out in front of us we can miss all the influences that are making us all unwell, and so miss having the conversations and taking the actions necessary to lead our collective selves back towards wellness and even strength.

And within a community, that strength is what we want.  When those in our community are well, we are well.  It is a foundation that supports individual lives, with greater freedom, peace, and peace of mind.