Posts Tagged ‘ontology’

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Philosophy Tuesday

January 8, 2019

“If we come here and say, “Well, I didn’t intend to cause global warming on the way here,” and we say, “That’s not part of my plan,” then we realize it’s part of our de facto plan, because it’s the thing that’s happening because we have no other plan.”

— William McDonough

I love this quote for how well it ties back into the notion of systems and the path of least resistance.

When we don’t make a plan, the system makes one for us.  And the easiest is to just do what the system says to do.  Because to us it feels like that’s just how things are; we’re surrounded by it.  Its reality.  And so we punch our ticket and get swept along.

That system, though, may itself have never been planned, and rather came together by either accident, happenstance, or, often, by the messy collision of several other (perhaps/likely themselves unplanned) systems.  It’s system-ception – systems begetting systems begetting systems.

Everything we do has an outcome, a result.  And when our de facto plan spits out outcomes, whether personal or global, that aren’t as fulfilling a result as we’d like, we can be very accurate when we note that it was unintentional.  Because they’re the result of actions taken with literally no intention – just automatic engagement.  We’ve slipped into the path of least resistance.

Oops!

But our systems are just systems.  Unlike the properties of physics, they don’t have a force in reality.  They may have arrived by happenstance, but we can tweak them.  Replace them.  Transform them.  We needn’t get caught up in blame or shame or fault.  We can step up with intention, create from first principles, and be mindful of and design towards all the desired outcomes.

Until our de facto plans line up with our intended ones.

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 18, 2018

Delivered tonight in comic form from Abstruse Goose… all about looking good, avoiding looking bad, and the constructs that surround and trap us:

(Want more dancing?  Follow here…)

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 11, 2018

There is great power in learning to “have” various states rather than “being” them.

Much in the same vein as the distinction between sadness and suffering, when we can be with and have our (often intense*)  feelings, emotions, and even thoughts, rather than automatically thinking that they are “me” and thus automatically being them, new spaces open up:

Having fear rather than being afraid.

Having uncertainty rather than being paralyzed.

Having nervousness and butterflies and tingly legs rather than being anxious and spooked.**

Having annoyance and frustration rather than being angry and enraged.

Having guilt rather than being shameful.

Having envy rather than being hopeless.

It isn’t a matter of resisting or pretending they’re not there; again, much like the distinction between sadness and suffering, it’s a matter of taking ownership and honouring them and being with them.  We are human, after all, and we humans have all those kind of things.  And they can be downright useful things to have.

To have; not to be controlled by.  Let them be, and peace of mind emerges.  Choice rises.  Everything steers away from suffering.

Let them be, and the authentic self can step to the fore, guiding things forward as we want them to be.

 

* …but even more powerful when we can notice and be with and own and have our subtle and background feelings, emotions, and especially thoughts (which are almost born from our calculating rather than authentic self) without immediately becoming them.

** I am very familiar with this before I go up on stage.  So intense!  Being with it all and essentially embracing it, as in, “I knew this was going to come, so hey, here it is!” is what gets me ready to go up and perform my heart out.  (And, depending on where I am, I’ve also at times done strings of jump kicks and other drills to burn off the nervous energy…)

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 4, 2018

“When we try to pick out anything by itself,

we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

— John Muir

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 27, 2018

Competition. Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their friends! Ace that test, make the cheerleading team, win the championship, land that big contract, bankrupt your peers, make the most money, get the most awards, and look the best on Facebook! Winning, yeah, competition is all about singular winning, with everyone else worthy of scorn and ridicule. Get yours or get nothing.

At least, right from the get-go, that’s how competition is presented to us.

Thing is, that wasn’t really the original meaning for the word. The Latin root from which we get compete, competere, instead means “strive in common; strive after something in company with or together.”

To compete does not require turning everything into a zero-sum equation.

As William McDonough put it: “It means the way Olympic athletes train with each other. They get fit together, and then they compete. The Williams sisters compete – one wins Wimbledon. So we’ve been looking at the idea of competition as a way of cooperating in order to get fit together.”

Inside this broader view of competition, we leave less destruction in our wake. We begin to truly play games – games that enliven us without all the extra layers of significance we’ve piled on. We empower ourselves and those around us, leading to even better games and better conclusions. We get to be supported and grow together. And we gain freedom from unnecessary stress, consternation, and mental duress*.

Best of all, we get to have way more fun.

 

* Which, amusingly, all work to hinder our performance in the game. We feel worse, do worse, and suffer more under the outcome!

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 30, 2018

Every person you meet meets a different you.

On the one hand, that doesn’t seem right.  After all, it always feels like I am me, and the me that walks around is always there.  So, clearly, whenever we meet someone they must be meeting the “me” that I am.

On the other hand, well, we often behave differently around different people, right?  We present ourselves one way at work, or another way at home, or a third way to our church/club/team/drinking buddies.   So, ok, maybe it makes sense that there are at least a handful of “me”s out there to meet.

Turns out, there’s a quite the many more than that.

Every person that you encounter creates a version of you in their heads.  Some of it is based on your interactions.  Some of it is based on their prior experience and projection.  But it’s a distinct, individual, you.

Therefore you, I, we, are different people to each our parents, siblings, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, neighbors, and the regular clerks at our stores.  There are thousands of “you”s and “me”s out there, in thousands of minds.  Created by thousands of beings.

There’s a you that exists in each version, but it isn’t the same you, and “you” aren’t really a “someone” at all.  Which makes the idea of knowing yourself all the more interesting…

The corollary, however, is perhaps even more profound.

Every person you know is also a thousand different people.  The individual you know them as is your personal them.  They are not that exact person to another.  All their gifts and all their faults are, in many ways, particular to you.

Meet them fresh and under different circumstances, and you might create them totally different.  Let your views be fresh, and who they are may completely shift.  They may grow.  Or they may shrink.

There’s a lot that opens up in this understanding.  Empathy. Delight.  Choice.  Deepening relatedness.  Clarity.  And a realignment towards authentic selves, both for ourselves, for theirselves, and for all the “you”s that exist out there.

 

* Apologies for all the I/you/we perspective shifts up there…

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 23, 2018

There was this great ad for Ikea from years ago, directed by Spike Jonze:

Objects cannot make decisions.  Objects do not grow.  Objects do not make meanings in their lives.  Objects do not possess agency.  Objects lack emotion.  Objects cannot create and act and cavort and cry and all the things people (and other living things) can do.  Objects are fixed, predictable, unmalleable.  Objects are either working or broken.  Objects can be thrown away.

People are not objects, of course.

But we turn people into objects all the time.

Whenever we act like how we see, label, relate, or think of someone, and like the meaning they have for us is the right one, the true one, the one and only one, we’ve turned them into a thing.  An object.  An other.

We do this to our coworkers, management, professions, and the clerk at the store.  We do it to hobby groups, enthusiasts, and fans of a thing.  We do it to genders.  We do it to whole cities and whole countries just as readily as we do it to our siblings, parents, friends, neighbors, and lovers.

When we objectify, we exterminate.  The vital being entity that stands (metaphorically, perhaps) before us is snuffed out, and a thing is all that remains.

And the trouble is, we don’t treat things the same way as we treat people.