Can not read the F on first page
also I liked the big BLue letters and big words used on the first few pages but then they disappeared in the rest of the book could we sprinkle a few more throughout??
Dedication should read
“Your father lives in you!” Rafiki 1994
My biggest personal problem is my own insignificance. The way I see it time and space dwarf me into insignificance. Which leads me to the greatest philosophical question in my life: why get out of bed in the afternoon?
Do not confuse this insignificance paradigm with low self-esteem. A big difference exists between acknowledging the vastness of the universe embracing the fact that the universe is not about me, or us as individuals, or even as a civilization, and thinking I am worthless or humanity is worthless.
As I see it all philosophy is both autobiographical and disposable. Philosophy is mere function of the time and place of the philosopher. Philosophy is about the circumstances of the philosopher-hence about personal problems.
Truth is either an interim report and revisionist; or it is absolute and outside of human mind and considerations.
Philosophical correctness has corrupted the tradition. Plain language and common sense have succumbed to pedantics.
Three thoughts can explain the basics of knowledge- there exists stuff you can know, stuff you can not know, and stuff you do not know if you can know.
We need a new healthy perspective on the ego and the human condition, we need a new paradigm.
We are on the verge of a new intellectual revolution on comparable to the one initiated by Copernicus
Reality precedes humanity.
The word reality is only a signifier of reality. If reality is not created by humanity it is then an objective phenomenon. By definition reality is then outside of human consciousness. If you take away humanity what is left is reality. Reality is then all the stuff we do not invent with our words, concepts, perceptions, theories, social constructions, and religions.
Time and space, with or without human measurements, is an objective phenomenon. The motion and vastness of the universe would exist even if humans had never come into existence. It would be nothing but arrogant to think we had to be present for the universe to exist. But what does the objective nature of reality of time and space mean for humanity? For me it means nothing less than, the death of ego and of subjectivist paradigms. Reality is not a matter of opinion.
If we use the standard of reality minus humanity as true measure of reality then we can approach objectivity.
If light travels at 186,000 miles per second and light can circle the globe seven times in one second. And light takes 100 million years to get across our neighborhood. So what does all this mean? Then time and space are incredibly vast with or without humans.
We experience a mile in our youth driving, biking, and walking our understanding of the meaning of one mile becomes richer as we develop and experience distances. Numbers have meaning in the corresponding reality. Would a mile exist without humans? The word mile would not exist, the concept would not exist, and the perception in human terms would not, however the distance would exist.
To say algae only grows on our side of the pond is highly unlikely; if not absurd. So as a pop philosopher, my second move is to propose that the universe is meaningful to other than other humans. It is arrogant to think that humanity is solely responsible for all the meaning in the universe.
A good definition of value is a relationship between a subject and object is dependent upon the on going flourishing of the subject and object in relation to one another. So value of water to a plant with or without humanity is a given; in that plants need water to exist and flourish: and therefore water can be said to be valuable to a plant with or without human approval.
Power is an illusion created by the choice of local reference points.
Rock in the pond...
Planet is like a blood cell in God’s body...
The idea is that humans are like blood cells on the planet. The planet is like a blood cell in God so we are god. We are a contributing part of a much greater whole. We have a job to do in god like carry water, CO2, O2, waste, etc.
From a purely physical standpoint human insignificance can be overcome in that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. So if you throw a rock into a pond it ripples out and disperses in an infinite chain of cause and effect. As humans we can create small ripples through the universe.
People are like dogs. We are so limited much escapes us-much is beyond human comprehension. There is stuff we can not know. So in a sense it is very smart to say we can’t know the answers to questions about meaning of life. This ignorance ought not to be an excuse for not knowing what we can.
Faith in the ongoing existence of life in the universe after humans cease to exist is well placed. Faith in the universe ability to balance itself is well placed faith. Because the universe can get along fine without us we must become more responsible for ourselves.
A and not A.... reality/outside of rationality
If logic is not really representative of reality and if we can learn to think outside of the ivory tower; then it may be possible for humans to be both insignificant and significant at the same time in the same ways. Perhaps the universe is very simple and very complex at the same time. Maybe string theory and quantum physics are not mutually exclusive. Maybe we are all unique and all the same at the same time in the same ways. Maybe we are fragile and resilient as humans. Maybe we are both essential and expendable. We often confuse logic, rationality, and science for truth. In fact science is just an analytical tool, useful for dissecting and isolating some cause and effect, but most often incapable of understanding organic holistic processes. Long chains of cause and effect can not yet, if ever, be captured by science.
Early science provided evidence for a flat planet at the center of the universe and eventually human consensus agreed and we were all wrong for many hundreds of years. Science is not truth. Perhaps Philosophy and Science are both disposable and only about the time, place, and circumstances that created them. Philosophy is about truth and it is similar to science in that both are revisionist processes and must account for new information.
The Hubbell telescope has given us new info to deal with and it must be assimilated. If reality turns out to be a series of paradoxes we must embrace these new truths or suffer the consequences of our own ignorance. I suspect reality is A and not A. Evidence to support the A and not a theory exists at the sub atomic level were protons only tend to be in a specific location they are not in a location but they are tending towards a location. Protons exist but they don’t-they come in and out of existence. An electron has wave like aspects, and it has particle aspects, it is not a wave and it is not a particle.
Science and rationality point to and support human insignificance, fragility, expendability, mortality, and the fact that time and space dwarf us into a flash in the pan in an anthill of existence. Perhaps truth is relative and absolute everything is both subjective and an objective blur. Perhaps we are all insignificant and valuable.
The big picture is the small and the small picture is the big picture and what really matters is my family and friends and how I chose to spend this day. We ought to make a counter intuitive decision that we are significant and valuable despite all the evidence to the contrary. Then we ought to extend similar significance, value, dignity, and respect to others because of the common ground we share in our insignificance. If we are all fragile, expendable, and we all recognize this as the essential common ground for human community and world citizenship. Common ground is the basis for trust, love, and peace. Mutual respect is the basis for civilization and perhaps it is within our best interest to grant each other fundamental respect and to stop trying to distinguish ourselves as better than one another. I think we are all equally insignificant.
What is New?
What is new- last century we-humanity, learned to fly and stepped on the moon, we split the atom, killed off hundreds of thousands with the bomb, and dictators massacred tens of millions people, we created TV and film and started the internet and in the grand scheme not much else happened last century. Oh one other thing: The hundreds people who designed and built Hubbell discovered hundreds of billions of galaxies. This is the new information that starts the revolution and paradigm shift.
This century we have seen the symbol of capitalism fall and with it the rise of terror and the rise in power of small groups. We need to look at what is wrong with capitalism and what is right with it: the productive capacity of the world is way up the distributive capacity is way up we can feed the planet’s people, but we only use the profit motive as the main incentive to distribute. So we need alternative incentives to distribute subsistence. Some answers lie in the application of the tools we have at our disposal. It is all about the use to which we put technology not the bells and whistles of the technology. Currently we are like kids freely surfing an Internet full of porn-hardly the best use of the technology
We are subjective creatures throw off into an objective universe, which dwarfs humanity into insignificance and perhaps expendability. What does this mean? For me, the meaning of meaning has to do with value.
Flourishing has little to do with the trappings that money brings. Success it is much more a function of biological, psychological, and spiritual health. Three stages to flourishing might include survival, functioning, and then flourishing. A person can be flourishing and often have a lot of cool stuff. But many people with cool stuff are no were near flourishing. Flourishing is about having real needs met the self and others..
We are subjective creatures living in an objective symbiotic quagmire of gap and satisfaction. It is as much about the accurate assessment of others needs as well as our own. This is what is required to flourish. We must hurry up and grow up philosophically and morally by slowing down, suspending judgment, being patient, not killing ourselves in the mean time, and the answers and solutions will come from the process.
A dust mite in the carpet can flourish if the conditions are right. A dust mite is not important significant or powerful. But time and space have nothing to do with a dust mites’ ability to flourish. Humans have everything to do with human flourishing. And conversely, Time and Space little to do with a human’s ability to flourish. But much in the same way a dust mite cannot increase its power or significance in the universe, neither can a human. The difference is human’s can control some of the aspects of our own flourishing through the use of abstract thought and a much needed shift in our perspective.
Nietzsche said it best in 1872 “ what is the earth but a grain of sand with a mile or more of emptiness between it and the next grain of sand on the surface is a swarm of supposedly intelligent creatures who for a moment have discovered knowledge.”
The knowledge he refers to is about self-awareness of our place in the cosmos. Philosophic perspective is needed to cope with the truths of science.
Yet we remain like babies in a crib full of guns unwilling to embrace the knowledge of our own fragility, powerlessness, and insignificance. We split the atom and now our knowledge and immaturity threaten our existence. We need a new paradigm.
Perhaps we should spend more time shopping for our beliefs than we do for our clothes.
Reality is what it is and I am what I am and I am off in it, a subjective creature living in an objective universe.
Reality preceding humanity given that time has an arrow or direction, should kill the notion that everything is just a matter of opinion, subjective, or relative.
Take away humans what is left is reality.
If flourishing of life can be said to be a standard for good (perhaps the good) then flourishing of life in no way requires humanity. The universe is full of meaning and good without us.
Intellectual Big Bang
The first one happened 35,000 years ago when we had our first chance to step back and think there must be a better way-we invented some new tools, the first ones in more than a million years, then we started cultivating the land. We are on the verge of a similar paradigm shift when abstract thought can save us one again. This will start with a fundamental realization of our place in the universe and no less than the death of ego. We do not need our egos telling us how great and powerful we are as individuals or as a civilization. We will accept the fact that our duty to our civilization is to spread throughout the universe like grass in a meadow. All life seeks to self perpetuate; the problem is that we threaten our own existence and while we do not need another doom prophet, we need answers and solutions. We need answers to global warming and how to best harness the splitting of the atom. The application of technology is at this time much more important than the thing itself. The use to which we put atomic knowledge is the key before we blow ourselves up or kill the ozone layer with fossil fuels and Freon. These are the real problems, not isolated terrorism it is a distraction from the real issues.
Idealism is a wonderful thing it is goal to be striven towards. Without an ideal notion of justice it can not be approached. Nothing was ever achieved without Idealism. America is a good example. To all of those who dismiss things as being too idealistic they too often forget even the notion of freedom is an ideal and while it can not always be maintained it is the goal. In an exercise in idealism we need a vision for a New World culture as we become more homogenized and we must fight the homogenization because it will make us weak as a culture. Diversity and conflicts in beliefs are a dynamic process, which leads to refinement of beliefs, and new truths unfold as a result. We need venues for conflict, hopefully nonviolent ones or at least with metaphoric gloves on.
I can answer it for me and ask you to answer it for yourself, as you might suspect:
I get out of bed to flourish by doing my moral duty as a pop philosopher in an attempt to contribute to the community in hopes of getting a check. By selling this book I hope to meet other’s needs. This is not nihilism; it is a strong belief in flourishing as the meaning of life. This is in no way narcissism. It is enlightened self-interest with a sense of community- perhaps call it healthy narcissism. Flourishing differs from happiness in that it is not an individual feeling but a group dynamic and can last for generation after generation.
People are A and not A. We are the same and unique. For example we are the same in our needs for biological and psychological subsistence but we have unique skills abilities propensities and personal histories. For the most part we do this but it needs to be articulated as a principle for justice.
Ultimately reality is about meeting other’s needs about me and my ability to do that. Reality is about-my moment my day my square inch because it is not about me it is about me! Life is about my family, friends, neighbors, teachers, and coworkers. The big picture is the small about moments and inches. Things like keeping my 400 SF studio apartment clean and my cubicle organized enough to help others. These simple things are very important to a meaningful life and I never would have thought so. Being present in the moment and looking deeply into the moment is the place meaning is to be found, in the small things. The joy is in the details and the moments.
We are profoundly equal in our insignificance. This is the basis for a new civilization. This is the basis for a new paradigm. Fairness and principles of justice may be determined if we start our questioning of what is a fair distribution of the rights of individuals, and resources of the planet if we are all profoundly equal in our insignificance. Fairness is not equally distributed goods; it is according to need and emphasizing social mobility, and therefore the motivation-hopes of the people. Reality and truth are as synonymous and justice and fairness and as synonymous as value and meaning. Given that reality precedes humanity and time and space dwarf humanity, the universe we live in is a very meaningful place with or without us, we ought to take responsibility for our civilization; and rejoice in our equal insignificance!
Another of my favorite philosophers said, “Discover who you are and do it deliberately.” 1992 Dolly Parton