#42: The philosophy thread
Or the "TL;DR thread", take your pick.

Basically, this is the thread to come to when you suddenly feel like musing about life's big questions (which for the most part are unknowable or we wouldn't be wondering about them).

When discussing things with other people, remember that there is very unlikely to be one "right answer" (there might not even be a wrong one), so the most you can expect to get out of any discussion here is "whatever answer works best for you."

TIP: When your reply to a post in another thread feels like it belongs here, you can just "quote" the original post and reply to it here (spoiling contents as needed).
Example post:

Mnessie said ("How was your day" thread):
"I would like to debate this (the statement: "Path without a goal can still nurture progress").

Continued part 2 of the debate
Sadly, this debate went on without me before it switched subjects, but I suppose I can reply to it now, here, where it's relevant.

The whole discussion whether you can measure progress when you can't reach your goal is centered around a few axioms. And some of them were not even defined in the original discussion.
(Sorry, reply was too long to fit in a single reply >.<)

First of all, if we are going to talk about "aiming for perfection," we never defined even what accounts for perfection. I didn't define it neither because I just gave it out as an example of why aiming for a goal that cannot be achieved might still be worth it.

For our context, I think the best definition for "perfection" is quite simple: "to not mess up. To not make mistakes." In the context of our life's goal, we should be able to phrase perfection as the state in which we don't regret our choices and we are happy with the outcomes of them. I understand that perfection can mean many things, and be a lot more rigorous for other areas like mathematics. But, for personal fulfillment, to "live a perfect life," I'd like to believe that simply not regretting our choices and feeling good about who we are should be enough.

Now with that defined, I must take on the crust of your argument: that we cannot measure our progress in such a model.

Your argument: We cannot objectively measure progress if the goal is unachievable. My counter-argument: That's not the right perspective to use on this issue.

The way to do things right: just look at each decision and reflect on how to do better. That's all there is to it.

I wonder if I actually treated the subject satisfactorily, I hope I did.
You are right. It is TL;DR for me in the sense that the subject is of no interest for my Verdandi. Maybe it will for my Skuld.

I'll just leave this here.

God gave us a mind to think. The Devil gave us a heart to feel.

Or should I rather put it in another way? Like:

Nature gave us a mind and a heart. God only gave us consciousness. The Devil gave us our emotions.
That sounds awfully close to how Buddhism sees feelings, too :o

Something interesting I just realized is the approach that different religions have towards achieving happiness (granted, I could use more knowledge of many other religions).

Christianity teaches you that through love everything will be solved and peace can be achieved.

Buddhism teaches you that without a proper understanding of yourself, your desires will only cause you ruin and suffering to you and others in the long run.

I like the Buddhist approach because it provides more insight into things, though I can understand the appeal of Christianity through its much more concise and simple message. Of course, simple messages are often easier to misunderstand and apply incorrectly... @[email protected]'
Tensa said:

God gave us a mind to think. The Devil gave us a heart to feel.

Or should I rather put it in another way? Like:

Nature gave us a mind and a heart. God only gave us consciousness. The Devil gave us our emotions.
I like this.
If this is awefully close to Buddhism as SK says, I might turn Buddhist. Well turn.. I don't really have any 'belief'.

Seems like god is the real bitch in this! I love you Devil-san!
LOL
does Buddhism even qualify as a religion?
I think it's more of a way of life...

also, like I said before:
life is a test, and you decide yourself what it is testing, and that, is also part of the test.

Life is different for every person, so there is little use in trying to create a scientific model of how to view it "correctly" or "universally".

The problem with science is that some people do indeed become "scientific cultists", and treat science as "the perfect faith".
IMO science is only tool, that we mortals use to treat ourselves to the universe's delicious bits. I think, that it should only increase our understanding of nature's mechanisms, not some kind of code to live by.
Hah I was about to say #42 is meaning of life in another thread :D

Fun fact: Did you know 13.37 * π (pi) = 42 :D

I like this thread but sadly I have to step down since the debates on this thread can generate really deep and sensitive topics for some. Especially how much of this ties in religion. Beside I suck when it comes to text based debates on the web. I rather have a oral discussion face to face.

However I will just throw this one out:
I find it funny when I see people easily blaming God for whatever reason it may be instead to looking on what caused it, outcomes and consequences etc. when it often their own "fault".

I think we should try to keep thing simple when it comes to meaning of life and our believes. Like people and even the Quran say "You believe what you believe in, and I believe what I believe in".
so true, foliff...

some people get overexcited about god as well as science.
In my eyes one does not contradict the other, though(I'm not talking about specific beliefs, contrary to popular opinion)

Like foliff said, let's try to avoid that topic.
it should be listed as taboo on the user-guidelines
SK7000 said:
First of all, if we are going to talk about "aiming for perfection," we never defined even what accounts for perfection. I didn't define it neither because I just gave it out as an example of why aiming for a goal that cannot be achieved might still be worth it.
I never intended to have it defined either. I wanted to use it as a reference point to try to use modelling as an analogy. This way I could try to use number crunching to explain some fairly abstract points. Keep in mind that purely abstract math is still functional. Having a bunch of known variables is messy but you can still map relations. I tried to make an understanding of how we can map "self-improvement" compared to other people.

SK7000 said:
For our context, I think the best definition for "perfection" is quite simple: "to not mess up. To not make mistakes."
This is why I prefer numbers and variables as "x"
It's just as abstract was what you just said. You have equally little measurement tools as me using a variable. I think we just do the same anyway. Maybe I can help turn our conversation into a more visual representation first so we can all work from that line of though. A little bit like a brainstorm but more elegant than words.... (see next quote)

SK7000 said:
I think your whole argument sort of loses strength because you treat my scenario as if it should be objectively measured. And that it's quite pointless exactly because it cannot be done so.
Web Concept
Gregol said:
LOL
does Buddhism even qualify as a religion?
I think it's more of a way of life...
Uhm, what do you think a religion is? In rough terms, religions are road-maps, plans that tell you how to best live life if you want to get the most out of it.

Some religions include trials and rituals that supposedly serve to discipline your mind and body (e.g.: like asking Christians to go to church), but I wouldn't call that a requirement to be a religion.

I personally like Buddhism because it's so open-minded, people can attune their beliefs to it without having to throw aside whatever other religion they grew up aligned to.

I don't know if the themes here will get religious connotations, obviously there will be much overlap because religions also provide answers to the unknowns of life, but I do my best to avoid relying on religious beliefs to discuss my point of view (at most, I use religion to provide examples of ways people can look at a situation before giving my own opinion).

We'll see with time.

@Mnessie
that analogy of yours is good, but...

isn't it a little biased, to be placing (that thing that you're placing) as the centre?
In that case, I think that each of us spiders should have their own little web, and thses webs all form a ginourmous globe, so we can see one another, when we look inwards.(we live on the inside)
Or better yet, the webs arent fixed ownership, but spiders with similar outlooks sit on nearby webs, and can go onto nearby webs as well.(a spider moves a certain distance each time it receives any sort of informational input. The distance depends on the impact that informatio had)
Also, in this case, whenever somebody asks a good question, all the spiders tend to take the nearest possible crossing point of threads. The more threads cross, the more detailed and deep the view is.(at this point it would also be handy to assume that all crossing points[as the question is asked] become spikes pointed inwards, and the more threads, the deeper the spikes)
Us "master-debaters" would never(or rarely) stray far from our usual crossing, so we would be fairly consistent.(although, in our lifetime, we ALL do travel in a straight line, in any direction, at different speeds, and important events and realisations may change our direction of travel, and the speed, and sorry for the bunch of commas)

Also, it's important to decide which type spider each of us is.
And sorry for any possible lack of "n's"...
That could work. Let's look at SK7000 thoughts before deciding in case.

Here's my attempt at making sure I understand your idea:

We use the same model I described.
We remove the concept of center / edge and their respective differences resembling peoples awareness of their position and value/meaning in life.
We have smaller webs representing a strong/common view which we find easy to label as being a few. "The buddhist view" , " The creatist view" , " Heaven and Hell Model" , "The Absurdist View" etc etc.
I'm not yet satisfied on how clear the communication is. You made an interesting proposal. Let the following be the only questions I ask right now to keep it organized and allow SK7000 plenty of time to give feedback. I can wait.

I would still propose the sample questions to help explain if we can work with this sample. feel free to keep it as simple as possible and later go into detail:
Where would you be?
Why do you like / dislike it there?
Have you have significant changes in your time in the web? (I had a few big jumps that shook me up and about in my life)

In the mean time can you (Gregol) clarify your communication between the individual views and positions as detailed as possible? It is the critical concept for the individual webs inside the larger web model. Without it we can't work with it I think.

Thanks in advance
yeah, I forgot to mention that we, spiders, have a limited viewing distance, that represents understanding.
This means, that if a spider can see another clearly, it understands the point of view of the other spider.
This model does not, however, make a metaphor for the strength of belief(or simply stubborness), because, I find, it is irrelevant.

anyways:
-Each thread represents a certain belief/truth/point of view.
-The Buddhist view, for example, will be represented as the crossing of certain threads.
-Each spider has its own views as well.
-Therefore, Buddhist spiders sit on nearby crossings, but none sit on the same one.
-When a good question is asked(f.e. is ignorance truly bliss?{it is...}), all crossings are attracted towards the centre.
-Thus they form spike-like shapes on the otherwise even inner surface of the orb.
-The more threads cross, the closer to the centre the point of crossing gets.
-Thus, spiders, who have few beliefs, will be farthest from the centre, and are unable to understand the spiders who are closest.(because they can't see far up the spikes)
-Different spiders have different eyesight.
-Spiders, who are easily swayed, travel constantly from belief to belief at a high pace.(they might be affected by advertisement and such)
-All spiders travel in a two dimensional plane
-Those with firm beliefs, travel slowly in a straight line in any certain direction.
-Important events may change their direction of travel and/or speed of travel
-spiders with firm beliefs will have less life-changing events(provided they live in the same circumstances)

I don't know what else might be unclear...
also, I seem to have made numerous assumptions...
All spiders are considered bugs.
That's what you missed.
Tensa said:
All spiders are considered bugs.
That's what you missed.
Dear wikipedia:

Spiders
Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms.

Bugs
Specifically, an insect of the order Hemiptera, known as the "true bugs".
Informally, an insect, spider or other small pest excluding rodents; including most arthropods, except marine crustaceans, including individuals or species of
centipede
millipede
mite
tick
woodlouse

This was state the bloody obvious day wasn't it? >_>
Bugs, monsieur Mnessie. They are everywhere.
Ok gregol I think I can see where you're going with this. How about we try a single test question and see if this actually helps, or just confuses everyone.

I don't like destroying my idea or yours but it has to work, that's what matter after all.

Example cases
See, thing is, that my model incorporates the passing of time.

Mary, as she is still searching for an answer, would probably be situated on a crossing of very few threads, both before and shortly after the event.
Her speed would be fast.
In a while she will probably be sitting on a crossing of a great number of threads(she meets smart people etc), or depending on circumstances, she might be running around in circles/spirals, merely changing the ACTUAL, "PHYSICAL" THREADS, but not their CONCENTRATION.
(i.e. her point of view changes, but not her "mass" of knowledge nor depth of understanding)

Nico is very slowly moving in some direction, but on the path that he's taking only very few new threads will appear, so it's safe to assume that he will remain more or less stationary over a long period of time.
Depending on his starting conditions, he might be sitting on a large to very small number of threads.

Orland started out in very, very threadless area, because his information intake was most likely extremely limited(unless he's "Mr. Pants-made-out-of-gold")
He is most likely moving at a steady pace towards a crossing of many threads, if he's dealing with knowledgeable and/or smart and/or experienced people.
Or, he's runing around in circles too, but slower.

If they are of the same ethnic background, and live in similar cultural circumstances, Mary and Orland will probably be on the same side of the globe(approaching from different sides), but Nico would be some distance away from both of them.

I think that's it, but there could be more...
Yep. I see what you're doing. Or , well , we're doing. In any case. I'll wait for some feedback from SK7000 now. I like where this is going. We could use a model like this to really go over a ton of views , and if we're REALLY lucky we may even be able to present it in such a way that everyone can understand. Which could be nice since it's a forum and other people may actually care to read what goes around :3
Modeling reality and the way people look at things is not that easy.

Summary of the spider model as presented so far: Views of the world, and whether our position on it can predict our degree of happiness.

There are many ways to define happiness, it is a very abstract concept, after all. I discussed the possibility of aiming for a perfect life, in which happiness would flourish out of the lack of bad decisions on our part. Certainly, that is not the only way to live life, many other paths exist, many of which don't need a deeper understanding of the self or the world, and can still be very rewarding, bringing in much happiness.

But I think it's important to notice that not every way of looking at the world is conducive to happiness, neither. In fact, I would go as far as to posit that awareness and happiness can be orthogonal concepts. For example, let's look at two examples where ignorance leads to both happiness and ruin.

ignorant ruin: being selfish

ignorant bliss: being naive

Note that no path is utter "ruin" or "bliss." A person in ignorant ruin can feel moments of passing happiness, but it cannot last. A person in ignorant bliss can likewise be victim of manipulating people or others with less than good intentions, but it will not last neither.

I could go on musing about how knowledge and understanding can serve to avert pain, but I think my comment is lengthy enough for now.
Yes and Interesting to all but one point.

I remain unclear about the method of viewing and communicating between concepts. If we can clear that up I think we're done and can start throwing question into it and see what we can output.

SK7000 said
I would go as far as to posit that awareness and happiness can be orthogonal concepts.
Quite true. I don't even find it debatable anymore as I've ruined my own fun by explaining it in too many cases. You may call it bias since I myself am hardly able to represent such a large demographic but I'm stuck on that view and I don't see that changing in the (near) future.

What about you Gregol? What's your view on happiness VS awareness (Awareness being the understanding of emotion as a concept rather than focussing on the experience of it)

Distance between webs/concepts

I noticed Gregol proposing that motion changes the perspective and the the idea is thrown out by any individual at which point it could become a tug of war for locations and relations as all individuals have their view on it.. This would create a "best of collective view" which means 3 people as of now. Interesting but it seems like we're going to miss out if we do this in such a small group. I am unable to find a better alternative though so I would suggest continuing along the line of building up around central ideas and relating them one by one. It's slow but solid.
Mnessie said:
I remain unclear about the method of viewing and communicating between concepts. If we can clear that up I think we're done and can start throwing question into it and see what we can output.
Now I am the one lost here. Can you elaborate on what you mean? The method for viewing and communicating between what concepts?

I am not too fond on the idea of a "best collective view," though. There are many ways of looking at the world, and chances are you are not the only one who sees it in a particular way. I don't think there is any "best" out there, though I like being exposed to as many view-points as possible. Learning more might not change my stance on things, but I still like learning about the different ways that people look at life.
SK7000 said:
Now I am the one lost here. Can you elaborate on what you mean? The method for viewing and communicating between what concepts?

I am not too fond on the idea of a "best collective view," though. There are many ways of looking at the world, and chances are you are not the only one who sees it in a particular way. I don't think there is any "best" out there, though I like being exposed to as many view-points as possible. Learning more might not change my stance on things, but I still like learning about the different ways that people look at life.
Consider how we can discuss a topic. How would you explain me your views? That's as simple as I can break it down. We can all make interesting analogies but it'd be easier if we use a general model for it (web/spiders etc).

Example zealot

Secondarily
I was consdering the use of the thread to others than us actually. If we can share our views in a neutral and quick manner the continuity of the thread becomes more stable and other people may be more tempted to share their views instead of holding back in fear of being chastised about referencing their own background.

Or we could just go back to everybody throwing a list of what he she thinks and debate each point one by one :) I don't mind myself but I was considering some more aspects than just what I wanted here.

Best collective view
Did this satisfactorily answer your question? If not I'd be more than glad to clear things up further. I'm in no hurry.
Uhm... in short, we use analogies that work for the topic at hand. I don't think you can use the same analogy for everything and have it work.

Technically, just using plain English should be enough to describe/explain a topic. Analogies is just to simplify understanding.

To tackle your example, when discussing things with a devout Christian, you just don't mention "Buddhism" anywhere with your own examples, instead you try to set up an explanation that relies on human nature, psychology and logic.

At least, I think I managed to do that so far.

I don't know if anybody else will participate in this thread, though it was required to make it to avoid polluting the other threads with off-topic material which was nevertheless interesting to discuss about.

I think, as long as we can change topics (and not spend ten pages on the same debate) it'll be easy for new people who want to join in to get a grasp on what's going on and reply. Who knows, this thread might be over before it hits three pages.
As you wish. I'll work with it either way. Do you have any particular topic that you prefer to discuss? If not I could start with one.
I thought you wanted to wait for Gregol's answer before moving on. xP

Wasn't Gregol the one who started the whole thing with the "happiness question" topic?

If this thread stops being active, I may bump it with some of the stuff I think about daily. Many of my friends think I am somewhat of a philosopher ¬¬'
SK7000 said:
I thought you wanted to wait for Gregol's answer before moving on. xP

Wasn't Gregol the one who started the whole thing with the "happiness question" topic?
Ah yes quite right ^_^. Thanks for reminding me.
I am pretty sure that ignorance is, in fact bliss.
A person who doesn't know of troubles/suffering etc is bound to be happy.
Also, if that person is unaware of the nature of his/her happiness, they won't bother themselves with questioning it and/or wouldn't really think about the end of their happiess. That is to say, they won't ponder about the happy-to-sad cycles in life, and won't get depressed when they realise that happiess is temporary, because they won't realise it in the first place.

Being aware of happiess can have different effects, depending on the person.
Like for you, mnessie, I think you said that thinkig about happiness while being happy ruis it for you.
Being aware of the origins/nature of my happiness can enhance it.

BTW, about that model of selfish ruin:
I think that acting selfishly requires some knowledge/intelligence/perception capacity, or at least more of it than being naive.
Therefore, a selfish person is probably a bad example of ignorance.(ignorance of what actually)
Mnessie said:
If we can share our views in a neutral [...] manner [...]
tl;dr

said [typed] all that to say this: there's nothing wrong with being biased towards something.

continued explanation
We don't count as a prime example, no?
*disappointment*
seems like we have a long way to go...

BTW, being neutral almost always serves to provide an unbiased analysis.
Therefore, not believing is not the "problem", if I might say so.
The "Perfect Observer" has to be very analytical and rational. It has to think logically and be open to new logics as long as they aren't ridiculously outrageous.

The whole point is to figure out which beliefs are less outrageous than others, by hearing the reasoning behind each and thinking about it from a neutral point of view.
This way "not believing" is the whole purpose of the thing, that we're talking about.