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April 05, 2007

Comments

Nato

I have a feeling that a life without tumult isn't fully lived.

Thomas

To each their own. I've noticed that highly intellectual people resent the distractions of sex and family, and would refrain from them entirely in pursuit of high-minded musings and endeavors if they could. The ignorant and uneducated, on the other hand, don't readily have the tools necessary to pursue high-minded goals, and thus they give into their baser inclinations towards sex and family. One need look no further than to the difference in birthrates between developed and undeveloped nations for evidence of this phenomenon.

The opportunity-space of someone living in an advanced nation is vast, and having intimate relationships and starting a family limits that vast opportunity-space by a considerable degree. That's one of the reasons why my own wife doesn't want to have children yet, because it will limit our ability to travel and do various other things. The opportunity-space of someone living in a very poor nation, such as Sudan or Somalia, is already very limited, and having relationships and children actually increases opportunities, so it would be stupid not to have children in that case.

For me, the only opportunities I want to take advantage of all involve family and children. Thus the advise of St. Paul and Epicurus in the context of my own goals and desires is exceptionally bad; it might even be the worst advise ever. However, I concede that for someone who cares for metaphysical things above all else, it might be exceptionally good advice. Still, "to each their own" is advice that should trump most others, in my opinion.

Nato

"Still, "to each their own" is advice that should trump most others, in my opinion"

No.

"To each, my own." That way I know everyone's getting what I need.

Nathan Smith

"To each his own" sounds nice. But it's sort of beside the point here. St. Paul, apparently, is responding to a request for advice. He's not coercing anyone, but he does sort of have to tell them something about what he thinks they should do in order to comply with their request. "To each his own" would not be very helpful in that case.

Of course, if "to each his own" embodies the real truth of the matter Paul would have to say that even if it seems unhelpful. A fuller formulation of what seems to be meant by "To each his own" might be: "Each person is the best judge of the good for him, of what he wants, and of the ways to get it, so that there is no use in others giving him advice. I can't tell you what to do, because I don't know what you like, what you want, what your priorities are. You should do what you want, what makes you happy. But you'll just have to figure out for yourself what that is."

But that's not very plausible. We don't come into this world with a complete knowledge of what will make us happy, we discover it as we go along; and though we are all different to some extent, we have enough in common that the lessons one person learns in life are likely to be at least somewhat useful to others. There are, moreover, differences in wisdom, learning, experience, etc., so that there is sometimes value in having the wiser teach the less wise. Anyway, while a person may be the best judge of what gives them immediate pleasure, mature people don't act for the sake of immediate pleasure, but think about the effects of their actions on the future, and on others. In order to understand the effect of one's actions on the course of one's life, it's useful to hear from those who are further along in the course of their lives. And in order to understand the effect of one's actions on others, it's useful to hear from others. And since so much of one's happiness-- all of it?-- comes through interaction with others, knowing how one ought to treat others is likely to be an important part of your own happiness.

That "to each his own" is unsatisfactory, indeed unserious, general advice is evident in the fact that we never apply it to any field that we really care about. If there are various answers to a test question-- if, for example, some students answer "When did World War I begin?" with 1914, others 1900, 1939, 2000, and 1555-- the teacher won't say, "to each his own." He will say one answer is right, the others wrong. Nor will any musician be indifferent whether singers are on pitch, or a quarter step flat; he will endorse the one and reject the other.

froclown

So then what is needed is an application of the Law of Thelema, (Do what thou wilt) which is really another way of saying to each his own.

The problem is that subjectively we do not come into this world with the skills, tools, and knowledge necessary to discover what will make us happy, what is we do not know what "our own" is.

The other half of the problem is that other people tend to not know or care what is in another's best interest as to what makes others happy, that is what another's WILL or "OWN" is. Thus we tend to seek to make others obey us or use them for our "OWN" which is to say what we think might make us happy, what we have come to take as our own by blindly poking and prodding through life.

So, perhaps a science and art which concerns itself with discovering just want is one's "OWN" and how to best make changes in oneself and one's environment in accordence with "one's own", would is needed.

Which happens to be the very definition put forth by Aleister Crowley, for his teachings which he called "MAGICK"

Thus, by the application of Crowley's "MAGICK" the initiate can be taught the tools and skills, that will aid him in making decisions such as to marry or not to marry, as whcih coice would be a reflection of his True WILL, whic is to say his "OWN".

Thomas

St. Paul said not to marry, but that if you do marry then that's fine too. To me, that's about as good as admitting "to each his own". The main reason I brought up that rather simplistic saying is because it is also biblical, and it seems to me to be the default best advice for any given situation. For instance, if someone asked me what computer they should buy, I might give them a complex analysis of price to performance, customer service, software support, etc, and then after all of that I would say they should just choose whatever it is they want. I could tell them the computer that I would choose for myself and give them all of my reasons for it, like say I want to play really graphically-intense video games, but if all they want to do is write email and browse the web, my own preference is going to be inappropriate for them. So while marriage may not suit someone like St. Paul, it does suit a great many other people. Hence, "to each his own".

Thomas

Oh, and do we apply "to each his own"? Of course we do! Aesthetic appreciation is 100% "to each his own". Sure, you can give "advice" on what people should aesthetically appreciate, but there is no right answer or best advice in that arena. Is there a right answer to "should I have children"? Quite obviously people in general should have children, for reasons you have already stated. But should *everyone* have children? Very old people and very young people probably shouldn't. People who can't provide basic necessities to their children probably shouldn't have children. People with uncontrollable lust probably shouldn't have children. But you could come up with a million reasons for or against any decision. You can't just say out of context that you should or shouldn't have children. The same argument applies to marriage and any other decisions that a person may mull over. I guess my main argument is that without a detailed context, "to each his own" is the best advice a person can give. However, I will grant that in specific contexts like "should I try to sing in key if I'm in a choir, and everybody expects me to sing in key, and singing in key sounds pretty, and I want to sound pretty, etc...?", you can offer very sound and specific advice.

froclown

Only once one understand the nature of one's material incarnation, can one make proper choices as to what is one's own.

Unless you know yourself and you know something of the world in which you wish to take action, how can you possible know what is the best action to take? The point of asking advice is not to be told what to do by others, but to receive a lesson from another perspective preferably one with a broader range of knowledge about the situation in which one plans to take actions.

If you place a man in a big room full of brightly colored buttons and he asks which button should I push, and you tell him, well to each his own. The man may push the self destruct button just because it's blue and he likes blue buttons, not because he really wanted to blow himself up.

likewise the man may want to blow himself up because he is very depressed and know no way to cheer himself up other than killing himself. That man may require advice which informs him of some opportunity which he was unaware of, which reverses his depression, and thus he does kill everyone.

However, if you wish to give advice you will need to be careful what advice you give and to whom, thus you must know the result of your advice before you give it, to do this you must know about the individual and how he reacts to different information.

We can never know the result perfectly but we must learn to predict within a margin of error what our actions will do, thus we need a broad base of knowledge, we need to employ reason, and we will need to transcend reason to a depth of mystical understadning.

To know oneself is to know the universe, as each being in the universe arises from it out of necessity, with a natural place in it and a holistic relation to all things, and with Samadhi the self joins fully with the cosmos, both vanish. That emptiness is the foundation of the world, Heidegger's "BEING of beings".

One needs no further advice beyond this oracle.

Nato

I loathe Heidegger.

Nato

Worse than Kierkegaard

froclown

Well I can see the distaste for Heidegger on the grounds of obscurantism, but what do you have against Kierkegaard?

Nato

The way he (it appears to me) inverts the normative aspects of epistemology, so that the only thing better than embracing the unknowable is attempting to believe the incoherent.

froclown

To fight the unfightable fight, to dream the undreamable dream, this is what Don Qixote says is the best. I think Kierkegaard is in the same vein of thought.

Nato

I understand the romantic aspect of it, and with that I *usually* sympathize - but not when I comes to logeto-mathematically definable conundrums.

froclown

Logic and mathematics are not fundamental.

At some point we reach an intrinsic property which is not found within the symbols of the logic of our perception, that is the actual material substance from which the symbols and brain states are constructed of an embedded into. We can only think ideas "about" this fundamental. We do not say "I'm thinking a boat" instead we say "I'm thinking about a boat". The reason for this is clearly that the though of a boat is not itself a boat. It's like a menu that tells us about the meal, the menu is not itself the food, it is about the food.

Everything we think and know, all logic, language and mathematics is about something, it is not the thing it is about. Thus, to get to what thought, language, logic and math actual are, we can not use other symbols because these new symbols would themselves be about the first symbols and those symbols are of the same elusive substance as the other original symbols.

Thus to get to that fundamental, elusive, origin of thoughts and symbols, we can not use logic and reason, only Faith, which is say acceptance of the intrinsic nature of those things without understanding is possible at this point.

Where I see Kierkegaard's mistake is in calling this foundation "GOD" because this word is first simply a symbolic place holder for an ineffable idea that can not be represented by symbolic means, and second his choice of symbolic place holder's the word "GOD" carries with it too much metaphysical baggage and invokes meanings that are not appropriate to the context.

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