Posts Tagged ‘ontology’

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Philosophy Tuesday

September 25, 2018

If you love who you are being, you love your life.  Period.

Every state of being has a visceral aspect to it.  We feel it.  It forms the baseline for our immediate experience of life.

When we spend time being angry, upset, frustrated, vindictive, petty, or the like, we’re not having a pleasant experience of life.

Spend lots of time there, and our experience of life suffers.

Spend time being content, fulfilled, loving, vital, generous, grateful, amused, fascinated, or any of their ilk, and the experience of life can be most grand.

It’s not about good states or bad states or ways.  Only about our experience of life.

If we find that our experience ain’t being so great, we get to ask ourselves a question:  “Who am I being that my experience ain’t so great?”  Even better: “Is this way of being productive?”

Pause.  Reflect.  Choose.

And step onto the paths towards those experiences of life that we all truly want.

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Philosophy Tuesday

September 18, 2018

Listening is a unique thing.

It is also very different thing than hearing.

Hearing is just hearing.  “I hear you” simply means you’ve noticed someone else trying to communicate to you.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re actually getting – or have gotten – the communication.

Listening is a deep art.  It is the ability to go beyond just the audio processing, and even more so to go beyond that little voice in your head that’s continually commenting on everything they’re saying.  Because listening more to the little voice commentary than to the actual speaker is definitively not actually listening.  Nor is that all too familiar grabbing on to that perfect little point you should say next as soon as they stop talking so there’s no point in what more they’re saying, you know what YOU want to say.

Listening goes beyond resisting.  Listening goes beyond judgement.

Listening is getting the communication, without adding or subtracting anything.

Truly deep listening gets all the communication including all the context that surrounds it.

Listening causes completion.  People who’ve been truly listened to don’t need to repeat themselves.

Listening creates dialogue.  People who’ve been truly listened to will often ask, “What do you think?”

Listening creates openings.  People who’ve been truly listened to find themselves grounded and ready to engage with “what’s next?”

When we are listened to, we feel connected.  Franticness wanes, exigency fades, and peacefulness arrives.

Once listened to, something new is possible.

Listening is a unique thing, an art that takes development and learning.

And it is an art most definitively worth attending to.

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Philosophy Tuesday

September 11, 2018

I blame Descartes.

Natch, in actuality it likely involved way more dimensions and people that just Descartes, pulling on various conversations and directions of thought that had been already developing, the general thrust of the renaissance, and, given the hundreds of years its been since his death, many more people have continued it and even reinforced it… so really it’s a much more involved thing than just one person.  That statement is not entirely fair.

But it’s more fun and attention getting* to just say, “I blame Descartes.”

For what?  For “cogito ergo sum” or “I think, therefore I am”… for the idea and elevation of “rational thought” as the pinnacle, in western philosophies, of what makes a person a person.  Thought is truth.  Reason is truth.  Emotions are suspect.  Feelings are bad.  To be a great human is to be a being of pure detached thought.**

And wow, I assert, did society ever take that and run with it.

In many ways, we are taught to be Vulcans.  Since emotions aren’t “real” and can’t be “tested in the physical world” and can “lead us astray”****, we’re told to ignore them or, even more so, resist them.

Now, in no way will I be saying that rational thought is itself bad, or useless, or even that we shouldn’t engage it.  Far from it, thinking is great.

But the thing is, there’s a huge deleterious effect to all this shaming and vilification of our rich, emotional life. *****

We aren’t robots, and our emotions do influence us.  They do.  And the more we ignore our emotions, the more we discount them, the more we do not develop our emotional intelligence/health/awareness, then the more at their effect we are.

In other words, the less we integrate ourselves as a whole being of emotions, feelings, and thought, the more we’re actually controlled by our emotions, without realizing it.

We are great rationalizing (not necessarily rational) creatures – we can get pushed down a path by that invisible internal world and our “perfect” logical and thoughtful minds will come up with darn good reasons and evidence and justifications for this path we’re barreling down.

We think we’re so smart.  And that’s the problem as well as the punchline… our hubris blinds us and robs us of the very agency we’re trying to attain.

Like many things, there’s a middle path here that has gotten missed.  A wholistic embracement of all of the amazing things that constitute who we are as human beings.  It isn’t a matter of being emotional or rational, of being governed by every feeling that arises or to be the perfect android, it’s a matter of listening to all of the above:  emotions, feelings, thinking, imagination, logic, moods, deductions, and so on.

Emotions and feelings can be great indicators.  They are a signal.  And when we embrace them, we get to use those signals rather than be thrown by them or have them sneakily dictate our actions.  The signals become just that, signals, that we can merge with our active mindfulness to give us presence from which we can then choose.  Agency becomes ours and, as a bonus, we get to enjoy the glorious experience(s) of being alive and the vast catalogue of feelings and emotions.

We end up making the better choices we’re aiming for.  We gain freedom and we love our life more.

Sorry Descartes.  We think therefore we are, but we also feel, and together we do more than just exist, we blossom with relish.

 

* and truth be told in many ways it is completely irrelevant to the true exploration of this post…

** This, of course, is why women were relegated as lesser people, for they are more emotional, “governed” by their feelings, and prone to hysteria… true great humans are all men, and men are the thoughtful, reasoning type.***

*** Which, doubly of course, is all absolute caca.****

**** It gets extra silly and super double standard-y when you realize the accolades and admiration that are lauded onto a guy who “follows his gut” as some sort of honest strong paragon when, well, what is “following your gut” other than being guided by your emotions/feelings?

*****  Which come on here everyone, we’re all seeking love and pleasure and happiness and excitement and aren’t those all emotions and feelings?  Further, why are we being taught to suppress our emotions, yet love is supposed to be a first-sight-head-over-heels type thing and that we should blindly follow our emotion in that instance?

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QotD

September 7, 2018

“Don’t you guys get it?

It’s just personality!”

A nine year old,

speaking with the directness

and clarity

that sometimes only children can,

when asked the question,

(by a researcher)

“Is liking trucks a boy thing/does it make you a boy?”

 

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Philosophy Tuesday

August 14, 2018

Three umpires were at the bar one night, discussing the art of umpiring.

The newly minted umpire spoke first.  “It’s pretty clear.  There’s a box, and if the ball is in the box it’s a strike; if the ball is out of the box it’s a ball.  I call it like it is.”

“Ah yes,” replied the second, one who’d had a few seasons tucked under his mask.  “It does seem like that so often.  But then who knows, pitches can do crazy things and a bit of wind in your eye can mess you up even more.  I’ve realized that the best I can ever do is to call it like I see it.”

After taking a pull on his drink, the revered veteran umpire smiled.  “Friends.  Balls an’ calls come an’ go.  Like it is, like I see it, truth is… they ain’t nothin’ ‘till I call ‘em.

— with inspiration from Bill Klem

 

(and nothin’ that ever happened to or around us aint’ ever anythin’ to us until ya/we call ‘em…)

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Philosophy Tuesday

August 7, 2018

Some time ago I heard a story about AI research.  The researchers had set up a neural net and busily spent their days entering “facts” into the computer.  Each night, the computer would chew on these “facts” and spit out what it figured out, essentially spitting out its interpretation of how, and what, the world was.

One morning, it declared, “All people are famous.”

To the researchers, this was a puzzle — until they realized that they’d begun entering information about people into the system and that, thus far, they’d only chosen and entered “notable” individuals.

To the computer/AI, it made clear, perfect, logical sense.  It only knew of famous people.  Thus, everyone must be famous.

While I don’t think it was their intention, the researchers built a pretty good example of how our own brains work.

Though sometimes we are admonished to “read between the lines,” our brains are always doing just that.  They take all the vast amounts of information that comes in, parses it, organizes it, and looks for patterns… and then goes even further beyond to look for logical truths.  “If such is such, and such is also such, then it follows that…”

To once again quote the great Carl Sagan: “The brain does much more than just recollect, it inter-compares, it synthesizes, analyzes, it generates abstractions.”

Abstractions, deductions, and truth/realities that totally fit with whatever knowledge and experience it has at that point in time.

This is all great, except that we don’t know our brains have done that.  And that from thereon out, our brains will filter our new experiences and observations through that truth it already knows, even hiding things from our consciousness.  And even more so that we will take many actions based on all those, quite potentially flawed, deductions.  Sometimes it will work out.  Sometimes our actions will be downright unproductive.

Thanks to that triple whammy, it can be tough for our patterns and predictions to get updated with new knowledge and experiences that, should at least, be coming in all the time.  If we’re lucky, a different logical deduction will emerge and compete with an old one such that they balance each other out.  Or we may get a half-update, where the brain still partially holds onto the vestige view, ready to jump back to it at the earliest “confirmation.”

In moments of our most desperate want, deductions can collide to create twisted logics of epic proportions, with epic(ally poor, often) results.

But by stepping back and choosing to go into a series of inquiries to do some heavy re-examination, we give our brains a chance to go back to the primordial and recalculate.  By taking ownership of our views and deductions and realities we gain agency to revise them.  We can come up to date with our stories so that they are in line with where we are today and where we want to go, crafting them so that they serve us well.

Then we can show those AIs how its really supposed to be done…

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Philosophy Tuesday

July 31, 2018

We often think and call certain things “normal.”

When, in reality, it may be more fruitful to express them as “eternal.”

Because “normal” is more of an intellectual expression.

In our everyday, day to day, moment by moment experience of life however, most “normal” things to us don’t feel normal, no, instead they carry behind them the weight of the unchanging universe.*

It’s what’s right.  Proper.  Expected.  True.

Sitting down over a cup of tea, waxing deep, we can say “well, it’s just what I grew up with,” or “it’s what we’re used to,” or “it’s just how it is right are now,” or “that’s what they know.”

But “normal” doesn’t dig deep enough to give access to wisdom.

Especially when we’re in the thick of things.  “Normal” doesn’t open window into mindfulness and thus the awareness to realize our limited view(s) in that moment.

“Normal” can, perhaps counterintuitively, cloud insight.

There is so much “normal” out there that feels so right and like it’s that has ever been that we can miss all our assumptions and very much miss the constraints we’re living and operating under.

What is the economy, what we shop for, how we produce things, what does work mean, what’s a “good life” or “successful life,” what opportunities should you pursue, how to treat people around you, what’s proper to wear, how much attention (or not) should be applied towards community, things we like, want, need, what does love mean and entail, what’s precious (or not)…

Most days (and months and years and maybe lifetimes) we likely pay no thought to any of these whatsoever.  Why would we?  They’re eternal.

Yet…?

Nothing is inherent.  Much is inherited.

Speaking therefore of “eternal” is much more accurate, and thus powerful, way of interacting with all those background views we have inherited and assumed and lived in for so long.  It directly calls forth the dichotomy between our experience and the intellectual understanding that nothing is intrinsic and that much is created.**  And by rendering the division sharply, it allows us to take fuller control and responsibility of our views.

We get to examine what’s so, call upon our authentic selves, do some true thinking, and bring forth new possibilities that will guide us forward and upward.

 

* Hilarious, of course, given that the one thing constant in the universe is that it is quite in motion and flux…

** And, indeed, going to another country and culture shows us how differently things can be interpreted and created.