Friday, February 3, 2012

Philosophy's Gone Astray

Philosophy is fucked.

Which is a shame, because it has amazing potential. But unfortunately, it's lost it's practicality, because it's lost it's direction.

I'm talking about modern philosophy - analytic philosophy, academic philosophy, linguistical analysis - anywhere where the focus is on argumentation and logical structures.

I'm not talking about the greats: Socrates, Kant, Schopenhauer, Hume, Magee, all of these guys knew what the smart game was: destroy their false assumptions and look at how the world actually works. That's how they were so good - that's where their passion came from.

Philosophy to them wasn't a hobby, it was a deeply personal investigation. Even Descartes, who's main conclusion is the polar opposite from that of this site, had the right idea.

Why am I talking about philosophy?

Well, I've brought up the subject of no-self to a lot of online philosophers, or philosophy hobbyists. Every time, I get asked things like "Do you have any proof?", or "I know this is true, x already said it, why are you bringing it up?" or the dreaded "If there's no you, why do you keep using the word 'I'?"

And these are understandable. From the perspective of the people asking them, it does look like I'm jumping to conclusions, or restating the obvious, or contradicting myself. But that's because their goal, and if you're a Westerner, probably your goal, is one of building up and defending belief structures, as opposed to tearing them down in favor of recognizing the reality they should be based on.

It just doesn't make sense to them that ideas about reality can be tested by watching how reality works.

For example - If your a passionate atheist, you'll often seek out new proofs and reasons for why gods don't exist. But how many challenge that assumption? How many will be able to honestly set aside their beliefs, give the whole god-thing the benefit of the doubt for even a day a day, and really at the world through the eyes of another perspective?

And this applies to literally all positions, not just major religious/political ones.

It's hard - I still have trouble doing it. Even after drastically cutting down on the pull of my self-image (do that here, it's awesome), it still feels unnatural to challenge my beliefs so radically. Belief structures just don't like being fucked with.

But to live an honest life, it has to be done.

And as long as people aren't willing to get humble and feel the burn that comes from doing this, we'll never grow out of our immaturity. As long as you're not willing to do this, you'll be a slave to unchecked beliefs. (Heh, it's not always as bad as I make it out to be, a lot of the time it's like facing fear, which is one of the more awesome things in life).

The goal of a philosopher shouldn't be to increase the general "knowledge" of their subject while the possibility of turning themselves into a weapon of clarity, capable of doing the same to others, is wide-open.

But of course, it doesn't appear to be wide-open. Only a lucky few stumble onto it by chance, because the idea of challenging assumptions to a radical degree (and I mean radical, surrendering each thought/concept to the phenomenal reality it's supposed to represent) isn't found anywhere in our culture.

Obviously start with your core delusion, the assumption of a self. Much of this blog is dedicated to this goal - I'd recommend clicking on the "Start Here" link above. I like writing about this stuff 8-)

What's your goal: having a nice collection of ideas, or seeing the world as it actually is?


  1. I see your point as clearly as the annual renewal of the burning man. Most people get stuck at some point where age, obligations, and commitments,become so overwhelming that asking too many questions becomes detrimental to the status quo one feel one has bled, struggled, and cried, over. Too many questions begins to feel depressing instead of exhilerating. It is the unique person who can continue to be objective and practical as the years begin to weigh down.

  2. It can come on pretty quickly as well - I can't really remember being curious about my beliefs in my late teenage years.

    Really though, the #1 question you need to ask is "Is this true?", and demand (from yourself) observable evidence.

    Not just from ideas other people tell you, that's important, but your own beliefs and thoughts as well.

    I think that's well witin the capability of most humans to do, no matter how watered down you are.

    Yeah it can be depressing, but a life built on lies and unchallenged assumptions is bound to be empty. The no-you realization helps bounds with the depression, as well.